Bawkmas has brought all kinds of excitement to the lands. With winter upon us, snow has appeared and as the days drift by, snow does as well. Several areas have become quite wintery, and the frozen ground has made entry possible to previously hidden and rarely accessible places. One is the snowy field that can be reached through the north field’s wester hedges. I remember when last year it was so hard for me there! Now it is a place to collect furs, largely. The snowy region on Metz island has reappeared, but I haven’t yet had a chance to visit. This year ancient drakes have been sighted that are so strong, even Mujin can’t resist their bites and flames, and even she finds killing them to be a valuable experience. But some wholly new areas have been found as well, suggesting that this winter is quite a bit colder than others past. One of these is an outpost in the northeast Savannah, set in a frozen waste. It is quite a challenging place to hunt because the creatures are fierce and hungry, and one section is completely iced over, making any movement fraught with the risk of sliding away, unable to regain your footing and being left at the mercy of polar bears and frostbite meshra.
I hunted the snowy outpost in the Savannah quite often; some of the creatures there were clearly relatives of those I often pursue in the Southern Estuary, and studying these northern cousins helped me a great deal in my pursuit of those in the warmer climes. Of particular value to me were the soltismander and the frostbite meshra. However, no one was more diligent than Tabatha, who camped there for the entirety of the winter and learned the ways of the Snowcats so well that she achieved one of the hardest challenges for a ranger, learning to assume the shape of another creature.
As the winter passed away, I was well satisfied with my progress. Not only did I complete my initial study of Nocen Winders, but I also finished some additional preliminary work on these snowy creatures. I continue to grow stronger and more skilled. Hopefully, I will soon be strong enough in spirit to actually control the Nocens Winders, and strong enough overall to begin the next stage in learning to assume their form. In the meantime, I have begun hunting with Mujin on Ash Island, in the barren and abandoned Darshak village, the crypt and the temple there.