Session One -
For the past month all of you have been traveling together with a mercenary group. You each joined for a variety of reasons only really known to yourselves, though the fifty gold per month didn’t hurt either. While you know each other’s names and obviously what you’d glean from fighting alongside one another in battle, you still know very little of each other. The company is being led by a human who you know only as Red. An appropriate name given to the large lumbering man with fire-red hair. The man wears leather armor that covers only some of his vital areas. He carries a chipped stone ax that would appear to large for even him.
You’ve made your way through through the Dark Woods at his request to save time on the journey. Although the group mostly kept to the Oaken Groves for safety. The clear sunny sky above is obscured by the clawing branches. A light breeze stirs the undergrowth. Up ahead out of the treeline and across the short distance of grass you see the rocky crags that hide your destination. The locals call it the Caves of Shadow and seem to mostly stray from this area.
You are here to slay a local group of bandit raiders that are rumored to have taken up host within. They have been attacking the few caravans that are making their way through the Whistling Gap basically crippling the smaller villages along the way. As the group makes it’s way towards the base of the Northern Mountain Range, Red notices activity ahead and signals for everyone to crouch.
As the group collectively stares ahead you notice two large bestial figures menacingly brandishing spears at a frail-looking old man. He is on the ground backing away as the move in on him. The creatures have flat faces marked by narrow eyes and small tusks. “Orcs.” Red mutters. Although he doesn’t move to help he does look to the rest of the group. "Where there is one, there is many. "
The group takes a moment to re-scan the area looking for other obvious signs of danger but end up seeing nothing. Though they do spend some time marveling at how detailed the very grass they stand upon is. The open field between them and the rocky wall of the mountain side having wild grass up to the shin of an average human didn’t provide enough cover for anyone to try and sneak forward.
The human ranger who went by the name of Zenni Smiths looked to the mercenary group leader known as Red and asked, “What should our plan of attack be, here? Something direct?” Red only smiled as he turned his head back to the scene before them. “Well, in this situation there really is only one thing to do.” He said as he leap to his feet and started to charge across the field brandishing his over-sized ax.
Zenni nods, hand at her longsword. “Then let’s.” Quarter step forward, her weapon drawn as she raises to full stature and runs behind Red, tending toward the right Orc. The dwarven cleric in the party known as Moira draws their Dwarven Waraxe and Heavy Wooden shield before following after, metal armor clinking and clanking as they went. Krisatis the gnomish sorceror follows suit trying to keep up but also staying a decent distance behind them.
Before the last person in their group could react though one of the beasts turned it’s attention on the charging squad. He grunted something in Orcish to his buddy who was preoccupied with roughing up the old man groveling for his life on the ground. Then he took a short step forward as he hefted his misshapen spear and thrust it towards them.
Astoundingly to both parties the spear flies true smashing into the Reds bare chest lodging itself deep him. His charge stopped by the sudden impact he slowed from a run to a walk and then to a complete stop stunned. The javelin now jutting from his chest, blood running from the wound, he was in a bad way.
Tristan, the final member of the group, jumps with surprise as he is started by the scene before him. “Holy shit this is for real!” he cries out as he mentally prepares and casts a magic missile. Willing the shiny yellow arrow of light through the air as it crashed into the Orc who had thrown the spear in a burst of dissipating light. It only serves to anger the beast as it howls in rage.
The second orc begins to laugh maniacally as it turns in time to see the spear land. Inspired by the amazing act he surges forward brandishing his spear. As he reaches the nearest person he jabs at them trying to pierce them. Zenni is prepared though and skillfully dodges the attack.
Red who now just realized what had actually occurred blinked twice before howling, his deep voice full of rage. He closed the short gap between him and the second orc in an instant and had brought his large stone ax thundering down before anyone realized what had happened. The brute seems to melt under the heavy weight of the axe as it’s body splits open, blood surging from the wound. The orc’s body hitting the ground with a satisfying thud.
Zenni then rolls around Red and the crushed Orc, a smattering of viscera spraying over studded leather. Sword drawn, she closes the distance between her and the remaining Orc before swinging. But he was prepared as it narrowly dodges her attack. She turned to the rest of the group as if to say, “Help!” by her facial expression.
