So I finally get away from the “civilized” world and land in this run-down town in the middle of nowhere called Enonia. I figure I’m home free and can take my time, grab a drink or two and then see about heading out to the woods to see how the huntin’ is; get the lay of the land. Nothin’ to worry about out here, right?
I’m sippin’ on some ale, thinking about going out to land some game the next morning, when I overhear a group of folks arguing about where they’re going tomorrow in the woods. And what’s IN the woods. An old monastery overrun with critters? A tower that was used by some scumbag spellflinger full of traps? An inn that’s been turned into some sort of goblin fort? Terrific.
So, I walk over to ‘em and say, "Hi, name’s Dargellon. I take it the huntin’s not exactly safe around here." Then I really start to hear about what’s out there; kinda wish I hadn’t. Trolls under bridges are bad enough, but a flamin’ SPELLFLINGER troll? I’m takin’ that thing out if it’s the last thing I do.
Finally, one of the holy warrior-types at the table, Jorann, mentions something about a lost gold mine, and we agree to head out together to look for it. It’s only later I find out that it’s just a rumor overheard (with much drinking involved) by some fancy character in the group dressed like a fop that goes by the name of Irem. Ah well, at least it’ll be a chance to check out those woods and see what’s really out there.
So we stock up and head out the next day. All seems pretty normal, except for this big patch of scorched earth we pass. No vegetation in there, or wildlife, bugs.. nothin’. A quiet girl named Kallista pulls out some seeds and starts to plant ‘em on the spot. Seems kinda shifty, plantin’ seeds where nothing’s growing… I’ll have to keep an eye on her.
Next day, with the hoods of our cloaks up to keep off the rain that’s started to fall, we trudge on. Jorann’s got himself a hired hand named Fred to help keep his armor all shined up; must be nice. I’m a little worried about the littleling in the group though,. He says he’s ready to fight, but he looks too small to be of much use if we get into a scrap.
We spot some smoke rising in the distance, and when we check it out, we find out it’s a pile of human bodies piled on some burning coals. Plenty of signs of a battle, and clues to what the other side’s about: Wicked arrows in the bodies, and trails into the woods that suggest marching by ranks. An organized enemy – not good. We decide to leave the site far behind, but not long after, the other holy warrior-type, Kjeld, starts to twitch.
Now I’m not much for religion; I figure super-powerful deities and such have their own games to play and I’d just as soon not get involved with ‘em. I also figured that if Kjeld and Jorann could get along, following different gods as they do, that we’d all get along just fine, but I never expected the preacher to say a prayer and hear “FIND ME” back as an answer.
So Day 3 had us searching the woods for a god. And we found one. Sort of. We came to an ancient pile of stones and boom! Kjeld gets this ecstatic look on his face and starts talking to us with the voice of a god. If it wasn’t some spellflinger trick, it had to be the genuine article; nobody could fake that. He tells us to “remove the scourge” in the area, and afterwords Kjeld is so excited he starts askin’ if folks want to join his faith. I tell him I’ll think about it. We head for the plains north of the main road.
That night, I’m about done with my turn on watch when I hear somebody walkin’ in the grass out of range of the light given off by the campfire. I kick awake Kjeld and we get everyone up and alert, then head off towards where I heard the sound. Still can’t see a thing, even with Kallista’s hooded lantern at the edge of the campsite. That’s when the arrows started to rain in on us.
Now, my studded leather’s easy enough to sleep in if you don’t mind a few lumps, but some of the folks in the camp were caught in their smallclothes, and to make matters worse, while Fred was helpin’ Jorann get into the heavy stuff, 5 orcs charged in from the other side of camp, nasty scimitars drawn and ready to kill with ‘em. I fire off a few bow shots as they rush the camp but don’t hit a thing, and with arrows startin’ to punch into my armor and flesh from a spot out in the other direction I can’t see, I figure I’m done for. So I decide take a few out with me.
I toss away my bow and pull the halberd off my back and run into the fray, where the others have already started fighting back. Kjeld yells out an order to “Die!” and one of ‘em drops to the ground and I’m thinking, “Hey, why don’t you just say that to all of ’em?” I manage to take the head off one with the axe blade of the halberd but those scimitars are starting to draw blood from folks, myself included, and those damn arrows are still flying in.
That’s when Hamgrin showed us how much guts he had; the little guy was the only one that could see in the dark, and he ran out to go take on the archers alone. The arrow attacks stopped soon after, and we were able to take out the rest of the orcs we could see, but not before one of ’em whacked Fred. Rest in peace, Fred. I ran out screaming into the dark, hating the thought of what those orcs might have done to Hamgrin and hoping to maybe scare the remaining ones off.
When I was out of range of the campfire light, in complete dark, I dropped to one knee to let my eyes adjust. Couldn’t see, hear, or smell any sign of ’em… until my eyes focused just in time to see the shape of an orc rushing me with his scimitar. I thrust up the halberd at him.
I don’t know if was just dumb luck, or some god taking a hand, but I felt the sudden impact as the spike end of the halberd drove clear through the orc’s back, with the axe blade half-buried in it’s belly.
Letting him drop, I looked up and could just make out 4 shapes in the dark – was Hamgrin in there? I couldn’t leave him, and besides, with the fire in my blood, I figured one on four was a fair fight. I charged. I felt a sharp pain, started to scream, and that’s when the light really went out.
When I woke up, it was morning, and for a wonder the rest were all alive. Seems they managed to take out the last of the orcs, with the help of Kjeld doing some sort of trick with his war hammer that I wish I’d seen. Another strange thing.. the last 2 orcs committed mutual suicide at the end, driving each other through with scimitars. The preachers did a hell of a job patching me up; must have used every spare bit of cloth they could find. They say it’ll probably leave a nasty scar.
We made way for town the next morning and got back ok by the end of the week. We made a report at the Enonia Keep and got, well, let’s just say a nice reward. We decided we’re going to need to take over that inn that the goblins are holed up in to the east, so we can have shelter from which to fight back the orcs. No more camping out on the open plain! As we were making plans, something clicked in my head about all this.. Kjeld’s contact with that deity and his instructions, the organization and strange behavior of those orcs.. I’ve just landed in the middle of a flamin’ holy war.
Why did I come to this town again? Oh, yeah.. better huntin’. I’m beginning to learn that just when you’re starting to feel safe, you may have just gone from the frying pan to the fire.