A New Beginning
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Rassilon...

A band of treasure-hunters, mercenaries, and outcasts gathers to seek fortune, wealth, and glory…

Quest for the 13th Shard Begins

• The grain salvaged from the wagons is sold for a few horses and a cart. The companions then make an uneventful trip back to Nara.

• The companions make their way to the manor to discover the Count has relinquished his authority over to the council. Count Froeche is seen in much improved spirits as he tells the companions he and an entourage will be leaving to find the Great Library of Paranax in two months’ time and that the companions were invited to travel and/or meet him there.

• A box and note is delivered to Mage Lady Orphelia whose author is soon discovered as the earth elementalist who destroyed the House of Lore, Vectamaris the “Worldbreaker.” Inside the box was the hand of Catriona.

• Keldrin spends a day re-establishing his spell of Sanctuary while the others revisit the abandoned mine for any clues of the whereabouts of Catriona; they only find pools of blood and a glyph-triggered voice of Vectamaris welcoming Orphelia and stating that they would meet again soon.

• The companions pore over a map of Rassilon and the poem titled “Winter’s Heart” to determine the most likely place of the 13th shard of Thrym’s heart. Elizabet also prays to Maera but receives scant insight.

• Eventually it was decided the companions would head to the town of Weatherly to start the search for the 13th shard, but would first stop at the Skald library of Scathmoor for additional research on the shard.

• The Count hosts a dinner for the companions the evening before the companions depart. The Count gives each companion a special gift to aid in the journies ahead. The next morning the companions bid the Count farewell and sets off for Scathmoor.

• The companions travel some ways before stopping for the day at The Refuge along the Crystalflow River.

Succor Without Solace
Skaldic Version

Translated from the Saxa into the Anari Tongue by Lorekeeper Tavin Knill

Dark days
and Darker Caverns
Fled the four
from a life-ban
Save Catriona,
the hero-hearted,
faced the lovers of Shadow
and was heard from
no more

Spell-Craft of Keldrin
returned he of stone and flame,
Grim-Born Orphelia,
Hawk-sighted Ripxian
to the caverns of Crase
Where they had once
stood fast
against the teeth
of The Winter-Lord

Bearing the
caresses of Dargar
and without
Var’s Blessing
Succor was given,
By the Knights
of the Hearth
Who honor The Pure One
A friend
They learned was there
and the Knights
prepared to march

Knight-Commander Locke
declared “the winter was
the weather of weapons,
Men of Valor
fed the ravens
and departed
for Scaetha’s Hall
When Jotun-fists
battered down The gates
of Watch-Gap
(and the Ice encroaches)”

“The orcs of
The Ice-Barrier
grow bold, bright sword-bearers
Play at war-making
But soon may play
Having delivered
this news did he
Gift the three
with bread and tarp
Shelter and succor
for the journey

“Fare well, friends
And may next we meet
in brighter-days”

Maera’s Faithful
Bearer of the Waxing Sickle,
did they encounter
“A sign! A Sign!”
Orphelia knew then
the path was god-chosen
And the Norns have woven
their knot

The road ahead was barren
But for ruined wagons
filled with grain
Footsteps were found
Which led
Horses burned
but frozen
Coldfire took them

A shadow grew on the ground
A cart fell
From the heavens
T’was a mighty Hellfrost Wyrm
Feasted on men and horses
but hungry still
for battle-sweat
A great battle! It swooped! It burned!
Jaws glistened
with Burning Ice
Cold-Fire scattered the heroes!

Ripxian’s arrows struck true
But the beast’s
he could not pierce
As it summoned
the Cold-Witchery
of it’s kind, Elizabet
prayed to Maera and Maera did come
and cut the moon-strands
denying the wyrm-craft
any hold.

Keldrin called wood’s bane
and the wyrm’s bane
it proved to be
Aflame did it flee
Into the mist
Into the cold
And was seen no more

Claiming the grain
as spoils
Borne by stone-men
of Heahwisardry
the journey continued
For Nara was still ahead
by many days
(and the sun sets)

Succor without Solace

• Beset on by the Cult of Niht, Mage-Lady Orphelia, Ripxian, and Talan were all teleported away by Keldrin’s cyclone of fire.

