Dain Stokely Silverstream offers the party all the luxuries that Battlehammer has to offer. During this feast, he gives the heroes further information about the plight of the valley.
Dain Silverstream has quarters prepared for you and calls for a great feast among the roaring hearth fires of Battlehammer Hold. During the great meal of red meat and stout Dwarven spirits, countless toasts are raised to Bruenor, the Battlehammer clan, and the fabled Mithril Hall. Underneath it all, you can see the spirit of a leader with the very weight of the mountains laid upon his broad shoulders. He demeanor seems simple, but not stupid and the beleaguered dain shows much worry and concern for his people.
“O’ but I should’ve gone easier on Baerick!” Stokely says with obvious regret. “But something ‘bout that dirty ice just didn’t feel right. I asked ‘em not to work that stone, but he got defensive and accused me of trying to steal it for me self. Others threw in with his lot cause o’ the zombie attacks. Said I couldn’t keep em safe an’ happened on me watch…”
Helda Silverstream jumps up and reassures her uncle, “Ye’ve the mountain in y’er bones, none could’ve sensed the threat any better! To Stokely and ’is boys!” she toasts. A resounding affirmation of “Stokely’s boys!” rings out down the Echoing Halls by the voices loyal to the dain.
“Worry not this night uncle, I’ve seen these few on more than one occasion handle themselves. If’n they can’t do, why it cannot be done!” Helda says and salutes you all.
The hearths roar, and the spirits flow well into the night. And when you feel you can’t take another bite, more is brought out and laid before you. Gorged, and more than a little drunk on the potent drink called ‘Gutbuster’ you are escorted/carried off to your quarters. The room swirls, and the last sight you behold are the cold slabs of granite lined with heavy furs. You all fall into a deep deep sleep.
You are roused early by a gruff dwarf, “Me dain thinks ye should be hearin’ this. Ye’d best hurry along and not delay.”
You are led to the audience hall, but all of the festivities of last night are absent and there is a low hush among what you number to be four of Stokely’s Boys in attendance. “Glad ye’r here, it seems we’ll be needin ye’r skills more than ye know. One o’ me patrols stopped a shady looking Ten-Towner coming in from the North side o’ the mountain along the switchbacks of Daledrop. They asked him who be the rightful leader of the valley, and the fool spouted out Baerick Hammerstone…so of course me boys conked ‘em o’er the head and brought him here. You will want to take a look at this.”
Helda Silverstream steps forward and hand you a letter written in common. And as she hands you the letter, she says, " I thought ye were a bit hasty back in town by not goin’ with that long er’d ranger, so I had one of our boys go fetch him up fer ye. Should be ‘er in a few hours if the weather holds. When ye read the letter, ye’ll understand me intent.
Aglonell is escorted in later that day, and greets each of you warmly. “It seems we have the same thorn in our sides my friends. Now shall we remove said thorn before it festers and does any more harm here or to Bryn Shander?”
The walk from Battlehammer Hold to Dalesdrop is roughly an hour back and forth up the switchbacks. The weather has steadily gotten worse as you’ve ascended the valley to reach the base of Kelvin’s Cairn. The sight is breathtakingly beautiful and also fear inspiring for you know all to well what dangers the angelic snow can hide. Three of Stokely’s Boys salute you from towers and send down Dumathoin’s blessings as you leave the valley behind.
The ranger makes good pace, but stops suddenly, as if he’s picked up the trail of something he doesn’t like. Pulling in closer, he asks that you be quiet as death and follow his exact steps.
An hour later, when he’s safely eluded whatever danger he sensed, he speaks.
“We are not alone out here on the tundra my friends, a good hunter knows when he’s being stalked. Something or someone has caught our scent or trail. I believe we’ve lost them, but let’s not test that theory shall we? Besides, we are here…”
As if to confirm what he says, you can make out the form of 4 fighters guarding a small cave entrance below you. Aglonell has expertly put you in a position directly above the cave mouth and to the backs of the guards.
After the heroes deal with the threats outside, they enter the caves and leave the wounded ranger behind to guard the cave entrance. Inside, they discover more were rats from Ship-Rethnor. Also among the thugs, Marik the Shank reappears along with his pet winter wolf to end the threat the party represents. He’s not as fortunate this time around and the heroes put him and the thugs down for good. Among more items carved of black ice, the party finds another note. This one appears to be addressed to Slim and speaks of taking over the speakership in Bryn Shander. The heroes gather what bits of treasure they find, and hastily leave the ice caverns.
Outside, the ranger is missing, and the party is immediacy ambushed by cult assassins of Auril.
The snow shimmers as an illusion of snow is dropped. Before you are five heavily armed thugs with bloodlust in their eyes. The dark adept who obviously created the illusion yells aloud, “For Auril, the Frostmaiden will not be denied her sacrifice that these infidels have stolen!”
It seems that when they freed Hengar, they became the next sacrifice for the Frostmaiden. The cultists should have sent more of their ilk, as the heroes stain the snow with their blood. Still unable to find the ranger, the heroes decide to return to the Dwarven Valley to report their findings to Stokely. On the return trip, the heroes sadly come upon the dead bodies of three guards they saw on the way out of the valley lying face down at the base of the towers guarding the entrance to Daledrop.
Your heart sinks as you spot the still forms of Stokely’s boys, lying at the base of the towers they guarded.
Deciding they cannot leave the dwarves to the elements, they carry the deceased down the switchbacks of Daledrop set on giving them a proper burial. That is until, the dead reanimate and attack the party. They are undead now, leaving the party little choice but to utterly destroy their remains. After putting them down, the heroes reach Battlehammer Hold by nightfall. Stokely is saddened when told more of his boys have been killed and raised as zombies. He offers the heroes 100 gp each to get to the bottom of the “zombie plague”. The heroes are exhausted, but immediately accept the offer then head straight to their quarters.
Will they be able to stop the pirate’s plan on taking over the speakership? And what killed, then reanimated Stokely’s Boys? The influence of the black ice is spreading, but exactly what is it’s nature?
Find out next time on…