Night of Frozen Shadows
Into the North
The journey from Sandpoint 'cross the wilds of Varisia had taken weeks, the journey from Brinewall Village to Kalsgard would take a couple more. Travelling to the far North, from the Nolands through the Lands of the Linnorm Kings to Kalsgard was cautious but focussed for Ameiko sought to learn what had happened to her family's blade, Suishen, before venturing on to Minkai to claim her birthright.
Sandru's caravan made good speed, Tsumi and Ameiko sharing time and laughter together, Morvius and Koya gifting magics and wisdom to one and all, Avarizia and Sandru sharing time together (and drink together) whilst organising and driving the colourful wagons, Kankai and Shalelu scouting ahead, keeping vigil.
It was Kankai's keen eyes that spied the massive raven, winging high above, following them day after day. She shuddered when she glimpsed the blood red "blood-feather" said by the fortune teller Koya to be an evil omen of one serving dark powers. Canny to always watch but dance just of of range of Morvius' magics or the party's bows, Kankai and Avarizia were unnerved by the cunning raven's scrutiny and days of observation.
Thundering River, where it joined the furious waters of the Rimeflow River, camping by the sturdy ancient Skalsbridge crossing.
Breaking out fine Chelaxian brandy with Avarizia, Sandru relaxed, listening to Ameiko's cheery tales, the friends huddling around camp fires to ward against the frozen mists and chill night air.
After animated, lively storytelling, the party slept.
Although keeping watch, none heard or saw the ambush. There was alarm and dread when an Ulfen throwing axe flew through the heavy darkness, hurtling from the mists to thunder into a caravan's wooden frame. Moments later the viking host were upon them, hulking warriors in armour, hefting massive round shields and brutal ugly axes. No noble knights or chivalrous soldiers, these viking warriors skulked through the night with axes, bringing tools of base butchery, planning to hack and slay the party in their sleep.
Tsumi and Kankai, sleeping in their armour, both grabbed their magical blades and charged into the mists together, seeking to arrest what ever foes charged towards them before they fell 'pon their friends within the camp. Avarizia and Morvius stood tall, both drawing in and commanding crackling magics around themselves as divine energies and arcing electricity lit up the night's gloom, crashing over the metal arms and armour of the Ulfen warriors.
Battle was vicious, furious, brutal.
Blood flowed, curdling screams pierced the night, through the mists and darkness and confusion it was impossible to measure how the battle fared as it raged through the camp. Tsumi and Kankai battled together, Tsumi's twin katanas slicing effortlessly through the chainmail armour, Kankai's dual wakizashi's piercing the foes with grim precision, dropping them swiftly and silently. Moving through the camp the battled calmly with swift, ruthlessly effective melee, mindful of the magics exploding around them as Avarizia commanded her skeletal companion to fight whilst she was draining the strength from groups of Ulfen, lit up by Morvius' bolts of glowing magics and blasts of electrical orbs of crackling magics.
Scores of Ulfen warriors fell to blades and magics, as battles raged it emerged that some forty or fifty warriors had set upon them, but fortune favoured the heroes that night, with victory falling firmly their way. As Koya and Avarizia healed those within Sandru's caravan, bloodied and battered by the raid, all Ulfen were noted to have golden armbands of a lion's head. Padding down to the water's edge, Kankai found an Ulfen longship, rading in Skald the name Aril's Hammer on her prow.
After what was clearly a planned, coordinated ambush, the friends pondered over who was aligning against them, how they had orchestrated such a strike and what adversaries would now scheme against them within Kalsgard . . .