After getting paid (Eladryn was waiting for them in Stormreach) and spending all their money upgrading their stuff, the party was lucky enough to find another commission. Apparently, they'd been recommended as a reliable and capable group to a merchant who needed someone to escort a large shipment of mithril a mere fifteen miles... through arctic temperatures in monster-infested woods, thousands of miles away. It sounded interesting and lucrative enough, so the party agreed to do the job.
There was also some nonsense about mysterious shared dreams, but they didn't really know what it meant, and the easy people to ask didn't know anything either.
The trip up was pretty uneventful -- the ship was nicely appointed and, since they weren't racing against the Emerald Claw this time, didn't get attacked and sunk. The bay was frozen over -- the ship could break through, slowly, but of course it was silly for the party to wait for it since they had their own things to do, and the bay was frozen over so they could just walk across. They took some basic precautions (ropes, and a water walking spell) and didn't fall through the ice to drown.
The townsfolk in Frozen Wood were happy to see them -- it was a half dwarf/half human town, basically a trading post for the mithril mine. There was an enemy village nearby they were warned against -- Icekeep or something like that -- that were rude and lazy and puritan and probably slavers. They had no reason to go there, but they might run into patrols on the road, who might cause trouble, and they'd been known to carry strange, powerful weapons made of 'ice-metal'. They were also warned against snow leopards, mephits, and 'yeti', whatever those were. None of them sounded so horribly fearsome that the party was scared to continue.
The first day, they were attacked by snow leopards, sure enough -- ten of them, attacking in a massive pack, as if they were lions or something. Ignaceous fireballed them, and then Heyyou and Zeffy and Chit Chit ran in and finished them off with weapon attacks. The pelts were ruined, but oh well. None of them managed to actually live long enough to hit anyone.
They also ran into a pair of escapees from Icekeep, who wanted to be escorted to Frozen Wood. The party offered to take them to the mine instead, and if they wanted they could stay with them to Frozen Wood after that, and they agreed that it was better to travel with the party than to face the Ice Trolls alone.
"Yes, they don't normally attack travellers, but we need to travel without any fires or lights to avoid Icekeep patrols, so they'll probably try to eat us."
"Ah, okay. We can handle trolls."
That night, the trolls attacked, although they sent in a swarm of mephit underlings to soften up the party first. Chit Chit and Heyyou were on watch, supposedly, although they were totally oblivious, and also pretty helpless and hapless against the annoying flying critters. Once Ignaceous woke up, he summoned a couple fiendish apes (which resisted cold and could climb trees) to keep the mephits busy, and started using scorching rays to great effect -- the mephits would have been easily routed, if they'd actually been the main attack.
But no, there were ice trolls. So Chit Chit and Heyyou got to show off, taking both of them down in two rounds -- although the apes proved to be remarkably effective tanks, keeping one troll busy while the other got slaughtered. Efneisien was convinced to part with his flaming scimitar long enough to finish them off, after they were down, and then it was just mephit cleanup.
The rest of the night passed uneventfully, and they prepared to once more set out for the mine, which they expected to reach that day.
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