Tales of the Northern March

Urd's Well

Present: Una, Winori, Domari, Hilde

6 Honey 91

Hilde calls Captain Hrym to present their payment and try to book passage on the Naglfar to Asgard. Attacked by Jormundand, talk to gods, stay overnight with Norns. Prophetic dreams.

7 Honey 91

Travel to Vanaheim. Attacked by wraiths in the night.

8 Honey 91

Arrive at Blessed Isles.

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Helheim, Again

Present: Una, Winori, Domari, Hilde

4 Honey 91

Una summons the bridge to Helheim only to find Winori waiting at the other end to escort them to Hel’s hall. He tells them that the hags are there and that he overheard Hel speaking with the Raven King about sending assassins against his enemies, citing Una in particular. The weather is reflective of Hel’s mood: an ongoing blizzard. Not far from the bridge, they encounter a band of frost giants led by a Jarl who commands his men to capture them alive for the king. They manage to dispatch the giants and take a short rest within a rope trick before moving on and are set upon again, this time by four white dragons, who swoop down upon them with breath weapons. While they prevail, the fight is close. They catch their breath as fast as they can before proceeding to Hel’s gate.

Hel is unimpressed by Domari’s demand that Win be released as one of the honorable fallen. She offers them a deal: they retrieve Odin’s eye for her from the bottom of Mimir’s well in Nilfheim. When they scoff at the implied insult to Odin, she asks instead for Mimir’s head. While they seem disinclined to perform either task, she gives them until mid-year (a little less than a month away and the start of Autumn) and tells them that Winori can accompany them. He tells them later that he’s been trying his best to get under her skin. They gather the white dragon pelts and open the bridge home, thankful that it takes them to Gillyford rather than the depths of the moor this time. After their return to the Blackwall, Hilde leaves to consult with Berengar in Fallsport. The elder priest suggests she beseech Odin himself, who is the source of Hel’s authority.

Meanwhile, Win sends a message to Saraid asking for her help. She shows up and whisks him away to her cave, where she spends an hour doing a magical ritual which makes his corpse more resilient and then removes his soul and stores it in a large diamond and sends him back.

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The Last Cailleach

Present: Una, Domari, Winori, Hilde

28 Harvest 91

They travel into the Elf Wood to find the hag’s cave and are met with a storm of vengeance. Rather than face its wrath, Una summons a rope trick and they wait out the storm there. Afterwards, Winori scouts ahead to find the hag and her two sisters, now dread wraiths, and a hill giant outside of the cave with the storm cauldron. After sending a message to his companions, he is discovered and harried by lightning. Two attempts to hamper their spellcasting with silence fail. Una and Winori arrive via dimension door just in time to see the bard attacked by the wraiths and killed, turned into one of their kind. Winori dives in, making short work of all three wraiths, and the hag flees into the cave after a spellcasting fight with Una (up a tree above a cloudkill until a blight kills the tree out from under her).

The fleeing hill giant is met and subdued by a running Hilde and brought back to the rest of the group, who are reticent to pursue the hag into the cave since she seemed to want to be followed. Domari tells them that they won’t be able to raise Winori since, as he was made into one of the undead, Hel will have him. They knock over the storm cauldron and, after some discussion, decide to enlist Oren’s assistance to plant a tree in it and move it somewhere safe. He agrees and takes the hill giant to carry the artifact. The party then collects Winori’s body and goes into the cave, which they find empty but for a secret door. On opening it and entering, they find a room empty but for some pillars engraved with Elvish poetry and the hag. Domari teleports behind her and kills her in one blow but she seems far too happy about it and they immediately realize they are trapped, the door having disappeared.

