At the end of last session, our heroes staggered back into the border town of Glister after a harrowing expedition into the Loftwood. However, not all the party made it back to Ratik: brave Hemgor and his two companions – Glynt and Gwendar – fell before the orcs and had to be left behind.
However, Hemgor and his henchmen were not dead. Rather, the orcs dragged them down into the bowels of Xul-Jarak there to await their fate at the climax of the Bloodspear ceremony. They were not alone, however, as Hemgor discovered when Elaint Marsk used his healing magic to bring him back from the brink of death.
Hemgor had found the adventurers he and his friends had been sent to rescue. Five survivors of that group yet remained and all were chained to the cavern walls. They were:
- Argens Bruil (LG male human paladin)
- Elaint Marsk (LN male human aristocrat/cleric)
- Kalman Leiyraghon (CN male human aristocrat/sorcerer)
- Kara Calaudra (CG female half-elf aristocrat/wizard)
- Oreal Nanther (CG male human aristocrat/ranger)
Hemgor and his companions, however, were unchained – no doubt the orcs thought their wounds too severe to recover from. After gathering himself – and after introductions were made – Hemgor set about aiding the chained adventurers to pull their chains from the wall. His freedom of movement and great strength proved the difference between success and failure and in short order all were free.
However, their position was still perilous. To the north, lurked many orcs and to the south stood a great ceremonial hall – the venue for the Bloodspear ritual. With no real option, the adventurers crept south moving cautiously through the vast ceremonial chamber. Further south, a ragged grey curtain hung against the wall while double doors led to the east. Opting to see what lay beyond the curtain, the PCs discovered Thrull’s sleeping chamber. Thrull was the chieftain of the Vile Rune tribe and piled within was all their equipment – Thrull’s spoils of war! Gleefully, the escapees equipped themselves and then quietly returned to recover Glynt and Gwendar who had been left behind because of the severity of their wounds. Another curtain covered the chamber’s rear wall and keen to discover more treasure (or more importantly a way out) the party pushed on. Sadly, the curtain did not protect a way out. Rather, instead they discovered Thrull’s bed and his guardian basilisk. Luckily, for the PCs the basilisk was old and half-blind and was slain before it could petrify anyone. Looting the area, the PCs discovered Thrull’s armour, a blooded longspear (which the party broke into many pieces) and a greatsword of fine quality. Kalman claimed the sword and armour and once he has equipped, and the two dwarves healed, the party returned to the double doors in the ceremonial chamber.
Beyond, Oreal could make out the sounds of muttered orcish conversation. With no other way open to them, the party attacked. Throwing open the doors, they surprised two orc guards who were quickly cut down. Beyond lay a large chamber with many exits. A pool dominated much of the chamber. Water tumbled into the pool from above. Near the pool a spiral staircase led tantalisingly upwards. As they eagerly moved toward the stairs and shout from behind them revealed two orc guards who had not heard the sounds of the companions’ deaths because of the waterfall. One orc berserkly charged the party while the other turned and rushed back into the unexplored part of the level to raise the alarm.
The party rushed toward the stairs, Argens bringing up the rear. Above lay another large chamber with several exits. Water tumbled through a hole in the floor into the chamber below. Two orc guards stood near the stairs and the party rushed out to do battle (the next loop of the spiral staircase only being accessible from the chamber). Hemgor pushed one orc out of the way and the rest of the party rushed into the room. Elaint forgot the plan and charged across the chamber to attack two other guards rushing to aid their companions. Kalman followed him and got badly injured when one of the orcs wielding a longspear rammed it into his guts. Kalman fell and Argens was forced to use some of his remaining healing bringing the unfortunate wizard around.
As the slower or more vulnerable members of the party staggered up the stairs through the chamber and into the next spiral staircase the rest fought on. The orc spearman now badly injured retreated before Elaint’s attacks through a set of double doors and screamed for reinforcements. Oreal dispatched the orc with his last arrows at the very moment three orc warriors rushed up the stairs from behind the party.
By this time Kara and Glynt had reached the top of the next set of spiral staircases and discovered they opened out into a large tomb lined with upright sarcophagi. Shouting down to their companions that the way was clear they huddled in the stairway watching for orcs. Below, the party dispatched the last of the orcs and again staggered up the stairs. By this time, almost all were wounded – some severely – and the party’s healing magic was all but gone…