Time after time, we underestimated the danger, and my companions paid for it with their lives.
First we underestimated the intelligence of the dark trolls. It was by sheer dumb luck that we noticed their devious traps set to deter us from tracking them. Then, ambushed by a single dark troll that go the better of us, we underestimated the threat and let him escape. Then, upon finding the entrance to the trolls’ lair, we asked out loud if trolls were smart enough to be able to make use of such a carefully crafted dungeon, concealed by a convincing illusion. We were answered by a hail of arrows. Retreating to the forest, we assumed that the trolls we too slow and blundering to see us lying in wait in the forest. Then our ambush was betrayed the troll-kin whom we let escape earlier. Finally, we underestimated the threat of the trolls as their enormous elder trolls emerged from the cave.
The only smart thing we did the entire mission was to hide above the cave entrance and wait for the troll patrols to leave the area before sneaking in. We grew confident in our ability to sneak throughout the underground complex, staying one step ahead of the troll patrols. We finally confronted some trolls in a room containing a pool of some mystical nature. It’s exact properties still elude me. The trolls were elusive, but we tipped the scales of battle in our favor. Unfortunately one of them escaped through a corridor above the level of the floor. It wasn’t long before we heard the sound of several troll patrols headed our way. At that moment we had a choice. We could take the spoils we had won and escape the way we came, or venture into the last corridor we had yet to explore. Battered, bloodied, and low on resources…we chose poorly.
To even approach the corridor, we had to leap over an odd pool. The skald slipped and fell into what we thought was water. His slow enveloping descent, coupled with his screams of pain, told us we were wrong. As we thrust our arms into the acid like substance and pulled him to safety, the massive gelatinous cube rose up out of the hole in the cavern floor and advanced on us. It’s advance was relentless. We attacked it as best we could, but it’s unrelenting push and punishing pseudopods continued to beat us back. With our backs to a steep, slippery slope from which there was no return, we were forced to make a choice; allow ourselves to be enveloped and digested by the horrific cube, or take our chances sliding into the black void. Only the sound of rushing water gave some hint of what was to come. We chose the unknown over being digested.
We hit the water with a splash. The water was shallow but the current was swift. We slid along the channel along a surface coated with some slick material…and then it started to burn. The cursed cube had forced us into a channel lined with green slime. Our gear and skin alike began to bubble and dissolve. A dropped torch tumbled ahead revealing a steep drop off with only a couple of tree roots offering salvation. Only Erinmacht and I were able to grab hold. Our friends tumbled over the waterfall, and to what end I know not.
Unfortunately, the roots turned out to be nothing less than the tentacles of a roper. We struggled for our lives and tried to strike back against the creature. The last time I saw Erinmacht, his screams were being muffled as his head and shoulders disappeared into the gaping toothed maw of the beast. With a loud crunch, the screaming died to a low gurgle. I knew there was no hope in defeating the beast. I cut my way free of its grasp and dropped into pitch darkness.
I felt around and escaped on a mixture of fear, instinct, and luck. The beast pursued me down a corridor until I came upon a heavy door. With the last of my strength, I opened the door and barred it behind me. Safe for the moment, I lit a torch and found myself in a strange chamber with an oddly runed archway. Having no choice, I stepped through it. I became dizzy and light headed, and I felt as though my soul was leaving my body.
I woke up under the warm sun lying in the tall grass of an unfamiliar land. There are people here and they don’t appear to be aggressive. I hope they can help me as I am exhausted, hungry, thirst, and feel as though I am near death. How will I ever find my way back to my clan…
We came to collect dark troll skulls, and they are likely collecting the skulls of my dear friends.Last journal entry of Grigor.