The Chronicles of Achillion

Chapter 2 - The Cairn of the Winter King

As sun rose on a new day, we awoke to find the ground glistening with a hoar frost. Across the valley, a thick fog clung to the trees, hiding from view the forest beneath it. As we emerged from our tents, a cold wind blew through the camp, catching our breath as we made our way to the smouldering camp fire. This unseasonable weather confused us, for we were in the middle of summer. Only the week before, farmers had been working the land and tending to their crops, the forest’s canopy was thick with foliage and wild flowers covered the floor.

Striking the camp, we decided to head towards the nearest large town, Fallcrest, where we would be able to stock additional supplies for the unseasonable weather.

As we made our way along the Kings Road, the weather began to turn for the worse. A snow started to fall.

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“The gods are displeased” Navah remarked.

In the distance, a deep foreboding voice carried across wind. As we glanced across the valley, the shadow of a large boat was cast against the crisp clouds which hung low in the sky. These ominous signs caused us to quicken our pace. Travelling further along the Kings Road, the falling snow became heavier, settling thickly on the ground and making every footstep difficult. All alongside the road, in response to the worsening weather, houses and farmsteads had been abandoned. This year’s crops, which only days before had basked in the glow of a summers suns, now lay crushed and dying under the weight of the unseasonable snow fall.

As we approached the boundary of Fallcrest, the snow fall had increased to such as pace that it made it difficult to see more than a few meters ahead of you.

Entering Fallcrest, we made our way to one of the many Inns which were dotted throughout the town. Here, we were able to order a hot meal, dry our wet clothing and sleep in a comfy bed.

Waking the following morning and stepping outside the Inn, the snow storm had worsened. As we navigated through the streets, panic and uncertainty had taken hold of the townsfolk. The residents collected wood and stock piled food with the goal of seeing out the snow storm. Approaching the main town Quay, which was situated by a fast flowing river, we came across a large group of people. Ahead of them, a large balding man who went by the name of Lord Markelhay, was addressing the gathered crowd.

“We must all remain calm” he commanded.

He continued to speak to the crowd: “The lands further down river are also experiencing this terrible weather. We have endured bad times before and will make it again through this” he spoke, trying to reassure the crowd.

As he finished his speech, a villager by the name of Amos Kameros spoke out. “We should take care of ourselves and let those who are not among us look after themselves” he shouted in an angry tone. “At times like this" he continued, "we should be praying to Paylor”.

While the gathered crowd argued among themselves, debating the best way to ride out the storm, Nux spoke to Achillion. “Listen” he said. “The voices on the wind we heard yesterday are back. This time, they’re getting louder and clearer. They sound like a war chant”.

As Nux finished his sentence, a shape emerged from the thick clouds. As it drew closer, cast against the backdrop of the snow filled clouds, the outline of a Viking Longship could be made out. Closer and closer, the ship approached the crowd. As it did, the war chant grew louder.

Then, with a loud crash, the ship dropped from the sky and came to an abrupt halt on the banks of the river. As it did, a ramp on the side of the ship dropped to the ground and with a scream of “Death to those who hide the Winter King’s Scepter”, a battalion of fur clad, undead Vikings leapt from the ship and charged towards the gathered crowd.

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