• Meanwhile, Catriona, having just escaped the mines, decided to return after Skullsplitter. Her status is unknown.

• The remaining party appeared in the cave, in Crase, where the rebel forces had previously taken up camp.

• The wounded and penniless companions made their way to the former Baron’s mansion where they were given healing droughts, food, and rooms.

• Knight-Commander Tristan Locke informed the party that Watchgap Fort had fallen and that the Orks seemed to be led by a greater intelligence. He also granted food and a tent for the journey back to Nara.

• The following morning, Ripxian returned from town with Elizabet, a Priestess of Maera. Mage-Lady Orphelia insists that she join them on their journey back to Nara.

• Along the journey, the companions came upon empty wagons full of grain. There, they were beset upon by a Hellfrost dragon.

• After a protracted battle, Keldrin’s Fyr set the dragon ablaze causing it to retreat.

• In order to cut their travel time, all agreed that Mage-Lady Orphelia’s stone bodyguards would each carry a large sack of grain to barter for horses at the Theign’s Stead.

Niht Reigns, Justice Wanes

• Count Froeche the Learned is taken back to his manor, during which in an attempt is made to create the illusion he was still in control of his faculties.

• The only member of the Cult of Niht in custody was interrogated, and after it was determined he knew nothing, the group agreed he would be “locked up” but then purposefully allowed to leave so he could be followed.

• The prisoner escapes as expected and is followed by Catriona.

• Mage-Lady Orphelia stays up all night drafting a document to officially, temporarily transfer all of the Count’s powers to her until the Count was able to resume his position, which Count Froech the Learned signs making her Chancellor of the County of Nara.

• Keldrin returns in the morning from The Golden Compass with Bernard Hardwick. Mr. Hardwick and Mage-Lady Orphelia then retreat to a private room to discuss the particulars of the ten (10) council members of Nara.

  • On the way to the Council Chambers, Mage-Lady Orphelia, Keldrin, and Talan stopped by the House of Lore ruins to ask Rip to go look for Catriona as she had not returned for some time now.

• The council meeting to win support did not appear to go well.

• Back at Count Froech’s manor, Keldrin found a note with a map from Ripxian.

  • Mage-Lady Orphelia, Keldrin, and Talan, following the directions Rip gave them, and arrows he’d planted as markers, met up with him outside the city after only a minor altercation with the city guard.

• At this point, they were certain they had found the Cult’s main base within the Count’s old goldmines.

• Entering into the mine pitted the companions with an earth elementalist and several cultists. His name turned out to be Vectamarus the Worldbreaker, and he bragged outright about having destroyed the House of Lore.

• Vectamarus became wounded seriously, and disappeared into the ground, but not before pledging to see the party again. The other Cult of Niht members, as well as a shadow elemental, were summarily snuffed out.

• Mage-Lady Orphelia, having cast a detecting spell, made her way forward in search of Catroina, but came upon an ambush. Greeting her was supernatural darkness, four powerful spellcasters, two more shadow elementals, and an array of other Cult of Niht members.

*The Mage-Lady, Keldrin, and Talan all suffered very grievous wounds. A freed Catriona managed to keep her captors at bay and was walking along the wall-line. Rip and Talan also threw torches into the darkness. One-third of the room illuminated, as one of the spellcasters suffered The Siphoning.

• At the moment, all of the companions have turned to retreat as the onslaught of dark magic and other attacks were too much to sustain.

A Legacy No More

Mage-Lady Orphelia and the companions meet outside of Nara on a grassy hillock to picnic on cheese & wine while discussing what to do next. After discussing several ideas, it was finally agreed upon that the Mage-Lady would speak to the Count about their plan.

The Mage-Lady is successful in convincing Count Froeche that creating a more tempting deadline for the Cult’s “event” is best. He chose to have the library’s greatest works sent off under full paladin guard to provide the decoy for the Cult of Niht. However, the Count adamantly decides to speak to his secretary, Mr. Crabb, to make the arrangements. The caravan’s departure, in two days’ time, also fell upon the Cult’s most sacred time: the Dark of the Moon.

