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Return to In Search of the Unknown part 10 "Et tu Rhgl?"

by Greywolf-ELM

[Warning, a mild depiction of Orc murder is made in this post.]

Tyco steps forward to finish off Scrag with an overhead chop.

Eager to see it over, Gorga commands one more time. "Finish him."

The Orcs see Rhgl appear out of the shadows behind Tyco, driving his dagger into just the right spot on the big Orc. The axe falls from fingers that no longer feel what they are holding. As Tyco falls lifeless to the floor, Rhgl steps back, removing his favourite dagger from the spine of the dead Orc. The remaining Orcs look at the goblin in stunned silence. Rhgl manages his best innocent look, shrugs his shoulders and says.

"But... you said finish him."

Gorga huffs for a bit. "I meant Scrag."

Another shrug and sincere look from the goblin, and Gorga resists the urge to kill the Goblin himself.
As the warband turns to see what can be salvaged from this, Gilnak steps up and finishes off the badly injured Scrag.

"I got him for ya Gorga."

Gorga just shakes his head, and walks away hoping he can finish this raid with the Orcs he has left. The remaining warband members look at each other, and quickly begin dividing up the weapons, armour and other items carried by the pair of barbarian Orcs. They are Orcs after all. Rhgl and Gilnak claim first choice, and everything else goes quickly.

Gorga manages to gather the rest of the warband together, to go back and finish investigating the other doors in the sorcerers' room. With Rhgl scouting out front, the warband returns, to find some streaks on the floor. Gorga looks around and determines that the body was dragged out of the room, and the streaks end about 3 to 4 shins* outside of the room.

Two doors are investigated in the sorcerers' chambers, and one contains some old books and belongings of the previous inhabitant. The other contains an illusion of treasure, and the charred body of a kobold. Since math is not a strong ability among Orcs, they do not put 2 + 2 together, and realise this is the former chieftain of the kobold tribe. Finding nothing else of value, the Orcs move out, continuing to follow the "right-hand rule"

Rhgl continues to scout ahead through multiple turns of the hallway. The warband waits at a closed door, while Rhgl scouts the rest of the hallway. Around the corner some 6 shins* away, the goblin disappears, with a loud clang, and shortly thereafter a splash. Gorga brings the warband forward to find that a large section of hallway has opened up into a pit, with an opening into a cave below. Swimming around in a pool, 8 shins* below is Rhgl, struggling to stay afloat with his backpack and gear. Gorga quickly lowers a rope, and in short order the goblin is back with the warband. Iirkh leans out to bash at the door that Rhgl was headed towards, and quickly finds it to be a false door, and a lure to get unwanted visitors to fall in the pit. Without as much as a thank you, the warband is on its' way again.

Doubling back down the hallway, the warband continues to scout out the hallways and doors in this area of the stronghold. One door of note looks to be newly replaced. Listening at the door yielded no information. Iirkh opens the door, to find a grisly sight. A large stone table dominates the room. That is not so bad, but the remains of skin organs, sinews and tendons make even the Orcs pause for a second. Something has been cleanly and neatly cut apart and investigated. The skeleton of the creature is noticed hanging from the far wall, tied back together with sinew. Some muffled grunts are heard from the far side of the table, and the warband moves into the room to silence any resistance.

Rather than an enemy, the warband finds two trussed up creatures, the captured orc and goblin from the Owl warband. Both are stripped down to keep any weapons away from them. Even naked, the warband recognises the resident Battle Drummer of the Vile Runes Tribe. Drigka is ungagged, and his ropes cut while he explains how he and the goblin came to this ignominious state. The six knuck** orc calls out to Rhgl, who is going through the pile of armour and weapons in the corner.
"Goblin, leave off stealing my things, or I'll sing a dirge of your passing." Rhgl gives a discerning eye to the orc, and tosses the drum mallet back in the pile.

The goblin is a rangy thing named Snig, comes out of his bonds spitting and calling out for revenge on the kobold shaman "Booboo." The warband figures out that he means Buimbu and informs him that they have recently killed the vivisectionist-sorcerer. It seems the kobold had multiple talents.

"One less thing to do on my list," says Drigka.

Gorga welcomes the orc and goblin into the warband, at least temporarily, and permanently if they prove themselves. Sharraxtharkul pokes around the remains of what turns out to have been a Troll.

Back up to full numbers, the warband moves on to a door further down the hall. Rhgl reports the sound of flapping wings from within. When the door is opened by the orcs, nothing is visible. Iirkh steps into a room prepared for summoning spirits and daemons. Written in some abyssal language across all the walls, the floor and ceiling are curses and protections against what is summoned here. Iirkh hears the flapping of wings nearby, and the sound recedes out the door past the orcs. A few hear it, but none can catch whatever it is.

More searching of the hallways and rooms of the stronghold, and the warband finds a room for sleeping quarters, and a pair of rooms using teleportation magic to confuse the unwary. Gilnak of all orcs is the one to figure out the truth of the misdirection. He's heard to say, "I have one eye but it is good."

Gorga decides that he's had enough of hallways, invisible creatures, missing bodies, and the lack of enemies, and that he's not concerned about being quiet anymore.

"Drigka, we haven't heard a good home song in a while, how about giving us a song."

Drigka, lashes his standard to his backpack, and begins playing on his battle drums.

More scouting of the seemingly interminable hallways and Rhgl opens the door to another room. He is promptly met by four thrown daggers; two of which slam into the door nearby, while the other two manage to drive into a leg and shoulder, weakening him some. A group of 4 Black-tongue kobolds can be seen leaping off a ledge, into a hole in the floor. Rhgl moves in to see, with Iirkh right behind. Rhgl hurls a dagger back at one, knocking it from the rope it was climbing down, and it falls many shins** to its' death. Iirkh grabs up the ropes, and begins shaking them. Two more fall to their death on the hard cavern floor below. One manages to roll with the fall, and can be seen running off into the dark to the North. Gorga orders that the warband finish scouting out this level, before going below.

After a minor run in with a few monstrous spiders, and non-combatant kobolds, the orcs find themselves in a slight maze of passageways. Snig moves to the front for scouting, with Rhgl recovering from poisoned daggers and spider bites. Through all this, Drigka continues to pound his drums, hoping to instil a sense of dread in his enemies.

Near the centre of the circling hallways, the warband is set upon by a pair of creepy-crawlies. Coming around a corner, and rushing forward on the ceiling, face to face with Iirkh, are a pair of disturbing creatures, with a mouth full of teeth surrounded by writhing tentacles. Snig is attacked by one, which nearly grabs him to run away. The wily goblin bounces and rolls out of the way, bringing his axe to bear on the creature. He was able to force the creature to touch his axe with tentacles, and nothing else. Iirkh on the other hand is not so lucky. With a twitch, the Half-Ogre becomes a living statue, effectively blocking the hallway. Snig shows the first creature what an axe in the right goblin hands can do, and moves to help Iirkh. Gorga manages to place a telling arrow in the creature, and Snig jumps in the air to slice gashes into the creature hanging from the ceiling. Not having the easy meal that it had hoped for, the creature retreats through a hole in the ceiling, away from the dangerous orcs.

Drigka eases off playing the drums, and the warband settles down to await the recovery of Iirkh. Sharraxtharkul pokes around and proclaims knowledge of this behaviour and begins estimating the time to recovery. Meanwhile, Gorga is planning the assault into the caverns below.

Next Up: Return to In Search of the Unknown part 11 "Ready or not, here we come."