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Rime of the Frostmaiden: Raoul’s Secret

Raised first as a servant, and later as an apprentice, in the Hosttower of the Arcane, you witnessed firsthand the callousness and cruelty of the wizards of the Arcane Brotherhood. The day you decided to leave that life behind was the most frightening of your young life, because you knew how slim the chances were that the Brotherhood would allow you to simply walk away. It nearly cost you everything.

Your flight out of Luskan is a blur, as are the weeks you spent making the long trek north toward the Spine of the World. The only thing you remember clearly is how utterly unprepared you were for the stinging winds and bitter cold of the mountain pass. When you finally succumbed to fatigue and pitched forward into the snow, you thought it was the end.

But then the goliath appeared.

With a gentleness that belied his great stature, he lifted you to his shoulder and began to hike up through the mountains. The trek was long and eventually blackness took you, but when you awoke you were under furs in a fire-warmed tent, tended to by an aging goliath healer. The healer introduced himself as Demelok “Nightwalker,” and the goliath who rescued you as Keothakan “Frostworn.” Over the coming weeks, Nightwalker would be your constant companion, tending to you as you regained your strength, and telling you the lore of his clan, the Thuunlakalaga of Wrymdoom Crag.

Even after you regained your strength, you continued to spend much of your time with Nightwalker, fascinated by the deep wisdom he was happy to share. Over time, you became an initiate in the druidic ways followed by the goliath healers. But there were some things that Nightwalker could not teach you, things an initiate must experience for themselves–how to read the tracks of a crag cat, how to survive a raging blizzard–and for these lessons Keothakan became your companion, taking you on progressively longer treks into the wild to learn how to survive in Icewind Dale. Though a ferocious warrior, Keothakan always acted toward you with a gentleness bordering on concern, a quality all the more endearing for its stark contrast to the treatment you received from the wizards of the Arcane Brotherhood.

One evening, while speaking to Nightwalker, you asked the old healer why Keothakan seemed to roam more than the other warriors of the tribe. Nightwalker gave a heavy sigh, and said if you would know the answer to that you must swear secrecy to the gods themselves. Of course, you said yes.

Nightwalker then began to relate the legend of Oyaminartok, a name you had heard the other goliaths speak occasionally with fear and reverence. Oyaminartok was a spirit of the snow, a powerful bear who sometimes took goliath form and roamed the wastes, challenging any who came across her. Proud warriors would sometimes set out to find Oyaminartok, for it was said that any who bested her in a fight would receive her blessing. Mostly, though, they never returned.

One night, a furious blizzard descended on Wyrmdoom Crag, and out of the night came Oyaminartok herself. The bear walked upright, cradling in her arms a newborn goliath child. She gave it to the clan’s chieftain, and told him to raise the child as one of the clan’s own. She said to call the child Frostworn.

The chieftan summoned the clan’s healer, Nightwalker himself, to cast the auguries as was the custom for every newborn babe in the clan. But when Nightwalker read the signs, they told a terrible fate. This child, they said, would bring an end to life in Icewind Dale as its people knew it. Upon hearing this doom, Oyaminartok became enraged and struck out at the child, trying to slay it in order to forestall its fate. But the clan’s warriors held her at bay and forced Oyaminartok back into the night. The great bear disappeared into the driving sheet of white, cursing the child’s name.

The babe was given to a goliath couple who had recently lost their own child, and they raised him as their own. At the chieftain’s command, they never told the child that they were anything other than his parents, and Keothakan grew up knowing nothing of his true origin. Nightwalker, worried that Keothakan might someday seek out Oyaminartok like so many others had done, told the young goliath many stories about her fearsome and savage nature in hopes of dissuading his interest. However, as he grew, Keothakan took to leaving Wyrmdoom Crag for days at a time to range deep into the wilds, almost as if something were calling him.

Nightwalker fell silent for a spell, and then made you swear a second time never to tell a soul what you had just heard. You swore, and the old healer seemed satisfied, if still agitated.

That was months ago, and in the time since you have been on many more treks with Keothakan and completed your training as a druid. Ogolai, the clan’s chieftain, has decreed that it is time for you to leave Wrymdoom Crag and find a life amongst your own kind. Keothakan, of course, immediately declared that he would see you on your way, and so the two of you set out down the mountainside and across the tundra, heading for a new life …

… a life in the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale.

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