The sound of loud voices and heavy boots on the wooden ceiling get the PCs ready for a fight. The first orc warrior comes down the wooden staircase and is quickly followed by two more. Quiron swings his axe at the first two descending figures and nearly cleaves them in half thanks to the added strength provided by Maksim’s spell. More spells and axe blows make the orc at the top of the stairs rethink coming down into the cellar and he retreats back into the ground floor of the keep. Quiron quickly follows him up the narrow, wooden staircase and sees two more orc near a table where they had all been playing cards. Chasina follows Quiron up the stairs and the two of them engage the three orcs in melee. Maksim and his elemental take up the rear. A few seconds later, they hear the sound of more orcs coming down the stairs from the corner of the room, while the orc warlock Maksim saw while flying over the castle earlier has snuck outside the keep and casts a firestorm spell in the room, catching Maksim, Quiron, and the elemental in ribbons of flame.
Quiron, wounded by the flames, charges the warlock and wounds him with a critical blow to the head and shoulders. The orc collapses and doesn’t get up again so Quiron turns his attention back to the orcs in the room. The orcs decide to gang up on Chasina, but quickly learn that hitting her (or even standing near her when she’s hit) results in mental anguish. They do some damage but decide that further attacks are not worth it. The party dispatches the orcs on the ground floor and, after taking a quick breather, head up the stairs. Quiron runs up the stairs and as he passes the wall to his left, hears someone shout a command word which activates the magical banner hanging on the wall. The Banner of Hopelessness drains nearly all of Quiron’s will and the battle with Bulgaren and his orc warriors is on. Bulgaren’s augmented strength is formidable and his war pick attacks on Quiron and Maksim do serious damage. Eventually, they wear him down and the two standing orcs try to exit the room before they are killed. Some carefully chosen threats get them to stay put. Bulgaren is trussed up and he is taken down through the tunnel created by the elemental, ready for delivery to Artos.
Artos is very glad to see that the PCs have removed Bulgaren from Castle Defiant and expects that the planned attack on Caithness has been thwarted. He is quite certain that the temporary truce between the various orc clans and remaining outcast dwarves will no doubt fall apart and they will revert back to fighting amongst themselves and, unfortunately, raiding other communities in the Orclands. He is glad that they all made it back alive and wants to show his appreciation.
The Banner of Hopelessness was undoubtedly meant to be taken along and used against their foes, making their leaders more likely to surrender. Artos would prefer that it stay in the vaults of Zarak. He invites the PCs to stay as long as they like.
He also inquires about the group who were following the Messenger and had wanted to create a sanctuary at the old Elven ruins in the Orclands.
He also wants to know more about the Banestorm settlers from Earth – the ones who had created the swords and firearms. Do the PCs think they are a threat? Or are they perhaps a target for Megalos because of the gunpowder they use?
While Artos knows much about the history of Yrth, he has become so bogged down by his duties, he feels that he (and the dwarves in general) have been too isolated and he hopes the PCs will help his expand his knowledge and plan for the future.
He lets them know he’s been examining some of the items they brought back from the elven ruins and found some non-magical items that are actually Sahudese.
- All: 12 xp;
| 5 | Contact: Artos (Contact has very useful Skills or resources, Good relationship with Contact) 11- |
- For Quiron, Bulgaren’s Belt of Strength.
- For Maksim, Artos is willing to open his book of blue magic so that he can learn something within that school. (In game terms, no monetary cost just need to spend the xp to learn it. (See also Items>Spells>Deluge)
- For Chasina, Artos had crafted a fine sword some time ago for a man who followed the Christian god. He never returned for it so perhaps it was simply waiting for its proper owner. (See Items>Blade of Purification)
- For Zelia, Artos would like to give her something the dwarves took from the elves centuries ago as a way of making peace with those who would treat his people fairly. (See Items> Cloak of Free Action.)
Chasina, Quiron, and Maksim each have a perk from the first Campaign: Favor (1 point, Lilly’s father – Geoffrey – a nobleman in Quartedec).