Annals of Aldamere

Gretta's Field Notes; middle of nowhere near the Mountain of Horrors
(at camp)

Try to remember not to let the Thorns cook when it’s their turn.

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The Best Laid Plans of Rats and Spiders
Olis, Marcel, Thorne, Gabriel

The leader of the ratfolk—Azholt—, left Geytha, a woman of the ratfolk clan, as our hostage saying he would return to his people to negotiate in good faith with Thorne. Naturally it was a lie, but the parley did result in a basic layout of the immediate area and some sense of what the Chogma, the name the ratfolk use for the spider creatures, were doing. Githa said they had hired the ratfolk to kidnap the village children, but what they wanted them for was only a guess. The Chogma were angry at having been driven from their temple many years ago, and so it seemed revenge was their motivation.

The company retraced the path taken by the ratfolk leader to their den, a strange blue room which they had quickly tossed and headed back to the Chogma’s main area—at least as far as Githa understood the layout. Ser Marcel, fearing that a lack of immediate and swift justice would lead to the demise of the children, pressed the party to advanced despite fearing of an ambush in waiting. With some trepidation, Gabriel scouted the path and readied the party as best as could be done.

In the next chamber which proved to be some kind of ritual chamber, the Chogma fighters and priest, along with several ratmen with bows, lay in wait. The battle was intense, but while many of their number were injured and the leader driven off, few were killed. Borz was grievously injured protecting Ser Marcel, and Gabriel braved the front line to pull him back to safety. Olis and Ser Marcel stood firm, but the battle turned sour and the party retreated back down the corridor having at least seen the enemy eye-to-eye-to-eye-to-eye…

Githa had retreated back to their den, but was waiting there when the party pushed their way back through the secret door, closing it against a great wave of insects filling the tunnel. Catching their breath, the company debated what to do next. Retreating from the temple seemed the only real option, but likely spelled the doom of any village children still alive somewhere in the complex as it would be difficult to regain what ground had been earned…

It was then that Gabriel feel to his knees and began to entreat the aid of St Lulejta, beseeching the long suffering Lady to heal Olis and Ser Marcel of their wounds, and bring to them renewed vigor so that we may press on for the sake of the innocent. His earnest prayer did not go unheeded as the room burst into heavenly light, filling all with awe and renewed strength to continue on with the mission.

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Then let me build a bridge, for I cannot fill the chasm
Ser Marcel, Olis, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Martek

Push away the boulder in the troll cave did not reveal the lost search party. Instead Ser Marcel and company found a cache of valuables including nine amazingly opulent goblets, 5 gold-plated plates embossed with some Ketarnin seal, a number of lead and silver coins, and a locked chest. Despite some effort, the tailor Martek was unable to open the chest with finesse, leaving Gretta to pound it to bits with the hammer Gabriel had previously found in the troll’s bedchamber.

The chest itself contained an odd assortment of items including a gaudy belt made from beetle carapaces, a spider head amulet necklace, a strange multi-color chime, and a glass vial. All these items were of great interest to Thorne and Gretta. As night had already fallen before the troll emerged from his lair, it was well past sunset. Given the fetid smells of the troll’s dwelling, the party descended to a lower cave rather than try to camp in the frigid cave above. Some exploring of a long tunnel leading off the lower cave did not discover any signs of the missing search party or the children, but Gretta did spot a bundle which turned out to be an excellent climbing rope.

On the morn, the party climbed up to a previously unknown cave which was found to be worked, along with clear tracks of the search party in and among others. The worked area lead off in three directions: one was a dead end, in a second was found the remains of a villager killed by poison, and the final lead to an apparent dead end with a TDSOUS (Trap Door Spider of Unusual Size). After playing a game of peek-a-boo with the larger than man-sized critter, Olis knock his door open and it was dispatched after a poisoned graze across his leg. In the spider’s lair the remains of two more of the search party were found.

Thanks to Gretta’s unhealthy interest in the purpose of the unpleasant, atonal chime, the secret passage at the end of the tunnel was opened which revealed the tracks of the last two missing members of the search party. Beyond was a bridge over a wide, dark chasm and on the other side was the entrance to a disturbingly ornate temple to some spider demongod. As the company had crossed the majority of the length of the bridge, rat folk began to attack. After a close call at the door, Olis was able to throw off and reverse his attacker’s attempt to throw him into the void, and he and the rest of the party pressed the attack into the temple’s foyer.

