Well, from what I remember of the festival, we all had a grand time. Woke up this morning to the divine punishment. As everyone sat around nursing their split skulls, sipping water and eating blood sausage, a respectable looking gentleman entered the Naked Dwarf. He asked if anyone had recently mustered out, so my crew and I along with the other recently freed indicated so. He was short on details, but gave us each a card with an address and a time to meet with him. As the appointment was the next morning, we each took that cue to find other things to do for the day.
I spent most of the day praying for Diakris to release me from his Divine Torment.
This morning we all gathered at 3 Boyer Street as per the instructions and were ushered into a waiting room. Eventually Jacob appeared and gave us the scoop. He wanted some guards to help with a merchant wagon or a delivery or some such. He wasn’t really clear. Also, there was some vague second job that would need to be finished after the first. Well, most of us had no immediate prospects for work, and the job seemed similar to working for the army, but with much better pay, so we took the job. Apparently Jacob is a servant of Earl Audric Summers, or had been hired by the Earl for this work. His badge indicated that he was an official with the city. Never the less, it felt good to be working for such a universally loved man as Earl Summers.
Head feels much better today. Note to self: Dwarven Skull Splitter Ale is not joking.
We all met at the gates as instructed at the appointed time. Though one young woman, a warrior named Kelbie was running late. She was lithe and attractive, but had an air of promiscuity about her. In addition to the five of us and Kelbie was a young priest of Pelbian named Richard. He was pleasant and looked the part of devotee of the goddess of the hunt.
Jacob was there with three men that appeared to be veterans. A red headed warrior named Chestin, a Dwarf named Thurin and an arcanist named Gormin. We set off immediately with the 4 riding and the rest of us following in a wagon.
The day was largely uneventful, but we were still on well traveled roads. That night I took first watch with Thurin and Jalen. Thurin was pleasant, but not very talkative. He answered my questions as briefly as possible and didn’t have much to say about the mission.
More of the same. We spent the day on main roads. Tanka saw Orc and Goblin sign a few times, but said that they looked old. Tanka is an interesting fellow. He is pleasant and honest to the point of naivete, but can kill with no apparent emotion. His accent, skin and mannerisms are alien and often attract negative attention, but he handles it without taking offense. He is also a gifted tracker. We would likely have lost other caravans six months ago had he not been able to find and follow the marauding orcs’ trail.
Not so the wildling, Nuan Shu. Although I’ve only ever heard her utter a few words, she always seems either sullen or angry (sometimes both at the same time). She is as ferocious as they come in battle, and fearless to the point of recklessness. I’ve known her for a year now and still know almost nothing about her.
Sitting next to me most of the time is a fellow named Jalen. Jalen and I have a lot in common. We both grew up without our families. Jalen, however, seems to know nothing of where he came from. I wonder sometimes if it would be easier that way. In any case, he was the best scout in our platoon. He seems to have a nose for trouble and detected several ambushes in the wilderness that might have resulted in the deaths of friends had he not been so perceptive. I asked him about it one time and he said that he can sometimes ‘smell’ when something is wrong.
Faelyn is a bit of an anomaly. He is incredibly intelligent, but sometimes would forget to put his clothes on for muster. I don’t know much about arcane power, but there are times when he scares the others with his displays. I guess I’m glad he’s on our side.
Richard is a fairly jovial fellow. I’ve had a few lively conversations with him about the involvement of the gods in the mortal realm and what part that should and should not play. He’s a free spirit, but I believe that his heart is in the right place. Hopefully, if we get in a scrape, he’ll focus.
Lastly is Kelbie. I’m not sure what to think of her. I think that she’s troubled, or perhaps just has a low estimate of herself. Also, although she has not said anything inappropriate, her body language suggests that she wants to have sex with me…and maybe Jalen. Although she is attractive, she seems a bit wanton, and I have no desire to follow the multitude of others who have gone before.
Of the veterans on horseback, I have really only been able to speak to the Dwarven warrior, Thurin. One disturbing development just occurred. I asked him about the impending handoff and he began to say something and then stopped abruptly, muttering something about not knowing anything. Have our allies been instructed to NOT talk to us?
We shall need to be wary.
Another full day of travel. However, about 2 hours ago we left the main road. Why would the meeting place be out in the wilderness? This is getting more and more strange.
Watches were a lot more stressful tonight.
It was a harrowing day. Travel through the underbrush and over the rough terrain was slow go this morning. Then, not long after Terce (as near as I could tell as it was hard to see the Sun), we heard a commotion ahead, the sounds of battle. Chestin, Thurin and Gormin raced ahead, leaving the rest of us to catch up on foot. The scene was pure chaos. There were dozens of orcs along with six or more ogres fighting with a few guards who were protecting a wagon. Thurin and Chestin were surrounded and greatly outnumbered as well. Additionally, dozens of orcs lay scattered about the field of battle, blistered and blacked from Gormin’s fire. My memories of the fight are foggy, but I do remember Nuan Shu racing forward to help the others only to be cut down by several orcs and their vicious looking falchions. Jalen called out from the right flank moments later; more orcs were pouring in from that side. Then I was caught up in melee, unable to see past the towering brutes. I held off a few for a short time and managed to cut down a couple, but then I was too slow in countering a sweep from my off side. I have never been good at blocking blows from my sword hand side. When I awoke, I could still taste the heather and mountain streams of Pelbian’s healing. The fight was over, but Kelbie was dead, cut nearly in two. Also, several of the wagon guards had been too far gone to aid.
The others gathered up the arms of the fallen and transferred chests from the other wagon to our own while I dug a hasty grave for Kelbie. Whatever troubled her before was behind her now.
It was a somber mood as we packed up our wagon and headed back the way we came. Clearly Jacob and the others had not expected to encounter such a large marauding force.
Diakris 8th – 10th
Travel has been quiet. Sometimes Jacob speaks in hushed tones to the mounted crew. They clearly are not happy with our performance. I suppose they expected more from Army veterans.
We have returned to Grinadier. Jacob has released us with instructions to return the following morning.
I spent most of the day in prayer, but I also found Gemedes and confided in him. He showed concern for my well being, but was not suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the events. “If Earl Audric is involved, then it must be on the up and up, no matter how peculiar things appear”.
We have returned to 3 Boyer st and have received our instructions. We are to track down a small band of orcs that scouts have identified nearby. They are the white hand orcs and carry their banner which is all white. In my experience a white banner indicates that you wish to parley, or surrender, but Jacob explained that orcs had different conventions. Additionally, we should expect them on the main road approaching the Silverton Mining camp. Odd that they would stick to a road as the roads are often guarded. I remember the words of my mentor Gemedes though and decided it must be ok.
We set off immediately, and immediately Jalen expressed misgivings. We talked about it as we walked but in the end, as Tanka pointed out, these were orcs in Human lands. They were a danger and needed to be killed anyway.
Disaster! This morning we happened upon Gorek and his “White Hand” band. The fight was anti-climactic. Tanka slew about half of them before they engaged. Faelyn also incapacitated one, and I managed a lucky first blow that killed yet another. We surrounded the oversized Goren and took him down while Tanka kept the last guard from escaping. It was then that we found the letter. These orcs were part of some emissary. It didn’t make sense, but there it was. We decided to get the bodies off the road shortly before a group of knights rode up, led by Baron Orius. We explained that we had been hired to kill these orcs. It didn’t take long for the Baron to realize that we had been duped. It felt awful, but the deed could not be undone.
In partial atonement, we dragged the bodies of the dead orcs back to Grinadier. Sure enough, the home on 3 Boyer street was emptied. Jacob had fled.
We have been told to stay in town. I don’t know what will happen next.