Isles of Ice

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Isles of Ice

Postby Kunio_kun » Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:53 am

Isles of Ice
A Middle-Earth Roleplay
The OOC Thread

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This is the Fourth Age. Two hundred years and more have passed since the Ring of Power fell into the fires of Mount Doom. Telumendil, son of Eldarion, reigns in Gondor. The Age of Men is in full blossom, but even now one may hear the brisk winds of autumn whisper darkly.

In Rohan, King Baldor is harried by renewed attacks against his people by the Easterlings. More disturbing are the reports from witnesses claiming strange, orc-like men were among them. King Telumendil himself has been forced to ride to his southern borders in force after persistent attacks from Haradrim raiders allied with orcs and giant, black trolls. Even within the realms of the Free Peoples, much evil lurked even under the light of the sun. Many roads have fallen into disuse and the old paths are watched by thieves, brigands, and worse. And when night falls, men make sure they are behind sturdy gates and barred doors, huddling around a fire as the dark closes in all around them.

This is the Fourth Age. The Age of Men. The chill wind of a cold spring brings promise of a bitter winter...


"What do you know of Forochel?"

Errynd blinked, dark spots dancing in his vision after staring too long at the fire in the hearth before him. "Cold." he replied a little distractedly, stretching his long legs and stifling a yawn.

"Then you have traveled far in the north?"

"Far? No." Errynd replied, leaning back in the well cushioned couch. "I've been to the ice bay itself, a little north, but no more. Even the Snowmen that live there seldom venture further. North and East, ice forever and ever to the edge of the world. West, Belegaer, and he may as well be ice that far up. Ice, ice, ice."

The man in front of Errynd steepled his slender fingers and remained silent for a long moment. He was seated behind a desk, a few well worn books and a map laid neatly atop it. In age, he was perhaps a well preserved sixty. Errynd knew him to be Duin son of Dorleth, one of King Telumendil's war ministers. In light of the constant attacks by Easterlings, Haradrim, and their unsavory allies, both Gondor and Rohan were shoring up their defenses in preparation for a war somewhere down the line. Although many still believed these attacks were random raids, some felt that an unseen hand was driving all of it, a prelude to an all out assault. Minister Duin tended to recruit capable peoples and send them to the outer reaches of the Kingdom in order to gather information on certain areas that troubled the councils of the wise. They were dangerous missions but not without compensations for the bold. Thus, Errynd found himself in Minas Tirith, sitting in the Minister's small but comfortable office.

At twenty-five, Errynd could still be called a young man, but his travels had earned him a reputation as a moderately seasoned adventurer. In short, he was the type Duin tended to recruit. Truth be told, the monetary reward didn't quite match the risks of the expedition, if Forochel was indeed where the Minister intended to send him. The icy wastes of the North had claimed more than its fair share of overconfident explorers and adventurers, and plenty of normally confident ones too. Gold alone would not have been enough for Errynd. Perhaps a sense of duty to the Kingdom would have weighed heavier, but even that paled before the sense of adventure that surged through every fiber of his being, that sense of discovery, of going where few before him had ever braved. Even before Minister Duin spoke, in his heart, Errynd was already committed.

"Ice..." Duin broke the silence. "Ice, and maybe more." He unfurled the map on his desk. Errynd peered at it, recognizing the hazy sketches representing the Icebay of Forochel. The adventurer raised a brow quizzically as he found some curious details.

The Minister nodded, half to himself. "Unlike most maps of the far north, this one goes further into the sea. There, just outside the bay to the west, you can see the three Isles of Ice."

"Isles of Ice..." Errynd murmured, feeling a chill in his heart. He had heard of them from the Snowmen who lived around the Icebay. There were many tales of the mysterious islands, few of them pleasant. It was said in the Elder days, before the first Dark Lord was overthrown by the West, many strange things had made their homes in those lonely places. And some still lived there to this day.

"Many of our trading ships in the north have disappeared without a trace," Duin said, tracing a line on the map with his finger. "As well, none of our scouts have returned. Something is there and I fear it is biding its time. I must know what lies on... or under the ice."

"Three islands here..." Errynd pointed at the map. "This big one is the closest."

"None are named in the tongues of Men, Elves, and Dwarves," the minister replied. "I leave that to the discretion of the expedition. The large island should be the focus of your investigation." He leaned close and looked intently at Errynd. "I take it you have accepted?"

