Chapter 3: Into the Belly of the Beast

Chapter 3: Into the Belly of the Beast


Crusk grunts repeatedly, which Serin takes as laughter, at the request to teach his songs. "All our songs tell of murder and bloodshed, of burning of human villages, raping their women and eating their babies. They are not pretty, like the ones you sing to put your children to sleep. We sing our children to sleep with tales of blood and fire. If you want to learn them, I will sing them, but do not look to me when you wake screaming from the night terrors." Krusk makes no move to escape. He does not look like he is looking for an avenue of escape. He does not look like he is looking for a way to grab one of your weapons.

Once out of town, the orc turns off the road into a copse of trees. "This way. If you know how to cover our tracks, you should do so, or the young pups following us will be slaughtered by .... He stops speaking and lets the words my tribe go unspoken. He has no tribe anymore and he knows this. Sure enough, you look back and you see three boys slip out of the gate and take shelter beneath a tree not far outside, peering around to make sure you don't see them.

Aife Maerasdottir

As Serin spoke with the orc Aife fell back a few steps and pulled a small carved statue from her satchel. It was the same she'd been using for the last several months and she placed it almost lovingly on the ground. She started intoning the familiar spell to transform the carving as she slowly gestured with her hands and walked widdershins around the focus. The working was slow, deliberate and almost hypnotic. After a few moments of effort the statue slowly began to grow and move until it was once more the familiar golem the others had seen the day before.

She paused then and chewed upon her lip, trying to decide if she needed additional protection. They were headed into a dangerous area and she could use all the help she could muster. She clutched her staff again and started her intonations once more, these a bit more singsong and beautiful. Her hands waved an intricate dance and after a few more moments the air around her shimmered as she was enveloped in a cloak of solidified heat that served as her armor.

Rindilnir Autumnwind

Rindilnir lead the mule as he walked, trying to keep her up wind of orc, whose scent made her a little nervous. He watched the young girl weave her spells. "Quite graceful... for a human." He thought to himself.

Oh forgot to mention, Ferguth decided to stay in town and research some things, but insisted Varn head out to take on the rats.

Aife Maerasdottir

Aife glanced at Rindilnir and smiled when she spotted him observing her spellcasting. She dropped a little curtsy and then made her way to walk beside the elf, her staff clutched easily in her right hand. The great golem plodded along behind her, its impassive scanning for trouble. Aife walked in silence for a while before speaking in perfect hearth elven.

"Rindilnir, right? What's your story? How did you come to travel with these men? I've not met many of your people and I'm interested in your culture." Left unspoken was "what happened to your face?"

Varn nods at Krusk's request to hide their tracks. He trails behind the group
Survival roll:
Dice Roll:
1d8e 1d6e
d8 Results: 7
d6 Results: 3
doing his best to erase their tracks. Krusk leads the group deeper into the woods. By midday, the woods is thinning and the terrain is becoming more hilly and rocky. As the day progresses, the temperature starts to slowly drop, but no more snow falls.

Mid-afternoon comes, and Krusk stops the group. He explains that the temple sits atop a low flat hill about another two hours march ahead. He mentions that there are usually a couple groups of sentries patrolling the area once they get closer to the area. Looking at at you is his only inquiry as to how you wish to proceed.

Rindilnir Autumnwind

"I was born in the beautiful forests of Angarion along the winding banks of the Greenstream. Every elf receives martial training but I excelled at it and after my 55th Eostremoon. I graduated to Bladedancer. I was one of the youngest to achieve that rank." Rindilnir's eyes were awash in memory, pale and distant as he spoke of his homeland, sharp and proud as he recalled his accomplishments. "It was in the Saxa village of Dale, that I met Serin. I had just finished a ten year tour, patrolling the Lesser Hills, protecting Dale against orc raiders. We were awaiting reinforcements to relieve us of our duty, when the orcs launched a night attack on the village. In hindsight, we should have known something like this would happen. We had seen little resistance the last two years, but we patted ourselves on the back, thinking our skill and determination had made the difference. Orc shaman kindled the fires that their archers used to set the buildings ablaze, all before the warning bell could be rung. We rushed out to the alarm, half our numbers set out to engage the shaman and their archers. While the other half, myself included, stayed behind to repel the berzerkers. By the time we had exterminated the last of their
, the wind had begun to spread the flames from rooftop to rooftop. The kindling the Saxa use for roofs, tend to go up in flames like... well... like kindling! I was on my way to regroup, when I heard the cough and cry of a child inside a burning building. I rushed in to grab the child, we had just made it out of the door, when the flaming walls and roof came down upon us. I only had enough time to shove the child out of the way."

"The next morning, when I came to, the first thing I heard was the singing of the bard, Serin. I was told that it was he who pulled me out from the burning remains of the building. He apologized for not being able to heal my scars... it wasn't his fault really... the number of people who needed his help, the constant use of his magics invited the siphoning. And even after that, exhausted by the event, he pushed on. Using his natural charm to calm the panicked people, organizing groups to gather the injured, setting up a triage of sorts... and still, i'm told, he stayed up all night with the injured singing softly in an effort to ease our pain. And once he regained his magic, he sang songs of refreshment to boost our natural healing.
Because he has saved my life. I have pledged to stay with him, to protect him, for as long as he shall live. We've been together ever since and I've grown quite fond of him."
"Besides. I couldn't bear to return to my fair kin disfigured like this..." Rindilnir thought the last bit to himself, he glanced back at the bard and the orc many times during his story, watching for any sign that the "fithy orc" might break it's word. So far it had remained true... so far... Still he didn't like it being so close to his friend.

Aife Maerasdottir

Aife listened to Rindilnir's tale intently, nodding at the appropriate places but otherwise staying silent. He got the impression that she was filing it all away for later, to be written down in her little leather journal. When he finished she smiled at him and bent up to give him a little peck on the cheek. "I think you were very brave and you shouldn't feel embarrassed about what happened or how you look. You saved children and that makes you a hero. And it won you some stout friends."

When they stopped Aife glanced around the area and then turned to the others. "It would be sensible to take out some of their sentries first. If we could sneak up on them it would make it easier later. If I have time to work I can likely take them down from some 200 feet or so, provided they don't spot me. But if things get tricky I need time time really work my magic; working it as quickly as I did back in the village is too taxing."

Serin Skald

Serin sucks on his lower lip as he thinks aloud.

"How large are these 'groups' we're talking about, Krusk? I mean, we may not be expert at hiding and sneaking to get past them, but we also might not want to pit ourselves against too large a group of ready opponents.

"How many can you take out at once, Aife? If we attack from too far away, we may not be able to eliminate stragglers who can run back to alert the temple -- and that's the worst possible outcome for us. If we can't take them out as a group from afar, it might be better to ambush them from up close, since we have some resources"
and here he flashes a sunny grin at Rindilnir, "suited for just such tactical situations."


Krusk looked at Serin with a flat look. The skald couldn't read exactly what was going through the orc's mind, but made an assumption that the orc was struggling to be patient. "Enough in groups to deal with threats. No more, no less." Well now, that didn't exactly answer your question. "They report back. If killed,", something in hos voice suggests he thinks that the concept of the sentries being killed is humorous. "the rest of tribe alerted when they not come back."


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