Heroic Adventure to Forge the Empress

Feb 10, 2018

In the North of Zhongdao…

The party continued northwards a number of days. As they began to near the foothills of the northern mountains, their path crossed with a trail recently cut. A large number of heavy footfalls has tread the ground, and Steve believed that the trail markings showed it to be caused by a tribe of orcs, likely marauding.

Deciding to continue on their way, the party continued north, entering the lands formally controlled by the Shogun. Later that day, seeing evidence of a cart being turned off the road, the party was ambushed by cyclops, who attacked the party from the hills with boulders.

Though Akemi’s horse was crushed, Steve managed to pull her back to safety, and Grozem threw himself into the fight furiously. As the rest of the party retreated, Grozem managed to barely extricate himself, battered and bloody, from the cyclops.

A little while later, as they slowed their horses from their flight from the cyclops, they arrived at the town of Jejin, and deciding that it was time to stop for the night, entered the town. The town, loyal to the Shogun still, asked about the cyclops, and whether the party were merchants carrying medicine needed by the town.

Lu Bu went to heal the diseased in the town, while much of the party spread out to find rumors and information through the town. The townspeople were divided. Most seemed convinced that the Shogun would restore order and reappoint Prince Yuudai to the throne, but were frustrated with the orcs, cyclops, and ‘bandits’ who were affecting the nearby area. They were especially upset that the Shogunate had done little to help with the recent troubles, but most were convinced that they could endure until the Regent was removed, Acheron was driven back, and order was restored.

One young girl, however, told them more about the ‘bandits’, a group led by someone called ‘General Ren’, who fought against the orcs and other forces in the area, including the Shogun’s armies. Public sentiment, however, was not strongly on the side of General Ren.

After staying the night, the party awoke to find a proclamation being given in town: 500 gold would be awarded by the Shogun to anyone who killed the cyclops and removed that threat. As Lu Bu claimed that the party would deal with the cyclops, not for the Shogun, but for Princess Akemi, and refused to acknowledge the Shogun’s authority over the north, the governor of the town had guards escort the party out of the town.

The party then turned their horses southward once again, to deal with the cyclops they had left behind just the previous day._

Jan 27, 2018

In stone Serpent Keep

As the party prepared to head out, Akemi chose to travel alongside the party, since the quest for the Red Dragon Shrine and the Dragon Orb involved her most of all. Vondril, worried that she would not be fully protected with her retainers only, ordered Grozem, a lieutenant in the guard, to accompany the party. Likewise, after the death of two of Sulsashi’s followers while fighting the Black Riders, the Elder Sulsashi ordered that Sulsashi must embark on this portion of his quest alone, to see the world and prove himself against it, before returning to inherit the clan.

The party set out, and traveled quickly north. On the first night out from the castle, they had an interesting encounter. In the hours before dawn, a group of three gnomes came to the party, asking to sit by their fire. Strawhat was happy to see other gnomes, and encouraged them to join the party for a few hours. As they talked, the gnomes expressed fear at the state of the world, and Strawhat explained how Stone Serpent Keep was a safe place, and woke Akemi to be introduced to the gnomes as the Empress of the Jade Empire.

With Lu Bu growing more and more suspicious, the group of gnomes was sent off. Shortly thereafter, Akemi awoke in the night from a horrifying nightmare, seeing herself and the party executed by the Regent. Her entire body felt weakened by the experience, and she was visibly shaken, but she told the party that she was fine, and could continue on.

The next morning, the party investigated the area where the gnomes had traveled off, and found three extra sets of tracks that had circled their camp during the night. Further, one of the set of gnome tracks had moved towards the woods, and then vanished completely. Talking to a bird, Steve had confirmed that the creature claimed that one of the gnomes ‘disappeared’ last night.

Continuing northward with this news, the party turned a corner of the road to find the Green Ronin Inn, the inn run by Birchburn, the sun elf. As they entered the inn, it was clearly in disrepair, and the normally warm and kind atmosphere had been replaced by a dingy, empty, air. No more music played from the stage, and no other patrons were attending the inn.

From out of a back room, Birchburn came, explaining how the Butcher had taken his eye. With his eye removed by magic, his elven purity of form had been broken, and age would once again have an effect on him. Tzzird was distraught (or as close to that emotion as the dark elf could have), and attempted to call on Llolth to search for answers. Instead, she spoke with Correllon Lorathian, the sun elf god. He claimed that the time of the sun elves was ending, and he would do nothing to save Birchburn. After all, the sun elves had not proven beautiful after they their creation. Perhaps on his next attempt, he would perfect them.