They search but find no way out. Domari spends his time chipping at the wall where the door was with his adamantine blade. After three hours, a doorway opens and reveals a room of the same size. A half dozen mind flayers come forth, calling telepathically, “For the mother!” and grapple them, to try and eat their brains. Domari is incapacitated with a mind blast, leaving the spellcasters to finish the fight. They are able to defeat the strange foe before succumbing and find the room behind decorated with furniture made of bones and bits of scavenged equipment. The walls are painted in blood with pictures of Saraid. Despite their discomfort, they stay in this room and wait to see if another passage opens (suggested by blood stains showing things dragged to another wall).

After another six hours, a passage does indeed open, revealing a room of refuse inhabited by six otyughs, which they dispatch as quickly as possible with several fireballs. The junk in the room contains some items of value, but everything organic has been consumed by the strange creatures. The repeat the process, waiting for a new opening in the garbage room, while collecting the coins, gems, and jewels among the refuse.

1 Honey 91

A couple hours after midnight, the next doorway opens, revealing a room of neatly stacked treasure and equipment and a half dozen statues of comely humanoids in various expressions of surprise, fear, or combat. They again collect the items of value and guess at where the next door will open, creating a wall of statues to hide behind. In six hours, when the next doorway opens, they find themselves facing a beholder. Its gaze nullifies its magic and Domari is forced to fight it without aid until the central eye closes to allow for better attacks on him. Before they are able to slay it, Domari falls to a death ray. Hilde is able to restore him with a raise dead scroll. but he is weak. He rests until the next doorway opens and, surprisingly, it looks like the entry room. They wait there for another six hours and a door appears, leading them to Saraid’s cave.

The lich seems them and says, “Good. Take that to the King of Svartalfheim,” indicating a golden scroll on a nearby pedestal. When they attempt to engage her in conversation, she notices where they came from and asks if they killed the “eye beast” and the “brain-eaters”, upset when they affirm that they did. They learn she was using the latter to gain lore from the people whose brains they devoured. She directs them to leave by going back through the door, closing it, and opening it again. They take the scroll and do so, finding themselves in Cyclops Vale at dusk.

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Burning Blood

Present: Winori, Domari, Una, Hilde

18-19 Harvest 91

Domari is able to convince Ailbhe and Rian to come with them. Tam the Red refuses, saying he needs to defend Fallsport when they fail, but Una convinces Lord Morgan to order him to come. They acquire griffin feathers for the alchemist, who makes them two potions of flying. The members of The Academy create a number of spell scrolls to Una’s specificiations. King Lothar lends Morgan the shield Svalinn and the Morrigan sends a Valkyrie to Domari with the sword Gram.

20 Harvest 91

They travel to the south face of Old Baldy. Morgan, Una, Domari, and Hilde are in front and the rest travel a distance behind, shrouded by Rian’s magic. Una activates he coin and Fyrstrlogi hails them from the corridor, biding them follow him. Before he goes out of sight, Una shoots him with an arrow prepared with hold person, paralyzing him. Morgan and Domari then rush forward to attack. When the dragonborn breaks free of the spell, he is in a berserk rage and his roar of anger draws a half dozen other dragonborn berserkers. They engage in a brutal fight, the spell casters and archers attacking from the moor while the two fighters hold off the barbarians. The ground begins to rumble as the First Flame takes grevious injuries and throws his necklace to the ground, creating an immense fireball.

Spells finish off his compatriots just as an earthquake sends several of the party to their knees. A crack in the ground claims the two high elves and Morgan and Domari are buried under rubble in the passageway. The dragon appears and rushes down the hill, searing them with his fiery breath. Then it changes direction and plunges into the tunnel, grabbing the newly freed warriors in its claws, and emerging over the lava lake in its lair. Luckily, the two had taken potions of flying. Domari frees himself with his magic and lands a flurry of potion of speed enhanced attacks with Sigurd’s dragon-slaying blade.

The great wyrm ascends, dropping Morgan (who does not drop into the lava as expected), and heads towards the Glen to wreak havoc but is chased by the preternaturally fast paladin. Domari comes up between his wings and drives his blade into the dragons back. The two of them fall upon the side of the hill, creating a deep ravine. In the lair, dragonborn begin to emerge from their caves and advance on Una and Hilde, who had used dimension door to follow the dragon. Una tells them their master is slain just as Domari returns, holding its immense severed head. The minions scatter.

