Legends of Terramyth

As the Crow Flies
Chapter 19 (Kerrandi: Darkness Over Keryhk Nhor)

Northern Kerrandi,
Northpoint, Northwoods,
Late Spring, 14th Day of Promised Journeys, 4,028th Cycle


The young boy, Tom, breathlessly rushed into the Shattered Sword and began looking for anyone willing to listen to what he had just seen and heard.

“Go on boy,” one of the local townsfolk said. “Find someone else to bother.”

Tom went to another townsfolk and pulled on the man’s woolen shirt to get his attention. "You’ll never guess what the crow told me.”

“Have you finally gone mad, Tom?” the man asked, bothered. He took another swig from his cup of beer. The man then wiped off the sweat from his forehead.

It was a hot spring morning and the Shattered Sword was already crowded with local townsfolks seeking some reprieve from the blistering heat. Gristle, the tavern’s dwarven bartender, had to hire extra help to run the establishment. The dwarven tavernkeeper was very proud of his fine selections. Sylva and Lorraine, the two young human women, were attractive enough to entice a few local men into visiting the tavern more often than their wives liked.

Tom saw the corner table occupied by Northpoint’s recent heroes. He walked straight for it.

When he got to the table, he saw Brother Silas Tomkins sipping upon a cup of honeyed water. Darnok Firestone, the dwarf mage, was finishing off a slice of goat cheese. Dorin Thomar and Kaza Firestone, both dwarf fighters, were engaged in a furious game of wrestling with one arm while each held a cup full of beer in their other hands. Meanwhile, Glint Red, the half-orc assassin, seemed enthralled by the amount of silver coins he was busy counting into stacks in front of him. Xan Warstout, a dwarf martial artist, seemed to be the only one not busy doing anything. Xan sat cross-legged on his chair with both arms resting on his legs, his hands open. His eyes were closed. His breathing seemed even, but slow.

Tom squeezed in between Brother Silas and Darnok. “You’ll never guess what the crow told me.” He didn’t pause, but kept right on talking. “He told me that Keryhk Nhor has opened its doors!”

Everyone started questioning the boy about what he had seen and heard from the crow he claimed could speak.

One of the men turned to the adventurers. “I wouldn’t pay much account to what that fool boy says,” the man said. "He’s a bit touched.” He mumbled about the ridiculousness of “talking crows” underneath his breath as he resumed his breakfast.

Darnok, however, was listening very intently, for he knew about the history of Keryhk Nhor. As a young apprentice, he had read and heard about the dwarven mine’s tragic history.

As the story went, Keryhk Nhor was a prosperous city, a great hall of even greater renown that grew more decadent and greedy with each passing century. The miners dug ever deeper, and earth wizards used ancient magic to whisper gold up from the depths, so the veins ran true and bright.

One day, the wizards’ whispers dredged up something from the Greater Depths, something ancient and evil, an unknown force that corrupted the city, driving the inhabitants so mad that the roads ran slick with blood, and caused the dead to rise. Dwarves not yet stricken with this mad plague fled the place, and their greatest wizard, the Iron Mage, sealed the doors, leaving the diseased but not-yet-dead behind, though they begged and pleaded for their lives. The remaining dwarves scattered to other parts of the Empire, and no one ever mentioned the place again, for it is a secret shame to the survivors, and a blight upon their heritage.

Brother Silas turned to regard the boy. “And why would we believe your incredible tale, boy?” he asked. “You could be making all this up.”

“I agree with the priest,” Darnok added with a sarcastic grin. “Talking dragons is one thing. But a talking crow? Well, that’s just a wee-bit difficult to believe.”

Tom began to boil over in anger because no one would believe him. "I am certainly not making this up; now am I?” He opened his hand to reveal a very old gold coin minted with the Dwarven Imperial Mark. “He gave this to me to fetch some adventurers to talk with him. He’s waiting at the post outside of town. Come, I’ll show you.”

Glint’s eyes went wide at the sight of the gold coin in the boy’s open hand. “I’ll give you ten silver for that gold coin, boy.”

Tom closed his hand around the gold coin. “I’m not parting with this coin. No way!”

“Make it fifteen then,” Glint countered. “And that’s worth more than the blasted coin!”

“No way!” the boy said.

“Enough,” said Darnok. “Lead us to this crow, boy,” Darnok grabbed his staff and motioned for the others to follow immediately.

As_the_crow_flies.jpg
The boy lead them out of town along the North Road and, sure enough, a curious looking crow was perched precariously atop a signpost, eyeing their approach appraisingly. It then fluttered into the air and shifted form into that of a stocky dwarf in simple robes who greeted them with a warm smile.

“See, I wasn’t lying!” Tom told everyone while he waved at the dwarf who was once a crow. Tom then ran back towards the village, humming another tune all the way back.

A dwarf of advancing years stood before the gathered group, although he still looked incredibly strong and robust. He wore a chain shirt over a simple tunic with plain breeches and two matching hammers hung from either side of his thick leather belt. He leaned against a cane for assistance.

“Some children still remember that they can talk to animals,” he began. “Not knowing any better is the real secret to magic. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Brother Duerdin of Enclave, formerly of Keryhk Nhor before most of you were likely even born. I am old. I am tired. I would like to restore honor to my home. The home men to the south once knew as the Great Western Hall.”

Dornak told Brother Duerdin that he had heard of Keryhk Knor and of its golden riches before its great fall.

“I recall a fragment of what our prophet said upon his deathbed", Brother Duerdin continued. “‘When unknown forces strike the door, southern forces come once more, to aid the dwarves of Keryhk Nhor.’ I don’t know if you are men of faith; I do not care if you fight for bloodlust or money. I only hope you will take up arms and let us know if we may return to our home in peace.”

Glint turned to regard the strange dwarf. “If we are to help, what of rewards?” he asked.

Brother Duerdin looked to the half-orc with some disgust. "We have not much to offer in way of reward, but you may claim any treasure you find within as your own. In its day, our city, she was a fine piece of work…” He trailed off, teary eyed.

“Where will you go now, Brother Duerdin?” Kaza asked.

“I must return home now. Enclave needs me. Think this over, and come quickly, if you will. I fear the darkness growing again, and I’m practical — prayers can only do so much before they give way to force. See those peaks?” He pointed off at a steep range of mountains to northwest. “That is the line of mountains known as the Jagged Reaches in your tongue. Those three in particular” – he points again —“those are the Three Brothers. Enclave is located at the base of the smallest of those three, the Little Brother, D’or Athun. There, we will talk more soon.” He muttered a prayer, and shifted back into a crow and disappeared into the sky towards the Jagged Reaches.

Everyone agreed to help Brother Duerdin. They then returned to Northpoint to prepare themselves for what they knew would be a long and treacherous journey to Enclave.

The next day, the six adventurers left Northpoint and headed deep into the Northwood. Glint, who had some skills in knowing his direction, led the others. They tried to keep the tall peaks of the Jagged Reaches in sight, but the mass of great trees and thick foliage often made it difficult.

