Our heroes were heading to the Orcrage Hills when we last left off. This session saw them continuing their journey and eventually (and finally) finding the camp of Captain Kerala Tuskbreaker. Kerala was sent to a camp on the border of the hills to keep an eye on orc activity and then report to the Shadebow Rangers if anything out of the ordinary happened. The orcs had recently become much bolder and attacked caravans, lone travelers, and even some of the villages near their border, all of which was odd for the normally insular orcs. The orcs often spent to much time fighting each other to be a real danger to Kyrador, but orcs are orcs, and Kerala was put at the border for a reason.
When the heroes arrived they were met with suspicion at first, but once they explained they were there on behalf of the Shadebow Rangers due to their bulletin in Syris, they became much more welcoming. The group spent the day in the camp and helped with the watch at night. Moonshadow turned invisible and flew higher to get a better view of the area at night, and saw hundreds of campfires, all surrounding one large one about two days of travel away. She also saw large flying creatures here and there, but couldn’t make them out.
The next morning the heroes set out and stayed to the low areas of the hills and the valleys between them as they traveled. They eventually came across a camp with about eight orcs and a gray orc shaman. They managed to dispatch the camp’s inhabitants quickly and quietly. They then came across another camp, this one half carved into the side of a hill, complete with aviary. Above them flew large creatures with thirty foot wingspans that stretched from shoulder to foot, and large beaks that looked like they could cut an ogre in half (they were pteranodons, but the characters had never seen anything of the sort). The camp was manned by a singular orc, as well as dozens of mountain lions. Apparently this is where the orcs kept some of their animals when they weren’t on duty. They managed to sneak around this particular camp and move on.
Night was fast falling and Moonshadow found the group a place to rest for the night. When they awoke the next morning they were surprised they hadn’t been discovered as there was an orc encampment on the hill above them! They moved on quietly and by mid morning came to the main encampment. They noticed that it was on a hill that looked like it had the top cut off of it and there was a semi-permanent structure that looked like a lodgehouse of sorts on the back side of the hill. Among the other tents they saw twelve orcs, and two of the grey orc shamans. Towards the lodgehouse they saw two strange looking bipedal reptilian creatures with long snouts, short arms and a singular wicked looking claw on either foot (deinonychus’ but again the characters had never seen anything of the sort). They were both wearing barding and had saddles on their backs. Near those creatures were two of the most attractive beings anyone in the group had ever had the privilege of laying eyes upon. they were tall, and statuesque, with fey-like features (almost elven in nature), with jet black skin, white hair, and glowing blue eyes. Along with the attraction came a feelings of revulsion and hatred from deep within them (all except Moonshadow who’s race is naturally more neutrally inclined rather than good). The group had glimpsed their first black orcs.
Albrecht came up with an idea, but it banked on the black orcs being creatures of honor (which, ironically enough, they are) – to challenge the leaders to a two on two duel, with Larissa and himself taking the challenge for their group. If they won the duel, then the orcs would leave and no longer gather their forces to attack Kyrador. If the orcs won, then they could continue without the group harassing them any further. Albrecht approached and the the black orcs allowed them to come forward unmolested. this boded well for the plan. Albrecht announced his intentions, and when the orcs asked who they would be fighting, he stated that it would be Larissa and…and that’s when Sythaeren drew upon the power of his blood, transformed into a celestial being that glowed with a bright inner light and wielded a large sword made of divine light, and grew wings. He stepped forward and stated that he would fight as well. Albrecht looked upon his comrade with a renewed respect and bowed out, allowing the angel to take his place.
The combat started with the orcs mounting their creatures and charging their respective enemies. The fight was long and grueling and Sythaeren came close to being defeated on a few occasions. Only his healing potions saved him. In the end, both Larissa and Syth were able to defeat their opponents. As the black orcs yielded they held out their hands to the other orcs, signifying that they should not attack. That’s when one grey orc stated that the black one shad fallen and in the name of Gruumsh, he would lead the army to attack their hated enemies. The other shaman took exception and announced he would rip out the heart of his rival and lead the army, and as they turned on each other, so did the other orcs, falling upon each other in a bid for power…with the group between them!
So now they need to find a way out without being massacred while fighting a three way battle!