Heroes of Estilin

Xago hate Trolls

During the few weeks in Critterville, we captured four scouts sneaking around. After some “minor persuasion” one of the scouts, who named himself Santos, gave up some good information. He detailed some of the Lions Hammer plans. It didn’t sound good. it seemed the Lions Hammer had employed some Dwarven mercenary clan that fed their rage on some sort of chemical, which made them go berserk. There was also 500 head of cavalry on its way to the island. He had a couple other bits of bad news for us, but then he mentioned that the Lions Hammer was always going to destroy this island when they left. Some of the mercenary groups headed this way was to take care of the dwarven colony already here.

With that we decided to take the prisoners to the dwarves and let them decide for themselves what to do with the information. during the week long march to the dwarves we were attacked, but after I severed the forearms from one of the men, his mates bolted. Not long after that Alvanas arrived in our camp. Everyone seemed surprised that he was alive since we hadn’t seen him in a few weeks. He told us he had gone to estilin to get some training from the thieves guild that he thought would be useful in our fight. one of the prisoners accused Alvanas of being in with the Lions Hammer and was rewarded with death. the remaining prisoners, aside from Santos were eliminated along the rest of the march. Santos gave the same information to the dwarves as he had given us and even a bit extra. We left Santos in the care of the dwarves and headed off to find the witches.

It seemed that Al and Lorick had been to this place before and knew where to find a bridge and the door. we entered a cavern and then took a fork that sloped up. we finally came to a corridor with many doors and we tried them all. one of them housed a small and very annoying gnome. he talked and talked and we couldn’t get him to leave us be, but he finally got sleepy and went back to his hole to sleep. Then we had to pass through a cage wiith a rhinoceros in it. the beast didn’t seem to realize we were there. after we passed that we entered some sort of lecture hall and beyond that a library. this seemed to be a dead end, but closer inspection of one of the closets revealed a ladder going up. I began climbing up when Lorick cried out and yelled that there was an invisible troll in the room attacking him. He created some form of magic arrow that pointed at the troll, so he claimed, So I attacked…..

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Alvanas Byanim Log 11
'Witch' Way? (Game 11)

As I return to our small hamlet, Critterville as it has been named, things seem amiss. I returned alone, leaving Faris behind to deal with her part of this plan. The rest of my companions are not about when I arrive—though I did not think that they would be just waiting for me. Hopefully they are dealing with some of the hobgoblin menace.

As I walk into town, I hear the quiet whispers—filled with fears of destruction and death—yet there are others that do not seem to suffer the same fears. The mayor informs me that spies had been located, or scouts from the Lions Hammer, and the others have taken them to the dwarves. I am sure there are other scouts, probably some living within the town. Some probably in contact with the Lions Hammer daily. Maybe even Faris. I wish I knew which side she is playing.

Through the dark I travel, a few days since I left the town. Two men come running out of the brush, eyes filled with fear. I let them continue. I am sure they are Lions Hammer and I am sure that fear is from Xago. Perhaps they will warn other scouts to stay away.

It is morning when I catch up to my fellow party members. They have a few men tied up, one of them without hands.

Over breakfast, I tell the other briefly of my journey to Estilin—I needed to train and had to use the resources that the guild has.

From the sounds of the town though, the fear of the Lions Hammer attack and a Dwarven rebellion might be close. Seems like the plan is moving forward.

When we arrive at the dwarves, after a rough travel involving the fortunate death of a prisoner who was trying to pin myself as a spy, I allow the others to take the remaining prisoners in. I check on the hobgoblin camp. Being used again, as I expected. At least it is not bigger. I think when it is time, I will poison this camp also.

It is uncovered, through some interrogation of one of the prisoners, who wants to join us and claims to be an former commander of the Lions Hammer, that there are six different “doomsday” strategies in place to destroy the island when the Hammer is done.

1. Doomsday Machines—the dwarves can lead us to them.
2. A crazy dwarven clan being brought to the island—perhaps we can sink them in the ocean before they arrive
3. Some goo like creatures that will eat everything living

He did not know the others, and knew few details about the ones he did. Odd for a former commander.

Well we head to the witches. Not one of the doomsday strategy, but the Ice Gem that is wanted by those fire creatures Padric spoke of could help with the volcano doomsday machines. As we know where they live, per the dwarves prior, we travel up into the volcano rather than toward the flying bird creatures.

We reach a hallway with four hidden doors. One takes Bjorn and Lorick to the top of the volcano, two lead to the home of the most annoying gnome, and one leads to a rhinoceros. Past the rhinoceros cage, we find a door with nine locks on it. Perhaps the witches. I take care of the lock with ease, though it might have been unnecessary, and we enter.

Within the chamber, we find a large room with a podium and space for people to sit. Beyond there is a room that has books and a large desk with numerous drawers. Lorick finds a few secret doors in that room. Some look like dorm rooms, one has a ladder that leads up, and the last one has a pile of bones with an unseen force—Lorick tells there is an invisible troll who is angry and attacks….

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What darkness I've seen
Lorrick's Log

I’m not dead?

Hearing faint voices, I stumbled from the cavern following the orc who called himself Xagon. We met a ½ elf on our flight from the slave cave. I think that he was trying to rescue me and he attacked the orc. I was light headed from the torture and the that Cyclops club. I manage to look into the soul of the ½ elf and managed to convince him that the orc was rescuing me. He was trying to find allies or ways to overthrow the lion’s hammer. His name was Lorein? I asked him if there was a place for me to rest and he showed me to a tree with rather large roots that formed a cozy hole. I was about to fall asleep when the torrent of rain washed down and awakened me again.

I really needed to rest and my head hurt something awful. My joints hurt from the torture. I had no spells. Xagon managed to find some of my gear. This damn rain was going to stop me from getting to rest. Then I heard the voiced again. Lorein asked if I heard them. I told them they must be ghosts because I’ve been hearing things since I left the cave. In my delirium I really believed it was my comrade’s ghosts to haunt me like that old woman. . .

