The Swordlands

The Herald Of Surtur

The party leave Augenbricht and meet Sigurd and Oellorn at a crossroads in the snowy hills. Sigurd warns them that Siegmund’s army is marching to intercept them, and says that there are two paths towards the Galdhopiggen glacier. The first leads through the crags where wolves are known to prowl, and the second leads past the thermal springs of Vulfur. It has been reported that Siegmund travels to the thermal pool to bathe each night. Curiously, he travels alone and returns alone.

The companions decide to take the route that may bring them into contact with Siegmund, and journey for some days before reaching the ice canyons where they find the bubbling lake. That evening they take their rest in a cave overlooking the steam-filled canyon. The night sky is filled with shooting stars, and Aengus remarks that they are travelling west to east, just as Surtur is prophesised to come from the west. Standing guard at the cave mouth Thunder notices a centaur approaching. They circle the figure and find themselves face to face with the beastman Siegmund.

Siegmund demands the Ghulra, but the party mock his words. Wasting no time they launch into battle. Siegmund is seen to be a seemingly unstoppable opponent, driving them back with his powerful charges, and scattering them with his flaming great-axe. He demonstrates magical powers that Aengus recognises as those of a warlock, and reveals himself to be the Herald Of Surtur.

Aengus wields his fey magic and causes Siegmund some distraction, while Karl inflicts a heavy wound while rolling between the hooved legs of the beastman. Thunder fends off attack after attack as the savage centaur focusses all his efforts on the Einherjar until finally he falls. Karl attempts to take the ghulra but Siegmund beats him to it. The now wounded centaur arrogantly spits on the rocks and departs as a shadowy cloud of bats. The party are heavily wounded, and they lift the body of their fallen comrade from the steaming pool. As broiling storm clouds rapidly begin to obscure the starry sky, it appears as if The Promise Of Distant Thunder may not survive the night.

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And from the Byfrost Bridge...
Conversation between Aengus and his Father

Dian Cecht: So, we’re off to Byfrost then?

Aengus: Aye, though I’d like to arrange some sort of distraction for Siegmund first, see if we can lead him on a merry chase. The Einherjer went to a lot of effort to keep the location hidden, so we shouldn’t knowingly lead him straight to it.

Dian Cecht: Oh I don’t now, I’d quite like to meet this Siegmund, he sounds very… interesting, but for the moment I’m more curous about Byfrost itself, what do you expect to find there?

Aengus: Well, Thunder’s memories recalled a great light at the top, but what that means I’m unsure but I have growing suspicions we’ve been looking at the whole prophecy slightly askew.

Dian Cecht: How exciting! Do share…

Aengus: "He who holds The Crown holds The Bridge, and from The Byfrost Bridge shall the last among men watch the giants fall.” That’s what the prophecy says. Now we always took that to mean that if we could hold the crown, which we naively used to believe was a pretty trinket for the head, but now know to be the crown of the mountain Byfrost, we would find some means to ensure the fall of Surtur and Thrymm. But prophecies are tricksie beasts, what if we’re misreading the word “fall” and it does not mean fall in defeat, but something else altogether…

Surtur, the lord of fire, shall come. Thrymm, the lord of ice, shall follow.

I’m now beginning to believe that from Byfrost we will indeed see the giants fall, but not in defeat. I think fall refers to their arrival itself!

Dian Cecht: Most interesting, do continue…

Aengus: Have you ever seen meteoric iron?

Dian Cecht: Of course, I believe one of my favourite blades is made of exactly such a substance.

Aengus: But have you ever seen the origin of such iron?

Dian Cecht: I’ve seen some of the raw ore at the forge but not a site of origin itself no, its rarer than a noisy gnome as you know, hence the great interest amongst any of the learned who hear of a new source. Tales tell of falling stars though and a great heat as they fall… ah… how interesting, please, continue

Aengus: I saw a falling star soon after I set off following you

Dian Cecht: Errant child…

Aengus: It came with a great light and noise overhead and when it landed it made my firecrackers sound like Karl cracking his knuckles. I could feel the very ground shake beneath me. I made haste to the site of the fall and the devastation took my breath away. I’m ashamed to say that I almost turned back at that point thinking perhaps I had bitten off a little more than I could chew in crossing over into the Swordlands. The woodland before me had been flattened for a hundred yards, mighty trees strewn like kindling across the landscape and a glowing scar rent in the earth. I approached the smoking crater and found a rock of meteoric iron a few yard across but I could not get any closer because of the waves of heat radiating off it.

