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A kobold slave, and Iirkh's Half Brother, can we use them? Sure.

by Greywolf-ELM

Rhgl is all alone. The rest of the warband has fled the battle, but Rhgl remains to see what is happening. There is much yelling from Spun, the Ogre tribe's shaman. He is rushing around trying to save injured Ogres and Hobgoblins so they can fight again. Rhgl smiles to hear that Sharraxtharkul called down the fires to burn many of the dying Ogres beyond help. Some time passes as the guards and leaders run around organising for a second attack. The tribe chieftain Butor, calls for the breakdown of camp, for travel to a more secure area. Rhgl nearly snickers out loud to hear the ranting. As the hobgoblins begin taking tents down, Rhgl sneaks out the flap in the back of this tent, and moves quietly off into the darkness. Gorga will want this news.

The warband meets back up near the river. Drigka comes in later, then Gorga, with Iirkh over his shoulders. Everyone is dismayed. The warband's most powerful warrior is dead. But many Ogres fell to his club. Gorga lays Iirkh's body near the edge of camp. He was a good warrior.

Gorga tells the story of Iirkh's final battle, and his revenge on the Ogre Duuk.

We turned to fight the Ogre chasing us. Duuk was his name, of Butor's guards. Iirkh hit the Ogre with his club hurting him, but not enough. Duuk was in a battle rage, and was not feeling pain. After Iirkh's death and the last of the Wyverns fled in terror, I Gorga Manhunter jumped to my feet and snarled at the Ogre, "You shall suffer greatly for this deed!" and drove a final blow through Duuk's heart bringing down one of Butor's Elite Guard with my glaive.

Sharraxtharkul calls for silence among the warband members. He pulls out his charcoal, and begins preparing the body to prevent him being raised as undead. With the final markings in place, Shar begins a death dirge for Iirkh Stonefist the foul.

Prayer to the Earth and Elements
Valiant spirits of the fire, earth, wind, and air,
Who subdued the demons and angels with blood,
For love of the Tribe, for pains and wounds of weary battle,
Hold thy shield over Iirkh, protect Iirkh,
Hold thy shield over Iirkh, protect Iirkh.
On his way to the spirit warrior's path

Spirits beloved and mother of calm,
Father of storms, shield, oh shield us,
And spirits of the life binding, hunters of the wild,
Safeguard thou our lives, encircle us together,
Safeguard thou our lives, encircle us together.
Safeguard Iirkh's spirit, and encircle Iirkh with us
on the warrior's path

And spirits of air, fire, water and earth, powerful, maker of all things,
Governors of the track ways of power,
Invoke the star of power upon the path,
Guide well thou ourselves, shield our procession,
Guide well thou ourselves, shield our procession.
Guide well Iirkh, shield him on the procession.

Crone of Wisdom! Hands of Fate
Be the spirit binder, the triad,
the now, the then and the tomorrow
Be with us day and night,
On the plain, on the mountain ridge,
On the lake bottom, or in the forest trees
Be the Triad with us and cloak us,
Be the Triad with us and cloak us.
Be the Triad with Iirkh and cloak him for all time

Now! Spirits of earth, wind, fire, and air,
guide well Iirkh to the resting of souls,
guide well to the cycle of battle,
guide well to the eternal cycle of earth, air, water and fire.

Iirkh, we have asked for the way so you must go!

The warband breaks into howls of the warrior to guide Iirkh to the eternal battle, and the ritual is completed. All look to Sharraxtharkul with respect at his dirge for Iirkh. He is growing into a spiritual leader for the warband. The body is left where it lies, until the return to the tribe.

Rhgl comes sneaking into camp and updates Gorga on what he learned while hiding in the tent. Pleased with the news, Gorga calls for rest here after the battle with the Ogres.

During Rhgl's watch, he begins to think about Gorga being able to hear him when not close by. While Gorga is sleeping, Rhgl decides to give a little test to his theory.

Gorga... Rhgl is your trusted one

Gorga... Rhgl is very loyal and honest

Gorga... Rhgl....

