Turn 14 -- Dealing with the Slaverers

Beleg's hand instinctively goes to the hilt of Troll's Bane at the sound of the Troll. The blade glows bright with the Troll near as Beleg makes no other move, waiting for the Troll to react or Talimar to give orders.

"Steady lads. Steady," calls Ortho soothingly back over his shoulder. Looking at the Troll ahead, the brave dwarf walks forward cautiously about ten feet. "Look, we don't want to hurt you," calls Ortho to the Troll. "We just need you to move your home caverns a bit further away and we're here to make sure you do."

Snagger follows Ortho forward to translate for the dwarf, doing his best to translate as he slowly unstraps his axe. Considering how long it's been since he's spoken in Troll, he hopes that he's not insulting the beast or asking it to do something that the party would regret.

As Snagger and Ortho talk with the beast, Garth nudges Talimar and whispers very quietly, "Keep parlaying till we can find out how many are behind the rock."

Talimar nods to Garth and waits silently at the back of the wedge, trying desperately to hold in a laugh as Ortho attempts to parlay with the Troll. A pity he didn't try that with the orcs, he thinks to himself. Staying behind the others, the elf nocks an arrow to his bow and half draws it. He stands ready to loose the arrow should an attack happen as he keeps an eye out for reinforcements.

Garth leans toward Beleg and asks, "Are ye capable of detecting whether that glow behind the rock is of evil intent to us?"

"What glow?" responds Beleg as he looks toward the dimly lit chamber and the rock beyond.

Garth smiles and nods his head as he realizes that it is his heightened dwarven vision that allows him to see the heat signature around the boulder, the Paladin having no such sight. Taking a moment, he quietly explains to Beleg what he sees and what it could possibly mean.


As Ortho speaks and Snagger translates, the companions have a moment to get a better view of the Troll before them. Standing to a normal height for a Troll, the beast slumps forward slightly as it listens to the words of Snagger. Watching the beast, the companions can see that a green-yellow mucus-flecked spittle runs down over the chin of the creature and drips to the ground more or less constantly. Following the conclusion of Snagger's translation, the beast stands to it's full height, "You move us like you move others? We not take that. Leave us now!"

"The other clan attacked us and left us no choice. We would rather talk with you and find a peaceful solution. Fighting you is not our desire, but we will if you wish." As he speaks, Ortho is amazed at the words coming out of his own mouth. He shakes his head sharply to one side to clear his arguably addled brain.

Following the Troll's last words, Kersath silently draws his swords and takes another look at the disgusting spit running down the Troll's mouth. Turning to Garth and Talimar, he whispers, "Be careful if we get into a fight so he doesn't bite you. That mucus might be poisonous, and even if it's not I bet it smells nasty and is hard to remove off clothes." Lowering his head, he quielty murmurs a short prayer to Mielikki as he grips his swords tight. He keeps his weapons held low during the conversation so as not to alarm the Troll.

Kre and Ras both draw their daggers as they wait for the parlay to finish, hoping that the group can avoid open combat with the beasts.

Beleg nods to Garth in understanding of his vision and closes his eyes to concentrate on the area around the Troll. Receiving the gift of Forsetti to his warriors, he realizes that the Troll and whatever is hiding behind the rock are full of evil intent. Nodding his head to Garth, he clutches Troll's Bane tighter.

As Ortho and the Slaverer Troll continue their discussion and staring contest, a loud noise can be heard approaching from the east. As the noise increases and grows closer, Beleg is able to discern that it is the commotion of a large band of Trolls coming closer. Turning his enchanted light stone toward the east, he sees the foul beasts begin to take form as they come from the shadows into the light. Their loud, guttural language echoes throughout the chamber as they all spit and curse at the light from the stones of Beleg and Dain as well as the presence of the Companions in general. Each of the Trolls appear to suffer from the same malignancy that causes the first Troll to slobber on itself. Although the Trolls jump and move about the chamber area, Kersath is able to quickly count that they number around twenty-five or so.

