Order of the Spear

One small step for a man ...
... one giant leap for a slave!

The ragtag group of slaves decided on Nora’s plan to possibly enlist the help of the slaves in the mines on the other side of the main cavern. They burst in on the guard and attempted to persuade him and the others in cages to assist them in their escape from the keep. He remained skeptical, but made no move to dissuade them. Although the mercenary named “Skeever” seemed unmoved by their plight, he, quite timely, excused himself to “make water” and headed down an opposite corridor conveniently leaving the cell keys hanging on the wall peg.
The first slave released was Aklys, a pit fighter, who warned them not to open the other cell for the crazed beast of a man was not sane.
Returning to the main cavern, they heard voices speaking a foreign language. Moving into the room the slaves rushed the unusual warriors. A long and dangerous fight ensued, but the slaves were victorious.
Though they had never been beyond the door leading out of the cavern, they moved forward with both apprehension and exhilaration. hallway.jpg
The first room beyond the cavern was a basement room of dark, worked brick. A table and two tumbled chairs lay just inside the doorway of the tossed room. Another group of similar looking men were gathered around a groveling clerk at the other end.
The slaves went to work on the foreigners and though it cost them in grievous wounds they did win the fight. Within this group of attackers’ possessions, besides the loot from the keep above, were some small glass vials containing a solution much like milk and several small clay dishes with a waxy ointment within. wound_closure.jpg
Applying these to wounds and risking the liquid, the slaves discovered a healing salve for closing wounds and a sweet, milky healing elixir.
The soiled clerk then reluctantly led them through a secret panel secret_door.jpgin the back of the room which led to a bed chamber. Within the hallway they beyond the bedchamber they encountered a lord, a lady, and a guard barricaded in the lower access hallways of the keep.
Vern, the clerk, was then pressed into revealing another secret tunnel leading to the drainage tunnel under the keep’s outer wall. drainage2.jpg
From the vantage of the storm grate, the defenders watched the foreigners sack up all the loot they could carry and put the larger buildings to the torch. Then they moved out of the keep to avoid the choking smoke after the ships had set sail.
Deciding that the docks would be safer, they moved into a warehouse and barricaded the doors to rest the night. On the morrow they dispatched some scavenging wolves and headed out on foot pulling a large two wheeled cart.

Cloth and Metal
(or rags and chains)

“We’ve been over this a thousand times! We come to the same conclusion every time. We have been here since before we had memories. Wynnetta raised us as best she could before she fell with the cough and was tossed over the falls. Nothing’s ever gonna change – slaves are NEVER freed. No one has ever walked out of here!” Nud continued his rant, but most of the other slave children were asleep. “Look, if we had the chance to be free you know we’d take it. You know I’d kill every Tallow guard to free you if I could.”
Everyone, even the guards, knew he had a crush on Nora. He’d taken several beatings for her, claiming himself the culprit. He would have been a strong and handsome youth if it weren’t for the dirt and muck of the slave quarters.
Nora groaned in resignation and those still awake sighed in relief. She would let it go tonight, but would begin the discussion anew from a different angle on the morrow – never accepting their current situation for fact. Some things never sat well with her.
She awoke with a start sitting up straight. Something was wrong she knew. They were always awakened by the crack of a whip well before the dawn. She sat staring out through the iron bars in the wall at the sunlight streaming into the darkness…slaves.jpg

Refusing Death
Can't keep a good ogre down

Looting the soldiers was easy – they didn’t have much…much that ogres would want. Gorth ate the bite-sized rabbits crunching the bones and swallowing the steaming gulps. The human blood and entrails added a flavor he found delicious.
Draja piled snow atop the bodies and retied his legging wraps. He took the waterskins from the men and drank two. The remaining three he tied securely through his crossed belts.
Juff pulled several flasks of oil from a backpack and collected the various coins. Each of the soldiers had a rock with a symbol carved into one side which tingled in the palm of his hand. He pocketed those for later. Rising to his nearly eight foot tall height, Juff stretched his muscles and checked his equipment. “Draja will continue in point.” Revealing his great tusks, Juff smiled broadly as he surveyed the carnage. ‘This is a fine offering’, he thought to himself. “We run!”

