Chapter 3

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After a good night's sleep (even for Navero) we all met at the gate to
go and see the Master of the Keep, tell him of our plans, and secure
his permission for our endeavor.  At the door of the Council chambers,
we met a pair of his elite guardsmen.

Guard 1: "Oh, it's those awful people from the gate yesterday.  Send
     them away, please, they gave me a terrible tension headache."

Dania: "Oh, <censored>.  We are here to see the Lord and Master of
     this Keep, so that we can get his permission to go and kill all
     the Orcs in his lands."

Rourk: "Open the doors.  And do be quick about it; we haven't all

Guard 2: "Orcs?  Oh yah, them.  You in'rested in 'em, li'l lady?
     They'd take a real fancy to yu! <uncouth laughter> Now bugger

Dania: "Why?  You don't want to loose any of your relatives?"

Guard 1: "How did you know about that?"

Navero: "Please, please listen to me.  Tales of the terrible deeds of
     this band of pillagers have us from far away, and our hearts
     truly go out to you in your plight.  We have come here only with
     thoughts to aid you, and promise you that, by whatever means,
     these terrible people shall no longer trouble your community with
     their harassment and evil.  We beg of you, please allow us to
     enter that we may seek the blessings of the castle Lord, and ride
     as your emissaries."

Guard 1: "Oh, he's sweet."

Rizudo: "And we'll kill 'em all.  And we expect to be paid, too."

Navero: "Killing them should be a last resort, one to which we fall
     when all hope is lost."

Rizudo: "Yeah, right.  C'mon, let us in."

Rourk: "Indeed.  I am unaccustomed to being kept waiting by servants."

Guard 2: "SHUT UP! I'm wornin' yu, be outa my sight, or I'll set tha
     dog on ya."

Dania: "A dog?  _A_ dog?  Oh, watch me quake with fear!"

Rizudo: "I'll watch you shake anytime.  Shake and bounce and quiver

Navero: "Uh.... May I please ask you to stop, uh...  I mean..."

Rizudo: "Yeah, what?"

Navero: "Uh...  Never mind."

Guard 1: "Oh, you've frightened him.  That wasn't very nice.  You're a

Guard 2: "SHUT UP ALL O' YU!!  Right!  Tha dog it is, then!  Roger!!
     Open the dog's door."

Guard 1: "Are you sure?  You know what a time we had getting him back
     in there the last time you let him out..."

     We heard the clanking of chains and the groan of wood, and saw
that a large wooden door to the left of the guards was opening.  A
very low growl shook the battlements, and the guard settled back with
a satisfied smirk.  We all retreated rather rapidly, except for Rourk.

Rourk: "A dog?  I hope I can amuse myself with it.  And after that, I
     shall deal with another dog which lies within my view, to his
     great sorrow, for trying the patience of Rourk Ravensbane of..."

     Rizudo chose this moment to hit him over the head with a big
block of stone, rendering him unconscious; then we went into a full
retreat.  We never did see the dog, and I'm not even sure there ever
really was one, as that guardsman certainly did laugh a lot.  We had
to go back to the inn to bandage Rourk's head, as he is a drow, and we
did not wish to advertise his origins.  This altercation left us with
few alternatives.  We would probably not get in to see his Lordship.
Do we go for the Orcs anyway?  Do we leave the keep, and hope
something better comes along?  Or do we all go our separate ways?
Navero, of course, pointed out that we would have to go for the Orcs,
just because it was the only right thing to do.  He had spoken to the
family he spent the night with about the Orcs, and they seemed
supportive of the idea of someone stopping them.  Rizudo expressed the
hope that they would have enough treasure to make it all worth it, a
point on which Dania and the Assassin agreed.

Navero: "I realize that money can be useful, but it shouldn't be our
     only motive.  Why is it that some people will risk their lives
     for money, but not for each other?"

Rizudo: "That's because people aren't worth shit, Nav.  Someday you'll
     learn that.  Take our insensible companion here..."

Dania: "Best description of him I've heard."

The Assassin: "Most people are useful, in one way or another, but pass
     away after only a short time.  Truly lasting monuments cannot be
     built on weak flesh, but must be dedicated to something more

Navero: "But..."

Rourk: "Owww....  What struck me?  Was it another dragon?"

Rizudo: "Nope.  A very small hailstorm.  But it's gone now."

Rourk: "By my troth, I think YOU hit me.  You shall answer for it
     right now, you unworthy..."

Dania: "Please, lie down.  I saw quite clearly that Rizudo didn't hit
     you.  It was a horrible beast that moved so fast, it was but a
     blur.  We were barely able to pull you away from it."

Rourk: "I did not see it at all."

Rizudo: "That's because you were wearing your helmet."

Rourk: "Priest!  Do they speak truth?  If they do not they shall pay
     dearly for it."

Navero: "Ummm...  No..Ye..No...  Rizudo never touched you.  A rock

Rourk: "A rock?"

Navero: "A rock from the battlements."

Rourk: "I was struck down by a stone that fell from the battlements?
     Mage, I forgive you your lie.  I am ashamed to know I was downed
     by such an ignoble accident.  It is good that you thought to
     spare me the knowledge."

Dania: "Right."

Rourk: "Well, I must seek some way to redeem myself.  We must go to
     the Orc den; there may I erase this failure with the blood of

Rizudo: "Ok."

Navero: "Um... Do we have to kill them?"

Rizudo: "Nav, Orcs are not going to sit down and parley."

Rourk: "Yes; they are notoriously unreasonable."