At some point, they heard three loud voices arguing in the forest, near a large clearing. They all took off their heavy backpacks and carefully moved to where they could gain a better view of who—or what—could be arguing in the woods.

They spotted three ogres! They were large ugly brutes with misshapen features dressed in thick hides. Each had a tree trunk for a weapon. They were arguing in their language, so none of the adventurers knew what they were saying.

Finally, one of the ogres walked away from the other two and beat his chest while he proclaimed as loud as he could in broken common, “Snot’s hungry! Northpoint, we come to eat your people soon!”

The adventurers looked to one another with a concerned look. “We can’t let them reach Northpoint,” Brother Silas whispered.

Meanwhile, Dorin was trying to quietly make his way closer to the ogres when one of them saw him. It bellowed to the other ogres and all three ran to the adventurers to confront them.

The battle didn’t last long. By the end of it, three ogres lay dead with none of the adventurers hurt. Glint searched the ogres and found nothing on them. But he did find a sack of silver coins wedged between two rocks where they first saw the ogres. He split the coins with everyone, and the group continued on through the forest.

Everyone wondered what else might hinder their journey to Enclave.


Dramatis Personae

Brother Silas “The Steadfast” Tomkins (Human Cleric)

Darnok Firestone (Dwarf Mage)

Dorin Thomar (Dwarf Fighter)

Glint “the Axe” Red (Half-Orc Assassin)

Kaza Firestone (Dwarf Fighter)

Xan Warstout (Dwarf Martial Artist)


View
Northguard Castle
Chapter 18 (Kerrandi: Ezra Two-leaf)

Northern Kerrandi, Northguard Castle,
Late Spring, 13th Day of Promised Journeys, 4,028th Cycle


Northguard_Castle_2.jpg

The sun-kissed walls of Northguard Castle stood in stark contrast against the unwelcoming sight of the Gray Sea to the north.

The castle sat on the edge of a precarious cliff overlooking the vast Gray Sea that never seemed to have any color to it, even during the warm summer months. It was well known that even in summer, the water rarely became warm enough for a man to survive in if he ever found himself falling into its bone-chilling embrace.

And except for the occasional whaling ship, fishermen rarely plied their boats in the Gray Sea.

Northguard Castle stood watch over the northernmost territories of Kerrandi. For the less than five hundred men who called the castle, home, theirs was a dangerous job of keeping the ever encroaching Asgars, barbarians from the Northern Reaches, from invading Kerrandi.

The men were named after the castle they served in: Northguards.

When the caravan passed through the castle’s stout wooden gates, Trylos went to speak to Commander Voors. Ezra walked up to where Javis lay on a wagon. The sellsword, who days before, had been wounded by the rabid bear Wildclaw was busy inspecting his bandages.

“Looks like you’re healing well,” Ezra said.

“Thanks to you, I’m alive.”

“In a day or two, you’ll be well enough to take on another bear or two.”

The sellsword shook his head. “I’ve had enough bear fighting to last a lifetime,” Javis said. “Besides, you’re the one they’re calling Bearslayer, not me. First, an owlbear, then Wildclaw? I think it’s your bear-hunting days that are not over yet, my friend.”

“Stop thief!” a soldier yelled.

From atop a set of stone stairs leading down into the courtyard from a nearby tower, Ezra and Javis saw a slim roguish man dressed in leather armor break free from his captors and began to run across the battlement. The man had a dagger in his hand, one he had stolen from one of the guards.

A guard tried to tackle the man. But the thief was much too agile. He easily moved past him and leaped down onto the roof of the smith’s workshop when he saw several guards blocking his path on the castle’s battlement.

Ezra looked to where Trylos was busy talking to the castle’s commander. The commander was shouting for his men to stop the thief.

They tried, but every time a Northguard got close enough to the thief, he would simply side step, shove his way through, or jump over and under an obstacle which made it difficult to capture the elusive rogue.

Ezra made his move.

He ran up a nearby steps which led to one of the castle’s battlement. Once at the top, Ezra spotted the thief running across the other side of the castle. Two Northguards tried to stop him but the thief simply slid on the rampart between the two startled soldiers. Once past them, the thief jumped down onto the stable’s roof and then jumped across onto another rooftop as more guards joined in trying to apprehend him.

Ezra anticipated the thief’s next move. He raced across the battlement and jumped down onto the smith’s rooftop barely avoiding falling through the thatched roof. He then grabbed hold of a rope used to raise heavy equipment up to the battlement and swung across to land on the rooftop where the thief was about to leap down onto a pile of hay.

The thief was startled to see Ezra suddenly appear in front of him. Ezra simply smiled and grappled with him.

“Let go of me!” the thief ordered while trying to break free of Ezra’s vice-like grip.

Ezra didn’t say a word as he roughly pushed the thief over the edge of the roof. The thief landed on the pile of hay below. Northguards quickly surrounded the thief, their halberds at the ready.

The thief brushed hay off of his hair and looked up at the smiling half elf above him. “You’ll rue this day,” he said. “I swear it!”

“I’m sure you’ll have plenty of time in the castle dungeon to plot your revenge,” Ezra returned with a smile.

By the time Ezra stood back on solid ground, Commander Voors had the thief removed and placed in a prison wagon bound for the Terraien.

“What was his crime?” Ezra asked the commander.

“Renard? Stealing from the armory and kitchen,” Commander Voors said. “It’s the third time this year he’s done it. We’ve captured him each time, but as you can see, he is rather difficult to detain for any great length of time.”

“What will become of him?” Ezra was curious.

“He’ll be brought before the King’s Magistrate in Terraien and most likely hanged for his crimes.”

The commander regarded the half elf for a moment. “I hear you are a Warden,” he said as he and Ezra started walking into the castle.

“I am my lord.”

“Are you working for Master Trylos?”

“I am not employed by the caravan master,” Ezra said. “I offered to help guard the caravan, and in return he offered to take me to Terraien for free.”

“Terraien?”

“Yes my lord. I have business there with His Grace and the Council of Wardens. As you know, we recently left Northpoint. Hiram Mirth, the town’s appointed leader, asked me to deliver a to His Grace and to visit the Golden Valley on another matter entirely.”

“What is the news from Northpoint?” Commander Voors asked. They both were in the commander’s council chamber. “We rarely receive news from other parts of the kingdom. We did, however, recently heard that orcs have been seen in the North. If this true, this is dire news indeed. Orcs and their vile kind have not been seen in Kerrandi for nearly two thousand years. Not since the Rift War when they first entered our world.”

“It is true my lord.” Ezra said. He then told Commander Voors about all that had transpired in Northpoint. He especially told him about the dragon Clipwing.

“It’s difficult enough protecting the kingdom from Asgar raiders,” Commander Voors said. “Now orcs as well? Perhaps the gods have been displeased. If only there were other dragons around to help protect our kingdom.”