Errynd shrugged, smiling ever so slightly. "I'll need a new coat."

---

The wind blew, the sea roared. Foam billowed in the small ship's wake and a steel gray sky promised rain. Errynd son of Eddyr stood near the bow of the vessel, wrapped in furs and a sense of foreboding. It had been a month and more since that cold spring night in the Minister's office. He had a ship, a crew, and companions. According to Captain Merdoc, they would be approaching the Isles of Ice just a little before nightfall today. The approach itself would be a problem, and the rain was going to make it even worse, but it was nothing unexpected.

Unexpected was this feeling in the air, a chill deeper than anything nature could inflict, a loneliness that pierced the heart as one stared into the desolate sea. The ship rocked uneasily, lurching ponderously to one side. No sound but the mournful wind and the unceasing crash of ice cold waters. And out there, just over the horizon, something lay in wait.

Errynd managed a smile. I am in over my head...
Last edited by Kunio_kun on Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:30 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:17 pm

Frodo Took stood at the bow watching the waves and feeling the rain. It was really tonic to him, as he was hoping for adventure. He had read the Red Book several times, and had dim memories of his grandfather, the great Peregrin Took, the Thain, telling stories of his exploits. It had awakened desires to be brave and renowned himself.

He had a copy of the Red Book that he often consulted. He had also followed in his grandfather's footsteps in becoming a knight of Gondor, acceping his cloak, sword and mailshirt.

He had yet to achieve deeds anywhere close to the esteemed Peregrin, but it was his life's hope. That is why he jumped at the chance to take this voyage. It was an area he often dreamed of, not heard of in the Shire since the days of the Fell Winter, when the Shire was invaded by the white wolves.

He realized his arm was sore, that he had been pushing against the bow, as if his puny effort could spur the ship on to greater speed. "Fool of a Took." he said to himself. "You know that won't work." But he did it day after day anyway. The ship was going too slow for his tastes.

To pass the time, he softly sang an elven-tune, the tune he knew by memory, of Galadriel's farewell-song as the Company of the Ring left Lothlorien. It was true that Galadriel had long left these mortal lands for the west, over 200 years ago, but the song was fond in his memory. It still had the power to awaken lofty images in his mind.

And it was to dispel the feeling of shadow that was around him as he approached their destination.
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Postby Kunio_kun » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:27 am

ERRYND

Behind the heavy, gray clouds, the sun was setting. A gloomy pallor settled over the ship just as the rain began picking up. Large, thick drops pelted the deck and the noise was like a dozen small drums beaten at an unsteady rhythm.

Errynd listened to a small voice singing of the past and drifted towards it. He stood beside Frodo Took for a moment until the song finished. "Gloomy weather, isn't it? Especially here. It'll probably turn to ice at this rate," he mentioned to the hobbit.

"Everything turns to ice," a voice muttered.

Errynd turned around to find Captain Meradoc standing behind them. The Captain's flint-like eyes narrowed as he stared out over the sea. "Everything turns to ice..." he repeated softly. "...up here."

After a moment's silence, Errynd gave the captain a lopsided grin. "Huh!" he scoffed, putting as much feeling as he could into his voice. "What are you going on about? Where's that level-headed Captain Meradoc I signed on with? You're too gloomy for my.... taste..." Even as he finished weakly, Errynd could feel the words being picked up by the wind and carried away with the rain, lost into a gray nothingness.

Meradoc smiled knowingly, but it was a smile devoid of any triumph or satisfaction. "Words die here. You feel it, don't you?"

Errynd snorted and smiled back. "Damned cold is what I feel, Captain Meradoc. Cold and wet. Put enough mead in me and I'll start singing 'till you wish words died. Now tell me what's going on."

As the Captain began talking of more mundane matters, Errynd son of Eddyr began sifting through his thoughts. The expedition to the Isles of Ice was about to begin in earnest. The white shores of the largest island had been sighted not long ago and the ship was moving steadily towards it. From where Errynd was standing, the isle looked rather like a massive wedge of ice, which was fitting enough. But there was more to it than that.
Despite his confident talk, Errynd could not deny the profound sense of desolation that hovered in the air when they had spotted it jutting out from the horizon. Words perhaps did not die here, but they were certainly subdued.