An hour beyond the campsite, Draja slowed his run once again. Something was different. They were passing a forest that seemed…sentient. Looking to his right, he began to make out low walls within the trees as their path dissected a fringe section of the strange forest. The snow hid much and their rate of speed prevented a search, but something was out of sorts.
Running in a line to make travel through the trees easier, the ogren weaved their way toward their destination. Gorth clipped a low rope hanging beneath the snow and it lifted and tightened rattling what sounded like pots and pans hanging from two trees. Tevaga had no time to slow and she hit the taut rope at full speed flipping completely over and landing on her face in the snow.
Tevaga felt the sting in her back as the bolt lanced through her furs. A second whistled past Gorth’s ugly face.
Two fur-clad dwarves came from behind their cover to close on the brutes and the battle was joined. Slashing, smashing, grunting, growling, cursing, and singing erupted at various points in this pitched battle between large and small opponents. The bearded duo worked well together, fearlessly bloodying their weapons in a skilled and practiced manner.
The door of a well-concealed squat building slammed open and two additional bearded folk came out grinning and swinging. Just when the dwarves would send one ogre into the snow to bleed out and move on to the others, it would come back in a few rounds and come howling at them again. At one point or another, all the ogres had fallen to the skilled veterans at the outpost. But eventually, dwarven resources expended, the ogres managed to regenerate just enough to overcome their opponents.
Taking more food and water, the brutal quartet set out once again.

The Campsite...
The Gravesite

The five men sat warming themselves around the large fire. Three snow hares were roasting on a spit and the aroma had their mouths watering. One young man was joking to another about a pretty girl he’d met in Ralspur and how he was gonna take her to the Spring Festival when they finished this rotation. The other made some comment about the ‘fire in her hearth’ and soon the whole circle was chuckling.
The leader stood up suddenly from his seat on the log and looked into the darkness outside the campsite. ogre_snow_battle.jpg
The first thing the veteran Sargent saw were the massive off-white tusks reflecting the firelight as the ogre came out of the darkness at full speed. At the blood-curdling growl of the beast, Ridley, newly turned 14, came to his feet with his eyes wide in terror. The seven and a half foot blade crunched through his skull with a wet snap and exited his hip spraying blood outward onto the white snow.
Juff, the eldest of the ogres, charged into the circle from the opposite side and bullrushed Jonns, the youngest of the Watch team, directly into the blazing fire. He went up in flames, screamed and thrashed around for a moment or two before expiring. Tevaga brought down Corporal Dratt with two easy strokes and Gorth over powered and cut down Sargent Ingols in two exchanges of attacks.
In an attempt to distract the dumb beasts, Command Sargent Lan offered them the horses. It had worked one other time he’d come across ogres. They had happily accepted his horses in trade for some reason. Horse flesh is a prized delicacy among certain humanoids. He had often wondered if they ever realized they could have taken the horses after simply killing him. But he hadn’t waited around for them to come to any realizations.
Juff chuckled at the human’s pathetic attempt and responding in common said, “The fight is ours and ours alone.”
That was an unusual response for a big, dumb brute!
One huge stride closed the distance between the two. Juff feinted with a low jab with his left long sword and brought the right long sword across in a whistling cut at the man’s neck level. Lan dodged the jab and slashed twice into the ogre’s belly, but the second attack surprised him for the second time that night. The wicked edges of the beast’s blade cut through his pauldren and into the muscle of his left shoulder. The ogre dropped his weapons and grabbed his belly as he slumped to the snow.
Gorth came in hard at the sargent’s side driving his blade down with a series of ringing clashes. The impact of this brute’s cleaves were numbing his arm rapidly. He had to think of something…and soon.
Not soon enough. These were no ordinary ogres. They had outflanked him without him noticing. ‘How embarrassing is this,’ he thought as the other three ogres encircled him and began hammering away at him. Soon the attacks that slipped through got the better of him and he fell to the snow at their feet. On his back he watched helplessly as the dual-wielding ogre sat up and examined the pink scars criss-crossing his abdomen. His hands numb, he weakly withdrew his favorite weapon, a masterwork dirk presented to him by King Gundrik himself. His arm betrayed him and fell to his side dropping the etched blade into the red snow. Watching helplessly, Lan saw the Ogre’s muscles bulge and the blade descended. The world tilted awkwardly and the edges of his vision began to darken. The ogre took his dirk and put it in his belt, claiming it to the others in common.