When Xagon saw them and I noticed Bjorn and Padrick I suspected that they wanted to be put to rest. Since I’m the only one that they knew that was a holy man. I went to do my duty. When I got close to Padrick I reached out and poked him, I’ve never touched a ghost before. He squealed. At that moment I knew that my comrades were alive thank the goddess.

Padrick healed me. I could think my head joints no longer hurt. I was still tired but I could travel. We described to Lorien where the town of Critterville was and he knew the way. When we arrived at Critterville we met up with the lady who beat the snot out of me at the battle on the beach. She was civil and Padrick and I were as well. Bjorn wanted nothing to do with her. Padrick, I guess, feeling indebted to her for saving my life promised to help her and she collected almost immediately on the debt.

She informed us that Padrick and only he would accompany her to rescue her brother. Of course I wasn’t going to leave Padrick alone with the mercenary. Most agreed with me, Bjorn took a little convincing. One the road she out maneuvered us again. She appeared behind me threatening to kill me if we didn’t turn back. Bjorn was like ok and left. Al had slipped on an amulet of invisibility and disappeared before her attack. I prayed that he would be enough to protect Padrick and we returned to camp.

Later Padrick the mercenary and her brother came back. She paid for Padrick’s service with information on the witches. Bjorn was trying to get rid of her and Xagon kept insulting her and she was offering her help to get rid of the lion’s hammer. She left. Bjorn and I consulted with the dwarves and with no traction their we headed out to the Dwarven city to try to convince the dwarven council of the Lion’s Hammer nefarious activities. Thanks to Xagon who could read goblin and I learned to speak Dwarven we had some damning evidence that may play into our favor.

I haven’t seen Al and Padrick for several days now, I hope they are well.

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How to Feed a Cyclops - Padric's Journel 3

So, I have to bargain with Salamanders or forfeit my life? All they have asked for is that I see their Ice Gem returned to them. I don’t see the big issue with doing that; and while I’m not really interested in the sisters they want me to get the gem from, there is nothing that keeps me to pouring on the charm to get that gem from them…unless of course they are harpies. Let’s just hope they aren’t harpies then.

Within moments Bjorn and I are once again in the jungles of the island. Neither of us has any bearings to where we are though. I can hear the ocean, so I understand what happens if we head that way. Bjorn once again finds his flask as the solution to our problems. I’m not sure I understand who actually his god is. Is it some unseen divine power? Or is it something held in that flask? Perhaps the tree he’s speaking to is where his deity is found? And why is he addressing the tree as Al?

“Ahh! You scared the fire out of my soul! Al, what, where, did you comes from? How long have you been standing there?” Remind me to never get lost in thought with a drunken priest and a stealthy rogue about.

Al quickly relates his story to us. I think Bjorn has fallen in love with the tree since he’s still muttering to it.

“Ahh! Lorick! Al just told me you were dead! What are you two trying to do to me! Should I start looking for Critter now?”

Lorick’s response was expected. “No, I took Critter’s head to give him a proper burial, but in my capture it was lost.”

Well, that dampens the mood a bit. So now, we are somewhat back together. Lorick, Al, Xago, orc I haven’t talked with much, Lucien, elf I haven’t talked with much, and Bjorn.

We determine it would be better for us to return to the small hamlet where the slaves are making due.

While addresses the mayor, the dancer we had encountered not long ago approached. She introduces herself as Faris. And asks specifically for my help!?

“How exactly can I help you?”

“Your skill set meets my requirements.”

“Fine, I’ll help you but you have to return the favor and help me. I want to know about these sister’s the Salamanders are concerned with and how to find them?”

“Done. Your help will get you your answers. None of your party can follow us or accompany us. Is that a fair exchange?”

Ugh! No one? Just me?

“Fine, take me to where you want to go.”

So she and I set off. I talk the entire way until she stops me.

“Don’t say another word or I will kill you.”

Then she ties my hands and glues my mouth shut. She slips away and returns. I smile and show her that I was able to loosen the ropes she tied me up with. She removes the glue from my lips and we continue walking. I decide it would be best if I remained quiet. In my silence she explains to me what she needs for me to do.

We walk right into the camp without any trouble.

“You are to get me a cart and return to this tent.”

“Ooookay.” I head off to a place where a guard stands with a cart. “You sir, my commander requires this cart to help move some supplies.”

“Take it, but you have to deliver that chest to cave over there.”

“Not a problem.” I pull the cart over to the cave and lift the chest up and carry it in. Only to find this is where the Cyclops is.

“You! What do you want?”

“I’m here to drop off this chest of supplies.”

“Leave them there then. I was told I could not eat these slaves. You will bring me slaves I can eat then.”

“Ooookay, I take care of that right away.” I head out of the cave and back to the tent with the cart in tow.

Faris is just outside with 3 mummy wrapped soldiers laying on the ground. “Put these in the cart and go get me something to cover them up.”

I didn’t realize I was just manual labor here, but I would rather not cross her, alone at least. I heft the bodies into the cart and head back to the supply guard.

“What do you want this time?”

“My commander is complaining that it’s cold in the tent and wants me to get extra blankets for em. Oh, and if you happen to want to check out the cave you should strip down before you go in. The Cyclops would be looking for you?”

“Eh? Why would I do that?”

“It’s a joke fellow. The Cyclops is hungry. If you went in there with no clothes on he would probably try to eat you. Thank you for the blanket.”

Once again, Faris is just outside and has me cover up the bodies in the cart. She then sends me off to get a horse for the cart. Why doesn’t she have me do this all at one time instead of going back and forth? At least the guards are comfortable with me and don’t question me.

“Horse for the cart.”

He points over to a stable horse and I walk it back to the tent.

