The Council Meeting
Arriving at the council halls, they find that the discussions have already started, with Erik and Jarl shouting at each other while the other Councillors looked on in dismay.
Jarl “The practice is barbaric and you should be ashamed of yourselves”
Erik “Do you call it barbaric when your men take up the wooden sword and beat each other until their black and blue?”
Jarl “They are training to keep this town safe!”
Erik “And our pit fighting hones our mutts into more efficient killers, all the better for when the next goblin incursions happens and your not around!”
Aldritch “Erik, Jarl Please! This back and forth sparring gets us no where. Now please, sit down and lets talk like civilised people”
Dalla “This fighting over the damn dogs pulls us away yet again from what is important, the poisoner”
Erik “The dogs are important to—-”
Aldritch “To you Erik, yes we are away”
Erik “No Aldritch, to the whole community, you may not understand it but we do”
Jarl “Have you forgotten already what happened last time, when you let the shadow in?”
Reigning the argument in, Aldritch opens up discussions to the new people in town, hoping for an outsiders perspective. Much was discussed, but ultimately it was decided that the dog fighting would continue and that Berwin would look after the welfare of the dogs and make sure no further incidents happened with the shadow.
Most of the party returned to the manor of Lady Rena, finding that Baldor and Belgo are already there and that they have taken a shine to her ladyship. Especially Belgo who was constantly hovering around her. Baldor enjoying the warmth of the fire and some quality pipe weed relaxed the night away. All was well.
Burchst and Fannella
The next morning breakfast is interrupted by a visitor to the manor, a Mr Burchst of the Northern farmers. He has come seeking help as his prize pig Fannella had been taken during the night. Explaining that she wasn’t the first animal taken, that several others had gone from other ranches, however his was the first to be taken from inside of a barn. Because of this he was sure that it must be the work of trolls! or something else, big stupid but capable of opening a barn door.
While not everyone was convinced it was trolls, they did agree to go look into this matter. Taking them down to his farm stead the tracks left by the creatures were unmistakable and could well have been big enough to be trolls.
Following the tracks they travel north to the small wood at the base of the mountain. There they found that the forest was as disturbed as the Mirkwood, however it was a presence of expulsion, rather than an all encompassing smothering. Daeron felt he could sense the disturbance and led the party in search of it, distracting themselves from the trolls momentarily.
They enter into a clearing, a grassy glade that was unremarkable save for the stone in the middle of it. The stone was roughly rounded and worked to have a smoother suface, though was not truly polished stone. It was crowned in dried blood and felt like the source of the woods ill. Daeron also noticed that the grass of the clearing was bent slightly as if crossed down. From above it forced a spiral pattern, going from the outside in.
Unhappy with this, they swore to destroy the place once they had dealt with the trolls.
On the trail
Berwin was forced to leave her mount behind for a while, as they got to the slope of the mountain and realized it was a going to be a steep climb. Indeed it was steep enough that only Daeron was able to easily overcome the trek, many of the others following behind and having to rest. When they reached the top, they found themselves stepping onto snow, and that what they were pursing had left very easy to follow tracks.
Interrupting there excursion though they find a large statue covered in snow. At the base of it were wooden stakes, driven into the ground, and on the stakes were the heads of animals, chiefly one which was the pig head of Fannella. They were placed to face towards the statue, that was seemingly looming over the grim spectacle. With no face to speak of, it instead had like a wreath crown made of stone in place. Daeron cleaned some of the snow away and uncovered one of the statues arms.
With no business with the statue, they moved on to follow the tracks. Finding they led to a cave it was here that Thorondir sneaked on ahead in the hope of finding the creature inside. Getting in he found a spitted pig that had been cooked and eaten, along with a pen of distressed ponies and a sleeping troll. However what he did not see, was the trolls accomplice who ambushed the man before he could get out. Having no choice other than to yell for help and get ready to fight, a grim combat did ensue.
Both sides suffering through the conflict, the leader of the trolls tried to sue for peace, agreeing to enter into a riddling contest to decide on whether they could stay or not. However before the contest could be agreed upon the chivalry of man and dwarf both failed. Berwin and Daeron walked away in disgust, while Durin and Thorondir slew the trolls on the spot, who died cursing the lies that had been spoken to them. The ponies were freed, some treasure was found and the party walked back in silence not speaking a word to each other.
Ends Never Justify the Means
Returning back to town they gather up the Cerulean Guard and a number of the local farmers, taking them into the woods to pull out and destroy the stone. Digging it up, it was found that the lower parts of the rock, hidden by the grass and soils had markings in matching those that had been found in the big tree and in the ruins of Framsburg. Dragging it back to the farm, the stone masons got their hammers and stakes and starts to track it on open.
To the horror of those gathered the stone split and from the inside of it a score of snakes slithered on out. People ran, screamed and even took up arms and killed some of the slithering beasts before they got away. However most disappeared in the wilds.
Word quickly spread about what had happened, but what was more was that some dark curse fell across Marbelain. A shadow had fallen across the hearts of all who dwelt here. For the party it was hard to know whether it was from whatever had been released from that stone, or whether it was the darkness that some of them had let into their hearts.
All was not well.