Angered at the callousness of the god, Tzzird demanded to know who had Birchburn’s eye, but Birchburn could not, or would not, tell her. Instead, Birchburn told her that she must not allow her feud with her sister to drive the two into conflict, or else the dark elves, like the sun elves, might be drawn into a devastating war.

With nothing more to be done, Tzzird and the others said that they would find a way to save him if they could, and as they departed, Birchburn slipped an artifact into Tzzird’s pockets, what he called ‘the soul of the Green Ronin’.

A Path Forwards
Jan 20, 2018

In Stone Serpent Keep

After calling for a night of festivities, to draw the attention of the peasants gathered outside Stone Serpent Keep from their famine and suffering, Akemi was overseeing a series of performances. In the midst of one of them, Vondril, the captain of the guard, arrived to tell her that her retainers had returned.

The party returned harried, accompanied by Fu Lim, a few hundred villagers from the destroyed fishing village, and the body of Cyrano, the Butcher, a sword pressed through his heart.

While both Fu Lim and Gin demanded Akemi’s immediate attention, each to different issues, Akemi ordered that the festival not be stopped, causing Fu Lim to return to the villagers, frustrated. The Butcher’s body was locked deep in the dungeons of the Keep, with Gin locking himself within the same cell.

Later that evening, Akemi called Fu Lim into her council room. Fu LIm told Akemi that she was happy that three of the dragons, including Shiro, could be gathered together, and asked Akemi to set aside statecraft in order to pursue her true destiny, fully realizing her power as a Dragon of the Middle Isles. Akemi refused to give up her claim to the throne however, and Fu Lim left rejected once more, vowing to return to the shore until Akemi came to her senses.

The party also discussed what to do with the Butcher, and returned to the keep to interrogate him. After removing the sword from his heart, he slowly regained consciousness, his body stitching together, and came to. The Butcher claimed to be a servant of the Shogun, one able to do the black deeds that the Shogun’s honor could not allow him to do, or even order done. As they pressed him for information, he showed that he had no knowledge of the dragons, or the Shogun’s schemes.

Instead, he was obsessed with the idea that he had failed to kill the party because he had faltered in the path to power, showing honor when he fought Gin one-on-one (only to be attacked by the rest of the party), and offered mercy to Tzzird after sending the majority of the party to unconsciousness. He goaded Gin, asserting that when Gin cut him, a defenseless prisoner, down, he would finally be proven right; proving that the mercy and honor that their master prattled on about is nothing more than weakness.

Gin hesitated, but Akemi ordered Gin to execute the Butcher. After cutting off the Butcher’s head, Gin stormed out. Akemi then watched as Steve and Tzzird searched through the Butcher’s body, cut it into pieces, and burned it to ash, storing the ashes in separate ceramic jars, to be buried.

The party discussed what to do next: learning from Llolth and Legend Lore that the Red Dragons of the Jade Age had lived within a great city and a volcano, they decided that they should search the north of the peninsula for the ‘mountain crowned with fire’ that one of the red dragons had resided within.

After some deliberation, Akemi decided that the Elder Sulsashi would be left in charge of the Keep, with Huijin remaining to work on a project to improve the crops and defenses of the Keep while they traveled.

The Metal Dragon
Jan 5, 2018

Outside a small fishing village of Zhongdao

As the party returns from the Shrine of Water, they see oily, black smoke rising from Fu Lim’s village. Though Fu Lim and others want to charge directly into battle, Sulsashi convinces the party to divert and meet up with her retinue, who they find waiting nearby and watching.

The Black Riders have come to the village, and have rounded up the villagers. Many were already dead, and the riders were going door-to-door, searching for something or someone.

Deciding that the most important thing is to rescue the villagers, the party decides to assault the riders through the village while the Dragonborn evacuate the villagers to A’tuin. Gin and Strawhat sneak forward. Gin is able to hear the Butcher, having survived their previous fight, interrogating the prisoners. Strawhat dispatches one of the riders, but is seen by others, and battle is joined.

