Snow drifts down slowly. Endless white canvas in every direction. Small banks of snow and a few mountains break its monotony. Peace falls against this lifeless tundra. Peace and silence. A bright flass at the center leaves the party at the center of it all. A cold air brushes up against the party, creating involuntary shivers.
The party is awestruck by the sudden change in scenery. Hox drops to his knees and starts handling the snow. His tail wags excitedly. “I never seen so much!” His ears twitch as the snow crunches between his fingers.
Euphemia giggles as she packs a snowball to throw at Hox. It explodes against his hood. He shakes it off, but a bit lingers at the end of his snout. “So cold” he exclaims”
The faintest giggle escapes Belyis’ lips. Hearing this, Euphemia smiles and throws a snowball at the Tiefling. “Heads up Bel!”
Belyis lets out a squeal as her reflexes kick in and her hands move to catch the projectile. The snowball explodes in her hands. She begins to blush from the attention.
Aus is busy searching the horizon. “Focus,” he says as his gaze fixes into the distance. “We have a job to do.”
“Lighten up” Euphemia replies as she packs another snowball “We’re just having a bit of fun. It’s not every day we get to see snow”
“That’s fine. You’ve had your fun, but we need to focus now. Mr. Duke said that Santa’s villiage is due north,” Aus says as he raises his hand and points straight ahead “North is that way.”
“How do you know that?” Euphemia asks as she walks over and looks in the direction he is pointing.
“It’s a weird thing I can do. I can also tell you what time it is”
“Nah” replies Euphemia as she plops to the ground and begins to put on her shoes. “North is fine”
The party moves across the snow. Their boots land with a crunch as Aus takes the lead. Peaceful tranquility falls with the steady snowfall.
Twenty minutes pass. Aus searches for enemies. Euphemia hums quietly to herself. Hox sticks his tongue out as he attempts to catch falling snowflakes. Belyis treks behind the party. Her head is down, but her eyes scan the tundra for enemies.
A loud rumbling nearby stops the party. Weapons are drawn as they each search for its source. The rumbling stops. An even more menacing silence follows suit. Hands clench nervously at hilts and staves. A small bead of sweat starts to form on Euphemia’s brow.
The ground before Belyis explodes. Large chunks of snow fly through the air as the small bits of aftermath begin to settle. A large, almost invisible creature rises from the snow. Ten feet tall and almost just as wide, with fur as white as the snow that falls around it. There are places where the fur is matted and tangled. Other spots are bald, exposing scars from battles past. Its massive hands are hairless, with long black claws at the tip of each finger. On its head, there are two twisting grey horns. Wide nostrils sniff angrily at the air. It roars. Chunks of frozen saliva flies from its mouth. Its ice blues yes are full of blood thirst as it studies the party. It is a yeti.
The yeti’s claws come down on Belyis, ripping into her shoulder. Hot blood runs down her arm. Belyis’ expression changes as her meekness is replaced with anger. The second claw comes down with the same ferocity, but this time Belyis has time to react. Her hands blur through the air, blocking the beast’s attack. Her muscles are tense as she holds back the beast. The yeti grows angry.
Belyis pushes the hand to the side and ducks under the frustrated yeti’s desperate retaliation. She moves in close with her fist clenched tightly. A soft glow comes off her hands as she swings with all her might. The punch digs into the beast’s stomach. The yeti stumbles back as the air gets knocked out of his lunges. It takes a moment for it to regain its balance. It takes a step towards the Tiefling before a soft yellow glow glosses over the beast’s eyes. It stops advancing as his eyes go white. It remains paralyzed, its gaze lost in the distance.
Euphemia begins to charge at the Yeti, rapier in hand. Her stride is broken by another explosion of snow. A small, young yeti lunges at her back. Euphemia doesn’t get a chance to react as the creature’s fangs sink her shoulder. Strong hairy arms wrap around her. The young yeti stands at a similar height.
The pain from the bite is new to her. She screams in agony as a stream of blood falls down her back.
Hox, hearing her yell, grips his staff tightly. His eyes begin to glow purple as he waves his staff above his head. His raspy voice shouts “jennu ir! tluog ve dout vers. nomenoi souls re douta”
Above him, a glowing purple light begins to form. The snow around him glows as it reflects the purple light. He raises his free hand and points at the young yeti. “Loreat!” he shouts as the purple orb of eldritch energy flies towards the young beast. It crashes against its back. The Creature releases his bite and turns to the Kobold who begins reciting his next spell. Frozen foam and blood spill from the corners of the young yeti’s mouth.
