The air gets colder and foggier and the battle with the fierce spirit of winter continues. The players and the DM roll terribly, resulting in a long-fought battle. Sora is continuously lowering its defenses with her divine powers, and while maintaining a silver outline on the spirit, she notes that whatever is done to it is done to the crystal as well. Quickshot is well positioned, managing to keep his distance from the worst of the fray (which is good because he has the least healing surges), in spite of repeated attacks by the crystal. He plants a few powerful shots into the beast, enraging it and sending more powerful cold gusts outward. Garth and Läncen take a great beating from large fists of frost and fur. And then…
Läncen, after a noble effort in this quest, is slain.
The party, after taking significant losses, manage to slay the spirit of winter.
The spirit of winter clutches at its chest and howls in agony. A spiderweb of tiny cracks spreads across the crystal’s surface. Moments later, the next pulse of blue energy surges forward from the gemstone, but its structure is no longer able to contain the elemental forces. The sapphire explodes, tiny shards scattering in all directions. The spirit of winter’s form wavers and blurs and then it collapses into itself in a cloud of white mist.
The icy walls that surround Draigdurroch Tower begin to shudder and tremble. With a great roar,like the sound of a gigantic waterfall made of glass, huge chunks of ice begin breaking apart from the frozen cocoon and falling to the ground below, where they shatter. Within a few seconds, the entire barrier has splintered and collapsed. The sky above the tower begins to grow lighter as the gray clouds scatter and disperse. The swirling snow stops falling and the howling of the chill wind falls silent for the first time since you set foot in the
Karnn Wood. The world appears suddenly peaceful, as if nature recognizes that its proper course has been restored.
The red gem remains, its power still latent and menacing. The PCs, like the good responsible citizens they are, destroy it.
Qareþås Tål sails the sea of swirly, swirly gumdrops and goes through the candy cane forest back into the Feywild to report back to Aramis. Next week, we will see how he is doing five years in the future.
Erdan Ramleadh departs and goes his own way for a time, doing his mysterious errands in solitude, as usual. He is expected to come into the campaign later.
Sora Shanna’s part in this story is not over, either.
Amun returns to his own time. With the crystal destroyed in the future and its weaknesses known, he becomes a great hero in turning the tide in the war against the demons. Many changelings claim descent from him.
Fast forward five years and Quickshot, whose real name is Rolan, wakes up gagged and bound. He is met with red eyes and smiling fangs amid soldiers clad in the garb of the Emerald Claw.
So what really happened?
Draigdurroch’s journal reveals the mystery behind all that has happened. Draigdurroch was part of a cabal of warlocks that sought new pacts with ancient, evil powers. Deep in the Karnn Wood there lay buried the Heart of Bazzok, a red gem said to be taken from the chest of apowerful demon by the same name. It was what he left in Eberron while he sleeps in Khyber. Draigdurroch found the Heart where an ancient temple to the demon once stood, and spent his lifetime trying to find ways to tap its power and perhaps commune with the demon to whom it belonged.
However, the fey spirits who dwell within the Karnn Wood and in coterminous places in the feywild have long been aware of how dangerous the remnants of Bazzok could be if the demons’s power fell into the wrong hands. They have appointed themselves as guardians to ensure that no one tampers with the evil being’s resting place. When Draigdurroch’s efforts began to bear fruit and the dwarf warlock drew upon the latent echoes of Bazzok’s power to form a dark pact, the fey approached him and warned him to cease his meddling.
By looking at the warning signs and other clues in the journal, the following can be gathered:
The warlock was confident in his powers and ignored the warning. For his temerity, the fey punished him. Draigdurroch was imprisoned within the Feywild and his tower was sealed in a block of magic ice as a warning to others. The fey set a powerful crystal holding a spirit of winter to act as the keystone holding the icy barrier and to contain the Heart of Bazzok.
The ritual enacted by the fey was designed to have a limited area of effect—Draigdurroch’s tower was encased in ice, but the surrounding lands were not supposed to be affected. Unfortunately, such a powerfulspell cannot go unnoticed forever. Draigdurroch’s tower contains several small rifts to the Kythri that he had created as part of his arcane research. Recently, a group of ice warriors discovered one of these rifts when they were drawn by the strength of the cold energy emanating from the gemstone. They have taken up residence in Draigdurroch’s
tower, finding it a most hospitable environment thanks to the perpetual layer of ice. The warriors have begun to modify the ritual that the fey created, increasing its power and spreading the effects of the magical frost over a larger area. If they were not stopped a permanent winter would have encased an entire province of Karnnath and the Heart of Bazzok would have broken free and turned the undead against all living things.