Note: Matteo was not present for this session.
Cleaning Up After the Bandits
While Matteo looted the bodies of the bandits and did some scouting, Val and Grimm investigated the camp. There, they found a halfling who had been beaten, robbed, and tossed in to a sack; presumably to be sold to the orcs.
Nebin, the halfling, asked if he could accompany the rest of the group. He had left his family to go exploring, before the bandits had caught him. Even though he had faced adversity, he wasn’t interested in returning home just yet.
A bit wary because of the halfling’s stature, Val and Grimm agreed. Matteo scouted ahead trying to find a clear path, and the group moved forward.
While Matteo was scouting, the rest of the party heard a death-cry over the next hill…
The Terror of Orcs
Nebin dashed ahead, trying to hide, as he saw a group of orcs with three human prisoners. The humans had been tied with ropes, and one of them had been slain; it seemed that the orcs were trying to interrogate the scared humans.
The lead orc, a massive brute with a greatsword, sniffed out the halfling. With a cry, both orcs and adventurers lead in to combat.
The fierce orc terror and his companion, a marauder, charged in; the two succeeded in knocking Grimm and Valorie around, supported by the powerful shots of an orc bolt thrower, a warrior-female.
Grimm rushed through the two to attack the orc raider that was holding the prisoner’s hostage, after the raider slew another of the hostages.
One of the orcs had priestly magic, and using a curse from his wounded eye socket, he began to weaken the adventurers, making them more vulnerable to his allies attacks.
The party received unexpected aid from Dylan, a wandering judge devoted to Erathis, who had been traveling the foothills recording the stories of the people and reminding them of their duty to the law and civilization. After seeing the crimes of the orcs and the plight of the adventurers struggling against the powerful brutes, he joined the battle.
Calling down bright, burning light on the orcs, he drew the ire of the orc terror. As Valorie and Nebin battles the marauder, and Grimm rescued the hostage, Dylan dashed through the underbrush, using his magic to daze and sear the orc chasing him.
Valorie and Nebin slew their foe, but not without price; Nebin became weakened by the orc’s divine magic. Valorie rushed to test her own might against the priest, and Nebin rushed to aid Dylan.
The nimble halfling’s thrown dagger took the brute in the eye, and with a roar of pain, the orc hacked at the halfling. Neither Nebin’s agility nor Dylan’s protective light proved able to prevent the rage of the enraged orc, and the great sword stabbed through Nebin, slaying the halfling.
Fueled by rage, Grimm struck down his foe and charged the terror, crushing his chest with a single powerful blow.
The party rallied, cutting down the two remaining orcs, sorrow in their hearts over the plight of their friends.
Dylan introduced himself to the group as Matteo returned. They freed the last hostage, and Dylan took his name as well as that of his wife and brother, who the orcs had slain. Before the war, he had been a baker, and his wife had been from a family of farmers.
The group dug graves and performed Erathis’s burial rights over the three fallen, as a raven picked over the corpses of the orcs. After having pulled out the remaining eye of the orc that had slain Nebin, the raven took off, its gory treat dangling from its beak.
Dylan noticed the bird, and followed it with his keen eyes; the bird was flying to Castle Rema, now Dolthan’s fortress. This, combined with a second copy of the map and sketches, lead Dylan to join with the party; he recognized that the drawn amulet was a sacred relic of Rema and Erathis, and wanted to know why Telemon would have it, and why Dolthan was after it.
Matteo escorted the baker back to the refugee camp, telling the rest of the party he would catch up. The rest went ahead, still in a cloud of sorrow over Nebin’s fall.
The Dwarven Merchant
The party were in to the mountains proper; Dylan was growing exhausted, both by the walk and with the wound he had suffered fighting the orc terror. Still, they pressed on, encountering a small group of goblins. The party fought through with a little exhaustion, but no real injuries.
However, after a few more miles, they encountered another band of goblins – attacking a dwarven merchant and his two guards. Grimm charged ahead, seeing that his kin were in danger, and the rest of the party followed.
While Grimm was showing the caravan guards how to really fight, a new comer engaged in the battle. Carric, an elf druid who was also seeking Telemon in order to figure out a way to drive the orcs back.
Carric, and his hawk companion, aided the dwarves and the party with the goblins.
Instead of slaying them all, one goblin, Yik-tak, surrendered. Dyaln ruled that according to the laws of Remthal, the goblin had to work off the cost of whatever they could have stolen. Thus, Yik-Tak became a guide, a porter, and a weapon polisher for the merchant.
The merchant, who was an old friend of Grimm’s father, recognized Grimm and gave him some good news from home. He then rewarded Grimm with a new shield, and offered gold to the rest of his rescuers.
Taking Grimm’s old shield to give to the dwarf’s mother, the merchant headed off, letting the party advance up the final peaks, to the hermit’s recluse.
Telemon, at last!
The party climbed the final slope, reaching what Dylan recognized as an old shrine to Erathis. Grimm recognized it as dwarven construction, and ancient at that. They found Telemon sleeping within; waking the sage, they explained why they were there and what was going on down in the lower lands.
The sage began to tell them the story of Rema and the Four Amulets, as he let the party share his food stores. The party ate while listening, until the sage dozed off again. Instead of waking them, they decided to rest themselves in the fires of the shrine, while they waited for Matteo.