Fireday, 1st of Desnus, 4715
Shamus dissects the dead Marrow for spell components. When he’s done, the body is tossed overboard for the crocks.
The crew of the barge go on watch for about 1/2 an hour before Blood Tusk decides nothing more will happen. He keeps a good crew of 3 on watch and sends everyone else back to their bunks. The evening passes without incident.
Starday, 2nd of Desnus, 4715
The morning is cool and overcast. There’s a change of the guard at the way station next to the dock and business gets underway as BloodTusk and his crew start offloading their cargo. We have the same issue as BloodTusk in that the delivery at the last outpost fell through and so we have an abundance of stock.
We talk to some folk, and there are knights of Ozim here. When word comes out about the ransacked outpost and the missing knights are reported, some of Castle Firenes soldiers come to visit the docks for an official enquiry. We discuss the matter of our cargo with them. The garrison is willing to take our merchandise but they don’t have the money to pay for it. Their letter of credit could only be cashed at Vigil. We decide against it, opting to keep the weapons until we reach Vigil on the return trip and try to sell them there.
Sometime near noon, BloodTusk finishes his negotiations and we weigh anchor. Horses are used to pull the barge upriver, two 1/2 orcs are managing the horses on each side. There is no path, and so the horses need to wade through shallows and over roots. For the most part, we row. The coxswain is rather determined to keep us below deck. We concur as we are quickly entering orcish territory.
All in all it’s a long, slow, plodding day with lots of back-breaking rowing. We try to keep a watch out the portholes as we slowly move along. Our next stop is a stone marker before the island in the river, on the north shore. We are hopeful the 1/2 orcs manning the horses might see it.
The day burns off the cloud and it gets sweltering below decks. We drench ourselves in water brought down for that purpose, just to deal with the heat. It doesn’t really help.
At the end of the day, we’re in the forecastle enjoying the evening repast with the rest of the crew. Tira tells a few stories to try and lighten the mood. There is some concern about timing as the Captain has a rendez-vous with a delegation from Urguir to turn over the captive giant ape. The Captain hopes our layover in the swamp isn’t too long. For if it is, we may have to hoof it to RedLake fort.
We discuss our plans over the next few days, along with a few of the crew that have warmed up to us. As plates are being picked up for cleaning; some of us start to feel a little bit drowsy. Much of the barge’s crew seems to be swaying on their feet. A few start retching.
One by one the 1/2 orcs start to fall. Shamus, Sif and I start to fall unconscious. Beauxie, the twins, and three of the crew members are the last ones standing. The twins start examining the food and realize it contains the same tranquilizer as given to the giant ape! They provide a purgative to me and, after I void, I manage to be better. We then treat Sif, and start working through the crew. Our timely efforts manage to revive half of the crew, but Bloodtusk and Shamus remain unconscious.
The sun has set. We go around the barge, but there are no other problems to solve. It was probably Melira who dosed the rest of the food. While Shamus gets a good rest, the rest of us do double-duty to make up for the downed crew. There’s a lot to clean up.
3rd of Desnus, 4715
Come morning, Shamus, the Captain, and several of the crew members are still unconscious. The coxswain is at the tiller, one 1/2 orc each mans the horses on either side of the river, and the remaining of us row.
We continue through the day. Around mid-morning, Shamus and two other crew members start to come around. The Captain, however, remains unconscious. Tova believes he was susceptible to the toxin. When Shamus awakes, he is sickened.
Shamus notices that Beauxie is excited. The crew has spotted something. It’s a 4’ tall stone marker sticking out of a reed-covered sand bar. Under the coxswain’s command, the barge starts to pull over towards the marker. When they’re within boarding distance, we drop anchor and pull in the oars.
They set up the boat to get the horses in and let us down. They’ll stay here until morning.
We armour up and prepare to disembark. The swamp is getting dim as the sun falls below the tops of the trees. The 1/2 orcs are coordinating to bring the horses in. The boat is docked 30’ from shore, with planks running from the jolly to the shore. The coxswain tells us to help pull in the lines for the horses.
Shamus notices the outline of a head and shoulders sticking out of the reeds. It seems someone is belly-crawling from the reeds to the water. As he looks, he thinks he spots 3-4 of them at a glance. We see them once they are pointed out. They seem to be hulking humanoids, probably orcs. Once they notice us, they stand and charge the boat.
As they charge, a few more become visible, so there are now 6 rushing forward. They run up the gangplank, and Shamus moves up and incants a few arcane words and the orcs are pelted with flurry of snowballs. Most of them are reeling, some are pinwheeling, and one even falls to his knees and just tries to hold on. The one in front seems to be the best off.
Climbing over the sides of the gunwale are a few more orcs. They are sopping wet and spit reeds out of their mouths.Sif attacks the red-faced orc that comes over the gunwale, effectively killing her.
Tira starts her rant and the ghostly legion of lost Kuldukar form around her.
Tova whips out her chain, and smacks the first orc to mount the gangplank off the gangplank, dropping him into the water to drowned at his leisure.
The bearded orc that hefts himself over the gunwale, as he pulls out his weapon, I slam the lucern hammer into his face and neck. He sits down to … contemplate his choices in life.
The 1/2 orc crew member pulls out her hand axe, jumps over the red-faced orc and charges at the last of the orcish borders. She hit with a glancing blow with her axe.
The last of the orcish border pulls out a falchion with a golden sheen. He screams in rage and attacks. He hurts the 1/2 orc crewman.
