Thom's Kingmaking

Book 2-3 Interludes - Not Hunting for Laughs – Tomio’s Hunt for Hargulka (Tomio's point of view)

Book 2-3 Interludes – Not Hunting for Laughs – Tomio’s Hunt for Hargulka (Tomio’s point of view)
 
I meet the Royal Enforcer by the castle gates on the night of Arodus the 19th. My time in Silver Falls has been filled with hot weather, and the air has a thick dust in it from dirt roads and little rain, but this doesn’t seem to have bothered anyone.
 
Lyrontell has left to head back to the Whisperwoods and I decided to stay behind to see if I could gather any other information for him from talking to people around town. Akiros, who I am to meet, has been organizing a group of Barons and whoever else was interested and qualified to avenge sweet Ellira.
 
After a few minutes he is there, joined by Baron Glanrim and Baron Drael but not one else. He tells us that we are leaving at first light and are meeting up with a dwarf named Kas along the way. Sounds good.
 
The next morning, the clear blue sky is engulfed by the dawn. We head out of town and after an hour or two we see a red-haired dwarf riding a white bear with blue tribal paint. Guess the dwarf couldn’t bear to walk. self-chuckle.
 
He greets us in a rough voice and asks if we are doing this. I guess he knows who everyone else is. Akiros nods and I say thistle be a great day. Glanrim then leans over to Drael and has a look of confusion, wondering if he was drunk during the planning of this hunt. He asks who’s this, loud enough for the other dwarf to hear.
 
Kas, oh wait, he calls himself Kvasir – the K is silent, says he’s not here because Akiros or anyone asked, Ellira was a friend and he’s going troll hunting either way. Deep.
 
Glanrim welcomes him and asks how he knew Ellira. He says they travelled together years ago in a different land. They shared stories and battles and when she passed, he felt it. Wow, what a connection. He then introduces his bear as Orso, a gift from Gozreh when he asked for guidance.
 
Baron Drael then breaks this awkward moment by saying any friend of Ellira is a friend of his. Kvasir nods, and then says let’s get to killing. These guys are ‘in-tense’ like sleeping bags.
 
Akiros then waves everyone to keep moving. Riding alongside of Kvasir. Glanrim goes up in between them and looks at Akiros and asks how it feels to be connected. Kvasir answers though. He says that bonds between friends and the land are special and that there is a spiritual part to it…Glanrim looks confused, so I ride up beside Kvasir and tell him that I think Glanrim was talking to Akiros. He nods and continues to ride.
 
Akiros then says his connection seems tenuous at best, but it’s not him this time and he has peace with that.
 
We make camp the first night after crossing the Gudrin River fjord. Kvasir says he will hunt for food for everyone, and I offer to help. He takes down so wild birds and I find some nice herbs to flavour the meat nicely.
 
The next couple of nights of camp, we sit and get to know each other. Akiros says it’s important that we know each other as a team. We each do things that help keep spirits high and our mission clear. Kvasir regularly hunts for us, providing lots of food from the land. I keep everyone well entertained with regular comedy – such as, what is the fiercest flower? Chuckles. The dandelion. So good. Glanrim offers to use his whetstone and some oils to make sure are weapons are in fine form. I allow him to work on my whip. And Drael tells us tactics he has noticed while fighting trolls. And says beware that Hargulka can hurl balls of fire so try not to group up. Use choke points to draw them out.
 
Akiros asks us each what was the toughest thing we’ve ever defeated. Both Drael and Glanrim look at each other and mention the last troll they defeated – a two-headed, part giant, massive troll named Nagrundi. It was the one who killed Ellira. I, having not really kept track of that sort of thing over the years mention some wild beasts or evil plant monsters. Only things that couldn’t be dealt with in a more harmonious way with nature. Yea know, some vile plants that I ‘sapped’ the life from.
 
Then Akiros tells us the toughest thing he ever fought was himself – but not literally. He has some demons from his past. He apparently killed a lady’s husband who didn’t treat her well and was forced to leave his town. Then he joined up with the Stag Lord – a bandit that the Barons defeated over a year ago.
 
He says that when they came around, he saw a chance at something better but even after that change in path he was still not good enough. Then he tears up, and says that’s why Ellira was so important. She liked him for him – that is important in a friend or, maybe they were more.
 
He then stands up and says that that she is gone is a tragedy, but he is really here for him. And then walks away from the camp. Kvas gives Orso a look and the bear goes and sits with Akiros.
 
Glanrim then asks me, the ‘funny man’ if I have anything to say. Whoa, on the spot after such and big emotional roller coaster. I ask them about the guy who lost after getting kicked in the mouth…he knew the taste of de-feet. They don’t chuckle, but smirk and given the circumstance, I think that’s the best I could have hoped for.
 
