Orcslayer
Table of Contents

==Act I: Rescue Mission==
==Scene One: Midsummer's Eve==
===Session 1 (08/17/02)===
June 15
Young Rex, Roblair and Eolan are taking instruction from Seargent-at-arms Corwin, the Master of Squires. Their masters have all left for the Grand Summer Tourney, held this year in Harkwood. Left behind for a night's shennanigans, the boys have been worked hard as punishment, but the punishment is coming to an end with the coming Festival of the Solstice.

Watching them train are Lord Perudur's granddaughter Bronwyn and several of her Lady's-in-waiting-in-training. Corwin helps Rex to his feet while berating him for his clumsiness at being unhorsed by the tilting list. Bronwyn and her friends laugh good-naturedly at his fall, but are happy to see him unhurt. Rex glances over to see if Bronwyn is watching him, but she is speaking to Robliar, Rex's rival for Lady Bronwyn's fickle attentions. She is a firebrand: beautiful, wild-spirited, and precocious. Someday he hopes to re-live the spring days they spent alone at the abbey two years ago, stealing kisses and walking the grounds hand-in-hand. But for now she feigns forgetfulness and plays one boy off against the other.

Master Corwin dismisses the boys and young elf lord, telling them to clean up, take care of their horses and equipment, and ready themselves for the start of the solstice festival that begins a week of celebration this evening. Hanging back to speak to Bronwyn about maybe going out before or after the feast this evening, Rex is dissappointed when Corwin calls for her to hang back and speak to him. Thwarted again from speaking to her alone, Rex stalks off with the other two youngsters, casting wistful glances over his shoulder.

Mordenheim looks down on the training field from Sir Nolan's tower, jealous of the comradery and wishing he was ouside too, rather then cooped up in the stuffy room training his arcane powers. His familiar, Xerxes, dips and swoops outside the window, picking up his master's boredom and desire to be elsewhere. Nearby, in another room, Mordenheim can hear Sir Nolan puttering around, too noisely for Mordenheim's hangover to bear. Finally, Sir Nolan calls out to the young man that he has studied enough for the day and to be off and make ready for the coming summer solstice festivities.

Wasting no time, Mordenheim leaps from the tower window, releasing a spell of Feather Falling from one of his scrolls. Gently he floats down from above onto the trio of youths returning from the training yard. He alights behind them, startling only Rex and Roblair, the keen-eyed elf having seen his dropping shadow. The four talk of the evening's festivities to come, and plan to go to town before they begin. In the meantime, the young squires have some cleaning up to do. Mordenheim and Eolan head into town towards their favorite tavern.

Rex and Roblair clean and groom their horses, polish and clean their armor and arms, then head off to bathe. On the way to their quarters, they hear the sounds of sword training going on. Following the sounds they spy Bronwyn training with Master Corwin in a deserted courtyard. What she lacks in strength she makes up for in determination and quickness. The boys move off before they are spotted. Closer to their quarters they run into two of Bronwyn's Ladies-in-waiting, Miran and Amber, two very pretty lasses. Pleasentries are exchanged and the boys invite them to the local tavern, telling them that Eolan and Mordenheim are awaiting them. The lasses agree to meet them and to bring two more of their friends, Gertrude and Shayanne. Pleased, the boys head off to get ready.

Mordenheim and Eolan walk down into town. It is bustling and festive as its citizentry prepares for the coming solstice. At the far gate, Eolan and Mordenheim notice a bit of a traffic jam and commotion going on. Curious they decide to investigate. Nearing the gate after passing through the building press of the crowds, they see a caravan of gaudily colored wagons blocking the gate. Argueing with the guards over the tariffs, is a goblin of impressive height. Lanky and dark olive-green, he is garishly dressed in bright oranges, yellows, reds, and purples. Each sleeve, pantleg, lapel, and part of his jacket a different pattern. Polka-dots clash with plaids and herringbone, which in turn is set off by stripes in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal cuts. He is animated and vocal, waving his hands about and bemoaning the cost of doing business in his shrill piping voice. As he argues, other guards are starting to move the wagons into and through the gates, to clear the massive logjam of people and animals. One by one the goblin wagons pass the bemused pair, all the while the goblin caravan leader argueing, slowly moving up the chain of command at the gate. Finally as the last wagon rumbles by, the merchant disgustly agrees to the percentage and value of goods in his wagon and pays. The captain of the watch demands the rest of the tariffs for the other wagons, but the goblin shoots back from his rapidly departing wagon that he doesn't know those other folk and certainly can't be held responsible for them. It is the return of Master Merchant Pickwid the Quick, who every several months returns to Durham to do business.

