Chapter One - First Blood

Syndrael leads the party forward to catch up with the hasty Ashrian. Just before Ashrian runs in fool heartedly Avric is able to utter a quick authoritative warning and motions for the heroes to gather. Once together a quick plan is formulated to deal with the forces that Jain had scouted earlier. It is clear to all that the goblins must be stopped from entering the pass to the city and that the lead ettin, Mauler, must be dealt with accordingly.

Syndrael and Avric together stride forward fearlessly to engage the enemy. They first decide to close on an ettin that seems to be taking orders from Mauler, a guard of sorts. In spite their best efforts their first blows do not even seem to faze the massive creature.

Seeing Syndrael and Avric create a defensive wall between the beastly ettins and him, Tomble rushes out and snatches a loose bag of gold tossed aside amidst the battlefield. After giving the greedy gnome a condescending look, Jain peaks around the dense forest wall and gets the first kill by shooting one of the goblin runners right in between the eyes.

Overly hurried Tarha trips on an awkwardly placed branch and then scrambles to get into proper position. Meanwhile, Tomble cannot maintain his laughter at the orc’s misfortune. Moments later Grisban trips over the same branch and Tomble erupts with even more laughter, “We be workin’ with ugly an clumsy’ today folks.”

After being tripped up Grisban is not able to gain enough of his balance back to complete his assault on the goblin leader. Leaving him wounded a bit, he could not finish the job.

Ashrian adeptly spotted that the passage to the secret tunnel was being secured by a band of orcs. She strode forth confidently and fogged the minds of the orc band with the power of the spirits she has grown so close with.

Furious the guard ettin unleashed all his might on Avric in a frenzy of blows from a massive spiked mace. The first blow crushed his arm beneath his shield, while the second blow came down flush with his back knocking him to the ground as he was trying to dodge. The ettin’s faces grinned with delight.

From the grove around the bend two ogres approach Tomble. Tomble addresses them with a smile, “Hey guys they went that way.” Tomble points to where the rest of the fighting is commencing.

As the goblins begin to rush toward the tunnel the dazed orcs move into position to allow them safe passage but cannot shake the druid’s spell to summon the energy to attack the heroes along the pass.

Leoric takes a moment to make his presence known and blasts two goblins about to bolt down the path guarded by the orcs. Both of his arcane bolts knock the goblins back with amazing force leaving them broken and crumpled on the ground.

Syndrael helps Avric to his feet and yet again fails to break the guard of the guardian ettin. Avric, after taking a vicious pummeling from the ettin, surged back into the fray. With holy rage he smites one of the orcs guarding the pass with his mace.

Jain’s familiarity with war allows her to identify the leader of the orc troupe and she rapidly unleashes two arrows. The first causes the orc to feint to his left, while the second finds its way directly in the orc’s throat. A bloody gurgle is unleashed as it is knocked back into the pond and the water begins to turn an almost blackish red.

Enraged at the fall of their leader the last two orcs are able to muster through the fog of Ashrian’s spirit friends enough to unleash their ax strikes. Caught by surprise, the first blow cuts her deep in the side as the second orc knocked her directly in the temple with the flat side of one of his axes smashing her unconscious against a nearby tree.

The mighty ogres surround Tomble just to see him laugh and vanish. Amidst the battling three of the goblins are able to make their way through to the tunnels toward Arhynn.

As if with supernatural dark fortune the guardian ettin’s blow swings true against Avric yet again. This time the full force of his dark might comes down directly onto Avric’s raised shield and mace in defense. Weakened through the course of the fight Avric’s strength fails him as his legs give out and he falls to the bloodied dirt beneath him once again.

Just as a fourth goblin is about to get free, Jain chases it down and sends an arrow through the back of its neck. Typically all business, Jain lets slip a small grin as the arrow pins the upright goblin to a tree with the combined momentum of the running goblin and the arrow itself.

Tomble appears and gives Avric a rousing kick in the side right before he stabs the bigger ogre directly in the heel. It starts to go down but surges back up with renewed vigor, “Why you not die!?!”

After Tomble kicks Avric back to consciousness, Avric slowly rises to his feet. With a prayer to Faradon, god of justice and honor, he releases holy energy filling all of the heroes with renewed vigor. His cuts and scrapes mystically vanish as Ashrian rises back to her feet as well.

Tarha stared an orc in the eyes as she could hear the lumbering ogre behind her ready to come down on her with an axe twice her size. Tarha’s own orc ancestry ignited deep within as she grinned and let out a mighty, “Waaaaughhh!”

Tarha’s deadly scythe spun violently first cleaving the orc’s skull and then slicing through both of the ogre’s knees dropping it immediately to the ground. The ogre let out a horrible sound as its life blood poured forth rapidly onto the field of battle.

The guardian ettin ready to come down yet again on Avric takes a mystical blast to the side of the skull as it begins to lunge at Avric. For an instant it seemed like it was going to continue the strike, but the blast had done the job. Avric stepped out of the way just quick enough to avoid being smashed under the weight of the fallen ettin. Leoric with a smug demeanor announces, “That is how it is done my dear fellows.”

Positioned at the head of the pass the now blood soaked Grisban, continuously cuts down goblin runners as fast as they round the bend to enter the pass. He cut down twenty of them by his count, although he may not be able to count too well.

