Conniving Caravan

Setting off for Xul-Jarak

Taking their time on a rescue mission.

It hadn’t taken long for the Elven Court to know of the demise of their prince. In less than a weeks time, they shipped a number of assassins, spys, and bounty hunters to Melvaunt. One, a human and regular employee of the Elven Court known as Condol Naxion (though that’s likely just an alias), stood in one of the seedier taverns, dropping a heavy sack of coin into the barkeep’s hand. He had already made it to the city, established a cover, set some traps, and spotted the party… this wasn’t hard, as a dwarf wearing a skinned ogre face, and a gnome wearing the mangled face of an elven prince stand out in any city, even one as dirty as Melvaunt.

As the party prepared to set off on continuing their mission of rescuing the scions, they were approached my someone claiming to be one of Lord Nanther’s hired helpers.
“I am Condol Naxion”, he nods at Slegna, and eyes the rest of the group. “Lord Nanther is unhappy with your delay… he sent me to encourage your progress, and offer my skills as a scout. I have news to discuss before we depart, and have been travelling for some time, so it would be good to fill our bellies before we go on killing orcs. There’s a tavern a short distance from here.”
“I believe we should set off now,” Arcadian countered. “Stay off the main road, catch them by surprise.”
Slegna laughs. “Why’s that, Arcadian? Scared of a ’lil ’ol orc?”
“I fear no orc. They’re beneath me.”
“Ha! Actually, they’re a ’lil taller than msot of us… ’til I chop ’em down to size.”
“None the less, they wil lhave scouts along the main roads.”
Slegna grumbles and turns his attention to the newcomer. “Condol, was it? I could use a nice dwarven ale. I’ll even buy ye one.”
“Good, good, fine dwarf” COndol replies, seeing a plan come together mroe easily than expected. This was going to be one of the quickest, easiest payoffs in his career. “Ale does sound good.”
Gaffgarion interrupts. “We have no time for ale. We have duties to attend to. And plenty of orc corpses to create.”
“Gaffgarion,” Slegna replies, “your haste is appreciated in the form of thirst for death… but I currently thirst for an ale. There will ALWAYS be something to kill, friend.”
“Nanther’s offer of this scout is more than a slight nudge toward our goal, I’m sure.”
“If I were to stop every time someone needed a’killin I’d never have time to drink. And truly.. what kind of life is that at all?” The dwarf laughs heartily.
“A life without coin, if we fail the noble paying us.”
COndol watches the debate, not wanting to press his plans too strongly.
SLegna sees things the gnomes way. “Aye. I have a jug ’o dwarven ale, and 6 mugs. We can drink along the way.”
Arcadian inserts himself. “Shall I lead the way? ALong the way we will rondevous with a local druid, Lenwei, who can assist us in our travels.”
“By all means” Slegna confirms, and the party sets out, some of them drinkin along the way.

Their travels went realatively smooth, all things considered. This was the wilderness of Thar, after all. Beside the occasional dire wolf attack, or wandering pair of orcs, and there was a single troll burned to death by Condol’s lantern oil, but otherwise there was little excitement. On one day, some of those falling behind saw a local half-orc ranger hailing them. Wanting to ge the jump on him if need be, the party sent Norl around to flank, JessaKat hid, and the rest approached to see what he wanted.
He meant only to sell them information, valuable information that they payed handsomely for. He confirmed the scions prescence at Xul-Jarak, their use in a ritual being performed by the orcs, and a measure of the orcs’ strength – and they numbered in the tens of thousands, coming from all over Faerun to withness the trials of this orc savior. Having completed their transation, Haravak called forth his Dire Wolf, Grunwhr, who promply dropped the bumbling rogue Norl on the ground in front of the PCs, and the ranger disappeared into the forest with his companion.

Before long, the stragglers caught up with the lead scouts. Arcadian had noticed smoke coming from an orc camp nearby. They were near enough to Xul-Jarak that massive orc armies had stationed scouting camps around the ruins, and this was one of them. About half a dozen orcs, and a dire boar, as far as the party could tell.
“Here’s the plan” Slegna commanded, some of his dwarven ancestry showing itself. “Arcadian, climb that tree over there, it’ll give you a vantage point. The rest of you can flank them while I draw their attention.” And he began his march into the clearing.
The rest of the party ignored his orders. Condol snuck alongside Slegna in the bushes, waiting for a moment to strike… either his prey or the orcs. DArnell followed him, stumbling through the brush. JessaKat snuck in the opposite direction, and Arcadian fired repeatedly in rage at the orcs in the distance.
They returned fire mostly focused on Slegna, including some orc archers they hadn’t seen perched on the gigantic boulder. The orc sergeant armed himself, and an underling made for the dire boar cage. Uninterrupted, he freed it, and it charged the nearest enemy.
Slegna cleaved a couple orcs, only to clear the path for the boar to slam into him, goring him with it’s tusks. He swung his axe, slashing the creature. Arcadian fired a couple more arrows at the orcs on the boulder, and then finally moved toward a tree he began to climb. He would rain down arrows on the orcs, the archers returning fire and the ones on the ground charge slegna, some dropped by his blows, some collateral in the Boar’s attacks, and some slain by COndol, darting out of the bushes, striking, and darting back in.

The boar, angered by Slegna sticking his axe in it, charged him. The dire boar gored hi with it’s tusks, and slammed him into the ground. His axe flung to the side, the creature plowed him to the edges of the bushes where Condol hid. Sensing he was done, the creature turned it’s attention to the tree Arcadian was raining down arrows from and charged.
Condol slipped out of the bushes, and stole a couple potions from the dying Slegna’s pack. He turned the dwarfs head, slipping a dagger into the base of his skull all in one motion. He gave it a quick wiggle to give the impression of the jagged goring of a tusk, and just as quickly grabbed the dwarf’s axe and disappeared back into the bushes.
By this time Darnell had snuck back around and began climbing the boulder, to join JessaKat in striking at the orc archers. Condol remained hidden, then finished off the nearby orcs after the dire boar was distracted. As the dire boar was quickly and easily smashing the tree Arcadian clung to, Condol made his way into the brush nearby. JessaKat made quick work of the orc archers, and Darnell finished the last one. Soon they heard a deafening crack as the tree holding Arcadian cracked, and he plummeted to the ground, right at Condol’s feet.
Condol slips from the bushes with his hidden blades extended, aiming to slide one into the kidney of Arcadian, his other hand going over the elfs mouth. In the chaos the blade misses, and the elf assumes he was being helped up. Back on his feet, Arcadian fires two arrows point blank at the dire boar, droppin it in front of him. The entire orc scouting party camp lies dead, and so does Slegna.
Arcadian runs over to slegna and uses his wand of cure light wounds to no avail; he tries a second time before he accepts the truth, and gather’s his comrade’s mask. COndol strolls over to the boar, and begins cutting strips of bacon from it. Darnell carries Slegna’s body over near the campfire, and digs through his bedroll for a sheet to wrap him in. He also notices slegna’s manacles, and he grabs them, attaching one to Kohane and one to his wrist. COndol begins cooking some dire boar bacon on the campfire, and the party settles down for camp, the weight of their loss weighing on them all.
All except Condol.

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