Shareella, best known as the Snow Witch, is the main villainess of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Caverns of the Snow Witch. She is a highly powerful vampire witch aiming to bring a new Ice Age over the continent of Allansia. Shareella is the most famous among the - few - villainesses of the series, due to the two confrontations against her and to being defeated around the middle of the story, while breaking her Death Spell is the final task of the game.
In Caverns of the Snow Witch, the villainess is never referred to by her name, only by her title. Like several other villains of the series, her name and her background were revealed in the additional sources such as Out of the Pit or Titan-The Fighting Fantasy World. Shareella was born in the city of Zengis in Allansia, the most featured continent of the world of Titan. Zengis is famous for having the biggest religious activity in the entire Allansia, and like everyone else here, she was raised to assume a spiritual role. In Shareella’s case, she was chosen to become a mage.
Shareella was a particularly talented student and at first a wise young woman, until the fated day when she was ordered to travel in the snowy heights of the Icefinger Mountains for her training. There, she ventured in a valley where she found a huge statue of ice representing a demon, or so it seemed. In fact, there was no statue but an actual Ice Demon, who corrupted her. In the following years, the demon taught Shareella the ways of Dark Magic and Necromancy, completing her corruption until redemption was no longer possible.
Now the evil Snow Witch, Shareella took command of the tribes of orcs, goblins and evil creatures that worshipped the Ice Demon, and had them dig the Crystal Caverns, her base of operations. She later began sending them to kidnap people from the nearby towns to be her slaves, binding them to her will with bewitched collars.
At some point, Shareella relinquished her humanity and became a vampire, becoming immortal and further increasing her already great magical powers. She spent many years gathering her forces and honing her skills, with the ultimate goal to cast a new Ice Age over Allansia, (and possibly the entire world of Titan) where she would rule as an empress and where the Ice Demons would dwell freely. To that end, she recruited many powerful followers, including a morally dubious mercenary named Jamut Mantrapper, and an Illusionist Mage.
About the Snow WitchThe Snow Witch is unsurprisingly a formidable spellcaster, with exceptional powers and mastery of Ice Magic, much mightier than the Ice Demon who corrupted her. She controls ice, snow and winter, she can cause hailstorms and blizzards at will, and almost every cold-dwelling creature (found in great numbers in the Icefinger Mountains) such as the dangerous Yeti obey her.
She is also considerably proficient in regular Dark Magic, as evidenced by her mastery of the dreadful Death Spell, the magical creatures she created and the collars of enslavement she crafted. (She can monitor, torture or kill any of her slaves through the collar.) She is also skilled in Necromancy, being able to raise undeads and to create zombie clones of her slaves.
She can summon supernatural beings and spirits, cast illusion magic to cloak the entrance of her lair or make acid look like water, animate statues of carved quartz into powerful crystal warriors or turn a small statuette into a metal soldier, turn a mere rat into a mighty ice-breathing White Dragon, and fire lightning bolts or energy blasts potent enough to kill a well-built man in one shot, among others.
Being a vampire, the Snow Witch must rest all day in her coffin, to feed on blood and all the advantages that come with her state, such as the enhanced strength and the hypnotizing gaze. Should her body be destroyed, she bewitched a crystal orb which would house her spirit, and which can only be destroyed through a magical mean.Shareella was once a wise and lawful young woman, if too curious for her (and Allansia’s) own good. Alas, she is now malevolent, ambitious and viciously sadistic, but collected, poised, well-spoken, sarcastic and twistedly playful. She loves torturing people, physically or through foul mind games. She is also overconfident, as she enjoys playing life-threatening games against her foes and enjoys those game too much to back down from a challenge, putting herself at risk for she cannot conceive losing, eventually proving her undoing.
The Snow Witch is still associated with the Ice Demon who corrupted her, who is worshipped by her armies and watches over her domains while she rests. While she is now much more powerful than him, and clearly in charge, it is unclear whether or not he now obeys her. He might be an emissary of the Demon Princes she most likely worships. Still, it can be guessed that they merely work together towards a common goal. The Snow Witch wanting to rule the continent and the demon wanting to take a territory from the Gods' influence for his kind to dwell.
Caverns of the Snow Witch
The playable character works for the rich merchant Big Jim Sun, being tasked to escort and protect Big Jim's horse-drawn carts. The story begins when Big Jim offers you 50 gold coins for killing a Yeti that killed his business partners.
You start your journey in the Icefinger Mountains, following the tracks of the monster. The powerful Yeti has 11 in skill (power level) and 12 in stamina (life-points), but you can wound it with a spear, weakening it. After slaying it, you meet a dying man named Harlak Erlisson, who tells you about the Crystal Caves he escaped, the dreadful Snow Witch, and the enormous treasure she ransacked. Motivated by both greed and sense of duty, you resolve to end her threat.
When sneaking into the Crystal Caves, after unveiling the spell hiding their entrance thanks to Harlak's indications, you witness the Witch's army and the countless slaves who are compelled to work for her. You must by no mean get caught, or the monsters would place a collar of enslavement on you. Upon meeting the Snow Witch's minstrel, compliment him on his music to get healed, lest he paralyzes you with a magic tune and put a slave collar on you.
There are also many monsters that you will have to fight, including a powerful Air Elemental that you can only banish with a magic incantation, a powerful, demonic Night Stalker, and none other than the Ice Demon who corrupted Shareella in the first place.
- Surprisingly enough the Ice Demon is weaker than other monsters in the book, but he remains a dangerous enemy with 9 in skill and 11 in stamina, whose icy breath can cause additional damage.
