20 Ice 90
From Sister’s Pass on the east side come Lord Morgan,Sir Aidan, their squires and Tam, along with Lord Evan and heavy infantry from Fallsport. Sir Alistair and Laird Barclay MacBryce Come with Infantry and Lancers, led by MacBryce himself, from Hermit Tor. Callum MacAidan leads infantry from Cloverfield (assholes!).Lord Murdoch Dragonbane with infantry and archers from Otter Creek will arrive on the other side of Littler Sister to fire arrows at them from the back.
Sister’s Pass is a saddle between Big and Little sister, 150 feet above the valley floor, and about 3 miles long. Little Sister is about 300 feet above the pass. Since it takes about 5 hours for Lord Morgan’s army to get itself into place, The party has ample time to figure out their strategy for dividing the army with the huge pot filled with alchemist’s fire. The party disguises itself with the help of Oren and Rory, and sneaks up there, taking a look into the pass. The orcs are encamped about 1 mile in from where Lord Morgan is approaching. There is a long discussion about how to get the pot into the camp, and how to detonate it. Rory hopefully suggests that Una make her invisible so she can sneak into the camp with the pot. Una finds the plan appealing, except that she cannot cast Haste on her at the same time, and it makes her wary for Rory’s safety, should she be discovered. Rory seems to still be up for it, but Oren suggests that Una builds a catapult instead, which she does, using Oidche’s net, and some green saplings. A dense fog rolls in while the group discusses the plan some more, with a focus on disheartening the orcs somehow. Una makes the pot glow, and everyone packs snow around the pot, and when the time comes, it is catapulted into the middle of one of the four orc camps. As it flies into the air, the snow gradually comes off the pot, revealing the glow, and it lands in the camp, but does not explode. The orcs, puzzled by the “glowing rock that fall from sky”, gather to look at it, but then start to get distracted because they can now see Lord Morgan’s army coming. As they begin to mobilize, Oren shoots the pot with an arrow, and it explodes. setting the camp into burning, flailing chaos. As burning orcs run about, the sticky substance sets other things or orcs on fire, causing them to rout, screaming about exploding rocks. Oren goes down the hill a bit, waiting for Orcs to come up to kill everyone else, while Oidche, Rory and Una set up a small boulder with an alchemist’s fire in a vial attached, hoping to scare other orcs in other camps. Although it does burn those orcs, it does not have the desired emotional effect, as the orcs are concentrating on the incoming army.
The armies collide. Tam is riding with the knights, slinging fireballs and killing dozens of orcs on his own. The archers from Otter’s creek start slaughtering orcs, who have no defense against the hail of arrows. The Dragonsbane stands in front of them with the infantry men, daring orcs to attack him, his magic axe at the ready. Oren sees Tam make a wall of fire in front of him, incinerating a line of orcs. As he smiles smugly, The Ghost steps out of Tam’s shadow, and stabs him in the back, only to disappear again. Tam slides off his horse, seemingly dead. The tide turns, as the regular levied soldiers get simply slaughtered in the tidal wave of orcs.
Above, on Little Sister, Una casts Haste on Rory, and adjusts the catapult so the arc will throw things straight up into the air above the army, and sits in it, launching herself at the enemy. Rory runs, a firey blur of death, down the hill towards the orcs. Oidche approaches more cautiously, he and Oren begin looking for The Ghost, who seems to be appearing in the shadow of an enemy, killing him, and then disappearing into shadow again.
Una, flying through the air (glowing), throws a fireball at a knot of orcs slaughtering the levied soldiers, and then using feather fall, drifts to the ground, where she fireballs them again (courtesy of Pendant of Eitrdottir, who retrieves the spell for her so she can cast it again). This makes those orcs rout, fearing the witch who fell from the sky.
Oidche and Oren discover that The Ghost is actually invisible when she disappears, and not in fact leaping from shadow to shadow. Oren begins to hunt her through the battle, ignoring it unless it he has to stop to kill an orc. Rory, mowing down orcs with her flaming spear, tries to make a path for him. Oidche readies a net, with a plan to ensnare her, should he notice her.
Eventually the fight becomes a fight to kill the orcs as they begin to flee; archers pick them off as they run, and they start stealing horses from dead lancers to try to flee faster. Una helps the archers by shooting Magic Missile at orcs fleeing on horses. Squires go through the fallen people of note to give them healing potions, including Tam, who makes it through. The party finds itself grouped together, with Oren still tracking The Ghost. Oren notices a horse with a fleeing orc that is definitely carrying one more invisible rider, and shoots the horse dead. A command is called out in orcish, and suddenly the orcs stop fleeing, and turn to target the party. Rory defends Oidche and Una; a blur of fire and destruction. Orcs begin to pile up, forcing Oren to pause in his hunt to defend himself. Una calls out to Tam for help, who ignores her as he gets up and dusts himself off. Oidche gets on a horse, and waits, looking intently. Una, suddenly realizing what Oidche is waiting for, looks and finds her, perched invisibly on the fallen horse. She highlights The Ghost for Oidche by shooting Magic Missiles at her, and Oidche springs.
