From the Journal of Thenric Blackthorne
Day 4 of our journey to Elturel
The rain has dissipated, but the earth is still soggy and muddy, making our travel ever slower. Mud cakes our horses, as it does their riders. Dirt and grit infiltrate our armor and clothes, and all our belongings are damp with the recent rains. Without meaning to, the muck camouflages us against our enemies. At a distance, they know not whether we are riders or ugly gray rocks on the landscape.
As we stopped for the evening, we pitched the tents we “borrowed” from the barbarian bandits we encountered the night before. My watch was the last, so I donned my leather armor more for warmth than protection, and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the blanket, looking forward to several hours of undisturbed rest. Foolish is the man who believes in the promise of a good night rest on this journey!
I awoke to the sounds of another attack upon our encampment. Grabbing my bow and quiver of arrows, I ran from the bed into the bedlam. Barton was on watch and noticed orcs sneaking into our camp. The fight was short as Barton made them pay for their disturbing our slumber. Once Chazz roused from his bedroll, he roared his displeasure at the interruption, then violently voiced his anger more effectively with his ax. I attacked where I could, my arrows struggled to find their targets, striking only two times out of five. For most of the battle, Magnus lay blissfully unaware of the surrounding mayhem. While I laughed at his ability to sleep through a fight, I understood the reason; exhaustion overtook me as the last orc fell.
Once the battle was over, I crawled back to my bunk to sleep. No sooner than I closed my eyes another set of villains attacked us. This time two dark fey creatures cast darkness to hide their movement in the camp. I slept through most of this fight, awakening only when I heard the battle-cries of my comrades. Stumbling out of my tent I noticed the sphere of darkness in the camp. With no target I could see, I cast a spell of Sleep into the sphere, affecting one creature. This caused the darkness to dissolve, and the party killed the remaining creature. Barton dispatched the sleeping fey before I could, as punishment for interrupting my night. We FINALLY could rest until the morning.
Day 5 of our journey to Elturel
As the day’s first light crept over the horizon, it heartened us to see no rain. While overcast skies were above us and the damp ground beneath us, we sensed the conditions of our travel were improving. We followed the wagon wheel trail we noticed the day before, ever watchful for an ambush or enemies around us.
Barton noticed the sounds of a battle ahead of us. Creeping forward, he spied a band of 2 ogres and many orcs fighting humans protecting a wagon. Believing these humans to be cultists and not worth rescuing, we decided to wait until the battle completed and then attack the survivors. Alas, this strategy, like most of our previous plans, doomed to failure. While we waited, the huge rider and bull surprised us, supported by hardened orc veterans and an orcish spell caster. I quickly darted away from the melee to avoid the carnage and shoot my arrows, but the bull and orcs quickly surrounded Magnus. I learn later the bull was called an auroch and its rider was a tanarukk. The tanarukk seemed intent of killing Barton. Chazz moved to defend the Ranger, while I supported Magnus at a distance. Magnus was the first to fall, taking hits from all sides from the auroch and orcs. Many of the orcs moved to attack Barton, Rank and Chazz. Rank fell next, then Barton. Only Chazz and I remained standing, and I eyed a horse for an escape before deciding to continue the fight. Poor decision. One of the orcs seemed angry as my killing of the auroch and raked me repeatedly with claws. He fell at the last arrow of Barton. A scimitar to my chest dropped me to the soggy steppe, leaving Chazz to fight alone. As I lay near death, I had the sensation of being lifted on a horse and led away. Did Chazz defeat the orcs or were the orcs the victors? I knew not. Only time would tell.