- The Illusionist conjures two images of himself and strikes with a dagger, if you attack one of his images he stabs you, costing 2 stamina points. Attack the illusionist on the right and immediately shatter his prism, or else he breaks your sword. He flees, and a Genie emerges from the Crystal, granting you invisibility for one occasion.
- The Crystal Warrior is a powerful enemy with 11 in skill and 13 in stamina, immune to swords. You need a mace to destroy, or using the Genie to turn invisible, or get killed.
- The White Dragon has 12 in skill (the maximum available) 14 in stamina, and attacks with its claws and an ice breath which can cost 3 additional damage, making it the most dangerous enemy of the game. You can avoid the fight by dispelling the transformation with ground minotaur horn and be protected from its ice breath with a gold ring.
Confronting the Snow Witch
Like Zanbar Bone before her, the Snow Witch is one of the few Fighting Fantasy villains not defeated in an actual battle. She rises from her tomb and tries to hypnotize you, and you must overcome it by wearing garlic or winning a test of skill. You need an ornate stake to kill her, lest she turns you into her vampire slave. Then you must have at least 10 in skill to pierce the Witch in the heart and destroy her, otherwise she pries the stake off your hands and turns you into her vampire slave.
Second ConfrontationHaving slain the Snow Witch, you must escape the Crystal Caves, tracked down by all her angry minions. You stumble upon her treasure chest, guarded by a statuette that turns into an animated metal warrior.
- The Sentinel guarding the treasure is a dangerous enemy with 9 in skill and 9 in stamina, but it fortunately lacks additional powers.
You can abandon your inventory to store gold coins. Next you can choose between continuing the adventure or escaping back to Big Jim Sun's caravan to claim the reward, without knowing that the threat is not over.
If you press on, you befriend two former slaves still wearing the collar, an elf named Redswift and a dwarf named Stubb, who will go with you. In your escape, the three of you come across a crystal orb that houses Shareella's spirit. Even with her undead body destroyed, the Snow Witch is still alive and as dangerous as ever.
You must test your skill to knock down her orb with a sling, then test your luck to avoid her energy blast. If you are unlucky, you still survive the blast if you have more than 10 stamina points left, but you lose 4 stamina points and 1 skill point and you must try again. Trying to flee or attack with your sword only gets you killed. You challenge her, and she creates two zombie clones of Redswift and Stubb to fight you. After you destroy them, she defies you in a game of discs. If you have no disc or if you lose the game, she kills you with lighting.
There is a figure on each disc (star, square, and circle), and one beats another in a Rock-Paper-Scissors-like fashion. You hide a disc and the Witch names a figure, if you hide the figure that beats her own she dies. If you hide the figure she names, the turn is void but she makes the second turn harder, killing you if you don't hide the figure that beats her own. She first names Circle so you must hide Square, and second names Star so you must hide Circle. If you succeed, the orb shatters alongside the Witch's evil spirit, destroying her once and for all.
The Death Spell
With the Snow Witch dead and gone, you store an immense fortune in gold coins before returning to the warmer regions of central Allansia with your two friends. When you come near Stubb's dwarven village of Stonebridge, you discover that King Gillibran's magical hammer has been stolen, and that without it the village is threatened by the nearby tribes of trolls. Stubb then bids farewell to you and Redswift to take part in the search.
Unfortunately, you and Redswift discover shortly after that you are victims of a Death Spell cast by the Snow Witch. Your strength and life itself are gradually fading away and you will both die very soon if the curse is not quickly dispelled. The only one who can help you is the legendary Healer who lives as a recluse after he got badly cursed by powerful wizards, for saving his friend the legendary wizard Nicodemus from their Death Spell. (The Healer was later revealed to be Pen Ty Kora, one of the most powerful and benevolent mages of Titan, alongside Arakor Nicodemus and Gereth Yaztromo with whom he learnt magic.)
The more the story progresses the more your stamina decreases, and if you do not drink the life potion owned by a dark elf you had to fight, the game is lost. Alas, Redswift could not drink the potion and nothing can save him. Upon encountering the Healer, you must accomplish a long ritual to undo the curse, including many trials, such as an encounter with a Banshee who predicts your death, which you fight if you listen to her.
- The Banshee is a very powerful undead with 12 in skill and 12 in stamina. If you have dragon eggs, the Healer can make a calming draught that will make you ignore her.
Then, you must climb your way to the summit of Firetop Mountain (the infamous hideout of the dreaded dark wizard Oldoran Zagor, who was slain some time ago by an adventurer), in order to watch the sunrise surrounded by the red plants that grow there, to complete the ritual. If you have a silver item, the Healer can summon a Pegasus to take you to the summit, to avoid a very arduous climbing. There, you must not fall asleep to watch the sunrise, the final stage of the counter-curse.
After being relieved of the curse by the Healer and his powerful Phoenix, you decide to venture towards Stonebridge to see Stubb again and help his people. After all, you are now more than rich enough to do whatever you please. And you have many other adventures to live.
- The fact that the magical hammer of the king of Stonebridge is lost and must be retrieved is the plotline of the gamebook Forest of Doom, which was continued by the gamebook Temple of Terror. In spite of having been written later, this gamebook is thus the first part of a trilogy of the author Ian Livingstone, consisting of Caverns of the Snow Witch, Forest of Doom and Temple of Terror.
- Shareella's page on Titannica the Fighting Fantasy Wiki: http://fightingfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Shareella.