Day of the Lizard (8th), Harvest Moon, Year of the Titan
The Oracle of Crag Don
Inside the Long House of Crag Don the feasting continued. Medicine Woman Quinn beckoned to Yucta and the others. They followed her outside into the snow. They climbed the hill to the standing stones, where the great caldron bubbled over a fire maintained by two white-cloaked acolytes.
Quinn threw some herbs into the caldron (Yucta was unable to identify them) and breathed the fumes.
“You carry the skull of a wizard. Such things are always dangerous. This one is sought by Khaakht, the Ice Wizard, who would use it to bring woe and ice to Nehwon.”
“Let’s destroy it!” said Ockasiola
“Not a good idea,” replied the oracle. “A wizard’s bones sleep ever uneasy. Instead you should take it away from here, where Khaakht’s power is strong — lands too close to the ice and the land of Death. Take it somewhere warm, where life is all around. Somewhere Khaakht will be unable to perceive it.”
“The Jungle of Klesh, my homeland, is such a place.”, said Yucta uneasily.
Medicine Woman Quinn thanked the heroes for their efforts against the Wodemen, and offered them sleds and guides to take them to Cold Corner. The barbarians knew their lands well, and four days later they had descended the great plateau of the Cold Waste and arrived at Cold Corner, a meeting point of sorts between the barbarians and the folk of the Eight Cities. There the northerners left them. Yucta negotiated favourable terms as caravan guards on the way to Illik Ving.
“A good thing too,” one of the merchants muttered, “something terrible has happened to the Marshmallow route between Sarheenmar and Kleg Nar. The market has all but dried up. No wagons get through. Monsters in the woods. I heard of a wizard in a golden mask…” He lapsed into silence.
However neither wizards in golden masks nor floating globes of ice menaced the adventurers; the guard work was mundane and a week later they arrived in Illik Ving. It was a frontier town, not much to look at and smaller than Pavis, but a metropolis compared with what they had seen of late. They ate and slept well at the Double-Tusked Boar Inn.
The Forest Road
The party bought horses and set off south on the road to Kvarch Nar. The Great Forest closed about them. A couple of days later they heard cries for help and sinister laughter. A merchant was defending himself with a stick against three robed foes with sharp swords. They spun to face their new attackers and their faces were alien, sunken, corpselike. They were skilled with their blades but they were up against tough heroes. They did not flee but Blundar, Yucta, Ockasiola and Kee Ree cut them down. The merchant was grateful. His name was Mylo, a brandy seller of Kvarch Nar. He offered his hospitality if they were ever in that city.