Errynd blinked as the rain began dripping over his fur-lined hood and into his eyes. He pulled it further over his head until it began dripping on his boots instead. He was dressed practically, in the manner of the Snowmen of Forochel, with several layers of clothing. A three-quarters coat of wool and thick woolen breaches over two layers of close-fitting hose ensured he wouldn't freeze to death any time soon.
Then there was the fur-lined, pale gray, hooded cloak that he wore over all. The hunters of Forochel often wore variations of the cloak. It was woven by secretive means and resisted both wind and water while letting one blend in to the colorless environment of the icy wastes. A Lossoth Cloak, it was called among traders, and no two were ever alike.

Some of the crew wore similar garb as they paced the decks, setting up sails and getting the ship ready to approach the island.

"...and we'll give it a look around, but don't expect the isle will let us land safely." Meradoc finished. The Captain was a stout man in his forties, with steel gray hair and a rough. Grim and practical, Errynd had not expected Meradoc to suddenly turn superstitious. Then again, sailors were a superstitious lot.

"Take us in as close as you can," Errynd replied. "We'll use the boat to go ashore. You and your men can weigh anchor some distance away and wait for us to return."

Meradoc nodded and began giving orders to his crew.

"As for us, Master Took," Errynd said to his barefooted companion. "I suggest we head back to the cabins and pray the rest of our merry team will have some warm mead and hot stew left for us. Though I'll wager it's cold salt-fish and tepid tea, like as not."

Of course, it was said in half-hearted jest in regards to the well known appetites of the little folk. In truth they would only have time enough to cram a mouthful of food as they packed anything they might have forgotten before heading back up on the icy deck to brave the wind and rain once more.

And all the while, the ominous wedge of ice loomed ever nearer.
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Postby GwenElf » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:46 pm

Falastor had many friends, but he didn't think any one of them really qualified as a best friend, not in the way men usually thought about it. No, his best friend, should such a person ever choose to come into his life, would be the man--or woman, for that matter--who invented water-proof parchment. Until then, Fal was stuck with a myriad of friends without definite rank, not to mention a cartographic conundrum.

"Foul rain," he muttered to himself as he unpacked his bag yet again. "Blasted snow."

It had been nearly an hour, if not more, since he had returned to his room, having eaten with his companions, and begun to organize his travel sac so as to fit as much equipment into it as possible. As of yet, he was having little luck. Put the parchment here, and you couldn't fit the alidade there. Put the styli here, and there was a chance they'd rip holes in the parchment. Never mind that whatever he decided--or was forced--to do, it wouldn't change the fact that the moment he got on deck, the icy rain would steal its way between the seams of his sac, find its most intimate corners, and ruin everything he'd brought along, thus rendering the entire packing operation an utter waste of time.

He really hadn't been thinking when he'd agreed to go along on this expedition.

Well no, that wasn't true. He'd been thinking. Thinking things like, "Imagine the uncharted lands I'll be able to map out!" and "Our old maps are so deficient--it will be wonderful to produce an updated version!" And then there were the really silly things, like "Snow! How lovely!" and "It's been years since I've taken a sea voyage--this will be wonderful!"

He laughed at himself and took another stab at compartmentalizing, delicately sliding the parchment rolls in between two layers of the bag and wedging the divider, packaged in a thick leather case, next to them. Hmmm.. that might work. Now to stick the alidade here...

What he should have been thinking, Fal realized as he packed, was that sea voyages made him incredibly uncomfortable--he didn't get seasick, per se, but everything short of it--"cold" was his least favorite state of being, and there was no way he was going to be able to cram everything he'd hoped to take to shore with him while at the same time hoping to actually go anywhere. With a sigh he tossed aside his paints and canvases--beauty for beauty's sake could wait; the brushes fell onto his bed, rattling out a forlorn goodbye. Scholarship was the most important thing now; scholarship, he thought as he reached for a second scarf, and survival.

Finally everything was packed to his satisfaction (which meant that he'd at last accepted that there was no way all of his equipment was going to fit perfectly); seizing his bo staff and slinging it over his shoulder, he pulled his cowl over his head, mounted the stairs, and found himself standing, as expected, in the midst of grey. And white, but mostly grey.

"Ah, Falastor."

He turned to see Errynd motioning him to the side of the ship. Cloaked in thick layers and covered last of all by a weather-grey cloak, the young, black-haired man seemed much more at home in these conditions than Fal felt, but then, that was relative.

"We're preparing to disembark; we'll be taking this boat ashore while the crew waits here. Have everything you need?"