‘Who will sound the alarm? Who will protect the people?’… darkness.

The world upside down.

The Other Side of the Spear
When none were looking...

It was late in the spring, but the snow fell in a thin and continuous blanket. The quartet of ogren made their way to a new pile of boulders near the humans’ pitiful wall. The lesser races may be daunted by the man-made barrier, but for these it was merely a hurdle.
Once beyond the wall, the four fell into a steady rhythm covering vast distances in the dark of night. While they ran, visions of the Great Council ran through their heads. The chieftains of all the greater tribes of goblinkind had gathered to discuss the possibility of war with the human kingdom of Aynemer.
The typical bickering and shouting had sprung up beneath the massive Bedouin tent and indeed continued until a single being walked within their midst – a human! Not just any man would be able to walk into the midst of the largest gathering of goblinkin since the Hordes War. He strode with an impressive bearing. Crossed on his back were an impressive set of matching weapons as black as the night. A greatblade and greatclub were fashioned of an unknown ore. Once within their midst, he began speaking to them in a calm voice with the expectation that they would listen – and they did. He paced slowly back and forth among the chieftains as he told them of the war they would wage on the other side of the wall – and they nodded. He spoke of tactics and drew in the sand at their feet and when he’d finished they cheered and howled into the evening sky.
From the crowd, four massive ogren walked into the open and knelt at the feet of the man, their blades out hilt first in the traditional gesture of loyalty. The man stepped forward and slid the nearest blades free and whirled them in an impressive display before settling them on the ogre’s neck.
The crowd was silent as the man spoke Orcish as with a native tongue, "I accept your life as my own, for it is my own. I further accept your offer to lead the assault and spearhead this army. Your orders are to immediately gather your gear and run into the night, over the wall, past a ruined city and up a rocky rise to a town the humans call ‘Ralspur.’ There you will unleash the bloodlust in your soul and slaughter the defenses of the region within the Watch Command. "
Draja smelled the air as he ran. This side of the wall smelled all wrong. The humans had weak scents that matched their strength. He felt contempt for their puny race. The spittle froze on his mouth and on his massive tusks while he ran. He had muffled his metal items and strapped his more than seven-foot ogre blade to his back.
He ran point for the quartet of half-ogres. His sense of smell and ability to track was renowned among his Black Elk tribe. Flexing the corded muscles in his arms kept his hands from freezing closed.
Something ahead was amiss. He slowed his great strides to a lope and surveyed the shallow ravine they’d entered. At the deepest point there was a trail in the snow crossing their path. He slowed further and drew deeply of the cold air. ‘Humans’, he thought to himself.
The eldest of the ogres slowed behind Draja. He gave the signal to stop and the remaining two, Gorth (massive by even ogre standards) and Tevaga (a vicious female known by the size of her axe) ground to a halt.
Tevaga.jpg Gorth.jpg
He waited for Draja’s findings (5 humans and 6 horses – good eating) and after only a moment’s hesitation, steered the team along the trail in the snow…

