Lords of the River of Gold

Chapter 2 Session 2
Douglas Square

A representative of House Leonis led them through the city to Douglas Square.

They entered the house to find an ashy, blood soaked three story row house, which had been cleaned and furnished for them. The top floor held six bedrooms, the second had a kitchen and storage, and the basement had bedding for 50.

Their investigations were interupted by the arrival of two Mercenary Captains in the Square. Allie Talon and her sister Tonya introduced themselves and Bork and his lieutenant told them to mind their own business and not get in the way.

Allie stayed a while, chatting and answering questions about being a mercenary, even though Nix said that they were not. Allie obviously did not believe her and continued to treat them as mercenaries.

After some investigation, the party began to make preperations to shop. Before they could leave though, food was delivered to them.

They spent the night, holding watches and dividing up between the top floor and basement. Mercy and Calvin slept in the same room.

The next day, the Boy came and offered the first mission. He told them to go to the docks by mid-day and escort a family from the Ashenath Plains back to Douglas Square. They would be paid 1 month of food for each month they kept the family safe, until Errik Leonis could talk to him.

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Chapter 1 Session 20
Down the Well!

With Mercy returned to them, the others now had to determine how to safely follow through with the agreement. In short order, Koram ordered the defenses shored up and devised a method of quickly starting a fire to help beat back any orc assault.

He personally went out to meet Chief Bull and it was surprisingly simple and straight foward. Bull would bring Bek and ten Orc Fighters with him down the well and the Unit was welcome to come.

After gathering a few last minute items, the Orcs began the descent into the well. After all of the Orcs had gone, the Unit climbed down a long rope, one by one.

Alice the strongest climber from years of scrambling over the rigging of ships, made it down quickly, followed by Calvin. Below, they discovered that their well water came from a fast moving, underground river. No orcs or were in sight.

Nix was not as lucky as the other two, losing her grip and plummeting into the waters below. Calvin and Alice were unable to catch her, and Koram and Mercy quickly descended to help.

Ducking their heads into the waters, they allowed themselves to be caught in the current and taken further down river.

Calvin was the first to pull himself out, finding three orcs and a wide, empty room. He discovered a small switch which allowed a large rock to roll away, obviously designed to keep people from exploring further. He deduced that this was the blocked entrance from the Fort.

Nix and Alice pulled themselves out at a bridge and the remaining orcs, including Bek and Bull. The orcs gave them a moment to catch their breath and then moved on. Quickly, Alice and Nix spotted a skeleton. The skeleton carried a shield with an unknown design, made of some light, flexible material. After some thought, Nix took control of the shield that Alice believed was a relic of a pious Talnathean Captain who had journeyed into the earth many years ago.

Koram and Mercy, along with her kitty, found themselves pushed up against a wall that acted as a sieve, gathering flotsam too large to pass through the smaller holes in the rock. There, they heard skittering noises, as large crabs approached to defend their home. Beating feet, Koram and Mercy left the area quickly.

Eventually, the Unit all reconvened with little damage. Mercy, excited at the reunion gave a fierce hug to Calvin out of joy. Calvin, retreated quickly, appearing confused. He started wandering down the hall, ahead of the group and in something of a daze, so Nix hit him hard on the arm. The damage brought the clouds from his eyes and he returned to his more normal state of confusion.

They continued to move deeper into the tunnels, and eventually found themselves in the worked halls of a formerly inhabited area. Wandering into a large room, large cobwebs revealed bodies trapped and desiccated. Several people looked up to see large, dog-sized spiders preparing to drop on their fresh prey.

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Chapter 1 Session 19
The Negotiation

welcome-home.jpgAs Alice waited in the Fort, Calvin and Nix approached the meeting spot from the East as Koram approached from the North. They arrived mostly at the same time, although Koram was left alone with Bull, Bek, and multiple Orcs for a few, tense seconds.

However, before anything could happen, Nix and Calvin strode into the meeting and negotiations began.

Chief Bull wanted to send a party down into the well and set down two options. He could return Mercy when they agreed, or he could return Mercy and then kill them all and go down the well anyway.

Koram had other thoughts and began negotiating not just for Mercy’s release, but for a temporary truce, to go down the well together.

