A call to glory

To the Barrowlands

A run in with a dragon and a trip to the dwarven vale

 The companions woke up early that morning, they had a prisoner to question and a trip to plan. The captive was still somewhat "out of it" so Arifal decided to wake her up a bit and get the companions on the move towards the dwarven valley where he was certain he could find the answers they sought about what was so important in the barrowlands to the north. The companions took a boat from Easthaven to Caer Konig, marking a quicker path, Cora guided them with her experience with ships and the sea.

           Arifal spent the bulk of the trip interrogating the prisoner who was only somewhat compliant. As they approached the town Bryce grew more anxious about the whole trip, Jerimia saw her predicament and gallantly suggested she stay behind to provide "support". It made her visibly relax as she was getting to a point physically where she would be a hindrance more than a help.  She appreciated his concern and let him know. They set ashore around noon and set the path towards the tavern. Cora and Arifal went in for a drink, bringing their captive in tow. Jerimia set Bryce comfortably in a room and made sure the barkeep looked out for her.

            They pressed on, wanting to reach the dwarven vale before nightfall. Arifal grew eager to get home. As night fell they managed to finish the trek. Arifal led them down through the passes and switchbacks. They arrived at the main hall and Arifal took his captive to face dwarven justice, Cora went for a drink and to sell the knucklehead skull she managed to catch during the boat ride over. Jerimia went to the tavern where he met up with a fellow ranger, the dwarf who had set him on his first quest with Arifal.

                While Jerimia was catching up with old times and Arifal was witnessing a trial, Cora found a scrimshander who was willing to purchase her knucklehead skull, he was also keen to help her identify the daggers she had acquired.  It was an eventful evening more or less. Arifal discovered his captive had a major case of claustrophobia, which did not go well with her sentenced to the mines. Jerimia had met him back in the tavern and Cora arrived shortly after. The companions and the dwarven ranger discussed the upcoming trip and of course that had to lead to a drunken brawl between the dwarves.

             When the guard came to get Arifal about his prisoner, Jerimia took matters into his own hands and went with him. He took the woman from the mines and walked her to the gates. A short one sided conversation later and she was headed as far away as fast as she could. Jerimia considered the matter closed and went back in to gather his companions. They had discovered enough in their time to know what it was the hag sought in those barrows.  An ancient king of the Bear Tribe had been cursed as a werewolf and had been buried alive in those tombs. The hag sought to retrieve it and use it as another weapon. The race became more serious now.

         Jerimia pressed them hard and they kept the pace as well, the northern tundra had a way of sapping strength even in the summer months. He led them to a hidden refuge that the rangers use to patrol the northern reaches (often to preempt barbarian raids). The site before the refuge was one of concern. The rangers had made an island in the middle of the river as their hidden refuge but it looked as though some manner of battle had happened on the far shore. Cora found poisoned arrows and recognized the poison as something not made in the wild. It would have had to have been made in Bryn Shander. She shared this with an increasingly concerned Jerimia.

          He and Arifal scouted about while Cora set them to get across the river (even in summer the water was blood chillingly cold) and they went cautiously across. The refuge itself seemed unharmed but the tracks showed that at least one ranger had survived and he had made his path obvious to intentionally be followed. The companions searched a bit to find the hidden refuge in the rocks and followed the path down to a small cavern the rangers used as their base. There was a wounded half elf (her name was Malgannis and Jerimia knew her only casually) laying there dying of the venom. Fortunately Arifal was able to purge the poison and heal her wounds. She explained what had happened and about the strange creature that had hunted the rangers in the north. They camped for the night, at least here was safe and warm.

           Armed with this information the companions went north to find the barrows. They first came across a ruined village of the Bear tribe. The place had been ransacked by goblins but more chillingly there were indications of the dragon's presence. Caulderung had brought himself this far north. It was worth noting with concern. The companions checked the place over and discovered more information about a previous party exploring the area and of the nature of the barrows. Cora had discovered another of the hag's small wood and vine spies. She crept up on it and destroyed it quickly but that let her know that the enemy must be aware of their presence. She quickly gathered her companions and made her concerns known.  They fired the place and pressed on, hoping to at least lure the dragon here as opposed to their destination.

            Feeling that time was more pressing, they pushed hard for the barrows a mere two miles north of their location. They managed to make it by midday. Coming down from higher ground they stopped suddenly, they had seen the dragon Caulderung raging impotently at the warded barrow door containing the trapped werewolf. It was frustrated with its inability to break the wards.  Cora crept up slowly and Jerimia with Arifal to back him prepared a shot. If they were going to have to fight, best to do so from surprise. Much to their relief the dragon had finally noticed the fire behind him and he flew off in a rage to investigate. This allowed them to quickly slay the goblin minions and investigate the area. As Cora had discovered the remains of the other party they quickly realized there was more to this place than initially thought. They began  a more comprehensive investigation to discover the hag and her "sons" laired nearby.

          The ruined tower that was the other party's goal had become a lair for ghouls and they decided against entering that place. While they discussed what to do, one of the sons came up out from a tree ( a hidden illusionary doorway into the hag's lair) and revealed itself. Some adventurers would have fled. These heroes realized an opportunity to further erode the enemy's power and went on the attack. Jerimia pelted it with arrows while Cora snuck up for a killing blow. Arifal taunted the hideous and stupid creature mercilessly to the point it lost its patience and charged. Right into Cora's trap. The creature was swiftly dispatched and the party paused to collect their breath and figure out their next move….

          

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