Thorian and Buttercup left Runehold and headed into the deep snow. Their mission was a dire one and they moved with all haste. As they went towards the rocky crags of the lower mountains they came across many people in need. Thorian did his best to help. Offering his rations and assistance wherever he could. He was collecting a number of refugees along the way. It wasn’t long before he had over 30 people marching with him to the dwarven stronghold. They needed food and shelter and didn’t have long without it.
After the third day he knew the people of the valley were in trouble but he also knew how determined and talented his friends were and if anyone could break the freakish winter it was them.
The fourth night trouble struck. His band had increased to almost 50 refugees when blue skinned goblins riding atop the backs of white furred wolves silently descended on the camp. Even though Thorian had posted guards and started defensive fires, the untrained sentries did little to stop them. People were being slaughtered.
Thorian grabbed his hammer and knocked one of the goblins off his wolf and on his return blow smashed the beast into the snow as well. He hollered for the panicking humans to gather by the large fire. The women and children huddled close, surrounded by a ring of the men, armed with whatever they had. Around them were a dozen brutal goblins. The largest one stepped forward and laughed. He pointed at the cowering women and children and licked his lips.
The Goblin leader turned to Thorian and drew a wicked sword. He screamed a challenge. Thorian didn’t even wait for the yell to end, he launched himself forward, out of the defensive circle and activated his Avalanche Hammer. The magic hammer knocked the goblin’s head clean off his shoulders. After a brief, stunned silence the remaining goblins charged Thorian. He battled bravely but he was outnumbered and out maneuvered. He learned several new tricks for moving quickly on the battlefield (His new feat “Quick Steps”). He managed to drop 6 more goblins before he fell to his knees, bleeding and beaten. The rest surrounded him, pointing their spears ready to charge.
With amazing resilience and dwarven stubbornness Thorian got back to his feet. “I may die here today, but I won’t do it lying on my back”.
Just as the goblins were about to charge and skewer the dwarf, bolts flew from the trees. Every goblin dropped to the ground, hit by several wicked arrows.
From all around them came dwarves. Heavily armed and armored they set about ensuring that the goblins were dead.
The oldest and broadest of the band went right to Thorian. He was wearing a heavy coat of mail and a full helmet. In each hand he held an ax and a large crossbow rested on his back.
The armored dwarf sized up Thorian for a moment and finally removed his helm. It was a hill dwarf with pale skin and a dark black beard. His head was shaven except for a long top knot braided with silver wire.
He hung his right ax on his belt and offered his hand in a warrior’s handshake. “I am Corag Hillsfar of the Hillsfar clan. My father is Thane Snorn Hillsfar. Well met. Many goblins did you account for on this night. We would have come to your aid sooner but we did not want to deny you your due”.
Thorian accepted the grip and responded, “Well met and with thanks. I am Thorian Brazenhold, Last of the Brazenhold clan for wandering and planning on being the first of the clan for settling back home. I thank you for your help and thank you again for not denying me the time to kill as many as I could.”
The dwarves passed out some food and strengthened the fires. They also posted sentries to allow the weary humans some much needed sleep.
Thorian and Corag talked long into the night. Thorian asked that the Hillsfar clan open their gates and allow refuge for the humans. Corag was concerned. Hillsfar was already crowded and food wasn’t as readily available as it should. The dwarves could survive the cold, but they would suffer if they shared their stores.
Thorian stood up and looked down at the hill dwarf. “So say you like an old woman. So say you like a cautious human merchant. You, whose people rest safely in the mountain, warm and with fat bellies while your allies starve and freeze. You kill them as surely as the goblins. It would have been better if you hadn’t interfered. At least their deaths would have been quick.”
Thorian lowered his voice and added, “Today is the first day that I am embarrassed to be a dwarf.”
Corag looked at his boots. To his credit he didn’t think long and he didn’t respond with anger. “You are right my brother. Too long have the Hillsfar clan stayed out of the affairs of our allies. It is better to suffer with friends then to flourish alone. We will do as you ask. We will also send riders with what we can spare to the towns throughout the valley. Heavy furs, food, wood and more we shall share.”
The warriors took hands again. The two pledged that their clans would be bound together as friends. The broken clan of the Brazenhold and the fine dwarves of Hillsfar.
In the morning the refugees accompanied the dwarves back to their hold.
Thorian and Buttercup returned the way they came, rendering aid when he could. He found a field hospital where several druids were trying to treat the sick and dying. Thorian stayed there for several days learning more about healing and providing for the sick (This is where he learned his other skill. He can now trigger a healing surge to an unconscious ally).
He was doing good work. Here he would stay until he knew his friends had succeeded.