Dian Cecht: An interesting welcome to the world of the Swordlands!

Aengus: Quite, and I’m begining to believe, very possibly prophetic! We have seen a great many shooting stars recently. The seers always observe signs of portent as major events approach so I thought little of them initially, but now I believe they are portentious in a far more literal sense. I believe from Byfrost we will indeed see Surtur fall. He will light up the sky with the fire of his arrival and his battle cry will echo around the mountains. The comet whose precursors make our evening walks so pleasant will arrive and bring devestation in its wake.

Dian Cecht: How interesting! And Thrymm?

Aengus: Thrymm is harder for me to understand, but if such a comet were to fall one could be sure the surrounding glaciers would soon fall after.

Dian Cecht: And from Byfrost we shall watch the giants fall?

Aengus: Yes, I suspect the crown, or summit of Byforst itself may be so high it will remain safely above the mayhem unfolding beneath. Whoever is there would remain safe. But do you see the implication?

Dian Cecht: You were never overly converned with your safety, or you would never have followed me in the first place, indeed, if safety is all we sought at this point, we need merely step through Karl’s portal back to the Feywild. I have always sensed grander ambitions…

Aengus: Exactly. Hel wanted the bloodlines severed becuase she saw Ragnarok as inevitable, and the severance the sole key to Alfheims survival. We took solace from the prophecy though. “And from Byfrost we shall watch the giants fall” gave us hope, we could see in the propeecy that there was at least the possibility, however slim to defeat the giants, we had the potential to prevent ragnarok altogether. If “fall” now refers to their arrival, not their defeat, then we have no longer insight into how ragnarok can be prevented. Certainly the normal tactics of Thunder and I, to provide a distraction while Karl hamstrings them from behind, will not work. it is my growing belief in fact that we cannot prevent Ragnarok, and all we can do is ensure when we stand upon Byrfost and watch them fall, the last of humantiy is indeed with us. I think it means we have to become the shephards, we have to continue the work began by the Einherjar and ensure the survival of as much of the Swordlands as we can accomplish in the time remaining, by leading the chosen few to safety at Byfrost.

Dian Cecht: Is it not curious then, that such meteoric iron exists here in abundance?

Aengus: It does? Whereso?

Dian Cecht: Have you not seen the red waters of the River Of Knives, and the rust-coloured rock of it’s banks? I believe you recounted to me your visit to the cliff-dwellings of Wayweary, where weapons of such quality are produced and until your recent visit to Thruthgelmir, taken as tithe by Kindrbode. And I personally have always found strange the sheer quantity of jet black rock that adorns the shores of the Kindersee. Perhaps it is just coincedence…

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Towards The End Of The World

Clad in furs with his axe in hand the barbarian knight trekked up the snowy mountainside against the howling wind to where the others awaited. There from the ridge the Knights Himinborg could see far across the desolate landscape; the snow-filled valleys and black crags of the central mountains spread before them. Once there, Fruhli, champion storyteller of Himinborg, locked forearms with his battle-brothers of old and knelt before the king.

‘My Lord! We have sighted Siegmund!’ He shouted through the biting wind. Serkljof turned, hunched and clutching his furs about him. A rough cheer went up from the grizzled veterans.

‘His army has broken the cover of the mountains and marches south around the Galdhøpiggen Glacier

Serkljof approached the kneeling veteran and gestured for him to rise.

‘What did you see?’ shouted the king leaning closer to the knight, his furs flapping in the wind.

‘They are several days ahead of us, many thousand strong! They have the Fisher King, and Kullerwohnen, Siegmund rides at the head! There is something else with them, the likes of which I have never seen! They make for the end of the world after the Auslanders!’

Serkljof grasped the knight by both shoulders, betraying his emotions so frequently kept hidden.

‘In the name of Kord, we march!’ He shouted, to which another cheer rose from the assembled knights.

Siegmund had caused death and destruction from the western edge to the Kindersee, and now, after one month of fruitless search and running battles with Siegmund’s warbands, the Knights Himinborg, together with the army they had gathered from across the Swordlands, finally had their quarry in sight. The party of veterans raced each other down the snowy rockface towards the valley where their army was camped.

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A Place Of Beginnings
A Memory

The Einherjar walks carefully across the shallow river, baby cradled in his arms, as the dawn rises on a young land. Dragonfish shimmer like ghosts in the water, and gentle bird song fills the air as if the spirits spoke through them. The warforged rests on the far bank, for he has travelled far. There among the long grass and nightshade he begins to talk to the child he clutches.

