Tunnels of Ice
When Ufretin looked at him, all he saw was a man who betrayed the Elves and joined their mortal enemy. But Tarnum needed his prisoner to trust him and tell him the location of the Sword of Frost. The alternative - forcing him to talk - was too horrible for Tarnum to consider.
Tarnum must battle his way through the tunnels inside a giant glacier if he is ever going to catch up to Gelu. Tarnum and his two best Captains will carry over to the next scenario along with all their skills, spells, and experience. All Heroes are limited to level 30.
|Day 1 - day 1|
|Gelu's forces disappeared into the tunnels beneath a giant glacier, so we followed. Even though these tunnels are bitter cold, this is the type of environment my Nighon troops are used to fighting in. Unfortunately, there is evidence that Kija and her Barbarians have been in the area as well.|
I wonder which one I will discover first.
|Day 2 - day 2|
|I visited my prisoner, Ufretin, for the first time today. I have made the Dwarf wait for nearly a month to weaken his resolve and soften his anger. Along with low and sporadic rations and exposure to the cold, Ufretin should be ripe for interrogation.|
When I approached Ufretin's iron cage, I found the Dwarf half-naked, bruised, and thin, but he still managed to pull himself proudly to his feet.
"Make it easy on yourself and answer my questions," I said.
"Why don't you take off that helm and show me your real face? Or are you a coward?" Ufretin responded.
I had hoped to wear my helm at all times. If I showed him my face, I took a chance of Ufretin recognizing me as the same Tarnum who lived and fought alongside the Elves of AvLee for all those years. But I figured I owed Ufretin that much at least.
I took off my helm, and despite the black designs painted on my face he recognized me.
That was my Elven name.
"It can't be!" Ufretin said.
"It can, and it is," I said. I looked around to make sure no one was within earshot. I shudder to think what would happen if my Nighon troops learned that I used to fight for AvLee.
"I am Tarnum, so believe me when I say I don't wish to harm you. I beg for your help, Ufretin. Maybe I can avoid more deaths!"
Ufretin was quiet for a long time. I could tell by his expression that I was one of the last people he would've ever expected behind that helm. Finally, he looked up at me, his eyes burning with hatred.
"I have no words for you, traitor!"
|Day 5 - day 5|
|The commander of the Medusas, Zallisa, approached me today with news I had hoped not to hear.|
"Those Barbarians are everywhere in these ice tunnels!" Zallisa said.
Her Medusa scouts have been exploring the tunnels and in every occasion they spotted Barbarian troops. So, Kija found another way in. I've been wondering where she went. Now, at least, I know where she is.
"Good work," I said.
|Day 8 - day 8|
|"If he won't talk, let me use a more aggressive means of questioning," Kilkik suggested.|
I mistakenly mentioned my frustration over my daily meetings with Ufretin in front of the Beholder. For almost a week now, I've been pleading with my prisoner but the Dwarf refuses to speak. I'm afraid if I don't learn the location of the Sword of Frost soon, I will never have the chance to stop Gelu.
"No torture!" I said. "At least, not yet."
"I don't understand," Kilkik said.
He had a right to be confused. I have allowed torture before, but only because I wasn't part of it. I didn't know the people. I didn't have to listen to their screams. But with Ufretin, a bold hero who deserves better, I couldn't bring myself to allow it.
And my reluctance was causing a stir among the troops. Although I have no proof, I'm certain Kilkik is at least partially behind the increasing disobedience of my army. Still, my success depends entirely on Ufretin - and he thinks I am his enemy.
|Day 14 - day 14|
|My Minotaur bodyguard escorted the Queen of the Medusas, Zallisa, into my tent.|
"What have you learned?" I asked her.
"My scouts have found three Strongholds blocking our way. There is another danger as well. All these tunnels intersect, which will give the enemy the opportunity to sneak up behind our front line troops," Zallisa said.
"What do you think, Trongar?" I asked the Minotaur.
Shrugging, the big bodyguard said, "Hit them hard enough, and those tunnels won't matter."
"Right. If we take the Strongholds, we win the battle," I said. But to be safe, maybe I should keep some troops behind to guard the small area I've conquered.
|Day 18 - day 18|
|It had been a while since I had talked to Ufretin, so when I saw the pale Dwarf sprawled in the bottom of his cage I was shocked. He appeared to be near death already. Lack of food, exercise, and proper clothing has taken its toll. And here I had been trying to avoid torturing him.|
I nudged him with my gauntleted fist, waking him.
"You fight for the wrong side, Ufretin. I know Gelu is your friend, but he's confused. He's being a fool looking for this Sword of Frost!" I said.
"He only wants to destroy it - not use it! Not like you!"
"I don't want to use it! I don't even want it to be found at all!"