After witnessing this chicannery, the pair heads to the tavern, meeting Rex and Roblair who have escorted the four very pretty young maids into town for a drink. Amber and Miran seem anxious to catch the handsome young Lord of Sterling's eye and their competition is fierce, but Miran finally wins out. Amber sulkily takes up with the dark and sophisticated Mordenheim. Shayanne is facinated by young Eolan and pesters him incessintly about his home in the woods. Roblair is cornered by the massive Gertrude, who by all accounts is stronger then many grown men. Seeing his old friend Master Blix, the traveling goblin alchemist, just arrived with the caravan, Roblair makes his hasty and poor excuses and leaves post-haste.

Blix is happy to see the young manling, having befriended the young lad in Fordham after some trouble with the locals which Robliar helped him with. They drink a few drinks and Blix tells Roblair of strange doings in the east. Tales of orcs returning, striking farms and lone steadings, making off with captives and loot. Dark tales, but tales of adventure, or war, which make Robliar happy. Roblair realizes that it is getting late, and that the feast up in the castle has probably gotten underway. The others have left already and headed home.

In the feasthall, Lord Perudur and his grandaughter sit at the headtable, with the rest of the household seated by rank. Mordenheim and the other youngsters are far from the hearth and near to the noisey kitchens. Up at the head table sits the tall, lanky goblin caravan leader from earlier in the evening, obviously an honored guest of Peredur. Much feasting and revelry is done. Bishop Chadwick leads a prayer for the Light. As the feastivities wind down, Sir Nolan motions for Mordenheim to join him and the other leaders at the head table as they leave the room.

Retiring to a private strategy room, Master Pickwid relates tales of orc raiding parties abroad in the land attacking lone farmsteads and travellers. Rumours and tales only, they still disturb Lord Peredur, the Orcslayer. Sixty years ago it was his bravery, along with the ancestors of Rex and Mordenheim that drove back a massive invasion of orcs from the Sea of Ash. Now eighty he is the only living surviver that remembers those dark times. Different strategies and plans are discussed late into the night, but finally nothing is resolved as the flower of Caldor's chivalry is all away at the Grand Tourney in Harkwood.

Mordenheim heads upstairs to his quarters. The others have already headed to bed.

Robliar awakens to an unfamilar sound, a scrapping of leather on stone and the doorway tapestry being pushed aside. He sits up reaching for his greatsword as two glowing red eyes at the room's entrance swivel to face him…..an orc!

==Scene Two: Midnight Raid==
===Session 2 (09/22/02)===
Reacting first, the orc leaps on Robliar slashing at him with a massive battleaxe. The orc's axe catches him a grazing blow as he rolls to the side. Robliar, out of breath from the adrenelin and exertion of dodging the orc's blow, stands and swings a mighty blow which the orc only partially parries. At the same time, young Rex happens to glance out his window while using the chamber pot and sees a group of orcs standing around a ladder leading to one of his and Eolan's room's windows. Casting a quick prayer to the Light asking for Bless, he leaps across the room towards his bed and sword, shouting a warning to the dozing Eolan.