Gorga, Rhgl good.

Rhgl mighty warrior!

Gorga becomes restless in his sleep, and Rhgl grins to himself.

In the morning after everyone has rested, and a dirty glance thrown Rhgl's way, Gorga decides to take the warband North to try and follow the Ogre warband tracks headed in that direction. The tracks are soon rediscovered by Gorga, Sharraxtharkul and his wolf.

The Wyverns pick up the pace, with Rhgl scouting ahead, It is soon determined that the warbands are headed to the Vile Runes home. The warband crosses the river at the ford, and hustles back towards the tribe's home encampment. Travelling across the last stretch of badlands leading home, the warband crests a hill to see a battle at the home tribe.

An Ogre of the Vile Runes tribe is fighting off three Hobgoblins, and there are multiple enemy ogres and hobgoblins at the gate. Garnash, Gynk, and Hargul are there, felling the remaining ogres handily. An unusual sight up on the walls is a Kobold is running along casting spells at Hobgoblins. Bolts of light fly unerringly to hit hobgoblin bowmen. The warband rushes in to help, but is too late to participate in the battle. Hargul casts lightning frying an Ogre, and Garnash takes down two with multiple slashes from his Axe. The Vile Runes Ogre clubs down the last of the hobgoblins, and turns to watch the approach of the Wyverns, alive and dead. One set of eyes follows the warband, not with approval of their return.

Gorga makes a point to count the dead Orcs to see how bad the battle went. Not too bad, only about 12 lost. Garnash calls out for the tribe to treat the wounded, and prepare the enemy bodies for a feast. Looking over at the returning Wyverns, he directs Gynk Lip-biter to meet with them.

The Wyverns meet up with Gynk, and tell of the route of the war party on the other side of the river. He is pleased, except for the knowledge that Iirkh is now gone from the tribe. Gorga requests replacement members for the warband. Gynk calls for Shglsnor to fight and possibly lead another warband. He gives Gorga access to Gaak, Iirkh's half-brother, the full Ogre fighting outside this day. Looking at Gorga Gynk makes a decision. Chupa, a Kobold sorcerer was purchased at the sacred cavern recently. Raised from an egg, the kobold has no tie beyond race, with kobolds to the East.

He will fit well with your warband Gorga. Gynk looks around the cave for prying eyes and ears. No one else will bother with the kobold, but he will grow powerful with you; an asset to the tribe. Gorga agrees to take on the slave, and the Ogre, if Gaak can be convinced to fight alongside the leader who saw his brother die.

Gorga begins to request a warparty to move in and finish off the Ogre tribe. Gynk smiles at the attitude of his protégé. You fight well for the tribe Gorga, but we do not have enough Orcs to hold the new stronghold, our lands from all sides, and new lands in the Ogre territory. We need more Orcs for the tribe. Garnash is busy; can you and your warband recruit Orcs for us?

Gorga commits to the task. Yes War-Leader, I will recruit new Orcs for the tribe.

Meanwhile, Sharraxtharkul has approached Hargul Wolf-Tongue to request a divination. We seek a weapon to use against the Ogres. Will you ask the spirits for us? It is beyond my power to find such knowledge. He leaves the unspoken word "yet" out of his request. Payment is arranged, and Shar takes his leave from the shaman.

Gorga locates Gaak, and requests that he join the Wyverns. He explains how Iirkh was killed, that Wogar must have sneezed to miss the death of a favoured warrior. Gaak is not your normal stupid Ogre, and decides to see if Iirkh was lost to stupidity, or bad luck in war. Gorga welcomes him to the warband.

Finding Chupa is quite easy. The young goblins and orcs in the tribe have gathered around to tease and torment the kobold. He is mostly oblivious to them, but when bothered too much, he releases a little magic to scare them off. Gorga tells the young to scram, and gathers Chupa to the warband. Chupa, you will fight with us. Chupa nods, and follows Gorga, as he gathers up the warband.

Tomorrow we go to the Sacred Cavern. We will recruit Orcs to fight for the Vile Runes. There are no complaints. More Orcs means fewer turns at the boring duty of guarding the home tribe, and more time out in battle.