Moira swears to Moradin that if all the fightings over before she gets there, and she ran all this damn way for no reason, she’s going to be one angry dwarf. She marches on trying to reach the last orc and get her some of that sweet combat.
Krisatis sizes the remaining Orc up deciding that she could do something she flings a magic missile of her own at the beast. It splashes into a burst of light as it hits the creature effectively pissing it off further.
The orc then grumbles something in Orcish which Zenni manages to hear. “Come and get me if you can!” As he barks it he backs away and turns tail running into the mouth of the dark cave. Not worried by this the ranger then turns to the man on the ground checking to see if he was still alive. He protests vigorously as she pokes and prods at him trying to get a gauge of his vitals.
Moira slumps as the orc flees, dragging the waraxe through the dirt as her enthusiastic run comes down to a slow march, looking over to Zenni quite disappointingly before turning and looking at the rest of the group she stares blankly. After a moment, she remembers Reds current injury and hurries over, looking him over.
His barbaric rage had left him and he was feeling the full brunt of the spear damage now. He looked haggard and was turning pale. He was still managing to stay standing though. Moira examines the spear trying to determine what she could do to alleviate the problem. As she did so Tristan lazily moves up to where the rest of the group is now standing and asks, “How’s Red doing guys?” Kisatris is intrigued by what is going on and also huddles in around him. Red who is starting to lose his grip on his weapon says aloud, “I’m…not…dead yet.” His breathing was labored and it was difficult for him to form words.
Moira, in their extensive medical wisdom declares; “We ‘ave t’pull out th’ spear an’ tend t’ the wound. So ’ats what Imma do.” She reaches up gingerly grabbing the spear handle. As she begins to tug on it she realizes she’s going to have to use some serious force. With a mighty tug she slips a bit pulling it out at an incorrect angle. “Oh that’s not good.” Moira remarks as blood begins to spray from the now gaping wound in the man’s chest.
The gnome looks on quizzically before asking, “Is he supposed to be bleeding like that?” Zenni looks up from the old man she was examining and seeing what was going on she cries out, “Your a cleric, not a doctor! What are you doing!?” Red’s eyes widen and he clutches at the hole in his chest, “What have you-”
Moira realizing that she may have made a mistake abandons her medical knowledge clasping her hands together. Rubbing them they start to glow and she casts Cure Minor Wounds on the man. He gasps as the hole painfully begins to knit itself back together magically until there is just a beat red splotch where and around what used to be a gaping hole.
Zenni sighs as she looks back to the man on the ground, “Serr, what left you up in the clutches of them mutts?” The man looks at her as he rubs the tears from his eyes. Sniveling he says, “I was taking my cart through the the pass trying to get to the next village. Been plagued by bandits since I left the last dwarven village from the northern mountains. Orcs finally got me and had me for dead! They took my cart and trade goods into the caves with them.” She turns back towards the group who have all made their way next to her and the old man. “Red, inn’it this the path we’re heading, anyway?” She muttered. He looked out of it but answered, “Yeah, we are supposed to clear it of the bandits rumored to be within.”
But before anyone could say anything else Moira spoke up, " We need ta get Red back t’ let ‘em ’eal up right ’n proper like." It was true, he may no longer have the gaping hole in his chest but Red was no where near fighting condition. He had actually slumped to the ground too exhausted to stand. The brief feew minutes they had just encountered had really taken it’s toll on him.“A’right. Ahm takin’ Red up fer’a healin’ session up back at th’caravan. Bring th’old man too- we’ll ’ave a gander at ’im as well.” She said as she moved towards Red lifting him from the ground with surprising strength. The old man who would soon become known as Jefferies piped up, “You have a Caravan?”
“We do. We were traveling through this pass when we came upon’ye.” Zenni replied coolly.
“Then help get me goods back and I’ll give you the gold onboard” begged Jefferies.
Zenni nods, looking to the rest of the party. “Well, I can only speak f’er meself. The rest…?” She trailed, waiting for them to chime.
“I reckon I could settle wit’ th’gold he has on board n’such.” mumbled Moira as she started to head back carrying the disabled Red.
