Septemra 23, 887 Af.
After completing the interrogation of the prisoners, Sif took the time to further her studies with her new spell book. Durdeg left her to it, and sought out the rest of the group. He found Carta at the inn, and the two decided to take care of some business in the city. Carta told Durdeg that the last he had seen Kasret, he was in a gambling den in the river district. The two decided to leave him be, and let Sharlot work on her music, while they went out to explore.
Carta was interested in learning more about the fate of those who attacked his major domo's family when she was young, and started by going to the Knights' Celestial stronghold. There, they met an older gentleman, well in his cups, who invited them to sit with him and drink some whiskey. They agreed, to help smooth the way to learning more. While the man clearly had some interesting stories to tell, he did not know the specifics of Deko's case, and referred them to Rema. Rema turned out to be a very old human woman, who had a surprising recall of details for her age. While she did not know everything off the top of her head, she was able to send a much younger woman up to her office to get a specific book. She offered them some sherry while they waited, and again the two had some out of politeness. By this time, politeness was edging into drunkeness, and Durdeg began to see some of the benefits of joining a knightly order.
With the book in hand, Rema was able to look at the history of Boha Deko. She found that she was raised in a small Orcan village, and that when she was young a party of "adventurers" came through and killed most of the people in the village, looting what little they had. Shortly thereafter, a Knight Celestial passed through, and encountered a group of malnourished and scared Orcans ready to fight him to the death. He talked with them, and found out what had happened. After giving what help he could immediately, he set out to find the group that had done this. He found them, and was able to take them prisoner, at which point he brought them back to the village. He had summoned a cleric of Adalci to sit in judgment. After hearing from the village, they questioned the attackers. Their testimony boiled down to, "they're orcs and don't deserve to live." The cleric and the Knight agreed that the adventurers were no more than raiders slaughtering a peaceful village, and sentenced them to death. Boha saw all of this, and was impressed by the order, enough so that she decided to do what she could to help them. She had been badly burned in the attack, so she was not cut out for being a knight herself, which eventually led to her position in Carta's retinue.
As Rema called for more drinks, she decided to discuss with Carta his current questing situation. As they learned about the order's financing (Carta's sponsor, Anders Nielas, favored drinking and carousing more than most in the order, so he had missed passing on a few details), they found that Carta needed to complete some duties in order to remain in good standing at the various strogholds. The order had deep pocketed benefactors that were willing to provide for the needs of their members, even long after they could no longer fight, but they expected that problems would be taken care of. WIth that said, they began to discuss possibilities in the area. There were hags along the Silverbeard River, a Wizard's Tower to the east that was the source of some rumors of out of control magic, and unknown creatures in the sewer. The two said they would look into some issues, leaning towards the Tower, as they had had enough of the sewsers and did not want to leave town for as long as it would take to reach the hags - at least until Sif was done and Kasret returned. Finishing their drinks, they set off back to the inn.
Sharlot, meanwhile, had taken the time to sell off the mushrooms she had recovered from their time in the sewer, as well as get some reading material. She was hoping to see Sif and arrange for a time to meet with Venfaren, but was surprised when Venfaren showed up at the inn alone. As she had some time before her set, they sat together to discuss the intricacies of the Deities.
Venfaren sat with her, and tried to explain how the Deities saw the world, and how it differed from how most sapient beings saw it. For any given Deity, their specific Truth was what they considered to be good. Even the Devils, understood by almost all as evil incarnate, would argue that their own Truth is the correct and good one. Therefore, what the spaient races considered to be good and evil did not necessarily have anything to do with the point of view of the Deities in general and their Deity, Kolero, in particular. Kolero's truth is civilization where it meets chaos, and as such he supports anything that increases civilization while still allowing for unfettered freedom of sapient beings as the ultimate good. If that means that actions must be taken that someone may consider evil, so be it. Venfaren himself has an affinity for life and what is generally considered good, so it factors in when he acts, but if the choice is truly between doing good and advancing the ability of sapients to forge a civilization from the natural world, he will focus on what advances civilization. Fortunately, in his mind, the two rarely come in conflict, and he has been able to focus his efforts on battling against the rise of so called evil in the world.
Sharlot listened, and understood what he was saying, but kept her own counsel on how she would make any such decision. She thanked him for his time, and hoped he would enjoy the show. She performed her first set with Venfaren watching, and Carta and Durdeg returned for lunch while she played. Venfaren left, and the three were able to get together after Sharlot finished.
Carta and Durdeg were eager to head out, but Sharlot did not want to miss any of her performances as she still had a week left to go on her contract. The others agreed to wait and explore the city in the meantime, thinking that Sif of Kasret might be back before then. Sharlot's manager showed up, and wanted to know if Sharlot was looking for another gig, to which she said she had other priorities right now, but she would do more soon enough. He agreed to meet with her at the end of her contract here and work out what to do next
Octorum 6, 887 Af.
