Call to Arms

The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 10
Brotherhood

The Fellhammers return to Outermost or a raucous celebration. The dragon is dead and her kobalds have fled.

The dwarves gladly bestow any treasures the heroes might be able to use, returning the remainder to their secret vaults. The dragon is beheaded and dropped from the gallery window to the bottom of the cliff. Kendal keeps some of its blood “for research.” Dorn keeps a few scales, which he asks Dorgal the jeweler to work into something proper.

The dwarves are divided over what to do next. Some want to return to Stonerim or Felleg’Avin, but Balok the smith wants to stay with a proper forge in Outermost. Dorn and his friends agree and offer to send mercenaries from Felleg’Avin to help defend Outermost. Properly manned, it could be a knife in the back of the orc host gathered at Rookhaven.

Balok also tells Dorn the legend of Ragnaboken: the rainbow hammer of Hammerfall, said to make anyone who holds it invulnerable. If any magic in this world can protect Dorn from the death wind which destroyed their home, this would be it. the hammer was lost at the Breaking of the World when chief Thelgar Fellhammer and a thousand of his kin were crushed in a collapsing fortress. Orcs looted it and carried it who knows where. Kendal offers to research.

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 9
Aesilvyr

Dorn, Stark Fellhammer, Anselmo, Sova and Kendal are trapped in the forge room which is filling with smoke from the burning barrels outside in the corridor. The dragon taunts them, and Dorn taunts her right back. Enraged she has her kobalds douse the burning barrels and swarm into the forge.

Sova and Dorn hold the doorway. Stark struggles using a greatsword and has no armor but fights bravely. Anselmo is the first to feel the dragon’s terrible breath. He staggers but returns to help Kendal deal with the kobalds who are swarming into the room despite a pile of bodies growing around Sova and Dorn’s feet.

Aesilvyr is just outside the doors now, blocked by Dorn’s mighty hammer and Sova’s flashing blade. She sends another bolt of lightning which catches Kendal and Dorn. Already battered by kobalds and the dragon’s claws, Dorn falls.

But the Aesilvyr is desperate and near death. She flees with Sova in pursuit. The pride of Tyron withstands the blasting wind of the dragon’s wings and closes for the kill. It ends quickly. The dragon is slain.

Stark lays hands on Dorn and brings him back from the brink. The remaining kobalds flee.

They make their way to the market hall. Dorn stands at the wide gallery window and blows the horn of Caetar to announce their victory and call home the fleeing Fellhammers!

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 8
Outermost

Escaping from Rookhaven, the party heads west and tries to pick up the trail to Outermost. Orcs pursue to the edge of the forest then suddenly stop. From there on all the party sees are scattered kobalds, lurking in the distance. Why would orcs fear kobalds?

They travel two days across rocky heather and thistle strewn hills before arriving at Outermost. From a distance they spy a broad gallery opened in a sheer cliff-face high up the mountain, looking out across the hills. They follow a broken, winding trail up around the side of the mountain where smaller dwarven buildings cling to a steep slope.

A hundred yards shy of the main gate they see a dwarf carrying a basket of vegetables and a brace of rabbits. Dwulfyr Fellhammer introduces his rather pudgy self and is amazed to meet Dorn after all these years.

Dwulfyr confirms that Stark’s expedition have survived, all but one. When they first arrived at Outermost ten years ago they found the place inhabited kobalds … and a dragon. She calls herself Aesilvyr, and for ten years she’s kept the Fellhammers captive and forced them to “improve” Outermost, carving new escape tunnels for her lair. When they tried to escape, she caught them and forced them all to watch as she ate one of their number. With no place to hide in the open, scrubby hills below escape seems unlikely.

Anselmo is disgusted by Dwulfyr’s abject surrender and calls him a slave and a broken man. Dorn and Anselmo argue over how to proceed, with Anselmo preferring to stay outside and Dorn eager to go in and finally meet Stark and the other Fellhammers.

Kobalds have seen them and announce their presence to the dragon. Anselmo reluctantly follows Dorn and the others inside, where he find Stark and the other Fellhammers less eager to fight than he would like. Anselmo is disgusted with Stark in particular, who gave up his armor and weapons to the dragon rather than fighting and dying in them.