The gnome merely shrugged as she said, “Not like I have anything better to do, as long as I get paid.”
“E’er the ray o’sunshine.” Zenni piped, less a statement than a reflex. “You’ve got a deal, serr. Any special cargo we’re t’be lookin’ for?”
“I had a box with some magical potions and even a rare magic sword that I had bought off a traveling dwarf near Kryndale. Hard to come by these things now a days.” The old man sighed.
The group gathers themselves as they headed back to the caravan that was waiting for them back in the woods. Once they were there they would rest and Moira would tend to Red’s wounds. Taking shifts on watch nothing eventful occurred during the night. By morning the party was rejuvenated and even Red seemed well enough to fight.
Noticing that Red had already put out the fire for the night and had begun preparations to head back to the cave with them Zenni asked, “Y’up to comin’ along then?”
The massive man stared down at her as he coolly replied, “Yes, let us just get this gold and I’ll be great.”
“Sounds like a plan, then.” Zenni stretches, pulling her leather vest over her head. “In that case, mate. I think you’n’I ought take point. Kris, Tris, you lot in the middle. Moira, the rear for protection. Right?”
Aye. Les’do’et." said Moira as she finished gearing up. The gnome, Krisatis, rises sighing as she see’s everyone already preparing to return. “Right. Let’s get to it.” She says as she gathers up the few things she had. Tristan was the last to rise but one of the first to actually begin moving back towards the cave. He was quiet sometimes but very impatient.
After a few minutes of travel the group re-arrives at the entrance to the Cave of Shadows. Jefferies had insisted on coming with them and was the first to say, “Man, tis dark in there.” Before he could say anything else Zenni reaches to her hip, unhooking a bullseye lantern. Matchstick the buckle of her belt, she lights the wick and points toward the cave. The light washes across the smooth surface of the walls and floors. A few feet in lies a corpse on the ground, she points the light towards it and cautiously moves forward.“Y’should search th’body fer traps’n such, Zenni.” remarks Moira as the rest of the group creeps behind her slowly.
“Just my spesheeality.” She quips, dropping to a knee, searching the body.
“This is orcs we are talkinga bout, i doubt they are smart enough for traps” Tristan chimes in as she searches anyway.
Zenni leans back before rocking to her feet. “Naught on the man but flesh and rags. They ripped’m clean. Let’s move.”
Red nods as he takes point slowly moving ahead making sure to allow Zenni’s light to pass ahead of him. As the group moves forward they can tell that the cave itself is not naturally made. The walls are too smooth and the floor is far too level. Tristan moves to where the gnome is starting to pull toward the front. He tugs at the back of Krisatis’s robe a bit as he says, “Hey friend, we are magi. Should stay in back with me.” She glares at him and spits, “Touch me again and I’ll break your fingers!” He pulls his hand back saying, “Sheesh, okay.” Noticing the squabbling Moira gently reminds that them they should stay ahead of her lest they want to get eaten.
Red calls out from the front, “We seem to be at a crossroads.”
“Oi! Shut it.” Zenni snapped, glancing to the group, then back to Red." …I say… Left."
Tristan quickly says, “Left is a good direction, very good.”
Red grins slightly enjoying how Zenni was keeping them in line. He was still exhausted but wasn’t about to let them figure that out. He had to keep his image after all.
“F’ward march y’lotta milk drinkers.” commands Moira as she forces the squishes forward. Krisatis just continues to glare at Tristan as she moves forward with the group reluctantly. The old man who’d just been silently hobbling along suddenly shouted, “Meh! Me aching bones be yearning for the stolen gold of mine these thieves have! Less squabbling more finding it!”
Tristan looks towards the ground as he mutters, “Pissy assholes.”
Remembering that they old man was with them Zenni whispered as she took the lead, “Y’know, old man, perhaps waitin’ it out outside might just be best for’ye?” But before the old man could respond Moira said, “I dun’know why y’went an’ tagged along in th’first place.”
“How else am I to know if you find it?” He says almost indignantly.
As the group had been moving forward the passage had been closing in on them until they were now moving in a line one after the other. An old rotting wooden door stood before them blocking the passage way.
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