We waited until 7 pm to leave for the hunting area. As we left the village, snow began to fall, lightly at first, then much heavier. By the time we reached the frozen lake of fire, it was getting difficult to see very far ahead of us.


We didn't see anyone nearby, so we waited by the northwest edge of the lake. Eventually, it got very dark and Laurenna pulled out a torch. "You know," she said, "I can see a flicker of light to the west of here. Want to investigate?" I agreed, so we headed towards the weak light.


It was extremely hard to see in the dark with all the snow coming down, but we eventually came to a clearing, finding the source of the little bits of light we had seen earlier. Three hunters, each with a torch, awaited our arrival. I was directed to the one in the middle, Rolf Long-Tooth.


Rolf Long-Tooth greeted us with a booming announcement, loud enough to scare any prey deeper into the woods. "Ah, the great mage himself, Eldorf the Wise, graces us with his presence." he said. "You are to perform the Ristaag with us, pleasing the All-Maker. Allow me to introduce our other hunters. Over to my right is Sattir the Bold, and to my left is Grerid Axe-Wife. Both are excellent hunters."

"Well, I certainly hope I can be of some small assistance." I said, trying to be humble in the midst of such greatness. I introduced my wife to him. "Ah, daughter of the Chief of Lokken." he said, bowing to her. "I knew your father well. I am sorry to hear of his death, but I hear now your brother is in charge of Lokken. I must visit him sometime soon."

"Why, thank you." replied Laurenna. "Father had spoken of you before. It is an honor to be among the hunters this evening."


I asked Rolf to explain the Ristaag to me.

"Ah, yes, you are not Skaal, so you would not know this." he replied. "In the Ristaag, we hunt the Spirit Bear that is conjured by the Totem of Claw and Fang. When it is slain, we will return its heart back to Korst Wind-Eye, who will ask for the blessings of the All-Maker. If the Ristaag fails, or does not succeed by daybreak, the All-Maker will be displeased. You will help ensure our success, friend."

"I see." I said. "Exactly what would you like me to do?"

"You will act as my second." he replied. "You are to stay with me at all times during the Ristaag, and to follow my instructions exactly. You have proven your value to the Skaal, but now you must allow me to guide you through this night."


Rolf ordered one hunter to our right, another to our left, and we separated, the other two hunters going off in a 45 degree angle from our track. Rolf headed directly west, with myself and Laurenna following close behind.

Even with the torches, the snow was so thick that it was nearly impossible to see more than a few feet ahead of us.

Suddenly, we heard a wolf growling in the distance, following by a blood-curdling scream!

"Did you hear that?" Rolf exclaimed. "It came from near Sattir the Bold's path. Go to him, and make sure he is well. Then, return to me so we may complete the hunt.


It took a few minutes for Laurenna and me to find him, but eventually we stumbled over the corpse of one of the hunters.

There was blood everywhere. It was Sattir, his throat ripped to shreds.

"Just like....the attack on the village." commented Laurenna.

"You're right." I replied. "Come. Let's get back to Rolf quickly."


We hurried back to Rolf Long-Tooth and reported the bad news about Sattir.

"Sattir is dead?" he said, shaking his head in disbelief. "This is a bad omen. These creatures are dark spirits indeed, and they will try to disrupt the hunt. We will not allow this to happen. The loss of Sattir is great, but we must continue. Let us go."

We continued west when suddenly, yet another yell, growling, howling, then sudden silence.

Rolf sent me off in the other direction to find the second hunter with us.


It didn't take long for us to find Grerid Axe-Wife, her torch still fighting against the snow to stay alive where she dropped it, marked her position well.

As before, she lay in a pool of blood, her throat ripped out.


The sky was now pitch black, and the only way to find Rolf Long-Tooth was by the torch he held. Sadly, we told him the news about the second hunter's fate.

"Axe-Wife is dead?" he said, sadly. "No! She was a good warrior, and a good friend."

He paused for a moment, letting the emotion of the moment pass over him, like a wave from the ocean crashing against the jagged rocks of a cliff.

"We will not let this stop us." he continued, regaining his composure. "We will continue until the Ristaag is complete."


With typical Nord resolve, we continued on our west-bound trek, hunting for this Spirit Bear that was now so important to the Skaal.

Suddenly, I heard Laurenna scream, drawing her bow. I heard a silver arrow heading in my direction, only to be stopped by something that was between her and myself. As I turned, sharp claws glanced my shoulders.


Werewolves! Several of them! I nearly started a spell of God's Fire, but realized that the blast area would kill Rolf and Laurenna!

Blast! This would be a job for that enchanted mace that Heart-Fang had given to me earlier. Laurenna knew to keep shooting those silver arrows.

"You take that one, I'll take this one." I shouted. "Just hit anything that looks like a wolf!" he replied, drawing his own sword.


One of them eventually fell dead, but the others kept attacking, oblivious to the fact that we had superior weapons and skills. Laurenna kept pumping those arrows out, one after another, while my mace and Rolf's sword did the rest.


Suddenly, two more werewolves attacked from the shadows, waiting for their opportunity to strike.

I continued to beat them on the noggin with the enchanted mace. They seemed unable or unwilling to notice the pain I was causing them, attacking wildly with their claws.









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