Tanglestone

28 - The Troll-Eaters

In which the Spinepuller family entertains guests, a delivery crosses the Moat, and the source of peculiar dental practices is revealed.

With the blood quartz safely delivered to the Clock Tower’s new master, and the Forges filling the order for the Armory and Grand Gate, the Trade Union has a little downtime to spare. Hinge recommends to his commander that patrols along the Wall be increased, and passes on a curious dagger to Peluma discovered by the archivist Tallyblack. Sym crafts a few more of his peculiar avian skeletal constructs. Dewlian invites his colleagues, as well as Lowkeeper Quire and the two Battlemen scroungers Glaive and Bolt, to a dinner in the Library with his family. Peluma and Sym bring gifts (a bottle of absinthe for Dewlian’s wife and one of Sym’s watch-constructs, respectively), and the children do their best to make Hinge feel welcome at the table.

It’s a cool, slick winter day when the shipment of arms and armor (mostly shields, pikes and flails) makes its way down the Wall, delivered by a pair of Forge apprentices and escorted by the Trade Union. Commander Plackart of the Armory receives it gratefully, and discusses much of the news from the North. As the Trade Union considers a strike against the Gutterherd that have moved into the Colonnade, some talk with Bolt and Glaive suggests a separate plan of attack. The neighborhoods east of the Hospital are apparently home to isolated packs of Remnants and Bestia, and if they could be secured (preferably with Shrouder troops), the travel along the Wall would be much safer.

This plan of action agreed upon, Peluma spends time scouting the Candelabrum, a small neighborhood southeast of the Hospital. She finds that the Remnant force occupying it is rather small: a little over two dozen warriors, with only half a dozen or so that approach her or Hinge’s level of skill, and at least three ogres. They seem to have taken a six-story tower, the tallest structure in the neighborhood, as their base of operations. With a general layout of the neighborhood described, the Trade Union puts their plan of attack into motion.

The first Remnant they find is a single warrior, moving about in undue confidence. He’s dispatched easily. The next group is not so soft. Discovering an ogre and his small band, the Trade Union strikes quickly and has to draw on their full strength to defeat the group. After the battle, Sym goes rooting in the guts of the fallen ogre — he finds no gems, but discovers that the blackening that Remnants display on their teeth apparently spreads to the digestive tract. Investigating the dried meat they carry, Dewlian realizes that it’s likely troll meat: something that taints the digestive system, perhaps granting them some measure of longevity but at the expense of their sanity.

The group moves quickly from there, ambushing a group of three stray Remnants and then moving to the central tower. Peluma draws the attention of the warriors lounging about the tower’s base, drawing them into an ambush. The first few Remnants drop quickly, but a pair of dangerous warriors (one a human swordsman, the other a goat-headed Gutterherd axeman) and a brute of an ogre batter Hinge sorely in the initial rush, and a javelin-wielding orc harpoons Dewlian. As they cut down more of the Remnants, reinforcements come from the tower, including the third ogre. Ultimately, though, the element of surprise and superior tactics give the Trade Union the edge, and the Remnants are defeated with no casualties.

Securing the tower, the Trade Union dispatch the Remnants’ unfortunate lookout and discover their even more unfortunate food source: a troll, kept chained and fed on filth to serve as a self-renewing source of meat for the rag-tag marauders. The group puts the troll out of its misery, gathers what spoils they can, and returns to the Armory with intentions of contacting the Hospital after their recuperation.

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