On a snowy cliff top one half of a dirigible lay in ruin while its other half was lost to the chasm beyond. Inside the ruins of the ship were those that had survived, which were only really themselves. Zephyr and the children were there. So was Dvalin and Lullaby. Even the strange man that claimed to be an investigator and called himself Inspector Busan. There was no sign of any other survivors. They had all clung to the back of the ship while many huddled together at the center or at the walls of the ship. The back portion of the dirigible was all that was left. The rest of it had clearly fallen down the cliffside.
Zephyr assessed the cold with quick practicality. He knew the children couldn’t survive in the harsh iciness that was starting to permeate the broken ship. Running from room to room, he gathered all the blankets he could find and began wrapping the children up. Only when they were all as covered as possible did he take one of the blankets for himself. It covered up his beautiful if rumpled clothing from the intense landing. Only the fact that a good portion of the balloon above had clung to the back part of the vessel had saved them from going over with the rest of the ship. It had snagged on some trees and kept them from sliding off in the momentum of the fall. When everyone was ready to leave they made their way towards the largest gap in the ruins. They stepped out into a brilliant world of blinding white snow and a dark gray sky. After helping the children get down they all gathered their senses and investigated their surroundings.
A few yards away and approaching was a large, bulky person coming towards them. Upon getting closer, they realized it was a woman. She was covered in clothing made from skins of various animals. If they had any knowledge of nature, they would have known she wore the pelts of wolves, bears, even some large cats in the snowy mountains. Despite the overcast nature of their location, she was glowing with a lovely golden complexion. It was almost difficult to look away. Her eyes were shining gold. No pupil, just solid golden eyes. She began ushering them away from the wreckage and tried to find other survivors but Zephyr warned her that he had checked all the remaining rooms and had found no one else on board. They had all gone over the edge with the other half. She simply nodded and began leading them away from the destroyed dirigible.
The woman introduced herself as Brenna, a native of the land of Icewind Dale. She explained that she was a prisoner here just as they now were. The land had been in the grips of an unending winter. A powerful creature, The Frostmaiden, had taken over the land by casting her winter spell and barring passage in and out of the territory with a blizzard wall. No one had ever been able to stay inside the raging blizzard for long or they died. Bodies attached to ropes had been dragged back with shredded lumps of flesh to prove the impassivity of the barrier. The roads that led in and out of the land were blocked by rocks slides to make the point clear. No one had heard of any news from the outside for six months. During that time, resources had slowly but steadily dwindled.
Brenna told the group of stranded strangers that a large flaming sphere had fallen from the sky and collided with their vessel, breaking it in two. Having no other recourse but to travel within the land until they found shelter, the rag tag group asked Brenna if she could take them to the nearest town. She smiled and said she had been headed to Bryn Shander when their ship had fallen from the sky. Leading the way, Brenna packed down the snow as she walked in a direction that was unknown to the newcomers. Dvalin followed with Lullaby behind him. Zephyr kept the children between himself and Lullaby so they were in the middle and the easiest of the walking. Inspector Husan (Mythe) brought up the rear, constantly scanning their surroundings with furtive eyes. Sometime during their travels they were assaulted by a starving pack of wolves. They seemed desperate and feral in their attacks. They snarled and drooled as they surrounded and began hounding their prey. Brenna acted quickly, leaving the shocked refugees behind her to take on the wolves. She used a large hammer in the right hand to bludgeon one of the wolves as it lunged at her. Pulling out a crude, wooden javelin, she threw it at another wolf and killed her second. Dvalin recovered enough to destroy one of the wolves that had come his way and Lullaby jumped to save Zephyr and the children as another snapped at them. The inspector threw what looked like a sharp throwing knife at the last wolf and killed it.
Wild woman that she was, Brenna took out her knife and began the process of skinning the wolves. She was able to get herself a good five pelts from that fight and it would get her a lot of supplies in town. When they were all done and moving on, Brenna used some snow to wipe most of the blood from the hands as they walked. The group walked for miles until, at around late afternoon, they arrived at the town gates. Two guards stood at the entrance. The doors were open but there wasn’t really anyone leaving the town or returning. It seemed to be just them on the road. Brenna roughly gestured to the guards and got gruff nods in return as she walked on through without stopping. The others were not so lucky. The guards stopped them and asked who they were. Mythe explained, in his oily way, that they were refugees from a terrible accident. Surely, the guards had seen the collision in the open air. Nodding with solemn looks, the guards let them through letting them know where they could find a bed for the night.
They walked through town where more and more people were emerging to roam the streets. It was strange. Zephyr was sure it had been morning when they departed and it had not felt differently when he had arrived through the tunnel. As a half-elf he had some intuition of time and the movements of the stars in the sky. He had not noticed a change in time that would cause them to be in a brightening day instead of a burgeoning night. It was supposed to be getting darker on this side of the world, not brighter. Yet the sky was slowly, almost imperceptibly, lightening. They came up to the inn for the town and stepped inside the warm interior with a sigh of relief.