When last we saw our intrepid heroes…
…they were fractured into two groups, with one group led by Rolf heading into the night to save a boy in distress, and the other group deciding the larger events of the region needed investigating more than a missing child.
Rolf, Collin, and Ough trekked through the night to the Johnson farm where Rolf was able to pick up the trail of the orc band easily enough and track them into the countryside and back to the area of the original orc and goblin den. Finally arriving at a newly excavated tunnel, barred with a crude wooden door, the group decided it prudent to rest and begin the search anew in the morning after everyone was refreshed and Ough had time to pray for his spells.
The night passed quietly and the following morning during Ough’s prayers Rolf scoured the nearby country for a short time in search of food—since no one thought to pack any in their rush to save the boy—but returned to camp empty-handed. However, unbeknownst to Rolf, and luckily for that matter, he was being tracked by another who approached the camp warily upon Rolf’s return. After tense introductions, and an offering of rations by the stranger, the half-orc Vurtog was asked to accompany the group into the warren since their objectives seemed to align.
Vurtog, it turns out, hates his orc heritage more than even Rolf. Being the product of a violent rape, he has vowed to kill all orcs just to make sure any that could be his father dies, and that none of his cursed ilk may be born to fester in this cruel world. The orc taint in his blood has marked he and his mother as outcasts his entire life, a life made unnecessarily hard by others and ultimately leading to his mother’s suicide. As such, he is bitter and self-loathing, but not without purpose. In any case, he was up for killing orcs, and that made him valuable to the party.
- Elsewhere that morning, Mismoul and Kollick also woke early, and after a good meal at the tavern, set out into the wild on their own to continue their investigations.
While back at Rolf’s camp, with stale bread and moldy cheese in their stomachs, the new friends tore open the makeshift door to the tunnel and descended into the dark. In short order they emerged in a room recognized by Rolf and Collin, though with much debris from the tunnel dig filling it, cementing in their minds that they were indeed in the right place. It didn’t hurt that orc and goblin footprints marked every inch of the room, and Rolf’s keen eye also discerned a larger set of booted tracks, hinting at a possible larger foe deeper in the dungeon.
The party followed the tracks through familiar rooms before stumbling onto a goblin training area. After pretty easily clearing the goblins with only one escaping, they continued to search the complex for the missing boy. Soon, they surprised a group of orcs in a bunk room. The battle was intense but the heroes emerged victorious, though Ough expended his allotment of spells in the process to keep his comrades healthy.
So despite only being awake for about four hours, the heroes decided to secure the doors to the room with pitons and rest until the following morning. Ough and Vurtog removed their armor to sleep, whild Collin crawled under a bunk and was soon asleep also. Rolf maintained watch. They tried to rest at least. For unbeknownst to them, they made camp in an orc high traffic area, a single room that connected to several other areas still occupied by the filthy beasts. Soon heavy banging sounded from a side door giving just enough warning to the party before it exploded open and a rush of new orcs spilled into the room, taken aback only momentarily by the stinging torch light.
Battle raged anew. Rolf responded first by quickly moving to the doorway to hold back the tide of orcs though some had already gotten past him. Ough and Vurtog both rushed to put on armor only to realize it was too late and instead took up arms to defend themselves. Collin continued his nap undisturbed for a while as combat ensued. Rolf did his best at the door but found himself wrestled to the ground which led to a more orcs in the room to attack the unarmored fools…er, uh heroes…who were desperately trying to stay alive. And one of them did, barely.
Collin awoke during the fight, but seeing the peril before him decided to remain unseen and un-attacked in his hiding spot beneath the bunk. Ough fell to a nasty sword wound in the thigh and bled out quickly making it easier for the orcs to gang up on Vurtog. By the time Rolf had extricated himself from his assailant, and killed it, Vurtog was barely able to hold his sword in defense. And by the time Rolf came to Vurtog’s aid, he had succumbed to the many wounds he had suffered in the fight. Rolf skillfully dispatched all but one of the remaining orcs, but not before his two comrades lay on the floor before him in their own blood. One orc he kept alive for “questioning”, and through various means learned that the orc leader resided on a lower level of the dungeon and indeed had the boy. All of this was spilled before the pitiful creature made a desperate escape attempt and died for his efforts.
As the battle ended, Collin crawled from hiding and claimed the deaths of at least two orcs. He and Rolf checked their fallen friends and found that Vurtog yet lived. Despite Collin and Rolf both being disheartened by the death of Ough, they knew they had to escape the dungeon and regroup—or retire. Rolf being unwilling to leave a suffering, living friend to the monsters of the warren, lifted Vurtog onto his mighty shoulders, and with Collin helping recover Vurtog’s gear, carried the fighter from danger and back to the relative safety of the surface world.
I’m sure Ough made a nice gristly stew.