Initially intent on spending their allocated downtime in the capital on leisurely pursuits, the members of the Party had instead became involved in other affairs; as responsibility took precedence over recreation. Rarnok and Relmir’s trip to deliver Brendolm’s sister Regila had revealed the threat of the mongrelmen to the hamlet of Tigden, forcing the towering Relmir to stay behind, and the Party to dispatch their allies Plonnor and Norforn to reinforce the settlement.
The arrival of Soother Vrasthaldol to Cosolen had obligated Maldus to the needs of The Merciful Fates leading unexpectedly to the capture of Grusenomar Vleddril, and the services of the tracker Holcrel. Meanwhile, a request for aid from wizard’s guild broker Forberon steered Stoat to the home of Duke Ilthan, seeking a figurine claimed stolen; and prompting a vision with eerie similarities to another from the Group’s past.
Finally, news of the druid Nilu’s need of assistance stirred Hilg and Ellanelle from inactivity, and put a new mission before the Group, far to the north, in the heart of the Voldorwoods. Relaxation, it seemed, would have to wait for another day…
Pelsday, Ninth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Assembled in the early hours of the morning and ready for departure, the Party spurred their mounts onward, commencing the Group’s second trek along the coastal roadway. Though going around the Voldor Bay on land would lengthen the journey considerably, it allowed the Party to accompany Jaren and Jiffar for a time, as the pair began their trip to escort a number of the newly returned women back to their various homes throughout the region.
The miles of the caravan’s movement were marked by light, but steady rainfall; the vast majority of the day being both soggy and mildly windswept. As the overcast day darkened with the approach of night, the procession located a suitable site and made camp, eager for the shelter of tents and the warmth of fire. Having traveled the route before, the Party knew that another two days lay between their current position and the town of Ldamven.
Katarday, Tenth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Continuing onward amidst cloud-covered skies that threatened inclement weather once more, the makeshift caravan began to see the first signs of sickness from the previous days exposure to wind and rain. Maldus moved about the group, using his gifts to curtail ailment wherever possible, while still tending to as many individuals as he could. A brief drizzle intruded on the day, but thankfully not until after camp had been made and everyone was safely sheltered.
Fireday, Eleventh of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
With the third and final day of travel completed, the caravan arrived to the walled town of Ldamven late into the evening. The search for more comfortable lodging for their large group was time consuming, but successful. Happy reunions amongst those women originating from the town both lifted spirits as well as provided additional space and food for the weary travelers. The familiar “Silver Pony Inn” provided room for the Agents, and welcome rest was had.
Homeday, Twelfth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Fully packed and set to continue northward, the Party was stopped up short at the site of orcs outside the town’s northern gate. The humanoids wore plated armor and bore painted skulls on their breastplates and shields. The oddity however, was that the creatures stood amongst human soldiers. Looking more closely, the Group discerned the men as not being town guardsmen, but Cosdol regulars; men of the kingdom’s standing army.
Unsure as to what was going on, Maldus and Hilg moved forward, gaining access to the unit’s captain with their commission papers. The captain explained that the orcs present were of the Iron Skulls tribe, a smaller tribe opposed to the larger, bloodthirsty Broken Fang. A small detachment of the Skull’s warriors and scouts had been assisting the soldiers in regards to several Fang attacks that had plagued the town and its surroundings for days.
Memories of the merchant Avdenbren surfaced momentarily in the minds of the longer-standing Party members. He had spoken of his trades with the Iron Skulls during the Group’s meeting with Guldella Olmlor back when he was the “Dark Lady’s” prisoner in Bolnven. The merchant had insisted they were peaceful with humans – that they had warned towns of impending attack and assisted in battles against the Fang. Perhaps his stories had been true after all.
The lead Skull, Mogbakh, spoke in heavily broken Brandobian and told the Party that the seemingly scattered attacks were in fact probes, searching for weak points in Ldamven’s defenses. A larger attack would soon follow, likely with the intent of razing the town and taking its goods and people. The human captain explained that reinforcements could be had from the fort at Nurden, two-to-three days ride northeast, if human confirmation of the report could be made.
Instructing Jaren and Jiffar to remain in town with their charges, the Party agreed to help the soldiers, pledging to take the fight to the Broken Fang and acquire the necessary confirmation. There would be one minor detour to be made, as Maldus had earlier that morning agreed to visit the grounds of the “eccentric warlock” Argenon Remel’s tower ruin with Dokari. The elven illusion desired to check on the state of her former master’s home, having been its caretaker for decades.