Navero: <looks pensive>

     Our heroes secured their mounts, and rode off into the swamp in
the direction the Orcs usually came from.  It isn't easy to hide an
entire band of Orcs, and these proved no exception.  Their tracks were
quite visible on the swamp paths, so we followed them back to a large
cavern in a limestone rock formation.  We did not enter immediately;
instead, we sat, and watched, and argued some more.  This we did
happily for some time, until we were spotted by a patrol, who were
naturally not happy to see us.  There were only 2 Orcs, and we spotted
them almost as soon as they saw us.

Orc 1: "Hu gudiier nouds?" (What's with you?)

Orc 2: "Sliimsuka!  Jacxoffss wit." (Elves over there!  Humans too.)

Navero: "Oh, ick!  What are those things over there?"

Dania: "Orcs!  Get 'em!!"



Game Master: You succeed in wounding an Orc.  The other runs away.

Dania: "Stop him!  He'll tell all the others!"

Rourk: "I ride off after the Orc and outdistance him.  I do not spear
     him in the back, as that is unworthy of me.  Instead, I challenge
     him to stand and fight like slime."

Game Master: How?  Your horse is dead, remember.

Rourk: "I..."

Rizudo: "I shoot him in the back with my crossbow."

Game Master: Did you have it ready?  I don't remember you saying so.

Rizudo: "Of course it's ready!  I'm not stupid!" (*Big, pleading

Game Master: Ok.  Roll to hit.

Rizudo: Ah, I roll a 3.  Shit.

Dania: "You're all incompetent.  I 'magic missile' it."

Game Master: Ok. (rolls dice)  It stumbles, but does not fall, and is
     rapidly loosing itself in the trees.

Rizudo: "Don't you have a 'Hold Person' spell, priest?"

Navero: "But I don't speak Orcish..."

The Assassin: "It's out of range for dart throwing, isn't it?"

Game Master: Uh, yes.  Anything else?  Oh, (rolls dice) you notice the
     wounded Orc is trying to crawl off into the bushes.

Navero: "I jump on it and stop it!"

Game Master: "It tries to hit you. (rolls dice) It does. Take 5 hit

Navero: "Ouch!"

Rizudo: "I kill it.  Guess it's up to me to clean up after yon
     Knight's incompetence."

Rourk: "I shall ignore that.  Consider yourself fortunate."

Dania: "Did the other one get away?  Shit!  They'll be all over the
     place pretty soon.  We better get out of here."
Rourk: "I will not run from a bunch of Orcs!  You can, but I refuse."

Navero: "What about all the damage they would do if we don't stop

Dania: "Navero, come on.  We can't take all of them..."

Rourk: "The devil you say!  I move that we take them by surprise,
     right now, while they are still trying to organize themselves."

Rizudo: "Now listen, kids.  Our position here isn't exactly ideal.
     Why don't we go tell the guys in the keep that we saw the Orcs
     coming?  Then we'll get a bunch of men-at-arms together to kill

Rourk: "I refuse to rely on an unruly bunch of peasants swinging farm

Navero: "'Why stir up many men, when one voice is equal to the task?'"

The Assassin: "It's getting dark.  They will soon be about.  We'd
     better go."

Dania: "Yea.  C'mon, guys."

Rourk: "You are taking all the horses?  Ah, I suppose a retreat to
     consider strategy would be in order.  But we are not running."

Dania: "Right."

     With our horses, we were easily able to outdistance the Orcs, and
reach the keep.  We saw them behind us in the marsh, and counted over
20 of them.  They did not follow us all the way back to the keep, but
threw javelins and insults at us as we fled back to relative safety.
None hit.  Once we reached the keep, we were accosted by the gate
guards, who had heard the shouting, and were taken in to see a high

Official: "YOU WHAT!?  You rode out to spy on the Orcs, and stirred
     them up?"

Rizudo: "Yep, they're coming this way, and they stink.  We need a few
     of your guards and the militia, then we go out and clean 'em up."

Dania: "Yeah."

Official: (bug-eyed stare) "You...  They haven't been raiding for
     nearly a month... which means they won't be here for another
     month... and you... people... went out and deliberately
     antagonized them!?"

Rourk: "You should never bear evil so lightly."


Navero: "Uh... have we interfered with some other plans of yours?"

Official: <sudden, indignant look> "Do you have any idea what this

Rourk: "Freedom and Glory."

Dania: "Oh, shut up."

Rourk: "I will not for the likes of you."

Official: "Oh, be quiet, both of you!  (to a servant)  Boy, go fetch
     the barbarian.  Now, perhaps we can salvage something out of this
     mess.  How would you like to go back there and clean out those
     caverns right now?  We have a man here, the survivor of the last
     group who tried it.  He has been inside their cave, and may know
     enough to help you.  He is supposedly a capable fighter and
     bowman.  I believe he comes from the northern regions."

     With this, a very large man stomped into the room.  You might say
that he did not believe in personal hygiene.  You might also say that
he needed no announcement; you knew he was coming well before he
entered the room.  He was over 6 feet tall, with a huge sword over his
shoulder, and a long bow on his back.

Official: "Kortul, you had expressed a desire to have another try at
     the Orcs once your wounds healed.  Well, I would like to ask you
     to serve as a guide to this group, which has the same purpose in
     mind. Will you do it?"

Kortul: (Looks group over.  Sneers.) *Grunt*

Official: "Very good.  Well, I wish you luck.  The reward still holds;
     and it is per head, with a bonus for their chief.  And if you
     fail, don't come back.  After this, if they don't kill you, some
     here may wish to do so themselves."

     With that cheery thought, we spent the night and rose early to go
out and finish the job.  At some point, the Assassin disappeared into
the night.  Apparently, she had quite enough of us, and went elsewhere
to seek greener pastures.  (Actually, the player dropped out of the
group, as he had too much work to do.  But that's not as much fun.)

Daniel Parsons
      "I heard of the great unwashed, but I never expected to see one."

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