Chapter 1: And So Our Story Begins…
Receiving letters with our names on them isn’t a new thing, but the strange skull insignia in the wax was quite new. Death was the first thing that came to mind upon seeing it, but we are the River Princes: We laugh at the thought of death.
It didn’t take us long to find the meeting place, and upon entering the inn and stating our glorious names, the elven wench led us down a hallway and into a room with a number of other adventurers. At that point, I didn’t pay them much mind, since we were still able to order ale, but it wasn’t long before a few men clad in black armor made their way into the inn. Two stood out in the hall, which was a tactic I had seen in my travels. This immediately gave me a bad feeling about who exactly we were all about to do work for.
The pale man’s name was Malarn, and he told us that we were to find an item known as the Iron Ball for his master. Not only was his appearance questionable, but anyone who had a master would never gain my respect or trust. He gave us the choice of leaving, to which a few of the others did. The thought had crossed my mind, but the way he said it caused me to keep my seat and enjoy my ale. It seemed like a number of adventurers were fine with risking their lives for a faceless employer, but unlike the rest of them, The River Princes, and their cousin, were in no rush to start the job.
Instead, we stayed in town to enjoy a day of intoxicated fun. This was, of course, after seeing the three dead adventurers in the hallway, but since we didn’t know them at all, we simply stepped over them and made our way to the tavern. That night, we drank, played music, gambled, and sang; All of the things one needed to do before heading off on some unknown adventure. There may have been a elven wench or four as well, it got a little fuzzy. But, as the festivities died down, and our blurred vision shifted to one that allowed us to walk, we made our way after our far more eager adventuring fellows.
We had wandered through a number of encampments, and even a settlement, that left little behind besides the smell of burnt buildings and rotting flesh. Twas nothing we hadn’t seen before, but it left myself a bit jealous that we did not get to partake in the festivities. The choice between a night of blood or a night of wine is always a difficult one, but since they both gave a similar tingling sensation I had little to complain about.
The tingling of the cities ale was finally starting to leave my body when we came across a bonfire in the distance. My cousin, being the sneaky little tracker he is, immediately left our side as I started playing an introductory melody for the River Princes. I had pointed out a few beautiful sea shells to my brother as we made our way toward our fellow adventurers, to which he picked them up with that sly grin of his. They would fetch a good price for the right buyer, and we were great judges of character.
As we reached the fire, I took a moment to make note of who exactly we were about to start adventuring with. A kitty-man, a midget with a lizard skin condition, and an armor clad dirt eater. The first two did little to acknowledge our presence, but the dwarf (as the rest of the world refers to them) was quick to do so, or at least point out my amazing musical prowess.
Not wanting to lose trust right away, I asked if he would share a drink of liquor with me, to which he seemed to refuse. Even my attempts to charm him into doing so were futile, and so I left him with kind words and made my way into the shadows of the night. It was time to rest. The next day would hold more than melodies and bad decisions, if my intuition was right.
The day brought us new energies, and so we all made our way up the hills to see what exactly was the source of the smoke beyond them. My cousin took point, letting us know that there was a field filled with bonfires and a small battalion of orcs. Much of the party couldn’t come up with a course of action that they liked, or that wouldn’t get us killed, so I took to the woods with Obsidian and our cousin so as not to get noticed.
It didn’t take long for the rest of the group to follow in our brilliant footsteps, but realizing that at least one of them would probably make enough noise to garner attention, I devised a plan. I suggested to one of the orcs that his allies had all turned on him, to which he responded by going on a rampage and starting to kill them. This caused an uproar in their camp, gave me time to silence the party so that we could sneak past them, and allowed us an easier path toward our destination.
Upon reaching the tower we had seen off in the distance, I heard a heated argument going on between an orc and a humanoid that held a tone to his voice that was far from orcish. I let the dwarf know about this as we hid in the trees, and we all soon got a good look at who this commanding figure was. His black scale armor and shimmering black greatsword left me wishing he would die of a heart attack so that I could sell them to a king for a fortune, but alas he lived on. And if his equipment wasn’t enough, he appeared to be able to ride atop a black dragon with ease. He was not one to be trifled with, that was for certain.
With the main threat to our survival gone, the dwarf seemed to be itching for a fight, and to be honest, he wasn’t the only one. I attempted to suggest that an orc attack his allies, but he shrugged it off, much to my dismay. And so, we got ourselves ready for combat. My cousin and brother chose to jump into the trees, with Obsidian making the dwarf double in size for battle. A good plan, but I didn’t have the time to tip my hat to him. The little lizard man covered the snow in what seemed to be blood, which seemed to hinder us more than our enemies, and though I tried to dispel it I failed.
The dwarf quickly got the attention of most of the orc, slamming his ax into a number of them as their attacks bounced off of his armor. The catfolk spawned dragon-like wings and took to the skies, casting spells down at the orcs like a true warlock. My brother used some fire spells on the enemies, while our cousin shot them with his arrows. I tried to wear some of the orcs out to the point that they passed out, blinding the few that dared to get close enough to me.
We were slowly chipping away at their forces until their commander made his presence known by kicking the door down and charging at our dwarf with a rage filled battle cry. He slammed his maul into the dwarf’s chest, and it looked like he had done some major damage to our new ally, but the lizard man proved that the powers of a God were great indeed. In a flash of healing light, the dwarf was left unharmed and continued to fight with great vigor.
Realizing the sheer power that the leader had, I took the time to blind him and most of his allies, but it wasn’t enough. The few archers they had stationed in the tower rained a hail of arrows down on the kitty warlock, and he collapsed lifelessly to the ground. One down, and even my cousin fell in battle, but Obsidian was there to help him back to his feet. I was ready to sound the tactical disappearance of the River Princes, if need be, but things quickly took a turn for the better.
The dwarf eliminated their leader, and from their it was only a matter of time before we wiped out the rest. I was able to knock one of the orcs unconscious, which gave me the pleasure of repeatedly stabbing my dagger into his chest and neck. It may have only been one kill, but it was enough.
As the rest of the enemies fell, the allies that remained started to scavenge what they could from within the tower. My brother and I found plenty of gold and other jewels and trinkets to sell to people in the future, and I’m sure that the others found others things of value as well. It was quickly decided that sleeping in the tower was not the best course of action, and so we made our way to the woods. We needed our rest after a battle like that. Death was not in the cards for the River Princes, but the same could not be said about our companions. Only time could tell their fate.
Onyx’s Loot (Debatable)
Black Pearl (200GP), Deep Blue Spinel (300GP), Smoky Quartz (50GP), Star Rose Quartz (60GP)
Bolt of Silk x2 (20GP ea), Fancy Hair Trinket x2(), Great Axe ()
Bane Short Sword +2, Bane Vs: Monstrous Humanoids (10160GP)