This week in the Sunday game, the DDC warily carried on down the mirrored feywild path and into a blasted oak that transported them to a nightmarish plain of bones, freezing winds, and an icy river. On the other side of that river stood three large figures beside an open grave and a large cauldron. Two of the figures were grizzled ogres with large chains wrapped around their chest and shoulders. The third figure was a misshapen and hideous figure in long robes. Corpse-pale eyes gleamed in the shadow of her hood – here at last was Deadeye Alice, the Auntie in the Fields.
A nervous quiet met her greeting as she sought out Thorin to welcome him specifically. She also queried how Kerne had been able to hear her voice in the token – making a crude joke about how she must have a bit of Amberhammer in her before wondering if Kerne had actually met one of her sisters in the past. She asked whether she could remember a prank going wrong, a misunderstanding that saw her chased from the home – perhaps something catching fire that shouldn’t have? Kerne kept quiet and didn’t rise to the bait.
Alice declared that this was a meeting place for the fey that was in a corner of the Winter Knight’s realm – and that it represented that being’s ambition and dream for the future. This plain of frozen bones was what he tempted the trolls of the the Circle of Rot with. He had made it their dream to consume the lands of the dwarves – to tear up and destroy all signs of the Spring so that Summer couldn’t bloom and therefore his Winter would settle in for all time. This was the shared goal that united the trolls under his banner, the power to eat the world.
She filled out some of the gaps in the DDC’s knowledge of the Troll Brothers to match what little they had learned of the Sisters of the Circle of Rot. She described Urash as the might and martial fury of the trolls, leading the war and drawing all eyes. Dhumish Crackleg, the younger brother, was broken and warped with unnatural vitality and endurance and drew together the venomous and rotten, the unnatural and uncanny to undermine and gnaw at the foundations of the land. Irreck, the youngest and cleverest, was a lone hunter who perhaps didn’t quite agree with the scope of his brothers’ plans. Nonetheless it was he who found and brought the Circle back to the Blackcaps and who came up with the plans to lure predators from the highlands. It was also Irreck who ordered the assassination of Lord Bentane.
A wary alliance was proposed, with Alice stating that she hated the trolls and saw them as a threat both to her family and to the dwarves she saw as her children to be guided and watched over. The DDC reluctantly accepted this line of reasoning for now – and so Alice created a new token from one of her iron teeth, pressing and folding and working it into a rough coin. If the DDC could get that into the possession of one of the brothers, she would be able to tell the group where the trolls laired. In the meantime, the toy iron sword would let the allies share information and plan.
Before they left, Alice revealed that with the passes sealed, the trolls had already “eaten” Flower Town and the watch towers on the east and southern approaches were under siege.
The DDC made their way back through the portal as Alice and her husbands stepped into the open tomb and another portal in it. When they got back to Amberhammer lands, they found the half-ogre Kher still there as promised. In his belt were the two missing daggers, which he said he took off a bouncing harengon who’d tried to slip past him. These were duly returned to Caeluma.
Kher slipped away into the woods, and the group prepared to head home. Before they could leave however, Caeluma heard the sound of someone crying nearby. The group went to investigate, near a cabin by some fields, and encountered a lone pale elf with tears streaming down his face. He said he was looking for someone and couldn’t find them – that his master had given him a message to deliver and he didn’t want to fail him. His vague description of someone with a sister who looked a bit like a hag put everyone in mind of Kerne – her sister had been studying with hags after all.
When Kerne identified herself, more tears flowed and the figure blurred and appeared beside her – attempting to drive a long blade into her side. The Winter Eladrin declared that the Winter’s Knight sent his greetings, but it was time for her to die now. The group shook off the melancholy charm that he radiated, and a soul-chilling howl came from a wolf with the distorted face of a man as it emerged from the undergrowth.
Being hardened adventurers, they shrugged off the magical fear from the yeth hound, and a hit and run battle erupted around the cabin and the fields as the eladrin alternated creating mists and fogs, teleporting, and firing his bow with deadly effect to focus on Kerne. Valenia’s skills as an archer turned the fight into a more even playing field as the group ducked in and out of cover.
Kerne was laid low, but preserved by a previously cast death ward that had been put on them by Arwan – and Arwan kept near enough to Kerne to try and keep healing them as the eladrin kept shooting. Kerne fell again, pierced by the eladrin’s arrows.
Battered and burned, and bleeding profusely, still with a sorrowful expression, he closed on Kerne to deliver a coup de grace but was stopped by one final enchanted arrow from Valenia. The assassin fell beside Kerne, and turned into snow inside the clothing and equipment that remained.
And that’s where we left the session…