The Goblin Grinders of Varisia

0142 On the trail of Blark and Isabella

Heading to the pass, trailing Blark’s orcs. We’ll get a local guide, and take some of Bjork’s trackers, head out, climb the plateau, and get over the pass into Belkzen. Good orcs on the river Esk, have been trying to break out from the surrounding orc tribes. They might be allies. Their leader is a warpriest of Sarenrae, Mahja Firehair. Their land is a ways north of Skull Hill Trunau is tolerant of humans, not entirly orc-held.
Let’s send the boat up the river, around the east side of Belkzen. It can come up the river Esk, and get to the north of Skull Hill. Sunash made Skeet an awesome magic folding wagon, that can also be a sales stall, and lab. Our guides get us up to the pass without incident, they know the parts of the road to go around.
Leave Janderhoff 4th Pharast. Get to the pass 7th Pharast. Get across the border, our guide and Bjork keep us away from trouble, we only see one party of orcs(20-30), but they are headed to the plateau. Couldn’t tell the tribe, looked like a raiding party. Spend a night off the pass, nothing disturbs us at night. We get through the pass the next day, the guides turn back. Around noon, Gelid and Sunash notice something, something that reminds them of something they’ve seen before. looks like a campsite, with a small roadside shrine to Iomedae. Skeet is going to do an augury, is this Isabella’s camp, which way did she go. The camp is ~6 weeks old, around the time she should have been in the area. One of the trackers thinks he found a trail going north. The Augury says that she was here, and headed for Skull Hill. Bjork advises to approach skull hill from the west, the defenses are arranged to protect against invasions from the Kesrel River.
A few days into Belkzen, Gelid and Sunash spot light glinting off something to the north of us, looks like a patrol, doesn’t seem like they’ve seen us, we hide successfully. 50 half-orcs, 37-38 on foot, 12-13 mounted on wargs. They didn’t see or smell us, and continue past. They are from the Black Sun tribe, a mercenary tribe that works all over Belkzen. They look like they’re headed to the pass. Issy is not with them, no prisoners. We get to the fort, it’s halfway up a mountain, and carved straight into the stone. There’s only one obvious route into the fort. Bjork knows the back way in. She takes us up the mountain, once we get to it, we can see a well-hidden switchback path. Can just see it.
Looks like we’ll be getting to the fort around 10pm. We get up the path a ways, and then… We head up, and Bjork stops up 100 yards short of the door, she asks how we want to go ahead. We disguise Gozzar and Sunash as half-orcs with the hats, and head it. We get to 40 ft from the door, hear something above us, and 2 half orcs stand up and challenge us. Bonk and Bjork answer that they are here to see their brother. Bjork? You don’t look like Bjork. I’m Bonk, she’s Bjork. Oh, Ok. You have slaves? come on in. Bjork says yes, and punches him for mistaking Bonk for her. The door opens and lets us in, no guards inside, but a couple archers on a platform above us. They wave, Blark throws a rock at them. Bjork saw one of the archers headed in to tell Blark that we’re here, we better go see him.
Once we’re inside, the place is pretty fancy and well kept. Up some stairs and east. everything looks magically constructed from the rock of the mountain. At the top of the stairs, there’s some orcs and half orcs milling around in a hall. Bonk starts looking and asking for his brother. There’s a big dais in the room, with a giant sized throne on it. The half orc on the throne looks like Blark, but he’s 12 ft tall. He sees Bonk and Bjork and says ‘pull the lever’ ‘Ok boss’ Portcullis drop over all the doors. We make some nice intimidate rolls. Blark stands up and steps away from the throne, Bonk notices that he’s really only 8 ft tall, the rest of us can see that too, now. Skeet still thinks he’s pretty tall.
He walks up to Bonk, “you left, you weren’t supposed to leave”
Bonk: what, I was supposed to sit around and rot in the pens until some despot decided I should be his lackey? we both know I wasn’t the type to run a warband.
He headbutts Bonk, he seems significantly stronger. He walks over to Bjork, she goes to butt him, he grabs her by the throat, and throws her down. “No headbutt for you, you took half my men. We almost didn’t make it back from that stupid temple, because of you.”
Asks Bonk, Why are you here, Bonk gives him a cold iron axe, you loaned me this, I pay my debts. He isn’t bright, so accepts that that the reason.
Turns to Bjork "why are you here?
Bonk: I asked her to bring me. Blark finally notices the rest of us. Why are they here, you bring me slaves? They help carry the beer, I make more in a month than you can steal in a year. Gives Blark a GG ale. Blark seems impressed that Bonk found a way to make that much money. There’s no one here who’d buy stuff, it’s al raiding. Bonk still wants to try selling here. Why are the Black Sun tribe here? I had to hire them when Bjork took my men. They’re expensive. Why do you need so many troops in the middle of nowhere?
Grask needs us to hold the line against the war party from Korvosa. War party? from Korvosa? Yeah, Grask said to send bands to raid across the pass, and look for the Korvosans? We found some nice stuff in a temple, there was a really interesting sword, but Grask has it now. “stuff from temples is dangerous!” Grask wanted it, we had to give it to him. “remember Dung?” Oh yeah, he turned into it when he put on that cursed crown from a temple. Bjork is getting up, and looking pissed. “Why is Grask in charge, he’s dumber than you.” He’s smarter than Bjork, he has steady income. He’s in charge of Ungir, he collects Taxes. He’s doing trade. “with who” He has a lot of loyalty with the orcs who follow him.
doesn’t know who Bonk tells him he wants to take the sword back, he doesn’t trust swords taken from temples. Ask if anyone came looking for temple stuff. 3-4 weeks ago, a half orc with the Black sun asked about the sword. She was smart, and talked good. I told her that Grask had it, and took it to Urgir. Blark has to stay here, so he won’t interfere with Bonk doing anything. He won’t help Grask get it back if we take it. Bonk did him a favor a while back. He points to a female half orc, she knows maps, she can tell you where Grask would keep the sword. Bonk gets him to make up with Bjork. Blark asks if we can leave some GG ale. Well, off to Urgir!

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