Tilly and Jeff of the guard are sent around the hills to discern if there are any side exits or entrances to the stronghold, while the army regroups and bandages their wounded- almost seventy of the original two hundred and some lie dead or wounded, with many flesh wounds besides. Reeves immediately begins putting up a bulwark, while Finch scouts in close to the front door, managing to get right up to the ‘lobby’ as it were for a peek at two brainless trolls doing a poor job at keeping a watch at the front. In their defence, Finch is really hard to see when she doesn’t want you to see her. Mason is distracted by a curious circle of stones near the remains of this dwarven stronghold, having been cluttered by trolls but not destroyed- the markings, which Sarthaal helps him with, depicting a story of an ancient dwarven outpost whose dead were buried sacredly beneath the very monument Mason stood on. Most importantly, it does not seem to be some sort of summoning circle, as their instincts are that those are almost always going to be very bad things, and it’s good that demons or devils aren’t going to appear right next to them.
Up top, Jeff and Tilly summon assistance as a backdoor up top near the front of the stronghold is discovered- and reinforcements barely arrive before a troll tries to emerge, which they immediately stomp on, and surprised, it soon falls. A large rock is rolled onto it in the meantime, until the main party of Finch, Sarthaal, Mason, and Brand are ready to go. Slidoo, two braves, Tilly, Hemmet, Jeff, and Sarthaal’s kobold bodyguards join them as they begin the invasion via the back entrance up top, which is actually a chimney that leads down into the stone structure. Caked in troll filth, it appears to have been used as a latrine, and they do not tarry here long before they find themselves in the lobby room. Attacked by an eager group of trolls, the pitched battle begins with a war of attrition inwards, until they reach the central room filled with trolls- an initial fright that proves to be less terrifying than the level of command Sarthaal has over fire. Using most of his remaining spellpower, he bathes the room in flame, and more or less singlehandedly ends the lives of seven trolls in an inferno of twenty seconds.
Whimpering in a side ‘meat locker’ room filled with humanoids is Jubilost Narthropple, an enslaved gnome who not only thought he was going to die but half-hoped for it to end his torment as the trolls primary slave- the rest of his band having been eaten over the previous year in front of him, and leaving him a broken man. He is escorted out with Tilly, who returns with a vanguard of uninjured soldiers and Reeves to guard their rear as the main attack force presses on. Dwarven halls make way to carved rock enclosures and natural caverns, with a few troll stragglers falling to the stronger force. They are surprised from behind as a two headed troll rounds the corner behind them to kill two of Sarthaal’s kobolds, and in a risky maneuver a spell-less Sarthaal lobs a potion of love into Nagrundi’s roaring mouth. Even more luckily, the effect actually takes hold, and Nagrundi becomes Sarthaal’s new best friend, trying to get his troll compatriots to stop trying to hurt them!
This traitorous act earns only contempt from Hragulka from his rickety throne of a wagon, rising to swear vengeance upon them for crushing his uprising. Over his shoulder, a purple kobold sorceror sits in a circle of power through which a mysterious vibrant light flows, and the party sees a troll disappear through the magical portal. As the rest of the party roars to do battle with Hragulka and his rock troll bodyguard, Finch sneaks off to the portal, leaping in to sneak attack the helpless magical kobold who she recognizes vaguely as having been Tartuk of the Sootscales. Oddly, upon striking him down, he gasps in surprise, and she sees him both as a kobold and as an angry, purple haired gnome, while beyond him she sees trolls skulking into too-vibrant bushes beneath a too-blue sky that hurts her eyes. With Tartuk dead, the portal closes, snapping the magical energies shut in a manner that frizzes Finch’s hair and nearly makes her vomit as she falls over on the floor on THIS side of the portal.
Nagrundi’s assurances don’t stop Hragulka in the slightest, and after a few moments of struggle feels the portal close behind him, destroying any hope of escape. Shrieking with rage, and that “She PROMISED!”, he activates his fireball necklace, letting loose an inferno that fills the entire room with flame of an intensity perhaps only matched by Sarthaal’s explosions earlier. The effect is monumental, as Hragulka and his own troll at his side detonate spraying chunks of burning troll around the room. Mason is nearly killed, taking the brunt of the blast, and hangs on only by the skin of his teeth. Slidoo, the kobolds, and the three guards from Redemption are no more. Hastily, Brand feeds Mason a potion to bring him to the side of the living, and looks around the room. The four of them are the only ones still alive, and the victory of their battle has been earned not only by their prowess but by the lives of their loyal subjects. Listlessly, they scavenge the room for clues, including both equipment, and a mysterious harrow card marked ‘Uprising’ from Hragulka’s corpse, before emerging as the lone survivors to a cheering army.
7000xp each from trolls, troll hounds, a rock troll, Nagrundi, and Hragulka. LEVEL 7 achieved!
-1484cp, 5686sp, 2129gp throughout the complex.
-Nagrundi’s Amulet of Natural Armor +2
-Dusty Rose Ioun Stone (+1AC insight bonus)
-Hragulka’s +1 darkwood thundering morningstar
-Small dragon statue (300gp), gold necklace w/jade pendant (500gp), gold jewellery set (750gp)
-5 gemstones (100gp each), 3x fine wine bottles (15gp each), 1 engraved silver tankard (50gp).
-1 Harrow Card (The Uprising).
-Chunks of rock troll skin.
-Finch’s eyes sometimes glitter with green and yellow light, now…