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May 17, 2005

Back in the Battle Again

Theona's Journal

Eleasis 5, 1373 DR, near giants’ fortress

While Areon and our comrades helped the two humans out of one pit, I tried to talk to the troll in the other. In fact, we all tried to figure out its guttural language with no luck; thankfully a quick bit of healing (after a bit of screaming “It’s him!” directed at Beowulf by our rescuees) restored the wits of the two human caravan guards, one of which happened to speak enough “troll” to act as a translator.

Trolls, it seems, have a lot to say when given the opportunity to talk. Gral, as he called himself, was in a pit for “dereliction of duty.” In this case, “dereliction of duty” meant that Gral was opposed to the servitude of his tribe to some giants from further north, which were making the trolls raid caravans in search of a “shiny cat.” This “shiny cat” had apparently been found in the most recent caravan raid and was now on its way to the giants. Gral was more than willing to be our guide on the three day trip north in exchange for being let out of the pit. Unfortunately, the caravan guard that spoke troll was not willing to go along, even for a hefty sum of gold. We were torn between needing to continue after the silver tiger and knowing the two guards wouldn’t stand much of a chance attempting to slog to Yartar on their own. Rosorc stepped forward at this point, and offered to guard the guards on their trek out of the Evermoors. In a way I am sorry to see him leave us, but there has been almost constant tension between him and Areon, and that is not likely to change.

We all spent one last evening as a group. After determining that the exit in the troll sleeping quarters where we’d battled simply led outside, I looked at some of the stranger items that we’d collected but not yet identified. We’d found two scrolls, one of which no one else seems to be able to read— I’ll keep that. Tyan took the other scroll. We all agreed that Areon should keep the greatsword and ring found in our last battle— we think the ring provided the troll leader with some sort of immunity to fire, but have no idea what powers the greatsword has. We also obtained a crystal wand that no one could identify. I figured out quickly that it can shatter things— like the back wall of the cave we were resting in. Tyan can have it.

The night was blissfully quiet. And, thankfully, Deitricha’s deity provided her with spells that allow her brief communication with our troll guide, so after they worked out a way of signaling each other that they needed to talk, we were able to be on our way.

After traveling through swamp land for eight hours, Gral signaled to our cleric the need to speak with her. He smelled giants! Luckily we were able to hide before they reached us. There were three of them, all twice my height and with a slightly simian appearance. Turned out that Deitricha’s spell allowed her to understand giants too— she heard them complain that their leader Krank was following hobgoblin orders to collect certain items. And that some leader named Grom was an ass. Now, that part was interesting— could there be more than one Grom in these parts? If only we’d been able to finish him off in the Nether Mountains!

We decided to make camp without a fire. I took watch for the first half of the night, and Areon the second; though various times throughout the night someone else sat up watching Gral (who had no trouble sleeping). Once, Areon saw some lights in the distance, but they may have just been swamp gasses.

The next day we traveled another eight hours without seeing a soul. We had just made camp and I was taking the first watch again, with Beowulf staying awake to watch Gral. I heard a noise in the distance that sounded like a lot of creatures walking towards our camp; Beowulf obligingly turned into a bat to go take a look, while I roused our friends. The druid was back a few moments later to inform us that there was a band of at least 16 orcs just a few yards behind him! The unmistakable sound of “Charge!” in orcish confirmed it and we quickly made ready to meet the enemy.

Tyan took out a half dozen right away with a fiery spell. Two orcs attacked me; I was able to drop one and Areon finished off the other. I saw magic missiles coming from the darkness beyond our melee and began to shoot bolts in that direction— it was probably a shaman of some sort though I never got a good look at it. Soon, all the orcs lay dead at our feet— and we found that Gral had been torn to pieces by a dire boar at the same time. I asked everyone to gather up the limbs— thankfully, Gral was still alive and by placing the limbs close to the remains of his torso, his amazing healing abilities allowed him to reattach the limbs. Soon he was munching happily on the remains of the boar.

We decided we’d best move on a bit before camping again— a half-mile walk seemed like a safe enough distance should any other bands of orcs be following after the group we fought with.

We had another eight hours of travel across a bleak landscape before coming to the edge of a river. In the distance, we could see a crumbling fortress with a bridge connecting its two sides across the waterway. Gral indicated that we had arrived where the giants live.

Posted by Kristin at 00:50 | Theona’s Journal