21-27 Harvest 91

They return to Fallsport to find that news of their accomplishment has proceeded them, thanks to halflings of Snipe Island who had a fine view of the dragon’s final moments. They return the items they had borrowed and hire an army of laborers to return with them to retrieve the dragon’s corpse and as much gold as they deem they need from its massive golden horde.

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Trouble at Snipe Island

Present: Una, Winori, Domari, Hilde

17 Harvest 91

On their way to Trollwatch Castle, the party is hailed by Aderyn and Nye, the two lightfoots who picked them up after defeating the black dragon. They bring news of attacks on Snipe Island by a multi-headed dragon and plead for their assistance, saying that the Thane of Trollwatch won’t help them. The party takes the detour, instructing the halflings to take the crate of pineapples to Fallsport after dropping them off. They arrive at the beleaguered village around noon. Una and Winori are taken to speak to the village elder, Tiwlip Longcandle, while Domari and Hilde are escorted by Sheriff Trefor Peatstack to tend to the wounded and poisoned.

Using a scale recovered by Winori from the site of the attack, Una uses scrying to determine that the hydra is asleep in a small cave along the southern face of Old Baldy. They opt to travel there to fight it during the day rather than risk it returning to Snipe Island to feed again. The fact that its poisonous blood has already fouled the local waters gives even more reason not to want to kill it there. Once again, Winori is transformed into a pegasus and carries them aloft across the moors. Within sight of the cave, they spy a lone figure travelling towards Snipe Island from the direction of the hill. Una uses her spyglass and see that it is a reptilian humanoid with red scales and a massive maul.

They land and hail the traveler, who introduces himself as Fyrstrlogi, envoy from the mighty red dragon Brennablod. He says he is seeking Una of Blackwall and her companions and those who might arrange tribute for the dragon. They agree to meet him in an hour or two and then proceed to the hydra’s lair, but not until Una’s used detect magic to verify that several of the things the emissary is wearing are magical. Rather than sneaking up on the hydra, Una boldly strides into the mouth of the cave and fires a barrage of magic missiles at it. Combat ensues.

They quickly learn not to cut off its heads without using fire to cauterize the wound, leaving Domari to do most of the damage with his searing smites while Una and Hilde back him up with fireballs. The hydra proves a dangerous opponent, but they are finally able to put it down, leaving the paladin somewhat worse for wear. They check its lair, but find mostly animal bones and no treasure of note. They spend an hour resting, anticipating trouble at their meeting, and then go to find the dragonborn. He takes them into the hill and through a corridor carved with images of draconic domination, the World Serpent ever-present in the background.

The dragon’s lair is a massive cave filled with a lake of magma. He sits open a huge mound of gold on an island of basalt in the center and caves along its periphery disgorge more of the red dragonborn, all well-armed and armored. Brennablod tells them that he has learned that the sword which killed his brother is in Fallsport and was told, by the “Caretaker”, that they would be able to provide this tribute. Una quickly deduces that this is Lord Morgan’s ancestral sword. The dragon extends an invitation to Lord Morgan himself, if he wishes to be part of the tribute. To prove his power, the wyrm tells them to choose a village to be destroyed. They try to weasel out of it and then try to be clever and direct him at their enemies, but he is merely amused at their dissembling. Una is eventually able to convince him that the gesture is unneeded. He gives them a fortnight to provide the tribute, or he’ll lay waste to the Glen.

They quickly make their way back to Fallsport and find Lord Morgan still primarily concerned about the threat to his wife from the hag, who still hasn’t been found. After Una is unable to scry on her, Hilde and she build defenses while Win is sent to speak with the old priest Berengar, who communes with Woden and discovers that the hag is no longer in Fallsport and that Lady Fiona is in no immediate danger. Carrying this good news back to the castle, they then proceed to plan for how to deal with the dragon. It is quickly decided to try and slay it. They plan to lure Fyrstrlogi out and kill him, hoping this will lure the dragon out to fight them outside of its lair.

