The Veiled Blade

Session Twenty Eight

Fee, Foh, Fum!

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The column of adventurers proceeds to navigate its route slowly through the greenskin infested forest, ever conscious of and checking for, traps. During the journey Jeffric and Heinrich who were both severely injured in the skirmish with the Orcs imbibe some rejuvenating doses of the healing potion – leaving only five doses remaining. Thanks to Jeffric’s excellent sense of direction he is able to steer the group in the direction of Grenz and after a couple of hours of trekking stumbles across the remains of an ancient stone road. Still feeling pensive and threatened, the group opts to proceed with utmost caution and Jeffric continues to scout far ahead; twenty minutes later he spots a figure in the middle of the road and immediately dives into a bush and draws his weapon. Waiting vainly for something to happen he peeks out and discovers that the figure is perfectly stationary, so the woodsman creeps forward until he can clearly observe that it is in fact the body of a mutilated Orc strung up between trees. Closer inspection reveals that the Orc died a violent death and had been there for several weeks; resuming their journey the group soon pass more greenskin bodies, each either tied to trees or staked into the ground – all of them killed violently in the past few weeks or more.

A short distance ahead, at around two in the afternoon, Jeffric notes that the trees are thinning into a clearing and he finally spots their objective – the ruins of Grenz. The group catches up and they can see what appears to be a cathedral beyond the ruins of houses; they also see that the ground is covered with the scattered skeletal remains of humans – swords and shields also litter what was once a battleground. They are troubled by the deathly silence, the scene of death and destruction before them as well as the recently killed greenskin corpses on display; so much so that they ask Sebastian, the hired Battle Wizard, if he can detect any magic emanating from the ruins. The surly and impolite mage concentrates his mind and shortly informs the group that he can indeed detect a powerful and malign magic nearby. This information decides it for the adventurers – they can see their target destination and opt to stay concealed in the forest and work their way around the treeline until they are adjacent to the cathedral.

They slowly creep around in their staggered line, Jeffric once more being the pathfinder, checking for traps and marking the route. As he makes his way his expert eye catches sight of a bone charm alarm concealed amongst some low branches. He marks the presence of the trap on a nearby tree and unfortunately not everyone in the party is alert enough to observe it and avoid the trap; one of the dwarf mercenaries blunders into the alarm and a ear shattering rattle breaks the silence – the whole line of adventurers immediately go to ground with their weapons drawn, eyes scanning the ruins for movement. The fates, however, seem to be with them and nothing stirs; the command is given to resume the journey. As they reach the halfway mark of their clandestine approach the woodsman spots yet another bone charm, and this time he decides that he will mark its presence more clearly by hemming it in with wooden stakes made from the nearby branches. The woodsman is unfortunately too noisy in executing this task and the next thing they know is the sound of hooves galloping and they see the terrifying sight of three animated skeleton horsemen and their undead steeds racing towards the treeline where the group is hunkered down.

Carla rushes forward and breaks cover in order to cast a Windblast spell, but she fumbles the incantation and nothing happens; the skeleton horsemen now have a clear target to charge. Sebastian races forward to back up the apprentice mage but he too fails to utter the correct incantation and squanders some of his precious magical powers. Witnessing the abysmal magical performance of the group’s wizards, Durgar charges out to do battle with the undead foes. The rest of the group follows and they erupt from the woods with their blades and bows drawn. Arrows fly from both sides but all fail to hit their mark, except Cadrigar’s – the elf’s arrow is true and takes out one of the horsemen. Then, as the group splits up to meet the two charging threats they all witness the terrible sight of an armoured Ogre emerge from one of the ruined buildings. The giant creature draws its sword and enters the fray. Carla and Ulric are rooted to the spot in fear while Fickenja and Heinrich, both gripped by terror turns and flees back into the woods. Nearly all the dwarf mercenaries and Old Krieger, however, are battle hardened fighters and are able to respond to the dire situation. Two of the dwarfs take out the skeletal horseman on the right with few problems while Krieger, a dwarf mercenary and Durgar swarm the remaining horseman on the left flank and bring him down without suffering any injures themselves.
This just leaves the Ogre, but he is a much more skilled and sturdier foe than the feeble skeletons. Cadrigar, Krieger, Jeffric, Durgar and one of the dwarfs all crowd around the creature and begin to deliver blows from all sides, but it is heavily armoured and throughout the ferocious and desperate fight Durgar, Cadrigar and a dwarf mercenary will all break their blades whilst striking a blow. Carla urges Sebastian to intercede and tells him to use a Standstill spell; the Battle Mage aims in the direction of the Ogre but the fury of the terrible fighting disturbs his concentration and another large portion of his magical powers are squandered. Carla screams at him to make another attempt and this time he manages to get the spell almost right and freezes Jeffric, Krieger and the dwarf mercenary to the spot, mid-fight. Cadrigar and Durgar continue to rain blows and inflict damage but the Ogre mercenary captain is able to shrug these wounds off and he begins to strike at the three prone attackers before him, causing terrible injuries. Jeffric is knocked out cold and moments later Old Krieger is cleaved in two by the creature’s blade.

Sebastian attempts to stop the massacre by making another attempt at casting the Windblast spell and does manage to stagger the monstrous attacker momentarily, which enables the elf pedlar, dwarf pit-fighter and another dwarven mercenary to land a series of blows that begin to register significant damage on their giant foe. Having regained her composure, Fickenja rushes back in time to fire a well aimed arrow into the beast’s head, bringing it close to its death. However, a moment later and the Ogre manages to rebalance itself and unleashes a couple of furious blows upon one of the badly injured dwarf mercenaries, leaving him a bloody pulp. At Carla’s continued frantic cries for assistance, Sebastian runs forward into the thick of the battle and manages to touch the Ogre while casting a Sleep spell; the almost dead monstrosity slumps to the ground unconscious and the entire group rushes in and shoots and hacks it to pieces in frantic fury.

The expedition party reorganises in the aftermath, taking stock of their losses and how close many of them came to being killed themselves. Sgt-At-Arms Brent approaches, the three Palace contingent having remained markedly absent from the fight; he demands that the group proceed with the mission and retrieve the relics before nightfall which is only but several hours away now. Sebastian uses almost the last of his powers to revive Jeffric back to full health; the Battle Wizard tells the group that he has exhausted all his magic and they tell him that he should rest and recharge his energies and is to remain behind with the Palace contingent guarding the cathedral entrance. Cadrigar, with his night vision, creeps up to the open doorway of the cathedral and peers in – he can see a flight of stairs going up into the tower and a flight of stairs going down into the crypt. The group prepares to enter, knowing that the Ogre’s master must surely be near.

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