“I’ve heard about these Asgars,” Ezra said. “What are they like?”

“Savages, the whole lot of them! If it weren’t for the Northguards, the Asgars would have swept into Kerrandi long ago. Our women would have been raped, our homes burned, and our children slaughtered or taken as slaves.”

“What do we know about their lands? Their strengths? Their weaknesses?”

“Not much. No one has ventured into the Northern Reaches and returned to tell us anything. Years ago, five adventurers stopped by Northguard Castle and said they were heading into the Northern Reaches. They were never heard from or seen since.”

“Perhaps a Warden can succeed where others have failed.” Ezra said.

The commander chuckled. “Then you are either the bravest or most foolish Warden I have ever met. I thought the Wardens were supposed to protect the Tri-Kingdoms from outside threats, not start wars.”

“Our task is ensure the safety of the Tri-Kingdoms. If that means eliminating the threat before it strikes, then I believe that is what must be done.”

Commander Voors gave a hearty laugh. “I like the way you think! Ah, if only His Grace had more Lords like you, Kerrandi would not need to ally itself with Galowen nor Paelas. Kerrandi would be the greatest kingdom in all of Terramyth!”

A young servant boy stepped out from out of the shadows and poured chilled mead into cups.

“I’ll have to introduce you to my daughter, Kara.” Commander Voors said. “She’s due to arrive sometime tomorrow. You remind me of her. She is a half elf like yourself. I met her elven mother in Court when I became a Knight. Kara hates the capital and prefers to stay with me here during the summer months. Her mother remains in Terraien to handle the affairs of our estate.”

“Pardon my saying so, but doesn’t her presence here cause a…well, a distraction?” Ezra asked uncomfortably. “I noticed that Northguard Castle has no women living in it.”

Commander Voors raised one eyebrow. “I admit she does, but she prefers to spend most of her time in the seaside part of Northguard, only entering the main castle grounds when she goes for an occasional outing. Besides, Master Trylos does more than simply lead caravans laden with goods along the North Road. Before winter each year, he brings in whores to help get my soldiers through the long winter, if you will.”

Ezra frowned. “I see. Well, Trylos is certainly a resourceful half folk, isn’t he?”

Commander Voors walked up to a nearby window overlooking the dull, somber waters of the Gray Sea. Far to the north, he could just see the edges of the vast ice floes that, during the winter, make their way to the rocky crags below the castle to recede back again to the north during the warmer months.

“Did you know this castle has stood here for over a thousand years?” Commander Voors asked out loud. He sounded like a sage about to teach a classroom full of uneducated young minds. “My father and his father before him served as Commanders here. They both have done their service to the throne of Kerrandi, ensuring that no Asgar arse ever touches it.”

“You come from a loyal and honored line of commanders, my lord,” Ezra stated.

“Yes, and I intend to serve my time by making sure that the sworn oaths my father and grandfather took shall not be broken.”

“When I speak with His Grace, I will be sure to tell him of your loyal service,” Ezra said.

“I have no need of accolades,” Commander Voors intoned. “What I need are more men! These walls will not hold out against an army of Asgars should they choose to wage a bloody war against us.”

“You want to me to let His Grace know that you need more men?”

Commander Voors walked back to the table where Ezra sat. He drank deeply from the cup in front of him.

“Tell His Grace that four hundred and fifty-six soldiers, smiths, and servant boys cannot defend an entire kingdom. We need at least five hundred more. A thousand would be better!”

“I will certainly let His Grace know of your request for more men and supplies.”

“Well if you’ll excuse me,” Commander Voors said. “I have castle business to attend to. Some parts of the battlements are need of repairs. And the stabler keeps asking for better horseshoes.”

“A Commander’s work is never done,” Ezra said.

“Indeed,” Commander Voors said as he walked out of the room.

For the remainder of the day, Ezra walked about the castle grounds. As a Warden who always seemed to be traveling from one place to another, Ezra never knew what a settled life was like, even if it meant living in a castle like Northguard. Despite his curiosity, he wondered what it would take for him to give up his solemn vow to serve the Tri-Kingdoms as a Warden for life.

After finding a piece of dried meat and an apple to eat, Ezra made his way to the archery field where he earlier saw several Northguards practicing with the long bow.

After nearly half an hour of watching the archers practice, he decided to find Trylos when a man dressed in green and brown dyed leather approached him. The man was nearing his prime, given the amount of gray hairs that was beginning to appear above his ears. A scar ran the length of his right face from forehead to chin. He wore leather gloves and carried a short sword as well as a long bow. A quiver full of arrows with white fletchings was visible on his back.

Ezra excused himself and tried to walk around the man, but the man stopped him from leaving.

“You’ll excuse me, ser” the man said. “but I’ve been hearing that you’re the one they’ve been calling The Bearslayer.”

Ezra stood his ground. “They call me that. I don’t.”

“And they say that you killed an owlbear with a single arrow, while on the move no less,” the man said unbelieving.

“No less,” Ezra simply shrugged.

“Well, I think you’re a liar,” the man said. “No one can make that kind of shot, excepting perhaps the great Ranger, Hawk Banegray. And he’s long been put into the ground by a mountain giant.”

“One hundred silver says I can,” Ezra offered. “And pray tell me the name of one who doesn’t believe in the truth told by those who clearly have more brains than balls to risk calling me a liar to my face.”

“I am Dhorgan Skyson, Master Bowman of Northguard Castle.”

Ezra wasn’t impressed. “Well Dhorgan, step back, watch and learn. And be a good lad. Start counting those silver coins for me. I’d like to buy some more arrows from the castle fletcher before I leave.”

Without hesitating, Ezra move walked up to the archery field and had everyone move away. He then took off running as fast as he could, parallel to the targets. He quickly nocked an arrow, picked a target dummy which already had an arrow sticking out from the center target, and fired.

arrow.jpg
Before Ezra could even stop running, the arrow sped to the target dummy and buried itself in the very center of its chest, splitting the other arrow in half.

The whole shot took less than six seconds.

The gathered soldiers cheered while Dhorgan Skyson, Master Bowman of Northguard Castle, without uttering a single word, dropped a full coin purse in Ezra’s open hand.

**

By late the next day, Ezra sensed that something was not right in Northguard Castle.

Curious, the half-elf Warden found and asked to talk to Commander Voors who was in the middle of meeting with his officers. Dhorgan Skyson was among them.

When the guards at the door finally let Ezra into the room, Ezra asked what was amiss.

Commander Voors looked as though he had suddenly aged ten years. “My daughter Kara has been captured by those bloody Asgars!”

“What proof do we have of this?” Ezra asked.

Commander Voors showed him a letter stained by blood. The Commander said a severed hand had been sent along with the letter and shot over the battlements and into the castle. A ring, Commander Voors recognized as belonging to one of his daughter’s personal guard, was on one of the hand’s finger.