“The gods forged the world in war, in fire, and in ice. Their fury shook the skies, the bones of the fallen made the mountains of the mortal realms, their tears filled the oceans, and from their blood were born men and beasts. Kord in his wisdom gifted the world with the Crown Of Byfrost, and that is my home, a place of beauty unlike any treasure of the mortal realm, a place of beginnings and not endings.

“But this is the land below the clouds and this is where you shall live. Do not fear death for it will come. Your brothers, your sisters, and all your children forevermore will live and die knowing this. But live well as a child of Kord and you shall find peace amongst the stars that dance on the surface of the seas when night falls upon the world.”

At length, the soldier took to his feet once more, placed the bundle he bore carefully to his armoured chest, before continuing on his journey.

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The Bright Fury Of Kord
A Memory

Near Hamingjen is an ancient stone circle, a site sacred to Körd, and a place where kings may meet in peace. On this frozen morning are gathered five kings of men and five of the Einherjar who have watched them and guided them for so long.

“The secret of Byfröst must be shared!” declares Harman of Thruthgelmir, “If there is salvation from Ragnarök, I must bring it to my people!”

“That power must be for all to wield!”, shouts Halfmyr, “The people of Mycklegarth have long defended the western world from many foes, we have earned salvation as much as any!”

“Salvation belongs to Hamingjen!” says Helbör, “The strongest nation in the land shall be that which survives!”

The Strength Of Steel stood tallest in the center of the gathering. “The power of The Crown is not the salvation of the strong, no more than it is a refuge for the old and weak. It is the power of a new beginning, free from war, greed, lust, and jealousy.”

“So you would make yourself gods amongst us!” cried Skoni, “That we should scurry like ants before you!”

“You must return to your peoples and live out your lives as sons of Kord, for you will need courage and strength enough in time.” returned The Precision Of A Sharpened Blade.

Bor had been silent for a long while. In the heated debate he turned to The Silence Between Breaths and spoke quietly, “I will face whatever end awaits, but I would not have my children face what is to come. Take them Einherjar, take them with you and leave us to make our own fate!”

“I cannot,” answered the warforged, “There is no refuge for you or your kin…”

“That is enough,” interrupted The Strength Of Steel, “Mankind must weather this storm alone, you must be ready when the time comes!”

Helbör leapt forward. “You will give unto us the secret of The Crown and it shall be known that you are not gods! You will lead us to this place and we will see who is worthy of salvation!”

Halfmyr rushed forward to meet the king of Hamingjen, “Silence snake, lest the might of Mycklegarth descend upon your crumbling walls!” Halfmyr held his battle axe aloft and readied himself. Seeing this Helbör drew his sword.

The Bright Fury Of Kord stepped between the two adversaries, “Byfrost is no place for you! THIS is your world! THIS is your home! Go and prepare yourselves for what is to come!”

Helbör yelled and swung his sword. There was a stunned silence as the headless body of the warforged fell to the ground. “It is you who should prepare Einherjar!” cursed the enraged king, “Go now and prepare yourselves for the end!”

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An Old Find Revisited

The weary adventurers rested that night in Augenbricht under the broad beams of Lord Braer’s great hall. Aengus however soon realised that he would not find sleep as easily as his companions. Thoughts of the Drow fleshwarpers went through his mind, and he found himself seeking distraction in the examination of certain objects recovered from Siegmund’s laboratory that he had not yet had a chance to investigate.

He sat quietly at the long table with a single candle for light, while his companions slept around him. Karl, who was snoring heavily, was closest, lying under the table itself. The gnome death dealer seemed capable of sleeping almost anywhere at any time, and Aengus was confident he would not awake unless his experiment went catastrophically wrong. Thunder was sitting inert and upright in a large, carved chair beside the embers of the fireplace, his battered armour aglow in the soft fire light. His father, Dian-Cecht had last been seen bedding down in the darkness of an eave-shadowed corner of the hall.

First, Aengus produced from a leather pouch an old preserved toe on a silver chain. This curious item appeared to be a human toe of unknown age. His examination revealed that the appendage possessed no form of regenerative magic, and Aengus was content that there was no indication that one day a fully formed being would grow from it. However he had detected a lingering aura of magic that was not related to the preservation of dead flesh, and it was causing the half-Drow, half-Eladrin alchemist some concern, moreso in that such a simple thing would give him so much difficulty to divine.