Mage-Lady Orphelia discovers a piece of parchment in the fireplace at the Count’s manor, but it was too badly burned to reveal anything of note. She then goes to the House of Lore to detect any magical illusions or doors, but finds nothing. She then attempts, via her heahwisardry, to determine any signs of disloyalty. The only thing she discovered was that Mr. Crabb was disloyal to Count Froeche in some way.

The Count and the Mage-Lady agree on the morning of the second day that it would be best to have everyone, including the Count for his own protection, as he was suspected to be a target, to be inside the House of Lore the night before the Cult of Niht’s suspected “event” takes place.

The following night, with everyone in his/her respective position, someone began to bang on the other side of the door of the Count’s private entrance. It was Davith Crabb and he had forgotten his key. Soon a new, unfamiliar voice spoke demanding the door be opened or the secretary would die. The companions looked to the Count for his decision and he consented to have the door unbarricaded and opened.

Upon opening the door it revealed a very frightened Mr. Crabb being held at blade point by a fellow clad in black, along with four accomplices. Battle soon ensued which ended with the man holding Mr. Crabb at blade-point being felled by a well-placed arrow by Rip. Free of his captor, Mr. Crabb ran frantically back down the private entrance and was soon beyond any chance of restraint. Two other black-clad men were killed and two took flight which Keldrin halted with an earthen wall.

Right along this time tremors began to be felt throughout the House of Lore. Soon one of the upper levels began to give way which caused the Count to fall and Helene & Elowen tumbled, down with the balcony, to the first floor. Talan assisted both the Count and Mage-Lady Orphelia down a rope to safety. It was quickly apparent that someone or something was bringing down the House of Lore, so everyone agreed evacuation was the only option.

Keldrin beckoned the two remaining men in black and told them if they wanted to live to come with him. Mage-Lady Orphelia and Catriona each snagged up the closest book and began, along with everyone else, to run towards the House of Lore’s main exit. During all of this, walls began to cave in towards the center of the House of Lore.

All of the companions made it out alive, including Keldrin who stopped to pick up a severely injured Armas. Once outside it was noticed that a sizeable amount of townsfolk were there looking on in awe: The House of Lore had completely collapsed in upon itself and down into a smoldering pit that had once been the center of the library. The Count fell to his knees a shattered man.

The suspected event had now come to fruition: The Cult of Niht had achieved a great victory and the companions had failed to stop it in time. The future of the companions was now fraught with uncertainty and unanswered questions.

To Be Continued…
The Search Continues

Following the visit with Count Froech the Learned, Mage-Lady Orphelia, Keldrin, and Catriona left the House of Lore. On the way back to, presumably The Golden Crossroads, they encountered Ripxian conducting business with a blacksmith. Stories were swapped and they all proceeded to the hotel.

Ripxian and Keldrin share a room together and Keldrin provided more detail as to why they were in Nara which was to research Thrym’s Heart and it’s whereabouts. Catriona asks Rip if he could read the runes from the book Catriona procured but he could not.

Soon Her Arcane Highness Mage-Lady Orphelia returned and everyone gathered in the dormitories to discuss the Cult of Niht which was just recently discovered to be working in Nara in an apparent attempt to more aggressively breach the defenses of the House of Lore. In addition, it seemed that a female was spearheading the Cult’s operations in Nara.

Over the course of the next few days the companions were involved in various endeavors:

Mage-Lady Orphelia continued to meet with the Count and was shown his secret passageway to the manor as well as all the security measures in place to keep out the Cult of Niht. She also discovered a translation difference in the poem “Heart of Winter” the Count had given her.

Catriona, in the meantime, had been staking out the Count’s manor in hopes of discovering the true nature of the Count’s secretary. Cat followed him one day to an alley in which he knocked thrice and entered. Cat overheard a tense discussion of the lost book, which Cat had procured, and then after the secretary had left a hooded man approached, knocked thrice, and entered. That conversation held information about something seemingly big occurring in one day’s time. It was after the hooded man had left Catriona also left to return to The Golden Crossroads.

Keldrin and Rip toured the city, Keldrin bought a dagger from a weaponsmith, and Rip sparred with Keldrin.

On another day Keldrin went to speak to his good friend Osbern again to glean information about the Count’s secretary whose name was discovered to be Davith Crabb; Mr. Crabb had been in the service of the Count for 20 years and was considered to be the Count’s most trusted servant and right hand man. Rip & Daeg, meanwhile, went to The Lucky Coin—a gambling establishment— to see if they could encounter the Count’s secretary or get information about him since it was in the seedier part of Nara.

