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February 9, 2004

Finally, Everlund!

Deitricha's Journal

The party dashed merrily into the unknown ahead of me, which left me free to glare at them all. We made no effort at stealth; I soon heard orcs’ voices - getting ready to meet us! The party turned a corner and found four one-eyed creatures and a campfire in the middle of the cave. They all had only one eye. It really does seem silly to worship a god who requires such senseless mutilation!

As everyone ran forward (Antonio nearly fried Tassar with a spell, I fear), the orcs shouted for reinforcements. Not good! Then, Tassar dashed ahead - and fell into a pit trap! Two of the orcs flung javelins at us, which downed Antonio right away, so I dragged him from the fray and healed him while Theona killed an orc, and arrows shot from the pit with a fair amount of accuracy. I was glad to know Tassar was OK. Areon killed a second orc, and the last two raced up and attacked - Antonio, again. More orcs, both live and undead, ran into the room as I pulled Antonio out of the fray a second time. I saw an orc stabbing a long spear into the pit, but he was rapidly shot to death from below. I healed Antonio and got him on his feet just as Areon killed two more orcs and succumbed to his wounds.

I prayed that Areon could hold on and turned the undead before I went to him - turned them right to dust, an amazing feeling! Antonio got into a battle of spellcasting with an orc, but neither really did much damage before Theona’s deadly aim removed the orc from competition. At least Antonio stayed on his feet.. and the rest of the orcs were killed, except for one which escaped us as I healed Areon. I called to Tassar and found out that he was fine, and fairly pleased with his orc tally, all things considered. The others took their time searching the bodies, but I got worried about the last survivor - would he be running for more help?

Theona and Antonio were bickering over that very thought - enough that I gave him a pinch to hush a moment! Finally, at least, he was willing to go back to the caravan, but Tassar was off searching the last tunnel already. We followed; climbed, found ourselves outside in the storm! Footprints led to a trail up into the mountains, and we could see the caravan trail below. Tassar and Areon were ready to head up the trail, but - finally - the rest of us convinced them that the orcs would still be there after we got done guarding the caravan to Everlund and back. Thank Tymora! We all left the lookout post, and searched the last couple of tunnels before returning to the caravan.

The first tunnel, shockingly, contained an orc in a cell, who told Theona that she was a sight for sore eyes! Our lady elf proved quite susceptible to flattery, letting him out simply because he spoke common, spoke it well, still had both eyes, and told quite a story! Then again, I don’t know how many orcs would try to say they were a human bard from Waterdeep, under a spell due to a “misunderstanding”. Assuming that Dante is telling the truth, it’s good to know what we’re dealing with up that mountain; an orc necromancer named Grom who is amassing undead armies and taking over the other orc tribes. He managed to hit on Theona outrageously at the same time; a bardish accomplishment?

Areon, naturally, is watching Dante like a hawk. Tassar isn’t too comfortable with him, either. Antonio left the question of bringing the orc bard back to the caravan to us, and made a bonfire of the orc bodies. At least the stench got us moving; we found some wine and trade goods in the last tunnel, and made our way back to the caravan. Thankfully, they were still there, and safe. They told us that Dante was our problem, and he made better friends with Areon and Tassar by proving to have some healing ability. Tassar and I have agreed that he really shouldn’t be armed, for now. He took over Antonio’s role as driver of our wagon, instead.

Antonio and I, again, had the same thought; if one orc had escaped up the mountain, perhaps the hordes were already on their way to avenge their comrades? Even though it was night, the weather had improved. We talked the party into setting forth in the darkness - as soon as they heard the drums begin to pound, it was no trouble at all! We traveled all night, listening to the drums and waiting for an attack, but made it to sunrise with no change except a sudden silence. We decided to keep going as long as possible, but that wasn’t long; two horses went down. I could hear the howl of wolves approaching, so we circled the wagons against the river and did our best to ready ourselves for a defense. We had time to eat a little and feed the horses (Tassar even gave Dante some rations), when I caught sight of the pack approaching. Even Dante got a crossbow at that point!

He quickly proved his usefulness as a bard, cracking jokes to relieve the tension as the wolves charged in. At least they appeared to be normal wolves; I’d feared the orcs had sent their terrible beasts after us. We did our best to do damage from a distance; Antonio was flinging fire, of course, but even my little sling was in use! We did some damage, but the first wolves leapt into our circle and attacked. This made for confusion - Antonio tried to set Areon on fire, and Tassar shot both Dante and the wolf attacking him. Antonio then managed to fire on Tassar. We did defeat the wolves, but not before I lost my temper and accused poor Antonio of trying to kill us all!

At least it made for better relations; I prayed over our one casualty, a dead guard, and Tassar offered Dante some of his precious ale in apology for shooting him. We decided to spend the rest of the day there to give the horses (and us!) a proper rest. Tassar finally got to cook something; he cooked a wolf! It wasn’t too bad, although not my first choice in meat! The next morning, we all felt much improved. The sun was out, the wagonmaster thought we might make the city by nightfall, and even Antonio’s strange addiction, coffee, was a warm drink to start on. I started a snowball fight but quickly got knocked right off my horse - halflings have deadly aim!

We slowly made our way to Everlund, without further trouble. Once at the city, Mr. Drake decided to postpone our return for a few days to let the snow melt. I wonder if we can pick a different route? I wonder if those orcs will be lying in wait! Still, we settled at the Stone Griffin tavern and tried to think of things to do. Firstly, of course, we needed rooms; we left it to Antonio and he promptly rented one for himself, one for Areon, one for Tassar and me, and one for Theona and Dante! Theona looked a little embarrassed, but Tassar and I merrily took advantage of some privacy. Theona, in fact, had to bang on the wall a few times at four in the morning. Oops! Of course, we had to get Antonio back, so Tassar gave ten gold pieces for a fine young lady to sneak in and share Antonio’s bedroom. He has quite a glow, now!

We also looked up a friend of Dante’s, who couldn’t help him out, but at least was able to reassure us that this person was usually a human. Theona was awful curious about what he looks like when not an orc! We decided to bring him back to Silverymoon; with all the magical colleges, there must be someone who can help him! We sold the orcs’ weapons, the wine, and the wolf pelts, and then went shopping! We needed arrows and ale and food, and Tassar got me a wand of healing, since Areon’s has proven so useful when I run low on holy magic. He’s really very thoughtful!

Posted by Kate at 14:33 | Deitricha’s Journal