[For some reason I never wrote up this session. So this is a re-creation from memory. Fortunately we always have Jenny's voluminous notes to fall back on, so if she catches any egregious mistakes, I'll correct them.]
When last we saw the party, they had fought their way past the black tentacles in the Coffin Room of the Cave of Worlds. Crossing the bridge and filing through the crevice, they emerged in their home world; well, the home world of three of the four. Sith'liss the Gloranthan dragonewt had chosen to accompany them into the Gloranthan portal, only to have it seal up behind him. So he was, by Hobson's choice, exiled from his home world.
As soon as the party stepped out onto the ridge at the Edge of the World, they knew that something was wrong. They had only been gone for a few days at most, but there was no way to account for the drastic change in season. It seemed more as if a few months had passed!
The trek through the wilderness to the Town was relatively uneventful, as time in the Valley usually was. People were quite startled by the sight of the dragonewt; they'd never seen anything like them. The priests and elders met with the party, and asked to hear everything that had happened; the resulting stories bewildered them a bit. Once that was over, the party settled in for a while.
Ophelia visted her teacher, the only sorcerer in the valley; he lived in a stubby tower to the East, near the Marsh, where sorcerers had lived in the valley time out of mind.
Gormuz visited his family and decided to start offering Darktongue lessons. He strongly believed in that language; he'd been urging everyone in the party to learn it, so they could use it for secret communication. So far, no one had taken him up on his offer to teach them. However, his public offer to teach Darktongue to anybody in the valley did produce three new students. Two of them were human. As I may not have explained before, the humans, elves, and trolls of the Valley are far more integrated than in most worlds; they worship the same gods, and there is no history of racial animus.
The third student, however...
I need to jump back to session #2, because I left something out of that writeup (quite a lot, actually!). As I mentioned, Gormuz had won the wrestling contest; the prize was a golden belt. He celebrated in a pub, as was his wont. As he sat at the bar and drank, an attractive female Great Troll sat down next to him and began flirting. Oddly, he didn't recognize her (perhaps it was all the drinking he'd done that day), but he reciprocated. It wasn't until he felt his purse being lifted that he started to suspect that something wasn't quite right.
To make a long story short, it turned out that the "female" was actually male, a well-known joker who enjoyed tricking people with disguises and pranks. The victory party ended quickly, with the trickster quickly beating a retreat.
Back to the present: The third student was the trickster again, this time undisguised. He enrolled in the class, but had clearly done so only to mock Gormuz. Unfortunately, he'd chosen the wrong great troll to mock. Realizing his mistake, he turned to flee as the humans huddled in terror into the corner of Gormuz's shack; but his realization came too late. Gormuz swung a mighty fist, and in his rage dealt an exceptionally effective blow. Striking him in the middle of the back, Gormuz literally punched through the trickster's chest, crushing and removing his heart. The body fell to the floor with a massive thump.
For the second time, Gormuz had killed by accident. But this time there was no high priest nearby, no lifesaving magic. The trickster barely had time to gurgle before dying. The two human witnesses fled in terror.
Murder (or, if you prefer, man-or-troll-slaughter) was virtually unknown in the Valley of Peace. The last such incident had taken place more than thirty years earlier. Looking at the steaming corpse in his doorway, Gormuz knew that nothing would ever be the same for him.
Copyright 2012 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 02, 2012. v.1.0