Life in the Big City

Guiding the party up further into the mountains, Ox introduced the companions to a few new herbs and a sacred grove of trees where Wylde’s protective power had been evoked.
Further down the road a red dragon was discovered and attacked and slain. Baby red dragonAfter the brief fight, it was learned that the beast had been wounded by the very dragon it had been feasting when the party had arrived.
Saying goodbye to Ox, the fearless adventurers sauntered down the slope to enter the ruins of the town, beyond which lay the ruins of an open air temple long ago fallen to the ravages of time. Although many years had passed since the town was last occupied by civilized people, it was obvious that the mounds of rubble and boarded up windows and walled doorways were the sign of a last stand. A narrow pathway led through the city streets where small dragons came from a thick fog cloud forcing the party onward. It soon became apparent that the ruins of the town were meant to funnel attackers into kill pockets and obstacles. Linfors succumbed to the constant barrage of mental attacks from the sentient sword sheathed on Cohen’s hip. He successfully grasped the hilt and had intended to brandish the weapon menacingly, but Cohen had wisely wired the sword into its scabbard. Denied a glorified death Linfors stumbled along behind the cleric.
The team stumbled through the first few until they fell into a rhythm. Denn and Tannis picked up on the advantages, due to a roguish nature. While Tannis ran on ahead abandoning his comrades, Denn helped the slower teammates over the barriers. Osweald made the best of the situation while Cohen howled and cried about how it was too difficult for him. At every step he complained that he should be afforded special privileges because of his belief in the gods. Brat
Nearing the end of the fortified town, the squad rounded the last of the rubble to reach the lake. Cohen, in his hysterics, gave up and took it upon himself to magically cross impassable terrain and to establish his own difficulties and movement rate. From here, despite all his difficulties from his chosen armor, he decided he would leap into the lake and attempt to swim in his armor. Sinking
The hour was late and with emotions high, it was decided that we would leave this cliffhanger in the suspense of the moment, unsure whether or not our intrepid “heroes” will again walk the face of Aynemere.

The Missing Colors in the Tapestry

Seated in an open common area around a fire pit, Planthryss offers what she knows of the gods…“Long has my kin followed the wisdom of Wylde from before memories became solid. My mother was a shaman and hers before her and so it was when elves danced under the sun and moon. Wylde is what we might refer to as the consort of Alyxann and together they formed life on this world. Their union brought balance to this world and almost destroyed it as well. He forged our spirits or souls and she our physical bodies. In their joy, they had offspring who grew to be jealous of their parents and began a rebellion. A war took place both in the upper and lower planes and here upon this very soil. Of their many children, only six remained standing…”
As she paused with obvious sadness, dispelling the hush that had come over the gathering, the server resumed their passing of mead-filled mugs from the casks lining the edge of the open tavern. Plates of food were filled and distributed from the fire pit outward among those gathered. The squad ate heartily of the delicious food and drink. The colorless vegetables seemed to make up for it in flavor. Linfors picked at his food and tried to listen. Often he would find himself lost in thought, but not of what was being said by the druidess, but by the sword. His father had told him that he should respect others until or unless they had proven themselves unworthy of it. So, he tried mightily to remain focused and tune out the sword’s constant assault.
“It is a sad and unfortunate tale to tell, but when the dust began to settle, there stood Fandrake, god of order, law, and dragons, his symbol is a multi-headed wingless dragon, Rhonnys (ron-nis), god of battle and skill at arms, his symbol is a Bloodstone set in armor or weapon with intricate etchings, and Banyszekk, (ban-i-sekk), god of perfection, light, and beauty. His symbol is a gilded mirror, with Alyxann and Wylde. Battleofgods
These five stared down at Thuull (thew-all), goddess of magic. Her symbol is a series of swirling shapes, and her consort Uton (oo-tawn), god of humanoids, bunched and corded muscles gripping and re-gripping his mighty weapons in open frustration, his symbol is a club crossed with a great sword.
Behind these two shifted Kastyggia (cast-i-jia), goddess of night, shadow, and the undead. She has no symbol and her worshipers tend to wear all black. Her mournful scream at the loss of her lover, Geryll, the god of demon-kind, is the chilling wail of the banshee.
Fandrake dropped the lifeless corpse of Geryll at his feet with the other dead gods from both sides and they slowly dissipated into the magical mists that blanket this world.
What transpired after the battle is still unknown, but it is believed that Alyxann and Wylde had not the heart to punish more of their children and so they returned to their home plane to mourn. The remaining deities battled on. The dragon, the warrior, and the mirror gaining the upper hand. When it seemed as though the rebellious trio would lose, the Fae intervened flowing over Thuul and Uton and dissolving them. They have not been seen nor heard from and this world has had little contact with its deities since. There is a lake above Alyxann’s Throne in which the drake and the darkness still struggle to this day. The water of this lake is said to have been imbued with the knowledge of the gods. You might wonder why we are not all partaking of this fruit of the gods. But, if one were to survive the arduous trek, and the dragons that are drawn to its shores, both living and undead, there is a risk in the water itself. Others have braved the risks only to be mutated into shadows or dragons. But still others have been cured of illnesses of both body and mind.”
With this revelation she looks down the length of the table to lock eyes with Linfors who appears to be pondering and calculating the risks involved in such a journey. All the while, the constant barrage of the sword scoffs at the “magical” effects of water.