Instantly awake, Eolan spots the orc as it starts to climb into the room. He rolls, draws and fires his bow, but the orc ducks the arrow. Mordenheim now awakened by the clamor, but still unsure what is happening, stumbles to his door, where he pushes aside the curtain. In the hall outside, near the tower's stairs, stand orcs! Dropping the curtain he staggers back, fear lanceing through him. Fearing for his comrades in the other rooms, Rex leaves Eolan facing the orc climbing in the window and pushes through the curtained doorway into the hall, where he is immediatly faced with several orcs. Robliar cuts at the orc, but again is unable to land a clear and solid hit. A commanding orc, wielding two battleaxes lunges for Rex, but stumbles and leaves himself exposed to the young manling's cut. Another orc, a massive beast wielding a Greataxe, charges into Mordenheim's room, but tangles himself in the curtain as he does so. Back at Eolan, the orc climbs into the window and lands softly, drawing a battleaxe.

Spurred on by their danger, the party reaches deep into themselves and use the training and knowledge they have received to best advantage. Eolan fires twice more at the advancing brute before ducking its swing, dropping it wounded and dazed at the window. Rex slashes furiously at the orc leader, finally driving his sword deep into its guts. Staggering, the orc stumbles away down the stairs, passing out, then finally dying of the bleeding. Roblair drives the tiring orc back and finally deals it a mortal cut, slicing off its head, then advances into the hall. Mordenheim faced with the angry and huge opponent steps back and momentarily transforms the moisture of its eyes into a weak acid with Acidic Curse. Blinded and enraged by the pain in its eyes, it cannot defend itself from Mordenheim's pet, Rexor the mastiff, and his familiar, Xerxes, both of whom land telling hits. Swinging wildly, the orc misses Mordenheim.

Now Mordenheim has the advantage, and pausing only to draw his sword-cane, he slashes at the disadvantaged orc, while his pets attack again. Robliar leaps at the last orc remaining in the hall, slashing madly. Rex retreats to his room and grabs up his crossbow to shoot the orcs outside. Eolan steps to the window and fires an arrow down, but decides to duck back after the orcs on the ground display shortbows of their own, the arrows nearly hitting him. Two more orcs are climbing the ladder up. Robliar's orc catches him a telling blow, wounding him badly, but the heroic youth presses on.

Eolan waits for an orc to pop up, but his arrow is ducked when the orc does show himself. Rex calls on the Light to strike fear into the hearts of the unbelievers and the orc at the top of the ladder is filled with dread at the sight of the light-wreathed cleric. He quickly rushes down the ladder, nearly knocking the orc behind him off. Arrows fly up from below and Rex is forced to duck. Mordenheim and his pets finally drop the poisoned, blinded, enraged orc. Robliar cuts hard and deep into his orc, finishing him, but tearing his wounds in the process, yet he still presses on, staggering towards the stairs.

Rex begins firing his crossbow down at the orcs below, braveing their return fire. Eolan still waits for an orc to climb the ladder, but is ducked again as the orc quickly clamors in the window. Mordenheim follows young Roblair up the stairs, pausing only a moment to quaff a curative potion, to find young Robliar overcome by his wounds, unconscious and dying.

Eolan steps back and drops the orc with a telling arrow hit. Rex continues to fire at the orcs below, who begin moving away, still returning fire. Mordenheim reaches the next landing, the ladies quarters, where he sees several orcs carrying unconscious girls. He tries to Sleep them, but succeeds only in knocking the struggling girls out instead. Too late, they are carried off.

A quick mop up after the battle, Rex and Mordenheim attempt to staunch the flow of blood from Robliar's wounds, finally succeeding. Mordenheim makes sure the orcs are dead with a quick stab to the eye with his sword cane, stopping to loot the leader dead on the stairs to the second floor of his twin battleaxes. Below he finds the castle guards, one dead of his wounds, the other dying. Quickly he stablizes the dying man and about that time Lord Peredur and more castle guards arrive.

==Scene Three: Lord Peredur's Commands==
June 16
The castle as well as the town were attacked in the night. The orcs made off with several captives, including Ladies Bronwyn, Miran, and Amber. Lady Gertrude was found unconscious with her hands locked on the throat of a dead orc. Many guards were wounded or killed in the attack.

