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A visit to the Wayrest Trading Post: Gets Sidetrackedby Greywolf-ELM
After a long night of celebration, the newly formed "Eagle" warband finds Gynk Lip-Biter in the main counsel chamber of the tribe. He sees everyone enter, grunts, and points to some rough-hewn benches for the warband to sit at. The room is sparsely lit, with smoking torches. Gynk is shuffling some papers with writing and drawings on them. So far, none in the warband have been able to, or had the time to learn how to read.
While the Eagles shuffle around to find seating, Gynk finishes his study of the maps and reports, and moves to address them. "Wolf-Kin, ... Drusilla, you've been assigned to the Lynx warband, you're out." Drusilla nods and quietly heads for the door. None look at her as she leaves; there is little place for sentimentality amongst the Orcs. They grudgingly allowed her a place in the warband, with two marks against her; female, and non-Orcish. Some Orc women made excellent warband mates Drusilla was not really an Orc, maybe she'll fit in better with the Lynx warband.
Gynk reads off a list of the Wolves, "Gorga Manhunter, Ierkh Stonefist, Scrag Limpstick, Rhgl Storyteller, Sharraxetharkool Tanglefoot, Gilnash One-eye, Shglsnor One-fang, Tyco, and Hobna." Looking at Gorga "You can find the pariah after this meeting is over, make them into assets for the tribe."
The Lip-Biter clears his throat and spits on the floor "Listen up you raw meat. I have a job for you. Outside Vile Runes' land to the East the Fat Lips hold sway. Across the river to the East of that is the Kol horde. These sneaky swamp-suckers are trying to horn in on lands we will claim in Darokin. Our spies have returned with news that a tribe of Kobolds is taking over an old human stronghold in the hills near Alfheim. I have a map for you; our spies have once again proven to be the best in the Horde."
Gorga speaks up; "What is this place you speak of? Why is it important?"
"Oh, you want some history of the place eh? ... Well you did bring back some human whisky for the tribe; I can give you some time for that. A couple of human adventurers built some kind of stronghold up in the hills away from other humans, I can't say as I blame them.
They joined forces with the Darokin Army to help stop our invasion in the summer of 967. In a crucial battle, at the border of the Broken Lands between the human Fort Runnels and the ruins of a pinkskin city, Ardelphia, Now that was a sacking to boast of. They appeared unexpectedly on the battlefield and combined their force with the Darokin soldiers and ran our boys back home.
Around 979 they decided to take the fight to us here in the Broken Lands and of all things ran into a force of Trolls crossing through our lands to a new fort they were building outside Alfheim in Darokin. The poor fools never knew what hit them. They weakened the Troll forces somewhat, but they were never seen again. I was one of the scouts watching the invading forces that day. Never seen that many Trolls in one place before.
Anyway, see, that left their stronghold to fend for itself without reinforcements. Over the years it was found out, and the Kobolds have recently made a nest there. You have to clear them out, and hold the place for our boys to come take control of it. It will mean a bonus share for each of you, and names for the pariah in your warband, if you are up to the task. You'll be cleaning latrines at the next Horde-meet if you're not. You'll need to send a Scout back when you've taken control of the place. This could be one of the breaks we'll need to expand our tribe holdings and increase our status in the horde.
Go over the map with your Scouts and give me a yell when you have questions. You have seven days to prepare. Now enough talk, time to get some food."Gynk points to 3 fire hardened clay pots and directs his comments to Gorga. "Take these three pots of healing slime. You seal over wounds with them. If the situation is dire, you can drink it, just take care not to heave it back up, or the magic will not work for you."
Over some mouldy bread and 'giant ant stew' Gorga makes plans with his warband. After some typical bickering, it finally comes down to the need for provisions, weapons and armour that the tribe just doesn't have for them. They've heard over the years of, and some have visited, the Wayrest Trading Post half a day into Ogre lands to the West. A visit here to settle on weapons armour and additional provisions will be needed before the trip through hostile lands of at least two races. Gorga gathers the pariah, Tyco and Hobna and quickly fills them in on their duties. Tyco is a rager from the looks of him; he'll be a front line fighter if he can make a name for himself. He still has a longspear and Darokin rapier, which points to the need for this side trip. Hobna is an exceptional looking Orc with roguish skills suited to the wilderness. His only weapon is an Orcish Shortbow. Both are former Screaming Monkey tribesmen, and they know what it means for an Orc tribe to fail.
Rhgl wants to stay and improve weapons that he made previously, but with some stern convincing from Gorga he decides to accompany the warband. The Wolves set out West to find the trade route through Vile Runes territory. From there it will be a simple task to find the way to the trading post. The trail is found, and patrols bypassed with quick signs from the Orcs.
The well-travelled trade route through the broken lands is the only real way to reach the Wayrest Trading post. The warband set out West to the trade road, and started heading North along the well travelled path. The fording of the Vesubian River went fine; the waters were slow enough, and shallow enough at the ford, to be no problem. Fording the Vesubian River would normally be the roughest part of the journey, if not for Ierkh who helped get the shorter members of the warband across.
Hoofing it along, occasionally a rock rolls down a nearby hill, disturbed by lizards or some other broken lands creature. Sometimes a lizard is seen scurrying away from the source. An estimated hour's travel from the Trading Post, everyone begins feeling like they are being watched. The trip had all the earmarks of being uneventful when this feeling hits the warband. Through furtive glances and intent study, nothing untoward is discovered until the warband reaches the middle of a 50' long gully. A whistle from the right side up on the slope sounds, and 2 Ogre's come around the next bend in the road, at the top of the gully.