18-19 Harvest 91

They send messages to all of their allies with entreaties for help. Domari refuses to recruit Ostara (who he needs to run the order, should he die), but suggests recruiting the members of the fian he and Una formed to find Balor’s Tomb. Una hopes to find other spellcasters to join them. Hilde goes to her uncle for help, as his cache of magic items is beyond compare. Winori begins researching the dragon’s history, looking for weaknesses.

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Hall of King Surt

Present: Una, Winori, Domari, Hilde

16 Harvest 91

Una sends out an arcane eye to check out the layout of the keep. She finds a secret door in the royal chambers which she cannot pass. She also witnesses guests arriving, frost giants and rock giants, born on the Ship of Nails. They wait patiently to be fetched and are eventually taken back to the hall for a mid-day feast. They learn that the two guests are King Thrym of Nilfheim and King Skrymir of Jotunheim and that they are to be sold for ransom, either to the giant kings or their own powerful relations. Winori performs, as promised, telling the tale of their arrival and the backstory with the hags. King Surt is sufficiently impressed to claim the bard for himself but Una and Hilde object, saying that they have to stay together as they are all oathbound.

The fire giant lord opts not to sell them to either of his kin, insulting their last round of tribute to him. As they are readying to leave the hall, Domari loudly notes that he’s never killed a mountain giant before. One of King Skrymir’s earls asks him and King Surt for permission to meet the challenge and they allow it. The hall is cleared of furniture and the two face each other down. Domari allows the giant the first hit and retaliates with a barrage of magically-enhanced speed. The giant’s second swing is unable to hit the paladin, and he is killed. Meanwhile, Winori has slipped into the kitchens to chat with Captain Hrym of the Naglfar. He entertains the giantesses with his music and helps get the giant laid. Eventually, the guests all are returned to their rooms.

The party hears King Thrym and one of his earls arguing in the hallway and it becomes apparent, through Una’s eavesdropping with comprehend langauges, that the subordinate giant is trying to convince the king not to violate hospitality by taking Una by force. They begin insulting him through the door and he casts an ice storm into the room through the key hole. Una and Hilde respond by lobbing fireballs into the hall. The fire giant guard gets the frost giants back into their room and summons aid. Eventually, King Surt appears to ask them why they violate hospitality in this way. Domari casts zone of truth and they attest that King Thrym attacked first and that he was planning to abduct them. Despite knowing that they speak truly, Surt has them taken below and put into the oubliettes in the prison. On the way down, Winori slips Una the ring of invisibility in silent agreement that she’ll get them all out.

Hours pass as Una waits for nightfall. She constructs a ladder of bone and climbs nearly two thirds of the way up the hole so she is able to cast passwall to escape. The guard investigates but she’s invisible, so he sees nothing and merely calls for help. Una uses polymorph to turn him into a rat and kicks him into the hole. She then sets about freeing her friends. She quickly learns she isn’t strong enough to lift the massive iron plugs, so she uses polymorph on herself to turn into a griffon. She lifts the plugs free and flies down the narrow shaft to lift people out. She transforms Winori into a cat and the other two use their feathers to transform into ravens. All of them perch on Una and she dimension doors to the battlements. There, she is able to see the ship and, reluctantly, uses another dimension door to get them on board.

Several more hours pass and they can see guards searching around the castle for them. Finally, Captain Hrym and his passengers emerge and board the vessel. Once it is on its way, shifting into the ethereal, the captain bangs on the floor and opens the trapdoor to the hold where they are hiding. They have a pleasant conversation with him and promise him a dwarf-forged blade and pineapple brandy (he provides the fruit) in exchange for his aid. Winori opines that he would like to travel with the giant, at some point, and see the rest of the world.

