The group emerged from the Bowels of Hammerfall into an icy cold night with no provisions and little in the way of cold weather gear. They agreed that the wisest course of action was to send Julevive ahead of them as a wolf, since she could run over the snowy landscape so much faster than they, and she could warn the Devil’s Teeth of Thoren Brighthammer’s betrayal. With a forlorn look, she left her squad mates behind and raced off under the pale moonlight. The rest of the squad spent a frigid night out of doors, though due to their tough constitutions, they could all handle it.
The morning brought success with their hunting, as Sgt. Maximillian bagged a large deer that would keep them fed and warm for the rest of the trip. Their elation at his success was soon cut short, however, by the heavy beat of dragon wings on the horizon. The white dragon whose hoard the squad had plundered only nights before, brought forth by a tip whispered upon the wind, landed before them. It gave them one last chance to keep their lives: strip naked and walk back to their heathen city. Cog chose to taunt the dragon instead.
A fatal mistake.
The battle was brutal, and the dragon by far the most fearsome opponent the squad had yet faced. It killed Sgt. Maximillian with its icy breath, and crushed Grimdark the Frostbitten in its mighty jaws and left him bleeding upon the ground. Cog himself was mere inches away from destruction, but he buried his axe in the dragon’s onrushing jaws, and the beast lay still.
Cog and Grimdark mourned for their fallen sergeant as they stripped the dragon of its parts. They promised to craft arms and armor from the great beast worthy of honoring their comrade’s life. They traveled a ways across the winter landscape, and bedded down using the roots of a fallen tree for shelter, confident they would rendezvous with the main host of the company on the morrow. A bone-chilling howl interrupted their dinner, however, and Cog and Grimdark soon found themselves facing a pair of yeti. One rough brawl later, and the yeti lay dead, and the pair went off in search of their lair in hopes of finding better shelter than a rotting log.
The yeti’s path was easy to backtrack to a cave, but it was not at all what they were expecting. As Cog and Grimdark descended into the cave, they found it got colder and brighter and more dreamlike. They eventually emerged into a chamber of hewn ice, with delicately decorated frozen pillars lining the hall. A fur covered throne sat at the back of the hall, upon which sat Ljota, the Last Frost Before Spring, a Snow Nymph. She was flanked by her menagerie of strange creatures, which included a tamed beastman minotaur named Kuonu.
She first asked her guests for a taste of dragon’s blood, since it had been so long since she had tasted it. She then explained that a battle was coming, and she was not talking about the one in Hammerfall, but the one that heralded the end of the world. She explained that if the Devil’s Teeth are present at the final battle, it could tip the scales back in creation’s favor, but for them to be present at that battle, they would have to not be annihilated in the next month, which would surely happen if Cog and Grimdark were to die tomorrow, which surely would happen without her help. But it is no simple thing for a mortal to ask a duchess of the Winter Court for help – they had to demonstrate their worthiness to survive. Namely, by being interesting. They regaled Ljota with stories of their past and boasts of their deeds, and in the end convinced her that the world was interesting enough to be worth saving after all.
So she sent with them Kuanu, her pet beastman, to ensure that they would live to see another sunset. She also ordered her gnomes to craft the dragon’s bones into a hammer for Grimdark, and the dragon’s hide into armor for Cog.