21 Sarenith to 3 Erastus, 4727 AR
Kreeger defeats Villamore Koth in single combat to win the adoration of the Tiger Lord barbarians, who are only too ready to follow the wielder of Ovinrbaane and (in their point of view) successor to the legendary Armag. Kreeger sends the army north and establishes an encampment just beyond Zelenoy’s borders, near the southeastern edge of Numeria.
The Greenlords spend some time stabilizing the realm following their brief war with Pitax. The group travels to Pitax with a sizable force, ready to face whatever unrest and resistance arises in that city of deception. It becomes clear that annexing Pitax will prove a lengthy and difficult process. The Greenlords are unused to navigating the politics of a city-state like Pitax, with its feuding houses and secretive (but powerful) thieves’ guild. Luckily, the majority of Pitax’s commonfolk throw enthusiastic support behind the Greenlords, seemingly ready for a change of tone in the city. Talks with the city’s four most powerful houses begin, and the Greenlords prepare themselves for months, if not years, of negotiation.
Meanwhile, the Greenlords are visited by the leader of a ragtag band of rangers calling itself the River Razors. Its leader, Ilora Nuski, is a striking figure – thin, ragged after years of living in the wild, coarse-tongued, but one who carries herself with a certain amount of pride and obvious skill. Ilora wastes little time with niceties or protocol. She pledges herself to the Greenlords immediately, thanking them for removing Irovetti from power, something her River Razors have been trying to do for years. She says she has come to see Irovetti hang once and for all, and to ask for asylum in Zelenoy – time for her band to recuperate or start new lives in peace. She claims she was never much of a leader, and offers information to the Greenlords if it will help her case.
The Greenlords bring her in and Ilora’s case. She claims the River Razors harried Irovetti’s men whenever they could, but over the past year had been reduced to a mere ten men. She says she was holed up just south of the Branthlend mountains, where things have been quite active of late. Tiger Lord tribes north of the Branthlend mountains claim they have seen the legendary black wyrm Ilthuliak flying amongst the tallest peaks. Ilora says Ilthuliak has been dead for a thousand years, and believes the barbarians have seen Minognos-Ushad, the so-called ‘Eater of Kings’, rather than the mythical Ilthuliak. At least she hopes so. The ancient wyvern matriarch is said to have a lair somewhere in the mountains near Thousand Voices forest, a place called Hungerdark.
Since Nisha has also caught sight of Minognos-Ushad, the Greenlords decide to travel to the mountains to investigate and perhaps remove the old wyvern. Once there, they come across a mammoth herd in a large box canyon on the Numerian side of the mountains. They discover the mammoths are led by an intelligent, awakened mammoth called Hillstomper in the common tongue. Hillstomper suffers numerous injuries. When asked about his wounds, the mammoth says that a young crag linnorm has invaded the mammoth’s ancestral graveyard – this very box canyon – and has taken up residence in the caves at the end of the canyon. Hillstomper has tried to evict the violent creature himself, to little avail. He asks the Greenlords to help, and pledges a portion of ivory from the graveyard in return. The Greenlords deal with the mammoth’s linnorm problem before moving on, happy to count Hillstomper as a possible ally so near the Tiger Lord lands.
Two days after helping Hillstomper, the Greenlords finally discover what they are looking for. Within the tangled reaches of the forest of a Thousand Voices, a dark cleft cuts up the face of the mountains, almost as if a titanic axe struck the cliff-side. The Greenlords follow the cleft a quarter of a mile or more into the mountain, until it opens up into a deep cavern strewn with bones and debris. A brackish pool of water collects in the deepest recesses of the cavern. Massive columns of rock rise up from the floor of the cavern. The ceiling is open to the air, 500 feet or more above. The entire place reeks of something unwholesome and reptilian. There is no doubt that they are in Hungerdark, the lair of the ‘Eater of Kings’.