Eleint 6, 1479, Year of the Ageless One
With Arrol leading Huntrah and Cain through the mountain pass, they made good time as the three adventurers made their way towards the mines of Bellanan.
Just past highsun, the trio came upon a small dale. A small, shallow stream made its way through the dale. Momentarily stopping for Arrol to get his bearings, the group spotted harpies flying overhead. Just behind a copse of trees on the other side of the trees, they also spotted two cyclopses. Each wielded long glaives capable of slicing a tree—and a man—in half. Arrol noted that the monsters must be a patrol under the Winter Witch’s command.
“Maybe they aren’t aware that Koliada is dead,” Arrol said.
Huntrah took careful aim with his phasing bow at the nearest harpy flying overhead. “Then let’s send them to join her, so she can tell them what happened herself.”
A battle ensued in which the adventurers quickly killed all four monsters. Not one of the three skilled adventurers was hurt during the encounter.
The group then took a short break while Arrol searched the area. Within a few minutes, the Ranger found tracks that led from the direction of the mines.
The group arrived at the mines and found it surprisingly deserted of guards. Tools littered the ground in front of the three mine entrances. A nearby stone shack was also unoccupied. The area was quiet, save for the sound of a soft breeze that rustled the leaves of several trees nearby.
“Seems a little too quiet,” Huntrah said. “I’d expect Koliada to place more guards here.”
“Maybe they’re inside.” Arrol added.
Cain pointed to two very tall pine trees nearby. “Or maybe,” Cain whispered to the other two. “she does have guards.” All three looked and quickly noticed that despite the wind blowing through the area from one direction, the leaves of the two nearby pine trees rustled in a different direction, moving against the wind.
Arrol, the elven Ranger spoke up after realizing what the pine trees were. “Great treants,” Arrol called to the pine trees in Elven. “I am Arrol Mai-fair, of The People, and from the Sunset Vale. The one you serve no longer walks among the living. We have put a stop to the Winter King and Koliada’s evil tyranny against the dwarves of Hammerfist Hall. You are free from their bonds of service.”
The nearest of the two great trees altered its shape. Branches merged to form arms and legs, while a face formed upon its wide trunk; deep knots becoming eyes and a mouth. The other nearby tree also transformed itself into a tree-folk.
“I am Mosslock.” the nearest treant said, speaking in the Elvish tongue.
“And I am Hollywood.” the other—a thinner specimen—quickly added in a flamboyant fashion. It seemed to relish attention and didn’t want to be left out of the conversation.
The three adventurers then began a conversation with the two treants. Speaking in Elven, Arrol led the conversation and persuaded the treants to go back to their forest—or wherever they’re from. He explained that the Winter Witch had been defeated by he and his fellow adventurers. When asked for proof, Huntrah showed Mosslock and Hollywood the Sword of Black Ice, a longsword once wielded by Koliada herself. Cain also presented the Ice Crown and the Scepter of Ice, items that once belonged to the Winter King.
Upon seeing the sword, crown, and scepter, the two treants were convinced. They said they were both from the Far Hills and would return there. The adventurers bid them farewell. Arrol added that perhaps their paths would someday cross again. The two treants then left and began their long walk down the mountain towards the Far Hills.
With the treants gone, the three adventurers proceeded to enter the mines; but before they could, a cyclops trailing three dwarves emerged from the mine entrance. The three dwarves carried digging tools and looked haggard. When the cyclops spotted the adventurers, he raised his glaive to them and uttered a challenge in common.
Rather than engage the cyclops outright, Arrol decided to convince the one-eyed monster to leave the mines along with the other cyclopses. Unsure of what to do, the cyclops ordered a dwarf to go back into the mines to get the others. Moments later, four more cyclopses arrived. One cyclops in particular wore leather armor and held a long intricately carved wooden staff. It had long braided hair and tattoos on its face and arms. The cyclops introduced himself as the leader and a shaman among his people.
Arrol, again tried to convince them to leave the dwarves and the mines or face the consequences. He went on to explain that the treants had already left. To further help convince the shaman and the others, Arrol pointed to the sword of black ice Huntrah wielded. He also pointed to the ice scepter and crown Cain held before them.
The shaman thought about their offer for a moment and added that they were given a chest of gold as payment by the Winter Witch and Winter King. The chest was being guarded by two other cyclopses in the mines who were also watching over the dwarves. The shaman demanded that they be allowed to take their money, promising to leave peacefully if allowed to do so. Huntrah then took out an astral diamond and threw it at the foot of a nearby cyclops. He said the astral diamond should more than suffice to ensure they left immediately and without harming a dwarf. Huntrah threatened to kill them all and take what little treasure they had if they were to renege on their word.
Satisfied, the shaman ordered the other cyclopses to leave the mines and the dwarves.
As Arrol, Cain, and Huntrah watched the cyclopses leave the mines, nearly a hundred dwarves—all weary from their ordeal—slowly emerged from the mines. Each one personally thanked their unlikely rescuers: an elf, a drow, and a lich.
Thankful that they had avoided unnecessary bloodshed, the rescuers led the dwarves back to Hammerfist Hall.
Characters: Arrol Mai-fair, Cain Justice, Huntrah De’Barronn