He left the apendage, separated from the chain to which it had been attached, suspended in a clear solution of reagents which, he hoped would in time reveal something further of the nature of it’s dweomer. Turning his attention to the old tin dog whistle he quickly saw that this small item had an almost imperceptibly small set of characters engraved around the mouthpiece. Further examination revealed that the whistle was indeed enchanted. The character set indicated that the magic was illusory in nature, and infact recalled to the alchemist variations on the written formula for Ghost Sound cantrips, a weak yet potentially very useful spell. The hand that inscribed these runes was fine indeed, and the runes themselves, under magnification, suggested a norse hand, a Swordlander or Beastlander, no doubt.

So engrossed in his studies was he that he hadn’t noticed his father sitting almost opposite, his dark skin barely managing to reflect the candle light, his long, white, braided hair visible from under his cowl. His expression was neutral, as was his way. Aengus was not sure how long his father had been sitting there.

“Did I wake you father?” whispered the young alchemist.

“Not at all Aengus,” replied the Drow master-swordsman in a hushed voice, “I was just curious… what manner of poison is that you are concocting? I have not seen it’s like.”

“I do not brew poisons, father, I do not care for them. That is a mixture of reagents with which I will trap traces of a magical dweomer.”

“How exciting!” whispered the Drow, “You are so much like your mother: determined, yet patient.”

Aengus set out his apparatus and conducted a series of arcane experiments in an attempt to deduce the precise nature of the magic in the tin dog whistle, but it was not until he noticed a subtle vibration in an old tuning fork that he had used when he was given to the practice of music that he realised that some form of sympathetic resonance was occurring. His father watched impassively all the while.

“Interesting.” murmured Aengus at length, “This whistle is emitting a single, constant, and extremely high pitched note, so high pitched infact that even the great wolfhounds that sleep on the floor around us are not disturbed by it.”

Dian-Cecht took up the whistle and turned it around in his long, slender fingers. “Someone or something with hearing keener still than a dog’s, however, may just be able to hear it, would you agree?”

Aengus nodded, “More than likely, although to learn the distance from which it would be audible I would require an assistant.”

His father shrugged slightly. “I am at your disposal.”

Aengus set the whistle upon a delicate brass tripod.

“Would you please take up your short-blade father?”

Without question, Dian-Cecht drew an exquisitely fashioned Drow short sword and placed it gently on the table infront of him. There was a grunt from below the table as Karl shifted in his sleep, before continuing to snore loudly.

With instructions to lightly tap the whistle with the tip of his knife at intervals of a minute, the alchemist left the swordsman at the table and walked over to the doors at the front of the great hall. There, he stood the tuning fork on top of an upturned chalice and observed keenly. As the Drow swordsman gently struck the whistle with the flat of his blade, the chalice gave out a soft, almost imperceptable note, as it acted as a sound chamber for the tuning fork.

Aengus then stood up and, utensils in hand, and stepped out through the heavy oaken doors and into the freezing night air. His father watched quietly as Aengus walked outside, his Drow eyes gleaming in the near-darkenss. Aengus walked a short way, crunching across the frosted earth, and set down his equipment as before. A moment later, the chalice sung again. The half-Drow proceeded to walk down the hill in the dead of night, amongst the pointed houses of Augenbricht, pausing each minute to set up his experiment. Each time he did so the chalice gave off a soft note.

Soon Aengus had reached the town square. Crouching down next to the sundered statue of Lady Snowshoes, Aengus heard the chalice return a similar note. The alchemist looked around, staring intently into the night. Nothing moved. Not a sound was to be heard. The Cycle of The Spear was as still and as silent as death itself, except that above, Aengus noticed a silent flurry of shooting stars in the glittering heavens. A few moments later the chalice sang again.

Half an hour later Aengus returned and closed the doors behind him. He shook off the frost from his robes and sat back down on the bench opposite his father, rubbing his hands together for warmth.

“May I cease striking the whistle now?” ventured the Drow quietly.

“My thanks for your assistance. I am certain that, if one were able to detect such a signal at all, it could be noticed from many miles away.”

“That’s disconcerting.” offered the swordsman, “And to think that you came here to help me with my quest. I find myself altogether intrigued, and I do not intrigue easily.”

Aengus thought for a moment. “I intend to stay till the end, father. You should know that.”

“Of course you do my boy, of course you do. After all, how often is one able to witness the end of the world?” replied the Drow, without a visible reaction on his delicate features.

