Oathday,12 Gozran, 4734
The Rune Wardens bid their farewells to the crew of the Misericorde. Captain Daelyn suggests she might stop by Sandpoint or Korvosa sometime to look Amelia up. She also gives the bard a little carved wooden keepsake amulet to remember her by.
Marcus and Lea consider investigating the nearby Brinewall Castle, but the party ultimately decides to press eastward along the Steam River towards Lake Stormunder and their destination at Mount Rimeskull. This far north, it is still bitterly cold with snow on the ground. But the river is noticeably warmer than the surroundings, giving off a warm fog. Amelia recalls that Lake Stormunder is known for its geysers and thermal springs; she suspects that the river is carrying warm water from the lake to the sea.
Seleval kisses the ground once they are ashore and her attitude improves markedly now they are on land. After they have set out, she asks Lea if it would have been okay for her to eat the fish men who attacked the ship. She goes on to ask if there are any intelligent creatures that she can eat, as they taste the best. Lea insists that all intelligent creatures are off the menu. She encourages Seleval to try hunting to get this out of her system, and says she can return to her lamia form.
However, when Seleval attempts to transform, her features become more leonine but her body remains humanoid. She starts to panic and hyperventilate. Marcus determines that she has been afflicted with a curse that is preventing her from completing the transformation. Seleval wails that it is Lamashtu’s vengeance. Lea and Amelia do their best to keep her calm while Marcus makes use of break enchantment, just as he had done on the curse that afflicted Nualia. He suspects that the goddess’ curse could return at a later time.
For now, Seleval reverts to her lamia form and pads alongside the wagon as it glides along the river bank.
Moonday, 16 Gozran, 4734
On the fifth day of the overland trip, Amelia is scouting ahead on her hippogriff Mr. Fluffy when she spies something strange. A longship has been beached on the north bank of the Steam River, and half of the ship is completely encased in ice. There is no sign of any crew. She returns to the wagon to alert the party and they proceed forward together.
Investigating the ship, they find trace body parts (a hand on a railing, feet in boots) frozen to the ship. They determine that the unnatural ice came in a big gout from the east and some sort of enormous creature devoured the bodies in one bite. The ship itself is still seaworthy, and amid the frozen gear they find a heavy wooden shield of the taverns. They give the shield to Seleval to carry for the moment.
Wealday, 18 Gozran, 4734
On the seventh day of the overlap trip, the party comes across a ruined Ulfen campsite with heraldry similar to the frozen longship. Nearby, Amelia spies a group of barbarians attempting to set up an ambush. As the party approaches, they are challenged by Greatchief Oleg Olegsson of the Redhand Clan. He demands tribute in exchange for their passage through his clan’s territory. He is interested in weapons, but would accept Seleval.
Over the others’ objections, Lea challenges Oleg to single combat—if she wins they pay no tribute, if he wins he gets a pick of their weapons. Oleg calls forth his champion, his huge pet dire bear Embers. The bear charges forward and swiftly wrestles Lea to the ground. Somehow, the wrestling match turns more playful as the bear comes to befriend the paladin.
Marcus makes it up to the barbarian by using fabricate to create a new masterwork spear for him. Oleg declares them friends and invites them back to his camp for a celebration. The barbarians warn the party about Freezemaw, a terrible white dragon that has been terrorizing the area and is known to lair near Rimeskull. Marcus crafts several more weapons in exchange for white seal furs from the barbarians. He uses the furs to line the inside of his wagon and to hang on the outside as camouflage.
Oathday, 19 Gozran, 4734
The Rune Wardens finally reach the turbulent shores of Lake Stormunder. Marcus unveils some recent enchantments to his wagon that cause it to fold out into a boat. With Astrid, Amelia and Shalelu navigating, they set out across the lake.
Toilday, 24 Gozran, 4734
After several days on Lake Stormunder, dodging geysers and navigating through fog, the party arrives at the foothills of Rimeskull. Marcus and Zavian use their various stone shape, wall of stone and illusory wall spells to carve a small cave out of a hill to serve as a base camp.
The plan is for Shalelu and Seleval to stay behind, waiting for a few weeks before trekking back down to Sandpoint. Shalelu assures Amelia that her hippogriff will be well cared for. Marcus urges the elf to look after the horses, but if worst comes to worst, to save their horse shoes. Lea gives Seleval her personal copy of the Acts of Iomedae to read while she is away.
Lea then attempts to use the anathema archive to determine how they can leave the Runeforge upon entering, but finds no clear answer. Marcus makes use of the revelation quill and learns that the Runeforge is not on this plane, and those that can travel the planes can find their way back. With that information, Zavian is confident that he can get the party home.
The party then sets out for the nearby hill with the ancient Sihedron Circle. The standing stones turn out to be carvings of the seven Runelords, their mouths agape. The adventurers realize they need to cast an appropriately themed spell to activate each head. Once activated, the heads give off a loud trilling noise and a golden key appears in their mouths.
As they began activating heads, the winds started to pick up. By the time they had claimed several keys, a raging blizzard surrounded them. And out of that blizzard, a huge white dragon suddenly dropped down on top of them.
The dragon then raked them with its freezing breath. While some of the Rune Wardens rush to activate the last heads and grab the keys, others try to fight Freezemaw, who is hidden behind the blizzard. The dragon picks up Lea, carries her high in the air and then drops her, only to be frustrated by her ring of feather fall.
Amelia and Zavian are briefly trapped in a dome of ice, but Marcus burns them out with scorching ray. Zavian dispells the blizzard, giving Amelia and Astrid clear shots as Lea grants the party her smite. The dragon shakes off a cacophonous call but takes a fearsome wound from the redhead’s arrows.
Freezemaw lifts Marcus high up in the air, thwarting his ability to fight back or cast spells. Despite grievous wounds, the wizard readies himself to unleash a fireball as soon as he is released.
Taking heavy damage from Astrid, the dragon tosses Marcus against the side of the mountain as it attempts to escape. It is badly scorched by the wizard’s fireball, but despite the party’s best efforts it manages to dimension door away.
Lea and Amelia rush up to the unconscious Marcus and manage to restore him to consciousness. The adventurers find themselves at the entrance of the Rimeskull cavern, with seven magic keys to Runeforge and an angry white dragon on the loose.