Part 30: Yep, that's definitely a troll.
Chapter 21 - Yep, that's definitely a troll.
After we sold our loot, we decided it was high time to head to the de'Arnise keep and deal with the problem of its recent invasion. But first, it was time for an attack by a bunch of stupid bandits. AGAIN.
I handle every single one of these with Haer'Dalis using the Harp of Discord, then mopping up while they run around being more innefective then normal.
The walk was fairly short and we made good time, but it was still night when we arrived, so it was a bit tricky to find Nalia in the palisade.
I think its about time you told me just who we are to fight.
Yes, I... I should have told you previously, but others refused to help when they found out. We are... beset by trolls. A vast number of them. Worse yet, there are some kind of snake creatures with them. I had never seen the like of them before, but I've been sheltered most of my life. The main assault began just a few nights ago.
Why, hello there proof that how long I take doesn't matter at all. Aren't you just such good proof? Yes you are. Ooooh yes you are.
I think they were driven from the north by the elves, or perhaps the new settlements south of Tethyr. They are nasty, right? I know trolls can only be permanently killed by fire or acid, but those snake things look even meaner. Why would they come here? Whatever the reason, they are here. I am sorry, but I don't know numbers or tactics; I only know that we must get rid of them... we must rescue my family, that is all.
We need more information. If we march through the front door it will be a slaughter.
Well... I've been thinking, and I'm pretty sure they would have left someone alive. Daleson... he would be tending the stable. You should try to reach him. You don't have to go through the frontlines. Approach north of the palisade. There is a secret door that allows entry along the base of the keep wall. I... I use it to occasionally sneak out while my parents aren't looking. They don't much like me interacting with the local peasants, but I can do so much for them. You can go on your own, but I am still willing to join. I know the keep well, and I can take to a shadow as quick as nobles to wine. I studied a bit of magery too! I've practiced! I'm going to be someone that gives to the poor and takes from the rich, I am. We've got lots to spare... and it's fun, too.
No, I prefer to keep you out of harm's way. I will return shortly. Wait here.
Very well, I shall wait here. Tell Daleson I sent you, or he may not trust you, and who could blame him? Nobody goes out of their way to help his kind, but I will.
We found the secret entrance Nalia mentioned and, looting some very minor treasures, soon ran across a scene I'd rather not have seen.
The troll... killed him. Quite thoroughly, too...
However, we did find Daleson one room over, and he was quite safe, so that was nice.
Fear not, I have come to rescue you.
You? Rescue me? I ain't nobody, even the trolls know that, so they left me to tend to the animals cuz I ain't no threat. Did Miss Nalia send you?
She doesn't want any more people to die, and she hired me to make sure of it.
You've sure done a wonderful job, what with that guy the troll gored in that room back there.
I didn't see you killing the troll very fast, Jan.
If you are here at her request then you might at least mean well, though we shall see if you actually accomplish anything. Miss Nalia is a caring noble, but she is still a noble by any measure.
Ooooh, burn. Too bad she's not here.
No offense, but are you here to really help or are you here to say how much someone should help? Miss Nalia is a bit more talk than action sometimes.
I'm here to help, but I need information about the trolls. Numbers and such.
Maybe thirty. There was a big troll that seemed to be in charge. I've kept out of sight, but I also heard him bossing something called a "yuan-ti". I don't know how many of those there are.
And how many of your fellows have survived so far?
I don't know. I seen a few make a break for it, but they were killed as they ran. Maybe a few are hidden here or there. I know Lord de'Arnise is still alive, at least he was this morning. He was trying to get the parts for his flail. He keeps it in pieces, and would never say why he left it like that. Wasn't my place to ask, really. Probably took him down to the dungeon. Lord de'Arnise had his dungeon boarded up, but I think them trolls sniffed it out. Don't know why they didn't just kill everyone.
Alright then, I'll be off to do my dirty work. Try to keep out of harm's way.
I'll just be staying right here, thanks all the same. They ain't bothered to come get me yet, and if you go out there making trouble, I think this is the safest place for me. If you do see Miss Nalia, let her tag along. She knows this place better than anyone, or at least thinks she does. One's as good as the other sometimes, and it's better than going blind.
Oh! There was something else as well! I don't know if it will help, but I'd best tell you anyway. The big troll, he's got a whole pack of nasty looking monsters that dig like mad. I had to feed 'em, and nothing gets between them and their food. Abandoned their post for the dog stew I made. Had to kill four dogs per meal. Disgusting! They guard the main room of the dungeon, but they feed in one of the cells... to the south down the hall, in the back of the room where they first broke in. Just wanted to warn you about them. They almost killed me and all I was doing was dropping their food in the cell. Nothing keeps them from their food.