Determined to put an end to the undying ogre, Tomble climbs up the ogre and stabs a dagger in each eye and vanishes for a second and appears again sitting on top of the now lifeless corpse of the massive ogre.

In the chaos of the wild melee one of Syndrael’s sword blows strikes Avric in the side. The blade from Syndrael causes Avric to lower his guard enough to allow Mauler’s massive mace to land true. The mace knocked him clear off his feet and Avric landed flat on his back in a rather large mushy pool of human and ettin blood.

Mauler fended off strike after strike refusing to go down. Roaring with fury, Ashrian thrusts her staff into the midsection of Mauler. With the power of a dozen forest spirits the energy explodes into Mauler.

The ettin collapses to his knees, one of his heads emitting a grumbling wail. The other head struggles to speak: “Though we die, we are but servants of the almighty Overlord. Our master will be triumphant in the end! Arhynn will fall!” Then both heads grow silent and the beast topples over.

Aftermath

Jain and Ashrian chase down the few goblins that escaped down the tunnels quickly and efficiently. The rest of the band deals with the few remaining goblins coming down the pass and look for survivors amidst the ruins of the fallen trade caravan.

Xander: It does not look like any but the lone guard made. As compensation for your services today please take what loot you found amidst the fallen.

Avric: It is for the good of the people that we…

Grisban: Paaaah! With that, I am keeping what I found.

Tomble silently trots off as well. The rest of them agree to let the guard take back most of the caravan’s monies to be distributed to the family folk back at Arhynn.

The fall out of the money disagreement left Tarha a bit downtrodden as she realized that her scythe had been damaged in her contest with the ogre. Just as she was trying to repair the magics that had infused the weapon her faithful skeleton, Skelly, clambered up and presented her with a glowing red stone.

After deciphering the runes on the side for a moment she simply tossed her scythe in the dirt and walked calmly away to join the band of heroes with a glint in her eyes.

City of Arhynn

Arhynn is a metropolis and city-state in the center of Rhynn. The city is the hub of trading for mineral lands to the East and North. Once peaceful and prosperous, the new threat has the population downtrodden and lost.

A Feast for Heroes

The heroic defeat of Mauler precedes the party’s arrival to the city. In their honor a banquet is held to welcome them. Fine cuts of lamb and pheasant are served to each member and tales are of heroism shared.

Once each member has had their fill the fairly young, but poorly aged Baron Greigory addresses the situation at hand.

Baron Greigory: Thank you for gathering such worthy champions Xander.

Xander Smyth: It is my pleasure m’lord. The fate of Rhynn and Carthridge are one and the same. I regret that Baron Zachareth cannot be here for such a grand feast. He shall be joining us in a few days.

Baron Greigory: Xander has provided me with a quick brief on each of you and vouches for your skills in battle. The lands of Rhynn and Carthridge are plague with organized groups like the one you encountered on the road. In the past they have existed but in disorganized chaotic packs that we easily dealt with.

Avric: Disorganized the creatures were not.

Jain: Aye, they moved with military purpose.

Ashrian: The leader mentioned a master of some sorts as well.

Baron Greigory: Aye. We have reports of similar in separate skirmishes. We have lost many in our attempts to dive deeper into locating the source. We are doing our best to hold our ground and keep the city safe.

Syndrael: We will help fight this new threat. The dark lords of the past have always started small and grown to threaten the rest of Terrinoth. Point my blade toward its purpose and it shall strike true.

Baron Greigory: Your words bring me great peace of mind. My scouts most recently have brought reports of goblin movement in the north farmlands. That shall be your first step in both gathering information and protecting our people.

Tomble: All of us?

Baron Greigory: Nigh. Another report has come in from the Northwest in the Carthmounts of Rhynn. I have already dispatched High Mage Quellen and Reynhart to look into the matter. However they could use some support as well and can easily be caught up with.

Leoric: If it pleases the lord I can be of use here in regards to uncovering this dark lord’s plot magically. Additionally, I can help support the city’s defense with my magic.

Baron Greigory: Very well.

Tomble: I thinks I’ve heared tales of ol’ treasure in the Carthmounts. I’ll be ‘eaden that way.

Ashrian: I am familiar with the lands of the Carthmounts. I will go that way as well and keep the little one out of trouble.

Tomble smiles ear to ear.

Baron Greigory: That is decided. The rest of you five will head to the farmlands in the morning.

Most depart to the quarters within the castle except Grisban who continues to partake in the fine ale provided by Baron Greigory.

Heroes Assemble

Avric, Jain, Syndrael, and Tarha meet at the gate to head north.

Avric: Where is the dwarf?

Jain shrugs with apathy. Tarha scratches her head as Syndrael angrily paces back and forth next to her white steed.

Tomble walks up out of the shadows, “Hahahaha… that drunkard got thrown inta dungeon last nigh’. Got so smash’d, got inta fight with the baron’s steward.”

Without giving them a chance to inquire further Tomble was simply gone.

Avric: Guess that is that. Let us go and see what troubles plague the northlands. In silent agreement they make for the farmlands of the North.

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Chapter 2

Chapter One - First Blood

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