We finally got out of the Jungle and entered the foot hills of the Twilight Peaks. The Obsidaman Messenger asked us to let him off the boat there. So we found a quiet canyon where we could anchor. We put him a shore and decided to take a day of rest. Some of us had only had 2 hours sleep in the last two days, and all of The Unchained had wounds to rest off.
The next morning we pushed on to the Reach. We got there in the early morning. We were shocked to see the state the village was in. Buildings were damaged, one was burned, the fields were unattended, and the roads were muddy and rutted. We approached the hidden cave harbor. No Ship came out to challenge us. We pulled in to the harbor and just a few nawat were there to help us dock. We were told that the Elders were on their way. They were eager to talk to us.
Honus Steelskull came with an entourage of warriors that served him. He greeted us with honest enthusiasm. He told us, as we walked through the village, that it had been raided several times in the last few months. He also said that there would be more on all of this after we had been feasted. I was not really interested in the pomp and ceremony so I broke off of the group and started heading for the fishing shack that Fa’ala and I had shared for two months.
After only a few steps Dremnin jogged up beside me and smiled. “Mind if I tag along?” he said.
“Nope.” I said, “I’m going to find Fa’ala.” We walked towards the fishing shack.
We noticed several damaged buildings. There had been no attempt to do any repairs or rebuild. Sections of the village had been abandoned. What was so scary that it could force trolls out of their homes?
We got down to the fishing shack by the river. There were signs that someone was living in the shack but no one was there. The fishing boat was gone so I guessed that she was out fishing. We walked down the river to where it is fed by the lake. I could see the boat out near the island in the middle of the lake. The island was where Fa’ala and I would train, sun ourselves on the rocks, as well as other things.
Dremnin and I shouted to the troll on the boat. I figured that Fa’ala was swimming in the water setting anchor points for the nets. The troll waved at us and then started pulling in the nets. He then rowed most of the way over to the shore. I shouted that I was looking for Fa’ala. He did not say anything The troll sunk his head and rowed in to shore. When he got out of the boat I saw that it was one of Brightspears sons that had taken over the family business. He reached out and put a hand on my shoulder.
I was panicking on the inside. Was Fa’ala dead? What happened? Why will he just not tell me?
The troll finally spoke, “Fa’ala is gone.” He said. My knees were weak. “She has left for the floating city.” He continued.
“Oh you scared me friend,” I said. “I thought by how you acted that something bad had happened to her.”
The trolls head sunk again, “She set up a second home in the grotto under the island. She told me that you two had spent time together there.” Ahh I thought to myself, she missed me, but what a dingy place to live.
Brightspear, paused for a moment, and then continued. “She had a clutch of eggs down there in a nest she built.” I smiled and looked to Dremnin. Before I could say anything the troll continued, “something attacked them. She came to our home late one night holding a hatchling, saying that she had to leave with the last of her clutch.” She left that night for the floating city.
I was trying to process all of the information. I was a father. Something raided the nest. Why did she not tell me? Dremnin could see that my head was spinning. He placed a hand on my shoulder it steadied my world and brought me back to the present. Rage burned behind my eyes. I looked at Dremnin. “Will you go with me down to check out the nest?” “I’m pretty sure that we can both get down to the grotto.”
“Show me where to go.” was his reply.
Brightspear took us out to the island by boat. I could see that he was nervous about being so close to the island. Dremnin and I stripped down and took just one weapon with us. It was a quick swim down to the opening. The underwater plant life had grown up and if you did not know where the opening was you would not be able to find it. I slowly lifted my head out of the water inside the grotto.
I was amazed there were three large crystal like mineral deposits on the floor that produced light. These were not here before. I climbed out of the small pool of water that was the entrance, and then I helped Dremnin out. I could see the nest made of blankets and rags on the far side of the cave.
I let Dremnin look around the room first. When he was done I walked over to the nest. Dremnin told me that the attack had happened a month ago. you could tell from the smashed eggs that the T’skrang were near hatching. All of the eggs were smashed but one had no skeleton in it. There were little foot prints leading to a small crack in the rocks. The bundle she left with was a living child, not an egg. The rest of the eggs were smashed under what Dremnin thought was a troll foot, but one that had extra spikes or claws coming off the sides.
We went back to the surface. When we Surfaced, Bright spear reared back with an oar to strike. Seeing that it was us he smiled. He handed us the end of the oar and he hauled us up on to the boat. While we got dressed he rowed away from the island as fast as he could for the shore line.
We headed for the home of Tago. This would be where the trolls would be having their feast and the briefing. Dremnin and I set out at a run.
We passed the last archway to find the rest of the unchained in a great hall with 30 trolls. Rorik Steelskull was sitting in a great chair at the end of the hall. His face looked tired and showed signs of sorrow. Honus Steelskull was telling a story about how his eldest brother Vargus Steelskull had not been right scence they had gotten back to the reach from the attack on Thera’s Pride.
Then we were told that Vargus and Elgorn had both gone missing. They had gone out looking for another missing member of the clan and never came back. No sign of them had ever been found.
The village was also attacked whenever the men went raiding. It was like something knew when the ships left. The Reach had to stop raiding. There for no new supplies had come in to the reach in the last two months. We also learned that several clan members had been taken during the raids on the village.
At this point I interrupted the story. I asked The Unchained to come in to the next room and talk to me. Honus looked a little insulted but I really did not care. I told The Unchained that Fa’ala had layed a clutch of eggs and that I thought that Vargas had destroyed the nest and killed my children. I wanted vengeance. I would have it.
We went back in to the hall and asked when and where the last attack happened. We were told that it had been on Tago’s house on the back entrance. We started to leave to investigate. Honus said that there was a feast to be eaten and we should be seated. I looked at him and said no we would start right away. Honus became very ridged and said in a stern tone, “Have I offended you in some way?”
I returned his look with one that was as cold, “No, but we will eat no food or consume no drink till we are sure that this place is clean. You are being attacked by a horror and we will keep ourselves as safe as we can.” “You brought us here to find your problem and fix it, because you have not been able to. So we will do what we came here for.”
Vridich, Urgral and Dagmar looked at me with shock. I did not care, there was work to do and it was more important than troll ego. Suulin went to Honus, I’m guessing to smooth over my rough words. I could tell that Stilicho was torn and did not know what to do. He was a member of The Unchained, but he was also a true member of the Steelskull clan. Dremnin and I left to investigate the back door.
The Unchained arrived at the door as a group. The back door had been violently attacked. Something had rammed in to it several times. Dremnin could tell that the attacker had horn antler like protrusions that had made contact with the door. He also found a sliver of crystalline material stuck in the door. It looked like the crystal mineral deposits that we saw in the grotto.
Dagmar and Urgral left for the ship to see if they could look up any information in the ships library. Urgral thought he had heard of something like this before. We continued to look around the area and found another foot print that was troll shape and size but was altered with extra protruding points. When we were sure that we had found everything we all went to the ship to see if Urgral had found anything new. We need to regroup and figure out what we know.