407 AD – 30th of Palesun – Thunderday
[Zed – Jericho – Lilith]
The adventurers arrived at the city gates to New Graaten—an orc village settled within the icy mountains of the White Irons. The two guards stood atop the walls and shouted down asking them about their business peering down at the glowing blue shackles that Skye wore about his wrists. Jericho stepped forward and explained that they were escorting this Skye to collect reward money and required a place to rest their heads for the night. One of the Orcs stared at Jericho’s runic halberd with great interest and finally said that they would let them all in in exchange for the halberd. Jericho agreed as the halberd no longer had any real purpose as he had burned its one time Expeditious Retreat rune and he was in no way a halberd weapons expert. He handed over the ruined weapon and the city gates fell open.
Skye immediately paid for and went to his room dozed off soundly. Jericho however saw 3 Orcs sitting at a crooked table near the hearth and approached. The three introduced themselves—Thyre-a quick footed and hot tempered orc who sat silently crossing his arms, Katla-a slim female orc stood and greeted Jericho with a polite nod of her head before retaking her seat and taking a gulp of foaming brew before her, Finally a large orc with paler green skin downed a massive chalice of pungent smelling ale before burping loudly and extending a large hand to Jericho-saying his name was Ogmund with a thick Orcish accent followed by a quick swipe of his hand across his mouth to clear away the gathered suds.
Ogmund asked if Jericho was a “gawmbleen’ mawn” and set a leather satchel of gold coins on the table’s surface. Lilith, knowing Jericho had no funds of his own placed a collection of 100 gold pieces on the table. Jericho nodded to thank Lilith and then Ogmund pulled a six-sided die carved from bone from within his knapsack and placed it on the table.
“The game is Hi-Lo—we both take turns rolling the dice and we each choose Hi or Lo—Lo being 1 through 3 and Hi being 4 through 6 each roll we both bet 20 gold pieces. You must play until you are out of gold to bet or else you forfeit and I win all of your gold regardless. So which would you prefer Lord Midnight—Hi or Lo?”
Jericho chose Lo and so the game began. Ogmund won 4 rounds right away and Jericho placed the final 20 gold pieces Lilith had given him on the table. Ogmund had the die this round and so he let it roll—it finally rested on a 2 and so Ogmund begrudgingly handed Jericho 20 gold pieces. Jericho then won the next three rolls then lost one won another two lost one won four in a row lost two won twice lost once then won two more times and now had 200 gold pieces and so gave Lilith back her 100 and placed his newly gained remainder into his belt pouch for safe keeping. Ogmund furrowed his brow then broke into a mighty laugh.
“Are you as lucky on the battlefield as you are in the pub Lord Midnight?”
“Why do you ask—what have you heard Ogmund?”
“Would you or your friends be interested in earning more of my gold?” Lilith stepped forward.
“I would” Zed concurred before Jericho himself grew intrigued.
“What exactly would we have to do?”
Ogmund, Katla and Thyre explained that recently a band of shifty and desperate Ice Goblins had come through and stolen a great artifact and even before this had simply been a nuisance by pilfering gold, food, and one time a large section of the Ms. Demora Nightkeeper’s wall. The three orcs would be glad to pay them for the destruction of their goblin encampment a frozen cesspool called Snortplug. As well as the return of the artifact and any other items they salvaged and finally 45 gold for each goblin head they returned back with.” Lilith, Zed, Jericho and Narfen accepted the quest and headed for bed. In the morning Lilith found that Narfen was missing from her bed and so wandered into the pub to find him tail swaying on a barstool a tin cup of Smouth before him.
“Narfen! What are you doing?”
“I’m drinking already paid for 50 drinks and this is my third so I have 47 more to go.”
Lilith leaned closer and looked within the cup and was immediately horrified when she recognized the contents making a few nauseated motions before settling down and tearing Narfen from the bar top over to the table where she saw Jericho and Zed. Zed’s snout buried in a delicious smelling bacon chowder as Jericho stared into the depth’s of the hearth as if attempting to learn the secrets held in the sway and flicker of the flames. “Let’s head out everyone” Jericho said coming out of his daze suddenly. Zed’s forked tongue swirled within the bowl lapping up the remaining dribbles of stew before he looked up. “Indeed let us head forward, I no longer require food and so am prepared for the journey.” Narfen licked the remaining flecks of alcoholic orc cream from his snout and lazily crawled on top of Zed’s shoulder and raised his Staff of dazing high above his head before zed scoffed loudly and smacked the Kobold to the pub floor. Soon they had exited the city walls and were now standing in snowfall and headed forth using Ogmund’s directions. As they trekked a mighty crack traveled along the ice opening a chasm beneath their feet everyone dove out of the way as a large six-armed and apelike creature with dark purple fur and massive incisors released a shrill roar. Everyone struck the beast at once—Zed flinging pellets of ice into his eyes by sweeping his great axe along the ground, Jericho using his Word of Diminishment by calling the beast a “Bonerfart” followed by a comment on the fact that the beast’s father was never proud of him. Lilith launched Cody to grapple with the beast resulting in the loss of limb for the creature (a subterranean ice Anderdrake) Jericho then attacked and in one quick slice dismembered three more of his arms. The Anderdrake gave a final roar before bleeding out on the ice field. The group took what they wanted and headed forward. However they didn’t get too far before yet another large crevasse formed and an even larger Anderdrake—this one bright crimson with large soul swallowing eyes crawled from deep belowground and lashed out wildly with its rippling and powerful arms. While most of the party dodged these blows one carefully aimed fist made contact with Lilith’s chest and she skidded far away from the rest of the group and lay unconscious. Narfen leapt atop the Anderdrake crawling up his back and cut at the “Bonerfart’s” throat making his chest swell and detonate into an explosive and powerful growl. The Anderdrake rolled his shoulders and shook his back and Narfen was flung free tearing two fistfuls of crimson fur free with him. Lilith awoke from her state and fired a few sling bullets at the beast stunning him then had Cody attack— tearing strips of flesh from his torso before Zed leapt from the ice and with a swing from his Great axe cleaved the Anderdrake’s skull in twain. Their journey to Snortplug was no longer interrupted and so it was not long before they stood at the edge of the camp. Soon they were noticed and the seven Ice Goblins exited their domiciles weapons ready. Hoping that tales of her own generosity to the goblins had reached these at Snortplug Lilith began speaking with whom she believed was the Goblin Leader.
He had not however through their talks they discovered that in fact Ogmund, Katla, and Thyre had lied about the raids and the stolen amulet. The goblins were the one’s who were constantly raided by the orcs, so much so that they had to resort to cannibalism for food and so remained the last seven of the clan. The Amulet of Akbar belonged to the Goblins and had been stolen by Katla and had in fact simply been taken back from them at great cost to the goblins of whom many were injured even now. Jericho devised a plan and so had the goblin jeweler create a decoy amulet that they could return to the Orcs. The jeweler and another goblin headed into the craftsman’s home for an hour before the jeweler returned alone with an ivory amulet in his gore splashed hands that looked almost identical to the original Amulet of Akbar. So Jericho took both in his hands pretending to make sure they were of similar weight before he slipped the real amulet into his pocket and returned the decoy back to the six goblins who were none the wiser. The adventurers returned to Ogmund, Katla, and Thyre who requested the amulet as well as other treasures but Jericho refused thanking them for informing them of the amulet and pointing out that there was no real reason for him to give it up as there was no contract. The orcs visibly frustrated and angry left the tavern as everyone else went back to their sleeping quarters except for Narfen who returned to the bar and ordered yet another decanter of Smouth.