It was clear that there was no way through the ice curtain without drawing attention. The team got together to consider their options. If they could draw their enemy out of the throne room they might be able to mount an ambush and set up some traps. They laid a carpet and cold-fire dipped poison darts in front of the door to the throne room antechamber, laid out Anger’s body in an adjoining room, and began to mock a battle in the hopes of drawing them out. Unfortunately this plan failed entirely.
Assuming their enemies could not be drawn out, they laid a plan to come at them from two sides. Eldan and Malagar set up in the antechamber while Berend and the rest prepared to barge in the rear entrance. Berend slammed against the ice as Eldan prepared to open the doors on the other side of the room. It took a few bashes and kicks, but finally the ice curtain exploded into a shower of shards and the battle was on.
Eldan threw open his door and quickly slung an dagger at the nearest gnome illusionist. Malagar lined up his own shots and hit with one. Arioch and Reeyith went in followed by Berend to try to engage one of the gnomes and finish her before she could create duplicates. The gnome was not felled so easily though and the battle raged on as the Winter King glided past his enemies striking at them with a strange icy grace. Arioch was immobilized as ice began to slowly form around him.
The owlbear entered the battle, but fortunately no one immediately attempted to directly confront Malagar and Eldan, so they were able to continue taking their deadly shots. They could easily have escaped in any case, but finally gnome duplicates lined up and turned their attention. Eldan effortlessly stepped over the icy stones and sliced through the two duplicates as Malagar stuck more arrows in the real gnome illusionist. Then the owlbear finally turned its attention towards Malagar but slipped on the stones and fell into one of the pools to the side.
Chandeliers fell from the ceiling trapping Reeyith temporarily and then another trapped Berend. Arioch was slowly turning to ice but no one could do anything to help him. The gnomes fell and then so did the owlbear with a final shot from Malagar’s bow.
The Winter King, having made much trouble for the lead force already, glided into the secret back room to attack Lia and Marko. Both determined they were no longer safe waiting there and stepped into the room. Marko spoke, telling the King that he was under his control now. His magic worked and the King was dominationated. Marko had the King throw the ice scepter to him, and he ran out of the room.
Malagar and Eldan saw tieflings making their way to attack from behind. One dropped in pain after running over the rug/poison dart trap. Reeyith teleported one away when he tried to attack, and he killed one of his allies. Malagar cut down another with an arrow at close range, and the fourth decided to make a break for it before he met his own doom.
The End is Nigh
Lia, realizing she could do little to help with her magic, decided to confront the Winter King with words. “Your forces have been fought off and your time here is near an end. End this winter and we will let you live.”
The Winter King was visibly unnerved by these words. He roared something in draconic that no one could understand. The others picked up on his distress and began to taunt the King as well, weakening his resolve and his power. He was even melting and cracking, exposing the icy crown atop his head that Marko had claimed gave him his power. Finally, Lia exclaimed, “The gods have revoked your power! You are finished!” In the light of Lia’s original spell which was still surrounding the King, he exploded into a million shimmering shards. The crown fell to the ground and was all that was left.
She then followed Marko, stopping him before he could leave with the scepter once again. This time it would be used to protect and not just to make some more gold.
Reeyith picked up the ice crown and realized that it might be able to unfreeze Arioch. He was indeed correct and the ice encasing Arioch melted and unfroze. Eldan, Malagar, and Berend looted the bodies. Eldan found a hat on one, and realizing its power (as a Hat of Disguise) took it for himself. The others nodded in assent. The ice all throughout the room was melting, so the entire party began to make their way to the exit. They heard sounds in the room where once there were many people encased in ice. There was danger there, and they would not be able to take Amarac’s body with them.
They raced past the room with the arcane circle portal where they heard a great rumbling. Behind them they heard an army. Aboard the ship, with the ice crown in hand, the ship spoke saying it could convey them for one last journey. They decided to return to Fallcrest as the army burst out of the doors and as the land thawed and plants magically began to bloom.
Return to Fallcrest
A great cheer erupted from the streets of Fallcrest as the ship landed in the beautiful summer weather. As the adventurers looked around they caught sight of a girl where Eldan should have been. She grinned, as did Lia as she realized the clever ruse the girl had played all along. “My real name is Cora,” she whispered to Lia. “I’ll fill you in on the details later.”
Others in the group were still confused when Warden Markelhay met the heroes. They stepped off the ship and it melted into the grass. “You succeeded!” he exclaimed. “I should never have doubted you would. You are heroes of the Vale.” He then pointed towards a tower on an island in the river. “That is the Tower of Waiting. I have instructed crews to make repairs. It is now yours. We hope you will continue to protect us and all the people of the Nentir Vale, and as you do you will always be rewarded.” With that he also handed over bags holding 500 gold pieces.