17 Harvest 91

They are dropped off in the Trollmoor around dawn. They use the silver raven to send messages to the Dagda, the Earl, and Tallula, telling them they are safe and headed to Trollwatch and asking that they relate this to Sir Aidan and King Lothar. Then they begin walking towards Trollwatch Castle.

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Muspelheim

Present: Winori, Domari, Hilde, Una

15 Harvest 91

The Lammas festival! Domari wins the spear-throwing competition, beating out Sir Murdoch and Laird Kester. Hilde wins the axe-throwing competition, beating out Martin Schmidt (the weapon smith’s son) and a member of the mercenary guild. Winonri wins, hands down, with the incredibly popular “Bitch of Blankwall”, Una comes in second with “Matt the Fumbling Fire Wizard”, and Finnagan (half-elven son of the Luthier) with a ballad from abroad. Una introduces him to Win and offers him a place to stay. Una wins the King’s Table tournament, beating Lonan and Lord Aidan. Win similarly dominates the storytelling competition with the tale of the defeat of Dritvangr, beating out Una telling of the liberation of Stonehold and Emrys (a lightfoot) with a raunchy Don Juan tale of a halfling pirate.

They are approached by Eilis, who asks to speak to them privately. They take her into a side alley where Winori conjures an illusion of a wall to give them privacy. She produces an inch long oval fire opal and asks them if they know what it is. Una and Win recognize it as a seed of Muspel and Domari draws his sword, sensing its evil. She crushes the stone in her hand and, amidst a sudden sandstorm, they hear her laugh and say in a voice that Una recognizes as the surviving storm hag, “Enjoy your trip!” When the sand clears, they are in a black sand desert filled with pools of fire, and a distant mountain chain with several active volcanoes.

They decide to head to the mountains, the only feature they can see, stripping off their armor and packing it up. They encounter a river of lava and transform Winori into a pegasus to fly over it. Over the next two hours, he flies through a rain of hot ash and a sandstorm, leaving the party burned and scoured. When the second casting of polymorph wears off, they walk the final couple of miles on foot again, fighting their way past seven fire elementals. Within sight of the mountain, they see a massive basalt keep surrounded by a moat of lava and guarded by fire giants in plate. Exhausted and needing rest and respite from the oppressive heat, they find a cooled lava tube and make camp. Una ritually casts contact other plane to get word to her grandfather, The Dagda. Then they settle down for the night, hungry and thirsty.

16 Harvest 91

In the morning, Hilde prays for create food and water and they are finally able to quench their thirst. She then uses divination to ask Woden about the fastest way to get home. He replies, “The Iron Gates.” They decide that this must reference the gates of the keep of King Surt and resign themselves to entering it. Talulla appears suddenly as a silvery translucent figure and tells them that the Dagda informed the Earl that they were missing and this led to them catching the hag, pretending to be Una, doing some ritual that she guesses involved stealing Lord Morgan’s unborn son. She tells them that nobody can come and get them here, that they need to cross the mountains to get back to Midgard first. When they ponder flying over it, she tells them that it isn’t feasible due to the altitude, hot gas and ash, and occasional lava. Then she disappears.

They put their armor back on and approach the keep, reaching the massive red-hot iron bridge over the moat. The guards on the other side seem curious, but make no move to attack them as they run full tilt across to avoid getting more burned than they are. The guards motion for them to halt and Win pantomimes that he’d like to come in and play for the King. They send someone inside and a liveried giant returns to escort them to the throne room past a dozen more fire giant guards. The throne room is immense and King Surt is as large as a storm giant, perched on a 20’ tall throne atop a 5’ dias. He peers down at them and asks in Common who they are. Win introduces them all with their formal titles and says he wants to tell him the story of how they got here. The King is intrigued and has his herald take them to a room to await the feast. The spartan basalt room resembles a cell with its black iron door, but it is furnished to their scale and even contains a brass bowl of water. The door is locked behind them. Una immediately casts true seeing on herself and then summons an arcane eye, sending it through the gap below the door.

