After making some preparations and giving instructions to the rest of the expedition, the party heads back to the mysterious lake. Asa casts Detect Magic on the lake and notices that there is something magical underneath the middle of the lake, beneath the area the ducks are circling. It’s some type of illusion, but he can’t determine what the magic is exactly.
While there, Ulfric and Eirlif get into a bit of a tussle, which results in Eirlif being thrown head first into the the middle of the lake. He immediately freezes in a block of ice . . . upside down. Skögur, thinking quickly, fastens his grappling hook to his rope and manages to latch onto the ice with it. The party starts pulling him to shore. When they get him to about thirty feet from shore, more ice forms and they can’t pull him any closer.
Kulgan casts a Fiery Bolt at the ice encasing Eirlif and breaks off a big chunk. That allows Eirlif to start breaking himself out. Unfortunately, water pours into the cracks he makes. But he’s able to move enough to cast Aganazzar’s Scorcher, which melts enough ice to break his ice floe free so the party can start pulling him toward shore again. Unfortunately, the steam thus created scalds him.
After Ulfric comes back from chopping firewood, Eirlif throws a piece of the wood in the water. It surprisingly sinks. He takes another piece, places it in the water, and casts Buoyant Lifting on it. He then sends it floating toward the ducks. It floats most of the way just fine, except for a couple of spots where it sinks and then resurfaces. In the center, it continues to float until the spell expires.
Kulgan believes there must be some spirits here (probably associated with the Vanir) that need to be appeased with an offering. So Skögur finds some rabbits, which Asa then sacrifices. They prepare a meal, and the whole party eats. Then Asa appoints Skøgul to go out into the lake to complete the ritual by pouring the blood into the water. About 5-10 feet in, the water freezes around her feet. She pours the blood in there, and the ice melts. A smiling face appears in the water, and a voice thanks them for the sacrifice and tells them that they are welcome and will no longer be troubled here.
Skögur casts Lay of the Land and sees where there is some forest, which the group decides to head for. It takes about 8 hours to get there. Skögur starts scouting ahead in the forest, looking for animal tracks. He finds tracks of wolves and bears and also some unnaturally large hoof marks. He also notices his friend(s) the raven(s) nearby. Meanwhile, the party sets up camp. Skögur returns and shares what he’s found, about the large tracks, not the ravens.
He leads everyone back into the forest, following the large hoof tracks. As it gets darker, he leads them toward a clearing. A little later, he sees torchlight in the distance that appears to be moving away from them. They wait for it to go away, then continue on to the clearing and bed down for the night.
During first watch, Ulfric notices the torchlight in the distance. He feels compelled to go toward it and does, until he reaches the edge of the forest and realizes that it’s a bad idea. He returns to the camp and the rest of his watch is uneventful. Skøgul is up next. She notices during her watch that the grass and mushrooms in the clearing have grown longer. And about 3-½ hours in she sees what appears to be two eyes in the forest. They eventually get closer, and she creeps up to cast Detect Attitude. The spell reveals the outline of the creature. It is a large deer-like shape with wings and fangs. And it’s hostile! She orders it to leave or prepare to fight. The creature speaks. She rouses her campmates and attempts to find out what the thing wants. It says that it wants their deaths. Then it roars, causing unreasoning fear in everyone but Ulfric and Kulgan, who run up to engage the creature, while everyone else bolts.
Ulfric and Kulgan damage the creature, which angers it. But it can’t attack back since it apparently can’t enter the clearing. It instead goes after the nearest fleeing party member, Asa. Kulgan goes to intercept it and misses. The creature attacks Skøgul from behind, striking her down and killing her instantly. Kulgan lands a killing blow, cleaving it in twain. The fear effect ends. They pay their respects to Skøgul and raise a cairn above her in the clearing. Taking trophies from the creature’s body, they move on.
They return to the settlement to restock and (for an unseemly brief time) mourn the passing of their party member. They then lead another party from the settlement to the forest to get lumber. After getting the woodcutters started, they leave them the next morning to continue exploring. Along their journey, they start hearing music that sounds like a fiddle. They come to a river and find a naked young man in the water playing a fiddle, quite well, in fact. He looks Norse, like them. He appears to be another Vanir spirit.
Asa approaches the spirit and greets it. The creature asks what brings them to his river. He identifies himself as a musician. He calls himself Fossergrim (a river spirit). He invites them to join him in a concert. The party is hesitant, but the spirit tries to entice them. He pulls out a flute and a harp from behind him. He sighs and complains of not wanting to be lonely any longer. Ulfric relents and accepts the harp and starts playing. He actually plays surprisingly well. He welcomes Ulfric to come back to play again. He also lowers the river a bit to allow the party to cross. He offers to teach them music later . . . after an appropriate offering. They ask him about the torchlights. He is aware of them. The bearers come by occasionally and dance to his music. He is also familiar with the giant deer-like creature they killed. “He comes by often.” But there have been no other humans for many centuries.
Skögur casts lay of the land and sees forests all the way to the mountains far beyond. He also sees a couple of clearings along the way. They decide to head back to the river and camp near the Fossergrim, who is only too happy to see them again. He serenades them to sleep that night.