Marshal Roehm rallies the town behind him with a stirring speech. Even those of us not of the faith could not help but be inspired, and everyone is heartened by the men and resources the Marshal had gathered.
Our party assembled – Mazlor, Grel, Ja’Kar, Fergus, myself, the ranger Raygar, and Belaldur, an elf who’d been with us when we scouted towards Irecia. After discussing tactics with the Marshal, he tells us another local magic-user, Parabellum, has news of Pyria. We go to Parabellum’s bookshop.
The Striped Mage, it turns out, required Pyria’s presence, so she asked (and handsomely paid) Parabellum to assist our party – and he leaps at the chance to join us. Grel receives advice and a healing potion from his patron, Joran. Ja’Kar picks up some supplies in the market. We are ready to go a bit before the main forces – 70 cavalry, 120 footmen – so we set off for Atanuk’s cave. We rest until the Marshal arrived, then we synchronize our hourglasses and Ja’Kar leads us into the caves. Ja’Kar gives Atanuk the pork he had brought, and they banter a bit, then Atanuk lets us pass through his rat farm into the tunnels below the fort. We return to the healing fountain and everyone who can fills up empty flasks and bottles. Ja’Kar and Raygar tear down the rubble blocking us from the well and we move into that room.
The well smells disused and scummy. For whatever reason, the opening to the outside was covered up – the orcs don’t use this well. Ja’kar pushes on the boards with his staff and they are loose. There are a couple of closed doors at opposite ends of the room, and Belaldur heard goblins outside one of them. We decide that I will climb up the well shaft and see what is happening. Ja’Kar would follow close behind if it looks like we can make a diversion. Fergus goes to guard one door, Grel the other.
While at the top of the shaft, I eavesdrop on the orcs as they discourse on the presence of the Marshal’s forces. The orcs are all around the well so I reluctantly admit Grel was right – I should look, not jump out. I move a board slightly for a quick peek.
The well is a good ways from the stables, so the plan Ja’Kar and I had of sneaking out to wreak havoc won’t work. It looks like there are more than 100 orcs and goblins right in front of me, with the cavalry ready to head out the back and the foot soldiers forming up to emerge from the main gate with the orc chieftan and shaman backing them up. Both towers have squads of orcs keeping watch. I drop back down and give my report. Beladur tells us he only hears 2 goblins chattering a ways outside one door.
We make our way through that door and over into what looks like an armory and forge. There are stairs leading up from the armory, and 2 goblins sit on these stairs. Ja’Kar, Belaldur, and I sneak in and attack. I wound one goblin, and Belaldur wounds the other. They scream in pain and fear – but the noise of the muster above covers this up. Ja’Kar kills one guard where he stands; Mazlor knocks the other down and he pleads for his life. Ja’kar, though, coldly dispatches him. “Dead goblins tell no tales.”
We head upstairs and emerge into the center of the compound, facing the East gate. Amazingly, no one notices us until Parabellum blasts the gate with a fireball. Then, there is a lot of confusion, but the orcs and goblins mostly stick to their battle plan. The cavalry go out the West gate; the foot soldiers go out the front.
The shaman turns to cast darkness upon us, but Grel counters with his magic sword. The Marshal’s forces engage the enemy, and meet with enough success that the shaman rushes to his leader’s side to try to turn the tide. The orcs guarding the tower head our way, though, so we can’t get outside to strike from behind. We quickly dispatch the first force, but the second one keeps us busy for some time. We finally prevail after an orc cavalry force flees through the fort, distracting the remaining guards.
Meanwhile, the Marshal finishes things up outside, personally killing the orc chief – it is an impressive victory, with orcs and goblins all slaughtered or scattered. The fort (and all the weapons in the armory) is in our hands, undamaged except for the blasted gate. The only dark spot is the loss of nearly the entire force of human archers, ridden down by a wing of orc cavalry. The heads of the orc shaman and leader are tied to the West gate.
Our party checks the largest tent, shared by the shaman and orc chief. We find some human skulls containing spell components – we keep the powders and such for Pyrea but Ja’Kar plans to properly bury the skulls (though I think we could get some money for them). The big prize, though, is an ornate chest containing several treasures. I claim as my share an ebony and wolfskin stool. There are also some orcish letters and religious edicts, which we give the Marshal.
We volunteer to go back into the dungeon to finish mapping it. We go through the armory to some barracks and press on to an area Mazlor remembers from an earlier excursion. Unfortunately, he does not remember until after three of us are injured by traps. But we all survive, and the Marshal declares us to be heroes of the Barony – and Ja’Kar, bringing 3 pigs for Atanuk, has become a close friend of the kobold.