Feast of the Leviathan XIII
January 8th, 1011:
As the heroes gathered to celebrate at this annual feast, a pall fell over the proceedings. It was the
case that as the heroes of Rhiassa traveled south to the Tavern in Vinehaeven, they noticed that they were
being shadowed by members of the same troll clan that had been plaguing the city of Cold Springs for the past year.
Though the trolls never ventured close enough to the Rhiassans to risk engagement, it was clear that they were
spying... tracking... no doubt to some nefarious end. The heroes, in a hurry to get to the feast and unwilling to risk a
lengthy pursuit of their enemies, moved ever onward.
Once arriving in Vinehaeven, however, Lord Aeston began to grow concerned that
the trolls might pose a threat to his guests. He sent out some of the more experienced members of Rhiassa to
scout out the area near the tavern and make sure no one came to harm.
As Aeston was welcoming his guests to his hall, disaster befell the celebration. Kyntela and Areni,
who were canvassing the area with Symir, ran in and proclaimed that Symir had gotten separated from the scouting
party and was abducted by the trolls. The feast hall emptied as the gathered heroes rushed outdoors to halt the
trolls from absconding with the squire.
A lengthy battle ensued. It was clear that the trolls had brought nothing less than a small army to lay siege to the area.
After a long struggle, the shaman commanding the group was felled and a strange scroll was searched off of him, containing
the images of a troll and human along with strange magical writings.
After some time was spent deciphering the paper, it became clear that it was some sort of instruction for combining
the traits of a troll with that of a human. Greater worries began to mount about the fate of Squire Symir.
It was decided that questing parties should scout all around the tavern and surrounding woods, looking for signs of
where Symir might have been taken. Squire Areni, Squire Kyntela, and Taelia each headed up one of the groups, and they spread out in each direction.
No matter where the questing parties went, there were trolls to fight. This was, no doubt, a mass
invasion of the area. Each group met a heavily armed group of trolls, each led by an uncommonly powerful shaman.
There was a shaman of magic, a shaman of strength, and a shaman of deception, each of which gave the heroes pause as
they figured out how to overcome them. Upon defeating each shaman, the heroes searched from them a strange necklace made of large stones and gold runes.
After a round of searching was complete with no real clues, the heroes decided it would be worth searching one more time before giving up hope.
Again, three questing parties set out. Again, they encountered trolls led by a shaman. The shaman of necromancy and the shaman of totem each directed
their minions to give the heroes a fight for their lives. For their troubles, the heroes searched off of each of them another strange necklace of stones.
The final searching party, however, discovered something odd. A group of trolls not being led by a shaman, but instead torturing and
brutalizing him. As the questing party snuck around the aggressive trolls and rescued the shaman, they were slowed in their pace by his
grievous wounds which were beyond normal healing.
Through gritted teeth the shaman thanked the heroes, and then he began to speak of his experiences as part of the troll clan. He said
that he had come on this away mission to Vinehaeven in order to seek an opportunity to escape the caves under Cold Spring and the growing
corruption and madness that had seized his people. He spoke of the Great Eye... a godlike being, old and ancient, who had touched the minds
of the troll shamans and directed them to unify their kin into one great clan. He spoke of being unwitting pawns of the great, unfathomable
power that the Great Eye wielded. That his brethren had become willing slaves to a force that cared naught for them. He spoke of their growing armies,
their pooling magics and artifacts, and their preparation for the time when the Great Eye would wake and walk the Realms once again.
Finally, he spoke of what had brought them all to this place today. A plan to track down the heroes of Rhiassa, capture one, and unleash
a new magical ritual to create a Dire Troll, an unnatural combination of human and troll that would be more powerful than either one
individually. He pointed to the stones that some of the heroes were carrying... explained how they were part of the ritual... suggested
that they might have some role in undoing it. Then, with some healing aid by the assembled heroes, he shuffled off into the woods to find a
local tribe of trolls to take him in.
It was now clear what had become of Symir, and why he had not yet been located. The heroes returned to the tavern to try and piece
together what they had heard, and create a plan by which Symir might be saved... from whatever fate had befallen him.
There was little time to rest, however. Shortly after regrouping their forces, the tavern came under attack. Wave after wave of
trolls had begun to pour out of the woods surrounding the hall. There seemed to be no end to their numbers, for each troll killed
was quickly replaced by another from the back line. Then, after the fighting had become its most furious, an earth-shattering roar
bellowed over the melee. A great hulk of brown emerged from the woods. As it got closer, it was clear that there was a Rhiassa tabard
slung crudely over its misshapen shoulder. In one hand, the familiar red heater that all Rhiassan shieldmen bear. In the other, the Northern
Lights Blade, Lion's Pride. Symir had returned... as expected, a hideous amalgamation of himself and a troll.
Blows to Symir's thickened hide seemed to have no real effect. The heroes found that they could cause minor wounds to his limbs, but
they would heal quickly. Without the ability to do much more than temporarily subdue him, the line of heroes slowly gave way to the advancing troll horde.
Meanwhile, the odd stones assembled, other questers had deduced the basic workings of this strange circle of stones. They knew they
could trap Symir inside of it. They knew that they could use some kind of spells to break the enchantment on him. The rest they were going to learn by doing.
As Symir again became temporarily subdued, a rallying cry pushed the line of adventurers forward, allowing others to grab the
Rhiassan and pull him back to where he might be saved. The ring of stones went around him. Squire Symir was now trapped, but raged against the
invisible prison he was in. In desperation, the heroes tried several methods that might sunder the enchantment he was under, and in the end
found that several applications of Enfeeble Being stripped the troll spirit from his body.
In seeing their champion defeated and unmade, the remaining troll army slipped away in the woods. Symir, gasping and confused on the ground,
slowly sorted through his fuzzy memories and began to realize what had happened. Ever the stalwart warrior, however, he picked himself up and
resigned that no Rhiassan would ever suffer such a fate again.
For now the trolls were again defeated, no doubt scurrying back to their kin under Cold Spring. Will this strange new ability of theirs
prove a challenge as the war against them continues? Time will tell.