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Tag: jin_becomes_the_winter_king

The Final Winter Part 6: The Winter Queen
The climb to the top of the icy cliff was difficult, but Sark's magic bent the wind to the orc mage's will and the heroes scaled the sheer surface in mere moments. The terrible wind snatched up Arshaka as the obsidian bard moved from crag to crag, and he was dashed upon the icy rocks and shattered, his pieces caught up by the wind. “He will pull himself together,” Sark yelled, “but we must continue on!” Rokkon had already been separated from the group, as the battle with the fiery worm had shattered the glacier and blocked the path. The four pressed on though, Upon reaching the top of the cliff, they saw that a series of ledges lead up to a rough-hewn stone shrine. An eldritch blue-white light radiated from the shrine, and all could see the Winter Queen standing there, chanting a terrible spell. She was beautiful, but it was the kind of beauty that carried no hint of softness, mercy, or compassion. No, it is the beauty of the storm or the mountains. Stark and magnificent, but uncaring and merciless. A shimmering curtain of the blue-white light covered the entrance to the shrine.

She was not alone. Two eladrin with silvery mail and flowing white hair were here, along with a pair of the wicked-looking, icy fey. Two fierce, four-footed creatures with snowy feathers, tearing claws, and sharp beaks stood next to the wintry eladrin. A single, horrific beast with a leathery hide, white fur, savage tusks, and jagged spikes of ice growing from its back and limbs waited near the shrine, and it roared with elemental ferocity. “Let none interfere with the Winter Queen's work!” One of the eladrin shouted. The rest prepared to attack.

“But wait,” Jin said, “we have come to serve the Winter Queen!” So convincing were the pale-skinned warlock's words that they all paused long enough for the heroes to get in position.

It was all ice and fur and teeth!

“Slay them you fools!” The Winter Queen commanded, and they obeyed. The winter-white owlbears charged, even as Jin vanished from sight. The battle was on! Gurthmore and Chuka-Tet held the line as the fearsome, ice-clawed demon was driven back to the edge of the cliff by a powerful blow from the mul barbarian. He and the thri-kreen druid stood at the edge of the cliff, batting the winter fey, the icy demon, and one of the owlbears. Despite raking claws, freezing breath, and horrible wounds, the druid managed to send the demon tumbling from the cliff with a sharp blow from his staff as the gladiator's axe reaped a heavy toll. Jin charmed one of the winter eladrin, and she was unable to shake the enchantment. Her loyalty was with him, no matter what. While his blade was of limited use, he struck time and again until at last one of the icelings fell. Sark blasted them all with lightning and fire, weakening the barrier protecting the fey monarch until at last it began to waver.

“Enough!” The Winter Queen shouted. There was a shimmer and a flash of blue light, and the arcane barrier disappeared. The heroes had only the span of a few heartbeats to pause and catch their breath. The Winter Queen stood before them now, and her coldly beautiful face twisted into an icy rage. “Fools! Insects! How dare you interfere with my designs!” She screeched in her fury. “I have been patient with you, but my largess has reached its limits! You have been warned, but still you persisted. And now you will pay the price for your meddling. You will feel my touch. You will freeze. And then you will serve me forever. This world has suffered enough. Your suffering has only begun!” A sword with a blade composed of black ice appeared in her hand.

Beautiful but cold and deadly, the Winter Queen was ready to do battle.

“I call forth the dead, those who died in the winters of an age long past. Fight now, for an end to all!” A creaking and popping could be heard as the ice around them broke, revealing frozen, shambling corpses. They moaned horribly, and then moved to attack. Two charged Sark as the rest moved in against Chuka-Tet and Gurthmore. Despite their icy claws, the heroes faced a greater threat – the Winter Queen. She vanished and reappeared at will, her blade of black ice slashing and freezing flesh even the poison it contained burned in their veins. She let forth blasts of ice and cold, ranting all the while. Sark staggered and nearly fell after a slash, while only the primal magic at Chuka-Tet's command kept he and Gurthmore alive despite the frost and the venom. Jin was a ghost, invisible to her sight, as his blade struck her from all angles. Gurthmore stuck her a powerful backhand blow, mocking her as she was knocked off her feet. Struggling to rise, defiant to the end, Sark cast a simple cantrip in the from of a bolt of force that blasted a hole in her chest. Jin stood above her, a look of sorrowful resignation on his face. The Shard ofhte Sun became a spear of light, and a single blow consumed her in a rush of radiant fire. Her crown rolled to his feet, and the remaining winter ghaele kneeled.

“Your majesty,” she said. A stair opened, sinking into the top of the mountain, and it descended to the heart of the Winter Queen's citadel. The heroes descended, and what fey remained bowed to Jin, recognizing that the one-time street urchin and bastard child of sorcery had by virtue of his pact become heir to the throne of the Winter Court. Messengers were sent, and the forces of winter retreated. The war within the Lands of the Wind was over. The demons and elementals serving Cryonax fled, and though they were gone, the damage had been done. A day passed as Jin and the others rested. A procession was formed, and over three days, they slowly marched across the land to the demesne of the Summer Queen. A grand ceremony was held, and Jin and Ione were wed as per their pact. They would rule together in a land where hope had been restored.

Hope had been restored to the Lands Within the Wind.

“I will rule both courts in your name while you are gone,” Ione told her husband. “Hope is not yet gone from the world. Despite the darkness of your heritage, there is yet light within you. Go and save this world, all worlds, and then return. Home will always be here for you. We are fey. We have all the time in the world.”

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