Thanks to Fu Lim sealing off most of the riders with a wall of water, the party only has to face the Butcher and a portion of his soldiers. Even this is a dangerous fight, as the Butcher makes use of abilities that clearly mark him as the Metal Dragon, as well as the Swallowtail Sword, allowing him to swiftly move between targets.

Gin, Strawhat, Huijin, and Shiro are all downed at least once during the fight, but after coming to the brink of defeat the party is able to defeat the Butcher. Stabbing him after he’s been defeated, they carry his corpse with them onto A’tuin, and manage to escape just before the rest of the Black Riders can catch up with them.

As the party heads towards Stone Serpent Keep, with Fu Lim and the Butcher’s corpse, they begin to see something unheard of. The fatal wounds the Butcher has suffered begin to knit together. Fearing the worst, the party leaves a blade stuck through the Butcher’s heart, and resolve to get to the bottom of his power.

Dec 29, 2017

In the western seas of Zhongdao

As the party approaches the Shrine of Water, atop the water spirit A’tuin, they see a huge whirlpool, a vortex spiraling down nearly 100 feet to touch the top of the Shrine. All around them is a clammy fog, a miasma left by the deep grasper’s influence, and on the top of the water is a film of thick mucus.

After brief deliberation, Huijin grants the party the ability to breath underwater, to explore the shrine, and she and Strawhat briefly go underwater to see the Shrine itself, a stone structure surrounded by the decaying bones of the old Water Dragon. All along the ground and wrapped around the dragon’s bones are tentacles, created by the deep grasper ad siphoning the power of the dragon into their master.

Huijin is able to locate Fu Lim, held underwater by a number of tentacles, and free her, though like A’tuin above them, her skin shows blisters and open sores were the tentacles wrapped around her. At A’tuin’s urging, the party brings Fu Lim down into the Shrine with them, and, cutting their way through a number of tentacles, reaches the center of the shrine itself.

Within, Gin floats, his eyes glazed over with the mucus created by the deep grasper, his mind still in thrall. The grasper speaks through Gin and commands them to withdraw, or else perish, but the party presses forward. Within the room hands the skull of the water dragon, and dangling from it an orb, cocooned in the same mucus created by the grasper.

Knowing they have to retrieve the orb, the party swims for it, and the grasper summons giant sharks from the depths to defend itself. While for a while the party kept Fu Lim from the sphere, as the situation grew dire, with more and more creature entering the shrine, they allowed Fu Lim to hold the sphere, the orb left by the prior Dragon, and begin to cleanse it of the grasper’s desecration.

With the party barely staving off the beasts, Fu Lim cleared the orb, and the grasper’s influence was banished, freeing Gin and the sharks from the mind control. Searching the shrine briefly (and finding a peculiar pair of glass lenses) the party returned to the A’tuin. Again, reluctant to permit Fu Lim to have the orb, eventually Tzzird relented, and Fu Lim grasped the essence of the Water Dragon of the Jade Age.

The waters spun, powerful arcane energy flowed into Fu Lim, and scales appeared beneath her skin, the same mark shown on Shiro and Akemi. With a surge of power, Fu Lim was filled with past knowledge, but in her own words, not past understanding. Her new powers were undeniable, however, and she quickly restored A’tuin to his previous state.

Now, with Fu Lim agreeing to meet Akemi, the party heads back for shore.

Spirits of the Depths
Dec 15, 2017

In a fishing village in Zhongdao

Our party stands on a cliff-side. Before them is a massive turtle, the creature which Fu Lim refers to as ’A’tuin’, a powerful water spirit. While the party had been suspicious of Fu Lim’s claims previously, they now see them fully realized.

The party has much to discuss with the spirit, aided by Sulsashi andShiro’s ability to speak Draconic. Fu Lim herself is astounded that the others can communicate with this creature, which should could never understand.

The turtle tells them how it is a spirit of the ocean, as has been trying for some time to speak with Fu Lim, its new master, to tell her of her divinity. Pressing it for more information on the past, and showing it the elemental shard they carry within the Darkwood Sphere, the water spirit tells the party about the scarring of Middle Valley. Since the scarring fifty years ago, the seals placed on the Darkwood Sphere by the shrine maiden Kimiko have weakened, allowing ‘the thorn’ of the elemental shard to tear ‘a wound’ in the fabric of reality. Now, this wound, the Maelstrom, spills elemental chaos across the world, and threatens to unmake it.