Oidche elegantly and effortlessly, leaps the horse over his fighting comrades, charging The Ghost, using the horse itself as a weapon. As he leaps over them, Oren imitates Oidche, muttering; “I’m not a noble, nooo”. Despite his heroics, The Ghost, still alive, leaps onto the back of the horse and guts Oidche, becoming visible once more. Then she rides like the wind away from the battleground, as the party is pinned, fighting the swarm of orcs. Una screams at Tam to help them, and he does so, in the slowest, most irritating manner possible, sauntering over and making a big deal of effortlessly casting fireball on only the orcs, slaying them all.
As Rory and Una rush to help Oidche (who is slowly bleeding out), Oren gets on a horse and chases after The Ghost, who’s become invisible again. When Oidche is conscious again, everyone scrambles to get on horses and go after the two of them. Lord Morgan, in the middle of a thunderously loud argument with the Dragonbane on how badly this fight was planned, tells Sir Aidan to go with the party as they gallop by.
The day gives way to night, and they travel on, and on and on, over Big Sister, passing the Cyclops Vale, heading into the Elf Wood. The sky is clear, with a half moon, so there is only a little light to see by. Una asks the trees to help them slow the orc down, and they agree, the word whispering up the stream; causing Sir Aidan to raise some eyebrows. Oren keeps tracking her, and just before midnight, the trail ends at a waterfall which splits into Whispering and Beaver creeks, in a valley just below Old Baldy. There are signs of a recent orc encampment here, where Oren finds the horse, lying on the ground, dying from exhaustion. Oren heals the horse instead of putting it out of its misery, and it falls into a healing sleep. After looking around for tracks, Oren finds that her tracks lead behind the waterfall. He can tell that she has gone behind that waterfall many many times in the past, longer even than the encampment has been there. After some discussion, the party leaves Sir Aidan’s squire behind with the horses, and goes into the caves behind the falls.
21 Ice 90
The air behind the cave is very warm, and a little stinky. Oren and Oidche head into the tunnel by themselves, leaving the louder members of the party behind while they sneak forward. The bad smell and the heat intensifies as they go further in. Oren realizes, by the smell, that Troglodytes, lizard men, live here. Oidche hears chanting, and can identify the language as Draconic, and thinks its some kind of religious ceremony. He and Oren return to get the rest of the party, and everyone drinks antitoxin to help with the horrid stench that distracts them from doing anything. Una does comprehend languages so everyone can understand Draconic, and the expedition continues. Although everyone tries to be stealthy, Una is really just unable to be at all coordinated, and keeps making noise. As everyone progresses, the realization comes that the weird tube like tunnel they are travelling through is a lava tube, and that Old Baldy is a lava dome, which, if it blew, would be very bad for the Glen. Finally the party comes to the end of the tunnel, opening into a large chamber. The attempts at sneaking fail as Sir Aidan and Una collide into each other, making a huge crashing noise.
The chamber appears to be a huge, natural amphitheater, at the far end of which are a bunch of half naked lizard men, worshiping… a huge pile of rock. To this rock, they have stuck many shiny things, including, distressingly enough, quite large red dragon scales. With this addition, it resembles a small child’s conception of a dragon. They stop their worship, and swarm the tunnel. Despite the huge numbers of them, they are amazingly easy to kill, and eventually just stop fighting, moving away from the tunnel. Oidche talks to them, while Oren looks around for tracks. Oidche talks to the bravest of them (the only one willing to talk), named “OG”. Og says that The Ghost talks to the “God”, with an indication to the red scales, and that she brings it offerings of shiny metal. Og drags a huge box over, and points at it, “Shiny metal”. It is a box with a merchant’s guild seal. The seal means that it is a box that stores gold bars in the merchant’s guild vaults. Oidche can tell that the gold had been placed in the vault about 10 years prior. Oidche then pries the seal off the box, and hands a shilling, and the hat that the Troglodyte priest used to wear before he was killed fighting the party. Og places the money on the statue, and the chanting begins anew. After some discussion, the group decides to keep going and see the ‘god’. Sir Aidan is doubtful, but doesn’t stop the progression.
The tunnel twists and turns, but the path is clear. The smell of sulfur and the heat get to an almost overwhelming point. The tunnel opens to another room like the previous one, the same huge size and semi sunken floor. It is filled, 15 feet deep, with dragon bones. As the party stares, dumbfounded, a set of dragon bones begins to knit together. In a split decision, everyone decides to run forward instead of taking off back the way they came. The assembled dragon bones attacks Una specifically, ripping the mantle. Then the bones begin to laugh, the sound echoing down the tubes as everyone runs and runs. Oren finds the way to the surface, and fresh air. By the light of the aurora, the party goes to retrieve Sir Aidan’s squire. Scott is looking into the forest longingly, looking for a glimpse of the dryad that he saw in the moonlight. He and Oren talk about their many wonderful assets as the party trudges away from the disgusting smells of the orc campsite, and then set the Yurt up. Within the Yurt, Una casts Detect Magic to see if there’s anything different about her or her objects after the strange dragon attack. She discovers that the pendant is different than it used to be, but she can’t pin down what the difference is. Everyone sleeps; exhausted from the days of riding, the war, and the sheer terror under Old Baldy.