Lord Peredur summons the party to his council room. There the party finds Lord Peredur and his council: Bishop Chadwick, Sir Nolan, Master Corwin and Master Pickwid. All of them show signs of the night's attack: Sir Nolan nurses a broken arm and Master Corwin seems barely able to stand. Peredur tells the party that he expects war is coming. And Caldor lacks reconissance intellegence about the foes they face. He is sorry to have to ask such young men to take up such a heavy burden, but he needs them to travel across the breadth of western Caldor and across the Blight, to find Castle Defiant. He would like to go himself, but realizes such a journey is not for old men, and that doing so might leave much of Caldor without leadership in the face of the coming troubles. He tells them that Castle Defiant was ruled by Lord Kiren, who founded it during the Orc War sixty years ago in a swath of arable land between the Blight and the mountains of the Sea of Ash. He wants them to find out what they can of the orcs, rescue the women and captives, and return alive to report what they have learned. It is hoped that Lord Kiren, or his folk as it is doubtful he still lives, will be able to help the party with their mission, and if Defiant has fallen, well that is news in itself. Peredur makes a gift to each of them of a suit of half-plate armor, or the equivelant in cash, and tells them to prepare for the journey of some 800 miles.

The party, less Robliar who is too badly injured to be healed in time for their journey, sets about gathering equipment and supplies. Bishop Chadwick and Sir Nolan are able to supply them with such potions as they deem neccessary.

==Scene Four: The Dwarf==
===Session 3 (09/29/02)===
One of the few human undertakings Craven has always enjoyed is hunting. Receiving Lord Peredur's permission to join a hunting expedition in preparation of the coming festival, Craven has been with the Lord's woodsmen for several days. Flushing game, laying in wait on game trails, and setting traps and snares, as well as the grunt work of skinning, cleaning, and buchering the animals has eaten the time. Tonight, just Craven and two of the huntsmen guard the main base camp, the others not yet returned from the days hunt. A crackling in the underbrush brings all three to their feet in an instant, as four orcs rush the camp. Craven is sorely wounded and knocked out during the ensuing struggle and it is only the timely arrival of the rest of the huntsmen that saves him from a fate similiar to the game they have hunted the last several days.

Slapped awake by the Master of the Hunt, Craven is asked if he is well enough to carry word to the castle about the orcs. Craven, though wounded agrees. He lops the head off a downed orc and mounts his pony, only pausing to quaff a healing potion once out of sight of the hunting camp. He stops to warn the local lord of the menace, then rides hard for Castle Durham. It is midday of the day after the night of the attack on the Castle, and he notices the stepped up security and signs of recent battle as he enters. He is directed to Lord Peredur's presence where he shows him the head of the orc. Peredur is with the rest of the party, giving them last minute instructions, and charges Craven to join them on their mission. Craven bends knee and swears his life to the success of the mission and return of the womenfolk.

==Scene Five: The Journey Begins==
June 17
The party - Craven, Mordenheim, Rex, and Eolan - take their leave of Castle Durham under a drizzily sky. They make good time, but are hampered by the pack animals and extra horses many have brought along. Travel is easy and relatively safe, not considering the hordes of orcs potentially laying in wait in the dark places. That evening they come to a small village and decide to bed down in rooms in the inn.

Mordenheim, Eolas, and Craven spend some time in the common room drinking and eating, while Rex heads to his room to offer prayer to the setting sun. Later he comes down to join the others. The innkeeper is curious about the odd party of adventurers, all noble in bearing and several non-human. Mordenheim, deep in his cups and not one to lie, immediatly launches into a story of the coming orc invasion and their role in thwarting it. Almost falling over themselves, the party hushes the drunken boy and plead off the story as too much drink. Soon after this Craven decides to head up to the room. As Craven heads up the stairs, Mordenheim goads Rex with comments about Lady Bronwyn's fate at the hands of the lusty orcs. Enraged, Rex stands, tipping his chair back and drawing his sword before Mordenheim can even react. Rex leans across the table and smacks Mordenheim across the face with his sword hilt, toppling the youth. Dazed, Mordenheim struggles to collect his thoughts, while Rex steps around the table and towers over the prone lad. Mordenheim mumbles something about gestation times of half-orcs and Rex kicks him to silence him. Rex tells Mordenheim to keep a civil tongue and watch his mouth around him. Rex storms upstairs passing a returning Craven. Craven asks Mordenheim what happened, and also suggests he watch what he says in the future, both to Rex and strangers.