Calvin, keeping his intense anger within, tried to make light of the situation by calling the Orc a cheat and a double-crosser. The joke did not go over well, and Nix stood between them to prevent a fight.

Bull agreed that Mercy was to be freed and directed other orcs to release her. To do so, they threw her violently from the cart they had brought. Calvin and Nix immediately went to her and Calvin, very indelicately, lifted her onto a horse. They left soon thereafter to ensure that Mercy was away from her captors.

Bull and Koram remained behind, and then agreed upon a joint search for the gift, at which time, Koram agreed that Bull would get the gift. As he left, he heard he argument between Bull and Bek, in which a confused Bek suggested just killing all of them instead of making a deal.

At the Fort, Mercy made her way inside, to the great relief of Karen and Mandy who had been the medics in her absence. They immediately tended Donnell, who was still at death’s door. Mercy performed nothing short of miracle work through the next several hours.

By the time she was done, the rest of the Unit was ready to discuss the excursion into the well. Koram revealed Bek’s words and Nix revealed the deal made with the hunters.

Nix then suggested that once Bull sees the gift, they have fulfilled the deal and it would be open season on Bull. Others seemed mostly comfortable with that idea, but it was not agreed upon.

After the meeting, Nix asked after Mercy, suggesting that Calvin be reprimanded for his pawing at Mercy when he lifted her into the saddle. Mercy responded with her belief that Calvin was unaware that she was a girl and believed it was not a problem.

As night descended, Koram began to prepare the Fort for an eventual Orc attack, as he believed the Orcs may come to kill, instead of honoring the bargain made.

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Chapter 1 Session 18
Readying the Rescue

At Fort Copped, Calvin and Koram discuss the deal made between the local hunters and Calvin. Koram, reprimanding Calvin for leaving his post to follow Mercy’s cat, generally approved and promised an equitable share for the hunters who manage to thin the number of Orcs.

Before getting into the logistics of meeting with Chief Bull to save Mercy though, Nix lambasts Koram for allowing morale to get so low as to allow a soldier to take the law into their own hands. Koram is dismissive of the concerns and Nix’s thoughts as he turn the argument against her for leaving without first making a plan.

After that, Alice joins the others to discuss what happened and what can be done about the orc problem. They come to a kind of agreement in that they do not want the orcs to be given free rein over the well and any places below the Fort, especially if there is some kind of mystical gift for them.

Calvin, confused by the voices he has heard, asks the soldiers about the Fort if they have heard any voices. At that point, the soldiers come to the conclusion that Calvin is most likely touched by the Mad God and has lost some of his faculties from the head blows he has received.

At the end, they agree that they cannot search the caves beneath without their healer, and that Mercy’s safe return must be their top priority.

Nix and Calvin leave to make contact with the local hunters for support, while Koram and Alice wait to prepare the Fort for a potential Orc attack.

Meanwhile, down at the orc encampment, Mercy found herself called to the dining hall that Chief Bull presided over. The Chief began asking about the Gift again, seemingly certain that Mercy knew of its whereabouts.

He was interrupted by the arrival of the Hunter. She walked in calmly amongst the Orcs who obviously despised her. She reminded Chief Bull that he was not allowed to kill Mercy and intimated that there was some higher power whom they both served who would be displeased if she were harm.

Chief Bull indicated that he understood and Mercy heard the mumblings among the other orcs. As the Hunter left, Mercy asked why Chief Bull allowed himself to be pushed around like that. Chief Bull responded by lashing out violently.

Mercy dodged, accidentally.

After apologizing profusely, she allowed herself to be knocked out.

Back at the Fort, Alice pored over her history books intently, eventually finding, with Koram’s help, an entry listing various materials. This entry revealed that some people had gone down into the depths of the ground under the Fort and had come up with various worked stone; stones which were used to lay the foundation of the tower.

Koram then left to go to the meeting with the Chief. On his way, the Hunter appeared at his side. She asked after the offer that was previously made, but Koram declined the protection of her benefactor. She stated that it could mean his death, and Koram understood but said that he could not control the rest of the Fort well enough to allow them to defect from Calindrost. He asked that her benefactor understand his position and that they not draw his ire. She slipped off without promising anything.

