We continued upward into the iceberg. I was still wiping the behir’s blood off my blade as the twisting cavernous tunnels opened up and we found ourselves facing off against the leader of the frosty sahuagin. There was a beholder in the cavern as well, and it had undergone a similar wintry metamorphosis as the others.
As soon as the fight began, these icy elemental creatures joined the fray. I barreled my way through the sahuagin and then began fighting the elementals. I tried to keep them busy so the others could focus on the beholder and sahuagin without having to fight too many enemies at once. Ithyk was determined to drive his axe right through the beholder’s main eye. Madmartigan and the others were able to hold their own, and then we met in the middle as we all fought our way through the monsters.
We moved onward and upward, and came to another large chamber. The leader of the Frost Giants was waiting for us with her guards and hounds. I wasted no time, and was able to catch the nearest guard completely unprepared. I sent him crashing down to the rest of the group. Our spirits were bolstered by this strong entrance and we handily dispatched the hounds, guards, and Nara of the Frozen Wastes.
After Nara and her retinue were defeated, a rumbling voice from above beckoned us further. After a few moments to compose ourselves, we continued upwards to the large top-level of the icy fortress. A two-headed white dragon stood before us. He said his name was Chillreaver. He was the White Exarch of Tiamat. He tried to call us to serve his lord and join forces with him, offering us great reward. We immediately shot him down. I quite enjoyed joining the others in voicing my confident lack of regard for his threats of death or his promised bribes. Our short conversation quickly exploded into a battle that spanned the chamber. But Chillreaver was not the only threat in the room. Mounted on the walls were the thirteen enchanted mirrors we had been told about, and their magic was being focused into the Seed of Winter, which was in the center of the room.
Ithyk ran straight for Chillreaver, as the beast readied to attack. Ithyk drove his axe deep into the dragon’s flank, but the dragon knocked him senseless with its counter. I ran in from the side and sent the dragon back towards the group, and knocked it to the ground. As the others joined in, Kage shouted out what the artifact was doing. Ithyk was the Seed’s first victim, as its magic took hold of his mind. Luckily, his body was still reeling from Chillreaver’s attacks and we didn’t have to worry about Ithyk harming any of us.
While the others joined me in fighting the dragon head-on, Verne started destroying the mirrors. One by one, he took them out. Kage and Madmartigan helped in finishing off the last of the mirrors, and as they did, the Seed stopped trying to take over our minds.
Tzolek and I rushed towards Chillreaver as he tried darting up the back wall. We both lunged for him and he swatted at us. He was obviously getting desperate and had been totally unprepared for the strength of our attacks. I dove through the shadows, and appeared on the wall beside him. With one final kick to the temple of one of his heads I sent him crashing to the ground. Madmartigan, whose unicorn had fallen during the melee, walked up and made sure the creature knew what fate had in store for its carcass: a display piece at Manse Victorious. And then Chillreaver breathed his last frosty breath.
A few moments later, cracks and splits began to form in the ice around us. A wall a few feet away came tumbling down and there before us laid Chillreaver’s horde of treasure. We were all so taken in by it. There was a huge fortune of coins, jewels, and also, weapons and armor. We began greedily grabbing up all we could, but the deterioration of the structure continued. It soon became evident that if we stayed to claim this treasure, we’d die. But then Kage remembered the Exodus Knife. We quickly hatched a plan: Madmartigan and Verne stayed behind to grab up all the treasure, and they would hide out in the safety of the knife’s pocket dimension. The rest of us rushed back to the mechanized crab boats.
We ran ahead as fast as we could. Ithyk grabbed Kage and I and then plopped us on his door, Tzolek jumping on for the ride. We slid down the ramp while I jumped off Ithyk’s back to keep some of the larger chunks of ice from pummeling the group. As we hit the next level, Tzolek jumped up and just started pulling Kage along while Kage pointed out what sections of the tunnel looked safer. Ithyk strong-armed his way through as I ran ahead and climbed up the ceiling to try and stabilize the tunnel as much as I could.
The iceberg only had moments left before it would completely collapse. We reached the boats. Ithyk drove his shoulder into one and roared as he shoved it into the water. Kage jumped in to another and began furiously smashing the controls to power the machine on. I catapulted myself into the last one and clicked it on as Tzolek leapt off the disintegrating ice, landing safely on a boat.
We took off into the water as the massive structure above us completely fell apart. Now safe, we went back to roughly where Verne and Madmartigan would reappear. Sure enough, after waiting a while, they popped back into our dimension and fell into the water below. We piloted the crab boats back to Nefleus where we received a hero’s welcome. The Deva were all ecstatic with our success, and pledged right away to join the Coalition. Amaryia was thrilled to see us alive and well.
After taking several hours to sell off what we found and to upgrade our equipment, we set sail back to Sayre. As we journey back to rejoin with the rest of the Coalition, I take time to think about our time here. We risked so much for Chillreaver’s treasure; my old master when I studied the Way of the Stone Fist would not approve of such greed. But students of the Way of the Bat must recognize the importance that tools play in our work to protect the innocent. In that chamber we found items that I have incorporated into my armaments, and with the wealth we obtained I have further enhanced my collection of equipment. We must always strive to be as powerful an enemy of evil as possible, and as powerful as we are, we are so much more powerful with the right tools. With that in mind, I can reconcile the risk we took to claim the treasure. Think of how much more fearsome an enemy to the Gith we will be because of it. As long as we temper this rationale with the knowledge that risk can come with a great cost, we can hopefully avoid doing anything too stupid in the future.
I also have been noticing the way the others’ spirits always seem to get bolstered when I rush ahead and am able to land a crippling hit on an enemy, sending the enemy to the ground or dazing them for a few moments. Being outside of the monastery as long as I have now, I have grown more comfortable speaking with the others, and with those we face off against. I think that by combining my new-found eloquence with my propensity for dramatic attacks that I can leverage this morale boosting effect more in the future. I can help my comrades be even more effective than before. I will have to experiment with this in the coming battles.
Madmartigan’s Men and Ithyk will make the Gith sorry they ever tried to invade this plane. And the Way of the Bat will become more and more clear to me as I continue to embrace what the shadows can teach me.