From the Journal of Jerath Adler, Jr.
In my travels, I have met some incredibly strong creatures, some incredibly smart creatures, and even some incredibly beautiful creatures. But thus far, I have yet to meet one as dumb as a Troll. Please note: I have the utmost respect for a troll’s ability to rip you limb from limb, but as I look back at this past day’s events, I can’t help but recollect the five things I learned about Trolls:
1) Trolls seem to always be motivated by food.
After Furgil’s daring escape from his bonds and subsequent killing of our guards, he and Elenore had traveled up into the farmhouse, where they discovered we were indeed being held captive by the night goblins in the Baumer Farmstead. Upon a second trip upstairs, Furgil found all of our clothes, weapons, and items in the kitchen. He sent them down to us piece by piece, and then continued spying around the building, looking for anything that would help us gain the upper hand against a foe that clearly had us outnumbered, and at the moment, outsmarted. He found a stairway going up to a second floor (with three well armored goblins at the top) and a pantry door, mysteriously blocked with an enormous cupboard. Behind it, all Furgil could hear was the sound of snoring.
He came back down to relate this to all of us, and immediately, we surmised that it was possible that a troll may be sitting behind that pantry door, and that that troll may be our ticket out of here. We also gathered that Gobsmite may be sleeping on the second floor, thus the guards on duty. Oppenheimer quickly stood, and said that he had a plan, but it would require finding out whether or not a troll was indeed behind that pantry door. Loreli agreed to accompany him back up the stairs while the rest of us waited below.
What happened to them up there was related to us a few moments later when they returned. Together, they had moved the cupboard blocking the pantry door, and opened it slightly, unleashing a terrible stench that brought Oppenheimer to vomit up whatever was left from last night’s meal onto the floor. He regained his composure, and they continued to open the door. They peered behind it, and as expected, there was an enormous troll, sitting, cramped, confused, and surrounded by dead bodies and bones. Quickly, they closed the door, re-barricaded it with the cupboard (barely remaining quiet), and returned to the basement to discuss the plan.
Oppenheimer seemed convinced that the troll favored neither side, and would only be motivated by food. He then motioned towards the three dead goblin bodies we had in the basement, and asked if I would be willing to chop them up to use as bait to lure the troll from the room. I agreed, and after a little while, gave them a number of body parts that only a troll would find appetizing.
So, the plan would be for Loreli and Oppenheimer to unleash the troll, get it to follow them up the stairs, and have it hopefully attack every goblin it came across (including Gobsmite.) At the very least, the troll would cause enough confusion to allow us to escape, giving us an opportunity to get the two lightning stones and get out of here.
Once again, Loreli and Oppenheimer went up into the kitchen. Just before they had planned to move the cupboard, they realized they may want hiding places when the troll came out to keep them safe from its rampage. The cupboard blocking the pantry door seemed large enough, and they opened it… only to find it filled with rocks! The rocks poured out onto the floor, and the goblins on the stairway were quickly alerted to their presence. Loreli and Oppenheimer then moved as quickly as they could to get the pantry door open, and when they did, Oppenheimer began pelting dead goblin parts at the troll, which he gladly began eating. The plan seemed to be working until the troll decided he wanted something a little fresher, and took a swipe at Oppenheimer. Luckily, Oppenheimer was able to get out of the way while Loreli was able to kill one of the advancing goblins with a crossbow bolt.
So there they were. A troll on one side of them and two goblins on the other, trapped in the dead center. Luckily, as we had hoped, it turned out the goblins weren’t too happy to see the troll, and they took off running, one out the front door and the other back up the stairs. By this time, the rest of us were beginning to emerge from the basement, but realized it may have been too soon as the beast took a swipe at all of us, looking for its next meal. Oppenheimer told us to all get back down into the basement, and as we did, more goblins showed up, shocked to see that the troll had escaped.