The Wyverns make the trip to the Sacred Cavern a short day-long trip. With a quick argument at the gate, the warband is let in with all their weapons intact. Gorga confers with Drigka, and decides that the warband can gather a following by having Drigka perform at bars. This ends up being fruitful for the warband.

The first bar is the "Drunken Orc". Drigka rolls in, and can't seem to keep his drums in order. A poor performance yields high prices for the warband on drinks, and a bar fight nearly ensues. On the way out the door, Sharraxtharkul voices his displeasure at the high cost of drinks; a whole silver for Wogar's sake. I can get <sex act> from a dwarf for less then that!... As an afterthought he adds In this city.

The second bar is a slimy affair off an alley, near the outer wall of the city. "The Open Sore" known throughout the city as a festering den comprised mostly of Orcs. Drigka has a great performance here, singing one of his own songs, "Rise of the Wyverns." In the ensuing conversations, 6 orcs are recruited to the Vile Runes.

The third bar is a low down dirty affair, "Goblins Gas" by name, and the smell of the place matches. Gorga comments to Rhgl. Does this remind you of home? and to the rest of the warband Grab what you have, and keep it safe. Drigka has a decent performance here, "Blazing a Glory path to Wogar" is the song. 9 goblins see this as a calling to the tribe. Rhgl immediately begins indoctrination over a brew. Asking around, Drigka finds out about three more bars in the city that might allow public performances by the Battle Drummer.

At the fourth bar "SkullCrack Groghole" only Gaak is allowed in, until he mentions that Drigka is a Battle Drummer, and will play for the bar. An enjoyable performance of "A tale of Men and Entrails" keeps the bard from earning a beating, but little more. The 12 Ogre patrons are as friendly as expected, but none are especially thrilled.

The fifth bar is one of the larger, if not the largest in the city; "The Orc and Pastry." A troll bouncer watches the warband and followers as they come in. Drigka chats up the barkeep, and agrees to a performance for the bar. He trots out "Blazing a Glory path to Wogar" again to good effect. After the performance discussion with several orcs and goblins over drinks, and 6 more orcs and 2 more goblins agree to join the tribe.

The last bar is filled with malcontents and obvious thralls. "The Dark Hole" is not a friendly place, and most of the new recruits do not want to go in. Gorga leads them out of the city, while Drigka attempts to bring some of the drinkers around with "A tale of Men and Entrails" one of his best works. Even a great performance by the Battle Drummer is unable to sway any of these hardened criminals to a life of working and fighting for a tribe.

A total of 12 orcs and 11 goblin recruits camp outside the city with the warband. Rhgl suggests that they have a small feast to make the march back to the tribe an easier affair. This ends up being a good suggestion, and may have kept some from deserting. Taking a couple of orcs with him, Rhgl heads into the city while Shar starts up a cooking fire. Soon, Rhgl has returned with a boar, and a couple of Mushroom Ale kegs. No watch is posted during the drunken sleep afterwards. After a good sleep, Gorga awakens everyone for a march back to the tribe.

After a day of marching, they return to the tribe home, Gynk is pleased with the warbands' results. Twenty three new pariahs ready to earn names in the tribe. Sharraxtharkul goes to Hargul Wolf-Tongue to get the results of the commune with spirits.

Over the river and across the ford
Ogrebreaker is in the hoard
Ready fire along the way
Judicious use will win the day

There is also some bad news for Gorga and the warband. The shaman FillexHulkil presumably of the Screaming Monkeys tribe has disappeared with several of the orcs returned after the Coming of Age ceremony for the young warband. This personal affront to the Wyverns can not go unpunished. Gorga goes to Rhgl before the warband leaves. He has a new job for Rhgl which will require good communication with the goblin. Trying to impress the goblin, and garner additional support he explains to Rhgl that he has made a magic "Earring of Echoes" and that Rhgl should wear it, now that he will be scouting for the warband. Gorga makes a point to explain how he believes the earring to work. Rhgl recognises the ring as the one Iirkh wore blowing Gorga's bluff.
That looks like Iirkh's earring.

