Ghosts of Winter
Ghost 1: The Ghost of Winters Past
As you pick up the (item) an apparition shimmers into being before you. It appears as a plump, kindly looking white haired woman. She wears a red dress with a white apron and white bonnet.
“I am the ghost of winter past, one of three spirits who will appear before you this night. I am here to show you a vision of the past in the hope that you can save the future. Behold! The past.”
The room fades around you. You find yourself transported to this very fortress. The halflings are hard at work in the workshop, happily making and packaging toys and gifts. The door opens and a man enters. He is tall and stout, with a long white beard. He is dressed in red robes trimmed in white, with a wide black belt and a red winter cap atop his head. His laugh booms through the shop “HAAAW HAAAAW HAAAAW!” He walks through the room, inspecting the halflings’ work and smiling in approval.
“Thousands of years ago!” yells the spirit “This land was watched over by the great and powerful Red Wizard. Once a year, on the longest and coldest night of the year, the wizard would judge the people of the land. Rewarding those who had been righteous with gifts and punishing the wicked. The good people of the land loved the wizard. Each year they had a feast in honor of his arrival. They called this feast the Winter Celebration Festival. But not all men were so filled with the spirit of peace and good will. A cabal of evil men found a way to escape the ever present gaze of the Red Wizard’s all seeing eye. For years, they plotted in secret to destroy the spirit of kindness and generosity. Finally, on the night of the WInter Celebration Festival, while the wizard was about his annual task, they stormed the gate of his winter wonderland. They slaughtered the wizard’s halfling workers like animals. The poor things didn’t even understand the concept of fighting. The men chained the doors of the winter palace and burned it to the ground with the kindly wizard’s wife and infant son still inside.” The scene changes to the Red Wizard’s ice palace. Flames lick at the walls, growing higher and higher. Inside, you see huddled in the corner, a woman cradling her infant child. The very same woman as the phantom before you. Soon after, the wizard returns. The men have prepared an enchantment to trap him. The cast their spell but the wizard doesn’t seem to even notice them. He walks straight to the charred remains of his wife and son. As he gently lifts the bodies, the ice splits open at his feet. He deposits the bodies in the ground and the ice closes again, interring them. He turns toward the men behind, his eyes burning with rage. In an instant, the killers are frozen solid.
“After that he sealed the doors of the great ice wall and constructed the Winter Fortress, where he gathered his few remaining followers and entered into a state of wizard hibernation, a state in which he remained for a hundred years.”
The image fades and you find yourself back in the winter fortress.
“I can see no further. Whatever happens, you must save him. Please.”
With these last words, the spirit fades as well.
Ghost 2: The Ghost of Winter Present
As you pick up the (item) an apparition shimmers into being before you. As it becomes visible, you see that it is the very same elf who requested your help on the mountain.
“I am the ghost of winter present, here to show you what is at stake if you fail in your quest this night”
“Not long ago, as winter approached, the red wizard began to stir. He has prepared his great list yet again. Mad with grief, he has judged the world and declared all of us naughty, regardless of our behavior in the year past.”
You see around you gifts stacked row upon row and sealed away. The workshop is dismantled and turned into a factory for the tools of war. Halflings who protest are forced to work the furnaces and the mines below the mountain. Those loyal to the wizard are armed and trained for battle. In his vast throne room, the wizard pours over ancient texts and recites obscure incantations.
“He seeks to cover the world in perpetual winter. His snowy wrath will blanket everything, covering the land in a blizzard of blood and vengeance. Those who survive will be no match for the wizards winter warriors. He knows you’re here. Even now he watches you. Seated upon his throne of ice he waits for you. You must stop him. By any means necessary.”
With this, the spirit fades, returning you to the room you were in.
Ghost 3: The Ghost of Winter Future
The lights go out. Before you appears a spirit. In the darkness, it is impossible to tell what the phantom looks like.
“I am the ghost of winter future. It is my task to show you what could be if you fail tonight.”
A snowy wasteland appears before you. A group of men trudge through the snow dressed in furs and carrying spears. They seem to be tracking something. Suddenly, a trio of the red wizard’s halflings burst forth from beneath the snow, snarling teeth filed to a point. Caught by surprise, the men are cut down in an instant. Back in the winter fortress, the red wizard watches and crosses more names from his list. The image begins to crackle and change. Snow becomes fire. A mountain becomes an enormous machine that blots out the sun in the sickly green sky. “This is all wrong”, the spirit says. “This is not the future I have seen. Something has changed”
Then the image and the ghost are gone.