I hitch the horse up to the cart and Faris and I walk into the tent. “ I need you to do that illusion spell I saw you cast after you dress in the guards armor. Then stay here and state you’ve seen nothing or no one if you are asked.”

“So I’m going to be here by myself?”

“You’re resourceful.” She takes her leave. Then I hear an alarm as she rushes back into the tent. “You haven’t seen me.” As she slits the tent and slips out.

Well I’m not staying here and I slip out the front. Where I find that the Cyclops is livid and hungry screaming for a meal. I know I shouldn’t do this but it’s not like they can protest. I pull the cart over to the Cyclops.

“Here, here’s your dinner. I promised you I would return with it.” I motion to the cart and the bodies.

I start slipping away as I hear the crunch of bones from the dead guards. I shrug and head to the camp again.

Al looks at the ghostly white face I have and asks, “Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’ve just learned how to feed a Cyclops is all.”

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Xago Log 2
Lok'tar O'gar

The human and I escaped the cavern thru the place where the refuse is disposed of. I spotted a camp with Hobgoblins far off to the side near the sea, but decided it would be best to go in the other direction since the man, who named himself Lorick, was still weak. Not long after we came upon other humans, who it turns out, were of Loricks party. They all seemed to be seeing ghosts and indeed thought one another dead.
I followed the group to a small village of humans, which they had named Critterville, and began to plan our next move. Suddenly a woman appeared and the party regarded her with hostility, with good reason as she is an angry little person. I almost had to kill her, but I found restraint from my discipline and let her keep her meager life.
One in the group, Padric, agreed to help the woman with a task in return for information about the whereabouts of some witches. She tried to command the rest of us to remain behind and she led him from camp. We did not listen of course and began following shortly after. A few miles into the trip she again appeared behind Lorick with a dagger to his neck. She again commanded us not to follow or she would bring harm to the one named Padric. Against our better judgment we agreed to go back to the village.
Hours later she returned with Padric and another human in tow. There was more debate about our plan and then we dismissed the woman and retreated sulking. I will see the Lions hammer defeated and Ornex dead at my feet.

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Alvanas Byanim Log 10
A Brief Reunion (Game 10)

I waited until dark and found it fairly easy to navigate through the camp. The rain helped. I chose to leave the camp rather than stay and gather information or cause havoc. With no allies left, it is time to focus on the need to leave this place. I have helped to free many slaves, but by myself I will not be able to complete the task. If I find other allies, perhaps I will stay and aid. Perhaps.

Back into the jungle. I head out about an hour from the camp. I am confronted with some familiar faces, Bjorn talking to a tree, “…so Al what should….,” and drunk as usual and Padric. It seems that the ground ate them and spit them back out, or I died also….

“Ouch!” Well I am not dreaming as I could feel that pinch. Can you pinch a ghost? If so we could all still be dead. I do not remember dying though. Let me just ask. “Are you here?”

“Ahhhh!!” Padric screams back at me. After a brief conversation, I figure we are not dead. Or so I think. I tell Padric and Bjorn the news of the mutilations of Critter and Lorick. “Ahhh!!” Padric screams again, as Lorick steps from the darkness. Perhaps we are all dead.

Lorick tells us of what happened to him and him being freed by an Orc, Xago. We are also joined by Lucien, a native of this island and one with the same want to stop the slavery. Well his goal is to rid the island of the Lions Hammer forces, so really similar to stopping the slavery.

We find a place to rest for the night, after a brief meeting of a Lions Hammer guard. My sleep is short and restless.

Lucien knows this island fairly well. It is his home and he seems to have lived with the animals. His knowledge of the island aided us in finding the fastest route to our little village. There we met a familiar face—the woman that we faced at the hobgoblin encampment. She approaches Lorick as I step away.

Her name is Faris and she needs help, but she only wants help from Padric. A favor for a favor is how she puts it. He wants information about some sisters. She wants to find someone. She leaves us briefly only to return and take Padric with her back to the Lions Hammer encampment. She orders us not to follow. I let them go for a few minutes before I take the Pendant of Invisibility we have and follow.

Padric is easy to follow. He keeps talking. Perhaps he knows I would follow, or hopes that someone would follow. Suddenly he stops talking though. I stop in my tracks and put the Pendant on.

This Pendant works amazingly. As soon as the cold metal touches me, I vanish from site. I attempt to sneak forward and find Padric and Faris, but I cannot. Perhaps she shut him up and continued moving. I will continue on to the Lions Hammer encampment and watch for them there.

As I travel, I can hear the sounds of Bjorn and Xago, or I hope that it is them, behind me increasing their pace. I do not wait for them, but I do not increase my speed so they can catch up to me. When they do, I remove the pendant, “Ahh!” I am not sure how not to shock people when I do that.

They have lost he trail of Padric. I told them that I had also but I was heading to the encampment to find them there. Not wanting to waste time, I put the pendant back on and continue traveling.

When I make it to the encampment, I do not see Padric or Faris. Not sure about the power of this Pendant, I wait outside the encampment. I do not see Padric at all, but I notice a slight commotion as the Cyclops that fell Lorick is moving about. I risk it and head into the caves as I have a second reason for being here. The caves have been cleaned up. Along with Critter’s body. I search but cannot find his head or body anywhere. Unfortunately he will not get a proper burial.

After my search I head back to the village, where Faris, Padric, and another individual arrive that Faris refers to as her brother. I am the last to arrive, the group is arguing about something and Faris parts ways. I head out after her, as she was offering to help, and though she has betrayed us before, pushing her away might not be the best idea. But some other members of the party will not like what I am doing next, and to make it happen, she would be best with us. Though I still do not completely trust her.

