Kreeg Clanhold, Hook Mountain
early morning, Toilday the 12th of Neth, 4707 AR
Regrouping, the Sihedron clustered together while Aubrey wove light & shadow around them into glamourie of the slain stone giant leader. Taking cover beneath a hide skirt the false-Barl was made to wear, the group moved down through the tunnels, past the unsuspecting ogre guards and into the Kreeg’s crowded forge-cavern. Once in a defensible position, the spryte addressed the assembled ogres in Thasilonian; thereby tipping off the clever craftsmen that something about the false-Barl was amiss. Dropping the illusion, Aubrey revealed to the exhausted ogres that their leader and his cohorts lay dead in the upper shrine-chamber. In response, the Kreegs let out a ragged cheer!
Continuing on, the spryte further explained that the hag covey and most of the Kreegs who’d descended into the river valley had been similarly slain. When questioned about possibly ransoming the handful of survivors left behind at fort Rannick Aubrey refused; saying that those Kreegs would be held accountable for their heinous crimes. The ogre smiths seemed significantly less enthusiastic upon hearing this news. When asked, the spryte assured the ogres that they, along with their females and juveniles down in the mines, wouldn’t be harmed so long as they agreed to turn over all of the four or five score giant swords, axe heads and ogre hooks they’d manufactured along with the smelted iron they’d thus far accumulated. Having no desire to fight the Sihedron and eager to leave the clanhold (which the head-smith said was now cursed) so as to begin foraging for food, the Kreeg ogres acquiesced.
Having fetched the female and juvenile ogres from the lower mines, all of the surviving Kreegs gathered in the clanhold’s open-aired grand hall to recount what had befallen their allies and that they would now leave the caverns far behind them. Taking pity on the defeated and exhausted clan, Aubrey used his glamour to call a trio of his fellow sprytes so that they might serenade the sad assembly. The quartet of lyrakien began playing a sad sorrowful dirge which soon quickened into a lively sylvan tune bespoke of hope and of a fortuitous journey. Their flagging strength and resolve mystically restored by the sprytes’ music, the ogres gathered their few paltry possessions and headed out of the clanhold beneath the quickly clearing Neth sky.
Backtracking through the now empty clanhold, the larger members of the Sihedron gathered and unceremoniously dumped the three hags’ bodies into the large sacrificial pit along with those of Breakbones’ two giant cohorts. Also destined for the pit was the stone altar dedicated to Lamashtu, which Elshbeth had cleaved into rubble with her adamantine holy sword Hell-reaver. Aubrey, for his part, used his glamour to reduce Barl Breakbones and Lamatar Bayden’s bodies along with the mounds of ironworks and the dozen massive blue dragon rib-bones into hand-sized trinkets; which he placed inside his stocking cap for safe keeping. The spryte then flew up to the top of the petrified sentinel and removed its preservative Sihedron amulet; causing the rune giant’s massive bulk to swiftly disintegrate into cascading torrents of dust while dropping its titanic plate armor and polearm to the ground. The latter two the spryte also reduced into trinkets to stow in his cap. Lastly, the spryte traced a small glowing butterfly sigil upon the top back corner of the now vacant Kreeg’s throne before calling for the Sihedron’s air elemental escorts by whistling in auran. And so, born aloft by the winds, the Sihedron finally left Hook Mountain.
Flying swiftly, the Sihedron were soon in the presence of princess Myrianna’s mournful spirit. Once presented with the her late lover’s disfigured remains, the nymph’s ghost wept and wove what remained of her glamour into one final powerful spell before finally passing on into whatever afterlife might await her. In her passing, as life returned once more to Whitewillows, so did it return to Lamatar’s mystically restored body. Now a fey being in his own right, the former commander of fort Rannick (who did not recall his time amongst the undead) was now mystically bound to Whitewillows as Myrianna had been in life. With Yap’s guidance the newly invested guardian of Whitewillows found that his senses extended throughout the fen and that he could even direct it’s trees, animals and fey denizens with a thought. Aubrey offered Lamatar, whom he named “Twice-borne”, the seed entrusted to him by his late lover while explaining some of what had transpired since his first death. In thanks, Whitewillows’ new guardian offered the Sihedron a magical acorn which they could use to call upon him if they were in need and an invitation to freely use Whitewillows’ eldritch gate; which he said could be made to lead anywhere in the many worlds that the fey had ever touched. Grateful, the Sihedron merely asked a simple boon; that Lamatar’s folletti entourage carry them one last time. And so, born aloft by the winds once more, the group left the Shimmerglens.
