As recorded by Katara of Sharn
We traveled across the expansive oceans, bound for the wastes of the demons beyond the Eldeen Reaches, a trip that confined us to weeks aboard a small ship. I had joined the crew, as I often do, to set out for lands beyond Sharn, to see and experience all there is, and to record it for posterity's sake. Little did I know I had signed on aboard the most fated of vessels.
Much of what occurred aboard the ship was beyond my ken, though I took in what I could of my companions on the trip. Of the events that lead to the sinking of our fine captain's vessel, I knew only this at the time: a member of the crew had been impersonated by what appeared to be a changeling, who lead the ship far off course and eventually initiated some sort of event that lead to the detonation of a device on board.
I was lucky to be saved by the intervention of the druid, Rose, who ferried my unconscious form to shore with the assistance of dolphins summoned to aid the drowning crew. Due to my condition, I was asleep for some time but tended by a local, a woman druid by the name of Xo Fei.
I, much as my compatriots were I imagine, was startled to discover the existence of civilization in this land we had been shipwrecked upon: the foul Frostfel. I was quick to discover, after reuniting with the survivors of my own shipwreck, that a vessel had run aground many centuries ago, similar to the events that left us stranded, and the survivors had continued to thrive by constructing a small village and living off the land. This continued for years until our arrival, the only outsiders ever to come to this forsaken land.
Truly, I was astonished by what we had uncovered and set about having conversations with the village elder and survivor of the original wreck, the Great Grandfather Young San Xie. I learned many tales of days of yore which, no doubt, I shall record at a later date to share with others at the Foundation. Too did I learn of the plight the village suffered: generations of interbreeding among such a small pool had lead to corruptions that were beginning to show through.
Too did we learn that a sailing vessel was being constructed by the villagers that could, with our assistance, sail as far as the wastes and at least begin to return us to our task, though it was debatable how complete the task could be given that most of the expeditionary supplies had sunk with the valiant captain's vessel. To complete the vessel, however, the village needed food to continue through the winter and, as we learned, the time was dawning for the annual ritual held by the village to call for the spirits to bless their hunts. Those of us who could not contribute directly to the work occurring around us - that being myself, the druid Rose, the arcanist Hedisus, and the blade master Jovir - chose to enlist the assistance of a local hunter known as Zhiyang the Mountain, so broad and brave against the Frostfel chill that, unlike those around us, he wore no protections against the biting winds. With his aid, we would be guided to caves in the mountains wherein grew flora necessary to aid the ritual.
Arriving deep within the caves, however, we found that Zhiyang's kindness had only been a ploy and that he intended to sacrifice us to the ancient evil that dwelled therein, a horrific beast like a massive six-legged white bear with crimson-blood horns, that he called his god - the White One With The Red Horn. Such a terrible beast we could not possibly have stood a chance against and with all our wit and cunning, we tricked the beast and its crazed cultist, collapsing the tunnels leading into its lair as we made our retreat with the twisted flora for the ritual in tow and trapping the pair within.
Our return to the village was met with little rest however, the villagers dismaying that their long-time hero had abandoned them in their greatest hour and instead turning to the party that had ventured out, along with the assistance of the god-blessed warmachine, Weld, were recruited to help defend that evening's ritual against forces who would, no doubt, take advantage of the village's weakened state to strike.
It is with great compliments that I speak of Weld's defensive plans - to encircle the village in walls of ice and snow to force any who would attack us to enter only through narrow trenches. And attack us they did; as the all night ritual dragged on and we tired from the exhaustive day, packs of wolves descended on our fortifications, spurred on by a twisted and abominable lycanthrope born to the land aboard the original shipwreck centuries before. While we fought valiantly and held off the packs of wolves, the lycanthrope soon penetrated our defenses, climbing over the walls and descending in our midst despite my valiant and repeat strikes with silvered bolts.
The battle was fierce, but the lycanthrope an uncanny combatant in such close quarters. It is once again that quick thinking lead us to survive the day, with Rose temporarily removing herself from her place at revivifying the exhausted villagers long enough to conjure from the world a gryphon to aid us in combat. With the assistance of the great beast, we drove the lycanthrope from the confines of the village - the great beast grasping the rabid man-wolf in its claws and bearing it high into the air over the frigid water. As the enchantment binding the gryphon to our location faded, the man-wolf was left to plummet countless feet into the icy waters. Needless to say, the creature did not survive the descent and the ritual continued.
As it ended, I had never felt so invigorated as I did when the natural energy summoned by the ritual swept over us at the conclusion of the evening. The young Xo Fei had completed the ritual without err, and the village would be saved for another year. We all done the village a great service.
But were our adventure over so easy.
It seems that our traitor-guide, Zhiyang, had survived the collapse and came after us, seeking revenge. Arriving back the next day, he turned his vile tongue on the villagers, working it to turn them against us in claims that we had attacked him - too sure was it the other way around and my concern for these people grew: would his words of salvation at the hands of his "god" sway the people to fall into the sway of the demon-thing? While we waited for the construction of the vessel, I took to openly debating his rhetoric, striking it down for the nonsense it was before the very people he was attempting to rally against us as his personal army. His hold on them was soon broken.
The rest of our stay in the arctic land remained uneventful and, upon completion of the primitive sailing vessel, the remains of the expedition set out from the Frostfel along with the Great Grandfather aboard.
One set of trials had ended, but another was looming just on the horizon: the dread depths of the fortress Koganusan.