Vanator explained the situation as well as he was able, telling Kurdesh of the Duke of Ironstone’s desire for an alliance against the Freyish king.
Although Kurdesh didn’t refuse outright, he stated that his scouts had now found ways into the tunnels of the high elves, and that he would be leading his army down to take his revenge on the subterranean race for attempting to manipulate him. Only after that would he move to take on the Freyish forces. He bid the adventurers tell the Duke that he would need to keep the Freyish army from attacking Kurdesh’s rear while he invaded the underground kingdom.
With this, he commanded the adventurers to leave, and disappointed, they were escorted from the camp by a goblin servant. As they left, they realised that their weapons and belongings had not been returned to them, including the Sword of Ashcaelil. They tried to ask the goblin to have them returned, but weren’t able to make the goblin understand them.
Eventually they gave up and left, facing a long march through the hills without food or weapons. They walked for two days, growing increasingly weak and exhausted, sheltering as best they could in shallow caves.
On the third day from Kurdesh’s camp, they ran into Sir Jarth Neeright, leading a patrol that was searching for them. They explained the situation, and he brought them back to the Duke’s army as it pushed through the hills. Here they were fed, and their injuries healed, including Vanator’s broken leg. They learnt that the Duke had left a rear-guard to delay the swiftly approaching Freyish army. When he heard about Kurdesh’s decision, he began to search for somewhere defensible to make a stand. Brought up in the region, Maskim was able to direct the Duke to a more easily defended place further up the valley, at the top of a rise in the valley floor.
Here the army began to make preparations, attempting to fortify the place as much as they could. They had not been at this work long when the battered and depleted remnants of the rearguard came into view.
Drums could now be heard in the distance, and the tramp of thousands of feet, and the Freyish army marched into view, banners waving and trumpets blaring. As the Duke’s army hurried to form up behind their make-shift defences, the King’s army began to advance and The Battle of The Hollow Hills was begun.