The next day we continue through rolling hills and cross the Little Sellen River. Late in the day he pauses and has a pensive look to him. He says that we will meet his dinner around dinner time. Another hour goes buy and we see a cloaked figure emerge from the bushes. I wanted to make a camouflage joke in the moment, but I couldn’t seem to find any.
 
She says that the trolls are holed up in a cave about two hours from here. They don’t leave much but she saw them camp several different spots before landing here. It seems to be their new home, for now.
 
Akiros asks if we want to go now and attack tonight. I don’t think that’s a great idea, but before I can say anything, Glanrim suggests that we wait and be cautious. We nod, and Kvasir says something about vengeance but agrees. We make camp.
 
Essen seems like a nice human woman with blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. She and Akiros talk mostly.
 
The next morning she takes us to the edge of the troll cave, from an angle that they wouldn’t be able to see us coming. As we approach, Drael offers to give us some magical resistance to fire due to Hargulka’s flaming abilities. We all graciously accept – except Glanrim. He says he’ll be fine. Strange. That will be ember-assing for him if he gets scorched.
 
Then Essen heads off and Akiros and Glanrim take point. Glanrim is hold some potion and Akiros pauses and says he can’t see in the cave. Drael casts light on his shield and I bring up some more dancing green orbs to follow us as well.
 
Glanrim then says to Akiros that he is excited to fight alongside him again…whatever that means. Drael then reminds us that we should try and use the narrow parts to our advantage.
 
We head in and my bright idea helps keep us in the back – Kvasir, Drael and I, illuminated. After a short tunnel we come to a large cavern and are greeted by a large crystalline looking troll. Gems are encrusted into its skin, which is a dull brown rather than the traditional green of most trolls. Guess it’s a hard rock life for this guy. Oh, combat started!
 
Kvasir fires some arrows that sink in, but only one does it notice at all. He yells at us that it is a rock troll and that they are immune to fire. Glanrim then yells something in dwarven, quaffs the potion, and whoa! He’s now the size of the troll and swinging his axe.
 
Well, I tell the troll about the most self-centered opera singer I had ever met. Every time we talked, he was always, ‘mi, mi, mi, mi!’ and with that final ‘mi’ chunks of crystalline rock crack off near its ears. I then duck further into the cavern.
 
Akiros swings wildly, but the troll bats his sword away, and the troll retaliates, shield defelcts, but then some teeth find the chink in the armour. Drael flings a glob of acid at its chest, melting away some rocky hide.
 
Kvasir fires again but that rocky hide is thick, and the arrows bounce off. It seems distracted though, so Glanrim swings his big axe right into its chest and chunks of rocky flesh fall to the floor.
 
I then tell them all to the aim for below the knees, it’s the only way to de-feet them and let my sonic voice crack more rocky bits off.
 
The troll seems highly perturbed now and goes wild at big Glanrim, no teeth connect, but some claws cause blood to spray. Drael tries to fling more acid, but the wild movements of the troll cause it sizzle on the wall.
 
Then Glanrim says something about a diplomat – must be another troll coming from somewhere I can’t see. Whoa, Akiros then takes the rock troll by the kneecaps – hey he listened to my joke, and the rock troll slumps. But combat isn’t over as Kvasir is shooting at some unseen foe.
 
I then rush to the center of the room and seeing the blood on our front-line team, it’s time for some comedic reinforcements. What do you call a knight who’s afraid to get in a fight? Sir Render. It worked; they all seem bolstered with a determined chuckle.
 
Drael flings acid down the hallway at a green ugly troll – how can he be a diplomat? And it screeches in pain and starts to retreat. We give chase. To keep moral high, I tell another killer – ‘how did the octopus beat the shark in a fight? Because he was well armed’ *giggles*…So good.
 
As we run up some natural stony steps, Akrios calls back over his shoulder that he can see him up ahead. We have him cornered, hopefully…but then the tunnel we are all bunched up in- just like Drael warned us not to do, erupts into a ball of flame.
 
The cavern we are headed to and the tunnel we are in are instantly lit up and in that moment it’s easy to see the stalactites overhead and the walls are formed from shale. I hug the wall and only get singed a little. Must remember to thank Drael for the fire protection, but whoa, Glanrim just straight up takes the explosion and it like gets sucked into his chest.
 
We all seem to be fine, only a little chard and Akiros goes running toward the source of that fire, which, didn’t come from a wizard, Hargulka seems to be holding a necklace that lets him do that. And he meets with the ‘diplomat’ and gets parried once but then spills some troll blood. Kvasir then fires some arrows into him.
 
Large Glanrim rushes up and meets the diplomat with an axe blow to the chest and the force drives the troll to its knees and then with a second swing the diplomat’s head goes flying off. Drael rushes up and flings acid at the now corpse to ensure this troll will help nurture the soil.
 