Fal nodded. "I think so. I tried to get everything into my sac just right, but it was impossible. Put this here and that won't fit, but that there and everything gets ink all over it, put this here and I'd end up with a hole in the sac! And then there were all the things I wanted to bring, but couldn't fit. I'd really hoped to get some paintings of the landscape once we got ashore and had camp set up, but that wouldn't fit, and at any rate--"

"Oy!"

Both men turned, but it was only a crew member motioning to one of his seamates. When Fal turned back to Errynd to detail his disappointment at not being able to paint the landscape, he saw that the man had turned and was loading what appeared to be provisions into the small boat, his eyes squinted against the thin rain. Realizing that his woes were unimportant anyway, Fal followed suit.


*****

There were six of them, all males, one Hobbit, one Dwarf, and four Men, hunched in the small boat, trying desperately to keep some semblance of dignity while enduring the humiliation that was this weather. They were taking turns rowing, fighting the driving seas as the others watched Captain Meradoc, his crew, and their ship fade into the misty distance. Above, the clouds thickened, churning as violently as the waves below in an ever-present competition: who can drench the travelers the fastest? At present, it was anybody's guess, but Fal was betting on the clouds. They, after all, had no boat preventing them from pouring out their miserable punishment onto those below.

"So what's the plan once we get ashore?" Fal asked, shouting to make his voice heard over the sounds of the wind, rain, and water.

Errynd raised his head to answer, but all he manged was, "Hold on!" before the sea raised its giant hand and smacked it hard against the side of the boat.
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Postby ~Angus Rathburn~ » Fri May 02, 2008 11:12 am

*

There were six of them, all males, one Hobbit, one Dwarf, and four Men, hunched in the small boat, trying desperately to keep some semblance of dignity while enduring the humiliation that was this weather. They were taking turns rowing, fighting the driving seas as the others watched Captain Meradoc, his crew, and their ship fade into the misty distance. Above, the clouds thickened, churning as violently as the waves below in an ever-present competition: who can drench the travelers the fastest? At present, it was anybody's guess, but Fal was betting on the clouds. They, after all, had no boat preventing them from pouring out their miserable punishment onto those below.

“So what’s the plan once we get ashore?” Fal asked, shouting to make his voice heard over the sounds of the wind, rain, and water.

Errynd raised his head to answer, but all he managed was, “Hold on!” before the sea raised its giant hand and smacked it hard against the side of the boat.

“Uff…” Angus was thrown sideways, hitting Errynd’s shoulder with a solid thump, nearly knocking him off the slippery wet board of the seat beside him. Nearly losing his grip on the oar, he righted himself and then helped Errynd regain his seat. He quickly glanced over his shoulder. The island lay roughly north of their position while the wind was blowing from the northeast. Landfall looked barely closer than it had the last time he’d looked and the rolling waves in the distance were swelling in size. “Helmsman hard left to portside and then hold ‘er steady! If a larger wave hits us broadside it might swamp us! We need to row with the wind until we get closer, then turn and come in on the leeward side of the island.” Rivet, acting as helmsman, leaned hard against the tiller. “Good thing ya said left,” he grumbled.

Errynd glanced over at his oar mate. Angus was the last member of the party to board ship having joined the expedition at the port of Forlond in Forlindon when the ship docked as scheduled to take on additional supplies and refit for the last leg of the trip into the frigid waters of the northern seas. None of them knew him very well; he’d spent most of the time since boarding talking with the deckhands and sailors rather than with the members of the expedition. He bit back a retort as he dipped his oar into the water and pulled. Now was not the time to question the sudden orders from an otherwise silent member.

Gradually the small craft turned. It slid down into the trough of water between swells, its deep prow cutting through the water easier as the wind slackened briefly.

“When we reach the top of the swell, pull hard as we come down and then rest a minute. Let the water carry the boat to the top before pulling hard again,” Angus said loud enough for them all to hear. The rain began to beat down harder with an added stinging sharpness that could only mean one thing; sleet. Angus muttered a curse and then braced his legs against the boards along the skiffs deck. He rested his arms for a moment as the boat crested the top of the swell and then started rowing in earnest. Errynd followed suit and the small, wave tossed boat began to make progress as it headed for land at an angle instead of straight on

The oar soon became an extension of Angus’s own body as memories awakened in his muscles and he began to row with smooth, seemingly effortless movements as he settled in to a steady rhythm.