The letter stated that Kara was being held in the hills to the west. If Commander Voors pays the Asgars in the amount of ten thousand gold coins, his daughter would be released unharmed. It further stated that if Commander Voors foolishly chose to send a small army of men in hopes of rescuing his daughter, she would be butchered immediately. The letter ended by stating that the gold must be delivered before three days or she would be killed.

Commander Voors told everyone assembled that he, nor the castle, had that kind of money. And if His Grace were to hear that he had sent Northguards to their deaths to save a daughter that should not even be staying at the castle, the king would then have him summarily removed from his position.

“Allow me to send a dozen of my finest bowmen to rescue your daughter,” Dhorgan offered. He looked to Ezra and smiled a crooked smile. “We’d have her back before sunrise, my lord.”

“I cannot risk having my daughter killed,” Commander Voors said. “And His Grace would forbid it. I know he would.”

“I have a suggestion, my lord,” Ezra said. Commander Voors offered for him to go on. “Perhaps one can succeed where a dozen would not.” Ezra made sure to look at Dhorgan when he said that.

“What are you suggesting?” Commander Voors asked.

“I’ll go,” Ezra said. “I can quietly enter the Asgars’ encampment, find your daughter, and return her safely back to Northguard Castle. Did she travel alone?”

“No,” Commander Voors said. “She traveled with a retinue of three personal guards and her maidservant.”

“Then perhaps I will free the guards first and have them fend off the Asgars while I personally see to the safety of your daughter and her maidservant.”

Dhorgan stood from where he sat. “And what if your heroic, albeit foolhardy attempt, fails?” Dhorgan said. “You would risk my lord’s daughter just to prove yourself some kind of false hero?”

“Dhorgan, that’s enough,” Commander Voors uttered. “I am willing to have Ezra save my daughter rather than ensure her death by sending more men out there.”

“My lord,” Dhorgan began. “Do not concern yourself with what His Grace would have to say. Rather concern yourself with the welfare of your beloved daughter.”

Commander Voors looked to his officers then to Ezra. He turned back towards his officers. “Leave us.”

“But my lord—” Dhorgan began to say.

“I said, leave us!”

When the officers had left, Commander Voors walked up to Ezra. “You are certain you can bring my daughter safely back to me?”

“I can, my lord. And I will.”


Dramatis Personae

Ezra Two-leaf (Half-elf Warden)

View
Bearslayer
Chapter 17 (Kerrandi: Ezra Two-leaf)

Northern Kerrandi, Whisperwood,
Spring, 11th Day of Promised Journeys, 4,028th Cycle


The half-elf Warden, Ezra Two-leaf, was awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of caravan guards yelling.

Ezra looked around and saw caravan guards and Trylos, the half-folk caravan master, moving about with torches in hand yelling for Tomas. Ezra remembered that Tomas was one of three merchants travelling with the caravan back to the capital city.

Ezra walked to where the others had formed a circle around something on the ground they were all looking at.

What Ezra saw was horrifying.

There was blood everywhere near the side of the dirt road, just a few paces from the edge of the treeline. Ezra could see what appeared to be bits and pieces of a man’s body; a torn arm and a large piece of flesh lying in the middle of the pool of blood. A bloodied trail led into the thick woods.

“It’s Tomas,” Trylos said. “I recognize the ring on that finger.”

“This is the work of Wildclaw,” a nearby guard stammered in fear.

“Aye,” another guard added. “It’s said that Wildclaw is the fiercest bear in all the North.”

“And that he’s rabid and has gone mad because of it,” a third guard said.

“Rabid or not, this Wildclaw must be dealt with,” Trylos said. “or, he’ll keep hunting us down as we make our way through the Whisperwood.”

“Perhaps I can help find Wildclaw and hunt him down,” Ezra offered. The others looked at the half elf like he had gone mad.

“We know you’re a Warden and all,” Trylos began to say. “And that you supposedly slew an Owlbear in the Northwoods with a single arrow while running. But even this rabid bear might be a bit more than you can handle. I can double the watch from here on. We should be leaving Whisperwood before sunset tomorrow. I can ask Commander Voors of Northguard Castle to send his best hunters to put an end to Wildclaw once and for all.”

“And risk more lives?” Ezra offered. “Send one of your best guard with me and I—”

“I’ll go with the Warden,” a nearby voice said.

Everybody turned to see a man dressed in steel corselet and a chain hauberk standing nearby. A large greatsword was strapped to his back. He held a loaded crossbow in both hands. His dark brown hair was tied in intricate braids popular with the warriors of Paelas, the kingdom to the south. He looked to be in his late thirties but had the build of a younger man.

“Ah, Javis Storm,” Trylos said. “So good of you to offer your services considering the amount I pay you to help protect this caravan.”

**

“So what’s your story?” Ezra asked in a voice above a whisper as Javis and he followed the bloody trail deeper into the woods. The twins moons offered enough light for Ezra to see by, but he knew Javis would have a tougher time seeing in the dark. “They say you’re a wanted man back in Paelas.”

“What business of it is yours?” Javis asked with a hint of disdain.

“I suppose not much,” Ezra said. “But seeing as I am a Warden, it is my job to know the whereabouts of all the wanted criminals in the Tri-Kingdoms. What, exactly, was your crime?”

“I murdered someone,” Javis said matter-of-factly.

Ezra regarded Javis closely and of how he stated his crime without a hint of remorse in his voice.

“I don’t believe you.”

“Why not?”

“Because murderers don’t go about risking themselves by protecting caravans,” Ezra said as he crouched down to inspect a small game trail. “Murderers would be more willing to protect a fat merchant, or a tyrannical lord against assassins perhaps, but not a caravan. That’s more responsibility than a murderer would want to take on.”

“Are you certain you’re a Warden and not a sage?” Javis asked.

Ezra smiled. He pointed to a large part of the forest which opened up to the blue sky above. The trees were more spread out while thickets dotted spaces in between the trees. The Whisperwood lived up to its namesake here. Ezra suspected enchantments, but he wasn’t certain. The forest seemed to absorb sounds around him. Even at night, a forest is rarely quiet. The constant droning of crickets, wolf howls, and the occasional hoots of a night owl all breathe life into a forest long after the sun has set. But in the Whisperwood, those sounds are but soft murmurings, which gave the forest a haunted quality about it.

The pair made their way through the forest. When Ezra spotted the remains of a large ancient tree which grew into twisted formations around several other smaller pine trees, the half elf decided to climb to get a better vantage view.

Javis stayed on the ground and carefully scanned the dark forest for any sign of the rabid, Wildclaw.

When Ezra reached the top, he readied an arrow and looked around.

Below him, he could see the skeletal remains of what must have been the largest giant to have ever lived. It’s bones were now petrified, but when it lived, the giant must have stood some forty feet in height!

In his youth, Ezra had heard campfire tales about beings taller than giants that once existed on Terramyth, but he thought the stories were simply that, tales used to scare young children like him.

