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

by Greywolf-ELM

Iirkh comes to with a start.

"Where the worm?"

Snig points to the hole in the ceiling, and Iirkh moves over to shove his club up the hole.

"No squishy."

Iirkh pulls his club out and looks at the goblins as if he will stuff one of them up the hole to find the creature. Gorga stops any further ideas along those lines and tells the warband to move out.

"Let the others clean this mess up when we are done. We will secure the rest of the stronghold."

With nothing but hallway and empty rooms around, the warband returns to the room with stairs going down. The Dire Weasel bodies are still in place; Shiglsnor and Gilnak are soon put to work clearing them out of the way. The stairs down are about 5 knucks wide, and Iirkh must squeeze down the whole way. Scouting ahead a short distance, Snig is the first to see the level below.

A mining operation of some kind had been abandoned here, there are piles of rubble all around with old mining carts, timbers and mining tools strewn about. Snig moves off the stairs and into the room, and sees a barrier across the far opening in the room. Moving forward, he trips over a chain that was cleverly hidden. When he hits the floor, kobolds jump up on the far side of the makeshift barrier, and begin hurling daggers and slinging stones at him.

Seeing this, Gorga charges down the steps, missing the chain trap just inside the room, he runs halfway across the room before a board falls off of the kobolds' barrier. A fusillade of darts comes flying out of the opening, a few hitting the powerful Orc. With no time for a wince at the pain, he lets out a roar and leaps over the wall, charging into the group of kobolds, knocking many of them over. Gorga stands up and growls,

"After we kill you, we will feast on your young!"

He spears one kobold as it gets to its' feet and begins to run. Iirkh squeezes into the room allowing for some of the other Orcs to come out of the stairway as well. More kobolds turn to flee, as the Eagles tear into the room with kobold blood in mind. Gilnak has trouble climbing the kobold barrier, and the goblin Snig can't seem to climb either. Iirkh comes running along,

"What you think, little one, want help up?"

Iirkh scoops up Snig on the run and jumps over the barricade with a thud as he lands. Drigka strides pointedly up to the makeshift barrier, and looks at Gilnak, as he walks right up the side of the barrier, without missing a beat of his drums. Over the top, and hopping down the other side, inspiring courage in the Orcs, the entire way. Thus begins the first known act in the legend of Drigka BattleDrummer of renown.

Spurred on by Gorga's greatness of course, Iirkh does well enough not to smack his head on the ceiling. The kobolds are routed, and hunting in the tunnels commences.

"Come here you little runt!" says Gilnak before slipping on kobold blood.

The Eagles regroup before heading through the cave opening. Where the room was carved and cut, the doorway beyond the barricade opens into an uncut cave. Gorga begins following kobold tracks in the dirt and debris of the cave floors. A web covered passageway is avoided by order of Gorga, and the warband continues to search for the not so escaping Kobolds.

"Keep running; it will just take longer for us to eat you!" Gorga growls after retreating kobolds.

Soon tracks are found leading to the living area for the Females and young... Most are killed, along with the remaining fleeing kobolds, and a couple young are strapped to Gorga and Iirkh in hopes of avoiding sneak attacks by Kobolds. Unbeknownst to Gorga, Almost all kobold resistance is dead at this point. An entire tribe wiped out by a warband of Orcs.

Snig takes up point again, and comes across a room with four more of the Horned Kobolds. The warband makes a quick one-sided battle of it, and the kobolds are soon dead on the cave floor. Seeing only nests for the creatures here, the warband moves on.

In a cave nearby a rock, glowing as if by magic is found. Sharraxtharkul tosses one of the kobold young on it. The kobold cries out but does not seem to have any magical ill effect. Sharraxtharkul directs the investigation and has Iirkh knocking off some flakes. The flakes stop glowing after a few minutes, and with no immediate resolution, Gorga urges the warband to move on.
In caves further along, glowing fungi is found, and again Shar tosses a young kobold into it with no apparent ill effect. It is determined to be just some harmless glowing fungi, by the goblin druid.

The warband comes across a room that has been boarded up and painted red. Gorga elects to move on to the only other door found here in the caves. Near the kobold warrens a door is found that was barred and locked. The door is kicked in using the power of the Half-Ogre. The door crashes to the ground, and 10 ugly blood-wetted muzzles turn to look at the intrusion. One of their kind is lying dead on the floor, a meal for the others. This new intrusion holds the promise of a variety to the meat. Six of them have a greenish tinge to their skin, and are much larger than average kobolds. The other four are misshapen with malformed heads, legs or arms, or they have discoloured skin with patches of fur. Either mistakes from genetic engineering, or set here to see which are strong enough to survive, none are alive to mention the intent.

The floor of this room is sloped from the edges down to the centre. The slope of the room is nothing to deter the Eagles. Drigka begins belting out an impromptu song to inspire courage in the warband; "Kill the blasted kobolds." The battle does not last long, the Eagles figure out that the green-tinged kobolds must have troll blood, as they are harder to kill than the mutants. Margrax and Snig are injured badly by the rending claws of these creatures, and the battle goes for the kobolds, until Iirkh can swing his club into the mix after squeezing through the doorway. At one point he smashes a kobold that was previously incapacitated, back to the ground.

"Iirkh say stay dead."

Sharraxtharkul manages to summon a fire elemental, for the first time, and between it and his fire summoned to hand, the kobolds are unable to return from the battle strewn floor.

Sharraxtharkul investigates the bodies after they have been soundly burned, and performs rituals over them, so they will not return from the dead.

Next Up: Return to In Search of the Unknown part 12 "Orcs vs. Undead, yeah right."


* Shins are equivalent to 5 Knucks, or about the length of an Ogre's Shinbone
** Knucks are equivalent to feet, Ogre Knuckles as a unit of measure
*** Boar - Measure of time it takes to skin a boar, about one hour. Spits are also used as a measure of time. A boar on a spit is turned over a fire 6 times in about a minute. So a spit is ten seconds.