His father believed in learning the ropes of the trading business from the bottom up. That meant Angus had to learn first-hand everything he could about the shipping business. He’d served at sea aboard one of his fathers trading vessels as a common deckhand when he was younger as part of his training, learning the basics of how to navigate by the sun and stars by the old, grizzled captain he’d sailed under. He was taught how shipments of various goods were stored and handled on board the ships, at the loading docks and warehouse and with the wagon drivers who hauled freight overland. He’d worked on both large and small trading ships as they plied the open seas; barges and flatboats that floated down the navigable inland rivers and had learned to handle both a team of oxen or draft horses while traveling over the open road. It was hard work and though Angus had rebelled at times he had stuck with it, earning the respect of his father and the men he had toiled side by side with. Thinking back now he realized that he had learned valuable skills and knowledge that otherwise he might not have.


After a half hour of steady rowing, the shoreline grew closer and Frodo sitting in the bow acting as lookout could make out the rocky coastline through the rain and stinging sleet. “I think its time to turn towards land. Further along looks to be mainly steep cliffs and rocky shores.”

Angus stopped for a moment and glanced over his shoulder. The hobbit was right. Waves were breaking against the rocky coast and there were signs of hidden rocks or reefs out further from the shore. He looked at Varno and Falastor seated in front of him. They were wet and looked cold. Rowing would warm them up and loosen their muscles. He nodded at Errynd. “Time to hand over the oars for a spell,” he said as he loosened his oar from its bracket on the gunnels and handed it forward to the cartographer. “Bring ‘er back starboard,” he called to Rivet.

The dwarf shifted position on the seat. “That’d be right I’m guessing,” he grunted pulling against the tiller. Ice crystals were beginning to form on the fringe of the long mustache framing his lips reminding Angus of one of the strange sea creatures he caught a glimpse the last time he’d been this far north and he would have grinned had he not been so tired from rowing. Settling back on the plank seat Angus adjusted the woolen scarf around his neck, tucking the loose edges back around the neck of his woolen undercoat. He had a similar cloak to the one Errynd wore only shorter and lined with sleek dark fur that was not quite as dark as his hair. The hood had blown back from his head as he rowed and he pulled it back over his head as he leaned forward and let his weary arms rest on his knees.

“What do you know of the island?” he asked Errynd, glancing at him through the veil of wet dark hair that hung partially over his eyes.

“If you’d have joined us at the last meeting you would know,” Errynd was too tired to hold back the retort.

“I was gathering information from the crew and was going to talk with you this morning. But then the order came to pack our gear.” He raised his head and looked at the small speck in the distance that was the ship. It was bobbing up and down as it rode the large swells. “I thought Captain Merradoc would’ve cautioned you about disembarking with the weather about to change." He shrugged wearily. “But he didn’t.”

“Will there be a place where we can shelter? A spring storm is heading this way,” he added quietly, casting an eye to the bank of heavy laden clouds moving toward the island.

*
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Postby Cock-Robin » Sat May 03, 2008 7:27 pm

As they rowed forward, the weather changed a little. Now, instead of rain and sleet, it was freezing rain, something Frodo hadn't seen in the Shire. It was coating parts of the boat with ice already. The hobbit had been used to going barefoot, but on this journey, when he knew he would be going up to where there was snow and ice, he had started wearing boots. They were unconfortable at first, but he got used to them. He was getting used to all kinds of hardships, which brought out things in hobbits that were surprising.

It happened with Bilbo and Frodo Baggins in the past, now it was working on this Took as well. He fitted his boots with spikes to handle the ice he knew he would encounter when they hit land. He was careful in the boat so as not to put holes in it.

He shielded his eyes against the rain and wind and looked forward. "Land ho!" he said.

Picking up a grappling hook connected with a rope, he swung it and threw it forward. It hooked onto the snow and ice of the shore and held fast. He lashed the other end to the bow as good as his cold hands could do, then looked back to his companions. "Now the adventure begins." he said, as he started pulling on the rope, bringing them in.
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Postby Kunio_kun » Fri May 16, 2008 3:27 pm

Errynd had a few choice things to say about adventure, but it was forgotten as the party took their first steps on the shore.

It was a harsh land they had come to, wind scoured and desolate. Squalls of frigid air blasted the freezing sleet over the black and gray rock that made up much of the island, along with the dull gray patches of ancient ice that was almost as hard as the earth itself. The rough and craggy shores sloped upwards and evened out into a vast stretch of snowy ground.