A slight movement on the other side of the giant’s remains caught Ezra’s attention.

From inside a large bush, Ezra spotted Wildclaw. The bear tried to blend into the bushes, but Ezra’s keen eyesight, a gift from his elven side, allowed him to catch sight of the hiding bear.

Suddenly he spotted Javis moving towards the bear’s position. At the same moment, Wildclaw burst out of the bushes and charged straight at the sellblade.

Javis quickly raised his crossbow and fired, but his aim was too high. The bolt flew past the charging bear.

Wildclaw.jpg

Wildclaw came up to Javis and raised itself up to its full height of nearly eight feet!

With a roar that may have sounded like thunder had the forest’s enchantment not quelched it, Wildclaw took a powerful swipe at Javis.

The sellsword barely avoided a deadly rake that would have gutted him.

Javis dropped his crossbow and drew his greatsword. He then swung at Wildclaw, cutting it across its side.

Ezra let loose an arrow that grazed the bloodthirsty bear.

Wildclaw took another swipe at Javis. The sellblade tried to counter the bear’s attack but was raked across his corselet instead. One of bear’s claw tore through the steel armor, drawing blood!

For what seemed like an eternity the three fought on.

At one point, Javis was struck again by the feral bear. Meanwhile, Wildclaw managed to sustain enough damage that would have felled a lesser bear.

Just when it seemed that Wildclaw was about to strike at Javis, Ezra fired an arrow that struck the rabid bear in the back.

The arrow buried itself up to its fletching.

Wildclaw’s legs gave way. With a roar of anguish, Wildclaw, the great rabid bear of Whisperwood fell over and died.

Ezra climbed back down and made his way to the wounded sellblade sitting on the ground next to the slain bear.

The half elf examined Javis’s wounds. “You’ll live to fight another day,” Ezra said.

**

When the two emerged out of the woods, the others from the caravan quickly ran up to them.

Trylos could see the bloodstains on Javis. “Well, what of the bear?” the half-folk caravan master asked.

“Wildclaw is dead.” Ezra said. “Javis here fought bravely. Without his help, Wildclaw would still live to hunt these woods.”

Javis placed his hand on the half elf’s shoulder. “It was Ezra who slew the bear with a shot from his elven bow. He is the bearslayer!”

Suddenly everyone in the caravan began to chant the word, “Bearslayer” as they congratulated both Warden and sellsword for their deed.

As Javis started to walk away to find a place to rest and heal, Ezra stopped him.

“Is it true what they say about you?” Ezra asked.

“What do they say?”

“They say you once served in Shadowhall’s City Watch. But you were caught in bed with the wife of your captain. And because of that you escaped execution and fled to Kerrandi.”

Javis’s silence was answer enough for Ezra.

“Was she worth the risk of dying?” Ezra asked.

Javis stared back at the half elf. His eyes spoke volumes.

“Trust me, she was worth the risk.”


Heroes

Ezra Two-leaf (Half-elf Warden)

Allies

Javis Storm (Human Sellblade)


View
Three Orcbanes
Chapter 16 (Kerrandi: Quest for the Orcbane Blades)

Northern Kerrandi,
Northwoods, Ruins of Ianmorn,
Spring, 24th Day of True Omens, 4,028th Cycle


With only Ezra armed with a range weapon, everyone decided to risk their lives by charging down the hall to confront the orcs.

The orcs were caught off guard by the adventurers’ courage. They tried to stand their ground by the exit, but the adventurers easily killed all but one orc who was able to run away into the forest.

The group then opened a set of stone doors that led into a small room that had the look and feel of an outdoor elven shrine. The ceiling was painted to resemble clouds. The artistry was finely rendered that the adventurers swore they could see the clouds moving. The walls, too, were painted in detail and showed a sylvan scene. The room smelled of fresh spring grass.

Overall the room gave off a sense of comfort and tranquility.

Despite the urge to rest, the group decided to press on and open the remaining set of doors to see what lay beyond.

The room they saw was large. A small altar or stone table lay against the opposite wall. A single door hung askewed by the entrance of a hallway to the right. It’s twin door lay broken on the floor.

What surprised the adventurers, however, was the large gaping chasm which dominated the center of the room.

It looked as though half of the room’s floor had collapsed into a twenty-foot deep sinkhole.

Everyone carefully walked to the edge. The bottom and what remained of the floor were visible below.

“That must be about fifteen feet across,” Dorin said. He pointed to the other side where the rest of the room continued.

“I can make that jump,” Xan said confidently. “I have jumped that distance many times back in the monastery as part of my training.”

“Do we have ropes?” Darnok asked.

Everyone shook their heads.

“I could throw all of you dwarves across,” Glint offered.

The dwarves all replied a unanimous, “No”, in unison.

“We need to know if there is a third Orcbane blade beyond that passageway,” Dorin said.

“Without any rope, we may as well jump across,” Xan said with finality.

“I hope all of you still have a potion of healing left,” Ezra said.

Beginning with Xan, everyone ran and made the leap across the fifteen-foot wide expanse.

First, Dorin took the vial sitting on top of the stone table. Then they all made their way to the side passageway. As soon as they stepped foot in front of the long passageway, magical torches in ancient sconces flickered to life. An iron portcullis at the far end blocked the entrance to another burial chamber.

A slightly rusted lever stuck out of the wall nearby.

Ezra pulled down on the lever. The portcullis rose into the ceiling. But before anyone could move, the lever suddenly sprang back up, nearly breaking Ezra’s hand in the process.

The portcullis quickly dropped back down barring the way into the vault once more. The time it took to lower the lever, to the portcullis dropping back down into place took less than several seconds.

Xan wondered about something and took five steps into the passageway. He asked Ezra to pull on the lever.

It wouldn’t budge, no matter how hard he pulled on it.

“The passageway is just far enough for us dwarves to barely make the run to clear that portcullis,” Kaza said.

“And what then?” Dorin asked. “Unless there’s another lever in the chamber, we could find ourselves trapped, to rot like the elves in there.”

“I have an idea,” Brother Silas offered. He then walked to the farthest sconce. He grabbed it with one hand and lifted both of his feet off the stone floor and placed them against the wall. “Pull the lever!”

Ezra did so. The portcullis rose into the ceiling.

All but Ezra went to a sconce and followed Brother Silas’ example. When the portcullis rose, they all jumped down and ran into the chamber.

The portcullis fell down as the last of them made it into the vault.

None too surprised, the adventurers watched as five sarcophagi opened. As one, the skeletal remains of elven warriors stepped out of their resting places and attacked the party.

One of the skeletons held an orcbane blade!

**

Back in the Shattered Sword the adventurers celebrated their victory, having recovered three orcbane blades without losing any one of their brave members. The entire town of Northpoint had heard about their quest and celebrated along with them.

They also spoke with Erzhu to return the remains of his son and the family heirloom, an enchanted blade called Striker. Erzhu the Elder was happy to be able to give his son a proper burial. He gave the adventurers five hundred silver coins as a reward.

