1211 RE-- Expedition to the Shadow of the Hammer
Date: October 28th, 1211
Outcome: Successful discovery and exploration of the library in the Shadow of the Hammer
Belligerents: Tundra Guard of Oresund and allies, frozen dead and trolls of the Krujef'Dee
Oresund Commanders: Dorrit Eirun, leader of the Tundra Guard, Knight-Commander Nilmer Preben, Turlek of Gaunt, Oske Kalle, Draunir Ringenn, representative of Dane Frosteye
Strength: Oresund and Allies 55 total combined forces
Frozen Dead and Trolls Unknown
Third Parties One Strange Creature, Three Troll Envoys
Casualties: Oresund and Allies None
Frozen Dead and Trolls Numerous, though the nature of the creatures makes it hard to tell exact numbers
Third Parties None
Though far to the North, Oresund was not immune to the change and chaos wrought by the Day of Legend. All across Oresund, stories of servants of the Northern Hearth and heroes long since dead rising to fight against the arrayed against Oresund ran wild. Tales of these Returned Heroes being mistaken at first for the Frozen Dead made the rounds in Audleberg, Danbraeg and Dunaldur alike. These strange beings rallied around the military unit known as the Tundra Guard, not only bolstering their numbers, but sharing knowledge of places that once existed, the discovery of which could greatly benefit anyone willing to pursue them. In particular, tales of an ancient library within the region of Troll Country known as the Shadow of the Hammer were told. This library was rumored to be a repository of a great wizard, and the knowledge contained within would bring untold gains.
The ruling body of Oresund, the Unbroken Circlet, believing that the burden of such discovery would be too great for them to bear alone, sent forth a call for brave individuals willing to join the Tundra Guard in their expedition... and share in the treasure and glory. The Guilds of the Hulder, eager to improve their position with the Unbroken Circlet, lent their support, sending scribes and physicians to record the details of the journey and support Dorrit Eirun and the Tundra Guard. The Redwood Throne, which has only recently gained any support so far north, sent their own volunteers as well, including Sir Kuno Haebel, a Knight of the Tower in the Principalities, supplementing the allied forces of the Gauntish provided by Dane Frosteye, showing willingness to aid his nominal allies to the north. Gauntishmen of note included Draunir Ringenn and Grimheim, two of the vaunted Dane's Bulwark, the elite protectors of the Dane, and Moinin the Skald.
The clans of Oresund, not to be outdone, poured forth support to the cause, particularly the clans of Finbrandur and Rosskjel, as the Shadow of the Hammer holds much significance to those of the Patrekeur and Rafnhildur lineages. Many cabals made the journey, as well, hoping to increase their own knowledge and power. In order to keep the peace, Knight-Champion Nilmer Preben and renowned wizard Teitur Egill, both members of the Unbroken Circlet, were present, along with their Gauntish liaison, Turlek of Gaunt. On the 28th of Lokakuu, October by the calendar of the Church, the allied forces of the Tundra Guard marched into the area known as the Shadow of the Hammer.
Dorrit Eirun, commonly known as the Frostmaiden, commanded the joint forces with the assistance of her second-in-command Jantippu Aivot, a Knight of the Phoenix. The forces enjoyed peace through much of their journey, finding the woods of Troll Country bereft of even the game that would normally populate the area. Upon reaching a large glade in the vicinity of where the library was supposedly located, the forces were set upon by a host of Frozen Dead, controlled by trolls of the Krujef'Dee Tribe, who wielded the raw powers of Earth and Blood. The forces cut down the Frozen Dead time and time again, only to have them rise once more. Only when the trolls wielding magic were dead or had left the battle did the dead finally rest. The wizards reported that the Frozen Dead were highly susceptible to the magic of Fire, but that alone wasn't enough to keep them from rising again. It is not yet known how to prevent this, save a thorough burning of the bodies once the wizard controlling them has been dealt with. After the glade was secured, expedition parties were sent forth to scout the region look for signs for ruins, buildings, or other ancient markers.
Oska Kalle, a renowned hunter and bounty hunter, organized scouting parties, and aided by Malin Roskert, an apprentice of Teitur Egill. The representatives of Clan Nokkvi, Heidi and Gelkerd Hessen, and Finn Nokk, and many of the Clan Rosskjel, including the respect merchant-wizard Kaltun Lunde and the stormcaller Vordstal Rafnessin, were among those who initially discovered the ruins of a great three-winged library. During this same time period, a party consisting mainly of the Tundra Guard, including three who had returned from the grave now going by the names Arbiter, Moribund and Swain, as well as the brash warrior White Fox and the pensive scout, Laconic, discovered an ancient graveyard that had survived the years undisturbed, despite the age and location. Winter wolf tracks were also discovered in the area, exciting the homunculi, alchemists and furriers in the party. Throughout the entire time, the group faced continual onslaught from the trolls and their Frozen Dead cohort. These were easily turned aside, due in no small part to the arms of Ritari Jantippu, Draunir, Warden Masrik Patre, and the fierce homunculi servants of the wizard Nimble, Bearpaw and Tame. Two skilled forge mages, Charity of the Tundra Guard and Expedite, a homunculus and personal forge mage to the king, helped to not only defended the expedition, but also supplemented their combat prowess.
