The Rime of Infinite Winter: Session 13 — A Dirk in the Back

SESSION THIRTEEN
A DIRK IN THE BACK

The Lionshield Companions followed their goblin ally, astride the Thunderboar Gorthok, to the Dragon Barrow. Leaving them in a secluded clearing, the goblin returned an hour later. He had gathered his kin, those aligned with Drucilla Herron, and convinced them to follow him. The goblins, tasked to lay in wait and ambush the party when they arrived, abandoned their posts, leaving the adventurers to move ahead with their mission to plunder the barrow and find the Ring of Summer Flame.

After examining the remains of a Cold Harbor merchant killed by the goblin horde, which led Elrian to become shrunk to the size of a human pinky, the Companions climbed the magnificent barrow mound to the flat hilltop thirty feet above. Here, a row of ten foot tall stones rose up, like the spine of a dragon. After careful examination, Nod found a key hole secreted in one of the stones. Peron produced the key from the Axeholm King’s bedchamber and the stone laid over to reveal a two foot wide spiral staircase leading deep into the earth.

After some time, Elrian and company figured out the whole shrinking/enlarging process of the magic dust and whistle they had plundered from the dead merchant, and the party was all able to descend into the barrow.

They discovered several pit traps, numerous sarcophagi, and even a skeletal horse that became attached to the Tabaxi, but as they explored the underground tomb, they stumbled upon Herron’s band, having snuck in behind them, hoping to discover the Ring before them.

Peron and Kari were quick to take the fight to Gwyneth Whitemane and Faheed Dorra, while Nammosi and Elrian positioned themselves to launch spells at their foes. Raben used his healing powers to aid the combatants on the front line, while Nod, seeing Herron moving deeper into the tomb, mistystepped ahead of her, hoping to thwart her search.

Nod found the remains of the white dragon that had battled the Balor in Axeholm and he quickly searched it for the magic ring…

“Looking for this?” a slithering voice asked. Nod turned to see Dirk Flisten, a Waterdhavian bounty hunter that had been dogging his tail for months. Flisten was making the Ring dance between his fingers. “I’d hoped to bring you in, kitty,” he said, “but I’ve a buyer for this little trinket. Fear not. We’ll cross paths again soon enough.” And with that, he disappeared…

“No!” Herron screamed as she stepped from behind a sarcophagus. Nod, sensing an opportunity to end the conflict, fearing his companions would not be able to hold against the wizard’s henchmen for long, called for a truce and suggesting they might pool their resources to recover the Ring of Summer Flame. Herron agreed and commanded her minions to stand down.

All parties lowered their weapons and returned to the surface to negotiate the truce.

Herron explained she needed the ring to stop the spread of the Infinite Winter that was slowly plunging the world into a frozen nightmare. She had looked into the future and saw that one day all magic would be snuffed out in the world. This she could not allow to happen.

Elrian brought up the fact that the Ring consumed elves to generate its power. What of them?

“A small price”, the wizard replied.

Nod, thinking quickly, suggested that Axeholm was full of Drow, “surely they would suffice to power the ring.” Of course, his real thinking was that once the ring was recovered they could lure Herron into the Axeholm depths, where the ring was forged, and see it unmade… but his companions didn’t realize this.

Nammosi and Peron declared they would be no part of this. Herron suggested that they part ways then, agreeing to honor the truce for the time being in exchange for the name of the thief who absconded with it. Nod asked, in turn, for the the thief’s destination. But Nammosi and Peron’s heated words drove a wedge in the negotiations.

Herron, incensed, called on her allies to depart, but in her anger, Raben was able to slip into her mind. “Should we meet again,” she snarled, “I will not be so kind.” Whitemane transformed into a dragon before them and lowered herself to accept the wizard and Dorra onto her back. The wyrm’s great wings lifted them up into the air. “Make peace with your gods,” she barked as the dragon set a course northward, away from the barrow and over the towering pines.

“The thief is bound for Cold Harbor,” Raben said to his companions as soon as they were out of earshot. “Just as well, we were headed that way eventually anyway. Best get back to Phandalin and see to the Coster, get our gear in order, and head after them. We’ll not be traveling at dragon speed, that’s for darn sure.”

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