Four more identical baby yetis jump from below. They make their way towards the Kobold whose eyes remain fixed on the yeti attacking Euphemia.
Euphemia free from the jaws of her attacker turns. Her free hand moves to cover her fresh wound. Blood pours from the lane of small holes that wrap around her shoulder. “By the light of the stars and the guidance of the moon, cure these wounds and grant me strength”. The wound begins to seal under her touch.
Hox begins to cast another spell. Before he can tap into any of his magic, he finds himself surrounded. Four young yeti circle the kobold. They snarl and growl as they lunge at him. Hox raises his staff in an attempt to fend off his assailants, but the claws rip into his scales. Drops of his blood and shreds of his cloak fall onto the snow around him. The Kobold lets out agonizing yells as he pushes against one of his attackers, keeping him away. An arrow sinks into its head. The body grows heavy against Hox’s staff. With a slight push, the yeti falls lifeless to the ground.
Aus has taken to the air. His wings flap confidently against the frigid air. They almost vanish against the white backdrop. He notches another arrow and takes aim. The arrow whistles through the air as it strikes another yeti. Its last helpless yelp escapes his lungs as it falls to the ground.
One of the young yeti turns to run. Hox tries to strike the fleeing beast but the remaining yeti blocks his line of sight. The yeti stares at Hox. Its eyes are full of bloodthirst. Hox readies grips his staff tightly as the yeti lunges at him. Fangs and claws dig into the Kobold as he tries to push the yeti away.
Belyis stares down the large beast before her. The yeti is dazed; its white eyes lost in the void. Belyis moves in close and unleashes a flurry of punches. The muffled thuds echo over the snow. The faint sound of bones slowly breaking follow suit. The beast coughs up blood as rage begins to gloss over its eyes.
It stares down at the Tiefling. Belyis readies herself as she hops against the snow. Hot steam rises from the yetis flaring nostrils. It roars as red frozen foam falls to the ground. The air around Belyis grows colder. Ice begins to gather against her coat and hair. The cold cuts through her skin. She stands there, frozen in place. Its black claws dig into Belyis’ coat, tearing at the fabric. Blow after blow comes down on the defenseless Tiefling. The yeti’s fur turns red with her blood. Belyis falls to the ground. The yeti stands over her lifeless body, its eyes searches for its next victim.
Euphemia’s yeti rushes towards the kobold. She swipes at it with her rapier, but she misses. She drops the sword to the ground. She pulls a small pan flute to her lips and begins to play a sweet melody. The young yeti stops in its tracks. Its eyes are no longer bloodshot. Its mouth no longer foaming. It sits on the ground and it stares onto the snow, peacefully.
Hox looks around and smiles. “feed sia thurirl. nomenoi souls re douta ekess clax!” Behind him, a spark of light flashes. A portal begins to grow. Dark purple lightning spews in every direction as the portal begins grows behind him. A loud wailing spills from the other side. Hox stands proudly as he holds his staff tightly. The portal grows to about 10 feet. Lightning continues to fly from its edges as purple energy swirls around, obscuring the landscape. From it, two large tentacles reach for the young yetis. One tries to run, but it is too slow. The tentacles wrap tightly around the creature. It struggles in vain as it is pulled into the portal. The portal vanishes. Hox stands alone in the middle of the blood-stained snow. His smile is unwavering and his tail waves behind him.
The large yeti finds his target in Hox. He begins to charge at the Kobold. Each step shakes the frozen landscape. The kobold braces himself. His knees shake as his grip on his staff tightens.
On the other side, Belyis lays in the snow motionless. The pool of blood continues to grow around her. The front of her coat is completely torn off. Deep gashes run down her chest as her breathing slows. A teary-eyed Euphemia runs towards her. Her little feet struggle to move her through the snow. “Don’t die.”
The yeti continues its charge. Large chunks of snow fly behind it. It closes in on Hox. Seeing the large creature up close, Hox takes an involuntary step back. An arrow rains from the sky and digs into the yeti’s back. The impact breaks the yeti’s stride. In this moment of confusion, Hox finds his words. A blast of purple eldritch energy strikes at the yeti’s face. It stumbles back as it tries to recover from the shock. A second arrow whistles through the cold air. This one digs into the creature’s skull. The yet stumbles about as the last bit of life bleeds from its wounds. It falls over lifeless.
Hox and Aus stare at the creature for a moment. When it doesn’t move they rush over to Belyis. Euphemia falls to her knees beside the dying Tiefling. Tears fall down her cheeks. She places her hands on Belyis’ chest “Please wake up!”