Scouting for Orcs
The group leaves Himartys behind and travels on the road south towards the city of Newport. Two days into their journey, late in the afternoon, they hear the sound of a horn blast ahead of them. They recognise it as an Orcish horn. As they stop to discuss what to do, Rinjiminee Haltergirdle quietens them as he listens intently. Somewhere behind them, he hears another horn sounding. With the Dragor River, wide and fast-flowing, on their left, they take the only course open to them and head north into the rugged grasslands. Willis grumbles that he could easily have swam the river to safety but agrees that he’d have to have left his horse behind. Even he couldn’t swim that far with a horse on his back.
With the light fading and the Orc horns still sounding behind them, the group come across an abandoned mill and farmstead. The buildings are in ruin, with the upper storeys all collapsed in. The ground floor walls are intact at least, though there are no roofs.
The barn looks shaky and ready to collapse. The farmhouse and the mill look sturdy enough on the ground floor. The gears for the mill are piled in a heap, and rotten with damp. The wooden slats on the water wheel have all but gone. The mill stones are still in place though.
After scouting around the place, the group decide to hide out in the mill and hope they survive the night. In a moment of genius, they come up with the plan of turning three of Morgrimm “Grim” Hammerbrow’s eggs into makeshift exploding booby traps. Two they bury on the road leading into the farm complex, believing that’s the way the Orcs will rush in to attack. The third they place by the back door into the farmhouse.
The horses are brought into the mill and with a combined effort, the group moves one of the mill stones to block the doorway leading inside. The waiting then begins. Rinjiminee clambers up to a perch in one corner of the mill, looking across the farmyard, one side of the farmhouse and out on to the main track leading up to the complex. Cedrick positions himself at another corner overlooking the barn and the other side of the farmhouse. Willis stands guard to the rear of the mill, overlooking the waterway to ensure no Orcs sneak up on them from behind. Grim is given the task of guarding the doorway.
After what feels like hours of waiting, Rinjiminee, finally spots movement in the farmyard. An Orc, cutting across the fields, towards the corner of the mill he is at. A second Orc is seen at the far end of the farmhouse. Meanwhile, Cedrick also spots an Orc moving towards the farmhouse. The Orcs are scouting! An unusual tactic for the creatures, who normally attack all out and in numbers.
Shifting back into the shadows, Rinjiminee watches as the Orc reaches the mill almost directly below his perch. The one by the farmhouse circles the building towards the back door stopping to peer into the windows. Cedrick also waits quietly. The one he spotted at the other side of the farmhouse disappears out of sight to the front of the building. A fourth is seen leaving the barn. It had gone unnoticed until then.
The Orc at the mill heads towards the blocked doorway. Grim cocks his slug-thrower waiting. The Orc at the back of the farmhouse creeps up to the back door and KA-BOOM! The Orc is blown to pieces, splattering the entire farmyard in slivers of flesh and body parts.
The Orc at the mill door turns at the sound of the explosion just as it steps into Grim’s sight. Firing through the whole in the middle of the mill stone, the Orcs head explodes from the slug impact, instantly killing it. The Orc that had left the barn, stops, dumb-founded for a moment before retreating back through the barn and off into the night. The final Orc, which had been in the farmhouse, flees out of the building and down the track. It treds onto one of the buried eggs and KA-BOOM! Another Orc is blown to bits.
The night is silent once more. Wondering if there are any more, Cedrick volunteers to have a look around. He scales the wall of the mill and sneaks off towards the farmhouse. He circles the farmhouse and stops short at the point furthest from the mill. He spies four Orcs coming across the fields and heading into the barn. He retraces his steps back around the farmhouse and makes his way back to the mill just as four more Orcs come across the fields from that side, heading directly towards the mill.
Cedrick makes a dash for it and clambers back over the wall near where Rinjiminee stands guard. As the Orcs come in range, Rinjiminee opens fire with his slug-thrower. Willis towers over the Wee Man, ready to tackle any Orcs that make it to the wall.
As the party lose themselves in the fight at one corner of the mill, the Orcs in the barn rush forward and move the mill stone aside. They enter the building but Grim meets their attack. The battle is fierce and wounds are taken by the party, Cedrick quite badly but the party win out in the end. The Orc bodies are cleared and the mill stone rolled back into place covering the doorway.
