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De Exilio
Chapter 1 — A White Wilderness
Just before morning, while it was still dark, Belvin came out of trance. He heard Kamil nuzzing loudly. He woke Hakam. "It's Kamil; he's in pain."

   The two descended the rope. They found the three animals and Szordrin huddled together under a thin layer of snow. Hakam examined the camel. "He probably has frostbite," said the cleric. "I do not know how to treat frostbite on an animal, and it is still before dawn."

   Szordrin woke up. "We need to get the blood flowing in his hooves," he said.

   "Camels do not have hooves," said Belvin.

   Szordrin continued, "Everyone, grab one of his feet and start massaging his toes."

   So it was that the sun began peeking over the horizon, while the three of them were rubbing the toes of Belvin's camel.

   Those remaining in the extradimensional space were suddenly startled awake out of sleep or trance by falling ten feet to the surface of the snow. The duration of Szordrin's spell had ended. They were all now wide awake.

   Everyone began to gear up. Belvin and Hakam prayed for their day's allotment of spells, and Szordrin and Mythlos reviewed their spellbooks. It was much warmer than the night before. Leokas estimated that it was about the temperature of water freezing. As long as they kept in motion, they were not likely to die, but they could still suffer frostbite and other discomforts.

   Belvin and Hakam had each prayed for the magic to protect themselves and their companions from the effects of bitter weather. After laying hands on each of the others and themselves and saying a blessing, everyone felt much warmer.

   "We don't have enough magic for all the animals," said Hakam.

   "Shrodinjer is an amphibian," said Belvin. "Perhaps he can simply freeze solid and then be thawed."

   Mythlos, however, did not like this idea, and Stormshadow and Kamil had to pass on the elemental endurance. Once they had warmed up Kamil's feet, the camel seemed content with the morning temperature, and Stormshadow and Ferry appeared toasty warm in their fur coats.

   As the morning grew bright, they gazed around themselves. As far as the eye could see was snow and ice.

   "Where do we go now?"

   "I have an idea," said Hakam. "I requested the power to grant someone among us the ability to walk on air for roughly an hour. Which of you elves can see the farthest? Climb as high as you can and see what you may."

   "I'll do it," said Leokas.

   "Here, also take the ring of feather falling, just in case."

   Hakam placed his right hand on Leokas, held his holy symbol in his left, and spoke a prayer over Leokas.

   "Whenever you are ready, give it a try."

   Leokas raised his foot up and took a step. It felt like solid ground. He lifted himself up and was hovering in the air a foot off the ground.

   "Odd," said Leokas. "How do I descend?"

   "Will yourself to descend, and you shall."

   Leokas practiced for a few minutes before he felt confident that he could both ascend and descend. Satisfied, he focused his thoughts to the sky, imagining that he was climbing a giant staircase or summiting a large hill. Then he began climbing. He climbed step after step upwards, at a nearly 45 degree incline for about twenty minutes, leaving his friends far below. He was probably a mile above them now. From such a great elevation, he was slowly able to make out geographical features. Far to the north, perhaps between 25 and 50 miles away, he could clearly see a very large river flowing through the ice. Beyond the river, he could see several large flying creatures in the distance. The river was intersected by a smaller river to the northeast. If they were to walk due east, they might be able to reach this second river in about three days. To the southeast, the terrain became hilly. Apart from this, even at such a height, he could only see more white.

   He willed himself to descend and joined his companions safely before the spell duration expired. Leokas expressed his opinion that walking east to the river would be the smartest option, and Hakam agreed.

   "Which way were the rivers flowing?" asked Szordrin.

   "I could not tell," said Leokas. "However, the northern snow-covered wastelands, if that is where we are, are separated from the rest of Faerûn by large mountains, such as the Spine of the World. I would think that any rivers here would flow north to the oceans of ice beyond. We should follow the waters south if we wish to reach the mountains and find a pass back to civilization."

   "How are we prepared for food?" asked Mythlos.

   "I have twelve days worth of rations in my pack," said Szordrin.

   "I had as much," said Hakam, "but they are all with my pack camel back on Samber's island."

   "We have eight left in the bag of holding," said Mythlos.

   "I have the rest of my biscuits," said Ilthian, "but that is all."

   "There are only two days worth of food left for Kamil," said Belvin. "Let us hope that there is life somewhere in this snowy desert."

   "In the worst case, I can create food for us again," said Hakam. "We will survive, if we are careful. I am sure of it."

   They passed around food before beginning their journey. Cassiera informed them that she did not need to eat. "I have a magic ring. I... purchased it from my homeland so that I could survive as a stowaway," she explained. "Do not worry about having food or drink for me."

   After eating, they set off, Belvin upon Kamil, and the rest walking in two lines. Leokas guided them in the direction of the sun, which had several captivating halos around it, like nothing any of them had ever seen before. "The sun is so beautiful," noted Ilthian.

   Kamil's feet were surprisingly suited for walking in the snow, as they spread out and prevented him from sinking deeply. No one else had such a luxury, though, and travel was slow and depressing, as it was hard to tell that any progress was being made. Ahead was a pure white field; behind was an endless trail of their own footprints in the snow.

   Ilthian walked beside Hakam and queried him on the differences in culture among the various countries he had mentioned to her thus far. Everyone else was silent for the most part, as they had doubts that they would ever find their way back to their old lives again.
Session: 61st Game Session - Thursday, Oct 29 2015 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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