Nix and Calvin made their way to Bill’s Hunting Camp where they were met by an old hunter named Andrew. They asked Andrew to get the hunters to launch an attack on the orc encampment when Chief Bull was away so that the numbers would be further thinned. Further, they wanted him to have the local hunters continue striking against the orcs.

Andrew bargained with Nix. His son was lonely and hadn’t been able to woo a woman. Nix thought she might be able to convince someone to speak with his son Abel, but it readily became apparent that Andrew did not have just anybody in mind.

At the end, Nix agreed to have dinner, only dinner, with Abel on the 1st of Storms if that would gain the hunters support against the orcs.

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Chapter 1 Session 17
The Inspection

drugs.jpgAs Mercy was treated to a rough morning, her captors taking pleasure in mistreating the Lion Ohgroke, the rest of the party was nearly ready to reassemble and carry out their bargain to free Mercy.

Koram informed the Fort of the Orcs arrival, and Alice took up position on top of her Tower, after thoroughly searching for any clues of the mysterious “Gift.”

As Nix and Calvin brought Bek into the Fort, an arrow slammed into the ground near the Orc. Apparently, none of the Unit had noticed that some soldiers were unhappy about allowing the enemy into the Fort.

As Nix stood in front of the unfazed Orc, Calvin commanded Sharon, the archer, to stand down. Surprisingly, she obeyed. Koram excused himself to deal with the problem, as the Orc, apparently not caring that someone had tried to kill him, began to search the property.

Koram, furious that someone had taken a shot against his orders, confronted Sharon in the crow’s nest. She accused Koram of allowing the enemy into the base and of dereliction of his duty. Koram, calmly explained their precarious position, and when Sharon was unconvinced, baited her into a fight.

Koram allowed her a swing, but ended the fight by breaking her arm over his leg. Reading his subordinate correctly, his display of dominance as the end of the conflict, and she obediently followed his commands to get medical treatment.

Downstairs, Calvin and Nix put up with a suddenly caved in tunnel and the ridiculous antics of Brian who was attempting to hide his belongings from Bek. Bek seemed certain that what he was looking for was not there, and passed over things of value, in his search for the “Gift.”

Eventually, Bek took out a small potion and downed it before anyone could ask what he was doing. Immediately, his eyes went vacant and he appeared stupified. Also, he appeared stoned.

On unsteady feet, he weaved his way towards the storeroom. Once there, he opened a hatch to the Fort’s well and stuck his head inside. Were it not for the quick hands of Calvin, the orc likely would have thrown himself down the well.

Calvin began to sit on him to keep him still.

Koram walked into the storeroom, finding Calvin and Bek in such a precarious position. After a moment of disbelief, he asked about what was happening. Calvin and Nix told him about the potion as Calvin searched the Orc’s person for any additional items.

Finding a similar potion, Calvin showed Koram. Koram gave short warning as he downed the potion himself.

The world turned black and white, and Koram began to hear persistent whispers coming from deep within the well. Although he resisted, the compulsion to go down the well was incredible and he was held back as well, until the drug passed.

Even Calvin, unaffected by the potion, thought he heard voices coming from deep within the well, though it may have just been wind.

As the drug induced states began to fade, Bek became determined to leave and set an appointment to bring Mercy and Bull, to negotiate the remaining aspects of her release.

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Chapter 1 Session 16
Into Ohgroke's Den

In the morning of the next day, the 21st of Weeds, Mercy was awoken by an Orc, leading her out to a meeting with Bull. The Orc Chief greeted Mercy and offered her breakfast. He told her that she should be more obedient, and to display his need for obedience, he pushed the poor woman who had been his “favorite,” into a giant pit.

That pit held Bull’s pet, Ohgroke, a giant hunting cat. The cat began stalking the poor woman, who was too stricken to move. Mercy, in a rare fit of courage, attempted to bait the large cat away from girl, but the cat was undeterred. Eventually, Mercy jumped in to lure the lion away, hoping that she would be saved by the Orcs under Bull’s command.

Back at Fort Copped, Koram made sure to keep morale high as he worried about the soldiers away from the base, and the extremely compromised position his defenses were in. Mandy and Karen continued to work on the Donnell’s quickly dying body and they assured Koram that they needed Mercy’s skilled hands.