To A’tuin however, there is a more pressing matter: the Shrine of Water has been despoiled, tainted by a foul creature that devours the bones of the old Water Dragon. Fu Lim must be taken to the shrine to find her true purpose, and with the party’s help, she may be able to survive the journey.

As the party heads back to the village, to sleep and prepare, they begin to speak with Fu Lim about Akemi. Fu Lim is not impressed, and reacts angrily to mention of theEmperor. When Strawhat strikes her for what he perceives as insolence, Fu Lim shakily explains how the wars and taxes of the Emperor have only ever hurt her family and village, and the brief years under the Regent were the most peaceful she has known. She seems uninterested in seeing Akemi or speaking with her, and uninterested in anything besides the fate of her village and the water spirit A’tuin.

After preparing for investigation and a sea journey, the party sets out upon A’tuin’s back. After many hours of travel, they approach an area of heavy fog, a strange mucus-like substance resting on top of the water. While previously the water spirit had cut through the sea easily, now he pulls himself slowly along, clearly struggling.

As they draw closer to the shrine, a form appears before them, a hideous, slimy mass of tentacles, something which Steve recognizes as a ‘deep grasper’, a foul water spirit, grown to terrible size. It speaks to a number of the party, offering to help them gain what they truly desire. When no members are persuaded, and after Shiro dispels an illusion of the creature with a pre-emptive fireball, the creature attacks, seeking to prevent the party from reaching the shrine.

The party fights back against the grasper and a number of it’s allies, crab-like creatures from the sea and tentacles it summons out of A’tuin’s shell. Though Lu Bu smites away the creature’s corporeal form, its spirit lingers, and is able to overpower Gin’s mind, forcing him to serve his will.

With Gin possessed, the grasper orders him to seize Fu Lim and make for the shrine, but though he begins his escape, Tzzird’s control of water releases Fu Lim, and she and Gin both swim off into the murky ocean.

Two Revelations
Dec 1, 2017

At Stone Serpent Keep

Akemi, with the Elder Sulsashi advising her, once again called together the leaders of the peasants who were living outside the keep. While she had tasked the peasants with electing a single leader, they had been unable through democracy to pick a single leader, they proposed another idea: the leaders of the different villages would provide a council, who would decide on matters of agriculture.

After listening to them, Akemi chose instead to appoint a single one of the leaders to be the agricultural minister, rather than rely on the council.

In a fishing village of Zhongdao

We arrive as our party has just finished of the last of the water weirds and soldiers that assaulted the fishing village. Gin asked Tzzird to revivify the one civilian casualty of the fighting, a middle-aged fisherman. Placing her hands on the man, the power of Llolth coursed through him, covering him with a deadening, black mist that swept into the man and brought him back from the dead.

The man traumatized from the passage behind the veil, immediately stood, and began to scream, tearing atIvellios and Huijin, pleading for help that nobody could say how to offer. Strawhat was stunned and revolted by the necromantic power.

While all of this was ongoing, Lu Bu continued after the blue-haired girl who seemed to have summoned the water elementals. At the same time, Gin went into a trance-like state, and was visited by his patron.

Gin’s patron, appearing as a young woman with coppery-yellow hair, was as surprised as the rest of the party about Tzzird’s powers, but insisted that there was a more important task. The blue-haired woman had to be protected. She was important.

After snapping out of the reverie, Gin went to find Lu Bu, who had already found and collected the woman, who called herself Fu Lim. Fu Lim claimed not to know how the elementals had been summoned, and was terrified of the heavily armed party.

As the party gathered around Fu Lim, she explained that it wasn’t her power, but a water spirit, Atuin, who protected the town. She claimed that Atuin brought rains for the village, staving off the effects of the Blight, and guarded the town.

The party ordered Fu Lim to take them to the water spirit, and as they traveled, they investigated Fu Lim more. To those with eldritch sight, Fu Lim shone with the same aura as Shiro and Akemi, but she claimed to not have the scale-shaped markings that both of the young dragons exhibited.

Traveling to the location where Atuin was sometimes found, the party begin to press Gin about some suspicious behavior he was exhibiting, and finally reached the point where Tzzird brought her powers to bear. She created a zone of truth, and forced the party members within.

Under the zone, Gin was able to speak past the compulsion which was otherwise controlling him, He explained his patron, who he considered a good and stabilizing figure, and who had asked Gin to report on the movements and powers of the rest of the party. The other members were understandably skeptical of all of this, and hold him under suspicion.