After some fierce fighting, the remaining ratfolk requested a parley, as Thorne was able to recognize their dialect of Dolmne…

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Thorne's field notes - 3/4 - 3/11

Forgoing the fancy formatting because it’s an ass-pain.

Thorne
Chezza

In the forest on the way to Winnonorg, or Windownurg or lets just go with Wino-burg. We encountered, finally, some of the fair folk. I can scarce contain my excitement at finally seeing them in the flesh. We have long postulated that something happened at some point, who knows how long ago that disturbed the balance of things. Going solely by folk-lore and stories from the past, we should practically be tripping over the things. We have long wondered if they were somehow extinct or cut off from the waking world. Perhaps they were and are just now returning. The world was once a stranger place. Perhaps it’s the church’s doing? We have dedicated our lives to seeking out the strange, hopefully if we continue down this path, clarity will emerge. If ever a pixie ring reveals itself to us, we’re going to be hard pressed not to enter, come what may, and trip off to the trackless reaches of deep faerie.

Apparent Fae:
3 foot tall, vaguely hominid creatures with avian wings. Skin tone ranging from cerulean to stark white – evocative of winter. Generally elfen features: acicular chins, high, prominent zygomatic bones, elongated ears. Displayed mischievous, mercurial natures. 2 males and a female: Droos, Matri and Ogna. Matri appeared to be in charge. They were playing a pranking game with us. This entailed throwing snowballs at us and laughing impishly. Olis won the game with ingenuity and superior firepower. This seemed to impress Motri greatly, who made a great show of snubbing his cohorts, who complained vocally, before offering a boon to Olis. The creatures claimed to hail from the “Winterwood” which, appropriately enough, is the court of the winter fae. After the boon was offered and accepted, the creatures vanished into the forest once more. As time permits, will have to return to this location and attempt further study.

At the northernmost terminus of the hills, in the Anton gap, we find the “quaint” village of Winoburg. There’s a real spider motif going on here, really a-typical for a small town. We made our way through town to the Brakenweb tavern. We are told by villagers that 5 of their precious young people have gone missing by yet another variety of beast men. What stands out here is that nobody actually witnessed the kids being taken. Apparently, W-town has had trouble of late from Ratmen. However, historically, they are THE TOWN THAT SURVIVED THE SPIDERFOLK!. Exciting! Chezza picked the brain of one of the surviving veterans of the Spiderfolk wars, a one-armed crone called Acronea.
Overly enthusiastic old woman: we suspect dependence on one or more substances. Claims children taken by ‘Spiderfolk’ up mount Bubbi – entirely too enthusiastic about this. Described them as possessing 8 appendages inherent to Arachnids as well as a capacity for making webs and poison. Her description was addled and inarticulate, but she intimated an upper body that had humanoid qualities and suggested them capable of higher speech. Unclear if bodies are a amalgamation of chitinous portions and flesh or all one or the other. Also relayed their worshiping a deity called Black Chogga, god of spiders. Claims that if children have been taken by spiders, most likely for food. Her presentation casts doubt on whether they exist at all save the curious naming conventions of the town and surrounding terrain features “Broken web,” “Spiderwood,” etc.

The children were all been taken over the span of a week. During this time Ratmen have been seen around town “robbing and pillaging,” especially during the recent storm. They have left no ransom or word of any kind about the children. All villagers seem to agree that they would be “up mount Bubbi.” Marcel opts to head off to rescue them – this guy loves to be sidetracked. I’m beginning to suspect he isn’t keen on this robber baron job. That’s fine with us, nothing particularly interesting about Robbers or barons. Anyway, off to mount Bubbi, which actually looks like a boy hugging himself and crying.

Troll sign encountered on road to Mt. B. Gabriel excellent at finding this, must continue to utilize his talent. Should let him know what we’re looking for? I’m pretty sure he knows Probably… Definitely. Mountain appears to have many cave openings and trails leading from one to the next. Cave contents as follows:

1. Small pool inside, 4 passages leading from it. Wiertof – strange Gabriel-replacement-hallucinatory-person – recommends not exploring any of them because no children tracks found. Everyone listens. Why? Do they not know the importance of our work? No possible scenarios where beastmen are capable of obscuring their tracks?