The adventurers also visited Eliana the Apothecary to sell her the ingredients they found inside the tomb.

For the moment, everyone felt safe. They were confident in the knowledge that if orcs were to descend upon the town, a stalwart band of heroes comprising of four dwarves, a half-orc, and a half-elf, armed with three orcbane blades would stand ready to defend the town against any orcish threat.


The quest for the Orcbane blades ends here. Continue reading the adventure logs to discover what happens to the brave heroes and their valiant effort to protect the kingdom of Kerrandi against a possible orc invasion.


Heroes

Brother Silas “The Steadfast” Tomkins (Human Cleric)

Darnok Firestone (Dwarf Mage)

Dorin Thomar (Dwarf Fighter)

Ezra Two-leaf (Half-elf Warden)

Glint “the Axe” Red (Half-Orc Assassin)

Kaza Firestone (Dwarf Fighter)

Xan Warstout (Dwarf Martial Artist)


View
Second of the Orcbanes
Chapter 15 (Kerrandi: Quest for the Orcbane Blades)

Northern Kerrandi,
Northwoods, Ruins of Ianmorn,
Spring, 24th Day of True Omens, 4,028th Cycle


The adventurers were quickly learning how to dispatch the skeletal guardians for no one suffered a scratch in the fight to gain a second Orcbane longsword.

The party also found a chest full of silver coins and a ring which they believed may be enchanted although they knew it would take time or trial to discover its properties.

After, they returned to where they first ran into the tomb’s guardians and considered which two other sets of stone doors to open next.

While the group was busy discussing their options, five orcs armed with short bows shot at them from the tomb’s entrance. The adventurers quickly sought cover as Ezra, the half-elf Warden, returned fire with his own bow.


The encounter against the orc ambushers continues in Three Orcbanes.


Heroes

Brother Silas “The Steadfast” Tomkins (Human Cleric)

Darnok Firestone (Dwarf Mage)

Dorin Thomar (Dwarf Fighter)

Ezra Two-leaf (Half-elf Warden)

Glint “the Axe” Red (Half-Orc Assassin)

Kaza Firestone (Dwarf Fighter)

Xan Warstout (Dwarf Martial Artist)


View
Reunion
Chapter 14 (Galowen: The Fellowship of the Crown)

Kingdom of Galowen,
Spring, 24th Day of True Omens, 4,028th Cycle


Daleborn threw a small spark of electricity that quickly blossomed into an explosive discharge of lightning at the nearest hill giant who was quickly gaining ground on the elderly wizard.

To be continued…


The Fellowship of the Crown

King Jarred Trueblood of Galowen (Human Fighter)

Lord Arik Silverheart (Human Fighter)

Daleborn the Wanderer (Human Swordmage)

Skyler (Avion Cleric)


View
Quest for the Orcbane Blades
Chapter 13 (Kerrandi: Quest for the Orcbane Blades)

Northern Kerrandi,
Northwoods, Ruins of Ianmorn,
Spring, 24th Day of True Omens, 4,028th Cycle


The set of double doors led to a room with most of its floor missing.

A large gap, some fifteen feet wide, divided the room in half. From where they stood, the group saw a stone table against the far wall on the other side of the gap. Instruments, which Xan said resembled those used for embalming, lay on the table. They also saw a small bottle filled with greenish liquid next to the embalming tools.

One half of a set of stone double doors opened into a side passage. It seemed to lead farther into the tomb. The other half of the doors was on the floor and seemed to have fallen inward into the passage beyond.

Everyone looked down into where the floor had fallen in and saw a pit some twenty feet deep. What remained of the floor was at the bottom of the wide pit and lay in strange angles creating deadly sharp pieces that could impale anyone who fell in.

They all agreed that climbing up the sides of the pit would be difficult at best. Besides, not one of them remembered to bring a rope.

So for the moment, the group decided to see what lay behind the other two sets of double doors in the main hallway.

**

The next set of double doors led into a large chamber with a ten-foot ceiling supported by eight columns. Four large holes were visible at the top of each column.

What caught the attention of everyone was what was on the floor.

The entire floor of the chamber was covered in ankle-deep bones. There must have been thousands of bone fragments everywhere! Skulls, pieces of bones, metal shields, rusted longswords, and chain hauberks covered every inch of the floor.

The group also spotted another set of double doors at one end of the chamber.

Equally strange was what appeared to be a waterline running along the length of the room’s walls. The waterline was about chest high from the floor for an average human. For the dwarves, the waterline could reach up to their necks. Everyone agreed that the room could be trapped to fill with water, but the source of the water intrigued them since they were not aware of any nearby river, lake, or stream.

When the last of them entered the room, the stone doors quickly slammed shut behind them. Water began to fill the room. Bone pieces started floating, but many remained beneath the water.

Suddenly, several skeletons rose out of the water and began to attack everyone. The water was about chest deep for most of the adventurers except the dwarves. For them, the water nearly reached to their chin, making movement and fighting in the water difficult.

The skeletons didn’t seem to be hampered by the water at all; the water simply flowing through their bony frames.

The battle against the skeletons seemed to last for an eternity, for they fought just as deadly in death as they did in life.

Fortunately, the luck of the gods was with the heroes as they destroyed the last of the skeletal elves. The water receded after.

“There’s a secret door here,” Glint said pointing to a part of a wall in the room opposite the other set of doors.

“How do you know?” Xan asked.

“I spotted it before the room started filling up with water,” the half-orc said as he began to feel along the wall for the means of opening the door. After a few seconds, Glint found a small hole near where he knew the door was. The hole was just large enough for his smallest finger to fit into it. He stuck his finger in as far as he could. He felt something give, and with a barely audible click, a part of the wall opened to reveal a burial chamber beyond.

The rest moved up to the opening and peered inside. A small flight of steps lead up and into a chamber large enough to accommodate several sarcophagi. An iron chest was just visible behind the sarcophagus in the middle of the room.

“Before we go in there we should first see where the other set of doors lead to,” Kaza offered.

Everyone agreed.

They then walked across the room and opened the doors.

Beyond lay a chamber similar to the burial chamber behind the secret door, except there was no iron chest in the room.

As they entered the room, the sarcophagi all began to open. Skeletal hands pushed stone lids aside with ease.

Out of each emerged armored dead elves armed with rusted longswords. Each held and iron shield.

One of the skeletons held a blade that resembled the ones the carved elven warriors on the doors held in their hands.

Everyone knew they were looking at an elven orcbane blade. It’s slim blade remained free of rust despite having been buried with its owner for over two millenniums.

The battle against the skeletons was fierce but the heroes prevailed.

After, they caught their breaths and decided to return to the secret door they found.


The search for more Orcbane blades continues in Second of the Orcbanes.


