Deeper into the cavern network, the party discover the winter wolves’ chamber. Gnawed bones and scraps litter the area and strong musk hangs in the air. The chamber now silent, the group press on.
As the passage way turns back on it itself, strange crystalline spikes and stalagmites dot the chamber. Sound seems to be naturally enhanced, every footfall, every heartbeat echoing throughout. A large chasm divides the path forward, only a large rope bridge spanning the seemingly bottomless depths.
With a rope tied around his waist, Morgan pushes out across the bridge but at the halfway point, a juvenile white dragon emerges from the depths and flings the surprised monk off the bridge and crashing into the ledge wall. Soon after, some younger brethren also crawl over the edge and attack. Clinging from the bottom of the bridge, the juvenile attempts to knock Traiel off with both tail and claws but receives several cuts to the stomach through the wooden slats. Breaking off from combat, the creature suddenly finds itself trapped like a fly in Katarina’s web spell. It and the smaller ones are quickly slain.
Across the bridge, a small viewing hut is found and the path continues a little further before becoming another fork. Heading up the path that once again switches back upon itself, the party come a series of thin, vertical passages. Poor Schrody is diced up by the vile kobold trap before Morgan and Traiel push through to disarm the trap.
A large, round chamber with several higher ledges and rough defences opens up to the party. Kobolds hide, waiting for the party to enter. Traiel slays a hiding kobold to start the combat. Poison is used, Traiel and Solveig have a nap, a troll head is used as a weapon but is returned to the kobold and exploded. Katarina trips a kobold that poisons itself and falls asleep before being coup de graced by the excited witch. The kobolds prove to be a tougher fight than expected but eventually they are felled and three wyrmling dragons are found and vanquished. Surprisingly, the party find several bags of troll remains, swimming in swarms of biting insects. A nasty surprise for any enemy.
The cavern complex ends in a gated chamber. Traiel drops the wooden gate and as it crashes down, a winter wolf inhabitant comes to investigate. Reacting faster than the party expected, it released its breath through the grouped adventurers. This was then followed up by a fireball from the giantess who strode out to see who was invading her private sanctum. While Traiel, Anok and Solveig took the battle to the winter wolf, Weyren, Katarina and Morgan faced off against the giantess. With holy power burning through him, Sir Wyran challenged the evil giant and immediately regretted it as her club almost removed him from his seat.
The winter wolf proved to be a strong opponent, managing to continually wound his attackers, despite quickly being flanked and receiving some hideous wounds from Traiel’s blade. The giantess continued to knock her opponents around, each crushing blow wearing out the monk and paladin. Smites, spells, hexes and gouts of ki flame finally bought the creature down, her slayers standing tall despite the crippling injuries from the fight.
Nearby, a cage of humans from the small village sat quietly watching. Freed, they thanked the strange rescuers for their fate was to be incubators and food for the dragons. Unsure of where the giantess came from, the party looted before helping escort the kellids home.
Amazed and thankful for the party’s prowess, the village welcome them with open arms and make them honorary members. While the men recover and Anok’s mammoth heals, they are invited to stay for a few days before they head for the Great Market. They are invited to go hunting during the day and partake in the great feasts at night. Traiel is offered a couple of secondary (and very young) wives).
After spending several days among the Kellid villages, Anok tells the party that it is time to head off towards the Great Market. He has two more mammoths for the party to use as some hunters have returned from their patrols. Packed up, Anok leads on one while Katarina and Morgan ride another and Traiel and Solveig are on the last. Sir Wyran uses the opportunity to ride his faithful griffon mount, Aroden.
The first few days are quite pleasant, rolling grasslands and plains allow a spectacular view of the foraging mega fauna that roam the northern lands of the Realm. On the third, the party enter a series of gorges and rough terrain, narrow paths and treacherous drops making the trip suddenly much more dangerous. Anok warns to be aware but is generally unconcerned, little would ever bother a group this large.
Not long after that observation, the smell of carrion assaults the noses the group. Vultures are seen on various ledges, waiting for whatever is hidden by the cliffs to finish their meals. Traiel discovers tracks and suspects a large herd of sabre-tooth tigers. Not long after, the mammoths start getting skittish and shadowy forms can be seen tracking the group. Knowing the canyons finish not far away, Anok yells to everyone to charge.
His own mount surges forward as does Traiel’s but Morgan and Katarina suddnely have problems as their mount gets agitated and stubborn, refusing to head in the direction of suspect danger. Seeing them fall behind and the beasts approaching, Anok comes back around and leaps onto theirs and gets it going. Traiel and Wyran lead the charge through the canyons and not far from the exit path, several tigers leap down and roar, hoping to confuse the mammoths. Keeping a strong hand on his, Traiel stampedes through the beasts which are then collected by the charging Wyran. As one leaps to take out the paladin, it promptly falls to sleep from Katarina’s magic before it is trampled by the final mammoth. It is several miles before the party break for camp on the lower plains.
As the party close in on the Caravan City, more people are seen, herding animals or guiding carts to be traded. With it insight, the party watch a small family group try and herd their aurochs towards the market, the small children chasing after wayward animals. However, small velocaraptors are seen in the long grass. Morgan sprints to the unaware child as Traiel charges his mount through the pack, sending small chirping forms in all directions. Another group are pummelled by magical ice and stones which sends them crashing to the ground. Soon the whole party are in the thick of things when an Allosaurus emerges from the cold woods, drawn by the sounds of the scared herd animals. Charged by the paladin, it pays little notice as its thick hide is barely pierced. As Wyran prepared to circle around for another, the creature manages to grab the paladin in its mouth and starts to grind. The creature suddenly finds itself under attack, Greta lunges into the beast, successfully grappling it while Katarina assaults it with spells and a charging Traiel lodges his blade into its neck before dropping down the other side. Angered, it shrugs off the slumber hex but is brought down anyway as it tries to flee.
While Traiel and Morgan go off to skin the creature, the thankful family rewards the party with 4 prize beasts and some warm, fermented yak’s milk. Meanwhile, many people arrive from the Great Market and stand and watch over the skinning of the creature and talking about the good old days of the roving dinosaurs.
Entering the city, it is an impressive feat of engineering. House sized wagons pulled by mammoths hold entire shops and supplies. Huge tents dot the campsite, flags and banners of different clans blowing in the wind. For the first time in a long time, the party hear a myriad of accents, languages and ethnicities. Which so much captured loot and prizes, the party spend a few hours selling, trading and haggling and come out with their pockets much fuller.
With some personal business attended to (even with a very insulted dwarven female oracle of steel), the PCs spate to spend a bit of time wandering and asking about the strange market. With the tale of their deeds reaching the tent city, they are invited to the morning feast with the leader of the Red Bear, the protectors of the Greta Market. With only a few hours sleep, the party attends.
Baring the skull of their kill as a gift, the party are welcomed into the leader’s tent. It is full of heavy smells of meat, sweat, stale ale and other unidentifiable scents. Impressed with the gift and acknowledgment from the party, they are welcomed. The feast lasts for several hours in which all enjoy themselves, despite the rude looks from some kellid tribesmen. While uncomfortable for Wyren, the presence of a House Thrune noble intrigues Katarina who spends time chatting with the educated and witty young woman. However, Katarina starts to pick up on a strong undercurrent of violence, agitation and insurrection from the gathered clans. Once finished, the party leave, free to explore the daytime markets, perhaps even find a plague doctors mask.