Koram was surprised to find a visitor that same day. A Hunter, the same who had fled the Fort a short time ago, came to offer a deal. She represented some mysterious presence in the area and promised that this power would return Mercy to the Fort, and end the Orc assaults. In return, Koram had to promise that the Fort would not answer to the Calindrost army any longer. Koram thanked her, and arranged a mutual agreement to warn each other of any problems. As to the offer, he deferred until a later day.

Calvin and Nix continued back towards the Fort; now with an orc named Bek in tow as Alice told Koram the plan. Koram, quick on his feet, determined that it was necessary to help collapse the tunnel, ensuring no one could find an entrance down into any place beneath the surface.

Alice agreed, and shared the intelligence she had found in the history book in the tower. Together with Genie, they expertly collapsed the tunnel and informed the rest of the Fort to hide their goods before the Orcs arrived.

Back at the Orc encampment, Mercy found herself in a large room, close to the cage of the sleeping Ohgroke. The orcs in the room informed her that it was now her duty to clean out the wounds of the massive lion.

Carefully and tenderly, Mercy cleaned out the wounds, causing as little pain as possible. The Lion seemed taken with her, but as she drifted off into sleep, her dreams warned her that while docile now, Ohgroke was a wild beast and would kill her if it got the chance.

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Chapter 1 Session 15
Bek

As Mercy sat imprisoned and Koram literally held down the Fort, Nix, Alice, and Calvin returned to Fort Copped with Bek, one of the powerful Orcs.

Nix and Alice talked to the Orc, learning more about the unique nature of Orcs and what had brought these orcs to this area. Bek told them about how Chief Bull brought this tribe north, across the River. He told them that a Chief was challenged by a strong member of the tribe and how Bek believed that he would be the next Chief, when Bull was weak.

Calvin slipped back from the pack to see if they were being followed at all. He spotted a single human following. It turned out that the hunters of the area were very concerned by this apparent truce between the Fort and the orcs. Calvin assured them that this was not the case. The hunter and Calvin agreed that any orcs the hunters killed would be rewarded by Calvin and the Fort.

Alice, Calvin, and Nix developed a plan to ensure the safety of the Fort and Mercy and it was shortly thereafter that they convinced Bek that Alice should be allowed to travel ahead to warn the Fort of their arrival.

Once there, she began to help Koram prepare the Fort for the Orc’s searching eyes, covering anything they may want to take.

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Chapter 1 Session 14
The Search for Mercy

As Mercy and Jeni languished in Orc prison, they found a way to sneak from their room and past the orcs guarding them. Hiding out in a store room, they eventually made their way around to Chief Bull’s personal chambers. There, they found a clearly traumatized woman who Mercy decided to rescue.

Dragging the woman with them proved to be too much for the two women, and they were shortly rounded up. They were punished for stealing Bull’s “favorite.” Jeni was separated from Mercy, and the watch was increased.

Meanwhile, Alice, Calvin, and Nix made their way towards the Orc camp. Chief Bull met them before they could conclude approach. He agreed to release one woman now and one woman after he was allowed to inspect Fort Copped for the mysterious Gift. The members of the unit agreed, despite Calvin’s intense desire to pound on Bull’s head.

Calvin continued to follow the Orcs back to their encampment, getting a more accurate understanding of the orcs.

Chief Bull returned to the Unit with Jeni in tow. Andre and Jeni could barely contain their joy at seeing each other again, and the Unit made their way back to Fort Copped without Mercy. With them traveled Bull’s lieutenant, Bek.

As night fell, Mercy was promised that she would become Bull’s “favorite,” and she was left in darkness wondering after her fate.

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Chapter 1 Session 13
For Mercy's Sake!

Downstairs in Fort Copped, Mercy met her match with the orcs that had slipped inside. As the battle died down above, Mercy attempted to flee from the orc who chased her. Soldier Jeni was much more easily subdued and trundled away.

Nix, who felt the need to investigate the soldiers she had sent to care for the wounded, entered the Keep of the Fort. She sent Brian downstairs to search while she investigated noises in the back of the Fort. Feeling that someone had slipped over the wall, she left out the back gate to investigate.

Alice, having left her position on the Tower due to a lack of any additional weaponry, came out into the barracks and saw signs of a scuffle. Investigating, she saw the unconscious body of Brian tucked into one of the cubbies and then rushed upstairs and out the back gate in pursuit of Nix.

