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

by Greywolf-ELM

Gorga looks around at the aftermath of the battle, and Sharraxtharkul performs some healing on his wolf companion. Snig is hurting pretty badly, having suffered alongside Magrax at the rending hands of the half troll kobolds. After Snig is bandaged up some, Gorga sends Rhgl out front to scout again. Picking up on Rhgl's little comments through the power of his earring, Gorga watches for others to take the goblins attitude. It would not be good to have the warband turn on him because they are dissatisfied. So far morale is high, especially with the addition of Drigka to the warbands' ranks.

Pointing the way for Rhgl, the warband finds its' way back to the door found earlier. Ignoring the red warning paint, Iirkh and Hobna, rip the door open. The smell of death and decay billows out from the room, causing some coughing among the orcs. In the darkness, twelve of the walking dead begin shambling forth, almost eager at the change to their routine, of waiting dormant, for orders that stopped coming long ago.

Sharraxtharkul begins shouting and cursing at the undead to return to death, but it does little to deter them. With verbal reprimand not working, he calls forth another flaming sphere to burn them. One zombie is burned badly, but continues towards the orcs.

Shglsnor is shaken somewhat at the sight. "Um, Gorga, it's on fire and still coming at me!"

Drigka begins pounding out a song about the sacking of Ardelphia in the Darokin lands, and the Orcs are emboldened by the tune.

Gorga, Hobna, and Shglsnor have trouble doing much damage to the undead, but Iirkh, using his greatclub, smashes through one, driving his weapon on into the next zombie; disintegrating both. Swords and daggers seemed to have little effect on the creatures born of negative energy and the bodies of the dead. Rhgl manages to hurl some daggers in-between his companions, but none stick and harm the creatures. The goblins conspire to create a new game called Zombie Darts, but first they need to convince Iirkh to hold a zombie down so they can paint a target on its' face.

Gorga takes a clubbing and Shglsnor as well. Iirkh fends off the questing zombie hands, with little trouble. Drigka weaves some magic into his song, inspiring Gorga but to little effect, as he just can't seem to finish off more than a single zombie.

Feeling a bloodlust, Gilnak slashes his hand and flings blood at one of the zombies hoping to attract its' attention. Soon, room is made in the warband for him to come forward and combat the zombies toe to desiccated toe. Gilnak does manage to put two of the zombies to dust with his Axe, and between Iirkh and Sharraxtharkul, the rest are smashed or burned.

Sharraxtharkul begins marking the bodies that remain, and cursing to the spirits that summoned them to unlife. He finds the finger bone of one, and wrapping it in some rags feigns putting a spell upon it, for the good luck of Iirkh. Iirkh proudly takes the charm and attaches it to his hide armour.

Out of Iirkh's earshot, Rhgl quips "For those hard to reach places."

After Sharraxtharkul is finished with his rituals to keep the dead, dead, and some healing is called upon for Gorga, the warband moves on to explore the remaining caves. One cave is found with a pool of water and all fill up their water skins. Many drink directly from the water as well.

With Snig injured, and Rhgl somewhat injured as well, Gorga decides to scout ahead for a time. He finds a large cavern, with a beam of light coming from high up on the far wall. There are sounds coming from the room, as if a large number of small creatures has been disturbed. Moving back to the warband, with thoughts of rats in mind, Gorga asks Sharraxtharkul to investigate.

Moving to the cavern, Shar brings about magic that allows him to speak with animals. From a short conversation, he is able to find out that there are a large number of bats in the cave, and they want to be left alone. He quickly searches for tracks, and finds some left behind by kobolds, who did not leave return tracks. They have been obscured by guano and are at least a week old. Shar returns to Gorga and reports his findings.

"It would be better to investigate when it is night outside. The Bats will be hunting then. There are two old sets of tracks left by kobolds."

Gorga nods at the information, and directs the warband to move on to another cavern for exploration. Still scouting ahead, Gorga manages to dive clear, and avoid falling into a covered pit, as it opens below him. Within the next few minutes, black-tongue kobold bodies are found, and looted. These are the ones who tried to swing on ropes, down to safety. Soon after, a cave is found with a statue, pointing to the wall in the Northeast end of the room. To the North in this cave, a strong Iron-bound door is found. Attempts to listen at the door are foiled by the two kobold younglings strapped to Iirkh and Gorga. They are silenced, quickly, if not mercifully, and the bodies tossed aside.

