Title: The Orchid's Troops.
Date: Mid Trilan, 1332 Avard
Synopsis: After Chert Stonehand escapes the team at Mount Lavanor, they move to Teras to assist the Baron-and-the-Bishop.
Morning of the 16th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Somewhere in the depths of Mount Lavanor, the ME team and three Rakanus dwarves nervously waited. The ceiling was almost too low for Arkhan to stand up straight, the floors were covered in gore. Air blew in from some of the myriad tunnels, and left out through others, but it was fitful and spent most of its time stagnating. The stagnating air was made worse when the Rakanus dwarves pulled the doors shut and sealed the room to prevent an ambush.
They waited for nearly forty-five minutes, before the two dwarves they'd sent off for help arrived – with nearly fifty of the Rakanus warriors in full plate and heavy shields. Their leader was Warkore dwarf, a member of the Orcbane clan. He quickly pushed his teams out into the surrounding tunnels, while interviewing the team.
Long moments later, three Galgiran priests arrived. They brought with them the ritual to remove the curse of lycanthropy. They had all been feeling the curse, in fits and starts, and it had taken a considerable amount of willpower to not attack one another. Over the next hour, the priests invoked the prayers of the Soul Forger and removed the last vestiges of the lycanthropy from all of them, and from the five wolf-dwarves they had taken captive.
Aeron and Greff were glad to have the curse removed – for the second time. They hoped there would never be a third time.
Galit Orcbane and his warriors scoured the caves for some time. Two of the caves went down into the old Gil Hala passages, which opened up into a labyrinth of ancient passages. One of the caves led out to a secret doorway on the side of the mountain. Either Chert was untraceable in the old Gil Hala mines, or he was already in Kashin. In either event, Chert had escaped.
The ME team headed back up into the Rakanus caves. Father Bryan and most of the priests were embroiled in a court of inquiry into Chert's works, and many suspected that Father Malachite might be behind Chert's betrayal of the clan. The court was keeping very quiet on the beard hairs of the clan chiefs, but were quietly searching as hard as they could.
Father Bryan himself was too busy to see the team, but his secretary took them back to Father Bryan's office where there were gifts for the ME team. Each of them was gifted an armband with the Rakanus clan's sigil on it. Beneath the sigil, written in dwarven, were their names – one band for each of them. The arm bands had some of the 'dwarf fire' powers in them, and glowed faintly in the dark to let all dwarves know that each of the team's members were honorary members of the Rakanus Clan.
In addition to the bands was a shield hammered on the holy forge of the temple. The shield was, according to Father Bryan's letter, a small token of the clan's thanks for their quiet help in finding the traitor and the bloodstone.
The secretary was fully prepared to open the Eye of Galgiran for the team, to wherever they wanted to go. The ME team quickly decided to aid the baron-and-the-bishop in taking back Teras from the werewolves – and there was even a possibility of finding Chert. It was unknown whether Chert Stonehand himself was capable of opening the Eye of Galgiran, himself.
The team took some time to acquire tools and equipment, and Corrin proved herself an able 'dwarf', arranging for the silvering of Aeron's blade and finding a smith with silvered quarrels.
They also took the time to truly rest. Arkhan had taken quite a beating against the wolf-dwarves, and the after-effects of the lyanthropy had left them very nearly exhausted. Rather than head straight for Teras, they opted to stay the night and fully recover before going to Teras.
In the morning, they heard word that Father Malachite had been found innocent of any wrong-doing. One of the wolf-dwarves was to be put to death. The court of inquiry found that one of the were-dwarves had attacked and killed one of the King's Quarrels. Encoded messages had then been decoded by one of the already-dead traitor wolf-dwarves, and the translations passed on to Chert. There was confirmation that Chert was Amreth's master, though none had ever seen Chert take on a wolven form. The court had also found that Kaleus Stonegrudge, Count of Teras, was held prisoner by Amreth the Gaunt, who made monthly reports to Chert at Mount Lavanor.
The hairs had still not been found.
The team almost went to the stables, when they remembered to ask about Valen. Greff and Corrin found a tavern with some fine tavern, but had no luck inquiring about Valen Talross. Aeron and Arkhan, however, managed to find Tassle Rubynose. In her youth she had served as a ship's smithy for the Unruly Gaffer, back around 1291 Avard. Her last trip out aboard the Gaffer had carried Valen Talross and his team through the Gulf of Teras, the Straights of Sloph, around Al Fahim, and into the Gulf of Chirin.
Valen and his people had battled an elf by the name of Iridesca, and she nearly killed Valen and several of the others. The Gaffer took them to Al Fahim where Valen spent two months recovering from his injuries. Kalburn Stonehammer's back had been cut down to the bone along his spine, and he, too, spent a long time recovering. After that, a lot of the fire went out of Valen and the rest, and they returned home to Teras. Tassle never sailed again, after that.
When Aeron and Arkhan checked Tassle's names against their own list, they realized that there was another member of Valen's group, someone by the name of Gunther.
