Betrayal within the walls of Ldamven by Mogbakh and the Iron Skulls during the battle against Glormul and his orcish horde of Broken Fang raiders had placed the Agents of Prince Sevlen in a fierce struggle for survival alongside the town’s human defenders. Outnumbered three to one, and with enemies already in their midst, the guardians of Ldamven suffered massive losses before the humanoid war band could be turned away.
The assistance of allies like Senvus Broel and the storm giant Oralon proved to be invaluable, helping to turn the tide of battle against The Fang – resulting in the death of Mogbakh, the capture of Glormul and the destruction of the thunderous war-drum. Though ultimately defeated, the horde’s attack had nearly been the end of Ldamven and had cost the town dearly in both blood and damage. Perhaps worst of all, if the cryptic words of the orcs’ captured leader Glormul were to be believed, the danger was not over.
Katarday, Twenty-fourth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
With efforts to bury the dead and restore order well underway, the Party took leave of Ldamven, purchasing the services of a small sailing ship to transport them to the capital. The prisoner Glormul would be made to face the Prince’s justice, and a full report of the incident would need to be given. If the attack had indeed been some manner of success as the Black Orc insisted, further danger to the town could be close at hand
Elsewhere, a wounded Hilg freed himself from the ground, having awoken to find himself buried up to his neck in the earth. His mission to report the Party’s delay in Ldamven to Welitryn Harrobalaea had been a success, but he had been attacked on the return trip by the Group’s former “ally” Defon. The mind-wiped rogue had ambushed the Half-Orc with a band of hired muscle, later retreating when the druid proved more formidable than the ruffians had anticipated.
How he had come to be buried so, Hilg was not sure. He had walked away from the attack fairly unscathed and was not followed to the best of his knowledge. By this time he was assuredly overdue, and the Group would need him if Glormul and The Fang were still raiding villages and testing the defenses of Ldamven. Little did he know that as far as the Party was aware, “Hilg” had already returned, and had aided them in the Battle of Ldamven.
Using his wild shape to take flight, Hilg raced to rejoin his companions, eventually arriving to the nearly overrun town and learning that the Party had sailed toward Cosolen after the battle. Again taking flight, the druid followed the coast, hoping to catch his teammates en route. While unable to rejoin his allies before their arrival to the capital, Hilg did see the distant sails of numerous ships in the Voldor Bay, their destination clear… Cosolen.
His reunion with the Party proved a strange one, as Maldus professed to have battled alongside him back in Ldamven and Alamir desired to discuss repayment of a monetary loan recently made. Informing them both that something was clearly amiss, Hilg offered to swear before a Truthseeker, who would immediately see through any falsehood in his tale. Maldus agreed, and the pair traveled to the Minel farmstead to seek out the Truthseeker paladin Grandon Minguld.
Despite the lateness of the hour, Minguld was awake and upon hearing the bizarre story, consented to listening as both men spoke of their recent days. Unable to detect deceit in either version of events, the paladin explained that while neither had deliberately lied, one or both of them could still be mistaken, and be telling a lie that they believed to be the truth. Thanking him, the pair returned to the city proper, forming a plan along the way to confront the double if he appeared again.
With the remainder of the Group roused and apprised of the False Hilg situation, the plan to catch the imposter was put into place, as Hilg concealed himself in animal form – posing as a familiar for Rarnok. The gnome sorcerer passed his time on night watch instructing his illusionary pupil Dokari on the subtleties of the arcane arts. The Half-Orc druid meanwhile, kept a constant vigil, greatly desiring to see who or what had been impersonating him and why.
Fireday, Twenty-fifth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Having not been visited by the False Hilg as they had hoped, the Group kept a weather eye open as they hurried through various tasks prior to their meeting with Prince Sevlen. Rarnok, Maldus and Stoat made their way to the antiquities shop of Forberon, intent on enlisting the broker to market the dangerous Vampiric Sword taken from Glormul. They found the shop to be overcrowded and the prices inflated far beyond their normal ranges.
Shop patrons spoke of a vast orcish invasion descending from the Krond Heights, sweeping through the northern and eastern portions of the kingdom, laying waste to any who stood their ground. Word of legion-size humanoid forces, a fleet of refugee ships and the rumored return of His Majesty Archmage Welren Endremin from the “nether realms” quickly caught the ears of the Agent customers. They hastily made their way to the front, motioning Forberon to them.
With quick instruction, the Agents deposited the Sword to the shop and picked up previously ordered pieces before moving with purpose toward the Prince’s Palace. Stoat’s newly arrived Dire Weasel, garnered as payment for his past service, was ordered to be delivered to the Military Academy for training as a mount. Rarnok meanwhile dispatched a courier toward the hamlet of Tigden, bearing an urgent letter to Brendolm and Relmir with news of the invasion.
Elsewhere, Alamir visited the local Halls of the Valiant, browsing the collection of ancient letters and journal entries spoken of by Senvus Broel. The story unfolded just as Broel had described, with the fall of the lost temple to treachery and the curse of the traitorous Sir Peligras. The more recent letters from Guardian Glandal Strond of Blerden indicated that a site believed to be the lost temple was thoroughly inhabited by orcs.