On the Run

The Treehouse
As if the frozen man out front of the treehouse wasn’t bad enough, the scene inside was truly the image of sadness. A woman frozen in the midst of childbirth. When Osweald took the cup from the man’s frozen hands and placed it within the niche of the wooden altar, the baby completed its birth. In a world nearly forsaken of divine influence, how does one begin to explain a birth after the entire area had been frozen for a long, harsh winter? Treehouse
The baby was healthy and after being wrapped warmly, the Watch members made to depart with their newest charge. Cohen went through Alyxann’s rituals with practiced precision and the team mounted up with a few new trinkets from the house, including holy symbols to Wylde, the goddess of nature, a set of four magic rings, and more furs.

The Mountain Pass
Fourth Squad set fore and rear guards as they worked their way back in toward civilization. With a particularly uneventful beginning, the team’s forward scouts passed by a thick copse of trees and winding down the side of the mountain. From within the trees could be heard a guttural chanting. Instincts kicked in and the squad prepared to repulse an ambush. Bugbears began pouring from within the trees and immediately went on the attack ignoring the scouts and bearing down on the center of the party. Another group of enemies came from the backside of the copse and did likewise – ignoring the rear guard and attacking the main group.
The team fought well, like always, but they were outnumbered and pressed sorely. With more bugbears appearing around the pass, it became clear that the beasts were being gated in somehow and were tactically driven. The party was wedged apart and forced to retreat from the sheer numbers of the beasts. Cohen, with babe in arms, Linfors, and Denn began to outdistance the bugbears who were on foot. The remainder of the squad dispatching bugbears as they retreated, noticed there was no pursuing enemies coming their direction. All were after the other three. Loyalty runs strong in the Watch and so they charged toward their companions only to be cut off by the monsters. Bugbears still poured from the copse of trees and completed the split in the party. As the team prepared to make a final stand, arrows began streaking from the rocks above and behind them. The monsters broke off the fight and followed their comrades in pursuit of the other half of the team.
A voice from the edge of the rocky pass shouted to the Watch to follow them to safety and that their friends would be helped by other members of these new arrivals further up the pass.
So, with little other choice, the Watch pulled out leaving many bugbear bodies on the mountain pass.