With not a moment to spare, Oppenheimer was able to use the his magics to shoot himself from one side of the room to the other, making it so that he was no longer in the center in the room. Rather, the goblins were now the troll’s next meals, and he went to work on them immediately, taking one and popping its head off to drink its innards. I didn’t see this, but I can imagine it’s probably not something you’d ever really want to see.
At this sight, the remaining goblins once again fled, and Oppenheimer was the last one standing in the room with the troll. He ran for the stairway leading to the second floor, and beckoned the troll to follow, but alas, the troll only wanted whatever was easiest to feast on, and going upstairs was not not going to be the easiest when there were dozens of goblins running around in the courtyard.
This brings me to the second thing I learned about trolls…
2) Trolls are also sometimes motivated by anger.
Seeing that he was losing the troll’s attention, Oppenheimer pulled out his crossbow, and shot the monstrous creature! It roared with anger and went right after him, as he had hoped. He ran up the stairs, and the troll dutifully followed. During this time, the rest of us got out of the basement, and we secured the kitchen. I took a moment to heal Eduardo Rodrigo, who was still feeling the effects of the battle on the hillside. We then listened, to see if Oppenheimer’s insane plan was taking shape.
At the top of the stairs, there was a door, which was locked and barricaded. Behind it, Oppenheimer could hear the voice of the Shaman, meaning he WAS in there! The troll had finally made it to the top of the stairs as well, and Oppenheimer knew he only had one chance to get this right. He goaded the beast on, and it started to run right at him!
Which brings me to the third thing I learned about trolls…
3) Trolls are not the brightest creatures.
Just as the troll was about to reach him, Oppenheimer jumped out of the way at the very last second to watch as it collided with the door! Such weight and force would surely break any well barricaded door, right? Well, sadly, the door did not shatter, and the troll looked at it, stunned. Oppenheimer was sure that the creature would continue to attack the door, but that brings me to the fourth thing I learned about trolls…
4) Trolls are controlled by NO ONE.
Once again seeking out the easiest meals, which in this case would be the goblins still running wildly around the courtyard, the troll left Oppenheimer and the door alone, and proceeded outside to play with the green skins. A few moments later, Oppenheimer returned down the stairs, and we watched as the troll hunted down goblin after goblin, spilling their blood and eating them like a child might cherish watermelon on a hot summer day.
We immediately recognized that we needed another plan if were to get the lightning stones and defeat Gobsmite. We knew at that very moment that Gobsmite was still in the farmhouse, and if we couldn’t get to him, he couldn’t get to us either, which led us to our next decision: burn down the farmhouse.
We proceeded to gather tinder and wood from the main floor, during which time Loreli discovered a sword with the word “Acitus” inscribed upon its blade. None of us knew what it meant, but the sword seemed like a beautiful piece of work, and thus, Loreli decided to keep it.
We finished gathering what we would need to burn down the farmhouse, and started the fire. Oppenheimer used his powers over the winds to feed the flames, and before long, fire was slowly beginning to spread.
Seeing as how we could no longer stay here, we decided to sneak over to the tower, where we could get a better view of the courtyard. As we exited the farmhouse, we tried to be as stealthy as we could to not draw the notice of either the goblins or the troll, but the rain had never been SO fierce. Suddenly, there was a lightning strike so close that we could all feel our hairs standing on end. A foreboding feeling of evil passed through the group, and we found ourselves too spooked to do much of anything. We finally made it all to the base of the tower, but that’s when things went from bad to worse.
Gobsmite appeared on the roof of the farmhouse. He must’ve exited his room through a window, and climbed up there, giving him a great vantage point from which to fire upon us on the ground below. Oppenheimer quickly too cover in the pig pen, and I had planned to follow when there was a green flash and a sharp pain passed through my body. I could feel every inch of me tingling, and I fell to the ground. The shaman laughed, and continued to fire at us from his safe perch up high.
Finally, Loreli had had enough, and using her growing strength, she pulled out her crossbow and took a shot at him. He was hit, and it threw him off balance, but only for a moment. He returned fire at her, and there was another green flash! She slumped against the tower door, but seemed okay, complaining of a terrible ache in her head.
