Chotla had a vision that the way backed was choked with Nurth, hundreds waiting for them – there are many side tunnels and perhaps these were the answer – but getting lost would be… bad. There is litte time to discuss – war drums are heard in the dark. The tunnels seem more clausterphoci than before. As they are debating, moving away from the stench of the dead bodies, the party met Nondarp, a renegade Nurth that volunteered to guide them – she “knows the ways of her people, guide you she can”. As soon as the party reluctantly agreed – after a brief discussion of killing her or not (her story sounded sincere enough – perhaps she was a rare sane one amongst her kind, wanting to get out), and the Golden Shild took her hand and she felt instantly bounded to the group. The darkness seemed to receed a bit when traveling with her. And travel they did, right into Black Omen Hall – the ancient and shunned home of Goblin King of Hungerdouse. A vast set of caverns and caves – the majority of which may have contained treasure, but were left alone in their quest to make it through. They encountered body after body – all organic material gone but for bones and metal and stone scraps. Off spawn, Orrish, Nurth slaves, all manner of foul creature locked in the embrace of death. Battle after battle – they turned on themselves apparently, or were turned by something. The remains of the adventuring band sent a thousand years ago – they all seemed to have died – were scatted were they fell. At least three were found – they all had metal tags on their gear identifying them, and more metal in the bone pile to mark them out as the party explored the caverns. Nondarp knew only of some of the area – even she dared not explore much further, but she knew of the ancient map scribe on the wall which showed the way out. At last they came to the silent amphitheater of the priests of the Orrish, and the stone steps leading up to their sacred spaces. The party could hear something in the distance – stone on stone. They could see the map inscribed in stone at the back of the altar and amphitheater – it showed the way through the caverns of Black Omen Hall and the way out – but it would be perilous. The priests quarters represented a possible treasure trove – if it was there. they decided to explore a little bit, perhaps they might find the remains of another adventurer. At that moment, a great beast of stone made its appearance – forcing their decision and causing them to race up the stairs. Sankofa said the creature reminded him of a “rhino” from his homeland – a large spike on its “snout” and stocky and… angry. The corridors were trapped – but the traps were old and the spikes and spears shattered on impact. They broke through the priests quarters and found one of the treasuries – collapsed and guarded by 2 of The Risen, wearing odd snake skins that bit those that struck them (and fell apart when they died!). Nondarp climbed like a spider to explore the area – a strange creature seemingly half spider, half… other. She got the crypt keepers to turn their backs to the others, who rushed in from behind and pummeled them to death – before sustained several blows themselves. In one fight, more than half the party’s health was consumed. Finding a bricked up wall behind the collapsed rubble looked promising, and moving the rubble caused a minor collapse and they awoke a troll that nearly killed Kanis in one shot as they fled. Nondarp concealed herself and it went right past her, pursuing the big target of Kanis. Kanis lead it back to the ledge where the stairs were, and like a bull-fighter, it charged him and he dodged – failure would have meant death – and the beast fell onto the stone rhino creature.
the fight with the strange stone rhino like creature must have been epic – the horn that could pierce the hide of the impervious troll perhaps the only thing that would have been a threat. Fleeing deeper into the caverns – Nondarp mentally mapped the way and with her excellent orienteering skills lead the way unerringly, they scavenged nothing but a few things from the dead adventurers they found – and they discovered at least half the group along the way – one nearly made it out, just a hundred feet from the exit. One was a priest of the death god and turned the corpses of fallen Orrish against their own kind. It was hellish. He inscribed true death in some paces, and was responsible for rising the fallen goblins to battle their brethren in others. After getting through Black Omen Hall – they traveled in silence for kilometers. Up down, left right, following the “main” passage Nondarp was sure of, they came upon a few minor defensive posts. They managed to overwhelm 2 bands of defending Nurth – they had to be clever and output the better senses of the Nurth, thankfully the dead Nurth and Nondarp was able to provide enough cover. At last, they encountered a final defense – too many to outright fight – especially with Chotla and Kanis heavily poisoned by now. Using stealth, they snuck their way through the last outpost – except Sankofa. He was last, and awoke the guards, and instead of running to the party, he ran away – leading the Nurth away and saving the party. The group made it out finally, after 2 days. Chotla crawled out, severely poisoned and barely able to move (down nearly 3 AM from poison), and drew out the Umbakians they feared were waiting for them. He claimed he was the only one to make it out – the rest died from poison. Who can say he was lying? He was riddled with it. Three squires took him away, but the others in the party overheard them say that the ones we left behind were taken captive – Fred the Necromancer, Alain the groomsman, and the war horse of Silvas – the Umbakians took them all. The party got away after that, taking the Golden Child north – Taelin followed the mountains base out of the lands the Umbakians controlled – missing the last far range patrol they had sent out. They fond a note in Taelin’s gear – written in Nakirian (at least its signed with Sankofa’s symbol) they must get it translated!
Captives! Chotla is taken to Fort Pavec – where he meets Jaq. He is interrogated painfully, and feed them with tales of evil, feeding on their drive for Glory – he convinces the Umbakaisn to mount an expedition and “cleanse” the area. Jaq eggs them on as well – he figures if they lose the Golden Child, but gain some “victory”, they can leave without losing face and open war wont break out. Fred the Necromancer is ordered put to death. Jaq explains where he came from, claims him an innocent, and that he should be spared. In her dreams, some obscure law comes to her – perhaps the wonderment from Radiance Bond – and she builds a case for Fred as an “innocent” – and then offers to fight in his stead, to battle to prove his innocence. Barely recovered from her lashes and last battle, she is given no armor or shield this time, and a sword that is as likely to break as stay together. The Umbakians seem bent on revenge against her and The Gallants.
the Breakout? That night, she is optimistic. She discusses a break-out attempt with Chotla: She says that of the 470 normal fortress staff, only around 70 remain. at least 60 are chasing the remains of her army, and the rest have besieged Womac Tower and will be going after the glory of attacking the Nurth – that leaves a skeleton crew. She has tried using her mesmerism on the guards – but the guards are taken from the most stalwart believers of the Lightbringer – nothing works on them, no trick of seduction or charm – she got a beating for it as well. She has a few other thing she can try, but without support (like charming someone) she did not think it possible of getting out. Now that you are here, she is willing to try. It may be days before the poison leaves your system, and she is lame in left foot from the old injury, and Fred and Alain are up for it. They will not be looking too closely at us and now is the time – even debilitated the way they are. If you can get the lock open (and she has tried to finesse with utensils and got a beating) somehow, and she thinks she can, overpower a guard, then unlock the other cages – together we can escape up to the surface, go over the wall and just jump in the river and until you get to the hills of Loamwold and the halflings… then go north back into the Saelish through the Burnt Woods and to the garrison city of Keptrich – from there re-arm and get back into the fight. She needs others to help her walk, and she is sure that she can help with the poison.