The worm continued to gnaw at Vhox’s brain until Al approached, trying to sever the Orc’s head. Spittle and dura-mater bits sprayed over Al as the worm reared back and hissed a warning. The group soon attacked the worm, slaying it just after it latched onto Grumble’s bear-form head.
Al clumsily hacked away at Vhox’s head, standing up in time to see Theodore walking as if in a daze towards the fishery. Al and Grumble followed along, Al had a bad feeling in his stomach as he approached the wooden building covered in fishing nets and other gear. Theodore walked in through the ajar door to see a dead orc slumped against a wooden counter. The room was lit by a greenish light coming from the stone salt-aging room.
The group slowly approached the door, Al tried to hold Theodore back but the compulsion to enter was too strong. Theodore pushed the door open to see a green fire beneath a cauldron. Ursula the orc witch was in the room, and with a flick of her wrist sent the flames flaring up before dying back down. The room smelled of bone broth, and the remains of a butchered Orc were piled in the corner.
Ursula laughed maniacally and displayed a totem of Theodore, made from the lock of hair he earlier provided her. She whispered into the totem, “give me the head of Vhox” and Theodore felt himself compelled to ask Al for the head. Al handed over the head to Theodore, who walked in in turn across to the Orc witch.
She took the head from him and the compulsion charm faded. Theodore stepped back to behold Ursula whisper a twisted spell that coaxed the skull out form Vhox’s head. She dropped the bone into the broth and held up the face for all to witness. She whispered “What fun I am going to have with you Vhox!” and chuckled to herself.
Al spoke up, “You promised us the Slaying Stone.“ Ursula chortled, “Did I? I suppose I did. Very well, you kept your end of the bargain, I will keep mine.” She retrieved a leather-wrapped stone from the corner of the room and handed it over to Al. She mused, “You all have been good servants to Ursula, and servants are hard to find. Are you looking for more work? I have many enemies to slay and tasks to be done.”
Al demanded that Ursula relinquish the totem of Theodore, and Ursula agreed that she would do so in return for information regarding the Hermit Redmaine, who she believes to live to the South. The party assented and made their exit.
As the group set fire to the remaining watch tower, they skirmished with a small band of orcs and goblins. Grumble and Al were coaxed to larger sized by Theodore’s magic, and made quick work of the enemies. The last goblin fled in terror from the giant bear, and the party did not give chase.
They readied a boat and waited as the fire took, ensuring that the tower would burn down. After a few minutes a large group of orcs and goblins returned to the area, led by the escaped goblin. The leader saw the burning tower and ordered his troops to put out the flames with water from the river. Theodore cast Fog Cloud on the riverbank, delaying the goblins for long enough to ensure that the tower was lost to the flames.
The party returned to the inn, paying 2g each for a night’s rest. Al found himself drawn towards the bar before he retired, and he took a seat next to Beatrix the Tailor. She chided him about his ragged garments and then he asked her if she knew anything about the Hermit Redmaine. She related what she knew:
The Hermit Redmaine was once a trusted guard to the noblility of Fallcrest, Lord Faren Markelhay. When Lord Markelhay was still a young lord warden he was besmitten for a woman who called herself Lady Oblington, who came calling under the auspices of being a student of the wizard Fox Erlong, famous through the lands. Lady Oblington earned the trust and affection of the Lord, but before long made a quiet escape with some family heirlooms, the original hand-written score of a musical masterpiece that raised Faren’s grandfather from his humble origin to nobility, a song titled the “Snare of Rage”.
Lord Markelhay sent Redmaine after Lady Oblington, and after seven weeks Redmaine returned with a tale that he had failed to find the Lady. Soon afterwards, a report surfaced that Redmaine had, in fact, been spotted with Lady Oblington. The rumor was that he had fallen in love with her, but that she had slipped away from him as well and disappeared from the land.
Redmaine was disgraced and exiled, and has made his living as a swamp trapper in the Witchlight Fens.
Beatrix claimed not to know where he could be found specifically, but a fur trader that sold his wares each Friday morning might know. She also mentioned that some of Redmaine’s old comrades-in-arms at the keep might know more of his tale and whereabouts.
In sleep, Theodore descended a wormhole of fish before gaining awareness of the Fishery room from before. He beheld Ursula conjuring a gelatinous mass from the thick bone stew. The mass took the form of a huge humanoid creature, and Ursula placed the face of Vhox over the head. Soon, the translucent form grew opaque and became indistinguishable from Vhox himself. Ursula chuckled in glee in front of the naked orc, and Theodore’s dream faded away.
Session on 8/28/2017