4th Winterfilth, 2950 (Autumn)
After spending a cold, snowy night with the traveller they saved from the wolves (called Arbarad, a Ranger) the Company continue their journey to Bree stopping off at a rundown roadside inn along the way. When they reach the small town, Dindy and Longleg take their leave and attend to the business and selling and buying, leaving the Company to their own devices.
While staying at the Prancing Pony Inn, they hear gossip relating to the recent funeral of Timeas Heatherton (or Tim, to his family and friends) and his nephew Tomas, who failed to attend and was caught ransacking his late uncle’s house searching for something.
Then, Tomas bursts into the common room, terrified and claiming that he has seen a monster up in the graveyard. The companions offer to help, the patrons of the inn follow, and everyone traipses up to the graveyard. There they find that Timeas’ grave has been disturbed, and there are signs of something large having been moving around: however, any tracks that might have been followed are destroyed by the onlookers. Once it is obvious that there is nothing more to see, the crowd disperse and the companions quiz Tomas about what he was doing: turns out he was planning to dig up his uncle’s corpse looking for some treasure map. At that moment, Tomas’ father appears, and is persuaded to dig up the grave: Timeas’ body is missing!
Suspecting a troll may have been here, the companions wake the Reeve up and get permission to stake out the grounds, in case the troll comes back. Tomas stays with them, much to the frustrations of his father. Nothing happens that night, and the following day they search the house of Timeas (finding nothing) under the watchful eye of his brother. They manage to pry some more information: that his brother once ‘adventured’ with some bandits or robbers, but retired in his later years. He always found money when he needed it, and would disappear for a short time just before. The map was buried with his body, as his brother (Nick Heatherton) believes it to be cursed and wanted nothing to do with it. Burning it, he believed, would release some sort of evil spirit.
The next night, they stake out the graveyard as the fog rolls in. They spot a large creature, a troll they think, and manage to surprise it: it flees when they unload a few arrows into its hide. Under torchlight they track if South of Bree, before dawn breaks and they rest for a few hours before continuing. As the chilled Autumnal days shorten, they follow the partially hidden/covered tracks into the South Downs, and after a couple of days tracking come across a gully with a shallow cave. As the sun sets a large and very old Stone-troll lumbers out of the cave: they send arrows into its thick hide, and it flees again. They follow, losing it in the dark, but manage to find its footprints. As dawn draws near, a thick fog rolls in, supernatural, full of foul smells and shadows: soon everyone except Dafydd and Gilthannas are lost.
The Barding and the Elf come out of the fog into a steep-sided gully, filled with stacks of bones, teetering and tottering. At the far end, sitting on a stone seat and seemingly slumped in sleep, is the troll, just outside a dark cave. Then, Gilthannas spots a figure trying to sneak down the side of the gully: it’s Tomas! The foolish lad has followed the party and looks like he is trying to sneak into the cave, no doubt to find and take back the map he is obsessed with.
Tomas stumble, and the troll (only pretending to sleep) races to catch him: not quick enough to the Elf’s arrow, but then the lad is gripped tight in the troll’s fist and the great beast yells for the intruders to leave him alone, least he slays the boy.
At that moment, Alberic and Storr stumble out of the fog. Seeing the troll and Tomas in its grip, Alberic assumes the worse and fires off an arrow into the beast. It roars in pain and betrayal, and charges straight at them, ignoring the arrows that pelt him. He wades in, wielding a short sword that is just a knife in his thick hand, using Tomas as a shield, and battle is joined!
The troll proves a capable foe: it batters at the companions, managing to knock both Alberic and Storr out cold; but it is soon wearied, wounded, but before it draws its last breath, it tears Tomas in half and laughs. Then an arrow strikes it between the eyes, and the Elf’s bow rings with the kill.
They catch their breath, allowing time to Alberic and Storr to come round. They remove the troll’s head, bury Tomas with his Uncle that they find inside the cave, and loot what they can. Dafydd finds himself a new spear: ancient, the stave blackened and rune-carved, the blade a sharp piece of glistening obsidian.
Then the Company leave the area, find a place to shelter for the night, and sleep.
End of Session
XP Awarded: 3 each.