It had taken them a day to get close to the forest, walking in deep snow was no easy task. They would stop to rest occasionally. When Clover, the mountain pony carrying all their belongings stumbled and refused to walk any further they set up camp. The snow reached above the small horse's knees. Krona was the only one who didn't have trouble since she turned into a bird and flew along most of the way. Now, they had finally reached the forest, it would provide shelter from the winds and hide them from sight of anyone looking their way. In the open fields, no matter how far they got there was still a chance someone looking from the road could spot them moving across the plains, even when they made attempts to cover their tracks.
But the forest did not bring them salvation. A blizzard hit soon after, almost without warning. The sky turned dark and sudden strong gusts of wind carried snow and pieces of ice at incredible speed. They were being covered by snowflakes that stuck to them from the side and from behind. Walking was difficult as well as seeing where to go. Only trees could be seen in the flurry of white. Gvera used her magic to look for a suitable shelter close to them. The Guide showed her an image of a log cabin somewhere in the blizzard. They followed the tiny orb as it led them with difficulty, tossed and bounced by the wind.
They walked for what felt like eternity, all sense of time was gone. It could have been an hour of twenty minutes, no one could tell. Solean saw something in front of them, it was clear not a tree. As they got closer it got bigger.
"I think I see the cabin. " He shouted walking faster.
"I think it's moving" Krona said.
Gvera saw her bracelet turn red but it was too late. Solean had gone ahead too far to hear her through the roaring wind. The boy saw something from the corner of his eye and rose the shield to block it but got struck to the side from right. Her heard a roar and fell to the snow with a searing pain in his right arm. It was not a monster, no, just a hungry and angry bear. The bear was preparing to maul him to death and Gvera acted before she knew what she was going to do. Without a thought she put her palms together and the white Threads of Life appeared. She extended them and they wrapped around one of the bear's paws. But unlike a necromorph the creature did not immediately dissolve. Gvera felt something- warmth, it flowing from the bear into her. The animal cried out in pain and the girl saw that where the strings touched the fur it was decaying all while pale light was flowing out of the animal into her through the strings. The fur decayed then the skin, revealing muscle and bone and it began to spread slowly consuming the bear that trashed and roared in pain. Horrified Gvera let go and fell to her knees, recalling Aleera's words: "Never used it against a living opponent." The bear limped away to the edge of the cliff and threw itself off. Krona ran up to Solean who was not moving and lay there in the snow bleeding.
"Gvera" the girl called
"We need to get him help. Come on."
Snapping out of it she got up and walked to the boy. Ripping off his torn sleeve she used to suppress the bleeding until they got to the cabin. It was just around the twist of the road. The road had been going up for a while now; they were in the high lands and slowly moving up along the mountain side.
The cabin was small but had a second floor. The ceiling was rather low and the furniture inside looked broken, the door was on the floor and everything was smaller than in a usual house. It was obvious the previous owners of the house were dwarves. The girls laid Solean down on the small bed, his feet dandling of the edge. Gvera sent Krona to get some fire wood and some snow to use as water. Then she used a spell to fix the door, a table and the chairs. She also put a protection spell on the door just in case. Krona got back with some fire wood and a cauldron filled with snow.
"I'm going to see if Clover is alright. I think there is stable behind the house." Krona said leaving.
"I'll tend to Solean."
She put the cauldron over the fire and started going thought the things in her backpack. She had brought some healing potions she made. After a necromorph burnt her arm with poisonous fire she decided that healing supplies were necessary for this trip. The potions she had on hand were nothing too powerful, mostly for healing minor wounds, breaking fever and curing magical and none magical poisons. Using a clean cloth she washed the wound: three deep gashes left by the bears claws. The blood had not stopped flowing, and she realized she needed to do something fast. Solean had come around.
"I'll need to stich the wound" she said
He nodded with a pained expression. Getting a needle and some thread she began sewing the gashes shut. Solean bit his lip trying not to scream. Krona came back and sat by the fire warming her hands. When she was done the witch put a cloth bandage on it. After tending to his wounds Gvera gave the magician a potion to help the healing.
"Damn it, I can't believe that after everything a bear got me."
"Try to get some sleep. You'll feel better once you do." she said, feeling exhausted herself.
