Our bold heroes decided to turn once more toward Cold Harbor, the festering den of villainy. The brigands who called themselves guards had greatly reinforced the town and now the puppet Lord Padraig had been all but replaced by a mage of low character.
Any hope of being hailed as heroes and saviors was quashed when the beautiful bard attempted to treat with the “guards”. She was told that on the morrow at dawn a proper parley would take place. Immediately seeing through the ruse Zedd, Farmer, and Ferris made plans to infiltrate the town under cover of night using a secret passage.
As Ursis and his kinsman from the wolfclan set up camp outside of town the brave party of infiltrators began their mission. Sneaking into town without any trouble Zedd was able to rendezvous with the talkative illusionist and Locke the swordsman within the tower of the “historian” Valthrun.
Despite the suspicious appearance of Valthrun’s manservant and a very paranoid Locke, the evening passed very pleasantly. Zedd opened an enchanted bottle and so doing, finally claimed his noble birthright.
Around a campfire in the bush outside of town the two rowdy savages entertained the beautiful bard with tales of their homeland and a delicious rabbit stew, while she in turn regaled them with poems and stories from the civilized south. The two holy men of the southern lands listened intently, and refrained from trying to convert the heathens. Although differences of language and culture was a barrier, mutual respect was forming from a willingness to share and learn.
Just then a grisly discovery was made. A headless knight was found upon a dying horse stumbling along the road toward Cold Harbor from the North. In his saddlebags Acolyte Thane discovered a banner belonging to the Margrave of Blackmarch, Padraig’s older and more capable brother who rules in the North. Ursis didn’t have the heart to tell our gentle bard that the horse was already as good as dead and let her take the poor beast into town, although he knew it would have been a mercy to put the dying creature out of it’s misery instead of condemning it to a lingering death within a mouldering stable. He was also worried for her safety now that clearly the woods held unseen foes.
Ferris spent a very uncomfortable night in a cold damp cellar, with a young girl and a sinister farmer making poor companions. The only comfort Ferris could find was the familiar burn of cheap whiskey and the ghosts of dead comrades to see him through another long, dark, and lonely night.
In the morning after a disorganized start our heroes were able to avoid the villainous town guardsmen and cinnamon mage. They met out on the ice of the lake and gathered some paltry supplies left by their new benefactor Valthrun, although Zedd already began to regret the terms of his deal with the old man.
The journey across the ice took the better part of the day but finally the heroes arrived on the shore of the mysterious island. Halfway through the night the party was awoken by a fierce warband of skeletal warriors rising from the nearby depths of an icy river.
After a frantic battle the heroes were able to defeat the undead. The young barbarian was nearly slain however, laid low by a rusty ice encrusted sword, only being saved by the intervention of the southern holy-men.
During the battle Locke bravely held off the attacks of a malevolent spectre long enough for Zedd to rush to his aid and deliver a killing blow. Zedd struck with an ancient dagger taken from Kalerel which drew his soul into a battle with the wraith. After a few tense moments Zedd was able to master the dark soul of the creature and gathered information before it departed.
In the morning the band traveled further inland following the expert directions given by the illusionist, without whose navigational skills the party would have surely become lost. After passing a magical wicker-man and a strange pond the party encountered a strange and ancient stone idol and a collapsed cave opening, both set into a rocky hillside.
After examining the idol and clearing the cave mouth the party prepared to venture inside.