2. Small opening, too small for a troll. We enter and stalactite falls and nearly kills us. Upon impact: splits open to reveal organic structures within – similar to Mollusks on cursory examination. Cannot get closer because ceiling covered by them. The impact seemed to cause it to expire. Is this usual means of procuring prey? Curious.

3. Man sized Bird/Lizard hybrid. Powerful jaws reminiscent of various large, predatory lizards, lower body covered in feathers but no wings. Tiny, almost useless seeming arms extend from thorax. Erasmus has taken to calling it “El Pollo Diablo.” Highly aggressive, attacked us and was slain. Powerful bite. Many bones collected in it’s lair. Some human. Amongst them: ring with translucent green stone, “DarunDara” emblazoned upon it. Will ‘read’ later – too many spirits present here.

4. Enormous Bio-luminescent Beetles. Group of 3 beetles attacked – were quickly dispatched. Dissected most intact specimen: Glow comes from specialized organ located in their abdomen and can be seen from both above and below the beetle. Was able to remove the organs from all 3 beetles quite easily – makes for a portable, heatless light source. Curious on how long light will last. Two passages lead from cavern. One beetle sized, one large enough for humans. We explore neither – for reasons, see above, except Wirtof is now curiously absent. No one else seems to notice, but his influence seems to be affecting their minds. We suspect some manor of trickster figure, fey, demigod? If he appears again, shall study further. Addendum: Ogres and ratmen use “buglights” frequently.

5. Troll Cave – Large Boulder blocking left passage, sleeping troll in right passage under filthy furs. This specimen much larger than hill troll cousins, seems smarter as well. Sees through our attempts to lure it outside during the day – fears or detests daylight. Comes out on it’s own after dark. We fight it on the slope leading up to the cave above and in entrance-way to cave. Very hardy, much more difficult to slay. After death we move bolder in left side passage. Many treasures including a belt made from perfectly preserved, interlocked beetle carapaces – not the “fire beetles” from below, smaller. Inside the belt – odd symbols, must research. Also golden spider on chain, resembles religious icon, inside: amethyst. Also Square metal rode with cylindrical hollow inside. Attached is a small baton for striking. Each side a different color: Red, Blue, Green and Yellow: magical, keyed to opening doors and wards. Addendum: Gretta used to open magically sealed passage later.

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Trolling for Troll
Olis, Marcel, Thorne, Gabriel, Gretta

Having arrived at Winnownog,, Ser Marcel was greeted warmly as the village was in great need. Over the prior few weeks, a number of the local children had disappeared and the villagers were desperate to find the culprit and rescue them. A search party of local militia had left a few days prior, and had not returned. After resupplying and pressing the locals for whatever information they might possess—which largely consisted of stories of spiderfolk, ratfolk, and perhaps other beastkin—the party set off with Wiertof following the trail of the search party through the Spiderwood to the foot of Mount Bubi.

With no further sign of passage, Ser Marcel and Olis set the party to scaling the mount and searching the system of caves along the route. The caves were home to an assortment of subterranean creatures, all of which hostilely protected their territory and captured intense interest from Thorne. In addition to deadly rocks, El Pollo Diablo, and strange glowing beetles, the switchback path showed this also to be the domain of a fearsome Mountain Troll.

Thankfully the troll slept during the day, leaving the group free to reconnoiter before coping with such a powerful threat. Scouting out the den of the troll, Gabriel discovered a blocked passage that could well be trapping the missing children or militia men, so it was decided to assault the creature while it slept and then bait it into the open. Gabriel was also able to recover a strange, rune-engraved hammer from the troll’s bedchamber.

The first attempt did not go as planned with the troll’s dislike of the sun overriding its rage at being so rudely awakened. When it finally emerged from its lair after sunset, it was pelted with missile fire and a particularly well landed boulder pushed by Gretta. While it was a fierce fight, luck was with Ser Marcel’s men and not with the troll, and it was smote upon the mountain side.

With the troll having fell down into the darkness of night, the party set to work at moving the impressive boulder that blocked the leftmost passage within the troll’s dwelling, while Thorne reminded the party of what he/she felt was the most intriguing discovery of a deep, twisty passage that was unusually cold digging deep into the mountain …

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Gretta's Field Notes
A mountain full of Cave Troll

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Shultze Gungmarra's dream

As is often true, amorous feelings conjure fleeting images of the past for Gungmarra. Die Shultze recalls a time before the burdens she bore could be seen so readily in her bearing and visage. Like most, her mind hearkens back to an earlier self, the earlier self, beholden to present circumstances, demanding explanation. “How did it come to this?!”

