The characters follow the dwarven druid up the snowy slope into a small copse of fir trees where they found a makeshift shelter near an extinguished camp fire.
“Is this where you live Dwarf?” Kyrr snorted derisively.
“In fact yes, “ she replied, ignoring the rudeness of the elf. “Well… yes for today at least.”
“My home is this range of mountains and I know them well, “ she turned back to Sir Wil who she assumed to be the leader, “You see, I’ve spent my entire life on these snowy peaks,” she hesitated, “but it’s not my real home.” “My real home is somewhere beneath the mountains. I was raised out here, but my heart lies within the earth still.” She elaborated no further, seemingly lost in her thoughts.
Sir Wir cleared his throat. She looked up and smiled. “I believe it is fortune that has brought you to me… and I to you. I am of the dwarven clan Bardryn. That is my clan name which I choose to take as my own when I was brought into the druid circle and grown enough to take a name of mine own. What my name may have been before I do not remember. However, none of that is important. What I am asking, neigh, offering, can be a benefit to both of us.”
The adventurer’s looked at each other, and Sir Wil nodded his head for her to continue.
“You wish to find your way out of these mountains. I wish to return to my home within these mountains. If you can make me a promise to help me reclaim my home and find my REAL family, I can promise to lend you my skills and lead you from this peak until such time as your promise to me is fulfilled.”
“And what skills can a woodling dwarf such as yourself offer to us exactly?” Carra asked.
The wolf beside Bardryn growled, but instantly calmed when Bardryn layed her hand on his head and scratched his ear.
“I have talents in the healing arts and I am quite skilled with a blade. I’m an accomplished hunter and have survived out here for many years, much on my own. I would be forever grateful and indebted to you for your assistance. It is clear as a group you are quite capable. I only ask that you allow me to come along and, if the chance avails itself, to help me reclaim my true home. I know these mountains quite well, both outside and, well… entrances to the underground, though I have not dared often to venture in myself.”
Brogg walked forward, and his face seemed to brighten for the first time since Eenn fell. “You seem like a likeable sort. And we’re are certainly in need of someone with your skills, “ He put his arm around Bardryn’s shoulders which seemed to startle her. “I say we take her along!”
The group smiled at the affable Brogg’s brightening disposition and Sir Wil concurred with a “Why not?”
Brogg, patted the girl on the back with a hearty “Welcome to the group my lady!” which brought a chuckle from everyone buy Kyrr who was still his usual reserved scowly self in the back.
“So what can you tell us of those tieflings we encountered earlier?” Carra asked.
“Well, “ Bardryn responded her voice suddenly taking on a concerned note. “They normally do not
come this far up into the mountains. Clearly their purpose was made clear when they captured the young white dragon and attempted to drag it off the mountain, but the reason behind that, I do not know.”
“Have you ever heard the named ‘Varrus’ before?” Sir Wil asked
Bardryn seemed to think for a moment. “No that doesn’t sound like a name I have heard. Why do you ask?”
“The tiefling commanding the rest of the group mentioned the name before he spotted us and attacked.”
Bardryn pointed back the way they came, “There is icy tower at the base of the mountain path that you were following. It is known to us as ‘Ice Fang Keep’. The tower is a lookout over the mountain pass. It is partly built into a cliff face but it is believed that tunnels lead into the mountain within… My order has always warned against passing that way.”
“Your order?” Carra asked. “There are others?”
“There were others, “ Bardryn corrected quickly. “Now it is just me. But we cannot continue that direction. Anyone in that tower would easily see our approach down the step slopes a mile away.”
Sir Wil, “Then do you know another way?”
“I do, “ she said hesistantly, “There are but three ways off this mountain, down and through the pass guarded by Ice Fang Keep,” she turned pointing further up the mountain “Up and over the other side, which requires navigating steep cliffs of ice and deep crevasses or, “ she paused for a moment, “we attempt to go through.”
“Through, “ Sir Wil questioned with an arched eyebrow.
“Yes, through. As I said before I know of many cavern entrances on this mountain that go deep into the underground. I have not been able to explore them on my own but I am sure they must have multiple exits that would allow us passage off this mountain and, perhaps, “ she shrugged her shoulders with seeming innocence, “treasure?”
The rest of the group seemed to nod their assent at that idea, but Sir Wil looked askance at the dwarf and responded, “Treasure? Or perhaps clues to your family?”
Bardryn’s face darkened, “Well what does it matter, “ she huffed. Unless you care to scale cliffs of ice with your shiny fancy armor or go marching down and throw yourself against the walls of that keep, do you have some better idea?”
Sir Wil smiled, “Alright, alright. You got me there. Lead on!”
After a couple hours of trudging through deeper and deeper snow, Bardryn signals for the group to halt. She points up ahead to an ice encrusted cavern with icicles hanging down.
“This is it, “ she whispers pointing.
Sir Wil steels himself. “The lets go.”
Just as he stands up to to approach the cave entrance, 2 large fur clad two headed giants step out of the cave, seemingly arguing with each other in a four way argument.
The sun reflecting off Sir Wil’s armor grabs their attention and they immediately stop talking for a moment seemingly stunnded. The one head of one giant points and says, “Foooood!” And they charge.