Koram moved down from the crow’s nest and found Jerol with the body of Donnell. The quiet Jerol told Koram that he could not save Donnell and that Mercy was needed. Koram agreed and went to the infirmary to find that Mercy was missing. Mandy agreed to do what she could for Donnell, but made no promises. On his way out, Koram found a dizzy and disoriented cat.

When Koram snapped the cat back into the waking world, the cat immediately began snuffling about like a pig, searching for a scent that its weak nose would have trouble finding. The cat slowly led Koram up and out the back gate, where Nix and Alice had already gone.

Calvin meanwhile kept the fight going between the Fort and the orc raiders. Down to two final orcs and the leader, Calvin downed another orc and leaped over the wall to give chase to the leader. The leader quickly outpaced Calvin and after several minutes, he finally gave up the chase and returned, bringing in two unconscious prisoners among the dead and dying orcs.

Koram, to get a head count, sent Keith and Andre through the Fort. As they looked for soldiers, Calvin was told that Mercy was missing. He immediately interrogated the orcs by breaking their leg.

One orc, who appeared to accept the pain doled out by Calvin calmly answered questions. He told Calvin that the orc raiders came from the south to attack the Fort. He said that the chief had not ordered a kidnapping, and that it was not a kidnapping raid. He also informed Calvin that when they do have kidnapping raids, they take the victims to “new home.”

Lastly, he told Calvin that he wished to not be punched any further.

Nix and then Alice made their way to a small area where Nix had seen orcs signs before. The are had tents and more orc signs. Investigation showed that the orcs had been there and likely had staged the raid from there. Though neither Alice nor Nix were trackers, they could see that some orcs had returned and had since left, going south.

Calvin, tired of fruitless questions, got Koram to continue the interrogation. Koram, who had been watching over Mercy’s cat, agreed to question the orcs while Calvin watched cat. Unfortunately for Koram, he did not tell Calvin to watch the cat at the fort, and so Calvin and the cat continued southward, following the cat’s nose.

Koram’s questioning did not give much additional material, but did learn that the Orc Chief, Bull, was brought to this area by someone else, though the orc did not know why. Koram also learned that while orcs do not eat humans, their pet Ohgroke does.

Calvin then met with Alice and Nix who were returning from the orc camp, and he turned them around, the three of them now continuing to the south with the cat.

Koram, realizing that his three Unit members had left in search of Mercy, ordered Keith, Andre, and Jerol, three of the four able-bodied soldiers to take the horse and cart and place additional weapons and supplies on it and go south to support the mission as he watched over the Fort with Alex.

Later in the day, Mercy awoke in a small wagon that was bumping down a path. Blindfolded, it was hard to orient herself, but she did hear the orcs speaking to each other. Apparently, one orc was unhappy that there had been a kidnapping. When she tried to speak, she was silenced by a fist to the head.

Calvin, Nix, and Alice continued their pursuit. Nix, eager and determined kept a tremendous pace, but Alice and Calvin lagged behind. Willing, but not able, the party had to rest before moving forward. Nix then finally noticed the arrow sticking from Calvin’s arm and berated him for not speaking up early.

As she removed the arrow head from him, the wagon arrived with supplies.

Mercy awoke in a small, interior room with Jeni nearby. They waited patiently, unable to undo the bindings on their hands, but at least they were not blindfolded.

After several hours of waiting, an orc finally arrived with food. Mercy, afraid it may contain poison, did not eat any of it. That apparently insulted their captor, Chief Bull who came in later to interrogate the two of them.

Chief Bull kept a persistent series of questions, asking after “it,” or the “gift,” that was meant for him. He said that he bore no ill-will, but that the lady in his head had told him that there was a gift and he demanded to know where it was.

Mercy, unaccustomed to such questioning went through every area of the fort with the Chief, saying she would show him everything. Still, he left unsatisfied with her answers, and she and Jeni remained, still prisoners.

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Chapter 1 Session 12
Of Hunting, Writing, and Orcs

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.

As Nix reported this, the rest of the Unit read and responded to the letters sent to them. Reports to Captain Jo and Corporal Cyrus were sent, as were other personal letters.

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.

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