Reaching the end of the collected documents, Alamir took to his next task, the magical augmentation of Rarnok’s bastard sword, as the two had discussed on the ship from Ldamven. Meanwhile, en route to the Prince’s Palace, the other Party members called upon Dokari to attempt to verify the various rumored information regarding the invasion. Using her scrying ability to view persons encountered by the Group, the illusion rapidly surveyed the eastern coast of the Voldor Bay.
In Ldamven, Smitty the locksmith was seen continuing the cleanup efforts from the previous day – no orcs, no new battle. In Ewden, Eivn Brazebay, wife to the fallen Party member Burdon Brazebay, was seen speaking at a worried town hall meeting – again no orcs, no battle. In Lnonven, the young woman Cosva, saved from the murderous slaver Sevrinvaln Limnurn rode southward on a wagon, possessions filling it’s cargo space – no immediately visible orcs.
Further north, Edton Birorn, captain of the guard of Cunvden was viewed actively fighting orcish warriors in the town’s interior. Hearing of the struggle, Maldus directed a sending spell to the embattled captain, allowing him to give a brief real time update on the status of the fight. Birorn’s reply indicated his belief that the defense would not hold, and the town would be lost. One final scry, on the man Celdren in Itven revealed him to be unconscious, with orcs moving about him.
Arriving to the Palace at last, the Group was quickly ushered into the assembled war-room of the Prince and his advisers. A large map bearing troop figures displayed an intelligence report similar to the information gained by the Party’s scrying. While not as massive or hopeless as rumored, the invasion was definitely quite real, and enveloped the northern half of the kingdom’s eastern lands. In the far north, battles raged as well, though with slower advancement.
One final marker adorned the map, a plain red cylinder placed over the map’s depiction of the Voldorwoods. Stepping forward to answer the Group’s inquiry, the powerful elven sorceress Flamarze and the once-again elven Ellanelle Arbordawn described the marker as the site of Nilu according to his most recent message. The elder druid spoke of a “battle of the elements” raging in the heart of the massive woodlands. Its relation to the invasion, if any, was unknown.
With their status update on Captain Birorn and Cunvden given, the Party received the Prince’s blessing to join the force sailing to Lnonven with the aim of marching north to reinforce or retake Cunvden. The ship, “Bouri’s Dragon” set sail promptly carrying an elite force of soldiers, wizards and the fully assembled Party. It’s late night arrival to the small docks of Lnonven provided the Group time to rest while the troops unloaded gear and readied their mounts.
In the interim, Rarnok again took to mentoring his illusionary disciple, who – to everyone’s astonishment – managed to successfully cast a shield spell upon her orb-self. Elated at her achievement, the elven projection celebrated the milestone and envisioned the power that might one day be hers. As both a reward and a means to maintain humility in the intelligent item, Maldus read to Dokari from Every Cloud, messages of mercy and faith.
Homeday, Twenty-sixth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Setting off toward Cunvden at their wagon’s pace, the Party was slightly behind the detachment of soldiers and spellcasters who hastened ahead to the impending fight. A sunny day with clear skies, the conditions were perfect for battling orcs. As beings with eyes unsuited to fighting in the daylight, the humanoids would likely opt to avoid combat until the fall of night… or so the Group thought.
Charging the Party from behind nearby rock formations, an advance squad of orcish barbarians attacked the forward-most riders of the Group’s company. The Agents reacted quickly, dismounting and taking up defensive positions to protect the wagon. Hilg, using his druidic magic encircled the fight with a searing wall of fire, forcing additional enemies to suffer severe burns for rushing forth. Enraged, the barbarians continued to press the attack, refusing to be deterred.
Now fully recovered from their initial unprepared state, the Party honed their strategy to maximum effect. Stoat took position atop the wagon, dodging attacks while sending deadly arrows into oncoming enemies. Rarnok and Alamir held the front line, while Maldus saw to the Group’s wounds and wielded his Mace of Disruption to solid effect.
The thud of a small boulder landed next, narrowly missing Hilg as a mercenary hill giant lobbed throws over the wall of fire and into the fighting. With the orcs largely handled, Alamir invoked a potent divine challenge to the mammoth creature, forcing it to abandon it’s ranged tactics and charge into the fray. The prepared hold spell of Maldus trapped the giant fast, immobilizing the monster within the blazing wall of fire. A flaming sphere courtesy of Rarnok did little to lift the giant’s spirits.
With few barbarians remaining, Hilg demonstrated the cruelty of his orcish blood, casting a heartless baleful polymorph spell upon one enemy, reducing it to the form of a small monkey. The creature, nearly mindless with rage attempted to continue its fight, with minimal effect due to its new body. As the last of their foes fell to the might of the Party, the Agents remained focused on the mission ahead. Clearly the situation in Cunvden was dire if the invaders had patrols this far south of their target.