Picking through the remains of the cambions’ camp, Kael retrieved the logbook and reviewed it – although the cambions had obviously been lying about being a Darklands patrol, and had in fact been remaining in this spot for some time, their log entries seemed fairly straightforward, cataloguing all passers-by and phenomena. At Kael’s behest, Hazerath used a Sending spell to communicate with Kellux Antigua and inform her of the situation.
The party crossed into Pax, and was repeatedly assailed with unusual weather – often the sky was covered with racing, shifting clouds, and the group endured both a day of blistering heat wave and a day of impenetrable fog over the course of the next few weeks. Marching ever more northward, the party fended off attacks by more centipede swarms and giant vipers, as well as encountering a pair of owlbears that they swiftly dispatched. Darius used a Create Treasure Map spell on one of the owlbears, which mostly produced disappointment, but did eventually yield a magical Longsword in the leavings of one of the owlbears’ previous meals. Kael acquired the longsword by default, since no others could use it. Several days later, Kael also shot and wounded a stealthy humanoid figure approaching their camp, but the mysterious interloper managed to lose Kael and Droverson in the forest and escape.
On the 23rd day of the march, the group suddenly found themselves enveloped in a howling blizzard, unable to see more than five feet in any direction and quickly freezing to death as winds in excess of 75 mph buffeted the party. As Kael and Droverson shouted back and forth over the wind to discuss building a shelter, another swarm of giant vipers burst out of the ground and attacked. With the wind disrupting spells and making ranged attacks impossible, the group was forced to split up and deal with the giant snakes individually using only melee attacks and short-range spells. Things seemed to be turning in the group’s favor, when suddenly Tomokk found himself face-to-face with a wraith and felt the cold touch of the undead sapping his life-force. The half-orc fought furiously, putting his Ghost Shroud Trenchcoat to use, but eventually fell unconscious with bone-white skin as the wraith drained all but a sliver of his energy. Hazerath exercised his dark powers to protect his partner and attempted to gain control over the wraith, but could not subjugate its will – the wraith flailed away at the shadowy cleric while Darius and Droverson bombarded it with bursts of flame and Magic Missile spells until the misty figure dissipated into the howling storm. Finishing off the last of the giant vipers, the group retreated into Kael’s hastily-constructed igloo to wait out the storm. At first glance, Tomokk appeared to be dead, and the group left him lying outside, but later the half-orc awoke and crawled into the shelter to be treated for his wounds.
Hazerath managed to mend the party’s injuries and restore the life-force drained from himself and Darius, but professed exhaustion when asked to mend Tomokk. When at last the screaming blizzard had abated, the party emerged from their rapidly-melting shelter to stare at the surrounding devastation with dismay. Clearly, things were getting worse…