A Trail Of Red
Blood of Wintersbreath
Book 1
Chapter XIV
A Trail of Red


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Reports of a massive, red-skinned orc in Western Nirmathas drew Sloan, Ashera, Iandra, Durgan, and Mechiam from Fangwood Keep to the remote mining town of Ironhill. At camp on the road to Ironhill, Durgan and Sloan spoke briefly about Durgan's past, learning that he was exiled by his family and stripped of his family name in order to prevent future shame coming to his house. While Durgan didn't explain the messy affair in detail, Sloan could tell it was personal. After being exiled, Durgan left for Lastwall and joined their ranks, looking to commit himself to a worthy cause.

In Ironhill, Sloan and her companions followed up on rumors of the orc, hearing that he appeared—seemingly out of nowhere—in the town, covered in soon, only to disappear a moment later as if by some magic. Further investigation led to rumors of orc activity in the mountains largely dismissed by the locals who had not yet heard word of the attacks on villages in the north and east.

Following clues, the group headed into the mountains beyond Ironhill to search for a derelict mine called Tovar's Folly, long-abandoned and prime territory to serve as a base of operations for any orcs in the region. After a day of travel in the snowy peaks, the group found Tovar's Folly and stealthily infiltrated it, dispatching sentries and discovering that the red orc—a witch named Loga—was performing some sort of ritual deeper within the mine. Further in the group encountered demons summoned by Loga. At the end of the mine Sloan's party discovered a cave frozen by supernaturally cold ice, where Loga was performing a ritual involving a teenage girl bound in cold-iron chains inside of a strange magic circle.

Loga knew of Sloan on seeing her, calling her "Blood of Wintersbreath," and promised that he would "complete what the others started" by taking Sloan's life. Loga proved to be a powerful opponent both magically and physically, capable of summoning demons to his aid including wretched dretch and vicious hellhounds. With great difficulty, Loga fell to Sloan's blade and with his death the ritual ceased.

Sloan released Loga's prisoner from a torpor state and the girl remembered nothing prior to becoming bound by Loga's withcraft. When freed from her chains and released from the bidning circle, all Sloan could get from the strange girl was her name: Tsura. Realizing that Tsura had become her responsibility until such a time as they could find out more about her, Sloan agreed to take the teen back to Marideth's Crossing.

On leaving the mine, Sloan and her group were surprised by an orc scouting party returning from a patrol. As the battle began, Tsura panicked and conjured a spiked wall of ice below the orcs that eviscerated them. Iandra immediately recognized Tsura's powerful sorcerous gift and noted that she seemed unfazed by the remarkably cold air of the mountains. Tsura was unaware of her own gift, frightened by the power she holds. Sloan vowed to help Tsura understand her power and recover her memories.

Previously Dreamwalker III
Continued In A Crown of Thorns