The Song of the North

Again into the Eastenbarrow (The Marred March Part 2)

In the days before the final attack, life continues unimpeded for Marcus Kelroc. Liam Croix’s mansion will require quite a bit more work, as the foundation has sunk into the ground several feet. The Digger carpenters on site help figure out a solution, but it takes up quite a bit of time. There’s also quite a bit of work to be done around town.

Kossick’s work at the inn is also a bit hum-drum. Procuring new ingredients, putting together a care package for Tef, even cooking for Marilyn and her unborn hatchling. The most exciting thing that happens is a small fire at the inn, and the ensuing fight outside is quickly broken up by the guards.

Olympia passes the time with a bit more excitement, joining Jason Sand and others in their ambush of Sagava Robe. The very next day, while the town is engulfed in chaos as the Marred march onward, she is called in front of the town council. They want to use her past work for Jem Jezzeret to secure a save evacuation site for the people left behind. She agrees, and Selthan assists on accompanying her. Near the south-east fence, Liam Croix, Memmnot and his wife are prepared to set out. He’s bribed the Digger caravan and is preparing to wait out the storm in comfort. The increased risk of extra civilians forces Olympia to ask Marcus, Kossick and Charles Kitchen to accompany them. Their experience in their previous delve into the Eastenbarrow will be invaluable, and frankly, Kossick has little to do with his inn having been invaded by the town council.

Before they can hike all the way into the mountains, the sounds of battle ring out along the coasts of Lake Dilreen. The crowd searches the woods and roads below for the site of the clash, but Selthan shouts for them to turn around. Up ahead, a huge chasm has ripped open in the road, and small figures crawl up from the depths of the Midglass. Selthan promises to keep watch over the civilians if Marcus and the others investigate.

When they arrive at the rift in the middle of the road, they are greeted by several strange looking go-mar. Their eyes aglow with a strange green light, a staff wielding ho-mar urges them to battle as uruk amble up from the opening to reinforce. The battle is pitched, with Kossick flanked by uruk the majority of the time. Marcus lets a shot off straight at the magic using ho-mar, who shrugs the blow off with almost no injury to be seen. Olympia is swarmed by go-mar, but fights the ankle biters off to go straight for their magician. With a mighty kick, she sends the ho-mar plunging down the chasm. Charles Kitchen is battered by shield and sword, barely managing to keep the armored uruk at bay. Their wounds are many when the marred are finally all slain, but they have prevailed. Selthan and the others quickly run up, having repelled an ambush of their own. The draken wizard is most unsettled by the marred’s excellent implementation of tactics, and wishes to be behind the Eastenbarrow’s strong doors as quickly as possible.

Inside the digger’s mountain stronghold, they are not greeted by allies, but rather driven off by stubborn an fearful guards. Selthan decides she can’t be bothered to negotiate with these mole people for even a second and totally goes chompers on one of the guards! The remaining sentry is more than willing to explain the situation.

All the Hildenbarrow “employees” in Eastenbarrow have been ordered to keep outsiders out of the mountain. The Hildenbarrow themselves have been confined to the upper two levels of the complex, and wallow in a state of extreme squalor and hopelessness akin to what Marcus and the others saw on their first trip to the barrow. Some of the more cowardly of the bunch wail on about ghastly noises echoing out of the mine, and other such shit while Marcus and Olympia set to the task of cracking this mine door shut.

The quick witted adventurers are stumped by the stone door’s sturdy construction and complex locking mechanisims. The trapdoor to the side of the main opening is sealed as well, with no tool fine and strong enough to pry it up. While examining the mountain’s north face where cian duvan was captured,Selthan and Kossick have uncovered what can only be a chimney. The narrow flue no doubt leads to one of the digger’s subterranean forges. After assembling the supplies and doing a bit of poking and prodding, Marcus lowers his dog down the chimney to begin the investigation in earnest.

The dog does not return when the rope is retracted. Immediately, Selthan sends a bolt of lightning down the shaft to cook whatever has abducted the overglasser’s hound. They wait in grim silence for some time before the ever hopeful Kossick camo’s up and slides down the chimney with the grace of a dancer. The ridiculous chef-cum-commando lands atop the still warm anvil of a forge. The workshop appears to be carved straight into the rock, and fried diggers and an or-mar lay about the floor. The smoking husk of the or-mar stirs, and Kossick readies his axe to behead the marred. Before he can strike, Marcus’ faithful pup claws its way out of the behemoth’s gullet, and none the worse for wear! Huzzah!

There troubles have only just begun, though. As the rest clamber or clatter down as their builds would suggest, the draken mage, even while shapeshifted into Scale form, can sense a dark, foreboding presence lurking within the mountain. Still battered from their first encounter with the marred, the crew is none too eager to engage more of them inside the cavern, for that is what they find. The narrow cavern where our heroes first discovered the mithril is now a trachea-like chasm. On a wide ledge, a spindly tower made of mithril piping appears to be under construction. Ho-mar mages, their eyes green and aglow, their mouths stuffed with what appears to be tentacled sea-fare most foul, dance a worker’s dance about the tower. Their magic setting Selthan off on an incomprehensible tirade, the group is spotted and must fight. Olympia and Marcus both fire at the wizardly monsters on the tower as Kossick and Kitchen phalanx their shields to guard against the storm of green and gray flesh. They fight tooth and nail against the oncoming horde. The ensuing shitshow is almost more than they can handle, as Selthan is the only one doing any real damage. Barrel and blade wins the day as slowly, the marred are defeated. Go-mar cannibals surge up from the chasm, and Olympia leaps from the shadows to cut them off. Kossick and Charles score a major win against an or-mar. The points of their weapons pierce its fatty hide for the last time, and uruk promptly take its place. Even after throwing Charles down to the ledge, our heroes cannot be stopped. Thunderballing to victory, Selthan expends the last of her spells and turns back into a majestic draken. She flies to the chasm, only to be turned back by the malevolent presence within.

Black as a blind man’s sleep and taller than a ship’s mast, a humanoid silently rises from the cavern. Is torso is heavily muscled, but at the waist it appears to be attached to a large silver dais, with half a dozen spindly legs supporting it. Perhaps most imposing is the creature’s massive curved horns. Eyes twinkling like twin-terrible stars, the creature stoops to address the frightened heroes. The creature discusses its plans for the mithril tower, and how everything was supposed to be a big secret and shit. Nobody’s really paying attention, especially after the thing zapped Marcus’ mouth shut. This guy’s just too weird and terrible to carry on a normal conversation, even an evil one. Eventually, he sends them away and tries to spook them all by warning them not to return or he’ll kill everyone.

They grab as many of the Eastenbarrows as they can find, whisking the cowering diggers to the relative safety of the upper mines. Jem Jezzeret, as huffy and cowardly as ever, is pressed to come up with a plausible reason to disagree with the group’s plan to head back to town. An army of marred can be fought with mallet and sword, but whatever the fuck that thing was will require more power than they’re in condition to muster.

Olympia gained 5 disposition with Selthan, 5 Disposition with Liam Croix

Marcus gained 5 disposition with Selthan, 5 Disposition with Liam Croix

Kossick gained 5 disposition with Selthan, 5 Disposition with Liam Croix

Charles Kitchen gained 5 disposition with Selthan, 5 Disposition with Liam Croix

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