Had this lonely island ever felt a spring without ice and cold? How many ages since a Man or Elf set foot on its shore? Long and long ago maybe, but nothing lived here now, surely. Nothing but the wind, howling mournfully over rock and stone, its message heard by all the party, but doomed never to be understood.

"...and what are you trying to say...?" Errynd murmured. He shook his head and turned back to the boat. Something caught his eyes suddenly. Errynd took a few steps towards the small object, light gray stone at first glance, but distinctly shaped upon closer examination.

Crab. Errynd said to himself as he picked it up by the claw, It was quite motionless. Dead one, too. Now that's a great omen, as if this freak storm wasn't enough.,.
"Ow!" Apparently, the crab still had some life in it, finding enough strength to clamp one claw around Errynd's finger. Yet as he attempted to pull the little pincer off, Errynd noted the lack of any other movement. Well it's dead now, the little bundle... he thought. And a piss poor place to die, too. So he tossed it back into the roiling ocean.

The light was fading rapidly but the storm showed no signs of abating. And storm it was, for snow mixed with the falling ice and quickly began coating the ground. The change in weather was nothing unusual in itself, but the rapidity of its progress was unexpected. Unnatural even, but Errynd didn't much care for the term.

"A little wind and rain, sure, but neither of us expected it to blow up so fast..." Errynd replied to Angus Rathburn while they dragged the boat ashore with the rest of the expedition. "...didn't look like the crew expected it either, I'd wager, eh?" he added with a facetious smile. "Still, it's something to keep in mind; weather changes fast in these parts..."

When they had dragged the craft a respectable distance where wind and tides no longer threatened it, packs and additional supplies were distributed. Roughly speaking, Errynd explained, there was enough food to last comfortably for just over a week as long as it was rationed properly.

"Which means you'll have to go without second breakfasts and whatnot," he remarked jestingly to Frodo.

If they could not find a secondary food source on the island, the boat itself held an emergency reserve to last a few days until Meradoc came back. The expedition could probably supplement their food by fishing as long as they were by the coast. Errynd carried a short pole next to his pack, in case they stumbled upon some inland bodies of water. Speaking of water, they carried much less of it as can be expected, for they were surrounded with the stuff in the form of snow and ice. As long as it was melted...

Which meant each person in the party carried a formidable supply of tinder, secured as best as possible against wet weather. No one relished going to sleep without a fire on a cold night, but here it would be a matter of life and death.
And fire would also be used to signal Captain Meradoc, though the good captain would be watching the shore, regardless, and making the occasional close pass, weather permitting.

"There's no sign of any past wrecks, yours or anyone else at least in this part," Errynd said to Angus. "But he's not going to take any risks unless we're in a real strait."

Errynd lifted a cloth wrapped bundle off the boat, where it had been tightly strapped. He unraveled it without ceremony, revealing a simple leather sword belt studded with iron and attached to a similar sheath that held his longsword. Another bundle held his unstrung birch bow and a small side quiver. Perhaps there was a small chance of hunting, but Errynd didn't fool himself. When the time came to draw either weapon, it would likely be in defense of life and limb.

When the boat had been mostly emptied, they turned it over, covered it with spare cloth, and left it behind a cluster of rocks. It was half past six by the time they were finished and the dark had settled in. The snow was now falling with a fury. Frigid squalls pierced through heavy layers of clothing, past skin, to settle deeply in the bones.

"Well, we're not going far tonight..." Errynd shouted over the wailing winds and crashing tides. "If we can't find a place to set up camp away from the wind, we'll have to set up the tent here." He was referring to the large sealskin tent, parts of which each person carried. It was crude shelter by itself, but would at least keep out the wet. Most of it anyway.

Though not soon enough, Errynd thought as he glanced over at Falastor Galathil, the cartographer. The man was not in high spirits to say the least, but less for himself than what he carried.

"...if it's not diluted to uselessness by now, it's frozen..." Errynd could just hear him mutter to himself.

Varno Morhaust and the Dwarf, Rivet, seemed to take a mild interest in the black coloring of the stones.

"Not very good rock," Rivet murmured, handling an especially dark stone. "But it might mean this island is..."

The wind whipped away his words and Errynd focused on putting one step after another, looking for any semi-dry place to set up camp.



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