So with the help of Lucien, Padric, and Faris, we make a plan to cause issues to the Lions Hammer and in turn allow us to free the hold the army has and find a way to leave the island ourselves. The plan is simple but lengthy.
– Lucien will take the Pendant and scout the Lions Hammer camp for several weeks. He is intending to learn where the food stores are and what food is used first. Also he should be able to figure out if there is separate food for the slaves and Lions Hammer.
– Padric will keep the members of the party, Bjorn, Lorick, and Xago, from knowing the plan and convince them to free as many slaves as possible before I get back. They have at least 7 weeks. They also will continue convincing the dwarves of the threat that the Lions Hammer presents to their lively hood.
– Faris, as a mercenary that has worked with the Lions Hammer, will go to Estilin and talk to the higher ranking members that she knows and get the army to attack the Dwarves.
– I am also heading to Estilin. With me I take about half of the gold from the party’s resources; my goal is to learn how to make poison from the thieves guild.

Faris, her brother, and I leave for Estilin.

The three week journey to Estilin is fairly calm. Faris seems to know the land well. Not sure how long she has been here, for she is not the most talkative. Her brother, he is similar to her in that aspect, but I am not sure what to think of him yet. Anyway, in our travels, I let her lead the way. Though I know the path, I do not trust that she will not turn on me.

Upon reaching the city, Faris asks me to attend the meeting with her to see the governoress. Skeptical, I wait to visit the thieves guild, but agree to attend, warning her that they might know who I am so this could cause her issues in her plan.

At the meeting, she begins telling the governoress out plan. Not sure where she is going with this plan of hers, and remembering Padric’s story of how she was going to leave him in the encampment to take the blame for the four guards she killed, I slide my dagger into her side. I was not intending to kill her, just to show her that I will not be her scapegoat. She and I have a brief stand off outside of the governoress’ chambers, parting ways, her to finish her part of the plan and my to leave and head to the guild. I do see her and the governoress enter the barracks as I make my way through the city, perhaps I can trust her to keep her end of the bargain. Probably not.

Entering the guild, I meet with some of the members that helped teach me. Telling them that I wish to learn how to make poisons, something that will allow me to make some gold on the side of my normal means, they agree to set me up with someone to teach me. I pay them extra to keep it quiet and arrange for the training to be completed outside of the city. Just in case Faris does not keep to her part of this, I make sure to drop hits during the conversations with the guild members that some of the dwarves are planning to strike at the Lions Hammer.

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Where is the light?
lorick's log

I wish I could find solace in this haze, where is my goddess?

We won the day! We began helping the survivors to organize a march to the nearby dwarven city. I was helping a wounded man to his feet when Asmodius himself swallowed my comrades in his earthen maw! His face was uncaring as Padrick and Bjorn were lost down the stoney throat of the sandy faced devil. I dove for them but the mouth closed and the eyes of mocking indifference flowed back into the sandy ground. I pulled my shovel from my pack and began digging frantically. Critter and Al pulled me away as I screamed “They’ll die!” I knew deep in my heart that they were already dead; crushed by the weight of the sand and stone. I prayed for their safe journey to whatever afterlife they believed. I followed the caravan in silence.

When we made it to the dwarf city, we paid for the refugees a place to stay and to get food and medicine. Over the next few weeks Al and I, I really don’t know how, had managed to make a deal with the dwarves and elves to trade and supply a settlement for the refugees at a town that had been abandoned for sometime.

Our next step was to see who or what these witches were. We asked for a guide. The dwarf led us to a narrow place over the crocodile infested moat where he placed a plank across the span. When we were on the other side he tried to extort money from us but Al made him look like a fool. We entered the volcano.

I was still thinking of the recent losses to the party. Jiminy and now Padrick and Sir and Bjorn. I kept thinking of that winding staircase, that old woman’s cackle and sadistic smile, and last Jiminy pointing behind me. We came to a place inside the volcano were the path went up and down in narrow winding patten. I heard the most beautiful voice. It had to be from my goddess, perhaps she had wisdom or knowledge that she wished to impart to me in this time of need. I realized that Al could hear it too and we followed the spiraling path downward to a room where we were locked in. Feathers littered the floor. There was a spell caster of some sort and he extinguished my light, i just cast it again. I didn’t hear the song anymore. I realized it was a trap. Critter, Al and I were in the bottom of a cave. A rope fell next to me from above. I cast light on one of my arrows and shot it toward the ceiling. We saw several platforms and a place where the rope was attached. I began to climb, bad Idea, I got more than halfway up and fell. It hurt. I healed myself. I decided to cast create water in the cave and swim to the top. That was tiring. While I was casting, the assailants, bird people, flew down to try to hit me. Critter shot one of them in each of their major organs in alphabetical order. Needless to say that was a slap in the face of their morale, so the remaining bird people fled. I decapitated the dead one and tried to throw the head up to the platforms above but it slipped from my grip and flew near the wall. Tired after casting so many create water spells we swam toward the ledges. I saw the eggs. I decided to use the carcass of the dead bird person to warm them and moved toward the hole in the wall behind the nest. We slid down the tube and ended in a hallway.

There was a door that had the pressure of magic about it. We couldn’t open it. I couldn’t use magic because most of my divine power was spent. We decided to follow the winding decline to a blind wall. Al discovered it was a secret door and how to open it. It opened into the central part of the volcano. There looked to be a small sun burning hot below us. There it was. . . the rickety, old, spiraling staircase and only one way to go. Down to a burning hell. I couldn’t shake the idea of seeing my comrades, Al and critter leaping toward that small sun saying “Bye, Lorick!” bursting into flame before the impact on the surface of the lava bloom.

I gripped the rail tightly as I remembered Jiminy’s portent. “Go back.” I couldn’t, I’m committed.