Keldrin then joined them later during which time Rip bribed a barmaid to get information on people who knew Mr. Crabb. The barmaid pointed to a fellow at the end of the bar so Rip went over to talk to him. Rip learned that Mr. Crabb owed the man a sizeable amount of gold but Rip’s continued interrogation ended in him being tossed out of the establishment by the man’s bodyguards. Keldrin & Daeg left right after and all three headed back to the hotel.

On the eve of the fourth night at The Golden Crossroads, Rip had left to procure the secretary for more “personal interrogation.” Catriona and Talan left also. The only ones who remained in the dormitories were Keldrin, Mage-Lady Orphelia, and the rest of her entourage. Some time later sounds began to be heard from Mage-Lady Orphelia’s room so the Mage-Lady and Keldrin went to investigate.

Upon opening the door to Mage-Lady’s personal chambers, the window was discovered to be open and four darkly-garbed figures ambushed them from opposite ends of the door. Their attacks, though surprising, were for the most-part ineffectual; once Keldrin felled one and her Arcane Highness called for her guards, the remaining three jumped through the window. Daeg ran after; the assailants had gotten away, alas.

Mage-Lady Orphelia then began a tirade of epic proportions to the hotel’s clerk downstairs. She feigned outrage at the lack of security and at the end of the spectacle she was given one night’s stay free of charge as well as a bottle of their finest spirits. Keldrin, however, was embarassed and flustered at her behavior which ended in Keldrin retiring for the night; however, not before he gave her a symbol he retrieved off of the assailant he felled: A symbol of the Cult of Niht.

The next morning everyone paid their bills and made plans to leave as the cost of room & board had become costly. Indeed, Keldrin himself became indebted to Ripxian and was forced to move in with his friend Osbern until their time in Nara was finished. Mage-Lady Orphelia & Catriona then moved into the Count’s manor in an effort to provide additional security for himself and the library; as for the rest of Mage-Lady’s entourage, they were to be relocated somewhere else less conspicuous. Ripxian was left to make his own lodging arrangements.

The Search Begins

We last left our adventurers in Crase, where they had set up a command post and waited out the Winter. When Spring came:

  • Hearth Knight reinforcements arrived in Crase, conscripting Ripxian as a scout and allowing the travelers to depart.
  • The party stopped at the stead of Thane Coenwold Jorganson. There, he promised to have farmers care of her farmland in exchange for the money she’d acquired in Crase and declared himself friend to them all.
  • In the center of the small village of Fairhedge Downs they came upon a firebrand Priest of Kenaz who had the townspeople frenzied and prepared to burn a Frostborn girl. Mage-Lady Orphelia and Keldrin diffused the situation and, after some investigation, Her Arcane Highness hired the girl into her entourage.
  • In Nara, the adventurers settled into the Golden Crossroads Inn where Mage-Lady Orphelia met the wealthy merchant Bernard Hardwick, who offered to be her guide and familiarized the explorers with local politics and noble persons.
  • Keldrin met with his long-time friend, Osbern Cochraane, a Lorekeeper, who pointed him in the direction of the man who’s approval they would need to enter the House of Lore.
  • After failing to get an appointment with Count Froech the Learned, Catroina stole his appointment book along with another book of indecipherable runic text. Upon return, the appointment book was quickly burned, and the other’s cover was switched for another.
  • Her Arcane Highness used her knowledge of the location of the Lost Library of Paranax of the Hegelei as a lure, and Count Froech the Learned summoned the party to the House of Lore where, after negotiation, he gave them a poem called “Heart of Winter” which housed clues regarding the possible whereabouts of the pieces of Thrym’s heart.
Diplomacy Derailed

Bloodied and weary from the morning’s battles, the adventurers took respite in a corridor. Keldrin, with his back against the wall waiting for everyone to recuperate, was approached by Mage-Lady Orphelia. The Heahwisard apologized for the misunderstandings between them and inquired if the elementalist would be agreeable to working together on a plan she had concocted. Keldrin decided to let bygones be bygones and said that he would assist in any way he could. Before moving forward, Her Arcane Highness declared that she would persuade the Orc chieftain to assist her in defeating Sir Sedlang.