Fu Lim was also compelled to speak truthfully, and revealed that she indeed believed that Atuin protected the town, and that she had no special powers, even while the party insisted otherwise.

After briefly visiting a shrine in the ocean waves, which showed similar markings as the prior dragon shrines, the party continued to a cliff-side.

While waiting on the cliff-side, the dragonborn set up camp, and the others waited near the edge with Fu Lim. After a number of minutes, Atuin appeared.

The gargantuan turtle breached the waters, sending a spray of water at the party. The spirit then settled back, waiting to see what Fu Lim and the party would ask of it.

Like tears in the rain
November 10, 2017

At a fishing village in Zhongdao

With dawn slowly rising, and waves gently rocking a few fishing boats tied up at dock, we see a woman tending to a small garden. Some of the plants are dry and withered, but with a few whispered words, the gardener turns dry earth to soft loam to mud, until crystal clear water runs out of her hands to nourish the plants. Standing and smiling, she removes a headscarf to show close-cropped, blue hair.

Outside the outrider’s camp…

While most of the part slept a ways further afield, Tzzird, Gin, and Huijin kept watch over the outriders. Near midnight, Tzzird confirmed the presence of the Butcher’s shortsword within the camp, and Gin decided to enter. Under the cloak of invisibility, he went into the camp, filled with nearly a hundred armed soldiers. Trying to sow confusion, he untied a number of horses and lit a tent on fire, sending the panicked horses fleeing into the night and the camp scrambling to respond.

Gin returned to the scouting group, and they watched as a few of the horses were rounded back up. Though only a handful of horses were lost, the entire camp now seemed to be on high alert.

Just before dawn, thirty riders left from the camp, splitting into three groups that headed for the coast. The scouts returned the the rest of the group, where Sulsashi, Lu Bu, and Steve were preparing to return to the prior village to gain information on the freak storm they had seen a day prior.

Tzzird called upon Llolth to aid her, who responded by indicating that following one of the groups of soldiers would lead the party to something the Butcher sought. The rest of the party decided to change plans and attempt to catch up with the group indicated by Llolth.

Following the tracks of the horsemen through the day, they reached a small fishing village by mid-afternoon, and found the villagers being terrorized by the soldiers. The soldiers were looking for information regarding the storm they had seen, and demanded that the villagers reveal their secrets.

While Lu Bu and Sulsashi tried to get the soldier to stand down, it came to blows when one of the soldiers attempted to threaten a villager, and Gin interfered. Tzzird and Ivellios filled the village with unnatural plant growth and freezing hail, ensuring that the riders could not take a message out of the village.

While the fight went on, one of the villagers was killed, and a piercing cry came from nearby. A woman with close-cropped blue hair stood in a doorway, tears welling in her eyes. As they fell to the ground, a storm appeared overhead, and with the storm, strange water elementals sprang from the raindrops to attack the party and the outriders indiscriminately.

After a fierce battle, the last of the elementals was banished, and the soldiers were defeated, but the blue-haired woman had turned to flee…

The Enemy of my Enemy

At the Green Ronin Inn

Birchburn the Innkeeper was polishing the bar at the Green Ronin, when a terrified traveler entered. The traveler’s fear was obvious, and when he asked for a place to hide, Birchburn pulled him behind the bar and hid him in the cellar.

Just as the man was being secreted, the door opened again, and a dozen men entered, armed soldiers. Their leader was a tall, gaunt man with narrow eyes, and a terrible burn across half of his face. Where the burn should have left charred flesh though, small black scales could be seen through the flesh.

After Birchburn refused to give up the traveler, the soldier grew increasingly frustrated at the sun elf. When it was clear that he would get no further information from Birchburn, he grabbed the elf from across the bar and drew a knife.

“I’m looking for something right now, and it’d be useful if I had one of those immortal eyes of yours.”

In north-western Zhongdao

After defeating the orc raiders, the party spoke with the captured Eye of Gruumsh, who gave his name as Atub. The orc claimed that it was the clan of Magog, not the Butcher, who had raided this village, and seemed upset at the implication that another group could be responsible for their conquest. Incensed, Atub claimed that his clan could defeat the Butcher, and prove they had the right by power to raid these lands.