We climbed down to yet another door. It was not magical and both Al and I tried to kick it in. Critter tried the latch, it was open. Inside there was the largest forge that I had ever seen. Hundreds of feet high and twice that amount wide. There were slaves working. Lion’s Hammer guards everywhere. I decided to bring all attention to myself so that my comrades might slip around unnoticed. I approached the nearest Lion’s hammer guard. I wanted him to think that I was in with them. “Hey!” I said. “I think we are being to easy on these slaves! I thought we were supposed to work them to death!” And the folly of my words cost a man his life; because the guard agreed with me and crushed the slave’s throat beneath his boot. I turned and left not believing what I had done. I directly caused the death of an innocent. All I heard was that evil woman’s laughter. I left the forge and sat on the rusty stairs, wept and prayed.

“Make amends! Free the slaves!” Iomadae spoke. “Save your comrades! Rise warrior of the Light! Give your life so others may live!”

With renewed strength I strode into the forge. I noticed guards running to room to my left. After quickly donning my lion’s hammer tabard I joined in. I saw Critter defending himself against two guards. “Hey!” I said drenched in my new found bravado, “My people come here to do an inspection and you attack them?! Stand down!” An miraculously it worked. Without using names, I told Critter to calm down and I had a feeling that Al was behind this large door. I called him to come out too. I turned my back to the door and began trying to distract the guards. I heard the door open and the next thing I’m being attacked from behind by a freed slave. Critter yells “this way is out.” finished off the one guard and the slaves followed him. I drew my sword and attack the guard to prove that I was with the rescue. I tore off my tabard and ran toward the other chained slaves. I felt the fury of the goddess in me and I felt my wounds begin to heal. I attacked the first guard and with Al’s help dispatched him very quickly. The other one surrendered I knocked him out and charged the next nearest guard. Al tried to pick the lock on the slaves chain, but he failed. Al asked the slaves where the key was and it was on the dead guard.

I took out 2 of the trio before I saw Critter running my way followed by two cyclops. The last guard was posing a little more of a challenge and I tried to maneuver around him to get closer to critter so that I could heal him. But he couldn’t out run the cyclops and with a wet thud he collapsed as the cyclops moved to engage me and Al. I guess Al was trying to dive under the monster’s legs but managed to hit the shin instead he got hit hard when the club bounced off his chest as he laid prone. I dispatched the guard and stood over Al to allow him a chance to survive. I dispatched the second Ogre after a few moment. Al and I went to critter. He was mangled. I pulled on his remains and his head came off in my hands. I almost puke but instead I allowed the sight to fuel my rage.

Al and I heard screams coming from the cave back the way Critter had come. There was a crashing sound. In the cave we found an larger ogre wearing armor and swinging a massive club. He was destroying the slave paddocks allowing the weight of the rubble to crush the innocent lives. Al threw a dagger at him to get his attention. I cast protections on Al and myself. Then the monster rushed me and then nothing. . . . . .

Am I dead?
“NO human!”
“Can you Walk?”
“Yes. . . I can.”

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Xago
Lok'tar O'gar

Living in the high crags of Talmok’s Teeth, my clan was strong and resourceful. No other clan dared to raid against us. They hated our superiority in battle. We lived in relative peace. As much peace as an Orc can expect at least.

Then one day our scouts reported humans building structures, in the valley below our mountain fortress, on the human side of the teeth. Maybe they didn’t know we were there, or maybe their arrogance persuaded them disregard our territory. We began sending raiding parties down into the valley, but we soon discovered the humans had come prepared for war.

The battles that raged after for years, were bloody, and we were getting the worse end of the axe. Other clans began to raid our home knowing our numbers dwindled and it would press us hard to fight on two fronts. Our warriors were exhausted and our dwellings empty.

Our Chief, my Grandfather, decided that we could not continue on this course, or be destroyed. Many warriors welcomed the end and remained confident that was a good death for any Orc. Our Chief said we would make peace with the human settlement and we could trade for their superior arms and armor to fight other clans. Many warriors became angry and abandoned our clan. I had thought more than once to do the same. It seemed a betrayal to our ways and seemed weak.

However, I relented and trusted in the wisdom of the Chief. He made peace with the humans and we no longer raided their town. we traded ore and stone from the mountain for armor and weapons. That once again turned the tide of battle against the other clans to our favor, but they viewed us as even weaker for making trade with the humans.

Years later we began to hear stories of a great army, who called themselves the Lions Hammer, burning and pillaging up from the sea. We were not afraid. We had the mountain to protect us. They began to subdue the other clans and assimilate them into their numbers. We would not be subdued and the Lions Hammer set upon us with a mighty force. To our surprise the humans from the valley came to our aid with their own warriors. Realizing they were next in line they thought a united force would be strong enough to hold the pass in which our clan was entrenched.

Alas, we could not compete with their vast number and eventually we fell. But the battle was glorious and the humans fought ferociously and held their own until the end. I gained some new found respect for them.

Those of us who weren’t killed were gathered and marched to ships and sailed across a vast sea to and island city they call Estilin. We were taken to the core of an active volcano and put to work doing menial work. I begged them, no, gave them cause to give me the death I deserved, but they mock me and refuse. They seek to shame me into submission. I will not give them the satisfaction. I have been given the task of cleaning the slop of the leader of a band of Cyclops whos name is Ornex. He fancies himself a warrior, but he is sloppy and lazy. I will try to be patient until I can exact my revenge….

Today as I was bringing the slop to the cyclops’ there was a disturbance. Fighting going on down here? A revolt? As I entered the forges, I came across the headless body of a human, lying near the chamber of Ornex. No one had rid the man of his gear, but that was probably because all of the guards and a few of the Cyclops were dead. Crom must have been smiling on me, for the man was carrying the very weapons I had trained with in the teeth. I quickly gathered his belongings in the chaos, since he wasn’t going to be needing them anymore, and hid them under the cart I was pushing.

As I entered the chamber of Ornex another human was being stripped of his things. Ornex and the other Cyclops carried the man away, leaving me alone in the chamber. As I surveyed the room I realized that one of the Cyclops had smashed many of the cages that held slaves. They had been crushed and maimed. Some of them were my clans people. My blood boiled, my teeth ground and my jaw creaked with my rage.