But Ufretin didn't believe me. In his eyes, I was a traitor. I was one of the Nighons now. How could I convince him otherwise? Was it possible to earn back his trust?
|Day 23 - day 23|
|"Do you honestly believe a little extra food and a warm cloak is going to get me to talk?" Ufretin asked as I approached.|
Thanks to the extra rations I had ordered, he looked a lot healthier since I last saw him.
"No," I said. "I just didn't want you to die."
"Then why are you here? I'm not going to tell you anything."
"I came to explain myself - to really explain myself," I said.
It has come to this. I could think of no other reason why Ufretin would ever speak to me, short of torture, and I wasn't going to resort to that. Already, I feel I have allowed myself to be dragged too far down by my troops.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Ufretin asked.
I looked around to make sure no one was watching. Then slowly, I pulled my shirt apart to reveal my naked chest.
"I am immortal, Ufretin. I am not just long-lived like the Elves and Dragons. I am immortal - I can't die!"
"You're a fool!"
"I was a fool once, a cruel one, and I've been paying for my brutality ever since. I will probably pay for it until the end of time. That's why I am here! That's why I must stop Gelu! Gelu is about to destroy the entire world, and no matter what disgusting things I have to do I will not let him do it!"
Before Ufretin could respond, I plunged my unseen dagger deep into my own heart.
|Day 24 - day 24|
|I gave Ufretin a full day to absorb what he had seen before I visited him.|
"How do you feel today?" I asked.
"Let me see your chest," he said.
I opened my shirt. There wasn't even a scar where I had stabbed myself.
"You just stood back up," the Dwarf said. "I watched it go in, I saw the blood myself, and then you just stood back up. How?"
"Like I said, I am immortal."
"How? Why?" Ufretin asked. I no longer saw hatred in this man's eyes, but fear.
Over the next hour, I told him a shortened version of my story. I tried to explain my actions by describing the cruelty of the Wizard-Kings who enslaved my people, but when I described the hundreds of villages I burned to the ground and the thousands of people I slaughtered my excuse seemed weak. Finally, I told him how I died, and how the Ancestors refused to allow me to enter Paradise.
"I do what they ask - I am their servant until I can redeem myself. But they have never asked me to fight against my friends before. I couldn't convince anyone else to fight Gelu!"
"I don't know, Tarnum," Ufretin said. "This is a lot to take in - a lot to believe at once."
"Search your heart, and ask yourself why I haven't allowed anyone to torture you. Maybe then you'll see I am telling you the truth," I said.
|Day 30 - day 30|
|My army was at the point of mutiny, and all over my treatment of the prisoner, Ufretin. I knew that Kilkik was instigating the commotion, but there wasn't much I could do about it. I had to remove the cause of my problem. I had to get rid of the Dwarf.|
|Day 32 - day 32|
|Most of the camp was asleep when a single figure hovered over the ice toward the black iron cage. The prisoner sleeping inside the cage didn't stir even when a long tentacle reached out and opened the lock. The cage door swung open, and still the bundle of furs didn't budge.|
"Now, Dwarf, you die!" Kilkik said.
Suddenly, one of the furs flew up and over the Beholder's head, blinding him temporarily. Beneath them, Zallisa, the Medusa Queen, darted out with the quickness of a snake and plunged a crude dagger forged from a bone deep into Kilkik's body.
"No! You die, Beholder!" Zallisa said. She removed the dagger, stabbed him again. "This is for my sisters!"
|Day 32 - day 32-2|
|Meanwhile, in one of the distant tunnels, Ufretin and I dismounted from my horse. I handed the Dwarf an axe and a bundle of food.|
"That should be enough to get you back to your friends," I said.
"You could've released me up above on the surface. At least I wouldn't be able to warn Gelu," Ufretin said.
"I'm hoping that you will be able to convince Gelu to stop."
"What makes you think that I even want to?"
"Nothing. But I'm not going to torture the answers I want out of you, and I can't hold you. What you do now is up to you," I said.
I climbed back onto my horse.
"What happens if we meet again?" Ufretin asked.
"Then we'll probably still be enemies," I said.
I prepared to leave, but before I could get out of earshot, Ufretin stopped me.
"The City of Volee - that's where the Sword of Frost is. Gelu is looking for some ancient, lost city of the Vori Elves," Ufretin explained.
"Thanks," I said.
|3, 4, 0||Stronghold|
|7, 62, 0||Stronghold|
|45, 23, 0||Dungeon|
|67, 5, 0||Dungeon|
|70, 63, 0||Stronghold|
|4, 5, 0||Zubin the Battle Mage|
|7, 64, 0||Gretchin the Barbarian|
|59, 5, 0||Your most powerful hero from The Capture scenario.|
|67, 7, 0||Tarnum the Overlord|
|69, 10, 0||Your 2nd powerful hero from The Capture scenario.|
|69, 64, 0||Crag Hack the Barbarian|