The trip to the tower proved startling indeed as moments after their arrival Dokari suggested they all leave quickly. With prodding, she explained that during her reminiscence of Remel, she had spotted him momentarily with a scrying, having not been able to do so since his departure twenty years prior. She described him as “changed somehow”, “himself, but not” and as “angry”. Most disconcerting of all, she stated that he had seen Maldus.
Exiting the premises, the Group moved east, intending to set a camp half a days travel from Ldamven and offer themselves as bait. Maldus used the time to make a request of his crystal ball companion. One that he had been waiting until he felt more trusting to make. With assurances from Dokari that he was her new master, Maldus offered the name of a person he wished her to scry upon, and if alive moniter, his daughter Mindoleen Randorian.
Having been abducted when the Randorian’s lodge was attacked and set ablaze, Mindoleen had not been seen by anyone since. A scrying would at least confirm if she were still alive, and that, if true would be enough for the time being. With a slow nod, Dokari called upon her crystal ball and brought the girl to her mind. Mindoleen sat on the ground in a camp of sorts, stitching together scraps of cloth to form a larger piece. She was indeed alive…
Elated by the news, Maldus returned his attention to the matter at hand. The camp had been made, and the trap was set, all that was left was to see if the Fang would take the bait. The camp’s hearty fire broke the darkness and Cosdrelita’s music filled the night air. As the Party had been hoping, the target proved a tempting one, and orc ambushers soon crept their way toward the camp – their trap would indeed be sprung this night.
Not being taken by surprise, the Party vanquished the beasts quickly, turning the tables on the ambushers and catching them unprepared for a full assault. The orcs feigned a retreat, attempting to allow their fellows to destroy the Group’s provisions and slay their horses, but a timely decision not to stray too far from camp left that plan dead in the water. A single captive remained, more than enough to confirm the reports for the Captain.
Godday, Thirteenth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Returning to Ldamven, the Party found the captain away, having evidently already dispatched a rider to the fort and taken his men out on patrol. The Iron Skull Mogbakh was soon located, being near the tower ruins of Argenon Remel. The Skull interrogated the captured Fang and learned the name of the Fang’s area leader, the Black Orc Glormul. A scrying revealed the enemy laired in the daylight hours, but no exact location could be determined. With the prisoner being of no further value, Mogbakh promptly slew him.
Now having a target of value to pursue, the Party decided to stay the night in the safety of the town’s walls before going out to find this Glormul. If the head of this Broken Fang snake could be removed, the impending raid might fall apart before it occurred, and perhaps they could continue their journey. In the interim, Rarnok met with the townsman Smitty, using the smith’s talents to make trophies of orc fangs he had extracted earlier.
Veshday, Fourteenth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Setting out at first light to get as much distance from the day as possible, the Party headed east and south, passing their previous campsite and following tracks into the rising regions nearing the edges of the Napalago Hills. The trail pointed the Group deeper into the hills, soon revealing a cave entrance. As the Party took up defensive positions near the opening, Stoat slipped inside, scouting the cave until utter blackness gave him pause, but revealing that orcs were definitely within.
Booby trapping the deeper passageway with a spike stones spell, Hilg informed the Group of the area to be avoided and made himself ready for the inevitable battle. As night arrived, howls of pain emerged from the deep, and the Party knew the moment was at hand. Unable to bypass the spikes, the orcs soon exited elsewhere and returned to the cave from the main entrance. Now walled in by their own magic, the Party fought the raging humanoids for dear life.
Orc warriors funneled into the space, attempting to overwhelm the Group by way of numbers and sheer brute force. The Party reacted with superhuman speed, an effect brought about through Rarnok’s haste spell. Ellanelle Arbordawn, bolstered by the powerful magic, was as blurred lightning – her twin leaf blades moving so swiftly as to be almost imperceptible save for the red misting elicited from those beasts nearest her.
Maldus, calling upon the blinding white magic of his flash of lightning spell, left small groups of the humanoids unable to see and ready to be cut down. Meanwhile, from his hidden spot along the cave’s wall, Stoat gave arrows flight as he maneuvered to retain his concealment. Hilg, armed with his trusty flame blade, moved about the battle, fighting through the screaming horde and doling out magical enhancements to his allies.
Although ultimately victorious, the fight had inflicted considerable damage on the Group, costing them a Party member. Ellanelle Arbordawn, after fighting with fury and skill, had eventually been overwhelmed; felled as the multitude of orcs barred Maldus from reaching her in time. While the cleric of Selandi saw to his allies’ wounds, Hilg performed a reincarnation, returning the wood elf to life, but – as with Zeph before her, in the form of a halfling.
With all threats in the immediate area neutralized, the Group set a watch, and rested to gather its strength. Ellanelle, horrified at the turn of events, sat alone in the dark recesses of the cave.