All of the companions and followers of Her Arcane Highness followed the tunnels back to the T-intersection which had the sign warning of spiders. This time, however, they decided to take the passageway that was not taken before. The path led to a flight of stairs which descended into what looked like a much older series of passageways. After traversing the corridors for some time—with cold fire torches decorating the hallways—the companions happened upon a room with a large ice sculpture of Thrym, with a robed Goblin in front of it, hands raised, and chanting. There were also two other leather-clad Goblins in the room. Soon after sighting them, combat commenced.

All three goblins proved to be no match for the experienced companions; they were dispatched with ease. Catriona recovered a staff and several alchemical devices, while Keldrin melted the idol as it was an affront to Kenaz.

The adventurers then headed down a side passageway and through a door. On the other side of that door were two goblins with spears. The companions demanded to see whomever was in charge at once, so the Goblins—both defiant and brave—pushed them out and led them down the hall to the room where the three Goblins had just been killed. Upon seeing their brethren dead, both Goblins attacked. The Goblins did their best, but still proved no match as they soon fell dead as well.

Another passageway soon revealed what appeared to be a very crude and most foul lavatory. With nothing to see there the companions ventured onwards and quickly encountered two Orcs guarding a door. The Orcs, seeing them, readied their weapons and positioned themselves for combat. However, Her Arcane Highness had Keldrin translate that she demanded to see the Orc chieftain. The Orcs replied stating the “Boss” was talking to the “Giant Lord” beyond the door and none were allowed entry. It was then that combat broke out leaving both Orc guards and Grimr, one of Mage-Lady Orphelia’s followers, dead.

The ruckus alerted the Orcs inside as the door opened to reveal four armed and angry Orc guards. Through the door, both the Orc chieftain and a sizable item covered by a drape were immediately visable. Upon entering the room, she spoke with a strong commanding voice declaring that she had carved a path of death throughout the mines; she also stated that Sir Sedlang had sent her but that she thought the man weak and inept, and that the Orc chieftain was much more befitting to lead. She offered her servitude and encouraged him to attack Sedlang. Just when the Orc chieftain seemed to not be persuaded he finally agreed on the condition that the Elf, Ripxian, be handed over. Without pause for consideration, Her Arcane Highness agreed.

Keldrin quickly, verbally objected to Ripxian going anywhere in his wounded condition. Catriona voiced the same objection which began an open argument in the presence of the chieftain. When the Orcs attempted to apprehend Rip, he fought back. It was at that point a battle commenced. One by one the Orcs fell until only the chieftain remained. After some time the companions were able to bring the chieftain down; at that point Catriona hefted Skullsplitter and decapitated him.

Open arguments of whether Her Arcane Highness had Rip’s best interests in mind ensued and continued until a loud bellow could be heard. All eyes turned to where the mirror was to see the face of Frost Giant Jarl; apparently, Catriona had removed the drape. The Jarl demanded to know what was going on, so Mage-Lady Orphelia explained that she had removed the Orc chieftain and would be taking his place. The Jarl then demanded to speak to Sir Sedlang immediately.

After uncovering a cask of gems and gold as well as various vials of liquid(a few of which were healing draughts which Cat and Rip downed) the companions set out for Crase to see Sir Sedlang.

On the way out the companions nearly bumped into a contingent of patrolling goblins. Fortunately, they were able to act first. Keldrin unleashed three waves of heat with incredible intensity which caused several of the goblins to pass out from heat exhaustion. The rest were dealt with easily enough, but unfortunately another one of Mage-Lady Orphelia’s followers, Morra, fell in the skirmish. Two of the guards from Aslov, who had come to the aid of the group earlier, Joonas and Daeg, agreed to carry Morra’s body.

The rest of the journey out of the mines was uneventful until the adventurers reached the mouth of the main entrance to the mines. A considerable force of Goblins and Orcs were rebuilding the tower that the companions had burned down earlier that day. Once the companions were in sight a lone Orc approached Mage-Lady Orphelia who was carrying the severed head of the Orc chieftain. She declared that she was on her way back to see Sir Sedlang with a message from the Frost Giant Jarl. The Orc, not completely sure he should believe her, lifted up the drape of the mirror and, flinching, quickly pulled it back over. He motioned to let them through so the companions continued on to Crase.

