Faces flush with exhaustion and determination The Company stands around the fire with weapons drawn surrounding the prisoners. The dancing orange of the fire-light contrasts strongly with the deep blue of the cooling autumn night and the smell of blood and sweat permeate camp. As T’alen translates the questions and answers to The Company you can just make out the breaths of the two mingling in the cold night air—speaking of a winter to come.
After making sure all the rest of the combatants are dead, doing a secondary search of the camp, and checking the tracks of the northbound goblins, the whole group silently takes a half step forward shrinking the living cage that surrounds the greenskins. The goblins warriors that are left begin to huddle together ignoring their chieftain…they see the silent stares between the group and the deadly intent inherent. The occasional gravelly whimper can be heard escaping the creatures as they realize the chance of escape from the group that just decimated their whole camp is quickly approaching zero.
Kaarak’s wide eyes dart back and forth squinting in terror and distrust as he tries to comprehend what The Company is talking about while discussing the possibilities. He seemingly knows a few common words but can’t string a sentence together. He begins wringing his hands together desperately and the other goblins have forgotten their anger of the chief and replaced it with sheer terror as none of The Company has decided to sheath their weapons. The chieftain eagerly waits to be addressed and welcomes any questions with fawning praise.
Where? Uh, well, I think we are heading for the Bonegrind. I only lead the Sistarks, Nargash was the one leading us. Only two chieftains chose to come on the pilgrimage. Me and Etter. Etter went ahead with some scouts to look for some Crow Eaters in the Black Wood.
He smiles gratefully for the opportunity to be helpful. Raising his hands as if imploring you to use him some more Kaarak nods his head happily.
Nargash? He was a mighty priest of Erythnul…you must be very powerful to defeat him in combat! He told us of the awakening and of the summons to the homeland…there is supposed to be some sort of gathering at the Bonegrind. I’m not really a priest…and he didn’t really share a lot of information with me. He kept saying that Erythnul would be glad to accept my soul if I didn’t feel helpful in this world…so I didn’t ask too many questions.
Again nodding happily he makes a little clucking noise that could almost be considered a purr of contentment.
I’m not sure anyone actually rules Lodd? There are great powerful creatures of legend living in the far north…and there are powerful orc and goblin nations spread throughout…but…I don’t think there is a king or anything sir…I’m sure you would know if there is…you are so much smarter than me. But, Lodd is bigger than all of the Northlands…or so the stories go. I was but a small boy the last time I was within my motherland.
He looks at you sideways…a little leery that he didn’t give you what you wanted; but, after a second starts nodding his head content that he gave you what he could.
I’ve never heard of Naylia.
He begins shaking a little.
Are you sure it is in Lodd? I’ve never heard of it…it doesn’t sound goblinoid.
His eyes strain with the fear of not being believed. His lips begin to whiten and the skin around his eyes tenses and twitches in strain. He reaches out to grab your hand and starts sobbing a little that he really doesn’t know the answer.
I don’t know what a quota is. And I’m not sure what you are talking about.
Almost reaching a screeching wail the blubbering chieftain now sees his death as certain and barely makes the words come out as he weepingly explains that he doesn’t know anything about a letter or quota and that he was just following the priest so that the priest would stop killing his tribe.
Curate Kadre…sounds like an administrator for the church of Erythnul.
Desperately grabbing on to something that he might know a little about…his sobs die to a simpering whine.
Ohhhh. The Bloodgorge Order is part of the old religion. They were the takers for the sacrifice. They used to raid villages every year and take the youngest and strongest to burn in their pyres and stretch across their racks and slaughter in their temples. The old ways of Erythnul are mostly avoided now-a-days as it’s hard to grow a nation strong when you keep on killing your best members. It took the priests a long time to realize slaughter could work two ways.
He almost laughed at his witty last line…and he smiles with a large wad of mucus resting on the crest of his mouth and tear-lines crossing his green wrinkled face. Rubbing his hands together as if trying to warm them he continues answering the questions.
Which farm? Oh, you mean the last one. Well, since Eythnul still demands slaughter…and we don’t sacrifice ourselves anymore we use the Right of Battle to find sacrifices. It is much easier and more practical.
This seems matter of fact to him…and he apparently misses the anger of The Company increasing due to his flippant words. He smiles reassuringly. Intense whimpers now start chorusing from the warrior goblins behind him.
Who is my god? Well, I’ve never been very religious…but when a priest of Erythnul comes to visit your tribe you better pick up the slack or he might decide to revisit the old ways with your head and the heads of your family. I hear Pelor is a good god to worship? Perhaps I will start praying to him…and learn to live with the tribes of man?
He smiles pathetically in what you guess was meant to be ingratiating.
T’alen, sick of dealing with the lecherous little beast, turns away and starts walking toward the east. Like a silent deadly breeze Cora slips behind the chieftain and slits his throat from ear-to-ear. The greenskin starts gurgling…completely surprised from the sneak attack…his arms flailing as he desperately tries to speak…and then yell out to his captors.
Talton, not trying to hide anything, strides up to the goblin and smashes its skull in with his mace leaving nothing but a crater where the ingratiating face was.
Before the body of the chieftain can even hit the ground the other goblins scatter, screeching in terror. They scramble every which direction causing a slight stir in The Company. Perhaps causing a bit more trouble than was expected…not one goblin survives the melee…no great escape…no rousing story to be sung.
The quiet that ensues after the slaughter is deafening.
The Company of the Manicore goes about piling the bodies for a mass grave or burning, organizing what equipment they wish to keep and what they wish to leave, setting up a suitable camp and watch, and organizing a way to evenly distribute the treasure gained. While the words of Kandure echo in your minds.
This isn’t the first tribe I’ve followed up to the Blackstone. If you don’t make your move now, I would be VERY careful about heading into those woods without some serious reinforcements.
After securing the camp and cleaning the mess of the battle…the night passes uneventfully. You wake up to steel gray skies and the light flaky fluttering of the first snows hitting the ground and melting before it can accumulate.
Okay, we should definitely get the treasure allotment in writing so that Dwayne can organize the page properly. As well, you guys should decide if you are burying, carrying, or taking some of the equipment and coins back to the village. After Dwayne has adjusted the treasure he will distribute the shares allotted…you must update you character when this happens. If you are pooling the money together there need to be a clear allotment of shares for when you do get to a place where you can spend it.
As a general rule of thumb used equipment can be sold for a quarter of the list value in the Players Handbook. If it is steel and in good condition you can get half the listed value. This assumes that you find vendors that can accept the sheer volume of stock…this might not be the case in most small villages.
I also need a consensus on what direction The Company going to head.