"Now you leave!" bellows the guard Troll to Ortho as it takes courage from the entrance of the rest of the clan. "You leave or we feast on you!"

Looking over the milling Trolls before him, Ortho takes heart that the beasts appear to have no clear clean chief or shaman; at least not one that has made it's presence known so far. Although greater in number than the Topknot clan, that must be why these Troll's did not wipe them out earlier. Hopefully that will bode well for us, he thinks to himself.

Beleg holds his position in the wedge, awaiting the command to advance or retreat. Looking at the width of the passage and the number of Trolls, he silently hopes the order comes soon. "They'll not look so eager once they've tasted our steel!" he says, glancing quickly at Snagger.

Ortho stares hard at the guard Troll, then the dwarf looks beyond the guard at the rabble beyond. "Aye, there are a goodly number of ye, but not enough. The Topknots are no more, thanks ta me and the rest o' me Company. Now, my friend, if ye wish ta try what the Topknots tried, then 'ere we be. But consider the waste. Me wizard an' their magic fire will make short work o' the lot o' ye. Perhaps a trial combat would be more ta yer likin', eh? You pick three o' yer best ta face me an' two o' mine. Winner stays. Loser must vacate these caverns forever. Are ye a sportin' Troll?" Ortho takes a small step backward as he finishes his offer to the Troll.

"Beleg, Snagger? Care ta dance wit' me?" asks Ortho to his companions as he makes his choice of fighter's known.

Gnore lifts his blade to point in the direction of the Trolls and grips the handle tight with both hands. He sneers at the beasts while holding his position in the wedge. He frowns as he feels insulted at not being considered a part of the trial combatants but he then remembers his performance during the last Troll battle. He understands the wisdom in Ortho's choice of the Paladin but why did Ortho put faith in the dwarven youth? Snagger must have proven his worth while Gnore dreamed on his patch of dirt.

Druckner's skin quickly turns a dark red, 'Wisdom, Schmisdom!' he thinks to himself, perhaps overestimating his own abilities in the flush of resentment. "Ah'm not good enough, eh?", he mutters under his breath.

Ras looks at the huge contingent of ugly beasts and winces with disgust. He ties the mules to one rope and holds the reigns in one hand. Waiting on the response of the Trolls, he pauses in retreating with the mules or leaving them be.

Kre silently prays to himself as he pulls out a small leather bag from his pack. "Boy, do we know how to pick fights or what?" he mutters as he opens the top of the bag to look at the caltrops contained within.

Talimar quietly curses under his breath that he is not yet powerful or knowledgeable enough to handle the magiks of a fireball. Seeing that battle is a foregone conclusion, especially with the fiery dwarves in the group, he checks that his sword is loose in it's scabbard. Closing his eyes, he murmurs a few words of power and completes a spell. The elf's body begins to blur slightly, shifting and wavering to the eyes of those around him. He then raises his bow once again and prepares an arrow to fire. Kersath looks over at his leader with a dark look on his face, "You know we're outnumbered more than two to one, right? I mean, how many Trolls was that last tribe?" Seeing no response from the gray elf, he quielty hopes that somebody up there is looking down with mercy on he and his friends. Taking advantage of the momentary confusion caused by the arrival of the other Trolls, the dark elf quietly slips into the shadows around him.

Securing his helmet with a sigh at the odds before him, Garth bucks up and utters a prayer to Selune, "Oh Selune, sure'n we're outnumbered, but we ask your blessing to guide our blows and to protect us from our enemies, that we may give a good accounting of ourselves. With your aid, we may yet live to see your blessed and kindly moonlight again." As the magical energies are released from the body of Garth, an explosion of pain erupts in his head, a trickle of blood begins to fall from his hose. Straining to remain standing, he is unable to do so and falls to one knee. Steeling his courage and fighting the pain in his head, he draws up once again, fighting to ignore the pain to his head and his body. His companions suddenly feel a strength and courage wash over them, washing away the fear that had been gnawing at each of them before.

