Episode 10 - Horned Hold, Part III

The Horned Helm – Orc Barracks:

Duergar lord

From behind the doors on the western side of the room, the party could overhear rough voices speaking in a guttural language. A rumbling voice interrupted the speakers; the first speaker laughed harshly, then resumed talking.

Carefully peering inside, Paelias was able to see a tall double door of solid iron standing in the southwest corner of the room; a massive, reinforced bolt barring entry from the other side. Four orc warriors were milling about, talking and keeping watch. In addition to the orcs, a hulking ogre with an iron collar was hunkered down in a corner of the room.

“I can see four orcs and an ogre in the room,” Paelias whispered.

“We should block the entrance and let them come to us,” Tempest suggested as he pointed towards Balomir, “if we keep the ogre in the back, the rest of you guys can hit him with ranged attacks.”

With their plan ready, Balomir pushed open the door and moved into the doorway. From behind him, Woodie blasted two of the orcs with frigid icy rays. The closest orc swung a mighty greataxe while the rest of his clan hurled hand axes with deadly precision.

With a mighty swing, Balomir cleaved through the closest orc, dropping the snarling beast to the ground.

From the back row, Paelias’ dagger flashed through the air, striking another of the orcs. Sting followed up by putting two bolts into another orc, knocking it to the ground. With the front orcs down, the ogre lumbered in towards the party, bringing his massive greatclub to bear on Tempest.

With a blast of chilling cold vapours, Woodie hampered the orc’s movements, making their attacks ineffective.

Spotting an opportunity, Sting launched himself into the fray. Dashing between Balomir and Tempest, he leapt trough the air, striking at the lumbering ogre with his blades and delivering two devastating blows. The beast wailed in agony as it crumpled to the floor. Twisting himself past the falling ogre, Sting landed next to one of the remaining orcs and with a backhanded swing, planted his war pick into the startled creature’s side.

With the ogre down, the orc engaged with Sting called to his last remaining kin in its guttural language before striking back at the halfling. As its greataxe connected, the beast became invigorated, snarling at the adventurers. Stepping forward, Tempest’s sword cut into the beast, silencing it forever.

The last orc made a break for the northern doors.

“Don’t let that one get away!” Tempest called to his comrades.

Balomir swung his axe and shouted a commanding challenge “By Kord’s right arm, you will stand and face me, foul creature!”

Ignoring the dwarf’s call, the orc opened the door to flee.

Sting dashed into the hallway, blocking the orc from escape. As he ran past, the orc took a feeble swing at the halfling. Divine energies surrounded it, causing it to feel the wrath of Balomir’s challenge while poison sprayed from the halfling’s armour, inflicting even more pain on the pathetic orc. With one final thrust, Sting’s blade put the creature out of its misery.

The Horned Helm – Murklemor’s Chamber:

Moving into the hallway, the party proceeded towards a set of double doors directly opposite the orc guard post. As they approached, they heard the roar and crackle of burning logs. Over the sound of the fire, they could make out a guttural voice ranting viciously.

Stepping closer, Balomir said “Ach, bloody duergar! They speak dwarven but I cannae make oot their accent. I can only pick up some o’ the words,” the dwarf informed the rest of the party.

“He’s definitely givin’ that other one a lashin’. He’s callin’ im lazy, unfit, and weak,” Balomir said with a chuckle. “Now he’s speculatin’ that if the clan wasnae riddled wi’ doubt and weakness, they wouldnea be so beholden tae the Mages of Saruun.”

“Looks like we’ve found Murklemor,” Paelias offered.

“Is everyone ready?” asked Tempest, receiving nods of approval from his friends. “Then let’s do this.”

Throwing open the doors, the group of adventurers charged forward.

On either side of the room stood two large fireplaces filled with roaring flames. A short staircase lead up to an area furnished as a bedroom. The stairs flanked by statues of leering gargoyle-like monsters.

Four grim-looking duergar turned and glared at the party. One standing at the top of the steps, wearing armour of black plate and carrying an enormous maul spoke… “So, you think to challenge the Grimmerzhul?” he said in a snarling voice. “It’s your last mistake, fools! I think I’ll sell the lot of you to mind flayers and count my gold while they feast on your brains.”

Sting, still feeling the thrill of the last battle, was the first to act. Charging in, he was met by the steady swing of a duergar warhammer.

Seeing the duergar hit his diminutive friend, Paelias hurled his dagger, inflicting a serious wound on the guard.

Moving towards the centre of the room, Balomir called forth the power of Kord, challenging all the duergar to “pick on someone yer own size, ya bastards!”

Taking him up on his challenge, Murklemor swung his massive maul, the blow knocking the sturdy dwarf back several feet. The weight of the maul pulling the duergar along with it.

The remaining duergar at the top of the stairs, still stinging from Murklemor’s berating, turned her attention to the party and unleashed a rain of fiery brimstone hail. The blast knocking Tempest off his feet.