It begins with his face. A handsome, young man’s face, lit up with kindness and just a hint of mischief; exaggerated by the intensity of a young woman’s adoration and love. Overwhelming, Feverish intensity, flashes appear of dalliances in the woods and the garden, thoughts of marriage – everything would change for her! His voice in the dark calling “Marra, Marra” in passion, the lightness of his touch and her giddiness at being “chosen”. Fervent, desperate belief in her chances at a happy life, a better life fade into a stark image of him, Traugott Raubenschwartz, armored and mounted, riding off to war. Overwhelming, the feeling of drowning, terror of him dying, being maimed, finding another woman. For a moment we are alone with her realization: “I will never escape father!”

“He came back wrong!” screamed into our mind! Raubenschwartz the romantic, Raubenschwartz the idealist, who promised marriage, despite the disparity of their births, despite his Mother’s wishes. He was the young lord, he would make her his bride. GONE! In his place was a broken man, an angry man, a man filled with loathing for his station and his former self. At first he sought solace in her, but she could not provide it. Her dreams were still those of a young woman. He was her prince and he would save her from everything by making her his bride, his princess. Where before he saw her love, now he saw only greed, of using him to gain station, of her family’s reputation. Flashes of grief, pain, memories of weeping, nude, on the cold stone floor of his chamber as he looked upon her with disdain. Her swollen cheek the smallest part of the pain that overtook her hope and drowned it forever. A final sundering of love.

She would become what he accused her of. Her family was wealthy and sought to improve their own station through her marriage. Flashes of conversation with an ugly, fat, bearded old man, his blouse stained as he licks his fingers free of grease. Her father. He speaks of “marriageable age” and “making the most of our claim.” Her family seeking to be, once more, noble in name as well as money. She bent to father’s will.

For a “young women with ambition”, there were parties. Her beauty was her family’s only hope at rising once more amongst the ranks of the quality. Reeling through her mind; an endless series of balls and courtly dancing, of jewels and jealousy. She dressed like one of them but was not. Her gown and carefully taught manners were no shield for the cruelty of those who saw themselves above her, who would not even deign to elevate her to the level of rival.

She remembers an invitation, sealed with the crest of Freiherr Vornhard von Heftig, the winged truncheon. Her father opened it, as he did all her correspondence. We feel her trepidation at the thought of the Baron and his secluded estate and the rumors of the fêtes held there, of parties lasting weeks and unexplained disappearances. She remembers clearly her father’s face lit up with joy and greed. “Finally,” said he, “our time has come.” For a moment she let herself believe it might be true, that all those nights dancing and pretending at happiness might come to an end, that the Baron’s approval would lead to courtship and marriage, and she could finally rest.

Castle von Heftig looms in her memory. A foreboding dark gray edifice, shrouded in gloom. Within it’s walls she would become lost. She seems helpless but to relive these memories.

The grand ball began as they do. Nobles entering as late as they might dare and being grandly announced to those in attendance, their various titles growing increasingly elaborate as time wears on. Then dancing, dining, conversation and drink. More drink and stronger than she was accustomed. Everything blurs after. A whirlwind of pretty, painted faces, talking and laughing and then leering. Their painted visages becoming somehow savage and feral. A vague air of menace permeates the house and she realizes she is locked in with these creatures! They’re all around her, eating each other, rutting, screaming, tearing each other apart in their frenzy! The floor is thick with their blood and …fluids. All thoughts of bettering herself disappear and she flees, desperately searching for a quiet room to escape them. She finds a tiny room with a small table, some overstuffed chairs and bookshelves lining the walls as well as a dressing screen and behind it, a small bed. She sleeps there for a time.

