Tales of the Righteous Vanguard

Part Eight: Return to White Plume Mountain - Chapter 2

On Godsday, the 18th day of Flocktime, in the Common Year of 580, the Righteous Vanguard defeated a band of hill giants that blocked their path as they made their way through the Barrier Peaks. During the battle, Gildor lost a couple of his prized magic items, including his ring of earth elemental command, when he was caught on the edge of one of Nero’s forceball spells. But otherwise the band was not severely wounded or hampered by the conflict as it ended in a very decisive victory for the Righteous Vanguard.

Following the battle, Gildor tended to any injuries they had while the others took possession of any items of value found on the fallen hill giants. With this done, the band continued on their way as they traveled deeper into the mountains. There were no more encounters for the remainder of the day. And that night, Book cast a secure shelter spell in a hidden ravine which allowed the band to get through the night with no disturbances.

So on the morning of the following day, Waterday, the 19th day of Flocktime, the band set out again and resumed their trek into the mountains in search of the lair of the troll Grendel and his band. Nicholas was able to follow a number of tracks left by the trolls and their band and when he felt they were drawing close to the lair, he, along with Dravos and an invisible Nero, moved well out in front of the other band members and scouted ahead.

They soon came upon a hidden valley where they could hear distant shouts and what sounded and smelled like an iron forge being used. Peering over the rim of the valley they saw down below numerous dwarven slaves moving crates and bundles into a cave opening as a handful of orcs and bugbears milled about shouting orders at them. They also spotted three guards high up on the perimeter of the valley obviously trying to stay hidden. By their positioning it seemed very likely that there was a forth guard nearby that they could not locate. Taking all of this in, the three scouts returned to the rest of the band and relayed to them what they had seen. From this, the band then formulated a battle plan. Unfortunately it wasn’t a perfect battle plan.

Their idea was to try and take out the guards at the perimeter of the valley without allowing them to raise an alarm, which would have been helpful had they done so successfully. However, it seems they may have over-estimated the fighting ability of the guards and, rather than sending only their stealthiest members in to eliminate the guards, they split the band up into two groups and headed towards opposite sides of the valley. Naturally, one of the guards heard the unmistakable sound of Kieranen in his heavy armor moving up towards him long before they got to him, and the guard’s first action was to blow out a warning signal with his horn. So, with the advantage of surprise now gone, the band went into action making up further plans as they went along.

After dispatching the first two guards, most members of the band immediately headed towards the cave opening as fast as they could, which wasn’t all that fast due the distance involved and the fact that they had to move down the steep valley walls first. Those who could, used magic to fly towards the cave mouth, while others had to get down to the valley the hard way. Only Nicholas and Dravos remained on the perimeter of the valley as they headed towards the two remaining guards some distance away. Along the way however, Dravos slipped and fell and found himself tumbling down the hillside into the valley. When he finally came to a stop, after receiving a few scrapes and bruises, he realized he was already halfway down and decided to continue on down into the valley.

Nero meanwhile, was the first to arrive near the cave mouth, and still invisible, did what he could to interfere with the actions of the orcs and bugbears, which by now had begun to herd the dwarves back into the cave. Since the dwarves were too close to the orcs and bugbears for Nero to cast any mass-damage spells, he put up a wall of force just inside the cave mouth, which not only prevented anyone from entering the cave, but also prevented anyone from leaving it. With the troll’s forces now somewhat divided, Nero began attacking the orcs and bugbears with magic missiles and other more easily controlled spells. Eventually, other members of the band began to arrive and the remaining orcs and bugbears on the outside of the cave were easily taken down.

Nicholas, by this time, had reached the third guard on the perimeter of the valley and took him out. He then eliminated the forth and final guard with an arrow shot across the valley. With all the orcs and bugbears outside of the cave now dead, the band regrouped in the valley just in front of the cave entrance. Here they had rescued 20 dwarves who were very grateful to the band but were in no shape to join them in their efforts to fight the trolls and free the other slaves. One of the dwarves however, who answered to the name of Bleryn, drew out a map showing what the dwarves knew of the cave’s interior.

By the time the band was set to enter the cave, the wall of force had ceased to exist and they began to cautiously enter the dimly lit cave with weapons at the ready. Just inside the cave mouth they were greeted by the remaining orcs and bugbears, which came pouring out of two passageways on opposite sides of the cave. Many of these goblinoids were quickly taken down with mass-damage spells while the few that managed to get through were met by the band’s warriors.

The goblinoids however, were quickly followed by Grendel and six other trolls, all of which wore bits of armor plating and carried with them over-sized great swords. And as if these new adversaries were not tough enough, some of them also had magic items such as a necklace of fireballs and a wand of scorching rays, both of which they used without hesitation. Realizing the potential damage that these items could cause, Nero wisely cast a globe of invulnerability spell centered on the group which helped to protect his companions. Then the band focused the majority of theirs efforts on taking down the trolls. But the trolls did not go down easily.

All seven of the trolls, Grendel in particular, were very skilled fighters and the amount of damage they could do with their huge swords was staggering. It soon became clear that the longer the battle continued the greater the risk was that something disastrous might happen. Fortunately, two of the trolls became the victims of a confusion spell cast by Book and began attacking each other, while a third troll was caught in a holding spell. This prevented the necklace of fireballs and the wand of scorching rays from being used against them.

However, as they would soon discover, it did not entirely eliminate the great danger they were in. For soon afterwards, Dravos found himself having to retreat from one of the trolls who was pressing in on him. But before they could down the troll, it managed to get a clean and direct hit on Dravos nearly cutting him in two and instantly killing him.

Following this, Book unleashed a fireball spell that harmed a few of the trolls. Unfortunately, the fallen body of Dravos was caught in the fireball, causing even more damage to his body as well as his possessions.

But the battle did not last too much longer and the rest of the band was able to kill the remaining trolls, while Nicholas managed to exact some revenge on Grendel and deliver the killing blow. When it was over, the band used fire and acid to insure that these trolls would never again cause harm to another living soul.

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