For his part Stark is put off by this human outsider who speaks before (and over) his kinsman Dorn. Anselmo basically calls Stark a coward, asks if he “has any fight left in him.” Stark answers by punching Anselmo in the face.

Sova meanwhile tries to come up with a plan to deal with the dragon. Kendal casts invisibility on her and Sova sneaks down the hall to see what they are up against.

Aesilvyr is a young blue dragon about 20 feet long. The dwarven horde of Outermost has been gathered and arranged neatly around the large oval chamber where she makes her lair. The broad gallery on one side looks out on the sky for an easy escape and two corridors are wide enough to fit her. Sova returns to the others and reports.

A winged kobald finds them and doffs his red cap, politely informing them in the Common tongue that they are to have an audience with “her majestic presence.” They basically tell him to piss off.

Anselmo gathers everyone who will fight in the forge room, which has only one way in. Dorn gives Stark the greatsword he took from the hobgoblins, Anselmo gives up his battle axe, halberd and Dorn and Sova give over their longbows.

Stark asks Dorn if he truly believes they can win and Dorn convinces him they can. Stark then orders the other Fellhammers to flee while they may, as they are not warriors and would likely die even if the dragon was killed. They will have enough trouble getting through the kobalds. This infuriates Anselmo, who believes Caetar would want everyone to fight.

The time for argument ends as kobalds test the doors to the forge room. Sova dispatches two, but suffers a couple of sling-stones in return. The kobalds back up around corners but block any escape.

A minute passes. The dragon is not coming. Kobals roll some large barrels down the hall as cover. Taking some oil from Anselmo and a bucket of hot coals from the forge, Sova sets the barrels on fire. As flames and smoke fill the corridor, the Dorn and his friends are well and truly trapped.

Meanwhile, have the other Fellhammers escaped? What of the dragon?

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 7
Rookhaven

Anselmo awakes before dawn as the Queensworn break camp. After reviewing their plan, he gives them the benediction of Caetar and the rangers sneak up the mountain.

Anselmo, Dorn, Kendal and Sova wait for full sunlight before approaching the enemy outpost. They find a wooden palisade blocking the road, though it’s still under construction and doesn’t reach all the way across the pass. They are able to creep quite close before using spells and arrows to pick off the hobgoblin sentries. Anselmo blows the horn of Caetar and the battle is on!

At the uncompleted edge of the palisade they run into several hobgoblins training dire wolves by dangling a hapless kobald in front of the ravenous beasts. When the hobgoblins see Dorn, they feed the kobald unceremoniously to the wolves, who then charge in a blood-frenzy.

After cutting down the first wave of wolves and hobgoblins, Sova and friends push inside the enemy camp and face another line of hobgoblin archers with their captain and three bugbears. Two spined devils fly in from Rookhaven to investigate the ruckus. In the end the field is littered with fallen foes and the heroes are victorious.

Inside the hobgoblin’s headquarters they find a vellum map of the lands northwest of Felleg’Avin, including Stonerim. On the walls hang banners of the hobgoblin’s 3rd Death Legion and six orc clans: White Skull, Three-scalps, Scars, Blood-Moon, Wolf-Tail, and Black-Tooth.

Dorn takes the captain’s greatsword and finds a letter on the fallen hobgoblin. With drums and shouts closing in they retreat back to their last camp and get a short rest while they wait for the Queensworn.

The rangers return with news that over 3000 orcs now cover the pass, with many ogres and at least five hill giants supporting them. Rookhaven itself is circled by dozens of flying demons or gargoyles. Jules offers to take this and any message Sova might have to the Chamber of Five and Sova’s father. She says simply, “tell them to prepare for war.”

Dorn shares the letter he found. It’s sealed with blood-infused wax, the signet the divine seal of Malice, used only by the goddess and certain high-clerics, and addressed “into the hands of Malebrant and no other.”

My dear child,

The forges at Helspire are lit. You need risk only one more shipment. Arrange it for midsummer.

I expect a full report of your setbacks in the city. Have no fear my child, your efforts have pleased me and some reaction by his faithful was to be expected. Redouble your efforts and remember: the hearts of men are easily swayed. Hatred is stronger than Justice. So it ever was and so it shall prove again.