Gnore raises his great bastard sword and through clentched hands rests the weapon on his shoulder. His teeth clentched, he breathes heavy as the growing battle fury grips his mind and body. He sets himself for any charge from the Trolls as he draws his weapon back. As he starts his walk toward the beasts, his body freezes as if he has suddenly become stone. He panics for a slight moment before shaking his head to clear it.

"No...no...I'll wait and hold my stand," he whispers and straightens himself to his full height. With sword turned downward into the cavern ground, Gnore rests his hands on its hilt watching to see how this meeting proceeds.


After the challenge of Ortho, the guard Troll turns to look at his fellow clan members gathered around. All of the beasts whoop and holler, jumping up and down and waving their arms around in wild displays, each apparently jawing for the honor of fighting the dwarf. Several Trolls claw at one another and push others aside as they struggle for positioning. Ortho quickly realizes that his plan may backfire as, once again, there is no clear leader of the clan to decide the combatants. For a moment, Ortho considers the hope that the Trolls will tear one another apart in the struggle to fight the RFC but that idea quickly dies as they all turn and focus their attention on the group.

Several of the Trolls start moving toward the group as Ortho and Snagger warily fall back to join the wedge formation once again. Talimar notices that Ras, Kre and Kersath are no longer a part of the wedge, having disappeared into the shadows.

"We no bargain. You die now!" yells the guard Troll as the clan starts a mad rush toward the Companions.


The charge of the Troll mass causes the Companions to fall back slightly as they try and close up the ranks of the wedge. Seeing the massive numbers of the Trolls and the large cavern, Beleg knows that they will be surrounded by the beasts. Talimar lets fly with a volley of arrows from his bow, the first flying to strike a charging Troll in the shoulder while the second sails high. Dropping his bow quickly, Talimar draws his longsword as the foul beasts move to encircle he and his companions.

"Come on ye scum!" yells Snagger to the charging Trolls. "Ye ain't gonna fair no better den dem other uglies who I hacked apart!" Snagger bares his axe and starts into his Troll-hacking chant again.

Two of the Trolls stop their charge and begin hacking in a terrible cough, the creatures then spitting a disgusting glob of phlegm toward the companions. Snagger is hit full in the face by one of the blobs and darkness descends upon him as he is momentarily blinded. He swings about with his axe before him as he fights back the panic rising inside of him. The second glob sails by Garth, narrowly missing his head.

Ortho curses as he takes a quick backward glance and notices that Kersath, Ras and Kre have foregone the safety of the wedge and disappeared into the darkness. Taking up his axe, the dwarf turns his anger to the large Troll rising above him. "RED FEATHER COMPANY!!" bellows the dwarf as he lays into the Troll with his mighty axe. A hard blow from the dwarf lands solidly to the beasts left leg, causing a green blood to spurt from the wound as the Troll yells with rage. To Ortho's right, Beleg swings Troll's Bane in a deadly arc that strikes a Troll across its chest opening a terrible wound. The beast yells but ignores the pain as it continues on.

Thankful to be conscious and a part of the battle, Gnore releases an incomprehensible dwarven curse as he steps forward to engage the two Trolls charging him. He takes heart from Ortho's example and mirrors the dwarven priest's resolve in his own position on the wedge. Raising his bastard sword before him, Gnore vows this time, he will see this battle through to the end! His great bastard sword plunges into the abodomen of the first of the Trolls spilling its intestines to the cavern floor as Gnore rips the blade free.

Druckner yells in a great release from the intense frustration he's been feeling, twirling his axe dangerously close to his companions. "Ah'll chop ya green celeries to shreds! Come an' get it!" Druckner follows the dwarvish discipline he's learned from a young age and holds his formation in the wedge as the Trolls close. The two Trolls that step forward to engage the dwarf manage to foil his attack as they avoid the deadly axe, the spittle from their horrid mouths falling as they step forward.

Despite the pain in his head and the strong desire to fall over and empty his stomach, Garth collects his courage and swings his mace at an advancing Troll. The priest's aim holds true as the weapon strikes hard into the knee of the beast. The crackle of bone greets Garth's ears as he continues to battle the pain to his own body.