Time to extract some revenge back to Hargulka. I ask him, ‘What did the grape say when it was crushed? (My voice echoing and raising as I cast) Nothing! But he did let out a little wine!’ The spell seeps into his brain, but his thick skull shakes it off. Dang.
 
Whoa, that Hargulka is bad news, another little mote of fire comes soaring towards us, and, boom, fire erupts again. Seemed smaller but got hot under the collar. This time he yells at us too. He says, “Remember this place. Remember it because you are no different than me. This time your army was bigger. Someday, there will be an army larger than yours, and after your army is crushed, you can come hiding here. Until the assassins find you too. Remember this place."
 
Akiros then yells that he took away something more valuable than he would ever know. I don’t see if he connects, but his conviction is there. And then an arrow hits Hargulka in the stomach and in the forearm, going clear through, causing him to drop the massive morningstar he was wielding. Reminds me that time I grabbed a slippery soap…It got out of hand pretty quickly. *chuckles*… Then I hear, “that’s for Ellira!” as Kvasir moves forward more.
 
Next, big Glanrim goes charging yelling, “Death comes for ye!”
 
Seeing as this troll has a thick head, time for some high pitched jokes – What did the tree says to his buddy? I’m rootin’ for ya, and I’ve got your bark…but if it goes wrong we can juST LEAF!! ..The ringing in his ears seems to only annoy him slightly. Must not be paying attention to these stellar jokes.
 
Drael then comes in again and flings more acid, this time at Hargulka’s face. Then Hargulka goes to grab his morningstar and Glanrim takes the opportunity to chop at his good arm, but then he retaliates with a denting plate whack to his chest. Ooph.
 
Akiros then reaches his quarry and, ducking Hargulka’s long arm, his sword alights with the holy fire of Erastil and thick troll blood splashes upon the ground from a mighty chest wound. He then touches his own chest and perhaps a divine spark heals him slightly.
 
Two arrows then fly into Hargulka’s shoulder, one bouncing off his pauldron. Kvasir is a pretty good shot, a man with great drawbacks. Glanrim then takes a couple swings but only one connects. I then try to fill his head with a cacophony of sound, starting with – What type of tree fits into the palm of your hand? A PALM TREE! …ugh this troll must have nothing upstairs because none of these jokes are landing. That was gold too.
 
But then Drael continues to advance and throws a vial of some sorts, I think Finn gave it to him. It smashes on his armour and whoa, an electrical spark dances up his body to his back. Drael shouts, “The arcane powers you have stolen are no longer yours to control!” That was a good line, I give him an approving thumbs up.
 
But then Hargulka swings madly connects with Glanrim right in the chin and with that blow a dissonant thunder boom fills the cavern and Glanrim’s ears start to bleed as he falls to his knees. Hargulka also slashes out and tries to bite Akiros but his shinning shield is there to block the blows.
 
Akiros then screams goes to slash Hargulka, fueled by divine rage, he spills some blood with his first swing, but his second, Hargulka sees it coming and is able to bash it down with such force that it puts him off balance and his blade connects with the now kneeling Glanrim, who neck sprays blood and collapses.
 
Kvasir then, eagle eyed, hits Hargulka in the cheek and the second arrow goes right into his eye socket. He collapses and I rush up and asking, “Why did the tree need to take a nap? For rest!” and try to stitch Glanrim’s wounds back together…but his chest does not rise. He has become fertilizer.
 
Drael, shouting in anger, throws himself onto Hargulka and fire erupts from his fingertips, melting the flesh from his skull. Akiros drops his sword and falls to his yells in ire at Erastil and has a look of betrayal upon his face as he stands and leaves the cave.
 
Kvasir tells Orso to follow Akiros and as he gets closer, he comes and chops what’s left of Hargulka’s head off. I tell him there is no breath. Drael, full of grief, shoults, “not like this! NOT LIKE THIS!”
 
Kvasir puts his hand on his shoulder and says that this troll has once again take one of ours. Drael, filled with grief, is with Glanrim’s body so Kvasir and I do what must be done and look what stuff is salvageable from this place. I find a hidden rusty key on Hargulka’s body which goes to a not so hidden chest. Inside it has a small trove of wealth, and later asking Drael whether Glanrim should fertilize this land, he says it’s not his time. So, we hope this will be enough, but I give some of my savings as well.
 
I then chase after Akiros while Kvasir loads up Glanrim’s body. I try and tell him we’ll set this right. We decide to head straight to Restov even. I am sure I can help them sell some of this troll stuff for a pretty penny. Cause two coppers who hadn’t seen each other in a long time contacted each other and said, ‘let’s get together and make some cents.’ You must find the balance and smile in the grief. Rest well Ellira, we’ll make this all right.

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