He nodded and turned to his left side. Krona occupied the room upstairs, the tiny bed fitting her perfectly. Gvera stayed downstairs to keep watch over Solean in case he got worse. She sat by the fire with her knees to her chest and a blanked around her shoulders. Thinking about what she had done and feeling disgusted. She had become accustomed to fighting Death Creatures; she did what by now came to her naturally. Now the image was burned into her mind and she felt terrified of the power she held. The passage from the Book of Dead ways emerged from her mind and she opened the book to check it.
"The threads of life will drain life from the living and empower the necromancer temporarily. If the target is another necromancer or a powerful individual draining their energy might increase ones power permanently. Draining of energy is the base step in training of extracting souls" She read and the last line caught her attention.
She wondered if what she had done was the same thing as stealing ones soul. Like a spider sucking the life out of helpless fly. She shuddered, her hand uncouncoisly touching the spider necklace.
"Is this how a necromancer kills? Gvera could not imagine herself doing this to anyone again.
She had fallen into an uneasy sleep. Her dreams had gotten strange ever since she arrived here, stranger than usual. She had this particular dream before. A baby crying in the snow. A woman, she had become accustomed to seeing her in her dreams. Tall, fair haired somewhere around Aleera's age. The same woman holding a baby in a forest. The woman and a young man arguing. The Book of Dead ways in the room with them. Then she sees something new. A man, tall dark hair. Men with hoods are dragging him away. The woman is kneeling on the ground chained. There people around holding torches, all wearing black hoods. Another woman is standing above her. She is much older, with grey hair. She speaks and Gvera does not hear her words. The image fades and all is black. Then she sees a light and an unfamiliar voice call to her:
"The Book. Get rid of the Book. You are in danger."
Gvera sat up cowered in cold sweat. Just in time as a black spider leaped at her. She rolled out of the way and took the sword of kings and sliced in half. Three more were on the ground. They were the size of plates and black, not regular black, the swirling mix of black and purple that one would usually see in Death. Solean woke up and Krona came rushing down the strait. Gvera set a fire ball at the spiders and they hissed burning and then just melted into nothing.
"What was that?" Solean asked half asleep
"The Enemy? I'll check outside" Krona ran out the door.
"I put up a protection spell, no one could have walked in here without triggering it."
"Then how did they get in here?" the magician asked.
"I know this will sound crazy, but think the Book attacked us."
Krona came back.
"There was no one outside. No tracks either. No one was here. The snow stopped so the tracks would not have gotten covered up."
"A book attacked us?" Solean rose an eyebrow.
Gvera told him about the dream.
"Need I remind you that one of the enemies is a magician?" the boy said
"Aside from creating illusions, magicians can also manipulate dreams. This is a trap; don't fall for it, Gvera. The book is valuable; you need it to get stronger, right. Maybe they want you to throw it away so they can take it, maybe there some secret information in there about the demon that they need."
Gvera said nothing. Solean had a point but her inner feelings told her she could trust the dreams. It was her dreams that warned her about the siege of Newguard before it happened so she could gather an army to defend the city. Without this warning all the necromancer clans would not have come together to aid them. The city would have perished. She told him as much.
"They did on purpose so you would believe everything your dreams tell you. " he said, convinced he was right.
"I still think you're wrong." Gvera said.
"You're being blinded. I won't let you get rid of the book." He said trying to her out of bed but winced in pain and stopped.
"Take it easy, you'll tear the wound open." Gvera said rushing over to see if he alright.
The tension between the two didn't stop. Gvera tried using healing spells from her father's books to make the wound heal faster but had trouble sustaining the flow of energy for long. She tended to Solean but the two would start arguing whenever the topic changed back to the book of her dreams.
It took three days for Solean to be healed, though he was far from recovered completely. He still couldn't grip a sword or anything heavy. They traveled to where the river began hoping to use the water as a means of travel and making up for the lost time. Unfortunately, the temperature dropped greatly the past few days and the water was frozen completely.
"Too bad you didn't dream about this, could have saved us the time of walked here." Solean said.
"Would you stop it" Krona finally snapped .
"For the past four days all I did was listen to you argue. Can you see what this doings to us? Maybe the drams are trap. And you seem to have both fallen for it, because this thing is tearing us apart and it needs to stop."
"Fine, no more arguing." Solean said, but his voice was devoid of sincerity.
"No more arguing" Gvera agreed for the sake of the situation.
Slowly they began descending towards the valley. Travel along the river would eventually lead them back unto the road to Greycastle.