Graul Farmstead, Kreegwood
Setting down near the Skull River bridge, the group thanked the five giant folletti and bid these worthy allies goodbye. Girding themselves, the Sihedron then set off along a dirt path leading towards the farm of a locally notorious family of half-ogres known as the Grauls. Avoiding a deformed ogrekin searching the woods with a pack of mangy hounds, they were soon approached by a weakened and hungry black bear; presumably Jakardros’ missing companion. After feeding it some food and checking it for injuries the group, along with their new ursine ally, continued on until they came upon the open fields surrounding the Graul’s house and barn. Another malformed ogrekin, this one with a tumor-laden head and brandishing an ogre-hook, charged towards the party as soon as he spotted them. His attack was spoiled by a female at the house calling him off however; presumably the family’s matriarch Mammy Graul.
Grudgingly following her order to lead them to her, the Sihedron fell in step behind the hideous ogrekin whom Mammy had called “Crowfood”. Passing inside the Grauls’ dilapidated farmhouse, the Sihedron saw that it was decorated with carvings depicting scenes of violence and cruelty and filled with crudely fashioned furnishings and embellishments made of lashed bones and wood and finished with sewn together animal, vermin and human hides. If they were disturbed by these sights the group was truly sickened upon entering Mammy’s room; filled as it was by filth, blood, gore, various human remains, a trio of upright open coffins each containing a dessicated ogrekin cadaver and by Mammy’s own morbidly obese bulk. There seemed little else for the Sihedron to do when confronted with such blatant and unapologetic vileness than to introduce themselves to their hosts, draw weapons and attack.
And so the battle was joined; the Sihedron slaying Mammy before she could draw breath while fending off the attacks of Crowfood and the three ogrekin cadavers (who turned out to be shambling zombies). The group then continued on; storming from room to room, each a bloodstained spectacle of horrors, slaying all of the malformed and inbred Grauls one by one. In the basement they encountered and destroyed a large ambulatory mound of vegetable-matter which Aubrey conjectured was a magically cursed/transformed member of the Graul family. Having finished exploring the house, Elshbeth and Ton stayed behind to set the house of horrors alight while the others headed over to the nearby barn. Although the first half of the vast structure was deserted, venturing into the enclosed back-end of the building revealed it to be the lair of a truly titanic arachnid’s web. Together Treana, Kivu, Aubrey, Ainsel and Jakardros’ bear succeeded in besting this final horror. Behind it, locked in a cage, they found two of the missing Black Arrows they’d come looking for; Vale Temros and the traitor Kaven Windstrike. They freed the two men only to have Elshbeth immediately shackle and arrest the latter for his crimes. As the house and barn burned behind them, the group tracked down and slew the last errant Graul and his hounds before heading off through the woods towards fort Rannick.
With the skies now clear overhead, the Sihedron and their companions returned to the fortress to discover it occupied by a handful of Turtleback Ferry locals sent by the town’s Priest-mayor. While the others went to collect their ogre prisoners from the dungeon, Aubrey headed deeper into the caverns behind the keep to retrieve Lucretia’s body; which he magically reduced into a trinket and placed inside his stocking cap. Passing by the glittering crystal-studded chasm in the caverns’ heart, the spryte descended to discreetly trace a glowing butterfly sigil with glowing ink near its bottom before returning to the courtyard outside. The Sihedron then bid their goodbyes and left Vale Temros as the fort’s acting captain while carrying a message he’d penned for Magnimar’s Lord-Mayor. The group marched their human and ogre prisoners down to the Skull River shoreline where they unfolded their magical ship the Stargazer, boarded and set sail for Turtleback Ferry.