June 18-20
The party continues its trek across western Caldor, covering some 120 miles. The terrain is pleasent and the weather turns nice for them. They pass several villages, but choose to bypass them. Midday on the 4th day of their trip, they enter an area of forest, not just light woods, but true forest. Rex thinks this may be the western edge of the Fell Wood, which borders his father's castle in Sterling. Not a wood to cross into lightly, but not one with too dangerous a reputation either. Wild bands of hobgoblins, brigands, ettercaps, large spiders, dire animals, and tribes of wood elves are rumoured to lie within, as well as more typical flora and fauna. Not wanting to spend the time trekking around the wood, south or north, the party decides to push in.

==Scene Six: Forest Peril==
It is hard going with the animals and there is no marked path. Eolan is in his element and leads the party true, straight east. Late in the day, just before they decide to camp, Mordenheim's dog, Rexor, runs ahead, having heard something. Investigating, the party hears the sound of battle. Moving forward, they come to the edge of a clearing where they see a small group of elves trapped on a small wooden bridge over a stream, surrounded by a band of savage hobgoblins. The party decides to even the odds up for the elves and attack!

Though several elves are wounded in the ensuing fray, none are killed. The party makes short work of the six hobgoblins, with the elves aid, though Mordenheim draws the ire of the hobgoblin leader with his spells and is almost wounded badly.

==Scene Seven: In the Elf-Woods==
The leader of the elves is Lyondel, a roguish chap with a friendly smile and quick wit. He thanks the party for their timely intervention, telling them that normally the hobgoblins are not so bold, but recently the elves suffered a setback. He invites the party back to the elven camp to eat and rest up. At the camp, many elves are wounded and by the look of it combat raged here very recently. Asking Lyondel about this they are told that several days ago the orcs raided this part of the forest. The elves managed to kill a few but they were soon routed. Two elven-lasses were kidnapped. Many elves were killed, many more wounded. Again, Craven swears an oath for the return of the maidens and vengeance on the orcs. Lyondel considers joining the party, but decides that his people need him more at the moment. As the party is not seriously wounded they make plans to be off in the morning. Lyondel promises them a guide to lead them to Castle Sterling.

June 21-22
The party travels along the elven paths and makes good time. At one point, Xerxes alights on Mordenheim and buries itself in his cloths. Looking about, Mordenheim spots larges webs in the treetops, cluttered with the remains of birds and other small animals. The party presses on.

June 23
After 60 miles in the Fell Wood, the party emerges from the eastern side. Their elf guide looks wistfully at Castle of Sterling, but turns and fades back into the brush.

==Scene Eight: Lord of Sterling==
===Session 4 (10/06/02)===
Rex is home. He looks forward to seeing his father, a striking man in his forties who commands by example and leads his men through loyalty. He also looks forward to seeing his brothers, both younger then he, but not by much. Rex's second oldest brother is almost his age and is from his father's first marriage. Rex is actually an acknowledged bastard child, and stands to inherit at least some of his father's lands. Soon after, his father re-married to a harrigan named Lady Harriet, who bore him another son, now 12. Rex dreads the meeting with his step-mother and knows the coming meeting bodes only ill.

Mordenheim and Craven do nothing to assauge his fears, filling his ears with stories of betrayal for wealth and power. Never-the-less, the party approaches the town of Sterling. As they approach, they can see the last days of a carnival, the tail-end of the Solstice festival. Eolan is struck with the fancy to show off his skills on the archery range, Mordenheim with quenching his thrist, both for knowledge and for drink, and Craven with meeting a merchant friend of his who is making a batch of special wine for him here, not-to-mention his pretty daughter. Rex brushes all this aside and insists that they must present themselves to his father's court as courtesy demands. As they travel through the city, they sense an undercurrent of heightened security and watchfulness. Something is up.

