The party settled down for a few days well earned rest before the next stage of their journey to Caras Celairnen. The Inn at the Last Bridge was relatively full and a bard, recognised by Pick as Galboron from the Kings Horse at Bree, was entertaining the crowd. Also entertaining the crowd was a short, red-headed man, who was flamboyantly describing his exploits as a troll hunter to those who would listen. Other travellers were noticed by the party but ignored as they puzzled over the scraps they had recovered from the ruins in Hollin. Four were written with dwarvish runes and Pick and Dagaard were able to read these. The fifth was in elven script and as none of them spoke, let alone could read Quenya they were stuck. Pick thought Galboron might be able to help, as he was a bard, and fortunately, he provided the translation. However, he could not help with deciphering the legend described within and suggested seeking help of Dwarf Loremasters.
The evening continued without incident until it became late and the locals began to return to their homes. Then, the door burst open and in stumble an exhausted and bedraggled dwarf. A great fuss was made of him being one of Duilden’s boys. Revived, he told his tale of how, having arrived back late from hunting, he had discovered his clan hold in the nearby hills under attack by trolls. Unable to aid them he had been forced to retreat and seek help bearing news that some were trapped in the mine itself.
Feeling honour bound Dagaard immediately pledges his hammer. Followed quickly by Pick. Billwise and Denig are also prepared to help the dwarven part of their fellowship. Burra the innkeeper then volunteers the red-headed troll hunter, who looks less pleased at the prospect than perhaps he should. The party decide that speed is essential and despite it still being dark they set out guided by Daldin the dwarf and accompanied the the troll hunter Riscen and his servant Jiord.
The sun is rising when the party arrive near the hill where the clan hold and mine are located. Riscen advocated a full frontal assault on the mine workings where he believes the trolls will have hidden during the day. As the troll hunters made their way up the hill, they hear a wolf howl. Mindful of Daldin’s recount of his escape and being pursued in part by wolves: the adventurer’s decide to opt for entering the workings through the main mines and a secret door to which Daldin is able guide them.
The mines are cramped and in dwarf terms poor. The men of the party are reduced to stooping so badly that it is easier to crawl than try and walk. Despite the discomfort, they arrive at the secret door. The mine chamber beyond is definitely occupied by trolls. They also discover three dwarves bound and stuffed in sacks in a closed tool chest. Releasing Daldin’s brethren from captivity Riscen and Jiord manage to work their way to the back and are unable to assist further.
Billwise scouts forward with all due care and confirms the presence of the trolls. The rest enter the chamber, but Dagaard, moving the tool chest for easier access disturbs the recumbent trolls. Battle is soon joined. Denig implores his tribal god to calm the troll but his prayer is ignored. Pick moves to the vanguard. His mighty hammer rains crushing blow after crushing blow on the troll and with a previously unseen confidence, he slips through into the next chamber splitting the two trolls’ attack.
The second troll, is faced with Denig who quickly nocks and fires his short bow piercing the hideous creature through the neck. In a rage, the second troll sweeps a massive paw and Denig is thrown back. Billwise and Dagaard join battle seeking a chance to bring the monster down.
In the other chamber, Pick continues to press his advantage. Bones snap and with one mighty blow he breaks the back of the miscreation. Things are more evenly matched with the second troll. An unbalanced Denig shoots and hits his mark, but with little effect. Billwise darts in and out and nearly loses his head in the process. Dagaard continues to seek a telling blow and then, the moment comes. He sweeps up with his hammer driving into the the troll’s armpit and shattering its shoulder. The beast roars in pain before collapsing in death.
Trolls dispatched, the party discover three more dwarves holed up in a narrow shaft leading off one of the chambers. Riscen and Jiord have disappeared. Along with, it is discovered later, some of the dwarves personal possessions. But at this time, it is the missing Duilden, the patriarch of the clan that most concern the dwarves of the hold. The search parties do not take long to discover the fate of the old dwarf. By the cooling fire outside, cracked bones, discarded clothing and a signet ring tell of the passing of the clan’s lord.
It is a time of mourning for all the dwarves, including Pick and Dagaard. There are secret rituals beneath earth and stone that Billwise and Denig are not privy, so in response, the pair go hunting and return with the intention of feeding everyone. However, they soon discover the mourning is so solemn that no fire is lit or food consumed for a day. The pair retreat to the woods and feast on rabbit until the time of mourning is over.
Honoured elder interred and gifted with what small provisions they can provide, the dwarves bid the party farewell. Soon, the adventurers are back at the Inn at the Last Bridge before the Misty Mountains. Riscen the troll hunter and his servant have not been seen. Burr says that is the last time they will get free food and lodgings from him; Galboron promises to ensure that Riscen’s cowardice is made know wherever he travels.