The journey back to Crase was uneventful, but the scene in the village was one of carnage. Mounds of burning corpses dotted the streets; body parts and bones were strewn about haphazardly. Blood could be seen everywhere and the people that were still alive ran to and fro. For some in the party, the sight was almost too much.

The Orcs standing guard outside the Baron’s mansion attempted to halt the companion’s advance, but as soon as Her Arcane Highness informed them she had been sent by the Frost Giant Jarl they let them through.

The inside of the mansion was unkempt. Mud was tracked all throughout. Bones of various origins, debris, and refuse lay scattered about. A general state of disrepair were all too evident. Before the party could explore further, however, a man’s voice called out from a balcony: It was Sir Sedlang. He wished to know what the meaning of all this was, so Mage-Lady Orphelia said The Jarl had sent her, and that he wished to speak with him. Sir Sedlang assumed Catriona was a gift, so he had his Orcs take her to a room where she was locked up. Mage-Lady Orphelia then attempted to work out a personal arrangement between she and Sir Sedlang in an attempt to retrieve information from him. He then slipped his arrangement with The Jarl before ordering the mirror to be brought up for his private audience with The Jarl.

While the companions were waiting on Sir Sedlang’s return, Mage-Lady Orphelia and her follower, Talan, followed Catriona down to the Baron’s room where two Orcs guarded the door. She asked Keldrin if he could do something to divert the Orcs into leaving the door in order to allow them to reclaim her. Keldrin tried bribing the Orcs but to no effect. Soon the sounds of what seemed to be chopping and smashing could be heard from inside the room, so the Orcs turned to open the door. Keldrin tried to feign an incredible stomach pain, but the Orcs refused to be distracted.

Keldrin ran and tackled one of the Orcs just as they entered the room, but was thrown off. The other Orc was attempting to get Catriona away from one of the boarded up windows, but it was around this time that Sir Sedlang returned and was furious at what was going on. Mage-Lady Orphelia, who had not engaged the Orcs, explained that they had been attempting to harm “his gift” and that “her servants” were only trying to stop them. Sir Sedlang then angrily ordered everyone but “the girl” to leave the room and to shut the door. However, Rip stayed behind stealthily and nocked an arrow which he released.

The arrow went cleanly through the back of Sir Sedlang’s head and exited one of his eyes. He turned around slowly and said, “That was not very polite”, before muttering, “I did not wish to involve you, father.” It was at that point that his eyes retreated back into the sockets as if his body was shriveling up and then his skin became very tight like the skin of something undead. At that point, Sir Sedlang became his Father, the Baron.

The battle that ensued was difficult. Keldrin’s barrage of fireballs, Rip’s melee attacks, and Catriona’s attempts to fight back was having little effect on the undead creature. At one point Rip sustained a blow that caused partial paralysis. At another point the Baron let out a howl that could only be birthed from the damned which sent Catriona screaming and fleeing in terror. The Baron also significantly dampened Keldrin’s ability to weave Fyr.

Mage-Lady Orphelia began dismantling the boards that had been placed across the windows, and it did have some effect as the Baron was doing his best to keep out of the sunlight.

The battle went on for some time longer. Cat had shaken her fear and returned, only to suffer some type of life leeching attack. At last, one of Mage-Lady Orphelia’s stone bodyguards placed a well-aimed and well-timed attack with it’s blade. The blow proved to be lethal as far as lethal is concerned with an undead creature and the Baron crumbled into ash leaving only his armor.

The companions, having vanquished their foe, began to converse among themselves, check wounds, and recover from the ordeal. Rip, however, managed to find yet another container filled with gold and various other valuables within the chimney of the Baron’s room. Also, on the Baron’s desk, Mage-Lady Orphelia found pages of notes and a journal. Inside the room, with the door still closed, with the Baron, Sir Sedlang, and the Orc chieftain dead, the companions decide what they should do now with their unique position of power.

A Bloodsoaked Morning

Hrapp’s body was brought back some time during the night and placed next to Sigrid’s to await an occasion for proper burial. The morning after, though, greeted the companions and resistance forces with new problems.