With a magical blast of her own, Woodie retaliated, knocking one of the duergar shock troopers from his feet. The other duergar moved towards Sting, swinging his warhammer before him and landing another blow against the halfling.

Quickly getting back to his feet, Tempest’s sword cleaved into the duergar’s shoulder. Enraged at the blow, the creature bellowed a war cry and through some fiendish magic, grew to double his size.

Trading spells, the duergar theurge and Woodie both cast their magic. Vile fumes surrounded the eladrin wizard, obscuring her vision but not stopping her from filling the room with a chilling cloud.

Turning his attention to his injured underling, Murklemor wreathed the inflated duergar with healing fire.

“Feel the bite of my blades,” Sting called out as he landed a killing blow against the flaming duergar. In doing so, the healing flames had the opposite effect against him and singed his hands.

Seeing the halfling kill his guard, an enraged Murklemor pushed past Balomir, ignoring the dwarf’s call of challenge, and struck at the tiny figure. The weight of his hammer was enough to send Sting flying 10 feet through the air, landing in one of the roaring fire pits.

“Son of a bitch,” he howled. “That’s friggin’ hot,” he cried as he scampered out of the fire and patted at the flames on his trousers. It was obvious to all that the halfling was in great pain and close to death.

Reaching down his large, calloused hand, Balomir channelled divine healing power into his half-pint partner while Tempest called out, “Come on my stout-hearted friend, don’t give up now,” inspiring Sting back to battle.

Continuing his attack, Murklemor swung his maul again but the crafty Sting was able to retreat out of harm’s way. Seeing the duergar advance on her smouldering ally, Woodie aimed two icy rays at the duergar, freezing him to the spot and preventing him from continuing his assault on the halfling.

On the other side of the room, Paelias, blinded by the theurge’s vile fumes continued his own attack against the other duergar shock trooper, landing a devastating blow that pushed the foul thing into one of the fire pits. The duergar let out a wail of anger and, like his clan-mate, magically grew double in size.

From the top of the stairs, the theurge aimed another spell at the weakened halfling. A bolt of fire burst from her fingers, streaked across the room and caught Sting squarely in the chest. It was more than the little guy could take and his body slumped, unconscious, to the ground.

With the massive shock trooper standing in front of her, Woodie blasted it with magic missiles. Paelias followed with another devastating thrust of his dagger, killing the duergar, its body collapsing into the flames.

Quickly moving to his fallen ally’s side, Balomir poured a healing potion into Sting’s mouth. Spluttering and coughing, the halfling’s eyes blinked open and he staggered back to his feet. Realizing he wouldn’t survive another hit from Murklemor’s hammer, he retreated to the hallway where he could quaff another healing potion and catch his breath.

Having taken several hits himself, Murklemor wreathed himself in flames which appeared to invigorate him.

Continuing her attacks from the raised section of the room, the theurge unleashed another rain of fiery brimstone hail. This time knocking Paelias and Balomir off their feet. With lightning speed, the nimble eladrin rogue got back to his feet and retaliated by hurling two daggers at the duergar caster.

Rising up, Balomir pressed his attacks against Murklemor, challenging the duergar to go toe-to-toe with him.

Eyeing the situation and seeing that Balomir had the duergar leader under control, Tempest turned his attention to the theurge. Calling on the elemental powers of his birthright, his form rippled like water as he flowed across the room, whipping between Balomir and Murklemor in a graceful but deadly surge.

Feeling the bite of Paelias’ daggers, the theurge raised her hands and a wave of despair washed over the eladrin. Feeling dazed and slowed he tried throwing another dagger but was unsuccessful in hitting the duergar.

Moving further into the room, Woodie called forth another chilling cloud, engulfing the theurge and hampering her attacks.

Sting, having caught his second wind, returned from the hallway and, taking up his crossbow, fired two bolts at the theurge.

Like generations of their ancestors had before them, the dwarven paladin’s axe and the duergar leader’s maul came together again and again. The ring of steel on steel near deafening.

Returning from his watery form, Tempest’s blade struck soundly against the theurge. The evil caster crumpled to the ground leaving Murklemor alone in his fight against the adventurers. Surrounding the duergar leader, the adventurers took turns piercing, slashing and blasting him with their weapons and spells.

Realizing he was doomed, Murklemor attempted to flee but the adventurers continued their attacks, making his flight impossible.

Cornered and without his underlings to assist him, the duergar took one last flailing swing with his massive maul, hitting Balomir once again. “You’ll regret interferrin’ with the Grimmerzhul clan!” he spat in a snarling voice.

In his reckless abandon, he dropped his guard. A mistake Sting gladly took advantage of. From behind Tempest and Balomir, the halfling leapt onto one of the gargoyle statues, springing off and flipping in mid air, he planted both his blades in Murklemor’s side. Battered, bruised and bleeding, the duergar slumped to the ground. His reign of terror had come to an end.

Episode 10 - Horned Hold, Part III

Terror of Nagash AndyH