With nothing heard, even after the kobolds were silenced, Gorga turns to Rhgl, thinking to have the goblin check out the door. "Can you do anything about this door?"

Rhgl looks at the door, and at Gorga. "Of course."
He turns to the warband, and points to the door, calling out "Iirkh!"

Iirkh smiles and moves toward the door.

Gorga shakes his head, as the Half-Ogre goes about the noisy business of bashing in the reinforced door. The large cavern on the other side, is devoid of any creatures. If there had been, the bashing at the door, may have been encouragement enough to leave by other portals.

Expecting to find something here, the warband spreads out and searches the walls. Gorga is the one that finds a secret door, activating it with Rhgl looking on. All of the Orcs are dazzled for a minute as the secret door opens to sunlight. At least the sun is going down. Gorga steps out to look around, and in moments the door closes behind him. There is no latch to be found on the outside, on the ledge. Gorga finds himself on a ledge, hundreds of feet above the rocky bottom of a canyon.

"Let me back in, there is no handle out here."
Rhgl contemplates his position a moment, before activating the catch, and letting Gorga back in. He receives a quick glare for his trouble, as Gorga comes back in.

Noting the location of the alternate exit, the warband moves on to the remaining cave to be explored. The one covered over in webbing.

Gorga leads the warband in, with a torch at the ready. Moving in slowly, he burns away a section of webbing, to allow for passage. Reaching a turn in the cave, he is suddenly struck by a stream of the sticky stuff, spun at him, by an enormous spider. Rushing forward, the large spider bites Gorga, weakening him greatly. Seeing his warband leader in trouble, Iirkh rushes in to engage the creature. Following the path that Gorga burned through the webbing, Iirkh steps forward with a mighty swing of his Greatclub, squashing the creature with a single mighty strike, proving again that he is a great asset to the warband and to Gorga in particular.

Gorga is not weakened so much that he doesn't still have a sick sense of humour.

"Next time we make dinner, we need to use Iirkh's club to season the soup."

Iirkh smiles and holds up the recently freshened Greatclub.

With all of the known caves explored and secured, Gorga is eager to complete this mission, and send for an occupying force. He decides to send Sharraxtharkul, Margrax, Hobna, and Shglsnor back to the Home Tribe.

"Return to the Vile Runes, and report to Gynk Lip-Biter. He will send a warband or two to defend this place. Avoid the Elven woods, travel as often and quickly as possible."

The rest of the warband is given a chance to rest and heal, before working to make sure the stronghold stays clear of wandering creatures.

Over the next few days, Gorga investigates the cave of bats during the night. Thousands of bats are observed leaving the cave at night. With the bats out hunting, they offer no problems for the warband, other than walking through their droppings. Within the cave, a small set of stairs leads up to a short room, only a shin high, and several shin's back. The goblins move to investigate, and hands reach from far off, and grab Rhgl by the neck, choking him. Quickly Snig moves up the stairs, and renders the small rubbery creature quite dead. Nothing of value to the Orcs is found in the room, and they return to the task of keeping the stronghold secure.

Several days later, Shar and company return with the Hawk warband, lead by Mugluk Scar-Snout.
"Greetings Gorga Man-Hunter, Gynk Lip-Biter sends his warrior's salute."

Gorga recognises the least favoured warband in the tribe with a small sneer, and begins showing them around the stronghold. It takes nearly a day before Gorga is satisfied that the Hawks will keep up the tasks he feels important, such as feeding the Carrion Crawler some kobold bodies every few days to help it heal, and making sure the zombies stay dead, and burning out the rest of the spider webs.

The Eagles begin preparations for the return march, and Sharraxtharkul shares the experiences of the return trip to the tribe. Most notable, was the fly over by a pair of Wyverns. The Orcs hid, until they were no longer in sight, and continued moving. They were not seen on the return trip.

Packed up, rested and healed, Gorga calls for the march back to Vile Runes home territory. Not two days into the trip, the warband is attacked by a pair of Wyverns.

Next Up: The Warband Earns a new Name


* 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.