The troll forces, for all their might were proving to be no match for the martialed forces of the leaders of Valdrik. Our heroes struck down all the Trolls and their vicious hounds that dared cross their path.
Recalling their encounter with Hargulka during the diplomatic meet with the Sootscale kobolds, there were two other lieutenants serving the Troll King – Kargadd the Rock Troll and Nagrundi the Two Headed Troll.
As our heroes finished clearing out the weathered stone building of its guardians Tarvis discovered a hold that had been hollowed out from a stone wall leading further into the darkness of the hill itself – a tunnel but it was hard to determine if the hole had been dug from this side or if something had come through the hill and into this old stone building. Regardless the room was also full of barrels and chests of minor resources – farming implements, carpenters tools, tanned furs, things that would help in any growing community. While it would take several wagon loads to transport all this stuff, it would be of a great help to Valdrik’s people.
Nagrundi was found speaking to himself in a separate room that split off from the path through the hill…the two headed troll barely fit into his ‘room’ standing at a commanding 30 feet tall. Confounded by the invisible and trick playing Dox and finding the commanding words of Tarvis irritating, the two heads agreed that killing these intruders and adding their heads to his ‘magic circle’ (that was really just a circle on the ground surrounded by various heads that Nagrundi had collected).
Despite his prodigious strength – gouging handfuls of earth and rock from the ground as his claws attempted to kill the invaders, the combined might of our heroes silenced the two headed troll.
Kargadd suffered a similar fate – overwhelmed and outmaneuvered in the small area of the larder that the rock troll had claimed as his own. The rest of the trolls gathered had been killed or scattered to the winds…that only left one more challenge. Hargulka, the self declared ruler of Xen’drik and inheritor of the ancient Giant Empire.
With purpose the representatives of Valdrik marched into the throne room of the troll king. Standing upon his throne waiting for the invaders was Hargulka, a massive club slung over his shoulder. His throne carved from a massive tree, sitting atop a raised dais of stone boulders gave ample view of the various maps and charts lining the walls of the chamber.
“So you’ve finally arrived. And here, you will die. You are outmatched…and have given up your chance to leave this land peacefully. Let it begin.” Pulling his elegant tie forward Hargulka revealed small baubles attached to the strings. Plucking one off he tossed it into the crowd where it exploded into caustic acid over our heroes.
The battle had begun!
Eleanor, Boudreaux’s faithful southern belle allosaurus charged forward (after a Communal Resist Energy Acid from Boudreaux) and leapt upon the troll king. Hargulka only grinned. “My right to rule has been given to me by the very land itself. It has changed me, transformed me…made me a part of it.” Grabbing his own jaw and pulling it open…the maw unhinged and showed no sign of stopping. Hargulka’s body shimmered softly like a wave passing through a calm lake. Hargulka’s body was…malleable like an ooze of some sort given the shape of a troll. With his mouth widened his hands latched onto Eleanor and dragged her inside of his body where she floated in his semi-transparent flesh. While Eleanor was not slowly dissolving in the acidic body thanks to the Resist Energy she was unfortunately struggling to not drown in the sludgy fluid.
Lucius hung back at a safe distance and knocked his trusty Flaming Burst arrows that had already slain so many trolls today hoping for the same result. While the arrow did indeed find its mark the fire washed over the troll king harmlessly.
Hargulka raised his right hand revealing a glimmering ruby ring. A troll that was seemingly made of acid (and thus immune to it) with a Ring of Fire Resistance, no wonder they called him the King of Trolls! Revealing the source of his magical defense would prove to be his undoing however!
Hargulka smashed and clawed at Alanea and Tarvis wounding both badly while taking blasts of electricity and stabs with a rapier. Boudreaux spat both acid and rolled flames across the battlefield to little avail. Dox waited for the right moment – singing a battle hymn as she charged forward and sliced the Troll Kings finger off! (Using the Plot Twist Card – Broken to sever the trolls finger and destroy his Ring of Fire Resistance) Hargulka stared in disbelief moments before the ring exploded in mid air – burning both Hargulka and Dox in the resulting explosion!
“That…that was a gift! A gift acknowledging my right as king! I’M GOING TO ENJOY KILLING YOU ALL!” With his defense against fire gone and his rage heightened Dox braced herself for the possibility of death before Lucius whistled to gain the trolls attention.
“Ya’ll must not a graduated from Troll College…otherwise ya never woulda shown your hand.” Nocking an arrow and breathing out slowly Lucius fired – impaling the troll king to his own throne with the force of the blow.
Hargulka was dying.
Seemingly unable to hold his physical form the features of the troll king’s face began sliding out of place. The drowning Eleanor slid harmlessly out from the acidic insides and onto the stone floor of the throne room. Still the drooping maw of Hargulka forced a smile as his acidic form pussed and boiled and oozed into the ground and into his very own throne.
“You think you’ve won? No…you’ve already lost. Do you honestly think I would have left the fate of this land to be decided by a fist fight with you? It’s too late…” With a haunting smile the last features of the Troll King Hargulka melted into the wood of his throne – leaving naught but a burnt shadow to mark his passing.
Dox: That’s…that’s not good…we have to get home! Now!
Tarvis: It’s at least a four day ride back to town…whatever’s going on has already happened at this point.
Finally having a moment to survey the room Tarvis also realized that the maps that filled the throne room – they were troop movements. Battle plans. Areas with other small tribes or groups of people were noted – such as the Lizardfolk tribe by the river. The most curious thing however was that any area of the map that had a known fae presence was being completely avoided.
Sidney wandered the halls of his castle with pride and purpose. Class plans were coming along well and preparation flyers for the year end celebration had finally reached the acceptable level of cuteness (watermarked with a beloved picture of his daughter Deedee of course) when a couple of guards flagged the inventor over near one of the windows.
Guard 1: Sir can you take a look? We think there’s something strange going on outside but we can’t quite make out what it is – if anything.
Guard 2: I’m telling you I see something out there.
Curious, Sidney peered out the window and into the nearby forest. Indeed there seemed to be a shuffling of some kind off in the distance – a trees high branches shifting sending birds scattering. But there was no sensible pattern. There! Again! Some distance from the first disturbance another shifting of the trees. How could something so big move so suddenly and silently?
Before he could quite put the pieces there was a loud FOOM! And Sidney was face to face with the largest owl face he had ever seen in his life, a short few precious inches of glass separating them from one another.
What…the…hell…? An OWL!?
The face leaned back revealing a massive creature with the wings and face of an owl and the body of a bear. The creature hoot/roared and swung a massive talon at the castle! The window shattered from the sound of the creature’s cry as a poor guard Wilhelm screamed as a part of the castle went crashing to the ground.
Valdrik was under attack!