She is awoken by their grunts and screams. Peering from behind the screen, her fear keeping her quiet, she sees them again as they are, the drugged drink having passed from her. A group, three men and two women are engaged in something other than love atop the small table and chairs in the room. There is passion, there is ecstasy and there is pain and blood. Her mind cannot reconcile the things they do with what she knows of intimacy. After it is over, the two women and the youngest of the men left the room in peace, apparently pleased with what had transpired. She recognized them from some of the parties she had attended, but couldn’t quite recall their names. The other two men, she certainly knew. The eldest was the baron himself, imposing and mysterious in dark velvet. The younger man is Ritter Welfrich Luftzugger, a knight who had acquitted himself well in the war but terribly as a lord. He was a bit of a laughing stock when he was out of sword range of his peers. He did not seem funny at the moment as he slowly dressed, wiping languidly at the splatters of someone else’s blood covering his chest and neck.

Baron von Heftig pours them both a brandy and the two men begin to talk quietly, conspiratorially. Marra cannot make out much, something about “land counting for nothing,” “perversion of tradition,” “no appreciation for the way things are meant to be done” and “east… helping to take back what was always ours.” The baron, seemingly growing bored by this, glances away from Luftzugger and toward the screen. Marra stumbles backward in shock, gasping and making quite a clamor in her haste. A grinning Baron von Heftig rounds the corner. “We have ourselves a little spy, Welfrich. Little in every way. This is the lovely common girl I was telling you about. Her father has such aspirations for her beauty, trifling though it is. He has tirelessly campaigned to have her invited to one of my little parties. After seeing her at Heinrich’s quaint affair, I decided to humor the vulgar man’s request. Sadly though, she has been missing all evening. I had so hoped to get to know her. It seems I will get my chance." Quick as lightning, his hand darts into his robes and produces a cruel looking cudgel. As she is brained by it she can’t help thinking how very much it resembles his family crest.

She awakes to a panorama. The forests and hills surrounding his estate spread out before her as far as the eye can see. She becomes aware of many things at once. The cold stone pressed against her breast and the view tells her that she is bound by her wrists to the stone railing of a balcony at the top of the highest tower of the estate. She is naked and she is not alone. She is being entered, invaded by a vicious presence behind her. It goes about it’s business almost silently for what seems like years; the occasional grunt the only reminder that this is being done to her by another person, not some silent embodiment of the stone to which she is so cruelly bound. She quietly weeps as it happens and tries to imagine herself down amongst the trees in a carriage, riding for home.

After it is finished her bonds are cut and she is wheeled about to see the baron, wearing the same velvet robes, leering at her triumphantly. “You should have known your place here, little Marra. You should have understood why someone like you would be invited here. You were to entertain, to serve, to worship at the feet of your betters that you might emerge from this improved like the little butterfly. Instead you skulked about like a common thief and spied upon the only person kind enough to entertain your family’s vulgar grasping. Had you played your roll, you could have left here with my good word and married, perhaps, some lowly, landless Ritter. Your children would have been titled, your name lifted from the common muck of your grandfather’s folly. Instead you have listened to secrets not meant for you, now what do you think will happen?”

Weeping, Marra pleads, claims ignorance of the conversation, says she has been punished enough, and swears never to speak of any of it again. His amusement only seems to increase. “Punished? You have been given a gift, you have been touched by one graced with nobility and you call it punishment? It is sad indeed that your family has hung all their pathetic hopes upon such a mewling wretch. You are right about one thing though, little caterpillar, you will never speak of it to any one, ever. Now fly, if you can!” In one fluid movement he charges forward, reaching down to grasp her by her ankles and standing and as he does lifting her up and over the railing. She falls, conscious the whole time. She feels it as her neck strikes the wing of a stone cherub on the way down, shattering in a unbearable crack. She feels it as her belly is impaled on the upturned branches of a gnarled old ironwood. Only after she suffers these does oblivion come.

She awakens, sometime later, to the warmth of another’s embrace. Panic comes, but quickly dissipates. Her senses soothed by the motherly presence that surrounds her. She feels soft linen beneath her cheek and smells sweet wildflowers, smells of childhood, of safety. She turns to see a face not unlike her own mother before her passing, wise and full of care and kindness, but also sad. She begins to cry and is startled by the sounds she makes, deeper and fuller and somehow stronger than she was before. The woman hushes her, “Time for weeping is done sweet child, innocence is fled. There can be none of that for those such as us. I am Aud, some might call me Saint Aud, but they would be wrong. I care for my own, and never has there been one more deserving of my care, little Gungmarra.” Her full name, for the first time since her mother’s passing she hears her full name!