The Wolf’s Den
Weaving in and out of a weathered ravine cut into the mountainside, the Watch came upon a low, craggy entrance to what would be a rather large cave. The rugged looking men, dressed in greens and browns and covered in furs, led them into the Wolf’s Den as they called it.
A self-sustaining community within the unforgiving and cold Crane Mountains. It was explained to the team that these people lived outside the reach of the Kingdom of Aynemere, but not quite within the great beyond. All were refugees at one time or another who were rescued from the wilds and led to the Wolf’s Den and decided it was home. Cavetown
Remnants of the deep green of Watchcloaks could be seen on several of the men who had led the team here. When names were exchanged, the people of the Wolf’s Den used appropriate rank titles without being prompted – and with the proper respect.
Warm mugs of a sweet tasting malt-like drink were given out to the strangers and rescuers alike. Welcoming smiles accompanied firm handshakes. Eddaryck was the apparent leader and the one to shout to the distressed team within the pass. He bore a wooden medallion around his neck surprisingly similar to the ones found in the treehouse. Wylde, apparently had some followers. The team was asked about wounds and quickly healed by Eddaryck and his younger brother, Samuel with what they learned was druidic magic.
A reverent hush came over the small gathering as a slender woman made her way into their midst. Commanding the attention of all there without having said a word, she smiled at the team as she approached. She was remarkably beautiful for a human, at least until one noticed the graceful curve of her ears as they just peeked from beneath her auburn tresses. The hint of almond shape to her eyes and the golden green cast to her irises revealed a hint of elven ancestry. Planthryss
“My name is Planthryss. Welcome to our home.” Her voice had a slight lilt to it making it somewhat melodic and alluring.
There serenity of the scene was broken by a disturbance behind the gathering. Men were returning from outside with others in tow and two men being carried by others.
Planthryss politely excused herself and went to tend the wounded, healing each in turn with her druidic powers.
The cry of a baby could be heard from under a heavy cloak and Cohen took the babe out protectively. When the child made eye contact with the druid, she abruptly ceased her cries and smiled brightly.
Introductions were made all around and stories exchanged with the folk of the Wolf’s Den and the 4th Squad.

Monsters, lots of them
...kept coming...like a swarm of bugs

4th Squad was able to sleep, which was a surprise due to the heavy wind and snow outside the massive cavern. The cold – bitter and biting despite the fact that it was spring – seemed to keep the dead ettin from smelling too much, and in fact encased a good amount of the corpse in ice.

Near the end of Denn’s watch the scout saw a pair of weather-beaten figures moving unevenly up the stairs to the mouth of the cavern, and quietly alerted the others, who woke up slowly. Two orcs, apparently seeking shelter from the storm, made their way into the cave and were attacked by Tannis and Denn, who quickly dispatched the interlopers.

Later that morning the storm slowly abated, allowing the soldiers to see a snow-covered landscape before them, and a line of bugbears – six of them – headed up the same set of stairs. Bugbear01Acting quickly, Linfors, Cohen, and Oz dragged the dead ettin so it would hang over the edge of the cavern’s mouth and act as a menacing display of the squad’s badassity to the bugbears.

“Go find somewhere else to shelter or you get some of this, too!” yelled Linfors, trying to sound as menacing as possible. The bugbears seemed to notice, and muttered among themselves.

Human says we get shelter and and ettin meat, too!’ excitedly translated UrfTakur’Lach. The others, equally shocked at the uncharacteristically friendly offer, traded glances and questioning looks.

That’s not what he said, ’ countered F’gachtarkurbleaCH, the smallest of the six, in his typically whiny, accusatory tone.

Shut up smartass! I lead!’ retorted the seeming leader, and the bugbears, mostly nodding in agreement with the translation of promised food and shelter, continued.

Seeing clearly the malign intent of the monsters, the squad opened fire on the near-helpless goblin-kin, raining arrows, bolts, and spells down on them. Soon, several larger bugbear masters appeared – four of them – armed with whips and shouted commands, appeared behind the first group and drove them forward, up the stairs and eventually into the cavern, where a bloody melee ensued between the soldiers and monsters, as the bugbears shouted their ragged battle cries.

Where’s the food? ’ asked one, a surprised smile on his face as a small, black-faced humanoid tried to push him out of the cave and down the stairs.

Yeah…I thought we were invited!? ’ added another bugbear as he, too, was attacked.

The fight continued for some time and more monsters appeared out of the forest, to the point that eventually 12 bugbears were lined up on the stairs, yelling angrily and with great confusion over what they thought was a breakfast invitation, now gone horribly wrong. Once their blood was up, and the promise of food and shelter pulled back, they decided that a fight was the next best thing.

As if 12 hungry bugbears, feeling betrayed by Linfors’ less-than-stellar grasp of their language, weren’t bad enough for the squad to face, a loud grinding sound, of stone on stone, came from the back of the gaping cavern, and Tannis looked back to see several large skeleton-beasts, each with the skeletal head of a small dragon, and wielding very long, axe-bladed polearms, lumbering toward them.Skeletal dragonmen

Linfors, hearing the voices in his head, knew exactly what to do, and broke for the horses. Leaving the rest of the team to fend off what was left of the single-file line of bugbears marching slowly up the stairs in the bright morning sun, he ran for the black horse…the saddlebag…the sword! He knew he could control it and would save his men.

