FALL OF THE TROLL KING
As the Scene opened, the VTOL with Aramonar had landed next to the old ski lodge which had been converted by the frost gnomes into a redoubt. He quickly survayed the situation and realized the incredible peril that everyone was in if the rift remained opened. The old wizard explained, “such power draws the attention of other beings the longer it remains open.” Off in the distance, they could see a column of light that rose into the area, and realized that was where the trolls were probably coming from.
After taking stock of their ammuntion and preparing for combat, the group encountered three individuals walking towards them through the storm. What appeared from the gusting wall of winter weather were three emaciated trolls in heavy robes that radiated an aura of menace and foul magic. Dragomir wasted no time in the attack, even as Lilly spoke of caution. The first of the three raised his pale arms in a motion of surrender, and requested a chance to speak with the sentients who had interfered with the troll army’s attempt to recover the “walking food.”
Dragomir continued the attack however, and an instant later, the central troll was whisked away in a dark cloud of vapor, leaving the slavic mercenary standing next to two desicated troll corpses that ignored him. Lilly had tried to restrain him, and Dragomir had drawn a knife and looked to her with fury at the attempted interference. He did not attack her however, and kept a wary eye for what was obviously some kind of necromancer among the trolls. The creature used magic to speak to them while remaining out of sight or hidden in some manner. It spoke of its desire to parlay with the others, and it had a deal that would work out in their favor if they would allow him to speak.
Obviously, Dragomir did not find any such offer compelling, however, the rest of the team was interested in hearing what the necromancer had to say before passing judgment. The creature reappeared and spoke about how the madness and greed of the troll king were forcing his people to be here. He wanted to oppose him, but the troll king held his leash, and there was nothing to be done as long as the troll king Lived. Fortunately, there was a custom among the trolls, where the owners of territory, could challenge the leaders of the clan, and if they win, then the troll clan would relinquish its claim on the new terrritory. The chief who failed would be cast down or killed by combat, and the new troll would claim leadership of the clan and could issue an order to either take command of his territory or force them back. All that had to be done, was blow a sacred war horn outside of the troll encampment, and the king would have no choice but to answer.
When asked about the gnomish hostages that were currently in the camp and being used as food, the Necromancer stated disgust. He explained that since the gnomes had been taken, his people had become fat and lazy, and had abandoned their hunting ways. He wanted them to return to their hunting ways, and so promised that the gnomes would be released if they defeated the troll king in ritual combat. He would also erect a dome of necromantic energy that would keep the rest of the army from interfering until the combat was decided. As a finishing incentive, the Necromancer also promised that after the troll king was slain, they would never see him again, and swore by the dark gods he served.
Once it was agreed between them, the entire group began to trod through the snow towards the troll encampment. As soon as they got close, the dragonclaws realized the potential threat they were facing as the trolls had already several hundred warriors through the portal and established a fortified base camp. There was a large tent in the center which was probably for the troll king, and sentries quickly spotted the group as they approached.
Just as the Utgarra the Necromancer had promised, the sacred horn was sitting on a nearby bramble, waiting to be sounded by a perspective challenger. As one of the Team stepped up and loosed a blast from the enchanted horn, the army started to stir like an anthill kicked over as trolls rushed about, and the troll king came forward with his entourage to find out what had happened. When he saw the challengers, Gurternax finally saw the assembled heros, he laughed and drew an enchanted battle axe, who’s edge moved like a chainsaw. Several of his mages moved in to support while his guard also drew their weapons and moved into a ritual ring of combat to answer the challenge. As this happened, the necromancer constructed a ward to keep the others from interfering.
The ritual combat however was quick and brutal, as Azure Fin summoned his electrical powers and caused massive explosions to erupt among the trolls. Lightning bolts of energy swept over them as the aquatic creature summoned the full wrath of his power, and fewer then a third of his entourage remained after the psychic was finished. What followed was the rapid execution of the troll king, as Vance teleported behind and used his Psy-blade to decapitate Gurternax in a sweep of psychic energy. The remaining trolls were either shot, blown up or otherwise cut down by Dragomir and Lilly, and the others, who quickly cleaned up the mess and brought the fight to a close.
One of the trolls approached the Dragonclaws, stating that they were strange for a troll Lord, but requested what they wanted the army to do? Vance shook his head and told them all to return home, meanwhile Azure fin simply restated his desire to have them “get the hell off my planet.” Dragomir simple swore in Slavic and Lilly was quiet as she surveyed the scene of devastation. It was clear by the number of bodies and remains, that the trolls had feasted well on the gnomes, but in the “larder” tents, there were still 60, malnourished and mistreated gnomes who immediately fell to their knees and praised their saviors from a horrible fate.
True to its word, Utgarra the Necromancer, waited until the last troll had passed back through the gate, and imploded the spell foci that were keeping the rift open. As the purple crystals shattered, the Rift began to close as the reality of earth reasserted itself over the tear in dimensional space. When it had finally closed off completely, Utgarra bowed and spoke about how they would never see it again.. but it would leave them a small token of its eestem to remember him by. With that, the necromancer waved his hand, cast a prepared spell and roused a large number of corpses and skeletons to rise from the meat pits they had been thrown into and attack. After casting his spell, the necromancer bowed and teleported away to parts unknown, leaving the undead to frollic with the Dragonclaws.
The combat was terrible, but quick, as the gnomish remains formed together into hulking masses of dead flesh, and skeletons of trolls and people rose up from the snow to attack anyone and anything nearby. Once again Azure fin released the full fury of his power and a storm of electricity swept over the area. The stink of ozone and cooked meat was thick in the air as the smouldering ruins of the undead collapsed to the ground. The remaining few stalked to attack, and Dragomir, Vance and Lilly cut and blasted the remaining corpses to pieces in short order.
Once the corpses had been dispatched, everyone gathered the remains of the magical focus and loaded the gnome refugees onto transports so they could be taken back to New Arcadia.
Arterrexxus had decided that the gnomes would be cared for until they were strong enough to decide for themselves if they wanted to stay or not. A warehouse would be converted into a shelter to keep them protected from the weather until more permanent housing could be set up, and they could remain while becoming a part of their new community.
Dragomir had decided to ask Garth about better weapons for the team, but more importantly, for himself. Lilly, Vance and Azure had busied themselves with seeing to the refugees who looked upon them all with adoration. Some even have whispered that gnomes saw the smooth skinned “Blue-Manta-ray man” as a blue skinned avatar from their god and had made simple statues of him in their refugee shelter… worshiping him as an intermediary for their god of electricity and creation.
Meanwhile.. Dragomir received a fateful letter in the mail.