The morning began with a knock on the door, rousing the sleeping party from dreamland. In a panic some scrambled to get dressed, others readied their weapons, and still others just went to open the door.
It was the shift manager they had met the evening before. He brought news that a few more had come along the road early that morning at the behest of the council, and that he had a, shall we say, ‘side business’ that would allow the party to move the goods they had acquired from pillaging kobold corpses the day before. As the shift manager lead the party to his ‘storeroom’ the group was joined by a tall, but potbellied man, a human by the looks of him.
“What are you?” they asked.
“I am a wizard!” the man replied, “Name’s Hennet”
“Why weren’t you at the town council meeting?”
“Well,” he paused, “I, um, was in jail…again…”
As the party were bartering and purchasing items from the shift manager, two more mysterious figures popped out of the shadows. One was as silent as a ghost’s shadow whispering. The other one clanked. After recovering from their shock, there were introductions all around as two more joined the party: An effeminate looking bard by the name of ___, and another who was just simply…sneaky looking…
“Why weren’t you at the meeting?” the party asked the rogue.
“I was…you just didn’t notice me.”
Soon thereafter, the party was back on the road, travelling through field and dale, valleys and forests. The party came upon a farm, and immediately, to those who could see, something was not right. Least of all was the orc standing in the road in front of the farmhouse. It was apparent that the orc had high enough intelligence to realize that a spyglass was good for spotting things. But unfortunately for the orc, he did not have enough intelligence to figure out why looking through the spyglass made everything appear really, really tiny.
Some bit of sneaking later, another orc was spotted in the barnyard in the back. Deciding that diplomacy might be the best policy, Grik the Half-Orc monk strode forward, greeting the orc in his native tongue: “Hail, Brother!”
To which the orc promptly replied! “Look! A human!!!” And so the battle began. “To battle!” Yelled most of the party.
Grik burst through the barnyard gate, slaying orcs in the process. He was closely followed by an angry dwarf with an axe and a flurry of arrows and magic missiles. In combat, the surprised orcs simply did not have enough toughness to stand up to the assault as they fell one by one, sometimes in twos, bleeding from horrible gushing wounds to their arms and necks caused by expertly shot arrows and sword blows (Note to self: Give enemies higher AC next time). Our heroes pushed onwards. The dwarf and a cleric stood off with two orcs through a barn door. The dwarf growled, “My ANCIENT enemy…” and the orcs growled right back.
Taking a turn away from the rest of the combatants, Grik took a flying leap over the fence…only to discover there was another unexpected element to the battle. Hidden from the view of most of the party, Grik found a human farmer, being menaced by two orcs, one much bigger than the other. One of the orcs grabbed the human while the approached him with a falchion. Grik attempted to dodge, but the orc did him a crushing blow, and the monk collapsed bleeding to the ground with a terrible wound. But for the heroic efforts of two clerics, Grik almost certainly would have died that day.
As Grik staggered to his feet, all were surprised to see the farmer break free for the larger orc’s grasp and go for a pitchfork. Instead of pursuing, the larger orc turned and headed into the farmhouse, the contents of which were yet unknown to the party.
Closing from both sides, a group led by Keira the fighter, the bard, and the rogue broke through the back door only to find more orcs, one of whom had evidently been working on breaking through a barred door in a rear hallway. At the order of the larger orc, this one turned to face the party while the leader battered down the door with apparent ease. The smaller orc was quickly felled, but before any further could occur, the horrible sound of a woman’s screams pierced all ears in the area. The sorcerer and Keira ducked forward to see what was happening, only to find the orc leader, holding a knife to a terrified woman’s throat.
A tense hostage situation ensued. The orc shoved his way into the hallway and started backing towards the door with his hostage in tow just as Grik burst through the front door. In a last ditch attempt to save the woman, Grik yelled in orcish, not all that convincingly, that the orc leader should drop the woman and fight like a real orc. To the surprise of everyone (DM included), the orc agreed, throwing the woman aside and standing to face the party. It was a fatally foolish decision. Hugely outnumbered and outarmed, the orc quickly succumbed to a flurry of blows and strikes.
Ignoring the farmer and his wife, the party proceeded to loot the bodies, finding a large quantity of standard issue orc equipment. Finally their materialism sated, they were able to give some attention to farmer.
Soon, they discovered that Thorvald as he was known, was a talkative one. He and his wife invited the party to stay for supper and he regaled them for hours and hours about his past life as a mountain guide, the story of the oaks in Eichenstark, and his words of wisdom for all adventurers.
“Remember,” Throvald said sagely, “All adventures eventually go towards the mountains.”
In a stroke of inspiration, he dashed to a back room, bringing the party a particularly comfortable looking pair of boots. “These will be more useful for you than I,” he said, “Take them as a token of my gratitude for your saving us.”
As the evening grew darker, the party decided to take Thorvald and his wife up on their offer of staying the night, despite the architectural critques of the wizard. As sleeping arrangements were made to minimize sketchiness, all went to bed, hoping for a restful night in light of the certain dangers ahead.