On arrival at the castle, they are met by Horatio, captain of the guard and castellion of Castle Sterling. Horatio is over-joyed to see his young lord, but at the same time seems evasive about something. Suspicions are aroused. Horatio tells young Sterling that his father is to the south, hunting. Meanwhile his wife has been left to oversee the house. Rex's stomach drops at this news. Horatio leads them to the solarium where Lady Harriet awaits.

She is exactly as he remembers her: poised, aloof, and cold. She has always resented him and the attention his father lavished on him instead of her son. She informs him that his father and other brother are away hunting some bandits or some-such. Meantime, she tells him that since she wasn't expecting him to return, she has used his room to store some old things of the Duke. He will have to wait till the rooms are cleared. A feast will be held in honor of his return.

Rex waits for his room to be cleaned out, the rest of the party are taken to the guest wing and given adequate quarters. Sir Philip, the seneschal, is overseeing the cleaning. He seems happy enough to see the young Sterling, but also seems evasive about his father's whereabouts and mission. After freshening up and changing out of their travel gear the party is summoned to dinner. It is a formal affair, as always with his step-mother, but held in one of the private family dining rooms. Just the Lady, her son, and the party. Talk is stilted and the Lady pointedly does not ask their business, though coy remarks are made. Craven interrupts Rex at one point by spilling his wine, and this signals the end of the dinner as the Lady abruptly stands and takes her leave. Servants clear the table even as she whirls from the room.

Now the party hits the town. Eolan is disappointed to learn that the tourney is closed now, but watches the finals. He meets the rest of the party in the tavern. Mordenheim is already deep in his cups and the others aren't far behind. The innkeeper knows Rex well and is taking good care of the lads. Many rounds are drunk and good food eaten. Mordenheim goes about gathering information about any rumours or other items of interest. One key bit of knowledge he gleans is that a merchant caravan was attacked by what sound like orcs, not more then a couple days ago, about a day's travel northwest in a place called Edmuntin Fields.

Mordenheim ends up with a drink in the face for a comment he makes to one of the prettier barmaids. Rex decides to work on bedding the two prettiest maids, and pulls it off, while another comes on to Craven, who while at first resistant, in the end sucumbs. Before he takes her upstairs he quickly slips outside and chips off a bit of stone from a nearby wall. Eolan escorts Mordenhiem back to their quarters.

June 24
Craven awakes first, intent on meeting his wine-merchant friend. Before he takes his leave of the sleepy maiden he presents her with a bit of stone, "taken from my homeland, something to remember me by". He heads to the marketplace, wandering the city. He bequeths his wine to some guards after they stop to question him.

Rex receives his pre-dawn wake-up from the innkeeper, who tells him of Craven's earlier departure. Rex pays the innkeeper in heavy gold for the evenings festivities and makes his way home, where the cook lets him in the castle through the servants entrance. Eolan and Mordenheim want to leave soon. Craven is no where to be found. Horatio talks to Rex about his reasons for being home, but Rex is evasive. Philip also talks to him, but again Rex holds his cards close to his chest. Soon after, Rex spots Horatio and Philip speaking conspiritorously. Rex feels his worst fears have been confirmed. He is happy to see Craven returning from his business in town.

Craven's business went well. His merchant friend had one bottle of fine brew ready, and though costly, Craven feels it will be worth it in the long run. His one dissappointment came at learning that the merchant's daughter was out of town at the moment. He had hoped to renew his seduction of her.

The party save Rex begin immediate preparations to leave. Rex feels he has to try speaking to his younger brother and heads off to find the lad. The boy is in the training yard taking riding instruction. Rex feels he and his brother have always been closer then his step-mother would like, but the boy is young and firmly in his mother's influence. When Rex mentions their imminent departure the boy looks worried and says that his mother will not like that as she had planned to supply them an escort….of her personal guard. Rex feels a shiver in his spine at this news and trys to cajole his brother into not telling his mother of their plans to leave, until they are well gone. His brother seems hesitant and in the end does tell his mother, thinking it in his brother's best interest. Rex runs to his friends who have his horse saddled and ready to go. Without a goodbye, they ride.