From the center of the wedge, Dain looks at the advancing mass of Troll's and fights back the urge to flee. With his Companions having circled around him, he quickly realizes that had he truly wanted to do such, it would have been impossible. The fear fading, he looks about the battlefield for a way to help. Seeing a group of three Trolls milling around the northern edge of the wedge looking for an opening, he starts a quick chant as he pulls forth a thin strand of web from a pouch at his side. Releasing the word of power, he drops the web to the ground as he points to the three Trolls. With a crackle to the air around him, a thick ray of webbing erupts from his outstretched hand to fly toward the three beasts. Eyes averted from the center of the wedge, the Trolls do not see the approaching web until way too late. All three quickly become entangled in the sticky substance, unable to free themselves for the moment.

From the shadows of the chamber, Kersath and Ras see the trapped Trolls and quickly try to take advantage of the situation. Kersath fires a volley from his hand-crossbow into the moving web. Unable to see if the bolts found a home or not, the dark elf places the weapon on his belt once again before taking up his swords and advancing. Ras steps from behind a boulder to throw a pair of daggers into the web as well. A cry of pain emanates from the three to bring a smile to the face of Ras.

Across the chamber from Kersath and Ras, Kre spots a solitary Troll as it moves around looking for an opening as well. Climbing to the top of a boulder, he quietly leaps from the boulder plunging ColdHeart into the back of the creature. The force of Kre hitting the beast's back knocks it to the ground as Kre pulls his weapon free and rolls clear of the beast. The Troll howls in rage as it slowly rises to smile at the young half-elf before it.

At the front of the wedge, Ortho works up a heavy sweat as he moves in and out of range of the three Trolls before him. Several blows are absorbed by his shield as the priest works to dodge the deadly talons of the Trolls. One of the creatures manages to slip past the shield and axe of Ortho to slam a fist into his chest. Ortho lets out a yell of pain and anger as his chest tightens up from the force of the blow.

From the second line of defense, Druckner and Beleg avoid the deadly blows of the Trolls attacking them. Seeing the searing wound of their companion inflicted by Troll's Bane, the Trolls are wary of Beleg as they move in to attack him, each not wanting to get within range of the deadly weapon. Druckner's rage manages to keep the beasts before him at bay. Gnore is not as lucky as he is struck by both claws from a nearby Troll. The beast quickly grabs the dwarf and begins to bite him on his left shoulder as well. As the Troll's teeth tear into the flesh of Gnore, he releases a yell of pain, panic quickly rising in his stomach. Having the dwarf firmly in it's grasp, the Troll begins to pull the dwarf away from the wedge and his companions. "Not this time!" yells Gnore as he gathers his great strength and pushes the Troll away, breaking free of it's grasp. Blood flows freely from two wounds to Gnore's face and the deep gash in his shoulder. A deep darkness plays at the edge's of Gnore's vision as he fights the rising tide of nausea that grows within him.

A second Troll takes advantage of the reeling dwarf and hammers two fists into the back of Gnore who stumbles forward to fall to the ground. Just as the beasts are about to pounce on the weakened dwarf, Gnore howls a curse and stands to his feet, his massive bastard sword keeping the Trolls a distance away from him. The beasts smile as they circle him though, knowing that it is only a matter of time before his wounds weaken him further and they will have him.

A reeling Snagger manages to avoid blows from the Trolls around him as luck keeps him from being harmed. Unable to see his enemies, the dwarf swings his axe around him wildly in the hope that he will land a blow. None of the swings manage to hit any of the Trolls but they do manage to keep them away from the blinded warrior.

Weakening by the minute, Garth is not as lucky as Snagger as an advancing Troll slams it's massive fists into the side and head of the dwarf. Moments ago, Garth felt that his head could not possibly hurt any more than it currently did. He was never more wrong. Blood now flows unhindered from his nose as well as from his right earlobe and he has no doubt that his right side now sports a broken rib. Drawing upon the courage of a centuries old race of warriors and the teachings of his beloved god, he fights back the pain and raises his shield and mace before him.


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