Qureine read the stars to determine if we would reach the boat in time to capture it and determined that we would not. In looking towards Winterhome I see a wave of snow blowing over the castle walls and sense it is the military force of the Ill Kin.
We rode through the night, gathering up the horses along our way, and head back to Winterhome as quickly as possible. Alice prepares fresh horses for us and meets us on the road with Bella. We continue on, pushing ourselves another night without sleep and Alice is the first to see that there is smoke coming from the walls of Winterhome. We fall into exhaustion and hurry up to Winterhome at dawn the following day.
We are determined to get Alice up to touch the walls so that she can see inside. After a few hours we reach the trail up to the gates. Qureine ties down the horses off the path and leads the group around the castle to approach from the less watched side. As we do this Gerald renews our wards and Alice views the situation again. She sees that about 200 tents are strung up in a crescent outside of musket range of weapons from Winterhome.
Violet and Gerald lift Qureine and Alice to the top of the cliff so we can get to the top of the ridge. They then follow us and we make our way to the back wall. We find another 200 tents on that side of the castle and approach invisibly and very carefully.
We approach and see a dirty castle wall and as we get closer see a strange rib bone sticking out of the snow. It doesn’t look like any animal Qureine has ever seen but she casts upon the bone and sees the hazy form of a frost drake. She thinks that she may be able to create a shadow of the beast but not at this time. A few more feet towards the wall there is a bronze cable which Violet believes would be the Aegis. Alice senses that the magic of the Aegis is active and steps across the boundary. She feels a crushing weight upon her shoulders but she steps through without any hindrance, though she becomes visible again. We step through one by one and each experience the weight but no other ill effects besides becoming visible.
Alice finally reaches the wall and touches it, casting her spell to see inside. She sees that all of the rooms on the ground floor have the windows closed with furniture stacked against them. The second floor has many of the students and warlocks sleeping in rooms lined with muskets. The upper floors appear to be uninhabited with many empty rooms as if they had taken the furniture to barricade the doors. In the very top of the towers Alice sees a few people on watch, though they seem very young. She does not see Arthur or Terrine anywhere. They could be outside or in another building.
Gerald believes that he can transport us through the wall but both he and Violet fail to penetrate due to the heavy weight of the Aegis. While the others discuss getting a tree to climb Qureine climbs the wall. There were two kids sleeping on the floor. Qureine woke one of them and managed to remind him that she was an upperclassman and told him to go get some rope to help the others get in. I tried to wake the other to explain the situation but he scrambled out leaving me only holding his cloak. He runs to get his musket but Gerald came through the window then and commanded him to stop.
I tell him to tell me what has happened since we have been gone, since Flash left.
“These people came out of nowhere and just started shooting and they tried to come through the gatehouse. Several people were hurt and killed. Then a huge creature came up and burst through the castle wall and there was another huge fight and more people died but we killed it. They showed up about three days ago.” They fought for an hour and then the Aegis was cast. Then a creature came through the Aegis and destroyed a building before they could kill it.
The boy came back with the rope and an upperclassman and we hoisted Violet and Alice up. Alice heard the description and it sounded familiar like a beast she had studied or imagined while studying Magic Theory. Violet signals to Alice to speak with her privately. Gerald sends the older boy to go get us tokens for the Aegis. Terrine came into the room and we appraised her of the situation. She tells us that they have been here for five days. She gives us tokens.
She tells us a bit more about the Winter Demon that appeared and angrily broke the wall. It screamed about it’s mate coming to get it as it died.
Gerald and Terrine discussed casting the more powerful Aegis but we would need additional Vis that the students have been using to defend the keep and Aegis. Violet went to the infirmary. Gerald went to check the Vis stocks. Alice thinks about the creature that she seems to have a connection to. She searched through the buildings and found the body of the Winter Demon. She came back to get me in order to help harvest the Vis from its body.
It appears that there are eight pons of Perdo Vis in the horns. It would be tainted Vis though as it came from a Demon. She extracts the Vis into bullets and searches for a connection to the mate to determine if it would be a threat to us but was not able to. She then reports the situation to the others. Gerald determines that we barely have enough Vis to cast the spell and that he is prepared to do it but Terrine did it in the end.
Violet learned that it was mostly the soldiers who died in the fight. Terrine also let us know that the firing mechanisms of the cannon are missing. Terrine and I agree that we should head to the shipyards and if possible set out to bring help from another Farrani outpost on another continent.
Alice uses a staff to scry the ship and sees a room half full of water. We determine to go across the mountains in search of magical caches and towards the harbor. First we must research where the caches are. The others find the books and Qureine found a reference to a Well of Power located on a a mountain ridge similar to where Winterhome was built within 10 leagues from here. The mountains to the east would be our best bet, especially as the shipyard would be in the NorthEast.
+ 2 Seasons, + 2 Confidence Points, + 8 pons of tainted Perdo Vis (Violet)