Aeron and Arkhan gathered Greff and Corrin from the tavern, and headed to the stables. Many of the dwarves there were still in awe of Demon, whom had built an impressive nest on the roof. Their mounts were brought out and prepared for them, and then the team headed out onto the plateau.
Father Bryan's secretary opened the Eye of Galgiran for the team, and Greff led the way.
The team found themselves in a rain storm that pelted them with horizontal winds. There was no lightning or thunder, but the force of the wind was strong enough to nearly knock Corrin over any time she tried to walk.
Arkhan's mount Burgeron and Aeron's mount Justice made easy headway against the powerful rain-laden winds, and helped the team find the baron-and-the-bishop's sloop. The dwarves there welcomed the team up onto the deck, confident that the rune-encrusted deck and gang plank would destroy them if they were werewolves, or just plain evil.
Down below decks, the baron-and-the-bishop Dwarfendale and his warrior-priests from Lok Giran were gathered together in planning. The ME team let the baron-and-the-bishop know of what had happened in Mount Lavanor. The baron-and-the-bishop informed the team that they were waiting for the rain and wind to stop, so they could each – forty of them – open an Eye of Galgiran. When that happened, the full force of Lok Giran and many mages from Lok Magius besides would enter Teras and put an end to the werewolves, once and for all.
Whatever power Amreth had over Duke Therinol would have to be put to the test. The baron-and-the-bishop of the Rilan Duchy was waiting for the storm to settle before violating the king's orders and interfering with how another's duchy was run, even openly go to war with a fellow duke. Dwarfendale felt the need was too great, that they had to force Amreth's hand and free Teras.
Towards that end, the baron-and-the-bishop had brought an arsenal of silvered weapons. The weapons had already been off-loaded to the Barinthar Temple, where the twin priests there had been gathering an army of animals to help sew chaos when the battle erupted. Greff spoke of how the orcs hated the werewolves, and could help in the fight against Amreth.
Though the dwarves of Lok Giran had fought against the ograns for decades, they were from many different clans. Their primary oath was not to Rakore or their clans – but to Nodrom Fistforger, Baron of Rakore, Bishop of Galgiran, Lord of Rilan, Touched by the Gods. When the baron-and-the-bishop set aside his differences with the orcs, so, too, did they. The orcs would help in the battle to retake Teras, armed with Rilan-forged silvered weapons. To coordinate, one of the Lok Rilan dwarves would accompany the ME team and help to ensure the orcs attacked at the same time as all the forces of Lok Rilan.
The ME team, plus one of the Rilan dwarves, stayed in the main throughfares in Teras. The larger throughfares helped hide the team's movement in the storm, and they made it to the Orchid's Dew without being spotted. The mounts were hidden in a nearby alley, where Corrin's silik made webbing to wall off the alleyway from view and protect them from the wind.
Greff managed to get the word out that a battle was brewing – that the dwarves were going to help them take the city back from the werewolves. The orcs quickly spread the word, and within an hour there 150 orcs gathered in the tavern and in the alleyway nearby. Many of the orcs still had the srik plate they had fought the dwarves in, and there were many weapons, including the awesome foot bows that were nearly ballistae in and of themselves. The silvered weapons were divided up, and so, too, were the orcs.
There would be three troops of orcs, plus a reserve where the Rilan dwarve would help coordinate the attack. All they needed was the signal to attack.
Several of the orcs knew where to find Amreth the Gaunt: he often stayed at the Count's Manor. The ME team suspected they would find Kaleus Stonegrudge there, as well. The orcs also had intel on the numbers of werewolves in Teras. They estimated there to be a staggering 500 of the beasts. Every criminal and gang, bully and theft, had been forced to organize under Amreth into packs of werewolves. Amreth's control over the packs was formidable – but one of the orcs was the chamberlain of the manor. Since the orc emptied every chamber pot in the manor, he knew it well.
That, Greff reasoned, would be where they would attack the moment the signal came. The Rilan dwarve relayed the message, somehow, using his prayers to Galgiran to allow him to contact the baron-and-the-bishop.
Mid-morning of the 17th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Dinner was beef and barley, and Sommer did a fine job of cooking for our own troop.
It was interesting to consider a dragonborn with werewolf lycanthropy. No one was quite sure what to think of that. Given that this was the second time that Greff and Aeron had had the curse removed, they felt they should have a bonus against it – and so I gave them a +2 bonus against all lycanthropic curses from now on. My mind was half made up to give them penalties, instead – to make them more vulnerable to the curse from now on. People burned by fire are often more vulnerable to pain from heat, and curses may likely be little different. But, we also live in an age of immune research, and it stands to reason that if their system has fought it off twice before (albeit with help) then they could fight it off more easily, next time.
All characters have 38,000XP, and are 12th-level.
It was Greff and Aeron
Doh! Fixed it – and then remembered to give you guys experience points! Ha!