With the day behind them, the heroes set their camps, within this defensible bear cave, rested, and bedded down for the night. The first few watches passed without incident, but then during the dead of the chill night, a whispering moan was heard upon the icy winds. The psion and his psywar companion gazed around the moonlit stones, and saw nothing but rubble and timbers; Selûne’s silvery light bathed the entire valley in a soft silvery radiance, but even this revealed nothing.
As they searched, they heard another moaning wail, as a snowy gust kicked up near the camp. Quietly stirring to his allies, the gnome soon awoke the rest of the camp, and the hexblade and psywar set out to discover just what was stalking them. Then, before anyone could react, a fiery streak shot toward the gathered companions and burst with a dull rumble into a searing ball of orange flame! Even taken unaware, the group managed to duck and dive for cover, but were harmed seriously even in spite of their reflexes. Reacting reflexively, the gnome psion manifested a crackling ball of electricity within the timbers – producing little more than a shrill scream and silence afterward. Peering with his keen eyes, the gnome saw a hideous flying apparition nestled within a tree-line: a hideously deformed elven-creature with leathery skin, hovering amidst a cloud of wintry fog, its shattered teeth rattle in its mouth as it shrieks, its long hair whips around it as flickers of magic shot along its twisted arms! He informed the others of this seemingly undead hag, and hid behind some smoking rubble.
The hexblade and psywar gripped their weapons and made their way on foot toward the tree where the beast was hiding, while the warlock fired a charged blast at it – only to have the swirling wintry wind surrounding the beast cause his blasts to veer from their prey. The cleric used his prayer-spells to ward and heal his allies, but was struck by a caustic bolt that sizzled green, paining him seriously. When the smoke cleared, the warlock was leaning against a tree he’d previously conjured to hide behind, badly burnt and dying from the flames. The cleric used his spells to heal his friend, and then hid behind some of the rubble, upon hearing the whispers of the divine – these voices proved correct when moments later a fiery burst cascaded along the rocky face, the brunt of it charring the rocks in front of him harmlessly.
The psywar and hexblade made it to the creature and tried to slash and slice at it with their weapons; the hexblade managed a telling blow, his magebane-attuned mace sending a shower of sparks into the beasts’s shrieking frame. The psywar leapt into the air and brought his jagged blade down heavily upon the creature, causing a deep slash to bleed black along it’s side, as it felt lifeless to the ground. They gathered their wits and began to trek over to the corpse to identify it, but it whispered away as wintry fog. The cleric healed his already ragged allies and they made their way back to the camp, only to have the beast launch another searing explosion into the midst of the group, luckily, it connected with a tree moments before impact and burst, sending flaming splinters everywhere. The gnome and warlock launched their psychic and magical assaults, and left the creature tumbling down the rock wall. The warlock’s fiery attack charred the hag horridly – she charred slowly, seemingly unable to resist this burning assault. The gnome and cleric agreed that this fallen horror was a wendigo, whos unfortunate past held no small sorcerous power.
Resting through the night and recovering themselves, they set out to Zhedarak and nearly 3 hours from town, saw a wisp of smoke rising steadily from a deeply-set valley, strewn with snowy pines. The cleric noted that someone had taken efforts to hide their travels to this valley, but had done so in a hurry. Following the tracks, the heroes came to a defensible location, not unlike the one they slept in last night, but in extreme disrepair. They saw the makeshift graves of at least two people, and noted that scorch-marks along the flapping remnants of one tent indicated that whatever was here attempted to burn most of the camp. They came to a wounded local explorer, from Zhedarak who introduced himself cautiously as Cannith.
He explained his party was hunting in the Greypeak Mountains when a strange bear-beast came screaming down the hill, and managed to rend one of his allies before they could act. Their sorcerer, Menshaal Firehair accidentally launched a spell into the midst of the heroes causing the apparent deaths of their friend, but fortunately, the beast as well. Too weak and wounded to return to town, they rested up and took scope of the situation, but within a few days the sorceress ran out of the campsite, screaming into the night, never to be seen again.
Healing his wounds and helping him back to town, the heroes returned to the inn, and then spoke with the clerics at the Library of Dumathoin about a wendigo being so close to Zhedarak; they were rewarded for their efforts and discussed the increasingly hostile nature of threats to the dwarven fortress town with the clerics. The Oghman cleric parleyed with the Doomwardens, as he was already able to tend to his own wounds, and was interested in their vast stores of divinitory knowledge and prayers – they agreed to share knowledge with him and his group; indeed, heroes who were fast becoming the strongest protectors that Zhedarak had against the encroaching darkness.