Well, we’ve finally made it out of the mansion and the swamp. We’re back among our friends in the caravan. Things should go back to normal now . . .
Shagdith asks our group to come together and tells us that we must all leave now. No explanation, just that we must leave.
I see Shadow say something to Pietro and then he wanders off.
Rindile and I go up to Shagdith and ask for our pay, 30 gold.
As we wander off we run into Pietro who tells us to go back and ask for double our pay. Wondering what Pietro is up to, we decide to do what he says. When we tell Shagdith that because of the abruptness of our leaving and the extra difficulty in the swamp that we require double pay he quickly agrees, saying “anything to be rid of you”.
Finding Pietro afterwards we ask him how he knew that Shagdith would pay up. Pietro says that he’ll tell us for 5 gold each. Curiosity getting the better of us Rindile and I agree. Pietro then shows us the box he found in Yarla’s coach containing a finger and a note to Shagdith.
As the caravan heads off we gather to decide where we should go. Shadow notices that one of the lights on her magic map, the nearest one, had gone out. We reach a consensus that we should make our way towards Blackwater and seek out the watcher Jar Cor Blackgrave.
We head East through the swamp with no problems and eventually leave the swamp behind. Around mid-day we smell smoke coming from the direction ahead of us. Rindile and Pietro volunteer to scout ahead and see if they can find the source of the smoke. In about an hour they report back.
As they lead us on, they describe the scene that they found. A camp in chaos, footprints of multiple sized everywhere, and trees uprooted and thrown around. Under one of the fallen trees they found a couple bodies with the invisibility cloaks that we have encountered before. Doug Brown, Corbin, Rindile and myself move the uprooted trunk off the unfortunate pair and find that these were members of the Black Hand.
Searching the bodies we find a note along with the cloaks. The note indicates that this group was to meet up with the caravan, ambush us, and return with Corbin (unharmed) to their main camp. This brings up a lot more questions for us.
Looking around we see a large path of destruction in the trees. Rindile takes a look and claims to see prints going in that direction of a giant, ogres, orcs, and something being dragged. After a brief discussion we decide not to go looking for trouble and to avoid this trail. We set off through the forest at an angle to the path of destruction.
After a few hours of traipsing through the forest we come out to a wide, well used path. Rindile checks the path and announces that there are ogre and giant tracks going towards the mountains along with some human looking tracks. No sign of any orc tracks though, or of anything being dragged.
Seeing as how we’ve crossed tracks twice now, it seems inevitable that we will run into these creatures at some point. Better to do it on our terms, rather than theirs. We decide to follow the tracks towards the mountains. Rindile and Pietro, with their magic cloaks, agree to scout ahead.
When they return they tell us of a cave with a giant chained up along one wall and a series of pens along the other wall with people in them. There is a long tunnel leading out of this room to a crossway guarded by 3 orcs.
We cautiously approach the cave when we hear the giant yell out, “who’s there. Show yourselves”.
We approach the giant and tell him that we come in peace. He lets us know that he is a prisoner of a pair of ogres and their servants, the orcs. He explains that one of the ogre’s is a magic user and controls him using a magic staff. He also says that, while he is a prisoner, he is also a guard, as he has been magically commanded to attack anyone opening the cages. We ask him if he would help us in exchange for retrieving the staff for him. He agrees.
Looking at the pens on the other side of the room, we see that the first one has a dead body in it. The second pen has 2 people in similar armor to the dead blackhand warriors that we encountered. The third pen has a single man sitting with his head lowered.
We question the 3rd man who says that he is a farmer from Westerfield. He and his son, the dead man, were making their way home from a trading trip when they were captured and imprisoned. Most of the other prisoners were taken down the tunnel and never seen again.
We quickly question the other 2 prisoners, noticing that they do have the hand tattoos of the Blackhand. The younger one has only been with the Blackhand a couple of weeks and doesn’t know very much. The other one is very tight-lipped.
We decide on a strategy to take out the orc’s guarding the cross-space. Rindle and Pietro go about ¾ down the tunnel with their cloaks on. Shadow and I hide down an extremely dark side tunnel, me with my crossbow ready. Doug Brown and Corbin are on the far side of the shadowy tunnel . DB calls out for assistance in Orcish, drawing the Orc’s, while pretending to grapple with Corbin. This puts the Orc’s in a potential 3-way ambush. All goes well as we start to ambush the Orc’s, when something attacks Shadow and myself from behind. I manage to dodge the attack, but Shadow is not so lucky. As Corbin and DB make short work of the Orc’s I suddenly find myself in the grip of a tentacle. I try to escape the tentacle, but am unable to. I see Shadow move back towards the main tunnel.
Shadow grabs a torch and lets DB and Corbin know what is happening. Soon the three are chasing me down the dark tunnel. I drop the crossbow and try to hit the tentacle with the club at my waist, to no effect. Corbin and DB attack and, while they do hit the creature, their attacks tend to bounce off the creature’s tough skin. As I try to break free of the creature’s grip, both DB and Corbin also become entangled in this creature’s tentacles. As we all struggle with the creature, I curse it, and suddenly we all break free. As I recover from being entangled, I see DB kill the creature in one stroke. As Shadow catches up to us with the torch, we see another body nearby. We search both bodies and find a ring and a short sword.
As we head back the way we came we run into Rindile who asks what happened. We bring Rindile up to date and then he and Pietro go invisible and sneak / reconnoiter down the hallway.
When we next hear from them they inform us that they found an eating area to the South with about 10 Orcs and another entrance at the far end of the room. They also let us know that they killed another Orc in the hallway.
We quickly come up with a plan: Rindile and Pietro will sneak into the eating area, DB will throw Corbin into the room, using the same trick from earlier, and Shadow and myself will follow everyone else in.
The plan goes well, the Orcs are confused by DB and Corbin’s attack. We make a quick end of the Orcs, only to notice that Rindile was not in the battle. We hurry down the far entrance to the room to find Rindile fighting a Troll. Seeing all of us the Troll pushes past us, only to be taken down by Shadow’s Weasel (carrying a spell). We decide to throw the Troll into the cooking fire.
We return down the tunnel, until we reach the cross tunnel. Rindile and Pietro scout the Northern tunnel and return to let us know that they have found a room with a sleaping Ogre. We all go to the entrance of the room and Rindile enters the room. After a few steps Rindile hears a click and realizes that he is standing on a trap trigger. Corbin sneaks into the room and Coup de Grace’s the sleeping Ogre. We try to move the Ogre’s bed onto the trap, with no success. We grab everything of value in the room, including the Ogre’s staff and leave the room with Rindile still on the trap. Rindle dives off the trap, onto the Ogre’s bed, as a loud alarm sounds.
The party heads back down the tunnel, running into a couple more Orcs. We quickly dispatch the Orcs, make it back to the main hallway and head back towards the entrance. We quickly discover another Ogre coming after us. Pietro and Shadow take the Ogre’s staff and run back towards the Giant while the rest of us slow down the Ogre. As we fight a loosing battle against the Ogre we hear a pounding coming from the tunnel behind us. All of a sudden Corbin is bowled over as the giant attacks the Ogre with the staff. When it is over the giant thanks us for freeing him and leaves, the Ogre dead and the staff destroyed.
We investigate the one tunnel that we have not had a chance to look in yet, and find the Ogre’s room. In it are a surprising amount of items, including large amounts of coins, mundane weapons, and a fairly large collection of magical items. With the defenders all dead, we decide to return to the prison area, interrogate the prisoners some more, and rest until tomorrow.