Wednesday, May 20, 2020

View of the Vanfrost - Episode 1

by Brookelyn "Rowan" Gingras

Five of us came to Rhiassa at the Vanfrost’s first call. The path of shadow, it was explained to us, behaves according to the will of Norlund itself. We did not know where it would take us, only that it was somewhere we were needed.

We entered the mysterious portal without a second thought, as adventurers do. It took us to Hell. Or at least a place like many people describe Hell. A great cavern glowing red, hot stone underfoot, and the slow crawl of a lava river.

The river of lava separated our little group from a cluster of gems resting on small rocky islands in the lava. But how to get them? Several ideas were had, but none voiced.

Rubis, the dexterous cat that he is, pounced across a wide stretch of liquid fire to a lone gem on a boulder. I took to my bat transformation and alighted onto a stepping stone. Kael attempted to join me but almost didn’t make the jump - I briefly considered letting him fall to avoid being pulled with him into the fiery stream. I pulled him up to safety instead.

When I reached the cluster of gems safely, I realized my next dilemma. Bat thumbs are not ideal for picking up objects, let alone carrying them across a molten lava flow... So I ate it. With the large jaws and short neck my transformation offers, swallowing a somewhat round and fist-sized rock whole was about as easy as that endeavor could be. The real problem was getting it back… which is how the party ended up sitting around the dead body of a giant bat while one of them reached down its throat to dislodge the gem needed to access the next room.

There were magically sealed doors with puzzle locks, bickerments over the fastest way to count the spokes on a wheel, and imps that were dispatched too quickly for me to get my claws on them. But most fascinating to me were three fire elementals of different colored flames - blue, red and yellow.  Striking them seemed to deal no harm, but ignited your sword with a flame. Mixing flames created new hues and initiated an interactive art lesson than none of us quite expected. The monsters were defeated in good time, and the next artifacts retrieved.

But lo, a trap! The next room had us thinking ourselves clever but we walked right into it. Okay, we saw it coming, but there weren’t many options. I now know what it feels to be a prisoner conspiring escape with their neighbors by holding a mirror through the bars.

At the end of it all, there was no day to be saved - at least not yet. We made it out intact and with just one treasure, evidently the item which the Vanfrost sent us to retrieve. We don’t know what it can do or why it is important, but clearly Norlund has need of it.

Written by Rowan