Heroes

Brother Silas “The Steadfast” Tomkins (Human Cleric)

Darnok Firestone (Dwarf Mage)

Dorin Thomar (Dwarf Fighter)

Ezra Two-leaf (Half-elf Warden)

Glint “the Axe” Red (Half-Orc Assassin)

Kaza Firestone (Dwarf Fighter)

Xan Warstout (Dwarf Martial Artist)


View
Ruins of Ianmorn
Chapter 12 (Kerrandi: Quest for the Orcbane Blades)

Northern Kerrandi,
Town of Northpoint,
Spring, 24th Day of True Omens, 4,028th Cycle


The Shattered Sword was under new management and the townsfolk liked it that way.

For the most part, the three new owners of The Shattered Sword—Brother Silas, Dorin, and Glint—were happy enough letting Gristle run the day-to-day affairs of running a tavern and inn. Besides, Brother Silas was not particularly interested in being part owner of a tavern. He was far too devoted to serving Laerra, the goddess of healing instead. However, the two other owners suggested he use his part of the profits to help bolster the temple’s coffers.

For the past two weeks since the Shattered Sword came under new management, business had been fair. Travelers and adventurers came through the town of Northpoint either to head south to the lakeside village of Waterhaven, brave the dangers of Northwoods and the Ridgeline Mountains beyond, or continue to on to other parts of the kingdom of Kerrandi.

So on a particularly warm spring day, everyone was involved in discussing the latest news while enjoying a noon meal. Word of a recent battle near Waterhaven against the orcs of the Iron Legion and the King’s army had reached everyone in Northpoint. Fortunately, the King’s army had prevailed and routed the orcs back to the forest and mountains.

Ezra told everyone about his latest adventures and how the dwarves had found and rescued him from being sacrificed to the orc god, Grummsh. The dwarves, too, told of their recent journey from the northern Ridgeline Mountains, running into a small band of goblins, and coming upon the orc stronghold where they found Ezra. Upon mentioning their harrowing encounter with General Norgrug, everyone raised a toast to Otis Steallock, their fallen kinsdwarf and fellow adventurer. Ezra also offered a toast to Aspen Thistledown and Lyda Cusswell, friends he had recently lost.

Gristle then mentioned that he had heard from Chapel, who had heard about it from Clipwing the dragon, about an ancient elven ruin in the Northwoods not far from Northpoint. Legend had it that the place was once an elven temple. Beneath the temple lay elven catacombs where their greatest warriors were laid to rest. It was said that among the elven warriors were fighters known as Orcbanes, named so for the enchanted blades they bore into battle.

Orcbane.jpg

As the legend went, the Orcbane Blades were forged by the greatest of elven smiths during the Rift War, when the orcs entered Terramyth in great numbers from their homeworld. How many of the blades exists is not known, but wielded by select elven fighters, the blades were said to be able to cut down orcs with a single stroke.

When the orcs were defeated by the elves and forced back into the mountains and desolate hills, the elves then destroyed the Rift forever cutting the orcs from their homeworld.

After hearing Gristle, Ezra said he had been to the elven ruin and could lead anyone who wished to go there.

Not wanting to miss a chance for adventure, everyone agreed to go. Soon a formidable adventuring party of seven was formed.

Before leaving on their quest, Gristle said they should first speak to Erzhu, a man who had lost his son a year ago when his son—also named Erzhu—joined up with two adventurers who came into town. Erzhu the Elder gave his son a family heirloom, an enchanted blade called Striker, which was said to grant the wielder the ability to strike first in battle when a foe attacks. Before leaving on his adventure, Erzhu the Young swore he would return home after they had cleared the elven catacombs and found the legendary elven blades.

That was a year ago. Erzhu the Young had not been heard been heard from since. Erzhu the Elder offered to reward the adventurers for the safe return of the family heirloom. He also offered a reward if the adventurers found his son’s remains and returned it to him so he can give his brave son a proper burial.

Gristle also recommended the group meet with Eliana the Apothecary. She is always asking people to look for ingredients she could use to mix potions. Dorin and Glint went to see the elven woman who gave them a list of ingredients they would most likely find in a tomb or inside caves.

With everyone ready, the adventurers set off on their quest to enter the elven catacombs and claim the Orcbane Blades to use against the orcs plaguing their land. Gristle stayed behind to tend to the affairs of running the tavern/inn.

On the way to Northwoods, the group came upon a pack of starving, feral Black Wolves which attacked them with ferocity.

When the last of the wolves was killed, only Xan had been injured by a wolf’s bite. Brother Silas quickly healed the dwarven martial artist.

The group of seven traveled onward and reached the elven ruin by the middle of the afternoon.

Ezra guided the group to the entrance he found. Behind a pile of fallen rocks, the group saw a pair of stone doors.

After nearly two hours of clearing away the rubble, the group was able to completely see the double doors. The doors were carved in relief with elven warriors holding longswords—which everyone assumed may be the Orcbane Blades.

They found the doors to be unlocked. The doors were then carefully opened. What little light was left of the day revealed what lay behind the doors.

Inside, they found an antechamber. Four stone statues of elven fighters decorated the chamber. They also spotted another set of stone doors, with similar carvings on the opposite side from where they stood.

Worried that the antechamber may be trapped, the group carefully looked the antechamber over before entering it. Satisfied the room was not trapped, they entered and walked to the other set of doors.

They opened the doors which led into a ten-foot wide passageway. Magical torches suddenly flared to life revealing a passageway stretching for fifty feet and ending at yet another set of double doors similarly carved.

The walls of the passageway were painted to resemble a sylvan forest setting. The arching ceiling, some ten feet high, was painted to resemble a sunny sky. The adventurers were impressed by the details of the murals.

“I have never understood the elves’ passion for bringing the outdoors indoors,” Kaza the dwarven fighter said. “What’s wrong with simply leaving stone walls be?”

Cautious, the adventurers carefully searched the passageway for any sign of a trap.

Luck was with them when they noticed how differently the floor appeared to be some ten paces from the doors at the end of the passageway.

The group carefully made their way down; careful about every step they took.

When they reached the spot they noticed was different, the group assumed that the floor might be a trigger for a trap. They considered that enough weight would trigger the trap.

Glint went outside to retrieve a heavy rock, returned, then dropped it on the floor in front of him.

Suddenly, five foot wide parts of the walls down the passage where they came from quickly slid across and slammed against the opposite side. Fortunately those who were in the path of the traps were able to quickly jump forward or back to avoid being crushed.

After realizing the traps had not reset, the adventurers went up to the stone doors and opened them.

Sconces flared brightly to reveal passageways branching off in three different directions. Each led to a set of stone double doors. They were also similarly carved with the elven warriors holding longswords.

Down each passageway, the group spotted niches filled with standing stone sarcophagi.

What stole the group’s attention, however, were the three sets of mummified remains on the stone floor. One seemed small, clearly belonging to a half-folk. The other two were human in size. Each remain was wearing leather armor, and carried the usual adventuring gear. The half-folk seemed to have been equipped with a buckler and armed with a short sword, now rusted, while the other two were armed with a great axe, also rusted, and a longsword, which the group noticed resembled the description Erzhu the Elder gave of the heirloom, Striker.

