Wealday The 6th of Desnus, 4715
We come out of the earth some 70-80 yards from the northern shore of the red lake. It’s a cool morning. There’s lightning in the sky, but the storm is far off. We pick up the loot from Redlake Fort and head off in search of cover. Sif leads us to a craig, an overhang that most of us can fit under. I sit at its front while others try to get some rest. In my ever-growning form, I’m both natural wind-break and camouflage.
Off in the distance we can hear clanging of metal and some shouts – perhaps an altercation at RedLake Fort. As people begin to get comfortable, I sense something moving at a rapid pace towards the NW; they will pass by us.
I hunker down between the approaching noise and the party. After a few minutes we hear quadrapeds approaching; bounding across the land, to the north of us. At one point, the sound just stops. We hear them growling at each other; we think it’s the manitcores we freed from the cages. They pass us by.
That keeps us on edge for about an hour. Before we start relaxing again, we watch the sun rise in the east. Tira starts her morning prayers and I join her while the rest of the group settles in for some much needed rest.
After the sounds of the early morning, there’s not much noise coming out of RedLake Fort; at least nothing that carrys this far. It’s early afternoon when the party starts to awaken. Shamus studies his spells. We make a plan then, once all are ready, head NE to work our way around the fort and get in sight of the dam.
The land is mostly hard-packed and craggy. There are lots of little streams, mostly runoff from the Minespring mountains. Hopping over one of these creaks, Sif notices a set of large foot-prints in the mud. Sif thinks its a stone giant, heading roughly north. She says the tracks are pretty fresh, sometime in the last 5 hours or so. Sif thinks it was weighed down by something. We don’t have the time to track it down, as much as we want to.
As we crest a hillock, we can see a spire from the fort, and through this method we are able to stay about 3/4 of a mile away. We loop around the fort to get a straight-line to the moat. As we arc back down, we catch sight of the red lake as the ground starts to even out down towards the waterline. We see more signs of tracks (probably including our own from last night).
We find a spot off the beaten path and conceal the loot. Me and Beauxite head off towards the dam.
As I did about 12 hours ago, in the dead of night, I head towards the fort. I am very glad orcs have trouble seeing in daylight. As we approach, we don’t see much going on. I sense the dam, and the ground beyond (the ditch, or the dry moat as it were). It’s carrying a tremendous weight of water.
As I peek out there’s a strange snuffling sound and a vile smell. Some of the dam seems to have washed out, but all the rock around the hatch washed out as did it’s core. There’s a mass of crows around the keep.
When Beaxite leads me to the edge of the dam, we see bodies in the water as well as hides and other equipment. The centre drawbridge and the barbarian seem to be unmanned.
I do as much damage as I can to the dam. It was pretty easy; as the dam is already badly waterlogged. Beaxite does some scouting and notices that there is a huge flock of crows in the area.
We go back and report and the group decides to head into the Keep. Beaxite heads out to scout ahead us. He doesn’t report anything back.
I dive into the earth to get into the barbrican, searching. I find no one. I do feel a slight contact with the ground. Something is occasionally prodding the north-side of the barbrican. There are three grizzly bears and a cave bear inside a minor stockade north and south of the barbrican. They are holding on to the edge of the moat and treading water. We discuss freeing them, and will try to do so on our way out.
As we cross the drawbridge, the castle walls of the entry are quite crumbled. The openings of the walls collapsed inward on the entry towers. The doors on the other side of the towers are open, as are the main doors. The portcullis is most-of the way down, but it’s propped open by a wooden shield. There’s a pool of acrid gore right in front of the door. It smells like the gelatinous cube; some kind of flesh-eating acid.
Sif jumps the gap between the bridge and the collapsed tower; then uses a rope to help us across. Tira goes first, and then Shamus follows. As he works his way across a large toothed maw explodes out of the water. The fish grapples Shamus in his jaws; but he uses his magic to step away from the beast.
Sif and the Gar fight, and Sif barely breaks free from its grapple. Tira peppers it with arrows and I slam it several times. Eventually the fish decides that we are not its dinner, and leaves, diving deep into the moat and leaving us alone at last.
The door of the tower was bashed open. There were wooden cross-bars on the other side of the door that were broken open from this side. We go through the doorway through the old gate-tower wall and into the courtyard of the outter bailey.
