Spell Of The Ice Wizard

Hotly pursued by what appear to be a horde of Gibberlings, with Venger’s own Shadow Demon urging them on, our band of heroes run for what seems like miles. They climb into foothills, then into higher mountains, running into a group of Gibberlings here, evading another group there.

Finally, the Gibberlings give up the pursuit -- and for good reason: The band has passed the snow line. They are in the outer reaches of a very frozen mountain range.

Pulling their garments closer around them, they move forward. They must continue into the mountains for behind them lies the innumerable and hungry horde of Gibberlings.

The Dungeon Master steps from behind a snowdrift -- dressed in warm furs. The Ice Wizard, he tells them, may provide some clue that will help them escape -- and perhaps bring them closer to home.

It is not long before they meet their first Yeti -- a surprise visit indeed! The band scatters, outrunning and outsmarting the fierce snow beast. Hank, Sheila and Bobby evade the monster, with Bobby bringing down a piece of the glacier, Hank melting it with a well placed arrow and the giant ice block re-freezing with the Yeti inside it, it holds the beast long enough for the three heroes to circle back and find their friends.

What they find is incredible -- Diana and the others have figured out how to ride the great, prehistoric mammoths that inhabit the region. And the big beasts make first class transportation!

The only problem with riding the great woolly things is… there’s no way to steer them. And once aboard, our band of heroes must ride to the end of the line.

The end of the line is Glacier Peak, the home of the Ice Wizard. The Ice Wizard knew of the presence of the kids, and summoned the mammoths to bring them to him.

It seems the Ice Wizard has need of their services: His power is dwindling and can only be replenished by means of the North Star -- an ice-blue stone of magic properties.

Normally our band wouldn’t merely be doing such big favors for perfect strangers, but the Ice Wizard is virtually holding them hostage. They cannot return the way they came -- the Gibberlings lie that way. They cannot find their way out of the frozen tundra unless given the secret passes by the Ice Wizard. And they’ll never find out what he can tell them of their own home world unless they help.

They have no choice but to mount their mammoths -- which the Ice Wizard tells them how to control -- and seek the North Star. It sounds simple…

But between the Ice Wizard’s Glacier Peak and the ice cave where the North Star is to be found are Ice Lizards and the Frost Men who currently possess the North Star.

An attack by the Ice Lizards deprives them of their transportation -- for mammoths, despite their size, are easily frightened by flying creatures. The last bit of the trail is covered on foot -- finding the ice cave to be a dwelling of the Frost Men.

Sheila’s talents come in handy at first. She manages to reach the North Star -- but she’s captured and frozen by the Frost Men. It takes some cunning -- a few well placed arrows from Hank’s bow to melt enough ice to flood the Frost Men from their lair, free Sheila, and obtain possession of the North Star.

With the North Star in hand, the Ice Wizard is already regaining his power -- and magically whisks the band back to his Glacier Peak just as the Frost Men recover from their flood enough to surround the band of heroes.

The Ice Wizard keeps his promises -- giving them a map out of the snowy mountains, and information about their home world. The information is disappointing though: The Ice Wizard cannot transport them home, even at full power (much to Eric’s frustration), but he can give them a glimpse in the window of ice -- enough to reassure the heroes that home still exists, if only they could reach it!

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