- Erystelle rides a day northwest to the home of E.'s great-uncle, the elven smith Druinder. Along the way runs into 4 stirges who partly suck blood from E., Stormbrow, and Bob. E. finishes the bloated last one by sword and it explodes in a splash of blood.
- Joins Druinder his home for the evening, who takes the terrible news, suspects a red dragon in the crime, and then relates the legend of Galannor Nightflame (see below). In the morning, gives E. his ring of protection and says, "The future of the Emerlas rests with you, you must restore Galannor to the world in order to defeat the dragon and avenge your family, Without Galannor's aid we are doomed." Gives directions to a wise human hermit; ride a day east to Oakendale, and then a day north to the hermit's cave.
- Nearing Oakendale, a tiny wild man jumps on Stormbrow, lifts the magic ring and disappears, laughing maniacally.
- At the end of the day, Oakendale is a well-maintained hobbit village. The tavern owner Bella brings in E. and frets greatly over the story, plying E. with more food than can be eaten by non-hobbits. Also places a plate of food out on the ground by the door. Inquiring, Bella mentions a village "shargugh", a magical wild creature who plays tricks but also blesses the village and performs odd chores. E. follows up with the village elder Wally Gutzon, who gives directions to the hill where the shargugh lives, but cautions to take gifts and not to harm him.
- Still nursing wounds, Erystelle gets up to find the shargugh. E. first stops by the village militia house to warn them of evil afoot and to be on guard; then buys a small silver necklace from the general store keeper. E. then travels a league by trail and another league into the untracked woods to find the shargugh, bringing food, beer, and the necklace. The shargugh pops up and tells several doom-filled rhymes, laughing manically -- then messily devours the food and beer and ties the necklace in his beard, dancing and laughing, disappearing down a tree stump. He returns with Druider's ring and also a strange brass lamp, empty of oil. E. asks, "Are you mad?"; the shargugh says, "A madman would say 'no', so... 'no'".
- E. picks up the lamp and ring and ties them to the horse. Turning, the shargugh looks serious for the first time and says to mark well the following words: "Before me lies the silver moon/ And stars encircle my brow/ Let the hidden way be open soon/ Galannor Nightflame hear me now!", then runs off.
- E. works returns through the dense woods, back towards the hobbit village. A raven is perched on a branch over the trail before the village. Erystelle says, "Raven, speak!". At which point the raven cries: "Seek the hooded one in the cave of blue!", then takes off and flies to the west. Erystelle and companions bed down for a second night in the welcoming hobbit tavern.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Blade of Vengeance, Part 2