A week had passed, and Sif was still studying, with no sign of Kasret. Sharlot, Durdeg, and Carta gathered together with her manager, Damien Bartles, where they began to plan. Thanks to Durdeg and Kasret, Sharlot had worked out some war chants that were a bit different than what she normally did. Durdeg also had the possibility of collecting more songs, and a plan began to develop. A plan for the greatest musical extravaganza that Corellum had ever seen.
Damien told the group that he could arrange for a show in Corellum on the Winter Solstice. With summer just winding down, they figured they could make it there in time, while still leaving them with enough time to make Festiva in Uborum. Apparently, the Solstice was when the largest arena battles of the year took place, and by having the show done at the same time, he could ensure that there would be more available eyes than Sharlot had ever had. The war chants inspired him, and he told the group that he could get a number of trolls that knew how to drum. From there, the plans became more grandiose by the minute. Eventually, it was decided that they would have a troll drum line, dwarves with cymbals for shields being hit with axes, kenku backup singers, and other members of the party taking the stage on particular numbers. With that done, the group decided to head to the wizard's tower the next morning.
Octorum 7, 887 Af.
As the trio gathered to head out, Kasret stumbled into the inn. They let him know their destination, and he grunted, saying he needed sleep. Durdeg had told Sif where they were off to, so anyone could catch up if they were able. The group crossed the Viridian River and set out on the road east, with Sharlot and Carta in the wagon and Durdeg mounted. They entered the rolling hills and grassland outside of the city, and spent a pleasant morning traveling and enjoying each other's company. After a few hours, V5 suddenly stopped, indicating it had noticed something. Durdeg dismounted, and followed his steel defender up the next rise. From there, he saw a campsite, where an ogre was just tearing into some freshly cooked meat and a group of four orogs were trying to get their share. They could tell that they weren't going to be able to go around, so they prepared themselves for a fight.
Sharlot, Durdeg, and V5 approached the top of the hill, while Carta mounted the horse and stayed back so that he could charge in. As they crested the hill, the monsters noticed them, and dropped everything to approach. They closed quickly, with Carta charging over the hill and quickly catching up with the rest. The orogs loosed their javelins, although their aim was poor. Carta snatched one that came close from the ground and threw it back, although his aim was no better. Sharlot unleashed her magical mockery, while Durdeg and V5 circled to get a better angle of attack. The slow moving ogre approached, but was not close enough to affect the early stage of the fight.
As the orogs closed, the trio found that their skill with their great axes was substantially greater than a standard orc, and they realized they may be outmatched. One orog reached Carta and swung twice, hitting the horse with both swings. The second swing dug deep in its neck, and the horse went down. Carta avoided getting crushed, although he did land prone. He was able to spring up quickly and return the attack, although the orog near him and Sharlot was deadly foes and Carta could not get a quick resolution. The other three orogs focused on Durdeg and V5, quickly surrounding him. Durdeg battled valiantly, damaging his foes, but eventually their numbers were too much, and he took a glancing blow to the head that knocked him unconscious. They then turned on V5, crushing the loyal defender beneath their axes.
Carta and Sharlot stayed together, working to attempt to fend off the ogre and an orog at the same time. After sparring with the orog for a few moments, Carta was eventually able to get a telling blow. He called on the power of Adalci to aid him, and his God responded with a bolt of lightning channeled through his sword. The power was enough to bring the monster down, and the flesh blackened and charred around the wound as the power set fire to its flesh. One of the other orogs, wounded in the fight with Durdeg, approached, and Carta was able to quickly put him down, but as the other two moved in, the situation became desperate. Sharlot backed away, and cast a suggestion spell at the ogre. Telling him that the fight was won, she suggested that he eat his food while it was hot. The ogre agreed, although this took a different turn than they were expecting. The smited orog, it's charred flesh giving off the odor of well cooked pork, was closer than the camp site, and the ogre was not very picky about what he would eat. It promptly ripped the armor off the corpse and began to dine.
The two remaining orogs focused on Sharlot, battering her from both sides. Carta approached, again calling on his God, and used the healing light of Adalci. Sharlot stood a bit taller, and was able to hold her own long enough for Carta to do the same for Durdeg. Durdeg woke up and saw the crushed body of V5. He focused his anger on the orogs, wanting to exact retribution. The two orogs, much brighter than most of their orc kin, saw the writing on the wall. They immediately broke off, fleeing as fast as they could. The trio let them go, and focused on eliminating the threat of the ogre.
As the ogre continued to eat, the three surrounded it. As one, they coordinated their attacks. The monster could not stand up to the combined onslaught and went down, a chunk of orog flesh falling from his jaws as he took his final breath.
With the threat gone, the three sat, exhausted. They decided to take some time to rest and recharge themselves, and maybe give one of their companions time to catch up.
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