Finding their packs resupplied and waterskins refilled already does not please Mordenheim, who insists they stop in town so he can re-provision himself and discard the gifts. The party decides on a bit of deception and rides out of the city southward. It is soon after they have left the outskirts of the city when Eolan spots a company of horsemen seemingly pursuing them. Panic overtakes the group. Talk of ambush, fleeing, and hiding stall the party further, allowing the horsemen to close some of the distance. Deciding that ambush is a bit extreme, especially in light of their paucity of true evidence of conspiricy, and that fleeing is not feasible due to their pack animals, they decide to hide by the roadside. Quickly, they move their animals into the brush.

It is indeed a body of troops from Castle Sterling, led by none other then Horatio. As they pass they hidden group, Horatio calls a halt. He calls out for Rex, who decides he may as well answer. The rest of the party nervously grip their missile weapons as Horatio approaches alone. He tells Rex that his step-mother does indeed desire an escort for him, but that Horatio and Philip headed off that plan. Now Horatio is here to tell young Rex to ride on alone and beware for strange creatures have been sighted and several raids and attacks have occured. He presents Rex with a gift he and Philip personally had commissioned for the young boy, a wolverine sword pommel, the family crest, before taking his leave. The party relaxes and decides to strike out cross-country to Edmuntin Fields to investigate the orc attack there.

==Scene Nine: The Orc Corpse==
June 25 - June 27
80 miles in the wilds brings them to Edmuntin Fields midday on the 11th day of the journey. Bribing a local farmer they are told of the farm that suffered the recent attack. There, the husband mourns the loss of his wife and daughter, as well as some of his livestock. Eolan decides to cast about for tracks, and manages to pick up a days old trail….orcs! Following the trail for a few hours through the underbrush they find the site of an old camp near a bridge crossing a wide steam. After searching the campsite, Rexxor, Mordenheim's mastiff, discovers an orc corpse, stabbed through the eye with a lady's dagger….Bronwyn's dagger!

The trail of the orcs ends here for Eolan, but he decides to spend the time scouring the area for further tracks while the rest of the party sets up camp on the older site. While searching he finds the fresh print of a large humanoid, one heading towards the camp! Thinking it may be a troll he begins hurrying back.

The ogre spots the party about the same time they spot him, about 125 feet away along the stream. Eolan is another 125 feet behind the ogre. Missile fire causes the ogre to duck and weave after his rock goes astray, finally driving him toward the wood's edge. Mordenheim manages to lay a Guilt spell on the mammoth humanoid, driving it off in confusion.

==Scene Ten: The Princess==
===Session 5 (11/23/02)===
The party debates about following the ogre to finish it, and with Rex's urgings they decide they will attempt it, but will only track it a couple hours at most. They start out through the woods, mist creeping along the ground, and fireflys flashing their mating calls around them. Eolan leads the party, loping perhaps 30-40 feet ahead while Rex, Craven, and Mordenheim bring up the rear. Eolan and Craven are more then able to see clearly with their inhuman eyes, but Rex and Mordenheim stumble in the dark, several times almost tripping over roots. Mordenheim Lights the tip of his cane to better see. Suddenly, Eolan spots the ogre ahead in a clearing, his back to them and apparently busy eating something.

Eolan is able to hit the beast but fails to wound it badly enough to finish it. It whirls and hurls a head size stone, missing. The rest of the party begins to move up. The ogre, having had enough of ranged combat, lurches forward, picking up its massive tree branch of a club. Craven is hit and almost killed, sprawling 15 feet from where he was hit. Mordenheim's hunting dog, Rexxor, is mortally wounded, and even Eolan has to dodge the wildly swinging tree branch. Finally, spells, arrows, and swords put the monsterous ogre down.

Mordenheim finishes both his dog and the ogre off. Eolan searches the clearing, finding the gnawed back haunch of a horse, dragging part of a harness and unrecognizable heraldry. Further search beyond the clearing leads to a scene of utter horror. A large caravan of men and horses apears to have been ambushed. The dead sprawl everywhere, arrows and axe wounds on them all. Black shafted orc arrows!