Again their battle lulls and silence falls across the farm. Several minutes tick by before there is a snarling roar as more Orcs rush in. There is a KA-BOOM! from the track as a group coming up the road step on the last egg. Other groups charge at the mill in a full assault. Rinjiminee fires as much as he can before switching to his sickle, with Willis once more with him. Cedrick is hard-pressed at the other corner of the building. Grim, watched through the holes in the walls as the Orcs rushing the doorway prepare to climb the wall. He takes the notion of smashing his hammer at the mill wall, believing it rotting enough that his strike will pass right through, striking the Orc beyond. The smash, does break through the wooden planks of the wall but the Orc isn’t hit. The whole wall of the mill seems to shake.
Willis, seeing this, has an idea. He drops his quarterstaff and shoulder charges the wall just where two Orcs are climbing. At the same time, Grim pushes hard against another section. With a heave, the wall tilts outward alarmingly before crashing down outside. The Orcs are trapped underneath, most killed under the weight of the planks. A couple survive but are quickly killed.
The Shadowman Cometh
With no barrier to protect them, the group enter melee against the last of the Orcs. The battle is swift this time as the last Orcs are slain. Before the next onslaught Rinjiminee and Grim return to the mill to check on the horses while Cedrick and Willis head into the farmhouse to scout around. They stop short as a shadow moves towards them.
Willis has seen it’s like before. It’s black cloak almost flowing around it. It’s skeletal like features under the hood are enough to make one queasy, especially the eyes that glow with a dim red light. The four orcs that are also present do nothing but watch. The figure approaches Willis and Cedrick slowly. It speaks in rasping voice, “The Eye was ours and will be again. You will never have it!”
The shadowman then attacks, it’s sword black, coated with some ichor. The creature is fast and takes the two party members by surprise. It slices at Willis and Cedrick. They both feel the start of pain burning through their wounds. Cedrick screams in pain.
At that sound, Rinjiminee and Grim, rush to the farmhouse. Inside, Willis and Cedrick do their best. As the their two fellows enter, the Shadowman becomes distracted for a moment, not out of surprise but to concentrate on sending silent commands to the Orcs. They rush forward to attack the new comers.
Cedrick is losing badly in the fight, falling every closer to unconsciousness. While Rinjiminee and Grim tackle the Orcs, making short work of them in all. Willis finally deals a death blow to the shadowman creature and turns his attention to help with the Orcs. Unfortunately, the shadowman isn’t dead and swings the sword wildly around. It catches Cedrick and the burglar drops to the floor. Grim, seeing a fellow Varanganni fall, puts a supreme effort into tackling the last remaining Orc and the Shadowman. He slays both.
Rinjiminee is already at Cedrick’s side but believes his wounds to grave for his meagre first aid skills. As dawn approaches, the group decide that Cedrick’s best hope of survival is to head to the nearest village and hope they have a healer.
The nearest village, known as Bionest, does have a wise woman. An grandmotherly Varanganni who takes charge of the group as they enter the settlement. She hears no complaints as she ushers them to lay Cedrick in a bed and sends them off for breakfast while she works on the wounds. She does enough to bring him back from the brink but it will take days for him to recover fully.
Rosa then sees to the others, humming and singing a song to herself. Willis listens to the words carefully. Perhaps due to his performing talents but he can’t help but think the song has a hidden meaning. Rosa explains that the song is quite old. She learned it from her grandmother, who learned it from her grandmother before that. She sings the words once more. She can’t answer any more than that. If they are that keen to know more, perhaps they should ask a musician or a bard. They travel around a lot and pick up all sorts of information about songs and music.
Softly as in a morning sunrise,
The eye of love comes stealing,
Into a new born day.
Flaming with all the glow of sunrise,
A burning kiss is sealing,
A vow that all betray.
For the passions that thrill love
And take you high to heaven
Are the passions that kill love
And let it fall away
Softly as in a morning sunrise
The eye that gave you glory
Will take it all away
So ends the story,
Softly as it fades away
Softly as it fades away
Softly as it fades away
Softly as it fades away