Thank you, Daleson. I'll be on my way now. Good luck to you.
I hope all this works out. Be hard finding another place as comfortable as this. Remember to use fire on the trolls when they fall down, otherwise they'll get up again.
Oh... but you will surely laugh at me for such an admission.
I never would, my mourning dove. My grim and oft-proud nature would never allow it. To act is a solemn profession and most worthy of thy beauty and grace.
You flatter me, now, Haer'Dalis. But... yes, my mother used to tell me that I would be a fine actress. I... I used to dream of fluttering onto the great stage in Faenya-Dale... A useless dream now, I suppose. My mother is long behind me, and likely thinks me dead.
But your dream needn't perish, fair Aerie. I see a talent in your eye that tells this bard you could perform the great feats of stage, yet.
Oh, I doubt that, truly.
Nay, be not so harsh on yourself, pale one. This sparrow will take you under his wing and teach you the secret words that will match the strength of your aching beauty.
You are funny and strange, Haer'Dalis... but I thank you for the complements, nevertheless.
As we explored, we found a magical forge
and a treasure room which held five Potions of Storm Giant Strength and a Ring of Earth Control.
The Ring of Earth Control's AC bonus also does not interfere with other enchantments affecting AC.
As far as enemies go, groups like this were pretty common. (Not shown - one spirit troll.)
Even my usual army
proved nowhere near effective. However, forcing wild magic to take the form of Abi-Dalzam's Horrid Wilting was very, very effective.
Near the stairs up...
Same deal happened, with the troll gibbing him.
Since I can, I summoned a hakeashar to kill this yuan-ti mage.
The hakeashar is a bane of mages, causing them to forget spells, draining their magic items of charge, and it is even healed by magics that normally would do harm. Also, we found the keep key on a shelf in this room.
Key in hand, we valiantly continued on, slaying trolls all the while, and finally came to a human.
At his mention of sorcery, I attempted to cast Dispel Magic, but it unfortunately had no effect. On his body we found a flail head.
After that, we continued on, killed more trolls, and came to more humans. (These ones were friendly. Debatably.)
I am Asim... I have been hired by Nalia to clear out this keep of its invaders.
Oh! Thank the gods! You... you cannot believe how relieved I am to see you, then. Not only have I been barricaded in here, fighting against trolls... ...but you cannot BELIEVE the audacity of this woman! The Lady Delcia is the Lord's sister... and she is a... a trial, to say the least! I have been tempted to strangle her myself more than a dozen times!... ...er... I suggest you speak to the Lady Delcia, further. She will decide what to do, I suppose. ...and it will be the first break I've had from her in days...
Madam, true nobility is nor arrogant nor selfish, but rather devoteth itself to the protection of those commoners entrusted to it. Thou art contentious, and I pity thy lord. It were better for him to dwell in the corner of a rooftop than in thy company.
Dammit Jan if I have to stop her crying again today...
...are... actually... liquid?
[Delcia snorts, and it takes her a moment to overcome her shock.] Who are you to speak to me thusly?
I am Lady Saerileth of Everspring, daughter of Arioch, twelfth Lord of Everspring.
Hmph! Never heard of them. You're just a child. Surely if you were raised noble, you would have learned not to give your opinion so decidedly.
Well, congratulations Lady Delcia, you have now uttered a statement that, taken on its own, would prove that you yourself were not raised noble.
I beg your pardon?!
You rather decidedly stated your opinion that, if one were raised noble, one would not give one's opinion so decidedly.
ENOUGH BICKERING. You are the lady of the house? I have come on behalf of your daughter.
My daughter? You mean young Nalia? She is my niece. Her mother passed when Nalia was but two seasons. Caught some pestilence from those peasants she so loved to coddle. I dare say I have tried to wean Nalia off such charities, but I have failed. Why else would such as you be here? You sound like a noble, but you are obviously more adept at arms than societal graces. Oh well, those that beg cannot afford to be choosy. At least, that is the phrase as I have heard it. Shall we get to the business of a rescue? I assume that is what you are here for. Please do be quick about it, I am catching an alarming sniffle and could do with a warm fire. If I catch my death I'll have the hide of the peasant in charge of the heat.
Of course, milady. Nalia awaits you outside. Simply leave the way I came.
Well, I can fault her for her aquaintances, but at least she is not here to dirty herself with... ugh... combat. Thank you for the assistance. Please, try not to touch me as I pass. And if you would, Lord de'Arnise is still at the mercy of the beasts below. He is Nalia's father, and I believe they are trying to get him to reveal something about a cache of gold. I doubt he will say a word. He's as soft as Nalia at times, but he does not lower himself to dealing with his lessers. Do rescue him, will you? It is your duty, I believe.