I gathered the second mans belongings and left to stow them in a safe and secret place so I could retrieve them when I am ready.
The human is in a nearby torture room. I need allies. I will attempt to rescue him, but I am going to kill Ornex before I leave this place……

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Critter's tale
alls well that ends well

Ok Listen. We had Just kilt all the men in the camp and was preparin’ to head to the dwarves to see what they might help do with the slaves, when all the sudden a huge face appears in the dirt. Now Bjorn and Padric was standin’ right over the mouth. That’s the look we had on our faces too. So I figer you can guess what happened. Yep it swallered them two into the ground. We was like, What in the hell?! Then Lorick gets all distraught and runs over with his shovel and starts diggin’ fer them fellas. Well it seem perty clear to Al and me that they was gone so we head over and have to calm Lorick down. He finally realizes that we was right so he stopped and we continued with our previous plan.
So the dwarves let us bed down in their caverns for a couple days, while we all rested up, and we made a deal with em to help fix up an old abandoned town for the new freed slaves. There was a lot of particulers that I didn’t have much dealin with and then we decided to head on. Our next destination was to see if we could locate them witches we seen way back at the start and see how they was feelin’ about the Lions Hammer and whatnot. So we learn of an entrance at the bottom of the volcano instead a’ havin’ to climb up the outside and a bridge that would get us across the croc filled moat.

So as we is headin’ down the cave it comes to a fork. One path goes up and one path goes down. So after we figer for a few minutes we decide to go up so we turn that direction, but when I turn around Al and Lorick was goin’ down. I was saying to myself what in the hell is going on? Didn’t we just decide to go this way? Anyhow so I says that to them and they plain ignore me. So I think well maybe they decided to go the other way when I didn’t hear. Im mean what the hell do I know?
So we come outta the tunnel into a large cave area and Ill be damned if a rock door didn’t slide in place behind us. Gee, I shoulda seen that comin’. So the floor of the cavern is covered in different colored feathers. That’s right..feathers! Then suddenly some crackly voice speaks in a language I cant understand and Lorick’s light goes out. So Lorick lights it up again and the voice makes it go out again. So lorick lights it up again….you see a pattern developin’ here? Anyhow then all the sudden a dagone rope drops from above. We look at each other and was like Pfft. So Lorick throws a lighted rock up so we might see whats up there, but he throws like a damn girl so it don’t go no farther than Jiminy’s pecker was long and we still cant see shit.
So Lorick decides hes gonna climb up, but half way to the top he slips and falls. I think he broke a couple short ribs when he hit but luckily for hisself he was able to heal hisself. But then Lorick says hey since we are locked in here with no way out, why dond’t I fill the place with water and we’ll swim up while holdin’ the rope. Now at first that sound batshit crazy, but then I was like what the hell it cant be no worse than one of Bjorn’s sermons.
‘bout the time Lorick starts shootin’ water outta his finger a dadblamed bird creature swoops down and tries to whack him with a hammer or somethin’. We was all duckin’ when a second one came down to take a swing, but they musta both been trained by Al cause they weren’t even close. So I says screw this and I let fly a volley of arrows and brought one of them down. The other one skedaddles of course.
Then Lorick starts fillin’ the room again and we float up to the ledges. Turns out there’s a nest up there with some eggs in it. I think Lorick gets a guilty feelin’ cause he covers the eggs to keep em warm, but when him and Al crawl out the exit hole I snatched me one of them eggs and chunked it in my pack and then followed. When I was able to stand again we was in another tunnel, of course with a fork. One winding path went up and another down. So we decide to go up and ill be damned if we didn’t actually do what we said this time and went up. Course when we got there we was standing in front of a door and it was locked. Lorick sensed some magic on the door and then Al tried to pick the lock, but couldn’t do it. So we turn tail and head back down. Well when we get down there we are standin’ in front of another damned door. It wouldn’t budge, but then Al points out that me and Lorick is standin’ on a trap door.
When we open the trap door there’s a ladder, so we climb down to…you guessed, another door. However once we go thru that door we was standing right at the entrance to the dagone forge of the volcano. I said Shit fire and save torches, what the hell are we to do now. Well Lorick suddenly hollers to a nearby guard that one of the slaves, who is chained up at the closest of the forges, aint pullin’ his weight. Well that guard agreed and smashed that fellers head on the forge. Then Lorick looks like he’s seen his mommas bare nekid backside and turns and walks out and closes the door behind him. Me and Al look at each other like what the hell? Then Al turns and starts sneakin’ off to the right. Now we didn’t make no dadblamed plan here so I just says to myself hell I’ll go to the left and see if theres a way out. There was three forges and three large chambers. The first chamber I come to is some sort of slave housin’ and there is a stinky moat thing around part of it, which I figer is just dead folk turned to jelly, so I git. The next chamber is chalk full of cages stacked up with slaves in em and a couple Lions Hammer guards and six damn Cyclops. We just couldn’t get away from those damn things. However in the back of the chamber was another tunnel.
When I get near the third chamber there is a couple guards out front and some commotion goin’ on inside. I think hmmm this is the way Al went and that dirty rascal prolly got hisself into a pickle. Then all the sudden a couple more guards came out and shut the door and lock it. Then they start grabbin’ tubes that is connected to the flues on the forges and they start stickin em under the door. Now I start thinkin’ that aint good and I take a swing with my sword at one of the guards. ‘bout that time Lorick comes up, and seems his old self again, and tells the guards to cool it. I’ll be damned if they didn’t do what he said and I was thinkin’, Huh.
So one of the guards calls for Al to come out peaceful like, but when the door opened a bunch a dagone slaves come out wavin’ swords and hollerin’ and shit. Then it started to become chaos and I turn toward the second chamber, thinkin’ about that tunnel, and I yell this way is out! I start runnin’ toward the second chamber, with I thought was everyone in tow. One of the Cyclops comes out to see the commotion and run past em. Course the no one else does and they start fightin’ the thing. So I turn around to help and realize Lorick and Al aint here. Its just me and the slaves. So we take down the Cyclops, but then I realize another is comin’ fer me from behind. Now I know that sounds a bit suspect, but aint what yer thinkin’. So I turn to face the creature, alone I might add, and give the thing a solid slash. However them are big boys and that shot didn’t even make it flinch. Well it swings its club and whalops me good, so I do what every stalwart warrior facing a Cyclops would do, and tucked tail and run. My miscalculation was in that those dirty bastards got long arms and legs and are hard to outrun. So I see Lorick and Al and I figer I’ll get up with them and together we can take the rest. However as I was runnin’ I felt that rascal thump me again……….
What happened?
I don’t know it just stopped working.
You broke it!
Did not!
Holy shit Pa is gonna skin us!
Lets get outta here!

