Corvus emerged from the abandoned home of his childhood mentor. Pekeporo met his eye and immediately understood Corvus’ despair. Elzalath slunk into the town’s periphery, recognizing her outsider status as a drow in this village. Time was of the essence and the group had no leads.
orc-gruumsh01-1Corvus and Peke headed to the village blacksmith to see if he had any information. The kidnapping and arson happened so fast, there were only rumors and hunches to be had. Yet among this hearsay, Corvus discovered a roving band of orcs calling themselves The Blackbird Red were responsible for this nightmare. He couldn’t say for certain, but the blacksmith thought they were probably posted at the Ruins in the surrounding forest. Corvus thanked the man for the information.
Meanwhile, Elzalath wandered the surrounding forest looking for clues. She sensed a presence and whirled to spot a fellow drow in the clearing.
“Elzalath, my name is Jaelryn, and I come on behalf of my master, Elendar. He sent me with this letter.” Elzalath knew enough of the ways of the drow to find this encounter quite unremarkable. “Elendar seeks what you seek and desires your tutelage. He can provide what you desire.”
Elzalath accepted the letter and Jaelryn disappeared into the brush. Skeptical, Elzalath tracked Jaelryn’s movement far enough to identify her movement west toward Neverwinter. This was certainly an intriguing proposition, but Elendar could wait. Elzalath had developed a strange and unexpected affinity for her journeying partners and wanted to help Corvus see this through.
The party reunited in the village and decided to confront the Blackbird Red head-on in the morning. After an uneventful rest, they journeyed to the forest ruins. They decided to rest before their confrontation, and Peke meditated fitfully. At the end of his meditation, he received the most powerful vision he had yet encountered. This time, the voice was understandable, admonishing Peke to seek The Green Emperor in the Verdant Temple. While still cryptic, Peke began to understand that his namequest would take him beyond every reality he had ever experienced.
In the morning, the adventurers finished their journey to the Ruins. Peke took advantage of the opportunity to show off the new spell he had been studying and cast the entire party into a veil of invisibility. Easily undetected, they found two watch-orcs high in a treenest. With incredibly precision, they unleashed a trio of arrows at one of the orcs, all three of which sunk deep into the orc to send him toppling out of his perch. Without hesitation, all three heroes immediately released another volley of arrows at the other orc. The first orc hit the ground in a burst of gore and viscera. The second orc managed to bone-crunchingly land on his feet, just conscious enough to taunt the trio with a warning of one-eyed Agar waiting for them. Then he breathed his last.
The crew made their way to the clearing leading to the Ruins to find a terrifying scene. Four orcs awaited them, two of which held Corvus’ father and mentor at knife-point. Between them stood a giant of an orc with a patch over one eye. Corvus’ mother was restrained behind his enormous arm with a knife to her throat. This orc had to be Agar, and he was waiting for them.
Corvus, Peke and K’ot remained shrouded and slowly snuck up behind the orcs around the backside of the ruins. Meanwhile, Elzalath emerged from Peke’s spell to attempt negotiation with the orcs.
“Who are you?” growled Agar.
“I’m a drow, and we share a common purpose. Perhaps if we work together, we can successfully enact vengeance upon the scoundrel Corvus Cade.” Elzalath was so convincing, Peke began to worry that Elzalath had been stringing them along this whole time. He certainly didn’t know anything about Elzalath’s life before they met.
Agar chuckled deridingly. “This isn’t about revenge.”
“Then what is it about?”
“Service. I simply follow the will of Asmodeus. He desires Corvus’ destruction, and I am happy to oblige.”
“In that case, we remain allies as I serve Elendar.”
At this, Agar grew quite agitated. He pointed his dagger at Elzalath. “You are no acolyte of Elendar. Now out with the truth.”
Corvus sensed the exchange was headed south, and took advantage of the opportunity to attack Agar while his blade was away from Corvus’ mother’s throat. He drew his swords and unleashed his fury on Agar. The trap was sprung.
Elzalath took the cue and cast a Blessing on her companions for battle while eviscerating the orc holding Corvus’ father. Peke used the advantage of surprise to Wild Shape into a brown bear. In a flurry of teeth and claws, he flayed Agar’s back as K’ot put all her strength into knocking Agar over.
From the prone position, Agar had no hope of turning the tide of battle. Even worse for him, as he struggled to right himself onto one leg, he saw his faithful followers scatter into the forest. “Goddamn cowards.”
Sensing that Corvus had the situation well in hand with his blades at Agar’s throat, Elzalath, Peke and K’ot leapt into the woods after the fleeing orcs. Elzalath and Peke subdued their quarries while K’ot demonstrated no such restraint. She sensed Corvus’ hatred of orcs in general and took this opportunity to decimate her prey.
Meanwhile, Corvus interrogated Agar to no avail. He held his sword and a potion of healing in front of Agar’s working eye. “We can do this the easy way or you can die.”
“Fuc…” Before Agar could finish his response, he choked on a geyser of blood that erupted as Corvus buried his blade in Agar’s throat. Corvus vaguely sensed the return of his companions but could only muster the strength to gratefully hug his family and mentor. In the group hug, he smiled as he noticed K’ot trot up and drop an orc dick at his feet.
Peke attempted to interrogate his captive to no avail. He paid attention as Elzalath demonstrated how interrogations work in Faerun. She enchanted her sword with a white burning heat. She held her blade over her captives head as she stuck her face inches from the orc’s.
“We need information, and let me assure you, you will not die quickly if you refuse to cooperate. You will not be so fortunate as your master. I have all day and endless creative ways to make you suffer. So measure your response carefully. Where is Asmodeus?”
As the stench of waste emanated from his trousers, the orc was clearly terrified. “I…I am a lowly minion. Agar didn’t trust me with any information. B…But he could read and write. He kept a journal. It has to be around here somewhere. I’ll help you find it.”
Elzalath lowered her sword while maintaining eye contact. The blade slid down further until it severed the bonds at the orc’s feet. “Good answer.” She helped the orc to his feet as Peke looted the ruins for treasure and Corvus held his family.
Will our heroes have what it takes to confront the threat of Asmodeus head-on? What secrets are our adventurers keeping from one another? Why is the Dungeon Mistress trying to give away all of Peke’s secrets? Tune in next time to find out!