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Battle of Blackwall

Present: Una, Domari, Winori, Hildegarde

28 Hunger 91

Word comes via Oren that the goblin army is on the move into Goblin Pass. The wall is complete on the west side by the east side is barely started. Una, Domari, Winori, and Hildegarde rush to prepare their forces to guard the breach. Winori directs the laborers to fell trees and set up a low wall across it. It is completely dark, due to the new moon, so Hilde casts daylight, which illuminates more of the battlefield near the breach. She summons a guardian of faith to stand guard over the gap left for Domari’s cavalry.

  • 200 dwarven laborers
  • 100 human laborers (led by Lord Aidan)
  • 60 human archers from Mapledell (led by Laird Kester)
  • 20 Domari knights (led by Ostara)
  • 20 castle guards (led by Rory)

1 Harvest 91

The goblin army arrives just after midnight. While the ranks of skeleton and hobgoblin warriors march across the field, arrows are fired by both sides (though the goblins have considerably more archers). Worg packs flank the army and units of bugbears, ogres, hill giants, and ghouls advance with them. A unit of wights with longbows begins harrying the forces on top of the keep, as go two units of goblin archers. Trebuchets on both sides fire flaming loads at their enemies.

By the time they engage in melee, there are numerous casualties on both sides. Hilde rushes forth with her holy symbol and destroys two whole units of skeletons with her channeled divinity. Domari’s cavalry is very effective until being forced to retreat due to losses. Una destroys several units with well-placed fireballs, using dimension door to move to the other side of the battle to get better positioned. Winori never stops playing, his songs inspiring the archers on the wall with him to great feats. It seems like the defenders are going to fail under the sheer number of enemies, but then the spell casters are able to turn the tide and the hobgoblins rout, taking what’s left of their forces with them.

In the aftermath, the Domari knights move among the wounded, sparing the dying through their divine gifts. Despite their efforts, there are significant losses. Half of the Mapledell levy is dead, as are a large number of the laborers and a quarter of the castle guard. However, four hobgoblin trebuchets were captured, enough to replace those destroyed and add one to each of the rear towers. There was no sighting of the Raven King, which is puzzling to some.

Two Week Jump

Una has the rose quartz beads strung onto a necklace for Blair, as a present for her new apprentice.

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Dritvaengr

Present: Una, Winora, Domari, Hilde

5 Hunger 91

Win fires an arrow with a daylight spell into the stalagmite in the center of the cave and it is lit in all its slick, slimy, decayed glory. They see the two halflings mostly submerged in one of the many milky white pools. Una casts fly on Domari, who cautiously floats into the center of the cave. Out of the corner of his eye he sees that the place where the stalagmite was shot with the arrow is bleeding just as it comes to life, exuding long sticky tendrils and entangle the paladin and sap his strength. The dragon emerges from the adjacent pool while he’s helpless and rends him with its claws. Luckily, he is able to misty step away. As the others are forced further into the cave by ochre jellies seeping into the corridor, they are beset by green slime and gray oozes. The water in the cave churns and pushes out to flood the cave and periodically the cave is cloaked in magical darkness, allowing the dragon to emerge and spray them with its acid breath. Winori uses his ring to knock the roper into one of the pools, earning them some respite from it but losing their light source. Domari concentrates on the dragon while the others try and fight off the gray oozes. Finally, the paladin is triumphant and the dragon lies dead.

They free the mostly dead halflings and do what they can to heal them. A lot of time is spent gathering the treasure from the four corners of the cave and Winori spends a lot of time diving down to the underwater cave to recover what he can see from its inky depths. Una regularly spends fireballs to the ceiling to ward off the green slime, but eventually they drag their booty back the way they came. Looking outside, they find a raging thunderstorm in progress, so they opt to stay the night in the cramped cave.