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 6
Queensworn

As the mountain draws near, Dorn, Sova, Kendal and Anselmo search in vain for a safe place to camp. Their sleep is disturbed by nearby wolves and other sounds, but they huddle up to a rockface and don’t light a fire, so nothing attacks them.

The next day Dorn recognizes a treacherous rockfall and they go around it, which takes them several hours out of their way.

Finally scaling the mountain trail, they are taken by surprise as a sabre-toothed cat pounces on Kendal. Dorn pulls her free and together they kill the beast.

As evening falls they enter a narrow pass with sheer 25-30 foot cliffs on either side. Goblins appear on the cliffs above them, firing down with bows while others block the way through the pass. Boxed in the heroes fight a desperate battle and are bloodied. Kendal blasts a path through with a lightning bolt, but even more goblins charge in.

A stranger appears, following their trail up the pass and into the ambush. He fires a storm of arrows with his longbow, picking off the goblins on the cliffs. Dorn and Kendal finally make it up the right hand cliff and sweep the remaining attackers.

The unknown archer beckons for them to follow him and they do. He takes them to a ledge about 30 feet wide with a steep, bracken-filled slope on one side and a rock overhang on the other. Five more strangers meet them there.

The archer defers to one of his waiting companions, a young Arukite woman who introduces herself as Rose in the line of Isolde. She and her companions are Queensworn, here at the request of The Chamber of Five to reconnoiter Rookhaven.

After some discussion and planning they decide to get in a long rest here on the ledge. In the morning the rangers will sneak up the ridge-line to get a good look at the enemy forces while Kendal and the others make a diversionary attack on an outpost guarding the road to Rookhaven. They will meet back at the ledge and swap intel before nightfall and hopefully slip away before the enemy mobilizes.

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 5
A long road of tribulation

The group escorts Miller Lane and his family back to Stonerim where the village celebrates and hears stories of the battle. Reeve Lorcan admits the the town’s stone gates would not stand up for long against two ogres, the heroes likely just saved Stonerim from being sacked. The people give their gratitude for the protection provided by their liege Sova and the noble House of Eghal.

After another celebratory dinner, Dorn gives Sturmfrek a sack of 1000 gold pieces to keep him in comfort in his old age. Deeply moved, Stormy gives Dorn an adamant pentant which he says is the key to many doors in Hammerfall. “I believe in you,” he tells Dorn. “If you do not throw open those doors, no one will.”

The next morning the party sets off at last for Rookhaven, the most remote outpost of Felleg’Avign which fell to orcs a few months ago. No one knows what to expect or how strong the enemy will be when they get there. After that they plan to journey on to Outermost, the last forge of the Fellhammer dwarves, hopefully to find Dorn’s missing brothers.

The first day of travel through young forest and gentle hills goes smoothly. The next day around noon they hear a panicked animal and go to find a lost pack mule under attack by
18 blood hawks. Bloodied by beak and talon they kill most of the flock and drive off the rest. The blessings of Caetar heal the party and save the mule. It’s loaded with trade goods: nails, rope, cloth and such. They decide to keep him.

Later that day, passing through thicker, older forest and more rugged hills, they stumble into the territory of a group of apes who challenge them, flinging rocks and feces at the surprised travelers. Another short battle kills several apes and drives off the rest. Exhausted, the group looks for a place to camp.

Around midnight their sleep is interrupted by 9 hungry wolves. Dorn is on watch and raises the alarm. The pack doesn’t do much damage, but they lose out on a long rest. The next day they set off still weary.

Halfway through their third day of travel the adventurers spy a stone bridge in a valley, one of the landmarks Stormy mentioned and marked on the map he drew in Dorn’s journal. They make for it.

A hill giant guards the bridge and barters with them in a crude, broken common tongue. When the giant asks for the mule and Kendal as a toll for crossing the bridge, Dorn surprises everyone by charging headlong across the bridge to attack the giant. His shocked companions follow up on his attack and together they best the giant, but not before Sova takes a glancing blow from his enormous club.

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 4
Warband

Dorn, Sova, Anselmo and Kendal press on and confront Grumlok – Orc War Chief of the White Skulls tribe. His banner is planted atop a small hill capped with a windmill and it’s clear the miller and his family are trapped inside the building while an ogre tries to smash through the door.