Horns resounded throughout the area around Crase which awoke everyone. Keldrin asked Austri what it was and he said the entire Thrym’s Teeth Clan had united and were en route to Crase; their plans were obviously not in the interest of the Anari that still resided in the town. The companions talked with Austri on what the companions should be doing and Austri said they should go back to the mines and seek out the orc chieftain. The dwarf said his death would sow disorder amongst the orcs, as they would squabble amongst themselves to choose a new leader. Meanwhile, he and the rest of his men would harry the orcs as best as they might and save who they could.

The companions prepared themselves and set out. Upon arriving at the tunnel which they had taken the day before, they discovered a small contingent of goblins and a few orcs. They had the entry way mostly caved in, as the goblins were ripping the support beams out. As soon as the minions of Thrym caught sight of the companions they immediately set upon their foe.

The battle left Keldrin pretty wounded as well as Cat. One orc in particular was difficult to bring down, but finally one of Mage-Lady Orphelia’s newly-acquired followers—a shady fellow—dealt a killing blow that ripped down the orc’s back.

The companions then discussed their options. After some time debating it was agreed Rip and Cat would scout ahead to see what the situation was at the main entrance to the mines. When they returned they reported a fairly robust force of orcs, goblins, wolves, and at least one ogre. Keldrin suggested setting the wolf pens on fire and have them attempt to sneak behind and into the mines. The companions then deliberated on the specifics of what to do and once done they set out.

On the way to the main entrance, Keldrin lost his footing which caused a small rock slide which alerted the orcs and goblins. With no option but to fight, the companions readied themselves for a second round of combat. This one was more formidable.

A bloodied Keldrin slung fire and defended himself as best as he could, but his wounds (and a minor Siphoning setback) forced him to take respite on a nearby boulder. The Mage-Lady Orphelia impressively leeched the life force of two ogres in one fell swoop which visibly gave the Heahwisard a more healthy countenance.

As for Rip… around the beginning of the fight, had let loose a signaling arrow which brought five soldiers from the resistance to aid the beleaguered companions. After that, Rip plunged a series of arrows into the orcs and goblins; unfortunately, a few well-placed arrows from the goblins in the guard towers left Rip heavily wounded which forced the summoned soldiers to take him out of the battlefield.

Cat remained stealthy most of the time as she was trying to make her way to the tower to set it on fire. Alas, by the time she arrived the battle was nearly over and the companions the victors.

With the orcs, goblins, ogres, and wolves dead the companions peered into the cave. A force of about fifteen goblins stood with spears ready, obviously scared but also defiant. Keldrin conjured oppressive heat upon the goblins, leaving many of them languishing. The Mage-Lady Orphelia conjured a a cloud of pitch darkness that exuded nightmarish horror; this sent more than half the goblins screaming and retreating deeper in the mines. The rest were dealt with quickly.

With Cat, Rip, and Keldrin wounded—as well as a few of the followers—it was decided everyone would enter the mines and follow their previous escape route – an unoccupied corridor – where wounds could be tended. However, before arriving to a safe place the companions encountered a lone goblin sitting on the ground, snacking on mushrooms and singing to himself.

Since Keldrin was the only one that could speak Frost Tongue, it was agreed among the companions that Keldrin and Mage-Lady Orphelia (through her Heahwisardry) would create as intimidating presence as possible to glean information from the goblin. Unfortunately, the goblin was only able to give generalized information to the whereabouts of the Orc chieftain, but he did mention a shiny object that, based on the description, sounded similar to the glass charm Cat had found on the Orc sub-chieftan. Afterwards, Keldrin felt pity on the creature and was mustering his will to kill it when one of Mage-Lady Orphelia’s followers stepped forward and dispatched it with a thrust of her sword. The goblin’s body was then tossed into a nearby pit.

Having found a safe place to have wounds attended to, a man in Mage-Lady Orphelia’s entourage, who had a little skill in healing, approached each companion with wounds. He bound all their wounds as best he could, explaining if they could find the proper components, healing salves might be made to speed their recovery.

It was only Mid-morning and the companions were bloodsoaked (save a seemingly smug and unharmed Mage-Lady Orphelia). Hopefully the rest of the day would be more favorable.