Gungmarra feels the truth in her words and begins to feel the changes wrought in her own body. Desperate to know what has become of her and why she isn’t dead she flails herself up from Aud’s lap and staggers through a break in the trees toward the sound of water – a stream running into a tiny pond. She sinks to her knees at the shore, gasping. She is wholly changed, where before she was wispy and frail she is now stout and barrel shaped and completely enormous. Her skin is thick and gnarled like the Oak that impaled her, nowhere so much as her belly. She scarcely appears female. Her head is cocked at a strange angle, her neck bent away from the center of her now massive form. It gives her a look of constant skepticism. At seeing her own appearance in the stream she is so overcome with joy she begins to weep. “Now they will all stay away… And if they do not, I will make them.”

“Most will stay away,” says Aud from behind her, “but not all. A great time of change for you will be heralded by one such as will not. It will show great interest in you and you will know the time for revenge, if you still desire it, will be upon you. It is good that you see these gifts for what they are, Gungmarra. Use them well and you can make a good life for yourself, apart from all of this misery.” As St. Aud’s voice fades amongst the trees, she feels the truth in them and for the first time since her love’s betrayal, she feels hope.

Aud’s voice, almost imperceptible, drifts through the branches one last time, “…also avoid rabbits, they’re cute and can be delicious, but it’s never worth it. Never… worth… it…” Gungmarra blinks in confusion and sets off into the forest.

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Thorne's field notes - 2/25/15

Two different styles of handwriting on the page:

Chezza

Erasmus

Following the tainted groundwater to it’s eventual destination, we discovered a filth-laden bowl surrounded by a copse of dead trees. It should surprise no one to discover that this is where the Beast-men had chosen to go to ground.
Beasts seem to have affinity for, or remarkable capacity to disregard foulness. Possible instinctive behavior? Akin to hunting dogs/wolves cloaking scent by rolling in found rot. Found corpse of initial Goat-man hanging from tree – crudely, partially flayed. Punishment for leading us to them? Sacrifice to deity to aid their escape? Possibly both. Discovered various “nests”, tangles of rags and furs where they sleep. Located Shaman’s area of camp – discovered 4 items in a bundle:

  1. Scuffed tin flask – liquid inside: Sharp, mint – once made someone angry.
  2. Decorative copper disk w/ leather strap – possibly amulet or arm accessory.
  3. Hollow Gourd w/ stopper – Mixing vessel containing poison.
  4. Leather wallet cont. organic paste – beginnings of crude poultice.

Spirit detected lurking near the terminus of senses. General feeling of seething rage. Possibly one of the Goat-men. Most likely the Shaman. Our act stealing his mana could inspire unquiet spirit manifestation.
From his perspective, It was essentially rape followed by murder. We stole what made him special and then dispatched him with no greater difficulty than a child would present. I would be “unquiet” as well, were I he.

Gabriel led us from the charming shit-lake highlands into a forested lowland area. Ahead we beheld a charming cacophony: the sounds of what we presumed was one of the last remaining Goat-men shrieking in agony. It was rather cathartic after the day’s slog.
Screams a mix of caprine and hominid vocalizations. After investigating tracks, Gabriel believes some form of giant captured a Goat-man and slaughtered, possibly ate. G scouts ahead, encounters the creature. Apparently a Hill troll. 10 ft. tall, extremely hirsute hominid, walks with a hunch, enlarged cranium w/ bulbous, protruding nose and comparatively long arms. Presumably utilizes smell to hunt prey which includes other, smaller bipeds. Adorned with wooden nostril piercing and rough bison pelt – very stained. We chose to distance ourselves from it. Pity.

hilltrollsketch_21png-600x427.png

Nothing like being woken up by narrowly being missed by a fucking bolder. The damned troll found us despite the cold camp. Still, we relish the opportunity to observe the supernatural any time it is presented. I’m not convinced that trolls qualify, but Chezza is quite chuffed by it all.
The creature initiated it’s attempt to capture us with a bolder toss. Appears to be preferred method of attack. It may have assembled a pile of stones before initiating conflict. When confronted at close range, switched from throwing to attempting to batter us with held stones. It possessed language, although none of us speak it. It knew a smattering of Hrond, enough to threaten and cajole. Creature initiated flight after receiving grievous injuries. Land speed was such that giving chase would have been imprudent. It did not return.

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