Much to my annoyance Francis came bursting in at daybreak, and he said that he thinks that the rest of his friends are holed up in an abandoned hillfort to the northwest – I didn’t quite follow what he was saying, the fort was flooded either because of a dam being built or a dam being broken, it was very early and what he was saying was boring. I assured him they were as good as saved and went back to sleep. A few hours later have a complete breakfast I rounded up the Five Heroes from the various flophouses and gin-joints they had passed out in and we were off. To adventure!
Pegwhistle quickly proved to be a quite a little chore. Halflings can tend to be garrulous which can be a bit of a yawn but this fellow took the cake – barely two feet high and yet he talked enough for fifty men, including more sleazy come-ons directed at me that you can count. I doubt he would have even noticed if I said “yes” – he was just making noise. His companions seemed inured to his jabbering but I was gritting my teeth pretty hard within a couple hours.
When Helgun sent him to scout ahead I could have kissed him. Although he said “step lightly” which bugged me. Did he think that the sneaky-sneaky scout wasn’t going to step lightly unless he told him to? What was the point of saying that? It reminded me a few years back when two fellows of my acquaintance were about to get into some trouble and the one fellow said “Sharpen your knives my friend” to which he said “My knives are always sharp” and it turned into a huge argument and they almost killed each other right then and there.
Lightdancer and Lumbfoot had hovered in my area the whole trip but hadn’t said much of anything – I suppose being serene priestesses is a laconic profession – until the elf-maid asked me to remind her of my name.
“Ezlebeth. Ezlebeth Pankration.”
“And how did you find out about this?”
“My brother Bezzakiah is one of those missing.”
The Halfling started to ask something as well but at that moment nine men in ragged clothing burst out of hiding and charged towards us shouting war-cries. Helgan and Bonder met them head-on with sword and axe while Lightdancer and Lumbfoot supported them with glowing – I assume that was magic of some kind. Glowing seems to be an important part of magic. After a moment Pegwhistle joined the fray as well, throwing adorable tiny daggers with deadly (and mysterious) accuracy. The fight was won without more than a few scrapes and bruises and one of the men lay dying – he giggled like a madman.
“You’re just grist for the mill. More grist for mill! Our bodies are his food, our eyes his sweet candy! I serve none but Korrok!!”
And with a fountain of blood from the mouth he expired. Nothing horrifying about that at all. I had never heard of Korrok but the Five huddled up and spoke in grave voices – they went on and on they did, the punchline is Korrok is bad news. Which seems pretty obvious given what just happened but hey, they’re the professionals here so who I am to question?
Lightdancer and Lumbfoot spent a long time praying and doing some kind of cleansing magic before we continued on to the ruined hillfort. You could tell that the land had once been flooded for some period of time but it seemed dry now. The timber-walls were tumbled and split open with rot as were the interior buildings for the most part. Towards the center there were a couple barrack-style structures that were in semi-decent shape and were clearly inhabited. I was just about to ask the possibility of talking our way in when with a dozen men charged out of the buildings at us shrieking like carnivorous apes. Man, I haven’t had a good ape meat dish in months. That would really hit the spot.
Things were a little more serious this time – I had to help out with a wolf from my Bag of Tricks and a couple Magic Stones to keep things from getting out of hand. During the fight emerged from the most intact hut a woman with hands and feet mutated in massive claws and another woman with pure white skin that seemed to be flaking off like chalk as she moved – nestled in her ivory bosom was a large ruby that scintillated with wicked light. They were accompanied by half a dozen small bestial-men with sharp horns and teeth. They seemed to care not for their companions fighting to the death below them.
Once the Brave Five has dispatched the last of the attackers the pale lady spoke with the voice of a crowd –
“Have you come to witness the Glory of Korrok?”
“Yes actually, I was wondering . . .”
Bonder interjected “We’ve come for naught but your death demon-woman!”
So much for diplomacy. The clawed woman and her beast-friends attacked like savage fiends and to no one’s surprise the white lady attacked with foul magics. It looked like a heck of a fight from my position behind one of the crumbling huts. At one point a beastman spotted me and charged but Pegwhistle downed it with a flurry of thrown daggers and dropped me a sassy wink – which allowed the clawed woman to disembowel him from the blindside. Have you ever see a Halfling’s entrails fall out of their body? I have now. He was fine though, Lightdancer healed him. Meanwhile I can’t find a healer who can cure a simple disease. How does that make any sense?
The white lady seemed to be doing a pretty good job of immolating Helgun and Bonder so I figured a few shots from my crossbow wouldn’t hurt anything – er, I mean except the person I was shooting of course. I managed to put two bolts in her and they seemed to cause her an inordinate amount of pain, causing large chunks of her flesh fell off like crumbling stone. It was quite something.
The Brave Heroes won the day and I slipped the gemstone into my Bag while they tended to their wounds. Since the bulk of the Workshop now lay dead on the soggy ground I guess I’m going to need to come up with another plan. I should have expected an outcome like this, it’s what adventurers do after all. Lightdancer approached me quietly.
“I see the disappointment on your face Ezlebeth, is your brother among the fallen?” I nodded solemnly “So it is ever with Korrok the Corrupter, Korrok the Vile. You have my condolences.”
Bonder was searching over the bodies “I thought I saw a massive gem in the pale one’s tits – where did that get to?”
“Didn’t you see? When she was slain it burst in a flash of light and turned to dust.”
Pegwhistle said that he had seen that as well and then dropped me another wink. It probably would have been more effective without the rent in his shirt that was still befouled with his own organ-meat.
Funds: 7,580 gold
Inventory: Ring of Many Garments, Bag of Tricks (rust), Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, Resplendent Diplomat’s Palette, Secure Paypack, Skeleton Key, Brooch of Shielding, Pouch of Magic Stones, Masterful Grey Gloves, Black Marketers’ Bag, Biting Bracelet (Endless Ammunition), Boots of Escape, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer, Ring of Animal Friendship, +1 Falchion, +1 Greatclub, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, mysterious Korrok gemstone
Signet ring, noble’s outfit, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Domiel family ring, walking stick, masterwork playing cards, spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, diamonds (14), silver crown
Potion of Invisibility (3), Potion of Spider Climb, Potion of Eagle’s Splendor
Silver ring, gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant, gold ring, platinum necklace, mithril hair clasps (3)
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni
Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander,
Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother
Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee
Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)
Teams – Labors, Brute Squad (Robbers and one team of Soldiers)
Graltontown Buildings – Mill