Life in the lands of the Linnorm Kings is a hard and harsh mistress, for those who dwell there know that their thread may be cut at any time. When the lands are not a frozen marsh they are scattered with stones and boulders and winter’s chilling grip of long dark days only inspire despair for starvation is the face of a grim specter waiting in the shadows to snatch it’s poor next soul.
And yet it had been days since Garros and his companions had left Karlsgard and were set on venturing through the Grundgir forest lead by Thalanol as their guide. The forest was arduous in equal measure as it was dangerous and it tested their capabilities from their very first steps into its domain. For many know that Grundgir is the demesne of Fafnheir, the king of all Linnorms and home to various other dangerous beasts and creatures that lurk under his shadow.
After walking into his room at the Raven’s Head, Garros felt the pang throughout his body had finally taken its toll. He knew he was physically exhausted but further to that he hadn’t been able to clear his mind since entering the forest and he had become more troubled after his encounter with Bavakanga – the mysterious magical gnome of Delmon’s Glen.
“Has time crept up on me?” Garros pondered as he rubbed his forehead. He thought back to the Fey creatures they encountered on the trailed path in the forest and how his blades, despite his best efforts could not strike true. Repulsed by the very thought he set aside that notion for he knew it was not age that hindered him but it was still his mind wandering to the past. Farmer boyd charged him with information that had set him on this path and now that he was on it, his thoughts wondered to the slaughter of Doma, of his family. Surely, he thought, he needed to focus for he would wind up dead or see his companions injured or worse, if he did not find his center.
What troubled Garros further was Bavakanga and the mystical deck of cards that he possessed. Thalanol had suggested that a game be played and Bavakanga seemed all to eager but it was while playing this game that Garros discovered the gnome knew much about everyone and more importantly many things about him personally. He stated the fates are seemingly playing with Garros and that they ebb and flow, ever fickle in their nature and the strings that pull at him. Two cards were drawn from the deck; a Queen of Spades and a Queen of Hearts.
Garros scoffed as he thought to himself, “I am my own master! No one dictates the outcomes in life but me.”
As if lost in thought, Garros remembered what Bavakanga stated about the cards he drew. The Queen of Spades boded ill tidings and that some form of misfortune or curse was placed upon him and the Queen of Hearts would grant him a single wish. Simply entertaining Bavakanga and not knowning for certain what would happen between these two mysterious cards, Garros decided to speak his wish out loud as he placed the card on the table,“I, Garros Garamonde, wish for the power, capability and skill to kill all of the White Witches, including Baba Yaga.”
He knew that it did not matter what happened with this game for his desire to see the life snuffed from the White Witches did not change regardless of a few cards on a table. Garros breathed a breath of air and sighed, relieved by his memory of the wraith that had appeared magically after Macleod had drawn his own card. He recalled unleashing bent up anger and pain – delivering a flurry of felling strikes from his two blades. Each strike one after the next, a precision strike and in a fell swoop completely eviscerated his foe. Even the Gnome seemed amazed by the skill demonstrated by the Retainer of Doma.
Cleary these cards held great magic and evidently this was no child’s game. Tom had appeared to walk away with the best of luck whereas Macleod had been frozen in time until the duration of the game was done.
After it was said and done, Garros was able to pry some very crucial information from Bavakanga – the location of the creatures and forces that struck Doma were allegedly currently hidden away in the Frozen Pines. The Gnome stated it was roughly an hour trek through Grundgir Forest, if you knew the path and that he’d offer to guide him to the Pines. Soon, Garros would be one step closer to the White Witches.
His room suddenly felt as if it was stifling and he needed to step away to clear his mind. Silently, Garros left his room and left Raven’s Head and approached a pool of water some distance from Delmons Glen. A serene view for Garros to ponder the coming events that awaited to unfold.
Garros now walked the Winter Path. For it could only lead to a frozen hell. What would become of this “curse” Bavakanga divined from the Queen of Spades and would Garros’ wish be fulfilled to destroy Baba Yaga and all of her progeny…