The Fate of Respen Tuin (Part 2)

Continued from The Fate of Respen Tuin (Part 1).

The cold air whipped at Glorfindel’s hair as he rode north toward Citadel Adbar. It had been three days since he had forsaken the old dwarven road, and he was beginning to regret the decision. Though he had with certainty evaded the notice of those who would see him dead, Glorfindel wasn’t certain what obstacles lay between him and Adbar, and his steed and hound alike grew weary from the weather and the great journey. Glorfindel resolved to make camp as soon as he found someplace to take shelter from the storm, but such a place would not come before an unfortunate discovery.

As Glorfindel crested a hill that he could barely see in the sea of snow that lay before him, he looked across the horizon and barely made out the distinct forms of three lumbering humanoids or giants. They carried heavy sacks and the largest dragged something behind him, likely the spoils of a recent raid. The elf grew closer and assessed the threat—three trolls skulked through the snowstorm, treasure-laden and carrying the unconscious or dead body of a drow, dragging an eviscerated horse behind them.

Glorfindel was uncertain of his chances against the giants given the current conditions. With snowfall this heavy, it was likely the wood elf could defeat all three without even being noticed. Unfortunately, the high winds would make ranged attacks difficult, and Glorfindel would need to get far closer than he would normally risk against a band of trolls. He would have been content to just let them pass by, but given the rarity of drow this far north and the number of drow who had recently left Deadsnows, he could not let the situation go uninvestigated.

Glorfindel left his horse behind and followed the trolls through the snow for several hours, until they at last arrived in a large, cold marsh. Despite the prevailing temperatures, the water was not frozen, likely due to some geothermic reaction just below the surface, or perhaps stranger still a portal to the elemental plane of fire, as with the city of Neverwinter. The ground was likewise free of snow, but the soil was thick and hard and below ground permafrost was likely. Though the marsh remained as free of insects as the rest of the far north, several migratory birds remained in this place despite the majority of their ilk having journeyed south. Several varieties of tall grasses granted the wood elf cover and he followed the trolls, until at last they stopped at the mouth of a large subterranean cave.

As the trolls began their descent into the cave, Glorfindel finally identified the unconscious drow—it was Respen Tuin of the Silver Company! The wood elf nocked an arrow, and moved swiftly toward the cave mouth, but a quick glance around the landscape gave the ranger pause. A slate cave in the Cold Vale, south of the Cold Wood and north of the Rauvin Mountains, in the shadow of the ruins of Khundrukar—no, Glorfindel knew, this was no ordinary cave. The trolls had taken Respen to the lair of the behir Grimlight!

To be concluded in… part 3!

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