When the letters arrived on the 13th day of Weeds, so too did Nix return from her second stint of scouting. She shared the story of what she had seen.
Nix initially traveled south and encountered a hunting camp run by a man named Bill. The hunters, predominantly men, were friendly and it seemed common to pass information about. The hunters asked after the Fort and Nix informed them that they were open to the idea of trade. She also learned that Jill’s Homestead contained fine cotton and cloth.
On her way back with Joshua and Tallin, they discovered the body of an Orc with an arrow through its neck. Otherwise, it was completely nude and had no weapons or possessions. Another one found later allowed Nix and the soldiers to determine a large, protected area, which had been claimed by this archer.
Calvin brought to the attention of the group a letter he had received from Felicia Dixon. Felicia, who had met the Unit during training, had invited Calvin to attend some kind of gathering in the heart of Varte. Calvin, not entirely eager, discussed the mission with the Unit, but felt that they had to respond as she was an officer of rank. They did not decide precisely who would accompany Calvin, but most felt that he should not go alone to the party when the month of Storms came.
On the 14th day of Weeds, Alice finally made her way under the road and to the watch tower that stood near Fort Copped. Carefully picking her way across the broken stairs, narrowly avoiding a slip and fall. She came to the top of the Tower and discovered a small room with two beds and a bureau.
Investigating the Bureau, Alice believed that she may have seen a trap. Weighing the risks, she devised a way to open the bureau without being close, only to find that the trap was not intended for her, but rather for the contents of the bureau. Clothes, arrows, and most importantly a set of Books were doused in some foul smelling liquid. Alice smartly did not rush over to see what had happened, but investigated carefully, saving the books from certain death by fire.
Investigation of the books was slow, but did reveal some maps and stories, none of which had any immediate impact on Alice.
Several days went by as the Unit slogged through the routine of the Fort, but by the night of the 20th, that all changed.
Shortly after the Assassin’s Moon, members of the party heard a sharp whisper in their ear, saying: “gift.” The voice was foreign to most of them, but they found themselves instantly awake and prepared for whatever the night would bring them. Except for Nix, who was blissfully, or possibly fitfully, asleep.
An Orc raid started with arrows flying at the front entrance. Two bands of Orcs and a large, monstrous leader kept the attention of the party. Koram from a top the Crow’s Nest fired arrow after arrow down at the Orcs with Sharon and Donnell as Calvin and the other archers took to the top of the Kitchen. Nix meanwhile laid in wait for the Orcs to break through the gates with the melee fighters.
Mercy “protected” the non-combatants and awaiting the injured to arrive in her infirmary.
The fight raged on with 5 of the 10 orc soldiers being killed and significant damage being done to the leader, though he appeared to be tough and too strong-willed to be easily felled. Unfortunately, the orcs proved to be solid archers, Sharon and Joshua were taken out of combat and Donnell took a shot to the neck that appeared life threatening.
Nix, hearing the screams from the Crow’s Nest sent some of her soldiers to retrieve the wounded. Hearing no other news of the battle though, she had to content herself to wait inside the Stables.
Downstairs, Mercy grew impatient about the battle and slipped out of the infirmary. As her cat began to growl, she saw two large Orcs slip quietly out of the storeroom, arguing that they had not found what they were looking for. She remained still, but as Soldier Jeni came down the stairs with the wounded Joshua, she yelled out to Jeni, protecting her from the stealthy orcs.