As we were standing around deciding our next steps a man approached and introduced himself. Llewelyn is a tall, thin man who, we soon learned, performs as a bard. I soon placed him as a singer who has entertained the Naked Dwarf from time to time. He explained that Baron Hawthorne had sent him to aid us in negotiations. Lew even gave me a letter of introduction from the Baron. I gave the bard a quick summary on our travels thus far and explained that we needed to rest before setting out again.
After an exhausting morning we hoped that a few hours of sleep and some hot food might help our collective dispositions. It did seem to help, but I can’t help but notice the pensive looks from Tanka. I am also disappointed that I misread Jennie’s motives. I will need to pray on this some more. Perhaps Diakris is testing me. On the other hand, if we had not returned to Silverton when we did, we would not have crossed paths with the Baron’s emissary.
After awaking in the early afternoon and taking another meal at the tavern we set back out on our journey. Travel was uneventful and we set camp about half an hour past where we encountered Jenny and her captors the night before.
It was an eventful day. To start, our camp was attacked late last night by several enormous bats. It struck me as odd that even giant animals would attack a group of armored men when surely there are easier meals to be had. Perhaps it was a territorial issue. In any case, they were highly aggressive and we sustained some grievous injuries. Additionally, they would not be driven off even when several of their number were slain. Diakris’ power restored the many injuries.
We made contact with a Red Feather patrol a few hours into our travels. Initially it did not seem that they would take us to speak to Terran, but despite being aggressive, they were not overly hostile. I felt it bode well.
When we finally arrived at the Orc village we were escorted into a large cave system to where we finally met Terran. He was enormous, but willing to talk to us. Unfortunately, Llewelyn was unable to do most of the talking as planned as Terran’s only real interest was learning what happened to his brother, Goruk. Remembering the advice from Oreus, I explained bluntly, but respectfully that I had killed him. The Baron’s advice seemed to be very accurate as despite calls from his Shaman to kill us all, he accepted the news stoically. He did demand a ‘sacrifice’ however. Whether to placate his angry advisor or because he himself was also angry, he demanded that one of us engage in a fight to the death. I was willing and also felt it was important to show strength in the negotiation, so I volunteered. I quickly learned that the powerful patrol leader that we met earlier would be my challenge.
The fight was quick and brutal. As the orc rushed me with his Falchion, I called upon Diakris. With god on my side, I slew my opponent decisively. As I had hoped, Terran took it well and I earned some grudging respect from many of the other orcs as well. Apparently not the shaman though. At one point it looked like Terran was going to have to kill him to shut him up.
We dined that night as honored guests, but the fare was rather questionable. We also learned that Orcs are not above eating their enemies, most notably, Goblins.
Terran explained this morning that the fight was only the first challenge that we had to face. As a final act of reparation? we would need to rid their necropolis of undead. Apparently something was awakening their ancestors and he wanted us to put a stop to it and return peace to their wakeful dead. We didn’t seem to have any options, so we accepted.
Their mausoleum was behind a very large and heavy circular stone. It took several orcs to roll it out of the way for us. I get the impression that it will be difficult to leave without help.
We soon learned that the orc funeral custom was to lay their dead in niches of a vast columbarium. It didn’t take much exploration to find the restless dead. I suppose it should not have been surprising that Orc zombies would be more challenging that those made from Humans. Under so much stone, Diakris’ power also seemed muted. They hardly noticed when I commanded them to return to their slumber. Each one had to eventually be put down manually by feat of arms.
In one large room we came across a handful of skeletons walking amongst their sarcophagi and once again underestimated their strength. Our eventual victory left us all wounded and weary. However, more remain.