With Atub in tow, the party headed north-east along the road, looking for more signs of the Butcher’s efforts. The first two villages they traveled through couldn’t offer much help, but they did inform the party of the drought that had fallen on Zhongdao in the recent months, leading to stunted growth of rice and grains. The only villages unaffected were those to the north-west, closer to the coast-line.

From the village of Fuleng, the party picked up their first trace of the outriders, spying an obliterated village from the air. Tracking a trail of horses north, they found a rocky area where the outriders had set up camp. After brief reconnaissance, where they counted close to 100 horses in the camp, the party decided that they would try to watch the group, and pick off any smaller groups if possible. At the same time, they released Atub, to have him carry the location of the outriders back to Magog.

As dusk fell, they same a dozen riders enter the camp, one of them clad in all-black splint armor.

At Stone Serpent Keep

Akemi met with a group of the peasants, expressing various concerns. Most were fearful of the lack of food and the lack of security in the area, and scattered groups had begun to continue to flee northwards. Under Sulsashi’s advice, Akemi attempted to speak to each in turn, and after one of the peasants spoke up, had him dragged out of the room.

Akemi proposed that the question of farming would best be served by the peasants choosing one of their number to be an ‘agricultural minister’ to oversee buying of seeds and planting. The peasants decided to put it to a vote, but the group was evenly split, and in the end, the five most popular leaders suggested that instead of a single minister, they could instead form a council to decide these matters. With Akemi’s permission, each began to think of what they desired from the agricultural council.

As the meeting was ongoing, a message from Huijin arrived, warning Akemi that they had encountered orcs to the north, and were continuing their search for the Butcher. At this news, Akemi ordered the patrols doubled around the refugees.

Unexpected Visitors

At Shi Long Tun

Akemi welcomed representatives of the dragonborn host into the keep to speak. The death of the blue dragon had brought this dragonborn clan to this place, and now they wished to ensure that they were present and involved in the destiny of the other dragons of the MIddle Isles.

Though Akemi was initially somewhat wary, the two sides agreed that the dragonborn could encamp outside the castle, and begin to integrate their forces with the garrison of the Keep. TheSulsashi clan leader’s son asked to accompany the party on their quests, assured that more knowledge of the dragons would be made known.

The rest of the party received Strawhat and the half-orc,and with the refugees in tow, the group made their way back to the Keep.They also uncovered the bundle they carried, the preserved body of Fini. Akemi was saddened again by the reminder of Fini’s death, but promised that she would contact the forest gnome tribes and ensure his body was buried properly.

The refugees were thankful for the protection, but some of them were skeptical that they had found a safe place to stay at Shi Long Tun. Akemi offered them a choice: if they remained, they would be under her protection, but any that wished to continue on could do so. The refugees went back to talk among themselves.

With final preparations made the next morning, Akemi’s advisors and Sulsashi left with a small entourage of dragonborn, intending to find the Butcher and put an end to his terrorizing of the north-west. Akemi was left to address the newly arrived dragonborn and refugees.

The reach of the war

After a few days of travel to the north, the party came upon a larger village, which met them suspiciously. After a brief stand-off with an ill-equipped militia, the village chief spoke to the group. A number of horsemen had been raiding villages, burning them to the ground, and leaving none alive. Though the village chief knew little about Akemi, she showed the party to a survivor of a recent attack on another village, three days previously.

The survivor was badly injured, and still healing from his wounds, but he reported a large number of horsemen falling on his village in the night. Those who were not killed were carried off, and the entire village was burned. With this village only a day’s travel away, the party decided they should set off.

They also discovered another survivor, of a much earlier attack. The man appeared to have lost his mind, and was difficult to understand, but he mumbled out a scene of terrible bloodshed, the riders clad all in black arriving at dawn out of the rising sun.

The party left for the raided village.

Scavengers or something more…

As they approached the village, Huijin took to the skies and saw the village burned down. Only a few buildings truly remained standing, and the rest of the area was filled with carcasses being picked apart by the birds. A large group seemed to have moved eastwards, leaving the town, but now little could be seen but a few travelers taking the same road as the party.

When they reached the village, it was already night, and the group attempted to set up camp. One part of the carnage stood out, and when they looked at it, they could find still-drying blood on the ground, but no sign of a body.

Just as they settled down in the mill for the night, the party was set upon by a group of warriors; not the Butcher’s men, but orcs. After a fierce and protracted fight, the party managed to defeat the orcs, leaving one of them pinned and unarmed by the party.


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