The Ice Man Cometh
After despatching the tentacled blob in the kitchens the party take a deep breath and move on, deeper into the ice-crusted dungeon, knowing the wizard responsible for Bodin’s short experience of life as a frog is still around somewhere, having scuttled away from the fight.
Soon, concerns about this minor villain become secondary as the party move from narrow tunnels and chambers into a vast hall, lit up by great chandeliers of ice, at its head a vast throne attended by several elves, frozen in place, one of whom sparks a cry of recognition from Thorn, who is finally face to frozen face with her long-lost sister.
But before this reunion can be complete there is the small matter of the throne’s occupant to deal with – a giant dazzling white humanoid figure upon whose head rests a crown of ice and who can be no other than the Winter King himself.
For a short while there is some to and fro between the monarch and the group over the return of the ice sceptre – something Glaudr seems unwilling to give up and, considering our heroes’ history of somewhat cavalier approaches to diplomacy a conversation that ends rather predictably in the standard ‘oh, let’s just hit it with stuff’ conversational gambit.
And so the great fight began, with Glaudr finding the ice sceptre less than useful as the King’s magic erupts from it, disrupting his attempts at invisibility and bringing him close to death. Both Benedict’s and Makaria’s healing resources are almost spent in keeping the party alive as the surprisingly nimble Lord of All That Is a Bit on the Chilly Side throws out ice bolts and evil sorcerous chest grips while bringing down upon the heroes’ heads the vast chandeliers, burying a few of them in shards of ice.
Hard pressed but determined, and with retreat a word not in their vocabulary, the heroes finally slay their adversary, Glaudr surviving the last potentially terminal sorcerous blast. With the King’s death comes a thaw, as the frozen elves begin to move, and the party is left to look down on his remains, only the crown remaining, along with a great sense on unease in Benedict’s heart, as the feeling of something very wrong persists.