Rain fell in the suddenly quiet clearing. A beast, standing twice as tall as a normal man, held Buzz Aldrin between its gnarled fists, prepared to tear the unfortunate man in half. A sudden clarity entered its eyes. Blinking, the rain pouring down its hideously deformed face, the beast examined its surroundings. In a mild baritone, a strangely high pitch for such a creature, it said, “What the devil is going on here?”
Noticing the man held between his hands for the first time, he put him down upon his feet with a gentle pat. Buzz Aldrin scurried to the back ranks for his compatriots, grateful for the reprieve. “I do say, what is going on here?”
Eres stepped forward, grasping the mutilated corpse at his feet by the hair and holding it aloft for Cho’Zar to see, “This man was controlling your actions. We saved you from his influence.”
Cho’Zar inspected the corpse being held up, “Yes, I was just talking to this man. I was there talking to him, now I’m standing out in the rain with you all. Quite odd.”
Victor Traid, the older man who assisted in the battle, stepped forward, “What they say is true, Cho’Zar. These men are heroes.”
Cho’Zar considered him a moment. “I see. I need some time to digest this. You look as if you have things set here. I’ll retire to my tent. Goodnight.” With that, Cho’Zar headed towards his tent, swiftly disappearing into the rainy night.
Eres followed, wanting to speak to the Troll. He went into Cho’Zar’s tent, hoping to look through Borem’s possessions.
Meanwhile, the party looted Borem’s corpse, finding a pair of magical daggers and a sack containing 30gp.
When Eres entered, Cho’Zar was looking at his room as if lost. he noticed Eres behind him, “Would you look at this mess? Can you believe this? I bet he wouldn’t treat his own possessions in such a horrid fashion. It will take me weeks to clean up all this mess. Bah!”
“Uhh, yeah, looks pretty bad. You think I could go through Borem’s stuff, just in case some if it is time sensitive?”
“Oh, yes, I suppose so.” Cho’Zar cleared a large place on the floor and moved Borem’s sleeping mat and chest there, then continued his cleaning.
Eres examined the chest. He found some fine clothing inside, some food and cheese. He took the box, the clothes and the bedding. Pink took the food.
They slept through the night and in the morning asked if Cho’Zar would escort them to the Dryad tree. Cho’Zar agreed. Before they left, Steuben Chapman picked up a magical signature from about a mile and a half away, towards the mountain range. They decided to collect the Dryad wood first, and then check out the magic.
On the way towards the Dryad they talked to Cho’Zar. Pink rode upon his back, fashioning a crude harness from some rope and leather.
Cho’Zar described his experience in the village, his daily life and his encounter with Borem. Borem had said he was a travelling potion maker, and had heard tell of a sentient troll. Troll Blood, being extremely valuable and equally difficult to get a hold of, he asked if Cho’Zar would provide him with some. Cho’Zar agreed and took a dagger from Borem and cut a large gash in his forearm. That was the last memory he had before he was aware of being in the clearing with the party.
The party concluded that it was either some form of magic that Borem knew, or it was part of the properties of the magical daggers they recovered from Borem’s corpse. Further testing would be needed to confirm or deny.
They reached the Dryad tree without incident and took plenty of wood.
On the way back they asked Cho’Zar about where he had come from. He explained that he was actually a prince of Bogotus.
His home had been threatened by a band of marauding Hill Giants. He had traded power to defeat his foes for a curse with an oracle named Oteh in the Mountains of Otus.
In exchange for the form of a Troll, he gave up his humanity (“whatever that means. I’ve never missed it”) and was cursed so that if he was ever around more than one hundred people he would lose control and act like a true Troll.
They reached Trollhaven and soon set out for the magical signature that Stu had felt.
It was a short walk, and Cho’Zar came with them.
When they reached the mountains, where Stu could feel the magic coming from, they found a cave entrance, leading down into the earth. Cho’Zar complained the entrance was too small for him and he’d have to stay outside.
Inwards the adventurers went. They had Hodor lead the way, which may have been an unfortunate choice, since Hodor is by any measure somewhat retarded.
In any event, they reached the bottom and were surprised to find a rather cozy room complete with a large table for alchemical preparations and a smaller one, clearly intended for eating. At the smaller table sat a strange man. He had dusky skin and red hair. He had been sitting in the dark at the table. In front of him was a cup and two other places were set at the table, each with a cup in front of them as well.
“Welcome,” the strange man said, his voice obsequious and weaselly. “Please, sit, I’ve been expecting you.”
At this point only Hodor, Danil and Johnny were at the bottom, the rest were hidden in the tunnel. They decided to play it off like there were only three of them in total.
“You must be mistaken,” said Danil, “We’re just travelers who happened upon this cave.”
“Oh? you weren’t responsible for Borem’s death? I was sure whoever killed him would head here next.”
“Borem bad!” declared Hodor.
Danil and Johnny tried to shush the gentle giant, but the damage was done.
“Oh, so you have met him.” The man noticed Hodor looking up the pathway behind him and asked, “are there more of you? You seem to be expecting someone.”
“No, no,” Johnny rushed to assure him.
“Yeah, there’s more of us,” Hodor helpfully supplied.
“well, come on down, don’t be shy.”
The rest of the party gathered in. The man commented that there certainly were more than he expected. They agreed and asked him what his business was down here and how he knew of Borem.
The man introduced himself as Ig and explained that he was an Ifrit who was bound to serve Borem. Even though he could feel Borem’s passing, he was still trapped here until his Oathstone was recovered. He promised the party treasure if they recovered his stone. They agreed and he warned them that the way to his treasure hoard was guarded by a giant Hydra of some power.
He offered them treasure, four potions of healing, two potions of dragons breath.
The party scouted out the area ahead, seeing the telltale shape of a sleeping Hydra in a large pool in the center of a large chamber. They rushed in, prepared for a fight. The Hydra obliged.
The party attacked ferociously, killing one of the heads. The other 6 attacked, killing Buzz Aldrin, Danil Owens, Reese.
The battle rages on, only time will tell who the victor is.