See? Debatably friendly. At the very least, not trying to kill and eat us. Given the circumstances, I'm not entirely sure if it was an improvement or not. Further in, there was what seemed to be a treasure hall guarded by golems.
They fell one by one.
Hidden in alcoves, we found another flail head, the battle axe Frostreaver, the Elven Court Bow, and The Knee-capper.
Oh? Have you, Haer'Dalis? And to what manner of role shall I be subjected, then?
You wound me, fair one... I have deliberated over the choice for quite some time, now. I have weighed carefully each play that canters through my head and chosen one that complements you most fruitfully. 'Tis the lead of a Sigil play called 'Tersis'... written, if I remember, by a rather haggard tiefling gifted with the madness of true talent. You would play the goddess, herself... fallen from favor and bearing the slings of accusation and scorn with grace and confidence. With chin held high, she strides towards her former peers and dares to challenge the false verdict of the higher powers!
That... that sounds lovely, Haer'Dalis... but it's hardly me.
Ah, but it is, my mourning dove. You have suffered the cleansing torments, borne under the impossible strains... and I'll wager there's a steel in your heart that you've yet to lay claim to!
Oh, I don't think I ever could... I don't think you know me, really...
I know you better than you think, my dove. The true thespian reaches down into a well of dark waters within them... a place where others dare not look. And you've a deep well, fair Aerie... be not afraid to dive within!
You've a pretty way with words, bard. Well... I think I'll disappoint you surely, but if you wish to teach me your play I won't object to it.
That's all I ask, my dove... and this bard cannot wait to see the results of this first act now unfolding...
After we got down to the dungeon...
And did you find your faction?
Nay, Haer'Dalis, nor did I seek such a place of refuge. I was in Sigil only to do the will of Blind Tyr.
You missed much then, little one. The Cage has much more to offer than its temples.
I missed naught that I would desire.
That is only the ignorance of youth. If you ever return there, I can show you much.
Also, some of the battles were harder than others...
Behold, the Umber Hulks that Daleson mentioned.
You know, Umber Hulks may love dog meat, but they absolutely cannot stand Abi-Dalzam's Horrid Wilting. After that, I summoned up an army and...
Stand forth and be judged, creature! Your reign of terror ends here!
I rain 'cross many places, what think you gradunk leave here dry? I TorGal, and I trgank lead Rocksmash pack! We serve Stronger, so who traag you to say no?!
I am justice and I don't care who you serve, you will die for the innocents you have slain!
Foolish gtrank small-fist! Why feltthgrr help this place? You paid too? No, Stronger get rid of guards with much gold. You just grrrth stupid then! You die!
Even with stuff like this happening to Abi-Dalzam's, we still had one hell of a hard time.
I eventually just let a Pit Fiend sort him out. We took as trophies the last flail head and one of TorGal's claws.
There was a corpse nearby, however. Nnnnot such a good thing to find, all things considered.
However, with all the flail heads, we returned to the forge (okay I made Saerileth do it because she was the only one with room to carry everything)
and restored the Flail of Ages. [Fanfare goes here.]
I miss many friends, but since I left Candlekeep I haven't seen any of them.
Thy life now is that of a wanderer. Didst thou wander, too, when thou wert a child? Didst thou spend most of thy time outside the monastery?
No, not much time.
Thy friends then were the books of the library?
Yes, that's right. And good friends they were, too!
Books are friends that never leave. [Saerileth traces the shape of your nose with her forefinger.] Beloved of my heart, I do hope that when thou canst build thine own home there will be in it space for the old friends of thy youth to be met by the new friends of thy maturity, for I would read these books.
As this goes on, the dialogues begin to make less and less sense to me. I can't tell if it's because they're getting more nonsensical or because I'm going completely fucking insane...
And so, we finally returned to Nalia!
I am sorry, no. I was not able to save him.
Dead... he is... I'm sorry, I must take a moment to collect myself. You have been most kind. please, let me pay you what I can and then... and then... Oh no... ah, I don't suppose I could convince you to remain here for a while? I really need... no, no, it is my own problem. I'll deal with it as best I can.
There's no harm in asking - wait, yes there is, I'll go insane if I have to listen to any more of this stupidity. BYE.
Yes, yes, I'm aware that I left a bunch of crap for this area out, either because I didn't take screenshots (like a million battles) or didn't feel like transcribing a bunch of boring-as-fuck text involving Nalia asking to come with the party and Asim telling her to fuck off and die and her being all melodramatic and emo about it.