Having returned recently from their long-range expedition, the group gathered at The Tavern in Argel to relax and determine their next course of action. That course was determined quickly, as a patrol returned bearing the near-dead body of Gellak Vauth, a member of the rival Red Banner adventuring company. Quickly putting him back together, they got a run-down of their latest mission – one that ended in almost total disaster.
The Red Banner was commissioned to go out into the Bloody Ridge and determine the status of a large group of orcs, led by a hill giant and what appeared to be two half-orc commanders. If they were, in fact, half orcs, it would prove that the “giants in charge” were getting serious about bringing more intelligent leadership into the area to direct upcoming attacks. They were asked to get numbers and kidnap one of the leaders it at all possible for interrogation. According to Gellak, all initially went well. They intercepted a small orc scouting party headed in the direction of an old ruin where the main body was supposedly holed up. This group was bearing a scroll detailing the upcoming arrival of more orcish troops, along with a larger group of hobgoblins. The wizard Coanor Ethilfin, leader of the group, hid the scroll by disguising it as a scroll of magic spells in case they were captured. His idea proved prophetic. The group snuck quietly into the area, intent on capturing one of the half-orcs. One thing quickly led to another and the whole group was surprised and attacked by the invaders, which included a number of ogres and a troll along with the giant and the leaders. Gellak remembered seeing the gnome alchemist, Glim Nackle, fall from arrow wounds, and saw Kerig Cresia the cleric of St. Cuthbert and the dwarf fighter Yurrim Highlion, get cut off from the rest of the party and get forced up and to the west of the ruined keep. He had no idea where Coanor and the halfling rogue Merogo were. Exhausted and barely alive, Gellak made the decision to try to get back to Argel and get help to rescue his comrades and friends.
Typically, when adventuring parties get wiped out, the common practice among the liberation forces is to say a prayer and raise a mug of ale to honor those lost, then go about business, as war is hard enough without trying to rescue every would-be hero that came along. But in this case, Cuthalion made the decision to try, as the information on the scroll was much too valuable to let go. He quickly asked Halladorn if they all would take up the cause and complete the mission as originally requested. Answering in the affirmative, the party began preparations to leave once again. This time, however, Gellak Vauth was determined to accompany them, his sole intent on rescuing his friends – treasure be damned. Valil the elf Ranger had determined when they returned to Argel that he needed to go north toward Amon Din to check on the status of his family that headed that way several months ago. The Inquisitor Arawn was greeted at The Tavern with a note from one of his superiors, asking that he return to The Theocracy to help root out a possible incursion of evil. So, a short day later, Halladorn, Stanislau, Oxyl and two new members – Badger and Randal – left Argel along with the large and very pissed off barbarian Gellak Vauth, to retrieve the scroll of information, capture one of the leaders of the orc band and bring back the remains of the Red Banner adventuring company.
(TO BE CONTINUED)