A broken carrage lies in the midst of the carnage. Inside, a lady's belongings lie scattered about. A look at the heraldry on the men, and the belongings in the carrage leads the party to believe it is Princess Jealea and her friend Laeanna Lee! Craven and Mordenheim are distraught, their lady-loves have been taken!

==Scene Eleven: Tinderbox==
June 28
The party decides they must inform someone of this terrible happening. Mordenheim knows of a nearby settlement where help can be gotten, the small trading settlement of Powderkeg. It is held directly by the crown, so the king's men should be there to lend immediate aid. The party sets out at a hurried pace, arriving there around five in the afternoon. The gates to the wooden pallisade walls are closing as they arrive, and they are waved to the check-in station. Mordenheim demands to see the in-charge person, and even as he does so, the second-in-command of the city, Wintergreen, rushes out to them. Mordenheim quickly explains the situation, causing the already flustered Wintergreen's anxiety levels to crank up yet another notch. Wintergreen explains that currently the majority of the city's garrison is out in the field, and the few left cannot be spared, especially with the troubles the city is currently facing.

Wintergreen goes on to say that couriers will be dispatched with this news as soon as possible. Meantime, he wonders if they won't help him with a little problem. He tells them that he believes the town to be in great danger from an arsonist named XXXX. Five years ago, this arsonist was hired by one of the disgruntled merchants from whom the king had wrested control of Powderkeg. Caught before he could finish his work, XXXX, had been incarcerated for the last several years. Somehow he managed an escape this very day, overpowering his guards and fleeing. Just in the last hour a scroll with a strange riddle was found stuck to the wooden statue in the main plaza outside the burgoirmeister's residence. Wintergreen believes this riddle is the precursor to the arsonist's revenge.

===Session 6 (11/30/02)===
June 29
==Scene Twelve: Bounty Hunters==
The party reprovisions and prepares to move on. Several party members are suprised to see High Mage Ailrien in the city. They also find out that his apprentice, Chianna, is out and about in the countryside. Ailrien finishes his business and departs.

After seeing a few suspicious people in town asking after him, Dimbul mentions to the party that he "borrowed" a particularly large (10,000gp) diamond from a merchant in the capital a couple weeks ago. Realizing the problems is divesting himself of such a haul, he fled, finally ending up here in Powderkeg. The gnome tells the party that he sold the diamond to a "wizardly chap" in a village more to the west, for a pittance to be rid of it. The party asks Wintergreen to detain and delay anyone asking after them and uses the private gate to continue on their quest, hoping to get away quickly enough.

June 30 - July 1
==Scene Thirteen: The Ruined Castle==
July 2-5
===Session 7 (12/07/02)===
==Scene Fourteen: Lord of Wallace==
July 6-10


==Act II: The Great Blight==
==Scene One: The Desert==
July 11-18
==Scene Two: The Evil Lizard Kass'k==
===Session 8 (01/03/03)===
==Scene Three: The Caravan==
July 19-21


==Act III: Castle Defiant==
==Scene Four: The Village==
July 22
==Scene One: Strange Bedfellows==
July 23
===Session 9 (01/19/03)===
==Scene Two: At the Church==
==Scene Three: Hide and Seek==
July 24 - July 28
==Scene Four: Castle Defiant==
July 29
==Scene Five: The Siege==
==Scene Six: Lord Kerin's Gratitude==
July 30-August 2


==Act IV: The Orclands==
===Session 10 (01/24/03)===
==Scene One: Swamped==
August 3-6
==Scene Two: Orc-Land==
August 7-11
==Scene Three: The Pass==
August 12-13
==Scene Four: Inside the Crater==
August 14
===Session 11 (01/27/03)===
==Scene Five: Life is the Pits==
==Scene Six: Renegade Dwarf==
==Scene Seven: Escape!==
August 15-21
===Session 12 (02/12/03)===
==Scene Eight: Orcslayers!==
August 22-Oct 9

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