We got soft in Badorties. A home. Servants. What were we thinking? The Cold Mistress has come to remind us of our place in the world, thought Tierra, through chattering teeth.
She wasn’t the only one. Each member of the party were getting colder by the minute, and some were starting to really suffer.
She glanced at the wizard who was shivering uncontrollably. “That’s it, we’re going to have to build a fire in the entryway.”
A short discussion of where to build a fire ensued, but it was clear that anywhere inside the cave would force them out like drowning rats.
“I’ll come with you, there must be some dead-fall around here.” Garian’s confident voice cleared the chatter. A glance around showed that no one could think of a better plan. Besides, perhaps the second cyclops was just a poor interpretation of facts, and the cold was going to kill them either way.
The wood was wet, very wet. But when a pile of musty grain was added Tiran managed to get a blaze out of it and Garian and TIerra set out to find wood for a wind break. Good thinking, Garian, Tierra thought, I had completely forgotten about the sail.
Tiran managed to engineer a decent sail-wind-break while Gamalion tied up some clotheslines and began on some porridge.
Hanlon, his stone obsession clear, began to heat some rocks in the fire. How can anyone that in touch with stones be completely right in the head? He made up for his odd idiosyncrasy by volunteering for watch.
The rest of the party began to warm up, but it was a quiet fire as the wet wood marked their spot to even the dullest-minded giant, and the most city-born watchman.
Watch switched around, with Tierra setting up a tarp to keep the rain off the watcher’s post. Ok, so the warm stones weren’t such a foolish idea. Tierra went to bed without incident, sending Gamalion to watch the night.
Sleeping on that bedroll was amazing, and Tierra drifted quickly. It seemed that barely seconds had passed and she was dreaming that Gamalion was yelling “Cyclops, hold or die, this is your last dance” from a million miles away. How did he get so far away? How could his voice carry that far? Why would he be dancing with the Cyclops. Oh last chance! He was saying last chance. He should really come closer before he yells.
She never saw Tiran man the crossbow, and the yell of “incoming” was almost as far away as Gamalion. (Though the clap of thunder sounded close.) Nor did she see Tiran cast a ward, Rork abandon the cave, Gam attempt to circle around for a better shot. She slept restless through Tiran’s epic crossbow shot, Ham’s (almost epic) fail — and the serious damage he took. But something in his cry out in pain brought her suddenly to reality.
Tierra scrambled up and searched for her weapon while Tieran threw his glowing stones at the one-eyed giant, and the cyclops charged Garian, crushing him against the wall. Hanlon attacked with his odd-looking damdra.
Tierra was so focused on lining up the cyclopse Sophia, let me hit true! That she completely missed Gamalion’s stealthy approach behind the cyclops with the cursed dagger. Gamalion’s banker training paid off, as he sunk it deep into the cyclops’ kidney and the beast colapsed like a dropped marionette.
Before it hit the ground, Gamalian turned and stuck the knife into Hanlon who fell as quickly as the beast.
“Disarm!” Her voice carried a mystical authority, and Gamalian dropped the weapon, and the trance it placed over him.
Wham, wham. Tarin’s rocks hit Gam for good measure a moment before Garion tackled his brother. He wouldn’t be stabbing anyone for a little while, curse or no.
Sophia, let him live. Give him your strength as he has not his own. Bind his wounds that he might again walk with us. She was kneeling beside Hanlon and felt the familiar power flow through her with intoxicating reassurance. It was enough. Hanlon woke.
A debate over the knife broke out. Gamalian and, of all people, Hanlon, fighting for the idea that Gam should keep the knife. He must still be suffering the after effects of shock, she thought. In the end, the interveners won, and Tierra was elected to carry the knife. Which she did, carefully wrapped in a cloth.
She drifted off, thinking thank Sophia for the bed roll, and for the strength to have defended this cave.
The morning progressed normally, with Tiran looting a body, and Gam helping to count the odd currencies from unknown kingdoms, and Gar making breakfast.
A late start, but rested and somewhat warmer, the party hit the road. It wasn’t an hour before they crested a hill to spot a colourful band of wagons (pulled by bison) approaching. It was a group of about 25 people, 5 wagons and 14 chickens crossing the wilderness. The wagons wore signs proudly pronouncing that Kassanoody’s Karnaval was here. Kassanoody’s Karnaval? Who’s ever heard of that?
Several riders approached, and a couple of the party members hid to watch the exchange.
“Ho! Greetings travelers! We’re the world famous Kassanoody’s Karnaval.”
Kassanoody himself approached the group with a poetic introduction and jazz hands from his followers.
The party told them a little about Badorties, and Kassadoody told them about trouble in and near Bogdanka “a shit cake covered in shit.” Apparently the big deals there were a Alcasties family that became big after the civil war and controlled the mining town. They’re good at collecting tax, and intercepting travellers with guards stretched out all the way to the river.
Eventually talk turned to a feast and good alcohol (Ice fire), and the party began to forget about cold and giant one-eyed beings, lost in their promise of a better day.