6 Hunger 91

The morning proves to be clear and beautiful, the black mist having dispersed over the night. They wait a couple hours for Una to fly over the hill and destroy the other dragonborn camp with fireballs. Winori uses the newly acquired silver raven to send a message to Edgemoor asking for a barge to be sent for them down the river. He is then turned into a draft horse and loaded with the treasure for the ten hour slog back through the mire. On arriving at the river, they find a barge full of lightfoots waiting to take them back to the glen. The travel upriver is uneventful except for a brief sighting of griffons quickly dispersed by Una’s lightning bolt. At Edgemoor, Domari tips each of the halflings a gold crown and they are received as heroes. The families of the rescued shepherds are very grateful. They send message to Trollwatch that they have recovered Sir Murdoch’s weapons and that the dragon is dead. As night falls, they enjoy a feast of dragon steak cooked by Winori.

Three Week Jump

Hilde returns to Stonehold to deliver the crown and the seal to House Moor. Domari gets four more sets of black dragon scale made to add to the two taken from the dragonborn and gives them to the senior six members of his order. Una has a frame made for the portrait of the former Thane of Trollwatch from dragon bones, claws, and scales. She also has a dress made for Blair from the wings and a mantle for the Earl. She takes Blair on as an apprentice. Winori spends his time trying to determine where Lindsey and her daughter fled to, peeling back layers of enchantment to reveal that they went to the capital city of Righeim.

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Into the Mist

Present: Una, Win, Hilde, Domari

4 Hunger 91

As the thunderstorm rages, Win comes out to relieve Domari and they see a massive lightning strike in the stone circle and the shadow of a giant-sized figure illuminated by the flash. The two women are woken by the thunderclap and Una comes out and casts comprehend languages to understand that the giant is telling them he was sent by Hel and that they have treaded on sacred ground of Jotunheim. Una protests that they respected the site, which he thanks her for but says he must kill her anyway. Win taunts him and gets a lightning bolt for his efforts, while Domari gets hit by his fifteen foot long greatsword. The giant then calls down an ice storm to pummel them. Eventually, their efforts slay the foe as he rises into the storm and disappears, on fire from Hilde’s scorching rays.

In the morning, the rain has stopped and they begin the trek upriver and note that the plants are becoming twisted and black with foul-smelling sap. They walk for five hours until they reach the edge of the Broadmire, which is a wall of shadowy mist concealing the corrupted peat bog. For five more hours they trudge through it in the unnatural dimness, until they are attacked by a group of six shambling mounds, which they barely defeat. They continue for another hour to put some distance between themselves and the site of the melee, but don’t notice that they’ve gotten turned around and are heading east instead of south. They camp for the night in the damp muck.

5 Hunger 91

In the morning they break camp and WIn notices his mistake from yesterday and sets them on the right course. Over the next six hours, he again loses his way but his luck holds and he picks the right direction. Finally, after six more long hours, they catch sight of The Mound. After some arguing between Win and Una, the wizard borrows the ring of invisibility and uses her elven boots to reconnoiter, finding a dozen dragonborn guarding a crack in the hillside. Returning to the others, Win comes up with a plan: he’ll create an illusion of a troll and have it walk out of the mist in front of them and when the dragonborn move forward to engage it, Una and Hilde will strike with fireballs. It works flawlessly and the dragon-men are slaughtered. They strip the leaders of their black dragon scale armor and enter the hill as another thunderstorm begins.

First they come across a small cave with three sleeping rolls and a niche holding a three-foot jet statue of a black dragon and they press on, through a narrow (2-3’ wide) crack further into the hill. After fifty or sixty feet, they reach a huge bowl-shaped limestone cave, one hundred feet across and as high in the center. The floor has several pools of brackish water, in one of which is a submerged cage containing the halflings they passed three days ago: Cadoc and Glaw. One of the half-dead shepherds calls out for help…

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