The 1/2 orc crewman to the fore grabs a javelin and lobs it at the orcs.
Shamus casts shocking grasp on Beauxie; and then Beauxie runs along the gunwale and attacks the last orcish border. The orc strikes him, but Beauxie is still up. He jumps up and bites the orcish border. The shocking grasp and his bite does a fair bit of damage. Then Beauxie’s legionnaire attacks, and misses.
The next orc steps forward and takes a swing at Tova with his great axe. Tova’s legionnaire connects with the orc!
One orc in line flings a javelin at the 1/2 orc crewman. It hits her in the back, and she goes down. She falls into the orc, and he kicks her back into the deck.
The fourth-in-line flings a javelin at Sif, who ducks out of the way and it goes wide.
The fifth-in-line flings a javelin at Tova, who is hit.
Sif runs to help Beauxie. She roars as she charges and strikes him solidly with her axe.
Tira steps up into the fray. She swings her dwarven claymore into the orc on the gangplank and cleaves her in half. The orc falls into the water in two parts.
I step forward a bit and bring forth the power of the earth through the deck. The deck reverberates and I swing at the next orc in line. He starts to collapse and I push him off the gangplank.
Another crew member grabs another javelin and throws it at the attackers. It knocks another orc off the boarding plank.
The coxswain grabs her short sword and rushes down into the fray. She misses the angry orc.
The angry orc rages and hits Sif twice with his broadaxe.
Shamus loads his finger and shoots missles of force at the angry orc.
Beauxie attacks the angry orc, but misses.
Tova and I strike at the same orc as he moves up, it kills the orc and knocks him off the gangplank.
Sif strikes at the angry orc, hurts him but he remains standing.
Tira closes and strikes at the angry orc, and misses. The legionnaire hits the angry orc.
Tova takes out the last of the orcs.
The coxswain runs the angry orc through with her short sword.
Tira starts healing people. Tova and I join in. Shamus looks through the bodies for valuables before we heave the bodies over the side.
The leader (angry orc) has a masterwork falchion with a golden tincture, two potions (2 cure light potions), a masterwork chain shirt, a handful of javelins at his back (4). His belt radiates magic (Belt of Dex +2). He has a pocket full of gold coins (21gps), and a folded scrap of paper in his pocket. It’s written in Taldane, and is a letter from Melira. She intended to incapacitate the crew and then allow the orcs to come onboard and slay the survivors.
Tira takes the belt.
The rest of the orcs have conventional weaponry.
At last, we disembark in the glowming. The shadows are long. Just a few yards into the swamp is a small stone plinth with the appropriate marking. With Tira singling, we start moving into the swamp.We move around a hummock of growth, seeking for the sacred path. We portage across another hill. And through numerous rivers and streams. As we approach a mound of muck, the mound starts to move. We see a saurian head come out of the muck. It’s a swamp hydra!
Shamus casts shield around him. Rocks rise up from the ground and start to circle him.
The hydra swims forward. In the last few feet it lunges forward and arcs up before us; each of the heads darting in and snapping. Sif gets hit once, while three attack Tira.
Sif successfully sunders a head, but is hit in the process.
Tova casts burst of radiance upon the beast. The remaining heads recoil from the light.
Tira unleases a blistering invective on the beast. The creature reals back and tendrils of smoke broils out from its scales. The beast also takes fire damage as the tendrils of smoke burst into open flames. The reeling heads undulate and scream in pain. It dunks itself into the water to put out the fire.
Shamus casts his flurry of snowballs at it.
I leap forward, and with a great arc of the lucern-hammer, I bring the hammer down between two rithing heads on what might pass as a shoulder blade. There is a resounding squish, it’s back spasms and the spasm flows through the body.
As we watch, the beast starts to heal. It strikes out at us but misses.
Sif manages to smack the beast in the neck, and cuts off another head.
Tova strikes it with her chain; knocking the beast down. We chop it to peaces.
We each grab a hydra tooth. Shamus gathers up some of the beast’s blood.
Beaxuite explores the rivers amidst the hillocks; at Tova’s suggestion, we go north and Beauxite discovers a stone bridge. There is a cobblestone path leading across the river. We come out of the muck, shake ourselves off, and choose to go north. It’s not a perfect road; much of it is overgrown, with moss, fallen trees we have to clamber over, and sometimes we loose sight of the road for 20-30’ before finding it again.
We follow its winding path north. We come to a crude hut and a small campfire. At first glance she looks like I do, grey-skined dwarf. The stranger is wearing tattered clothes and caked in mud. Her hair is a series of stone strands, like mine, but she lacks the same crystalline blue eyes.
She’s covered in dried clay, giving the impression of stone skin. She is muttering in a weird mix of dwarven, Taldane, and Terran. She starts incanting at us.
I rush up and invoke my stalwart defender. The stone rises up around my feet like water, reaching to my knees. I tell her to align her wits, for we are dwarves not orcs!
Shamus casts web on the dwarven woman.
At the end of her spell, the earth buckles and we are entangled in vines.
I break free of the vines. She seems to be cursed somehow. Tira identifies it as a necromantic effect.
Sif manages to grapple her and take the axe out of the dwarven woman’s hands. She grabs it and drops it behind her.
The dwarven woman pulls out a handaxe, and strikes at Sif twice.
I strike her upside the head with my hammer while cursing her out like I was Tira.
Shamus casts glitterdust on her. Sif misses. The rest of us hit her until we knock her out. With her being blind, she strikes out wildly, but to no effect.
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