P*$% off, Rhgl, here take this. You'll need it when you skulk

The warband strikes off in search of the missing FillexHulkil. Travelling North and East, they come across some tracks, heading towards the Fat Lips tribe home to the East. This begins to make sense, who but the Fat Lips would try to steal orcs from under their noses?

Gorga sends Rhgl to scout ahead. The way is unusual however. Normally when penetrating this deep into Fat Lips territory, there should be some form of challenge, today there is none. Continuing to scout ahead, Rhgl finds the vale of the Fat Lips. He can see that a battle has taken place here recently; there are dead orcs and kobolds, a siege weapon, that has been badly damaged, and a section of scorched earth near the palisade down in the valley. The warband moves up to join Rhgl at the pass, and notice a patrol approaching around the rim of the valley.

Rhgl continues down to scout out the damaged palisade and to get beyond the patrol. There is very little activity for a tribe here. He makes his way down like a quiet wind, and goes unnoticed by any of the Fat Lips tribe.
The patrol is comprised of a very large Orc with an enormous great axe, a large Orc carrying a great axe, 3 Orcs with bows, and 2 carrying great axes.

The Fat Lips patrol makes its way warily as it goes beyond the pass, and the Wyverns attempt to come up behind and parley. With the recent near-defeat in mind, they are in no mood to respond to kind words, and they make it clear with arrows and insults.
No one attacks Prince Ugreth!

Gorga shouts back Prince? You look like a pansy-A$%#d p*$sboy to me!

Battle is joined, with Gorga charging in ahead of his warband only to be laid low by the half-Troll Idiot Prince "Grung." Drigka begins a drum solo, and uses the magic of his playing to inspire courage in the warband. Chupa begins sending his balls of magic energy unerringly at enemy Orcs, while staying out of the way of return arrows. Snig runs up to support, but the self-styled Orc Prince slashes him hard with his battle axe. Snig harries him and draws him off of Gorga for a short respite at least. The half-Troll Idiot prince charges for Gaak, and they battle it out.

Um gunna, get da Ogre. Gunna get him good.

Gilnak tries to flank the half-troll/orc to support Gaak, killing an injured orc with a powerful slash of his axe. Shar manages to ride his wolf guiding him around so he can heal Gorga. After Gorga's forced nap, he gets up survey's the damage. Noticing one of the few remaining Fat Lip Orcs, he charges him with his halberd. With a critical blow to the stomach, Gorga impales the hapless orc and with a show of strength, forces him into the air.

Finally, he drops the orc and spits on him.

Gorga takes stock of the battle. Gaak is trading blows with the Half-Troll, Gilnak lies dead, Drigka is playing his drums and chanting out a song, Gilnak is hacking away at Ugreth, Chupa is using his magic to good effect, Sharraxtharkul is using magic to heal Snig, and Hobna is putting arrows into the enemy.

Where is Rhgl he is missing the battle, ah never mind, he never does anything anyway

Gorga, I can hear you.

Rhgl, Good.

Gorga, I can see you.

Gorga shows Rhgl a universal hand sign.

Just in time to see the Half-Troll/Orc reach back and nearly cut Gilnak in half. The one-eyed orc dies the way he wanted, in battle. Hobna shoots arrows injuring Ugreth, and with orcs falling around him, he begins to rage. Grung begins to rage as well. Gaak takes a final slash from Grungs' greataxe, and uses his greatclub quickly and efficiently, bringing down the half-Troll. Gorga returns to the battle with Ugreth, as Sharraxtharkul summons fire to burn the obviously half-Troll Grung.

The warband converges on the other Orc Prince and finish off Ugreth. With the two most powerful orcs in their tribe defeated; the remaining two orcs turn and run for the palisade and the hope of backup.

Gaak looks at Gorga with his barely healed wounds, Gilnak lying dead on the ground, and his own injuries. Next time, perhaps the Ogre should lead the charge.

Next Up: The Wyverns pay a House Call