The library had three distinct wings, each bearing a magical sigil over the entryway. It is believed that this sigil in some way magically marked those who passed beneath it, making it deadly for the same person to explore more than one wing, unless they possessed some secret knowledge to shrug off these ill-effects. As such, the gathered forces split into several groups to explore the library, as to prevent the marks from triggering in some way. These magical symbols still proved to be fierce deterrents, weakening those who sought to enter each time. Inside the library wings, the forces encountered traps that spewed forth acid, or existing structures entirely filled with acid. While this proved puzzling for those present, none could doubt the efficacy of the traps. Coupled with the traps were extremely difficult puzzles, obviously meant to stump all but the most quick-witted and intelligent from gaining the knowledge contained within. All the while, shades poured forth from the dark recesses of the abandoned library, eager to feast upon the living. The library itself revealed several mysterious texts, including a coded document and many journal entries attributed to a wizard known as Martel.
During the expeditions, three major events occurred. First, one of the trolls attempted to dig up the graveyard after seeing the interest the allied force had in it. The troll was successfully stopped, but the churned earth revealed an ancient marriage contract between Patrekeur the Coastal Warden and Rafnhildur, Witch of the Eastern Desolation. Warden Patre and Vordstal Rafnessen were both intensely interested in this contract, and were aided by Fansa the Keen, sister of Hensar the Sharp, in the inspection and analysis of the document. Patre and Rafnessen, as expected, could not agree on what the document meant, as the terms of the contract seemed too outrageous to be true, yet they each held that the marriage had occurred. Many of the wizards collaborated to place a calling magic upon a prepared banner to attract a spirit in the area. After a long while, a spirit did appear, and many questions were asked of it. It is uncertain what was asked and told, but the wizards seemed satisfied that the contract was real, though no further information of the union was publicly shared. Each clan has since vowed to discover more about this contract, the circumstances of the completion of the contract, and the death of each party. Tensions between the two lineages have increased as a result of this renewed activity.
The second event was the arrival of troll envoys from the Citadel of Congealed Shades, often called the Frozen Castle. These three trolls offered no conflict of arms, as seems to be the nature of these particular trolls, and came to present trade terms to the Tundra Guard. The trolls offered payment for the bodies of the truly dead to allow them to continue their research into matters of medicine, anatomy, and flesh. They preferred the recently dead, as the longer a body has been dead, the less knowledge it offered them. The discussion was long and tense, with the Tundra Guard eventually accepting the tokens from the trolls with a tentative agreement to consider this arrangement. This decision has seemed to cause some dissent in the ranks of the Tundra Guard, though outwardly there have been few signs of change within the organization.
The final major event was the sound of forges and smithy work coming from the woods. Those not exploring the library went to investigate the noise and found trolls working several forges, in the process of imbuing their armaments with magic, indicating their trade as forge mages. A pitched battle followed, with the trolls ultimately falling, but not before the expedition's experienced significant injuries. Many partially completed troll-prepared forge magic works were confiscated, and Expedite took many to hand over to the Unbroken Circlet.
Following the exploration of the third wing, a strange being seemingly made of Flesh and Earth emerged from the woods and began calling for the one called Martel. The being struck swiftly and mightily, repelling all but the strongest of blows, and even gaining a slight edge against the Knight-Champion of Oresund, though it seemed to prefer to keep him at a distance rather than engage with Nilmer and his powerful blade. The trolls took advantage of this opportunity to strike at the forces, scoring the most victories in any engagement of the day. The chaos sowed by the creature split the forces of the group, and many stragglers would have been halted by the powerful Earth magic at the hands of the being and the trolls, were it not for the timely magic of Boon and Voldstal, both stormcallers. Though the unit appeared near defeat, the being eventually became convinced that the one named Martel was not among them, and vanished into the earth. The wizards present believe that the being was alerted to their presence due to their exploration of the library.
The exploration was a rousing success on the whole, with many rituals, texts, and formulas gained upon further investigation of the library, thanks to the initial information provided by the expedition. The economy of Oresund has benefited, as the Unbroken Circlet is offering slightly higher than normal prices for any Thronewood or Bloodweb that is sold to them directly. The Unbroken Circlet has been rumored to be considering permanent Guild structures in the town of Audleberg, due mostly to their impressive showing as part of the expedition and the backing of Alvgeir. The Guilds, for their part, have been trying to gain audience with the Knight-Champion, as stories of his blade have made the Smiths most curious to examine and learn more of the blade. The Guild has begun offering payment to those who bring them new tales of the blade or Knight-Champion that can be substantiated. The Redwood Throne seen an influx of new followers near the southern borders of Oresund, thanks in large part to the showing of Sir Kuno, his squire "Duffy," and Barnsu Kjell. Though their position is tenuous, stories of the Church asking the Unbroken Circlet to investigate the Tundra Guard have begun to surface. According to the Church, the Tundra Guard could possibly have a servant of Shadow within their midst without them being aware. Information about the proof of this seems inconsistent at best in the rumor mill.
In Gaunt, it has been said the Unending Sky, as nominal allies of the Throne, have been warned against consorting with those of the Ebon Aspect. While the Church has long disliked the Ebon Aspect, the relationship between Gaunt and Oresund has kept the whispers of discontent confined to the Principalities. Since the expedition, these words have been heard more frequently in Gaunt, causing unease to spread to those in the Unending Sky. For the first time, the Gauntish have begun to be wary of those who call themselves Ebon Aspect.