After the loose ends were wrapped up and the wounded dispatched from the encounter with the dope-on-a-rope and his warrior minions our intrepid party continued north towards the kingdom of the Mountain Dwarves.
They had decided to drop the quest for Centaur Island and instead follow the dwarf, Talos, because they distrusted the motives of the shaman and they liked having someone with them who knew what he was doing and where he was going. Plus Talos had promised them rich rewards for their information upon arrival at the mountain kingdom.
But first they had to get there, and that was proving to be no easy task. A major river had to be crossed and all the fordable areas were being watched by warriors of Chief Poptoe. The chief wanted revenge for their killing his son, and now the high mage was also applying pressure on the chief for his own reasons…
The party attempted to cross with stealth using the air mage and another party member (who?) to take out a sentry and then get a rope strung across a more concealed stretch of the river. The sentry was handily dispatched, but unfortunately the action was noticed by the other sentries and the alarm was raised. The rest of the party struggled to quickly cross using the rope and the air mage’s ability, but an altercation broke out when Marko would not let Talos separate from the group to meet them later. I will let Marko make his case for that choice separately from this recounting…
The struggle ended with Talos subdued and bundled across successfully, but once on the other side they realized that they would soon be surrounded by the warriors now activated around them as though they were on an enormous disturbed ant hill. Talos was able to convince them to release him and he offered that their best, and maybe only hope was to enter a place assiduously avoided by the People of the Oak, Rakon Valley.
Their trek to the beginnings of the valley was not without incident, but the party’s amazing cohesiveness, inventiveness, and coordination in a crisis blazed them through yet another violent encounter with several warriors with hardly any incident and with no further alarm being raised.
The valley was navigated successfully, but the story there is surreal and is best left to being told by eye witnesses.
To my recollection one further encounter occurred before they gained entry into the mountain kingdom. This time there were several armed humans apparently from the city-state of Voneer, but with some misdirection created by the air mage, and an encounter with a roaring dweller to send them straight up a cliff, they soon were no trouble at all.
The mountain kingdom of the dwarves is another experience best told by others, but I can say here that the party was indeed generously rewarded.
The party next debated long and hard on the choice between seeking Finland immediately or in providing much needed aid to the dwarves based on the intel they had provided through their adventures so far. The dwarves had now come to the conclusion that the high mage was up to no good, and that the captive villages were certainly part of some nefarious plan by the aging mage to gain protection from the wheel of time. Time was of the essence if he were to be stopped. The two towers must be sacked, the villagers freed, and the island traveling across the land must be investigated. With the vast resources of the dwarves at their disposal the party came to a momentous decision and prepared to fulfill this grand quest.
Two groups were to attack each tower simultaneously. One group was to be led by Tuomi, a finnish Sword master that had previously separated from the party and had arrived earlier at the dwarven kingdom. He was to lead a contingent of dwarves personally trained by him. The other group would be the intrepid explorers with Talos accompanying them.
The intrepid party’s attack on the their tower went almost flawlessly. The tower was found to be full of provisions, and a wooden fortress/stockade was built adjoining it holding all of the women and children from one of the remaining villages (there were originally three villages in Ter valley, but the giant on the moving island killed most of the villagers of the coastal village and the warriors killed the rest). All of the village men were missing…
The party then went to investigate how the attack came off at the other tower. There they found that the stockade had been breeched and no villagers were present (some were seen fleeing though the woods during the party’s approach). There was no sign of Tuomi of the dwarves, but there was sign of the tower being occupied. One indication was the presence of a giant bird large enough to carry a man. The bird was perched on top of the tower. The party had been at great pains to avoid being seen by the bird and rider on several previous occasions, and back at the mountain stronghold the air mage had even engaged the pair and driven it off after it had killed the raven that had begun to accompany Suomi, the party’s troubadour. This tower was apparently going to be a larger challenge, and appearances proved true…
Please feel free to comment about elements and/or corrections that should be added and I will incorporated them.