“Once should do to begin with.” whispered Aengus. Dian-Cecht tilted his head in the direction of Aengus’ previous experiment.

Turning back to the phial in which he had left the toe, Aengus noticed immediately that the liquid had turned a pale lilac colour, which of course could indicate only one thing: luck magic, faint but present nonetheless. However, good luck or bad, his divinations could reveal nothing further.

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The Fleshwarped Terror

It was revealed that of late the town had been beset by a creature of great evil that had come out of the mountains to the east. Each night it would return to claim innocent lives, whoever was caught outside when night fell was easy prey to this terrible foe, who would leave it’s victims dead with faces contorted in horror. The party realised that this could have been the creature responsible for the sounds they had heard across the mudflats of Dragon Lake some days before.

As the night fell on Augenbricht the adventurers prepared an ambush in the town square. Together with Braer and a group of his bravest thanes they lay in wait in the houses around the square while Karl would act as bait.

In the still of night they heard the creature approaching. Rasping, gutteral wailing and roaring at first in the distance and then closer, and closer still. Peering through the windows they caught sight of a single humanoid figure moving through the market place. Karl steeled himself and walked out into the darkness, whistling a tune as he went. As he neared the shambling figure it roared, spitting phlegm and bile. It was the size of a large, hunched man, dressed in tatters of cloth, and appeared to be formed entirely out of a mass of eyeballs which popped and opened like sores and boils. The creature lurched towards the solitary gnome and fixed a dozen piercing eyes on him. Karl felt his blood freeze in his veins and tried to dive for cover but found that he could barely move. The rest of the adventurers, together with Braer and his thanes, burst forth from their hiding places and ran forward to battle the creature.

As each party member tried to launch an attack the creature retaliated. Hundreds of eyes about the foul beast’s form whirled, popped and squinted, tracking each and every combatant simultaeneously. The adventurers felt their life force draining away as the creature belched and gurgled, they began to freeze where they stood and only with a tremendous force of will could they move at all.

There in the darkness of Augenbricht town square the party battled the creature in a long and exhausting fight. Many times each of them came close to complete paralysis as the creatures eyes fixed icy glares upon them but with great courage they fought on until eventually they succeeded in cutting the beast into it’s constituent eyeballs, which suddenly collapsed upon themselves and rolled about the ground in a pool of ichor.

Aengus and Thunder examined the creatures remains. They determined that it was certainly a form of undead, and strangely enough it appeared to be fleshwarped. Aengus reminded the party of their encounters in Guningagap, the Drow city of Svartlheim, the Feydark, where Hel reigned supreme. There they had fought fleshwarpers, who through alchelmy and magic created a form of undeath particularly foul and repulsive. This creature shared some of it’s characteristics with the dark craft of his kin, although he could not explain how it came to be here.

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The End Is Nigh (Part 2)

Bryony led the party up the steep hill through the town of Augenbricht. Soon they arrived at the doors of a great hall. From inside could be heard the sound of raucous merry making, and the light of many torches shone from the high windows.

Entering the hall the adventurers found Lord Braer and his thanes in a state of wild abandon. While the townsfolk below wailed and cried to a message of doom, the warriors drank, fought, and sang songs to welcome the coming of Surtur.

Making their way through the wild throng the party found Braer collapsed in inebriation into his throne at the end of the hall.

“Welcome whoever you are,” spluttered Braer, “Come and drink with us, for this may be our last night in the land of the living!”

Thunder stepped forward and channeled his healing magic so as to sober the drunken Braer in but an instant.

“Lord Braer, I am Einherjar and I have lived for a thousand years and more. I knew your ancestor Bor when he was alive many hundreds of years ago. He was a good king and faced the perils of his age with courage and wisdom. If he were with us now I am certain that he would ask of you to do the same.”

Braer wept at the Warforged’s words and asked forgiveness for his abandon. He told the adventurers that they were welcome in the town of Augenbricht if they could help rid them of a terrible creature that came in the night to prey upon them. The party agreed and arranged for a trap to be set in the town square.

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The End Is Nigh (Part 1)

Arriving in Augenbricht later that day the companions found a town torn in two. In the square a large crowd of Norse men and women gathered around a statue of Lady Snowshoes, who in this instance was depicted as a buxom fertility goddess. The statue had been split asunder, apparently by lightning. The crowd howled, wailed and wept, crying that the gods had left the land and that the end of time was upon them. At the center stood an elderly priest who led the crowd in their grieving.

