Experience tells the heroes that during the deepest of Nimos on the main island of New Ilthium there would have been snows, deep snows restricting all travel but the most urgent, even at that it would have been ill advised and foolhardy. Holdings close up for Nimos having spent the end of Naylos gathering in the crops and battening down. The unseasonal snow that came after G’zakthanx left heading east would likely have harmed the prospects of only the smallest holdings. Such is the way of things.
In comparison the time spent on Oranus by the heroes has been relatively mild. There have been frosts and one or two mornings with a light dusting of snow, but that is the most of it. By 8th day of 3rd Nimos it is still cold but true enough the worst is over without much, it seems, to go. By everyone’s estimation on Oranus, New Ilthium is likely to have thawed enough to be approachable and Robeor has gathered the party together to make plans for this eventuality for the past 7 day. Robeor says that he can now send the skeet that he holds for such moments and the boat to carry the heroes to New Ilthium will arrive by about 15th day of 3rd Nimos.
15th day of 3rd Nimos Second Epoch 2151.
The day has finally arrived for heroes to rejoin the rest of the Ilth people. Having accomplished what they originally set out to do, to find Allandra. However a quest has now been laid upon them by Robeor, to find the pieces of The Heart of Darkness. One is in danger of being taken by Beldrin from the Tower of the Magi in Fallsea. One is in Narl’s tower in the middle of Narl’s Deep. One is in a Brae burial mound at the farthest point of New Ilthium.
The heroes rising early and packing belongings readying themselves to go, breaking fast as they have done many times together. Discussing together what they will do next, where they will go, with Robeor an integral part in the planning. He is as excited about the prospects involved, the lure of the hunt, but he has made it clear that he will be staying on Oranus. For the good of New Ilthium, for the good of Andriel, Allandra and the freed slaves.
A commotion outside draws their attention, three of the younger more independent children coming from the main gate. They look frightened, speaking in a whir of noises, exclaiming that they have seen something large outside the wall, near the gate.
The heroes grab their weapons and head to the gate. As they approach the gate the temperature drops noticeably and quickly. Frost starts to form and their breath starts to fog. Ice crystals start to form on the walls of the buildings closest to the gate, their zig zag pattern writhing upwards. Snow starts to fall.
About 20 yards from the gate itself is a large figure, partially concealed by the surrounding vegetation. Then impressed upon their minds a forceful singular thought Come to me, bright warmth, come embrace me. Struggling to resist the thought they all shake themselves free. Lucky notches an arrow into Grey Death and lets lose the arrow streaking out and striking true, the beast bellowing, whilst Norhtal, Reollo and Sirath move up taking defendable positions around the gate way. The beast charges forward, breaking cover. Now clearly seen it is a huge 9’ tall, covered in long grey, brown hair. Claws on the end of its large powerful arms, its legs ending in hoofs. From its face sprouting a tangle of tentacles.
Then from behind everyone Robeor charges through. He yells as he goes, “Flee it is a Drelnoch. It will drag you to the nine plans of desolation.” He swings his staff in an over head arc and from its head flashes an intensely bright light as he strikes the beast. The Drelnoch clearly hurt by it, screams in anguish. Tiberius emboldened by his mentor’s presence fires his cross bow at the Drelnoch but fails to make contact. Reollo steps and swings, scything into it with his weapons. Sirath lashes out connecting, leaving a wound cross the great hairy chest. Norhtal with his short swords steps around to the Drelnoch’s side and attacks but misses terribly and over balances.
The Drelnoch enraged by the hurt it has received rears up, spreads out its face full of tentacles and roars out an intense wave of terror inducing cold. Robeor, Norhtal, Sirath and Lucky, gripped in the sheer alieness of the beast and its rage, become stunned.
Reollo suddenly finds himself the only one who is able to attack, chooses to strike out in a flurry hitting twice out of his three attempts, seriously hurting the beast further. Tiberius moves forward to grab Robeor’s dropped staff. The beast declines its head towards Robeor and a shimmer of pale, incandescent light streams away from Robeor’s face to its beak. Sirath, Lucky and Norhtal can not shake being stunned, still numbly standing there being able to do very little.
Seizing the staff Tiberius triumphantly holds it aloft expecting it to hold some further power, but finding it empty. Lucky’s uncanny ability to make things go his way kicks in and he finds himself shaken out of being stunned. He then reaches into his belt and pulls out the Silver Gambit. The overriding though in his mind is “ITS GOING TO DRAG US TO HELL.”
What follows can only be described as utter chaos. For a 20 yard radius around Lucky the buildings start to crumble, the forest dies off, the colour goes out of the day and everyone close to the Drelnoch is subject to being stunned again as it straightens up bellowing, its wounds healing. The beast then swings it’s head around striking Norhtal, Sirath, Robeor and Reollo with its tentacles. The impact seriously hurts Norhtal and Sirath. Norhtal gets flung off his feet with the force of the blow. A tentacle grabs a hold of Robeor and Reollo is struck so hard he is knocked down and barely clings to consciousness.
Sirath loses touch with his rational mind seeing Reollo hurt so badly and snaps out of being stunned immediately. Lashing out with an animal, fierce determination Sirath’s haste causes the blow to bounce off the beast’s hide and he drops Earth Cleaver. As Sirath bends to retrieve his sword Tiberius activates his pendants darkness ability. As a consequence he is the only one that sees the beast vanish with Robeor. He then turns off the darkness as Sirath regains control of himself and everyone else starts to shake themselves out of their daze. In addition Reollo is able to sit up, but is in a bad way. A moment later Norhtal grunts and sits up, looks somewhat winded but with each passing moment his obvious wounds slowly vanish.
Reollo staggers to his feet barely able move over to Lucky and confronts him. Reollo yells at him “WHAT DID YOU DO?” Lucky truthfully replies that he is uncertain as to what actually happened. Reollo admits that he’s not sure if Lucky was involved, but makes it clear he is keeping an eye on things.
Andriel runs up slightly dazed herself and says “Where, where… is Robeor?” The others explain to her that he is gone, the beast, a Drelnoch has taken him. Andriel crumples to the ground in apparent shock. Norhtal is then able to corner Reollo and attend to his rudimentary first aid needs, tiding him over until a more in depth treatment can be a provided.
A plan is quickly formulated. Andriel insists that they can not stay at the settlement any longer. The Drelnoch will return. It is no longer safe. The group then agree to leave immediately, heading to the stone circle to the east. Here Andriel will be able to tend to the wounded. After trekking to the stone circle, with Reollo needing to be carried on The Silver Horse. Sirath then offers to ride to the coast and meet the boat that has been sent to meet them. Andriel states that she now intends to take all the freed slaves with them back to New Ilthium. There is some discussion about the impracticality of this idea, but Andriel wins out in the end appealing to the decency in the heroes.
In all the boat made two round trips to transport them all to Talgyn’s End and it is just past dusk when all are ashore. Andriel meets a contact as arranged and turns to the heroes explaining that she now plans to take the freed slaves and Alandra to Elves’ Landing as soon as possible.
The heroes at last back on New Ilthium are left standing on the docks in Talgyn’s End as Andriel and her wards disappear in varying directions into the growing dark, with a promise from Andriel and Allandra to meet in the morning at the Pike and Whale tavern.