With no time to lose the heroes attack. Anselmo sounds the horn of Caetar and Dorn sends an arrow to knock down the orc banner.

The ogre leaves the windmill and charges Dorn but Kendal enchants the dwarf with haste and his fellhammer slays the ogre in three mighty blows.

A second ogre, ten orcs and the war chief close in and the battle is joined. Dorn cuts a swath through them, slays the second ogre and helps Sova take down the orc chieftan. Kendal and Anselmo take down the remaining orcs with lightning and holy light.

They free Miller Lane and his family and recover some treasure from the fallen orcs. The potion of healing and scroll of protection from undead they keep, giving the rest to the miller and people of Stonerim.

Copper necklace (25gp) , 5 sp, 300 cp

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 3
Worg, Goblin, Orc

Anselmo, Sova, Dorn and Kendal track the goblin scouts which have been probing the remote village of Stonerim. They encounter 12 goblins riding worgs in the forest north of town as evening falls. Two goblins escape into the woods, two are captured and interrogated, then Sova kills them.

The next morning, after camping in the woods, they pursue an orc raiding party heading toward Stonerim and crush 12 orcs sent to stop them.

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 2
Stonerim

At the end of spring Dorn, Sova, Anselmo and Kendal set out for Outermost, following an old map Kendal found in the archives. First they head to the village of Stonerim on the frontier of Eghal lands.

Sova’s father investigated the fate of the Fellhammer dwarves who once served the Tyron family and found they left about 40 years ago for Fairborne. They moved around a lot and eventually settled in Stonerim.

There they meet Reeve Lorcan Bittali and his wife Netti, who host them on the Veranda at the Grape and Rye tavern. The Reeve shows Lady Sova every courtesy, as the village owes her family their fealty.

Over dinner Lorcan introduces them to Sturmfrek Fellhammer, who has been living with them in Stonerim for the last 20+ years. “Stormy” is overcome seeing his lost kinsman. Sturmfrek is the oldest surviving Fellhammer, Dorn the youngest.

Stormy tells them the 8 other dwarves led by Stark Fellhammer left Stonerim about 10 years ago to reclaim the forge at Outermost, hoping other clan members would already be there. They were supposed to send for Sturmfrek once things were settled, but he has heard nothing from them and fears the worst. Sturmfrek draws them a detailed map to Outermost.

Stonerim is about 2/3 Olivetti with some Arukites and Yan. Anselo looks for signs the bloody hand has been active here but finds none.

Lorcan mentions that Stonerim was expecting the Purge but it never made it this far, Sova explains how the Purge went north and was destroyed at Rookhaven. This is troubleing nws for Lorcan. He tells them about recent goblin sightings in the area and they agree to drive out any goblins before they leave for Outermost.

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The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Part 1
The value of grafitti

Exploring the rest of the Temple of Malice, Sova finds a barracks room with graffiti in dwarven runes reading:

Torec saves necks
Visit Torec’s Forge near Outermost
His coat saved me in battle

(different epigram)

Torec breaks them too
I swear by his axes and hammers
He does Caetar proud

(another epigram)
Matters little which you choose
Outermost Forge is the best
Caetar be praised

She shows Dorn and they consider looking for the forge at Outermost. Perhaps some of Dorn’s relatives went there.

Back home they sell and divide their treasure (1288 gp each, including Kendal).

The Tyrons throw a ball in Sova’s honor, where she is paraded around for the noble bachelors. At least Kendal is there to sympathize. Dorn is invited and keeps to himself, wearing a carnival mask he picked up at the market. The Champion of Caetar attends and plans strategy with Glotton Tyron, but Anselmo declines his invitation.

Dorn discovers Otter is gone and left a goodbye note.

My esteemed hosts,

Thank you for your hospitality these last several days. As I came to Felleg’Avin to face justice for murder, the murder of seven noble men who fought slavers ravaging people you claim are your allies in the North, and as I cannot find that justice here without doing even greater damage to their cause, I have gone to put an end to the slavers personally. Do not think this balances my scales or yours, I am merely doing what should have been done in the first place.

Also, as fine as these accommodations have been, I am at my heart a gamer: do not think you can play me. What passes for justice in this city sickens me, I do not think I shall return. If you decide to look for me, the Right People will always know where I can be found.

Yours in mischief,

Otter.

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