There was no doubt that we had been pushed to our limit. After last night’s battle, and all that had happened today, we weren’t going to be able to take on Gobsmite unless we could find his weakness. We all looked to each other, hoping that someone would come up with something brilliant, when we finally had a stroke of good luck – out of a heavens, a bolt of lightning shot down at Gobsmite, the lightning stone drawing it to him, and he was struck!
His body fell from the roof into a pile of dung below, and Loreli (in a fervor) ran up with her new blade drawn and stabbed the shaman until dead. Just as we were about to celebrate, his body exploded, covering us all in goblin guts. This didn’t bother me as much since I was already covered in their blood and entrails, but the group’s feeling of disgust didn’t last too long as the rain quickly washed it all away.
Oppenheimer then grabbed the “brain stone” that had been sitting on the shaman’s head, and we all made our way back towards the burning farmhouse. Unfortunately, the same luck that had brought Gobsmite down then struck Oppenheimer, and lightning coursed through his body. He looked a little worse for wear, but was able to continue on, deciding it best to just leave the stone out in the courtyard. While this was happening, Furgil was able to make his way back into the partially burning farmhouse to recover the second lighting stone that Gobsmite had been carried around upon the previous night.
He brought it out and threw it into the courtyard with the first lighting stone. At this point, we decided to head to the barn to recoup and decide our next steps. This finally brings me to the fifth thing I learned about trolls…
5) Trolls ARE killable (but only in very extreme situations.)
Inside the barn, I tended to Oppenheimer’s lightning wounds, and the group wondered what to do about the troll. Do we let it live? Do we attempt to kill it despite its regenerative properties? As the questioning continued, it occurred to me that the lightning had been an powerful ally, and could be again! I turned to the group and suggested that if we could get the troll to get the smaller lightning stone, then it would continue to get struck by lightning until dead. Everyone seemed shocked by the suggestion, everyone except Furgil that is, who LOVED the plan, and joyfully went about emptying out a goblin corpse to fit the smaller lightning stone inside of it.
Once finished, he went out, got the troll’s attention, and hefted the body at it. The troll didn’t think twice (probably didn’t even think once) and ate the morsel whole. Furgil got back to the barn in time to watch the troll get struck once… and then again… before finally succumbing to the effects of the lightning damage to its body. It was dead.
The remainder of the day was somewhat of a blur. I recall Elenore and Loreli talking a young 6-year-old girl (named “Flea”) out of the well at the farm, while Furgil put goblin heads on spikes to scare away any goblins who might decide to come back to this place. We also made sure to give hay to the remaining livestock, and then went about fastening the two lightning stones to a cart for our return trip to the Ackerland farm.
So, with the stones in hand, the troll dead, and our new friend Flea at our side, we made our way out into the rain. We finally reached the farmstead, where we left Flea with the family (for her own good), and built a sturdier sled to bring the stones back to Stromdorf. I made sure to ask the Ackerlands about Bieber, but alas, they had not seen him since he left with us the previous night. My only hope is that he may have returned to Stromdorf. I would not want his blood on my hands, not after he had done so much for our dear friend, Tarth.
The trip back to Stromdorf was uneventful except for the occasional lightning strike. We took the stones directly to Schulman, and his eyes lit up at the sight. He told us to come back later after he’d had a chance to study all of the stones together. We decided this was as good a time as any to see Adler, who was looking much better these days, and he gave us the remainder of our pay. I once again asked about Bieber, but they had not seen him either. My concern grew, but I knew that if any man could survive out there, it was him.
Upon our return to Schulman’s room, we found him somewhat agitated. It seemed that in his estimation, there was STILL one more stone to be found. He showed us how all of the stones he currently had fit together, and it did indeed seem like there may be a missing piece. Being so CLOSE to solving the puzzle, Schulman begged us to find the remaining stone, and told us the Wizard’s College would be very very thankful to us for our assistance. He told us to sleep on it, and in the morning, he’d have more details for where the final stone may lie…
- Adler, Jr.