“Gods of Aelfheim, why have you forsaken us in our hour of need? Why must you leave us to die in this world all alone? Have we not served you with truth and devotion? What must we do, what sacrifice can we offer that will call you back to us?”

Thunder pushed his way through the crowd and strode up to the priest, punching him hard enough in the face to knock him down.

“People of Augenbricht,” began the Warforged soldier, “Are you not Swordlanders? Are you not born to live and die in the shadow of Ragnarok? Surtur will come and Thrymm shall follow, all that is will turn to dust and blow away in the wind. Every man, woman and child is born to the world knowing this as the only certainty of life itself. I am The Promise Of Distant Thunder, I am Einherjar, I will be here with you until the end as is my sworn duty. I am a servant of Kord, who has ruled these lands since long before the time of Faerie. The gods of Aelfheim are no more in this land but their agents remain. This is Aengus Conleadh, he is a direct descendant of the Arch-Fey and is their living agent on this earth. He too will remain here unto whatever end awaits us all, and if we must fight then fight we shall.”

Thunder’s rousing speech, together with the impressive spectacle of his newly arrived adventuring companions, succeeded in swaying the crowd. Soon the grieving was replaced by a subdued sense of hope. The party was greeted by a girl named Bryony, who was dressed in the ceremonial flower-bedecked robes of The Maiden Of Augenbricht, and who had been chosen as the living embodiment of Lady Snowshoes until the year was out. She told the party that she was the daughter of the lord of the town, Braer, who would no doubt be eager to meet them and hear their tale of hope.

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Ogre Bridge (Part 2)

Approaching the bridge in the cover of the rocks along the side of the gorge the party saw that it was collapsed at it’s mid-section. All the way along up to that point were the tents and fires of the Ogre camp. The Mammoth Clan, once almost wiped out by the serpent queen Bangog was back, and they had already, it appeared, taken to seizing human captives.

Tied to stakes at intervals along the broad stone causeway were semi-conscious figures, bloodied and beaten, no doubt awaiting to be sacrificed to the foul Ogre deity known only as The Great Maw. A typical offering to this dark entity might consist of victims being partially eaten by the leaders of the tribe, then flung screaming from a great height into a pit of spikes, representing the teeth of the Ever-Hungry. In this case, it could be seen that long wooden stakes had been driven into the earth below the bridge. Thereabouts lay the remains of some previous sacrificial victims. The party decided that they would rescue the captives from a similar fate by launching a headlong assault on the entire Ogre encampment, starting at the near-side of the bridge where it adjoined the face of the gorge and, gods willing, ending with the death of the chieftain who was no doubt still fast asleep after a long night of feasting and drinking at the other end of the causeway, where the bridge had crumbled and collapsed.

Karl and Aengus spotted 2 sentries at the start of the brisge, who sat idly behind low walls of stones that had apparently been hastily constructed within the last few days. Creeping as close as they could they leapt out and dispatched the guards, giving Thunder and Dian-Cecht a chance to rush forward and leap upon the nearest group of Ogres.

All along the bridge were gatherings of brutish Ogre warriors. At this early stage in the day the camp was half asleep and so by the time the party had slaughtered their way through 30 or so Ogres the chieftain had just managed to rally his forces and form a defence against the sudden onslaught.

Karl weaved a dance of death across the bridge, zigging, zagging, with Ogres lurching and toppling over as he passed. His knives flashed, and blood sprayed in his wake. Aengus teleported here and there, blasts of arcane energy and alchelmical explosions sending the bleary-eyed Ogres flying into the air, many falling to their deaths some 100 feet below. Dian-Cecht advanced steadily behind the others, dispatching those who had barely survived the initial blistering assault. Meanwhile, Thunder strode down the center of the bridge, smiting this way and that, crushing Ogre skulls with a fearsome display of sword and shield work.

Finally the party faced the Ogre chieftain. As his guards fell dead around him, the howling beast rushed forward and laid into the attackers with his swirling flails, nearly sending several of them over the edge of the bridge. Leaping upon him the adventurers drove him back to the crumbling edge where, seeing the end was imminent, he leapt backwards to his death, screaming a foul curse in the name of his deity.

Freeing the captives, the adventurers learned that they had been taken from the town of Augenbricht, nearly a days march from the bridge. After stopping to regain their strength and feed the grateful yet hungry townspeople, the group continued onwards.

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