“If those three made it past the trap, what killed them?” Xan wondered.

Suddenly, each sarcophagus opened. In total, six skeletal warriors dressed in ancient mail shirts stepped out of their resting place to face the intruders. Each held a well-worn metal shield shaped like a large leaf, and was armed with an ancient long sword.

“Does that answer your question?” Kaza said as he, along with the others charged in to engage the skeletons.

The encounter against the skeletal guardians was won, but the group was surprised at how long the battle took. Each skeleton proved to be a skilled foe and were hard to destroy. Fortunately, no one was injured in the encounter which could have proven deadly.

As the group looked at the amount of bones littering the floor, the group realized how easily Erzhu the Young’s group of three could have been slaughtered.

The adventurers took the remains of Erzhu the Young, picked up Striker, and went about searching through the previous adventurers’ gear for anything useful.

The group then considered which of the three sets of double doors to go through next.

To be continued in Chapter 13…


Heroes

Brother Silas “The Steadfast” Tomkins (Human Cleric)

Darnok Firestone (Dwarf Mage)

Dorin Thomar (Dwarf Fighter)

Ezra Two-leaf (Half-elf Warden)

Glint “the Axe” Red (Half-Orc Assassin)

Kaza Firestone (Dwarf Fighter)

Xan Warstout (Dwarf Martial Artist)


View
General Norgrug
Chapter 11 (Kerrandi: Against the Orcs)

Northern Kerrandi,
Northwoods,
Spring, 13th Day of True Omens, 4,028th Cycle


The voices of his brother and cousins brought Kaza out of his spell-induced sense of horrific fear.

The last few breaths were a blur as Kaza regained his composure and looked back down the passageway where his other kinsdwarves were busy fighting against General Norgrug, the orc shaman, and one other remaining orc armed with a spear.

Kaza stood his ground and told the others to let the orcs advance into the room by the stairs. There the dwarves would have more room to fight.

The others did so.

General Norgrug along with the last orc charged into the room after the dwarves. The dwarves quickly surround the general who turned the situation into his advantage by swinging his greatsword into a wide deadly arc that threatened to slay everyone around him, including the spear-wielding orc next to him. Added to their horror was how Norgrug was somehow able to double his attacks with each breath. Somehow, the general was under the influence of an enchantment that allowed him to double his actions.

The general’s surprising counterattack ended Otis’s life as well as the remaining orc’s, and left Xan nearly dead. Only Kaza, his skin hardened as tough as stone by Xan’s psionic power, remained unscathed.

Meanwhile, in a different part of the outpost, Darknok was busy fighting against the shaman who had fled into a ritual chamber where a half-elf was being held hostage in a wooden cage.

The shaman tried to cast the same spell against the dwarven mage that caused Kaza to flee in fear, but Darnok steeled himself against the orc’s spell.

Seeing the battle going nowhere with the mage, the shaman tried to flee towards where his general was busy fighting.

However, before the shaman could reach General Norgrug, the general rather than keep fighting Kaza whom he couldn’t injure, decided to flee up the stairs. Kaza tried to stop him before he reached the veil of energy but the general, still under the enchantment placed upon him, was able to outrun the dwarf and escape pass the veil which the general was able to deactivate and activate again with a command word.

By the time Kaza reached the top of the stairs, the veil had blocked his way and the general had escaped.

His blood boiling, Kaza went back down and faced the shaman who was taken aback by his general abandoning him to his own fate.

Kaza didn’t give the shaman time to reflect on his fate.

**

With the entire outpost cleared, Darknok tended to Xan who regained consciousness. Unfortunately, there was very little he could do for Otis.

The half-elf Darknok found was freed.

He introduced himself as Ezra Two-leaf, a Bladerunner Warden in the service of King Garreth Greenwood and the kingdom of Kerrandi. Ezra told the surviving dwarves about how he ended up as a prisoner and thanked them for rescuing him.

Everyone searched the outpost and found an iron-bound chest they couldn’t force open. Fearing General Norgrug may return with reinforcement, the adventurers took what treasure they found, as well as their fallen kinsdwarf, to the town of Northpoint.

In Northpoint, they could bury Otis, share the spoils, and determine what future adventurers awaited the three dwarves and the half-elf.


Heroes

Darnok Firestone (Dwarf Mage)

Ezra Two-leaf (Half-elf Warden)

Kaza Firestone (Dwarf Fighter)

Otis Steallock (Dwarf Rogue)

Xan Warstout (Dwarf Martial Artist)


View
Norgrug's Outpost
Chapter 10 (Kerrandi: Against the Orcs)

Northern Kerrandi,
Northwoods,
Spring, 13th Day of True Omens, 4,028th Cycle


The secret door the four dwarven adventurers found led into a passageway lit by a flickering torch on a wall sconce.

The sounds of orcs snoring echoed from one side of the passageway. All was quiet the other way, which turned sharply around a corner.

Darnok and Otis quietly made their way towards the sounds of snoring orcs. What they found were two orcs lying on beds of straw in a room large enough to accommodate a dozen more.

While Kaza and Xan guarded the passageway, Darnok and Otis crept up to the two sleeping orcs and killed them while they slept.

After, the four continued down the passageway.

Kaza tried to sneak up to a corner for a peak when he accidentally brushed against the wall. The sound of his metal armor scraping against rock was loud enough to alert two orcs who were guarding a set of stairs leading up to a bluish veil of crackling energy which blocked the top of the stairs.

A battle ensued as the two orc guards raised the alarm alerting the rest of the outpost to the dwarves’ presence.

General_Norgrug.jpg
Blood coated the passageway as orcs fell to the dwarves’ onslaught. However, one of the most fearsome orcs the dwarves had ever seen joined in the battle. He was armored in metal chestplate while his arms and legs were covered completely in chain mail. His sole weapon was a greatsword; its blade covered in blood-red runes.

Speaking in the tongue of man, the orc leader said he was General Norgrug of the Iron Legion and he vowed to slaughter each and every one of the intruders.

To make matters worse, an orc shaman joined in the fight as well.

For what seemed like an eternity Kaza kept pressing on, doing his best to kill Norgrug and possibly end the encounter.

But just as suddenly as the dwarves felt their god, Moradin, was on their side the shaman cast a spell that rattled every dwarf to the bone. The group saw Kaza, who was otherwise fearless in battle, suddenly running away in fear from the general and the shaman who stood nearby with a lone surviving orc armed with a spear.

With Kaza having ran away, the other dwarves feared for their own lives.

Continued in General Norgrug.


Heroes

Darnok Firestone (Dwarf Mage)

Kaza Firestone (Dwarf Fighter)

Otis Steallock (Dwarf Rogue)

Xan Warstout (Dwarf Martial Artist)


View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.