Icebound: Dawn of an Ice Age

Alisandre's Private Notes, #3

[[Again in Liss’s more private notes rather than her notes for storytelling.]]

We made our way into the caverns, expecting trouble of course. Happily there was only one robed fiend to handle. Unhappily… I won’t get into the details, but he’d been torturing people, hurting them terribly. I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved that they hadn’t lasted through his efforts. There’s not much I wish to say there. I’ll come up with something sanitized for public consumption later. I also won’t include how Frederick seemed to completely lose his grip on himself and hacked the brute to pieces and to pieces’ pieces until Cole calmed him. I completely understand the impulse but it would likely be too dark for our song.

At least the next part gives us the drama we might need to distract from any messiness. Just past the torturer, a presence came into the air. I presume it was being fed by the pain of those there. Something whispered in my mind, offering me the opportunity for fame and eclipsing my uncle if only I would help free it. I presume all of the others had similar entreaties whispered to them, though no one shared. I will have to worm the details from each later for my curiousity, then make up something properly interesting but absurdly impersonal for each to avoid offending them.

I was untempted, but only because I’ve read enough stories of demons to know better than to sell myself that cheaply. Cole was particularly offended and attacked outright, which had precisely the effect that you might expect. Frederick was more quiet, and I worry that this is all being too much for him. Rowan once more saved us by calling her goddess to cast the demon away, and then we were left alone again. Likely all shaken one way or another, though we didn’t talk about it.

Onwards and downwards we went, led by the relic. We found underground caverns that might have been fascinating to go through in better times, though none of us were in the mood. Soon we came to a fallen bridge over an underground stream, too wide for us to leap and too fast to make fording it our first thought. Rowan tried to climb over and around on a cliff-face, then did a darling fall into the waters. It was a spot of bad luck, nothing more, but in my story I’ll add a sudden burst of water to sweep her away to place it all firmly into the dramatic.

That left us fording the water our only choice. It was down swiftly by Cole, taking a rope and then letting us continue further down and on. And then in the deepest part of the area, we encountered a giant snake. A giant bloody snake. Our knight and a half were properly gallant in trying to protect us poor wee females. You can imagine how much of that I took, and attacked myself, valiantly and to absolutely no effect. Rowan herself threw arrows at the beast, and did as little harm. It was up to our brave strapping menfolk to save us. Hoorah.

First came Frederick with a spell of some sort, dark and foreboding. I do not know the intended effects, but it did little harm to the snake, only to our party later.

Cole though proved his mettle by smashing the beast terribly and won us our freedom. It’s a bit frightening how strong he is. A relief to be sure, but it also makes me worry about us all becoming a problem in a larger fight. I need to find a way to be and do more than be just a silver tongue.

I worry that my tongue is at its limits in our party. Frederick’s spell attempt put Rowan’s foot down and she demanded he use no more magic on her behalf. I tried to get her to compromise, perhaps for us to agree his talents there would only be used after other things failed, but that went nowhere. For her it’s a matter of religion and fervor. I don’t know that trying to make her realize how truly dangerous our situation is would do any good, and I don’t want to risk that hit to our morale. I’ll admit I’m worried about Frederick as well, but I’ll gladly let him cast something that might give pause to any giant reptile.

Cole has his own personal feelings for Frederick, and of course his knightly duty to protect, which pushes him to take Rowan’s side in a more gentle fashion. Ah, if only the other person with a practical bent weren’t Frederick himself. He seems to be under pressure from within, besides Rowan and Cole’s worries. I’m worried that he needs something to build him up again. I hope that soon we’ll have some time for this. If we have another encounter like the snake while in this state of concern, I fear the actions people need to take might make this might boil over.

To more practical matters again.. the relic now led us up once more, apparently having been guiding us in a path around the tower’s normal entrance. It was rather fascinating that the thing had intelligence enough to do that rather than being simply a mindless pointer. I’d love to know more about it if I get the chance to talk to our green friend again after this. Up it went to a hatchway, where above we could hear the bustling of servants.

We decided to open with one close, to grab, render unconscious, and pull them in to borrow clothing, and then continue onwards. That went as well as most of our non-battle plans do, and left her screaming and us making a run for where the relic pointed, to the upstairs in a mad dash. Up, up, up, to the quarters of the tower’s owner, who turned out to be my oh-so-beloved uncle.

Ha ha, demon. What a clever offer you made me, to both take out uncle and build my reputation at once. I am laughing so hard at your infernal wiles. Truly.

Anyway. I was disgusted enough at this turn of events, along with rather annoyed at my failure to be so useful in fighting yet, that I tried to kick his brazier straight in his face and just end this. But magic. Foo. So that failed and he resummoned the demon from before.

At least here I was useful, pointing out that the demon already sought to betray him. That led to the creature being sent away rather than set on us. And while I despise my uncle’s arrogance and power and how.. frustratingly effective and good he is at it, he at least as a noble is able to consider things coolly and speak, rather than attempting to just have us all killed for invading his tower and trying to set him on fire. It’s nice to deal with other practical people.

So we talked and argued a bit. Uncle knew and respected the Green Man, so there was that. He acknowledged the threat, and admitted he was involved with the entire thing. The darkness was due to the influence of a demon he had summoned and not been able to fully control. Though Uncle was being an arrogant prat, he was sure he could handle it all himself and we were just children who should run along now. As it turned out, he was also the one gathering the barbarians in order to create a great empire, intending to bring all the known lands into it under his benevolent rule, teach them all to be more civilized, and such and such. In the end, Rowan and I pushed hard enough to get him to allow our help with the supernatural side. In return he demanded our help with the other side of things.

We argued and set conditions and pushed and finally agreed. My own personal hope is that we’ll be able to simply throw my uncle low when we do everything else, and obviate the need for that ugly deal. If not, I hope to at least keep this part of our deeds quiet to avoid any messy calls of treason. In my song he can bow to our wisdom and his own shortsightedness without any further demands.

So from there he pointed out what we could do best to speed along fixing the supernatural side of our problems. He had already been in contact with a dwarven king for needed supplies for his ritual markings. Sending us to take delivery would speed things along more than sending his barbarians. At least, if he could be trusted…

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