Welcome to the New Age

North, part one

Have Scroll, will travel

March 24, 25NA

The attempt to travel directly to Caer Nimir goes awry and the party finds themselves in a prison along with a group of human slaves being kept by the Rancid Ox orcs.  They aren't certain where they are and the humans report to being a second generation slave populace.

An attempt is made, seemingly successfully, to prop up Fizzle's confidence in himself for a day or so.  Evan and Lora, slaves that seem to represent the two factions of slaves (those wishing freedom and those fearing it) are brought into a plan to escape the next day when the slaves are brought to work.

The ambush is successful and the Heralds and their rescued slave allies meet a mysterious group of red coated cavalry soldiers and their leader, an older human named Nicholas.

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After some discussion, it was decided that I would attempt to use one of the teleportation scrolls from Quill. The spell went off, but something went wrong… instead of the square in Caer Nimir, we were in a square of broken pavement, surrounded by a startled group of humans in grungy clothes and rough furs.

Around us were several meager cooking fires, and behind us was a heavy gate. A large chain with a huge lock hung across the outside of the gate. Wherever we were, we were locked in.

A terse whisper, the speaker afraid to raise suspicion from those outside the gate, asked us who we were and where we came from. (He was quickly shushed by a woman who said he was “going to get them all beaten”)

A brief explanation sufficed until we were moved into a building a little further into the area, where we were introduced to the original speaker, Evan, and the woman who warned him, Lora.

We were in the home camp of the Rancid Ox Orc tribe, in one of the four slave pens. Everyone here (about 60 individuals) had been slaves all their lives, and was much younger than they had appeared at first. They were aged terribly from the conditions and the hard work – digging and scavenging.

They couldn’t tell us much about where we were, but they knew the ocean was to the south and there were mountains to the west. This group of slaves was working where the metal birds were, a couple hours away along the black roads.

There was a visitor from another tribe here to speak with the Rancid Ox, and Evan described a tattoo of a flame surrounding an empty eye socket. The rumor was that he had come in an attempt to get the Rancid Ox to travel south and join a larger horde of orcs. It was further said that this was not the only tribe an envoy had been sent to.

We had to help these people, it was just a matter of how we could do it. Within the camp itself was too risky, we decided. Aside from the gate, the only way out would be via the roof, which was guarded. The camp itself was filled with orcs, at least 60 or 70, including a head shaman and his 7 or 8 lesser shaman.

We settled on a plan to ambush the smaller group of orcs which would be escorting the slaves to their work site the next day. Declan and Ilikan would be invisible (thanks to Desmond) and would leave early, in the hopes that they would be able to set a trap, or at least be already in position.

Desmond and Gareth were able to talk Fizzle into disguising himself and coming along. They showed some trust and faith in him, and untied his hands and gave him his book back. It seemed like they were able to give his spirit a much-needed boost, at least for a little bit.

I volunteered to tell Evan and Lora about our plan – and to try to convince them not to spoil it. We worried that Evan (and his followers) would betray us with excitement, or put themselves in harms way in an eagerness to help with the fighting.

Lora, on the other hand, we feared would rather reveal our presence to the orcs than risk what might happen if they found us on their own. She also questioned what they would do if we died in our attempt, or for that matter, where they would go if we succeeded. Sadly, we didn’t have a good answer for those concerns, but anything had to be better than here.

We sent Declan and Ilikan off (it hurt my heart a little to be separated from him again), and disguised ourselves in borrowed furs and rags. Soon enough, the orcs came to gather our group, and (thankfully) our presence was unnoticed. We shuffled out of the camp, careful to keep our heads down. We did pass their leader, rumored to be the son of a slave, talking to the tattooed Orc. We could hear the word “Wendigo” in their conversation as we went by.

Down the road, we soon reached the small bridge described to us, and where Ilikan and Declan were meant to be waiting. I held my breath, searching for a sign of them until I could finally see Ilikan’s dogs.

It was not an easy fight, but we eventually prevailed, and were aided by two men in red capes. They waited until after the orcs were dead to approach, but did manage to pick off a couple of the weaker orcs with their arrows.

After the fight, they hailed us, and I assured them that we had a common enemy in the orcs. The two we had seen (Sir Robert Jefferies and his brother Simon (still not sure if they are blood brothers, or brothers-in-arms)) called for several others, and we were told we could talk more at their camp.

Before we left the scene of the battle, Gareth asked one of them to write, in orcish, in the blood of one of the fallen, “Submit”, while he drew in the same ink the symbol of the flaming eye. The man balked at first, but seemed to trust Gareth that, however distasteful, it was the best way to deliver that message – and hopefully sow some dissention in the ranks.

We were taken, along with the slaves, to their camp. We weren’t given a chance to look around before being ushered into the presence of their leader, a barrel-chested man who greeted us warmly.

“I am Nicholas, and these are my Knights.”
“I am Aideen Healy, and we are the Heralds.”
“I know.”

North, part one
 

“Aideen used one of the teleport scrolls, and when she did so we found ourselves not where we expected. We were in a community that was locked in, apparently slaves to an orc tribe.

We decided to set an ambush for the patrol that would take these slaves out. While we snuck out of the pour cak we noticed three more slave holdings and a small camp that seemed to contain a speaker from another tribe.

At the bridge we set as ambush, two other men, red coated on mounts, opened the combat from a distance. After we finished the orcs the men brought the slaves and us to their camp where we met their leader Nicholas. When we introduced ourselves as the Heralds he said that he already knew that."

North, part one
PatW

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