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Alvanas Byanim Log 9
Last Man Standing (Game 9)

As we set off to visit the dwarves, in hopes of getting some provisions for these recovered slaves and to find a place for them to build a home, the ground begins to rumble. I look back to where the Padric and Bjorn stand. The spear has reactivated and the earth is moving again—or has the ground realized that the spear controls it and it wishes to take control of itself again?! Either way, a huge face forms and swallows Bjorn and Padric right before our eyes!

Lorick rushes to their aid, digging with that shovel that we have yet to toss aside for some reason unknown to us. After a few minutes, Critter and I get Lorick to calm down, realizing there is nothing that we can do for them now. They have been underground too long to survive and the spear with them.

We calm the former slaves and head to the dwarven settlement. We fill almost every room available in the few inns within the dwarven home. After a few days, the dwarven coin purses are bit heavier and the former slaves are more capable of travel. Lorick asked the dwarves about some abandoned human settlements. He learned of a few and chose one that seemed most likely to be ignored by the Lion’s Hammer and the rest of Estilin. It was also in a decent location that would allow for trade with both the elven town and the dwarven mine.

It took some time and money, hobgoblin coin for a better purpose to create what the new townspeople needed. We ensured that a road would be built to a quarry for stone. We ensured that the town would be able to trade with the elves and dwarves. I believe the elf ranger Beriadin began to help build that relationship with the elves. We also left some coin for the town itself to get it started—for the purchase of seeds and livestock to begin farming within the new cleared lands around the former ghost town. At least we have a place that we can find a place to rest in our travels while away from Estilin. It would be good to let Faithbringer Varatus know of this location when we are completely confident in its safety. After what he went through with the Church for us he might like a slower pace.

What is next that we need to determine as a hazard on this island. The witches. Before heading toward them, we learn that there are several paths to get into the volcano without having to climb up the side to get to that ledge we saw that witch upon. We get a guide to show us where a bridge crossed the moat. The bridge was hidden—stashed away and simply had to be put in place to give us passage over the crocodiles. The guide attempts to get us to pay him 50 gp to show us the mine entrance, but there was no need for the large cavern was clearly visible. There we parted company with the guide; Lorick, Critter, and I headed into the volcano.

The entrance looks like it has not been used in some time. There are benches lining the walls with hooks above them—a place for the miners to get ready for work, but it has not seen a miner in some time. A rush of cold air pushes at us, telling us not to enter, but we do not listen. I lead the way, staying in the light of Lorick’s spell, but far enough away to allow them to be warned of a trap should I set one off.

The path is fairly straight when we have to decide to go on a path that slopes up or one that slopes down. I decide that up makes the most sense, as the witches are higher in the volcano that where we entered, but I decide to have the others check to see if either path is more traveled. As Critter is looking around, I hear the most beautiful voice I have ever heard singing from the path that slopes down. Lorick hears the singing also. We head toward it.

Critter attempts to stop me from finding that voice. Why would he do that? The voice is so amazing, how could you not want to be near it?

The tunnel becomes very steep, almost vertical. Lorick leaps down. I follow him and land gracefully as he did. The voice is closer. The voice is straight ahead.

The path opens into a cavern that we cannot see the ceiling in. In the center of the cavern is a feather littered floor. Feathers of black and some of other colors strewn all about. The singing stopped. Initially startled by the lack of the beautiful voice, but that did not last long—it lasted until the light Lorick had been carrying suddenly went out after a crackling voice spoke in a strange language from above.

Lorick recast light on the rock he was carrying. As he did I ducked into the shadows. Then a rope fell from above, one end landing on the ground near Lorick’s feet and the other disappearing into the darkness above.

We searched around. There was no other way out of here. The door was now sealed. The rope seemed to be the only way. Lorick used an arrow to send his magical light upwarded where we could see several ledges with movement on them. Lorick attempted to climb the rope but only made it halfway before falling.

We contemplate several methods to get up to those ledges. I attempted rig another line to help us climb, but could not figure it out. We could start a fire and bring whatever is up there down to us. Lorick had an idea. He cast his create water spell repeatedly and began filling the cavern with water—we would float up and guide ourselves with the rope! After a few moments, something from above swooped down—a giant bird, in a cave?!

The creature attempted to strike Lorick but missed. We got our bearings when a second one, this one brightly colored rather than black like the room, swooped down, also missing everyone. We prepared for them to swoop again. I awaited them to swoop down before trying to strike out at them. Critter took his advantage and dropped one of them with several twangs of his bow string. The other one rushed back up to the ledges.

Lorick began filling the room with water. We reached the ledges, the other bird was gone—obviously escaping from the secret door that was poorly constructed on one ledge. One of the other ledges had a nest with eggs in it. Lorick covered the eggs with the body of the bird—more like a birdman—that Critter had put down. We then left that cavern behind us and went through the door.

