Chapter 22

Trials of the North

After some further questions of the Couatl (Dasterbolt seemed especially interested in the nature of Fey), the party set out East for the Tauren village. They had been directed there by Lein-Ahmik, as the Being of great power, Faelivir was held sacred by the Tauren, and he suggested they would be the place to go first.

Reaching the village was easy, and they spoke with Chieftain Vadamee and his aide, Satunda. The Tauren spoke of Three Trials they must undergo in order to be ready to enter Tapuravale, where Faelivir dwells.

The first of these was the Trial of Wisdom. The Party was submerged in icy cold water beneath the frozen shelf above, after drinking Artalaak. They observed a shoal of silver fish being hunted by a pod of Orcas and emerged mostly unscathed after being observed by the Orcas with curiousity. Satunda told them that Wisdom is: “To see oneself as small against the background of the world. It is freeing and important: There is more than yourself. You can not deny this truth when you see the vastness of the Northern Wilds, or the power of a hunting pod of Killer Whales.” The Party dried off and returned to the village for night before setting off on the Trial of Community.

For their next Trial, they were tasked with the hunt of a “taniwha-spirit” in the form of a great woolly Mammoth. Setting off, the party encountered many dangers and trials. A Wyvern spotted the party but was sent fleeing after its tasty-looking fat Gnome prey turned out to be an illusion. The Wyvern fled off into the sky, even despite Shammah’s long shot almost straight upward that terribly wounded it.

An encounter with Sabertooth tigers hunting a caribou, became a conversation between Bronagh, who offered them gifts of food for information on the Mammoth herd they were trying to find. With some direction from the predatory felines, the party stumbled upon emerging monsters and protective Wargs.

In a desperate battle against beasts of chitin and flame the Wargs fell and the party was decimated. One of the thrashing Remorhazes reared up above the fallen Bronagh and ended her life. Dasterbolt and Shammah, barely hanging on fought the remaining monsters before a small silver-furred form nudged the lifeless body of Bronagh Stonejaw. Her companion, Iven the pine marten transformed into a massive Silver Dragon who spoke a single emphatic word: “NO.” The dragon destroyed the last Remorhaz, and took Bronagh’s body onto his back, leaving her friends bewildered on a field of death.

While contemplating their next move, without their Dwarf friend, Dasterbolt discovered that the Wargs had been defending a young pup and convinced the creature to follow him and allow him to try to tame it.

To procure the pup fresh meat, Dasterbolt horrifically killed a caribou with magical sleep and acid, as Shammah looked on with an especially deep frown.

The next morning, the Dragon, Ecthelion, Guardian of Mielikki brought news and a plea for help. He had found a powerful healer among the Tauren, one who knew how to perform a Resurrection and could potentially bring Bronagh back to the world. But the ritual of Resurrection requires aid to perform and Ecthelion asked for their help. Shammah and Dasterbolt agreed to go, and they arrived on the outskirts of the village, where Bronagh’s corpse lay, blanketed, on slabs of rock.

Dasterbolt removed his equipment and lay them beside his dead friend, proclaiming that he would rather have Bronagh than all of his items he gathered around himself. Ecthelion pleaded to Mielikki through whispered prayer, and Shammah sliced his own flesh, performing a healing blood curse for the person who had helped him become who he was today.

After a moment of longing, Bronagh’s eyes opened and their friend returned. Relief, joy and hope came over them as well as the need to rest. Before they set out once more on the Trial of Community the party went to sleep with much to think about.


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