When we left our heroes, they had chased off some unworthy Petruvians and were about to speak with the hermit Toki, who they thought would know where giant bones could be found.
Well, Toki would not let them in, once he realized that Servius was with them, but he did tell them that Hosvir Leifson, noted Bartertown warrior, had visited him also seeking giant bones. Toki told Hosvir of a trio of barrows just south of the Elf Wood that contain giant burials and told Erp and his fellows that Hosvir had set out for them two days ago, accompanied by a small group of warriors and his bosom companion, the berserker Bestla One-Hand.
The party set out immediately, hoping that the rain had slowed their travel to Toki's also slowed Hosvier. As they travelled, Bjorn regaled the others with tales of Gunnar Torvaldson, a legendary warrior and wrestler of an age long past who was said to have slain giants at the southern edge of the Elf Wood.
They found three barrows, each 150 yards from the other, and Helgi scouted ahead to find Hosvir in a camp. Hosvir's companions were whipping and flogging him, working him up into an estatic frenzy so he could prove his worth to bond with the giant bones of a nearby barrow. But before Helgi could report back to the group he spotted a magnificent snow white stallion, clearly a king of horses and worthy of his vow.
Sigurd cast lots and got Hagalaz, Isa and Perth as his results, which he interpreted as calling for caution, but then the ground began to shake as Hosvir began to wake the giant bones. Erp Hothead decided to lead the charge in, while Helgi shot the berserker Bestla in the shoulder and barely avoided her thrown spear. Sigurd began a galdr song to blunt Bestla's weapons as the rest of the group moved into the fray. Unlucky Bjorn threw a spear at one of the Bartertown warriors who caught it and threw it back, catching Bjorn in the shoulder.
As the battle swirled around him, Erp found himself paralyzed for a moment before a strange voice roared out of him "Lodin, brother, you will not betray and abandon me again" before he barreled through the Bartertown warriors towards the barrow of Thrudgelmir. Servius called upon Apollo Acesius, and while he was able to heal Bjorn he drew Apollo's displeasure. Helgi shot Bestla One-Hand in the knee, slowing her advance some, though her berserker fury kept her moving. Þorunn cut down another of the Bartertown warriors who managed to get a blow past the shieldmaiden's defenses. Hosvir, now riding the bones of the giant Lodin that had risen from the barrow, attempted to scoop Erp up in a giant bony claw, but Erp dodged and dashed to Thrudgelmir's barrow where he began to raise up those long interred bones. Servius, continuing to call upon the many gods of Petruvia, this time uttering a prayer to Sekhmet to heal Þorunn, but again angering the deity he called upon. Bjorn charged Bestla, drawing her wrath as he hoped to show he was not a coward like his father and Helgi, who has no problem with acting in less than honorable fashion, took that opportunity to shoot Bestla in the back.
Erp, riding the bones of the giant Thrudgelmir, knocked Hosvir (or Lodin's bones which Hosvir was riding) down. Hosvir scooped up Bestla and called upon Lodin to take them away and they vanished leaving the other Bartertown warriors behind in a burst of frost. Erp called upon Thrudgelmir andmanifested a giant battle axe of ice and easily cut down the abandoned Bartertown warriors.
Then, as the group caught their breath Jarl Oddrun stumbled out of the forest, confused and missing her dragon torc. She told the party that she had been seeking the elf lord, Nuallán, for several days. She knows he has a great long house in the forest, because she has been there before, but know she has been unable to find her way back. She also confirms that the magnificent snow white stallion Helgi saw is Nuallán's and off-handedly mentions that the elf lord also has wolves the size of horses. Needing ferð after their arduous journey and battle, all of the party save Þorunn regaled Jarl Oddrun by reciting the recent additions to their sagas and then the party made camp for the night there near the giant barrows and at the edge of the elf woods...
In the middle of the night, while Sigurd and Helgi are on watch, Helgi returns from walking the perimeter to find a strange dverge sitting next to Sigurd by the fire. Sigurd is surprised as well, apparently unaware that anyone had been sitting next to him. The dverge, who has one eye that is significantly larger than the other and crow's feet, introduces himself as Bömbör. In the morning, once the rest of the party is awake they all interrogate Bömbör. He claims to want a ring that is on the other side of the forest and needs the PCs to get it away from Rind, a Thursir (like a Hill Giant, and borrowed from the 2e Viking Sourcebook). All the while, while the dverge is talking he is also carving a flute. Erp, recently bonded to the skeleton of the giant Thrudgelmir, calls up that ancient soul to know what the giant would make of the wily dverge and gets the following statements, two of which are true and one of which is a lie (these are in no particular order).
- Lodin, the brother of Thrudgelmir, whose bones Hosvir is riding, stole power from a dwarf.
- The ring Bömbör wants must be magical
- You can never trust dwarves.
Bömbör will take them to Rind’s cave and they will get the ring for him. He will take them to Nuallán’s long house where they can get the Jarl’s dragon torc back. Then he will take them out of the woods on the side closest to Jokilaakso in a manner that is safe and expedient while one of them plays the flute he was carving (Bjorn). Once they are free of the woods, they will trade the ring to Bömbör for the torc.
After having been on the PC side of negotiating with genies in al-Qadim Church, it was a blast to get to run the other side of that. I haven't decided exactly what the magic ring that Bömbör wants does but I do plan on making it tempting for the PCs to break their deal.
So let's update my list of things I'm wondering about... I'll bold things that are new and strike-through things that have been addressed. The last three I'm adding are encouraging me to bring the spotlight to three of the PCs who haven't had it as much in the first two games.
- Who is Erp’s father?
- What is the name of Bjorn’s father?
Where a worthy horse would be? Maybe with the fickle elf lord?
- Why did the Elf Lord Nuallán seduce Jarl Oddrun of Jokilaasko?
- What do the Frost Giants want?
- How is Bartertown going to get its revenge?
- When the PCs will encounter Grimhilde, the Hahleypa next?
Will Hosvir Leifson bond with the bones of Ymir's son before the PCs find the barrows?
- Why are the Petruvians coming so far north in such numbers?
- What does the magic ring that Bömbör wants do?
- How did Rind, the Thursir end up with it?
- Who else wants it?
- How long will Nuallán keep the PCs in his woods?
- What will the PCs need to give up to get the Jarl's dragon torc back?
- How will the fates shine on Þorunn?
- How will the gods show their displeasure with Servius?
- Why will Rind be interested in Sigurd?