The next cavern had a way out, up or down through a winding passage. We went up. After a short time, we came to a door. The door was steal, Lorick said had some magic on it, was locked, and I am sure it was trapped. It was too out of place not to be. With limited options, I picked the lock. Before I could finish though a needle like blade shot out of the lock itself. I was nimble and moved out of its way. With one more thing left to try, I knocked on the door. No answer so we headed down the winding path.

The winding path came to a wall. A dead end. Or so it seemed. Critter and Lorick were standing on a trapdoor. I quickly unlocked it and we took the ladder below it.

We came to a platform with a spiral staircase leading down. The rest of the cavern was dark, save a bright orange spot down at the very bottom. It was a long way down so we navigated the stairs carefully.

At the bottom of the stairs we came to a door. It was not locked, but we did not know about traps, so I attempted to kick it down. That was painful. The door stayed put while I hobbled about for a moment. Lorick tried to kick it down also. Same result. Critter, after watching us, opens the door by the lever. No trap. But what was behind that door made us wish it was trapped.

The door open to a room that housed the heart of the Lion’s Hammer weapon making. Four massive forges offered numerous slaves the opportunity to work themselves to death. I quickly ducked into the shadows. Lorick shouted at one of the guards who in turn killed a slave that Lorick claimed “was not being worked to death.” I am not sure what had happened to Lorick for that was not like him. Lorick left back through the door, closing it behind him.

I tried to stay in the shadows as I made my way toward one of the other caverns that left this main chamber. I saw too many guards to attempt to free these slaves at this time so I hoped to find someplace that I can make something happen. Critter was also in the room. He was heading across the room, seeming to be looking around and checking out the weapons. I headed out of the main room.

In the side cavern, I found where the new weapons were being stored. There were two guards who noticed me. Of course they confronted me—stopping me from entering the storeroom. I attempted to talk my way in, claiming to be an inspector and in need of checking on the progress and quality. Asking my name, I claimed I was Critter. Not sure way I did that. It did not help my situation any. Perhaps in my mind I figured the Lion’s Hammer knew the name Critter from the Governess. Perhaps I panicked. Either way, Critter might be mad at me when he gets picked up for breaking and entering.

Well they call for more guards and I do as I always do—I let my mouth talk me into a fight. In hindsight, I probably could have scared those guards to their knees, but my mouth just likes to mock these Lion’s Hammer fools instead. This time, my cockiness might have sealed my fate.

The guards attempt to grab me and show me the lava river. I wiggle free and run into the storeroom. A couple of guards give chase. I duck and weave into the crates, looking for a place to hide. No place looks good, so I throw a couple of weapons at the chasing guards so they keep coming. I know—I am insane at this point! I rush past one of the shelves and notice it is wobbly—I loved playing dominoes as a kid!

I ran up the shelf and bound up onto it. The extra weight brought it down, hitting the next, and hitting the next. Before long all the shelves had fallen, some guards were down, some slaves were down, and the other guards ran!

But when they ran they closed and locked the door behind them.

I went to the door and unlocked it. I was about to burst out when I realized I have an small unskilled band of freedom fighters behind me and a huge pile of weapons. So I equip the remaining slaves with the most basic weapons I can find and give them a quick lesson—“this pointy end into the bad guy.” Before they turned on me, I took my fake Lion’s Hammer tabard off and tossed it away.

I hear Lorick call for me to come out from the other side of the door. I thought Lorick had left? Unsure of what is going on, I decide to go forward with my plan. I throw open the door and step aside as my mini-battalion rushes through. Amazingly, they manage to cut down a guard and not get killed!

Critter takes the lead, calling for the slaves turned freedom fighters to follow him. Lorick and I dispatch the other guard near here and survey the room. There are slaves to free. he and I decide that that is the best course of action—thin out the guards and free the slaves that we can.

We quickly make waste of a few guards and get a key. Using that key, I free the slaves that are chained to the forges. The fight is going well. I attempt to keep the weapons out of the guards hands and Lorick quickly dispatches them. Critter is on the other side of the room, attempting to dispatch a cyclops or two with the help of a dozen or so slaves. It looks like we might hurt the Lion’s Hammer efforts.

“Watch out!” Lorick yells to me. I glance over my shoulder and see two cyclops rushing at me. With a guard still in front of me, I decide to tumble backwards through the legs of the rushing cyclops. I miss and seem to trip up one of them. Or so I thought until it vomited right on me. Somewhat confused, Lorick steps up and gives me a chance to regain my feet. He quickly finishes off one of the cyclops and then dispatched the one that vomited on me. I dispatch the guard and free the remaining slaves near us.

Heading over to Lorick, who crossed the room, I see the body of Critter. Badly beaten—it looked like he took several large club strikes to the chest, head, legs….well, all over. Lorick takes the head of Critter and we head forward.

Across the room from the storeroom we come to another alcove. There is another cyclops here. He is massive compared to the others, wearing armor, and smashing cages of slaves without remorse. Unable to allow such an action to continue, I through a dagger at the cyclops to get his attention. He turns and flashes a smirk.

The armored cyclops rushes us and swings at Lorick, who falls to a heap on the ground! The cyclops turns to me. I look up at him, look at the lifeless body of Lorick, look at the cyclops, look at the cyclops’ club, and rush between his legs. I run past that giant brute and out the passage behind him, into daylight, right into a massive Lion’s Hammer camp!

I glance around and see a small city of Lions’ Hammer soldiers! This must be on the side of the island that we have not ventured. Good thing we had not! As I look around, images fill my mind—Sir captured and missing, Jiminy dead from acid, Bjorn and Padric swallowed by the ground itself, Critter mutilated, and Lorick smashed by a cyclops. I look down at my weapons in my hands and look up at the camp—city of the enemy. I think about my fallen allies. I decide to survive and quickly duck into the shadows….

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