Gurt the Ogre hollers to the warband "Give 10 gold each Orc to pass unharmed." He is a large ugly cuss, with a greatclub over one shoulder, and a fancy earring in his left ear. His hide armour is almost visibly stench-ridden.
Ever the smart-mouth Rhgl yells back to him "Each Orc must pay 10 gold to pass. Very well I accept. You pay us ten gold to pass."
"No tricks Goblin, you pay 10 gold to pass." Gurt turns to look at his partner Filp, another Ogre of stereotypical proportions, and shakes his head no. Filp is hefting his Greatclub in anticipation of battle.
Gorga tries to keep the discussion open while signalling to the warband to prepare to fight. "Why do you want to charge us to cross this bloody rock?"
"You pay Ogre 10 gold Orc, I let you pass." Gurt single-mindedly sticks to his plan.
Ierkh comments to Gorga "Maybe should pay ten gold."
Rhgl either bravely or foolishly starts to head up the left incline, to get height on the two Ogres. With this move, Gurt gives a yell, and with clouds of dust, Hobgoblins erupt from the dirt and rocks on both sides of the gully. Most of them are at or above Ierkh's eye level. He yells to the warband, "you take 20 on the left, I take 20 on the right." In actuality, there are 14 of the goblinoids, and all armed with javelins and longswords. This is a practiced and well-executed ambush on their part. Filp gives in to the moment, and charges for Ierkh, and the battle is begun.
During the battle, Ierkh, Gilnak, and Scrag are all injured by multiple javelins. The Hobgoblins retain their height and terrain advantage, as the Ogre charges into Ierkh, moving him back to make room for Gurt to join the fray. Filp is down in short order; Ierkh, Scrag and Gilnak soften him up, with Gorga placing the final arrow deeply into the ogrish skull. "The cost of the toll just went up!!"
Sharraxtharkhul shouts, "Now it is time for them to burn!!" while calling fire into the palm of his hand. Once it is fully manifested, he begins hurling fire at the surprised Hobgoblins. Margrax the wolf tears into the nearest Hobgoblin up the right side of the gully. Fire soon blazes about this Hobgoblin as the Goblin supports his companion. Two more javelins sink into Ierkh, deemed the largest threat by the Hobgoblins, and Tyco yells to him, "But now you have some javelins to throw." Scrag, blood dripping from multiple wounds, is heard to shout from the midst of his battle rage "You die good!!"
Gurt goes down, as do several more of the Hobgoblins. Ierkh stakes a claim before the battle is completed "Greatclub Mine!" Of the last two remaining Hobgoblins, two make a run for it, one being pulled down by Margrax, and finished off by fire from Sharraxtharkhul. Rhgl shouts after the fleeing Hobgoblin, "Now you must pay us 20 gold per Orc for us to pass!" with a gleeful grin on his face. He and Tyco managed to flank a couple of the Hobgobbies and dealt death to them together.
Gorga takes stock of the situation after the battle. Ierkh is wounded some, and is stripping the armour from one of the Ogre's. He's already claimed one of the Greatclub's as his own. Scrag has come down from his battle rage, and looks ready to fall over. The Goblins and wolf are fine. The rest are either undamaged or only damaged slightly. Gorga sees the earring on one of the Ogre's and grabs it up, forcing the bauble through his earlobe. Tyco sees this and moves to grab one from the other Ogre, which causes Ierkh to stake his claim. "Mine!" as he yanks it from Tyco's hand. Any response from Tyco is summarily ignored owing to his status as a pariah. Ierkh mimics Gorga's move and plants his trophy firmly in an earlobe.
While the warband is binding wounds for the injured, Rhgl disappears over the rise. Gorga leaves Sharraxtharkhul to finish binding wounds. Tyco looks at the Goblin "your name is Shar? ... Sharax tharkool... right, Shar." It is difficult for Shar to bind Ierkh's wounds, as the big Half-Ogre is testing out the heft and swing of his new club.
Meanwhile, Rhgl has come out of the Gully, and around the corner of the next hill. A lean-to is here, built out of scrubs and slabs of stone. The Ogres and Hobgoblins have been stashing treasure here that was taken from passing caravans and travellers. Rhgl approaches silently and quickly, and peeks into the gloomy interior. A large open chest is the centrepiece for this structure. Gold, Silver and Gems are visible with assorted weapons lining the wall behind it, an iron shod staff, a greatsword, an Orcish double battleaxe and a Battleaxe of excellent quality. Rhgl quickly begins searching the chest, and secrets some of the gems in his personal pouch. The approach of footfalls is registered by his acute hearing, and he quickly exits the hut, as if to run for Gorga to tell him of the find. As expected, Rhgl sees Gorga bearing down on him like a menacing Ogre. "Great Gorga, come quick, see what I have found, many, many sparkly's."
By this time, the other Orcs are on their way, and no one seems to have bought into the innocent look on Rhgl's face. He waves Gorga in, and begins to dig through the coins. Gorga's hand shoots past Rhgl's face, as a ring is exposed, to snatch it up. Gorga calls for Tyco and Hobna to drag the chest out of the structure. The chest is brought out and weapons claimed. Tyco finds the short end of the stick again, as Gilnak relieves him of the Masterwork quality Battleaxe, and gives him the one he has been using. He manages to grab up the cloak that no one else was interested in, and tromps off to gather weapons from the Hobgoblin bodies. Not surprisingly the Goblins have already relieved them of any belt pouches.
The remaining treasure is bound up to be carried by Ierkh, with the intent to spend much of it on equipping for the mission.
Next Up: A visit to the Wayrest Trading Post