In the dwarven city, we find a secluded place to discuss our situation.
Coy explains his theory that the light (at the top of the tower) has twisted the dwarves. Coy found no evidence of a connection between these people and Chalcedon, he hands over the stack of papers as he is done with them.
Gertie calls out that we really should leave… NOW. This brings to our attention a guttural, snarling, growl that we realize has been getting steadily louder and culminates in the should of splintering wood as the gate to the towers is smashed to bits from the inside.
Lumbering out of the destroyed gateway is a huge lumbering troll, muscles knotted. Behind him is another, this one is just as tall, but whip thin with a lashing tail. These are odd trolls.
I invoke the rod, not knowing what else might be behind the first two.
Our fears are well founded behind the first two, three more come into view through the gate, one looks much like the first, but has two extra arms and it’s mouth opens the wrong way, stretching wide from chin to forehead instead of cheek to cheek. The next one also looks much like the first, but it took me a while to realize it, I was so distracted by the tentacles it had for arms and the wide bullfrog like jaw. The next was even more disconcerting, it had the look of a huge dwarf, but it’s head was all round mouth without any eyes.
Cilka has taken the opportunity of them being all together to cast the first offensive spell, she stays true to her signature style and sends a raging ball of fire into their midst, then claps her hand gleefully, jumping up and down a bit.
Tentacle arm seems to be at the mercy of one of Keth’s confusion castings, he stumbles about a bit, then attacks the dwarvish one. The other three come toward us as we form up a line toward our left, trying to draw them and allow Dom an easy avenue to get behind them where he is most effective.
The first one out, the “normal” looking overly huge troll has come right up to me in a very threatening manner, I notice it is collared, and I am surprised to feel just a tinge of sympathy for this beast, I wonder what it once was, and what brought it to its current plight. I shake off those useless ponderings, step forward and land a heavy blow, it’s skin is very thick and tough, I stumble a bit, thrown off balance by the extra bit of oomph needed to withdraw my blade from its hide. The massive beast takes advantage of this and tries to trip me and send me to the ground, thankfully I am able to regain my balance and come back with another blow, I have definitely gotten its attention, it seems surprised I was able to cause it so much harm already.
Gertie has taken the attention of the tentacle one while Dom quietly circles around to attack it from behind. Coy enters the fray at my side. Dwarvish troll takes a couple of swings at me, but I barely feel it. I hear Gertie’s shout of triumph, I can only hope this means the tentacle troll is no longer a threat. Out of the corner of my eye I see flames leap up, just past the pillar, and arrowing straight toward the tower in a blazing wall.
I take the dwarvish one down with my next flurry of attacks, and pause a moment to take my bearings…
I know there were five of them, but I can only see the two we’ve taken out of the fight. The others must be behind the blazing wall of fire that I am sure Cilka had something to do with.
With a snarling, pain filled shout, the multi armed troll leaps through the fire wall and smashes into the hound archon, I find myself in the curious position of needing to dodge a sometimes companion of ours as the archon sail through the space in which I was just standing, he crashes to the ground beside me, looking a bit the worse for wear.
Similar howling snarls fill the air from both ends of the fire wall, it sounds like tentacle guy and whippy tail are both free of the fire as well.
I land several blows on tentacle troll, on the last swing I feel a surge of power from Fulgo as fire blasts from its tip as I swing it around searing the beast enough that it actually catches fire. It staggers under my blows. I seem to have irritated it, the monster focuses all its attention on me, lucky me. All four arms come arching in at once, raking and rending, then its ugly maw splits wide from its chin to the crown of its head, it snaps shut around me, finding all the chinks in my armor. Even I cannot withstand all these mighty blows, pain chases me down the darkening tunnel as I lose consciousness.
I wake to see my cousin bending over me, a look of concerned concentration on her face.
After we dispatch our enemies and Alaric heals us we hear that the dike to the lava lake has broken, coy and Keth go to investigate
We start trying to get people to flee the area while Keth comes up with a plan to solve the problem magically.
After dealing with the lava, Daris leads us out and we camp for the rest of the night
Cilka Keth Kuni and coy all seem to sleep badly and have nightmares throughout the night
After much arguing and deliberation we will hold onto the stone for now and use it to help us defeat Chalcedon.
After much discussion we decide to follow the route of the army to try to catch up with them to get back the threshold. We will rise before dawn and push hard to get as far as we can in our first day.
We ride until it becomes unsafe, the moons are low and do not grace us with much light. Keth’s hut is a godsend, we catch a quick respite, and move on again rising just before dawn, eating our food in the saddle. We enter into the mountains during the day today and keep pressing on.
Today is much like yesterday, the grueling pace is starting to take its toll, but we are making excellent progress. By the end of the day we are sure the ocean is in the not too far distance, which means the encampment should also be very close.
We wake and see the encampment in the distance, it is obviously abandoned. Coy makes his way down and finds that it has been empty for about a week. There are drag marks down to the ocean, but no boats are left handily beached at our shore, c’mon, would that really have been too much to ask?
We need to figure out where they went, I find almost a dozen silver pennies with unfamiliar markings on them. They are relatively new looking with sheaves of Grain and the name Cabasa embossed on them.
We head north to Batavium with the hopes of hiring a boat and learning more about the city named on the coins.
We travel for four days at much the same pace, we wake on our final day of travel with only the swamp left to traverse before we reach the city. The water is brackish and finally opens up to only somewhat more free flowing water. The town is a series of small islands connected by little footbridges spanning the waterways.
Keth informs us that the convergence of the next two full moons is about 18 days away, it is our best guess that this is the date the ritual will most likely be held, and it does not give us much time to find them and liberate the threshold.
Coy and Alaric negotiate passage on a boat that Coy has picked out, he is rather particular about these things. We sell the horses (so long Shoe Leather), buy some rations and a spy glass, as well as a dagger for Gertie so she is never caught inside a giant troll with no dagger to cut her way out.