Session/Game: Axeburg 3e #16
Episode 16: "Behold, We Bring a Boatload of Cheese"
Campaign Date: Imperial Year 487, Vay 1st - 10th
GM: Dave Nelson
Hildrun, son of Frithman, human, rune master, level 7, (Mike Miller)
Baldric, rune smith, level 5, trollson (cohort)
Gudwig, human, ranger/rogue, level 1/5 (Toby Miller)
Borhil, human, runeweaver, level 4 (cohort)
Vilegar, sorcerer, level 5, human (Andrew Smith)
Einar, priest of Gorm, level 5, human (Pete Zollers)
Sven, warrior, level 4, human (Jotham Hobbs and Katie Nelson)
Vay 1st 487
At Axeburg Hall, Chief Grimbold asked his brother Einar to take the yearly tribute to Earl Sighvat. Because of the ravages of the Rhemorazes that winter, the tribute was to take the form of a knar full of Axeburg cheese. When Einar called for volunteers to sail the boat, he was brutally mocked and ignored by the men of the hall. So, he gathered Gudwig, Borhil, Hildrun and Baldric and 3 sailors to make the journey.
Cheese is loaded, boat sails to Jarlsburg.
The Axeburgers arrive at Jarlsburg just in time for the annual Skull-parade. After the parade, Jarl Sighvat received the tribute from the various chiefs. The Ormsburgers were reprimanded for mixing copper with gold. Einar stepped forward and said “Behold we bring a boatload of cheese”, presented the cheese and made a crack about Sighvat, which caused one of his sailors to break up laughing. In a rage Sighvat had the man thrown to the dread Troll-cow Elsenmu who ate him at once. Sighvat handed Einar a bucket of dirt as wergild. Sighvat did comment that Axeburg cheese was indeed delicious.
At the market place, they saw Sabine, Grimbold’s cousin. She urged Einar to tell Grimbold that the hell-cow must die. Hildrun bought several wheels of the magical Jarlsburg cheese. Soon after, Sighvat summoned Einar to his hall and ordered him to tell Grimbold that he must come with all his guards and ships for extended duty.
Einar and company sail back to Axeburg. But on the journey they discover a stowaway. His name is Vilegar, prince of the goats, and is a half-mad sorcerer who had escaped from Sighvat’s dungeons, thirsty for revenge. Hildrun, Einar and Gudwig are inclined to kill him and drop him into the sea, but they consult the runes, which indicate he should be spared.
Calling Sabine “the mistress of stating the obvious” Einar delivers her message and Sighvat’s summons to Grimbold. Since Grimbold must lead his forces in support of Sighvat lest he unleash the wrath of Elsenmu, he asks Einar to undertake finding the means to slay the troll-cow. Grimbold summons up his new skald, Cousin Egbert, who recites this poem:
Tales are Told of a Tower
Flame does Fold this Fane
Black indeed Be the Blaze
Here inside Harr doth Hold
Weapon that Wastes foul Witchcraft
Kill it Could the devil Cow
But the Blaze doth Burn
All who Enter the Edifice
The Chain shall Chill the Challenger
Guthlac doth Grant this Goodness.
After drawing the runes, Einar, Hildrun, Gudwig and Vilegar decide to ride to the Tower of Black Flame to seek clues to the Chain of Guthlac. They decide to take Sven, who is one of Grimbold’s huscarls, and Baldric the trollson along too. Baldy and Olaf, two other huscarls, promise to follow right along, but first want to try to convince Othere and anyone else they can to join them.
Day is spent in preparation
Einar, Hildrun, Gudwig, Vilegar and Sven ride to the hills near Lyttlethorpe. Here they are attacked by a party of 7 trolls. The trolls first demand the names of the party members, and seem especially interested in Einar. A fight breaks out and Einar and Gudwig are both at various points seriously wounded. In the midst of the fight, a strange old man joins the battle on the side of the Axeburgers. He saves Gudwig’s life, but is himself slain by foul witchcraft. Finally, all seven trolls are slain.
After the fight, they find an old bronze chain around the dead man’s neck, and some other treasures. Hildrun uses runic necromancy to speak to the dead man, and one of the trolls. He finds that the Chain of Guthlac is neither the bronze chain, nor the chainmail armor of the stranger, but it is indeed present. Also, the trolls were not Ormsburgers as they claimed, but rather members of the Brotherhood that worshipped the "Crawling Death." They were sent due to portents, omens and visions, to kill one named Einar at this place.
The party presses on to the edge of the Alfheim forest. There they are set upon by a group of crusaders from the far south. This band consists of a sorceress, two knights and 7 men at arms. They are all sworn to the service of Bor and determined to slay Einar, as a living blasphemy against Bor. They too were urged on by signs and portents. The crusaders are quickly dispatched, largely thanks to a fireball from Hildrun.
That night a bunch of fairies from the woods attempt to cause trouble, and indeed make Baldric dance around uncontrollably. Einar is awakened by Sven to deal with the problem, and he gives the fairies a sound mocking and they depart in a most disgruntled state.
The party crosses the Alfheim forest, chasing off some wood elves. Vilegar instructs the others in the way of rolling goats. The others are assured that the old sorcerer is truly mad.
They cross the Suther River to the valley where the tower of Black Flame is located. They see strange figures in the misty valley where the flaming tower stands. They also see a set of small caves on the hillside. They approach the caves and find 3 old men there. These men claim to be the last members of the Order of St. Guthlac. They have lost their ancient knowledge, but are sworn to wait near the tower until some champion enters the tomb of their last master and uses rune magic to speak to him. This lost master will explain the secret of the Chain of Guthlac and the Celestial Bride who is imprisoned within the tower. However, the tomb is held by the forces of the Brotherhood of the Crawling Death. These must be destroyed before the tomb may be reached. The flames around the tower itself destroyed all who attempted to cross them, and the shadowy figures are the unhappy ghosts of those failed champions.
The party approaches the tomb and quickly attack and kill the two trolls on guard outside. They descend into the tomb and find two pillars at the end of the tomb passage. After some effort, they manage to push the pillars apart and enter the tomb beneath.
TO BE CONTINUED