Hasan saw his companions surge forward. He saw the terrible beast before him, and Feldard grimly rising after being felled by some awful, unseen blow. Unsure of the nature of their opponent, the elf drew one of the magical arrows they had plundered from the goblin lair, and smoothly released it. He watched as the arrowhead bit deeply into the great wolf and blood soiled the pristine white of the animal’s fur.
The dwarf had already begun his advance on the beast when the icy blast struck. The chill near froze the very air in his lungs and he doubled over in an attempt to keep his core from freezing solid. It was more instinct than anything else.
The icy blast ended and Feldard gratefully felt the sharp biting pain of cold on his face and hands. He would have been in trouble if he’d froze numb.
With a grunt, he grabbed up his dropped battle-axe and rose from his crouched position. He could hear the whistle of arrows pasting around him. Engaging in melee would mean he would be just as likely a target but he couldn’t wait for this party to empty their quivers before attacking. He doubted he would fare as well against a second ice blast.
Feldard charged forward, and swung for the Frost Wolf with his axe.
Ludo saw the giant wolf breath a cone of icy air over Feldard and watched as Feldard doubled over. Charging forward he moved past Feldard, and as Feldard struck with his axe, shot his bow point blank into the flank of the wolf. Ludo then tossed his bow to one side, drew his sword and looked for an opening to strike further, whilst trying to avoid the snarling fangs and claws.
Stephan recklessly lunged past the archers and dwarf, eager to fight a real foe after the horror of the cubes.
“Halav shall vanquish you!” he bellowed as he leaped at the giant wolf. An arrow sizzled past him, plunging into the lupine’s side. The arrow seemed only to enrage the beast more and it turned on the fighter as his sword connected with its right shoulder. While the blades did some slicing, it seemed more to glance off what must have been thick, knotted muscle beneath the pristine fur. Nevertheless, a chunk of meat came clean off but the wolf had muscle to spare.
Maruc clanked up the stairs after the others to see what the commotion was all about. The temperature had dropped at the top of the stairs. Frost rimmed the landing and the doorway. His steel booted foot skidded on the glassy stonework.
“Watch your step Miklos.” he called back, “There’s something afoot. I suspect we’re getting a frosty welcome.” he grinned wolfishly and raised his Halav emblazoned shield and strode into the melee loosening his chain flail.
His eyes were drawn to the beast that dominated the room. “What in the name of Halav Incarnate is that?”
Edging around the enraged creature he tired to knock it off balance. If I could just loop the chain around its hind leg here…. he swung low and the chain whipped out snaring the limb. Yes! He yanked at the handle but he lost his footing and stumbled the foot kicked out and jarred against the priests shield. Its attention turned on him. Maruc yanked at the flail desperately trying to release it.
Miklos rolled his eyes at the priest’s remark. He edged to the doorway and glanced in. Hmmm.. Arctic Lupus Gargantium, that explains the nip in the air. “Bryll’s Fantastic Menagerie would suggest one should refrain from upsetting these creatures as they are liable to freeze you on the spot with their mere breath!” he said helpfully.
He was feeling pretty useless back by the doorway so he toyed with the idea of throwing a web over it but soon realized this would be counter productive. He tried a moral boosting comment instead. “Well done you chaps. That’s it! Yes! Another one of those swings should do it Feldard!” He was grimacing and punching the air like a shadow boxer when the spray of blood drenched him. “Nice.” he said flatly.
The wolf’s strong maw and sharp teeth bit deep into the cleric. Though his armor had afforded him some protection, the wound was quite painful. With the wolf’s attention momentarily on the cleric, the dwarf seized the moment and brought his axe down hard into the wolf’s back. It roared with pain as it released the priest from its maw.
From behind the curtain, Vlaak had been waiting patiently for the right moment, when all of the interlopers were fully engaged in battle with one his two prized pets. He held the other firmly by its leash. It was all he could do to restrain it as it watched his brother engaged in battle. Finally, he whipped open the curtain and barked the command for it to attack.
The wolf inhaled deeply and for the second time the room was filled with frosty air as the blast of cold air flew into Stephan.
Vlaak was the largest hobgoblin any of the heroes had ever seen. Armed with a magnificent giant sword, he charged into the battle.