More fighting ensued – a lot more, actually, as the would-be breakfast guests were mostly slain and attention was shifted to the skeletal enemies. Linfors struck several mighty blows on one, dropping it, and then sprang into action against those facing his chums. Once the skeletal beasts were felled, Linfors saw a great opportunity for continued combat training for him and his men. He cackled, “Father always said, ‘Gotta finish what you started’” and gleefully plunged into a round of ‘Sarge Kicks Your Sorry Ass’ with the others.

Cut, thrust, parry, dance out of the way, cackle at the sorry performance of the others, repeat. Because the team attempted to disarm him or take him down without hurting him too badly, this went on for some time, despite the fact that Linfors was outnumbered 4:1. Finally, he was beaten down by Tannis’ heavy blows, and fell unconscious to the stone floor. Cohen, pretty steamed about the ‘training session,’ attempted repeatedly to break the blue-smoking sword, while the thing attempted to reason with him in his head.

’C’mon! We can kick some ass! Killin’ time, boy! It’s always killin’ time!’ Cohen refused to give in to the promised malt-liquor yard party of blood the sword promised. The sword, however, would not break, and so the young cleric tied a wire strap around the hilt, more or less preventing it from coming out of the scabbard. Wearing the longsword on his belt, along with the (other) magic short sword, he stood with his warhammer in one hand, a crossbow across his back, and his heavy steel shield on his other arm…looking like a walking armory with an itty-bitty shock of blond hair sticking out of the top.

While Wyglen slept, the others explored the open side chamber, from whence the skeletal horse monsters had come, and found large chunks of metal, along with some other stuff, before they moved out, taking with them only a few ettin fingers as trophies, and Linfor’s bruised ego.

Moving deeper into the mountains, and up into colder elevations, they found a massive tree, limned in ice, beneath which sat a frozen altar with an equally frozen man, silently stuck in mid-offering, a frozen cup of water in his hands. Linfors decided to keep watch outside while the others discovered a hidden door into tree and moved inside, up a spiral stair, on the trail of the loud cries of a baby. At the top of the stairs sat a great, frozen, bed chamber, with a dead elf woman on the bed, and a half-elf baby – or so it seemed – alive, crying, and still attached to the corpse by the umbilical cord.

Cohen, having experience with midwifery (although he preferred to call it other things, not enjoying the title of ‘wife’) ran in to try and help the baby, calmly advising the others in the details of childbirth. The team took in the utterly bizarre scene with thoughts like “ew!!” and “dude, that’s nasty” and even “she’d be hot if she weren’t dead, frozen, and still connected to that baby.”

Meanwhile, Linfors wandered around outside, blissfully unaware of the troubling scene found upstairs.

Dark Clouds
both literally and figuratively

Snowstorm Rolling thunder peals through the sky outside and the afternoon is darkened by heavy clouds. Lightning strikes briefly illuminate the darker recesses of the cavern. With the older carnage removed, the cave smell has improved somewhat – to tolerable. Not long after the sabre rattlings of the cumulus armies, the sky erupts into a melee with heavy rains, followed by hail. Then the all out war started, slushy snow and sleet blown by the wind reduced visibility outside the cavern to about 10 or 15 feet.
Waiting for the storm to pass, Cohen counts the money and catalogs the loot muttering to himself about the Woldenock. Ozweald makes busy by going over the blocks and circular engravings when he comes across an out of place inscription which he cannot decipher.
“You there! Heroes.” He mimics Captain Mandrake’s voice pretty well. “Ye learned ones, get over here and read this writing. We need to know everything we can about this place. Don’t want them nasty creatures spooning with you, now do you?”
On the side of a rectangular block is an inscription that was placed into the stone after its creation. Block-like letter style set deep into the rock, chiseled by strong hands.

Who does what? with what skill?


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