8th Afteryule, 2950 (Winter)
The company of the Fellowship of the New Alliance trek along the foothills of the Grey Mountains, climbing up snowy slopes of scree and boulders. Soon they have to leave their mules behind, and pushing on into a cold wind, they reach a shadowy gorge pitted with caves.
Throughout the past week, Dafydd Ap Alfred has grown miserable and depressed, the uncertainty of what lies ahead worrying his spirit, and the desolation of the land making every footstep seem pointless. When he sees the gorge, and the trail leading through it and up the slopes of the mountain, he decides that enough is enough, and if they’re going to do this, they’d better get a move on. He storms ahead, heedless of the danger, and the rest of the company hurry after him.
Too late. The noise of their passage rouses something from its sleep. With a terrible roar, a giant, ten foot tall monster of white shaggy fur, sharp teeth and rage-filled eyes, bursts forth from the cave between Dafydd and the others. Such is the size and ferocity of the beast, that it sends Galia into a panic, and she turns and flees, vanishing in the shadows of the gorge, quickly lost from sight.
The creature, a terrible Snow-troll that Witherfinger warned them off, grabs Alberic and seizes him in its mighty fist, crushing the breath from his body. It bites into his shoulder, and only the Woodman’s coat of mail protects him from a savage wound. Dafydd and Storr wade in, spear thrusting and sword cutting, digging deep into its hide; Gilthannas sends an arrow into its gut.
As Alberic tries to take a breath, Dafydd jabs its arm, and the creature releases Alberic. Storr attacks its flank, his sword spilling blood. Another arrow flies through the air, ricocheting off its hide. It turns to face the Barding, and grabs him, crushing him in its grip and lifting him to his mouth: it takes a bite, and again, only his armour saves Dafydd from a mortal wound. Alberic swings his axe, and it cuts deep, and the creature stumbles, its breath laboured, blood flowing from numerous cuts.
Then the Elf sends a final, deadly arrow into its eye: with a sigh, the Snow-troll collapses, dead.
They have little chance to recover. All around them the sound of sleeping trolls stirring. As quietly and as quickly as they can manage, they wind their up through the gorge, keeping an eye and ear out for Galia (but alas, there is no sign of her), and leave the gorge behind without waking any more trolls.
They find a sheltered spot to camp, and spend a cold, but surprisingly restful night on the slope of the mountain.
11th Afteryule, 2950
The company hikes up the slope of the mountain, and soon they see the watchtower on the peak, smoke and lights coming from the windows.
Huddling behind some boulders, they decide to send Gilthannas ahead to scout out the area. Before he heads off, a shade of an old Northman appears before them: it is the old Master of Lake-town, and he has a cryptic warning for them:
“They took my treasure, my share of gold thrice- cursed. They brought it all here, my coins, my cups, my strings of rings.”
“Thrice-cursed, I call it. First, it made the Dwarves greedy and drew their doom upon their heads. Then, it consumed Smaug the Dreadful and made him weak. Finally, it made me blind to the joys of life, and turned me into an oath-breaker.”
“Now my graven silver and carven gold will be offered to the plunderer, the slithering death. A precious lure to call him, an iron trap to chain him, and then unleash him upon the North. My betrayal is complete. I already feel his cold breath blowing from the North. Here he comes!”
With his last words, the shade raises an emaciated arm and points a finger towards the Withered Heath – there, a faint plume of dust can now be seen. Judging from the distance, whatever is causing the disturbance must be very large, and it is advancing at great speed.
He fades away and Gilthannas, with his keen-eyes sees that the plume of dust and ash is a wingless dragon, heading towards the mountain. They decide to wait to see what happens when the dragon comes, after sending one of their ravens to warn the Dwarves…
…and as they settle in for the night, taking care to conceal themselves in a gully off the trail leading to the watchtower, they hear the sound of rocks being crushed, and smell a terrible stink that makes their eyes water. Out of the night, the dragon suddenly looms!
It demands to know what they are doing there, why they are here, and what is it that draws it to the watchtower from across the Withered Heath.
They tell it the truth, and notice that it is wearing an old iron collar. Gilthannas figures out how to remove it, and with Storr’s help, the collar is broken. Surprisingly, they manage to convince the dragon– Raenar, the greatest of all Cold-drakes, the Dragon-king, the plunderer of a hundred Dwarf-halls, the slayer of Kings, the Great Worm of the Frozen Waste, the Scourge of the North– that the Orcs and whoever is leading them have lain a trap for him. Raenar suggests an alliance, and commands them to go to the watchtower and distract the enemy, and to look for his arrival at dawn. He will teach whoever is up there not to mess with a dragon.
The great worm slithers away, leaving the company not only alive, but in an alliance with a dragon!
End of Session
XP Awarded:1 each.