The large curtain wall to our right is a mess with large holes we can see through. The courtyard is overgrown with weeds and lichen. The bare wall surfaces are covered in orcish graffiti which is crude (in several sentences). Emerging out into the daylight, we see that this is a scene of horrific massacre. Orc, giant, and direwolf bodies litter the place. The doors to the mess-hall are wide open, and there are more orc bodies on the roof.
The ogres seem to have been cleaved apart by orcish falchions. Most of the orc bodies are pulverized. It’s hard to tell who, if anyone won. The air is filled with a thick sweetened stench. There are lots of ravens happily feeding on the remains. Each body has its own crowd of flies.
Some of the ogres are on the smaller side, but they seem to be different: sloping brow, hunch back, one even has an extra arm.
The orc bodies are in a pile; it seems mostly hap-hazard. We look into one of the southern rooms; there are more bodies. We take the stairs up to the next level. Orcs on the floor level have been smushed by giant rocks (many of which are still in the room). The upper level is in better condition and we see the controls for the portcullis.
Standing on the gate tower, we can see that the wall running north has its palisade broken. Here there are two overturned barrels that are slick with slime. It’s similar to the slime around the door below. There are also mounds of rocks, about head-sized. And some primitive large-sized javelins. There are many orcish arrows peppering the walls. Tira finds a few arrows with which she can restock.
The winch to the south is for the drawbridge, the other two are for the portcullis below. We head back and go to the south-east along the current wall. Below us are the bodies of several dire wolves.
Along the roof, over the mess-hall, we see a choak-hold of destruction. Bodies are piled up either side of the roof.
When we come down from the palisade of the outer bailey into the inner bailey; we hear singing in giant from the mess hall. We head there to check it out.
Tova casts shield of faith on Sif. She then blesses herself. Shamus casts shield on himself. A flagstone rises up from the floor and begins circling him.
We head to the doors of the muster hall. It is in complete disarray and filled with junk. It’s filled with piles of cracked bones, rotten hides, and refuses. It’s their midden with an orc-wide walkway down the middle. I tell the group and push through to the wall on my right. Inside there’s a hill giant with its back to me. It’s hard at work with a giant meat cleaver. He is badly bandaged and covered in blood; only some of which is his own.
The room itself is ostensibly a kitchen, but it looks far more like an abattoir. Most of the “meat” hanging are orcs. Most of them are headless and no limbs; but he’s in the process of butchering them. There are a few animal carcases and the odd giant parts and a preponderance of hands.
The giant reaches out with a big cleaver and takes a swing at Tira. And she goes crashing down to the ground. Without pause he turns his head, and on the backswing takes a swipe at Sif. It’s a glancing blow against her breastplate. Sif roars at the giant and swings her mighty battle axe at the giant’s arm as she steps forward. She takes his arm off.
I come up behind him through the wall, rear up behind the crouching giant, and bring my stone fists down on its back. The giant crumples to the ground.
I take his giant cleaver. We check his body. He has a bag of tea leaves off his belt and some peppercorns. And a few bleached skulls. We take the tea and peppercorns but leave the bleached skulls behind. We also take a large block of salt from the table. It looks like he’s been chewing on his fingers.
The door to the south leads to a room with blocks of ice inside, laying in beds of straw across the floor. The ice is slightly red in color. The room is about 2 steps down from the “kitchen”. This is a larder filled with corpses. There are two human-oids (no heads, hands, or feet) hanging on hooks, and a dwarven carcass. There are also unidentifiable corpses.
Shamus, Stinna, and Tova hear the sounds of slurping. The noise is ambient. We start talking about taking down the non-orc corpses. Tira is overcome with a canabalistic zeal and attacks the party. The rest of us resist. We overpower her and hold her to stop her from hurting herself until the madness passes.
Tira and I return to the larder; its the whole room. Uncertain how to deal with it, we leave it be. I check the small room to the north; it’s an unused privy. We go into the long hall.
A giant fire-blackened horse torso is onto of the table, belly side up. It’s been eviscerated from throat to navel and stuffed with a huge quantity of humanoid arms including crisp and charred fingers. One of the hands is on the ends of the table and its been hacked to bits by falchions.
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