This doesn’t happen often, never really if you think about it, but I was wrong. I had it in my head that Wrybry was another nothing country village but instead I found a something straddling the line between a large town and a small city. In my defense this isn’t an area that I’m terribly familiar with. It did look like perhaps it was several villages that had grown together so maybe Wrybry used to be a one of them? Doesn’t matter I suppose, other than maybe I was partially right which makes more sense really. It was a pleasant surprise which allowed Martialla and me to do some trading – unloading the Colonel’s horses and whatnot. I wasn’t in the market to buy anything but I saw a very fetching walking stick. After I stole that walking stick from an old man in Graltontown I really enjoyed having one – it’s nice to have something to gesture and when necessary rap someone on the head with. The one I picked up was not only fashionable, slim finely worked darkwood with silver, but it was also magic – and as you know most magic items are gaudy trash. When I see one that actually looks nice I almost have to buy it out of principal.
After our commerce morning it was time to start looking for the possessed dancing girl. It was easy to track down her place of business – a dance parlor not far from the market district called the Good Man. I guess that’s supposed to be a pun or a joke of some kind but if you ask me it’s a terrible name for a dance joint. The owner was surprisingly neither a disgusting letch nor a villainous brute barely holding back violence but looked just like a boring old shopkeep or the like. He told us that Belle Thurnin had been one of his more popular girls until Tanara Aluation had turned up a series of live performances. The two of them were carrying on together for several days and when Tanara left Belle started acting strangely. And strange quickly escalated to psychotic. After getting fired for stabbing one of the customers (they tend not to like that, although I know a place if that’s your thing) she bounced around a couple lower class joints and eventually left town to avoid the hangman’s noose after stabbing a city watchman to death.
And who would a dangerously deranged possessed murderer leave town in the company of? Adventurers of course. And not just any adventurers, my old friends the Heroes of the Lost Sword. They had an engagement with a local merchant to root out a band of orcs and were looking for some help – and why wouldn’t they hire on a knife wielding maniac? Taking on the appearance of rough looking mercenary types Martialla and I went to the offices of this merchant where his gossipy staff were more than happy to tell us all about it. The merchant had suspended operations in the area of the Majestic Gorge because it had become infested with orcs. As it turns out one of the “Heroes” by the name of Rikcard grew up around these parts and was friends with the merchant. Ergo the deal was struck – Rikcard and his friends would come murder all the orcs and everything would be grand once more.
The next step was to find the best tracker in town. No, the next step was to find the best morally flexible tracker in town. The first tracker we found was so drunk he couldn’t even stand up so we moved on to our next choice and were shocked to find out that it was a woman! A lady tracker? Who ever heard of such a thing? She had her hair cornrowed though, which to me indicates that she’s competent at woodcraft because no one who had a proper job in the city would ever do such a thing to themselves. Plus her dog Nomen was a sweetheart. We hired her to help us find the Heroes of the Lost Sword and not an hour later the three of us were riding out of town.
We reached the general area of the Majestic Gorge by late afternoon and Martialla and I set up camp while Rokia and Nomen started their search of the area.
“What I need is some kind of magically transportable lounge chair.”
“Why not an entire mansion that you can shrink down on put in your bodice?”
“Now you’re just being ridiculous. Plus wouldn’t everything inside be thrown everywhere when you picked it up and moved it around? Once the mansion was returned to normal size everything would be a wreck inside.”
“What are you going to do when we find these people anyway? There’s a lunatic that you want help from and a bunch of other people you want to take down. How are you going to do both of those things?”
“I’ll come up with something I’m sure, I usually do.”
“I’m glad you didn’t say always.”
I was about to say something else when the wine bottle in my hand suddenly exploded. Someone was shooting at us and they had the poor manners to kill my wine. Two dozen orcs were rushing at us down the hill to the north. I’ve seen plenty of half-orcs in my day but I’ve never seen a full blooded orc before – I never wanted to. In the dark recesses of my mind I’ve always been afraid of orcs. People can be depraved and violent and cruel, but there’s always a chance that you can talk your way out of trouble. Even when I was enslaved by the Skin-Takers, people who are as close to demons in human flesh as I’ve ever met, I felt like my smooth tongue gave me some way to potentially get free – as it did in the end. But orcs are worse than beasts because all they care about is destruction. I mean the fact that I’ve met plenty of half-orcs sums it all up doesn’t it? I wager a lot of fighting men view orcs as a somewhat dangerous nuisance, but for me their pure nightmare fuel.
I’ve always heard of orcs as being kind of a pukey green skin tone but these were definitely more blue-grey. And I always pictured orcs with greasy long black hair but these ones had no hair at all. The rest was as advertised, awkward looking underbite, jutting tusks, beady pig-eyes, and brutally muscular frames.
I was stunned for a second but Martialla cast a spell that sent half a dozen of them to sleep in mid run – have you ever seen someone running at a full sprint suddenly fall asleep? It’s quite a sight. It’s not exactly like being tripped, it’s more like suddenly throwing yourself face-first into the ground. Moments later I was fighting tooth and nail (so to speak) with a rampaging orc-horde, lashing out with lion-claws and my walking stick. And honestly it wasn’t much of a fight – it’s strange to think that two non-warrior types like us could fight off a mob of orcs, but that’s what happened. In truth Martialla did most of the heavy lifting with her spells and sword, but the point is we sent them packing. It’s hard to see that happening with the Ela of nine months ago. It’s a funny old world.
After the fracas while Martialla was murdering the sleeping orcs I poked around at the ones already dead but they predictably had little of value unless you like crappy spears and shoddy armor. Which I do not. They say that orcs breed like rabbits but still it’s hard to see how they’re still around, seems like we should have wiped them out by now. I suppose the Kingdom isn’t as settled everywhere as I’d like, there’s still wild places where vile races like this can flourish.
“I guess in addition to a tracker we should have hired some muscle as well. I wouldn’t mind having those sisters with us right about now.”
“Maybe, but who knows how half-orcs feel about fighting their kin.”
“I have to imagine half-orcs hate the non-human cousins. Half-elfs are usually the result of some tragic love story with long poems and people standing in the rain and magical amulets being traded back and forth, half-orcs I gather come from an altogether different kind of tragedy. I mean look at these things- who’d want to get into bed with that?”
“Do orcs even have beds?”
Hair regrowth progress : .051%
Funds: 817 platinum, 55,776 gold
Inventory: Wig of Alluring Charisma +4, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Belt of Giant Strength +4, Versatile Vest, Ring of Sustenance, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace, Feather Token (tree), +1 Human Bane Dagger, Bewitching Gown, Grappling Scarf, Wyvern Skin Robe (Robe of Arcane Heritage), Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Ela’s Walking Stick (Rod of Ruin/Agile Alpenstock) Bag of Concealment, Bag of Holding, Black Marketers’ Bag
Pocketed Scarf, Wrist Sheath, Assortment of Fake Signet Rings, , Silver Chain set with Moonstones, Gold and Emerald Ring (2), 852 Garnets, severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, white squirrel fur slippers, ivory combs, receipt, tax collector’s badge, Calastar (Superior Riding horse, Horseshoes of Speed, Endless Feedbag), Wine (expensive) 8 bottles
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, Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo