A Gathering of Tribes

Don't give me any tongue

After the large eye was closed permanently by Nanzad, the stone floor seemed to spread open revealing a gate to the spirit world. After a good rest the group was ready to push on. As they descended into the strange subterranean environment, the ever alert ears of Ghostwalker picked up the sound of movement it the caverns ahead. However, it also seemed that the commotion of the group’s descent also alerted those ahead, as the sounds stilled quickly with hushed silence.

Rounding a couple turns in the cavern brought the group into view of the widened area ahead, where the glow of subterranean fungus illuminated the area in a soft radiance, and a consistent drip from above filled a small pool with strange purple liquid. In front of the pool and around the cavern stood waiting malformed figures readying crossbows and clubs with their four arms. Nanzad charged immediately taking the fight right to them.

After the charge Nanzad was revolted by the fact that these guards had actually been Orcs at one time, but now they were just abominations of nature. His charge though brave, was painful as he was targeted by three of the five. Hendrik’s charge pushed one of these creatures back into the pool (where his mark kept it), and Mist and Charnel tied up another two. This left Tronar alone to harass all with his favored electrical attacks.

As Nanzad battled two of his misguided relatives, one of them shocked and further angered him by attacking him with its tongue. It shot out of the things mouth and snapped at him with a poisonous fever. This focus Nanzad attacks toward the tonguer, and it went down under his vicious attacks. As it died the tongue crawled out of its mouth to lie still on the cavern floor.

It was the beginning of the end, the group rallied under Hendrik and Nanzad’s charges to systematically take each one down, with Nanzad tearing the tongue from each to satisfy his own rage.

When all foes were down it was discovered that tongue was a alien item that could used by the party, but the whole idea of have a parasite within your mouth made the group agree to destroy the “evil” thing.

The group pushed on only to find that the caverns ahead were darker than most, and seemed to swallow the light that was brought into them. Additionally the floors and walls seemed to change as well, becoming softer as they went (Almost as if they were living tissue).

When the darkness finally lifted after moving forward through the living caverns, the group again saw ahead of them more or the multi-armed abominated Orc warriors, and another of the tentacle shamans. However before the de-tonguing charge by the group, they notice something strange about this rippling floor. To their horror, they notice that the floor had living mouths that opened and closed, searching for the proximity of an ankle snack.

Altering into a careful advance Hendrik and Nanzad moved into position to prevent the deadly crossbows from dealing more of the pain then was necessary, and again Mist was summoned to do the same. Charnel charged the shaman, with help from Ghostwalker. This left Tronar hiding in shadows of his own creation, while dodging attacks of one of the warriors, and aiding everywhere with his lightning. The hungry mouths finally found snacks on one Orc ankle and the side of one of Hendrik’s feet, as the combatants tactically forced movement onto these waiting chompers. When it looked hopeless for his side the orc shaman tried to flee, but was sucecessful only in alerting the forces in the next chamber when a charge by Ghostwalker brought him down.

Even though they were wounded and tired, the group pushed on with hope of rescuing Moonseer. Tronaash awaited them in the next room with a large and growing gathering of cultists. The tactic of the group was to use the entry way in to the room as a choke point, so that the outnumbered party could not be surrounded. The tactic worked up until the warrior in dragon skin sorcerer teleported behind the lines, where he could cause a little chaos. Though it was not a move the tactical commander Hendrik blessed, it did seem to work (maybe Dragonborns have multiple lives like cats?)

As expected Tronaash was the last to go down, and when he did, another of the strange parasite like items crawled away from his body – a Coat of Eyes. As the group healed themselves, searched the room further, and investigated the item more it was determined that maybe the item benefits outweighed the strangeness. They took precautions, and gave it to Charnel (thinking, if it was part of him, maybe it would be more difficult for him to do his naked elf dances).

Within the adjoining chamber they found numerous villagers including Moonseer and his family, contained in strange crystal cells, and being converted into the very cultists which they had battled by some strange spirit powered tech. The group quickly freed the villagers and destroyed the strange machine before they began their return to the Growtharn village.

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Is this the Chief’s normal blend?

The session started off with the group entering into Growtharn lands, and as they continued deeper into the Blackmoon, they knew eyes were upon them. Ghostwalker knew this was normal, and even had expected it. Its absence would have troubled him. As the group ran into the first of tribal forest patrols, they started to learn some of the changes that had taken place in Charnel and Ghostwalker’s absence.

It seemed like Ghostwalker’s mentor, Moonseer, had disappeared from the village, and a new shaman had taken his place as Chief Wolf Paw’s advisor. Additionally it seemed like the counsel being given was much more anti white-eye, then Moonseer would have given. Many of the warriors that ran into the group were somewhat surprised that Ghostwalker now traveled with one.

As the group entered the village they got many more strange looks, and though the chief met briefly with them it did not seem to help. They found him to appear not as sharp as he was in the past, and his eyes were somewhat glazed over (not a good sign at all). After the brief meeting, Ghostwalker set the outlanders up with a place to sleep in his father’s hut.

Noticing the need for some investigation around the village the group split up. Charnel and Ghostwalker went around seeking information as insiders. However they soon found that the villagers were apprehensive to speak openly of Tronaash, or his guidance of the tribe or the chief. They did learn that Moonseer had “left town” several days after Tronaash arrived from the western reaches of the Blackmoon Forest, where the ties with the Orcs and Kordians were strong, and where One Horn’s influence could be felt.

They also found that more of the town had been stirred up about the white-eyes appearance in these lands. They found that besides Moonseer other villagers were now missing, and others were making little since, like one old villager stated as he pulled Charnel and Ghostwalker aside. “It’s the Harvest,” he muttered. “Sowing the new crop is what they doing this night, with three moons in the sky and darkness below. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll be out of here before it comes for you, too. Tronaash has taught us well”

After investigating Moonseer’s hut and finding the covered up signs of disturbance, Ghostwalker and Charnel were summoned back to the Chief’s tent with Tronaash to hear more of the details about the white-eyes. The rest of the group sneaked into and spent time investigating Tronaash’s hut as well looking for the evidence that they needed. They did find that he carried a large amount of valuables and had a ritual book from One Horn’s lands, but no smoking gun. Additionally in his pipe weed stash they found some bogweed, which was an herb that negated certain effects.

Ghostwalker’s and Charnel’s meeting found the Chief being more aggressive against the white-eyes than usual, and seeking information about them from their travels in the east. Ghostwalker wondered if the chief was smoking his normal blend, and found the taste to be a little off. Tronaash brought good tidings from the west, and spoke well of One Horn, who he said was gathering the good tribes, and he spoke of having an ever watchful eye on the whites.

After the meeting the group got back together and shared information, and figured if the bogweed was used to counteract the special blend of pipe-weed then Tronaash could smoke along with the chief, while corrupting him. When this idea was then brought before the chief, and the bogweed was used on him, his head cleared. It was also discovered that as the chief’s head cleared so did Tronaash, as he fled the village. A few of the villagers saw him doing this, and the chief asked the group to bring him back dead or alive.

The clues gathered by the group led eventually to a weathered path. The foliage around was dense and tough, bloodvines winding around and between the darkwood trees, but the path they were on was cleared and well worn. As they approached a sloping hill, they saw a clearing open up around the mouth of a cave.

Two cultists stood watch by the mouth of the cave along with a pair of heavyset orcs, their axes at the ready. Once engaged the group split up to battle the opposition. Nanzad and Hendrik squared off against one of the cultists and one orc, while Charnel, Ghostwalker, and Mist took on the other pair. This left Tronar alone to throw his electricity around the field, and he did so to great effect, taking down both cultists, and badly hurting one of the orcs.

The cavern past the opening angled down and was dry and musty; the floor was worn smooth by generations of passing footsteps. The group’s footsteps were faint echoes as they descended deeper and deeper. Suddenly, an eerie crimson glow emanated from the passage ahead.

The walls of the cavern were covered with lines of red light — scrawls and scribbles painted in what looks like glowing blood. The symbols resembled some sort of writing, but although this was no language the group knew, the text was infuriatingly familiar. Suddenly they realize that the symbols were moving—crawling slowly across the walls and floor. Whether they stared or averted their eyes, they are overcome with the feeling that they might be able to force the wall to reveal its secrets, if only they put their mind to it. The group as a whole however decided to not look at the writing, and proceeded through without paying much attention to it. Hendrik did have to pull Tronar through, and keep him from trying to write down any of it in his book. What little Tronar did see was enough to make his head hurt (but maybe that was the slappin that he took from Hendrik and Nanzad). It was at this point, Charnel heard chanting from further ahead.

Past the hall of living words, the cavern took a sharp turn. A doorway to one side opened up to some sort of alcove. Around the corner, the floor ahead was covered with pulsing lines of crimson light—a pattern more prominent and sinister than the strange designs that covered the walls behind them. The design was in the general shape of a bull with a missing horn, and was comprised by a swirling mass of burning crimson lines that covered the floor. The pattern slithered and shifted like a nest of vipers, and as they looked at it, they heard strange whispers in the back of their minds.

Before anyone had any additional ideas, and before Nanzad made a flying leap, Ghostwalker summoned Mist within the area occupied by the symbol. As quickly as it happened, Mist blinked out of existence, and Ghostwalker turned on the rest of the party, dominated by the strange bullish force. As he turned and attacked Charnel, the rest of his comrades took him down quickly (this pretty much did away with the group allowing Nanzad to make the leap). After making sure Ghostwalker was ok, the group set about using their Arcane knowledge in conjunction with thievery skills to break the power of the symbol, and after being successful in this the group was able move beyond into the blocked alcove to and free the Grotharn spirits which were blocked by the Symbol of One Horn before they continued on toward the Chanting, which was even louder now.

After a short distance the tunnel opened into a wide cavern chamber whose walls have been painted with pictures of eyes and savage acts of sacrifice. However, far more horrific than these images was the massive living eye embedded in the wall directly across from you—a great golden orb set with twin pupils and a cold, alien gaze. The cavern floor beneath this monstrous apparition is a mottled patch of rough stone. Beneath the living idol, a foul creature leads a group of human and orc villagers in a dark rite. Long tentacles rise from the shoulders of this gaunt figure, and its eyes are hollow sockets filled with writhing cilia. Glowing red sigils flow across its gray skin—a match to the markings on the walls of the hall of living words. Where the kneeling villagers’ clothes have been stripped off, all bear extra inhuman eyes embedded in their flesh. As the cultists moan and chant, each waves a curved, glittering blade chipped from volcanic glass. However, you see no sign of Moonseer or of any other exit from the cavern.

At which point the group charged into the room gaining surprise on the cult enclave. Nanzad and Ghostwalker made the biggest effect taking down numerous cultists before they even got a chance to act or defend themselves. Then Nanzad charged the eye and with basically one mighty blow he destroyed the abomination. After this the battle was pretty much determined and the gate to the lower reaches was revealed.

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Why doesn’t the Dragonborn have to go through this?

Getting back to the Whitetail village, the group delivered the ceremonial headdress to the chief, and returned the two wounded warriors to the care of their people. They found the camp in the progress of being dismantled, and were glad to see the three warriors had also returned from the logger’s punishment. However, they also realized that these three had also been whipped, so all diplomacy aside, the warriors had not only served the original punishment, but also had to complete the hard labor negotiated by the Moonspeaker (after all, no good way to assure good treatment, and no oversight of the treatment during the period of captivity).

Both Charnel and Ghostwalker did what they could to heal the wounds left from the over punishment, and Nanzad spent time removing any symbols of cowardice (Whitetail) from the armor he had found. Hendrik and Tronar looked to get a bath and a good meal in New Greeshan before heading out in the morning.

In a final meeting with Chief Tandrik, Ghostwalker learned the location where the last Whitetail warriors last ran from any bears {At which point Ghostwalker should have considered that maybe the entire Whitetail tribe would benefit from some of the rituals, that he now felt necessary for Hendrik}. The path followed the next day would be toward the western ford across the great river toward Growtharn lands. This path, though a little longer, would allow the group the materials needed for these rituals.

The omen the next day made little sense to Ghostwalker, and the other members of the twelve tribes, and would mean nothing to either Tronar or Hendrik when they caught up to them in New Greeshan. For most of the way there the three tribal members troubled over what a bear carrying a snake may mean.

Arriving at New Greeshan, Nanzad inquired to the first person he saw as to the location of his friend Hendrik, by asking the gate guard, “42 shield”. This statement retrieved a few return questions from the puzzled guards, and finally they directed the three tribal members to the correct area of town in which to find Hendrik.

After raiding a few backyards of chickweed, Ghostwalker brewed up a proper breakfast tea as, Hendrik spent time preparing to turn over the keys to his place to watch Commander Von Fredrikson to watch for the next few weeks. When they left they swung by the Inn to pick up Tronar, and then the market to pick up the travel supplies needed. They also picked up a mule to carry the goods, naming the older beast “Calling Hawk”.

Setting out the around noon the group made their way almost due north into the forested hills. Several hours later as they traveled they ran upon a pair of trappers and their wolves. The group agreed to travel with them when it was learned that they too sought the pair of bears that the Whitetail spoke of. This idea was against the opinion of Hendrik, but he did not have proof that these trappers where up to no good, other than the fact that the Human trapper, Gareth, seemed to remind you of a weasel, and he put trust into and traveled with the Gnoll tracker, Gaash. Gareth did seem to very forthcoming about information of the area, and had Gaash and a pair of the wolves track ahead as they went.

When Gaash return with news that they had located one of the bears in a berry thicket, things were looking very positive. Gareth, Gaash, and the trained wolves fanned out with the game plan to send the bear toward the party in the center of the ticket along the game trail. The trapper party seemed to be surrounding them, and driving to prey toward them, when a poison arrow bit into Hendrik, and the ambush was sprung (damn, Hendrik was right – imagine that).

The double-cross was on, and the group found another nasty surprise when Nanzad charged the first wolf, and found the clamping jaws of a waiting bear trap. The other traps were pointed out by Charnel, who gave up an action just to point them out. Charnel, Hendrik, and Tronar all took a beating in the combat as the poison arrows fired ate away at them, and the wolves nipped away at their defenses. The turning point came when Nanzad finally dropped the Gnoll, and came charging back across the field to challenge Gareth and to give him a new target. Tronar’s electric attacks helped to thin out the wolves, while Nanzad and Ghostwalker chased down and ended the now fleeing Gareth.

The group spent the evening held up, recovering from the ambush and also spending time skinning the wolves. They also learned how to operate the bear traps, which they figured may come into play in the upcoming hunt, which Hendrik still question the need. The next morning with the directions the whitetail had given and some tracking, the group easily located the lair of the bears.

As the group moved into set the traps they had, Hendrik insisted that they watch not only the cave closely, but also the woods around them. As a roar was issued from the cave, Hendrik advice was also rewarded as another bear was seen charging from the woods behind the group. The tactical idea the group had to tie up one bear with the traps, panned out as Ghostwalker’s spirit wolf, “Mist” continued to lure the one in the traps into other traps. This lasted long enough for the group to collectively bring down the one charging through the woods.

The headlines of the battle had Tronar sniping away from thirty feet up a pine tree, Nanzad doing a tag team with himself while enraged, and under the instruction of Hendrik’s commander strike. Charnel and Ghostwalker also added in healing and distractions, reducing the bear’s ability to defend itself, as they struck away with their spears.

As one of the great beasts fell, the same tactics were deployed on the still trapped bear. Its life was taken even quicker, and Hendrik was asked to perform the killing blow to initiate the rituals, which were the goal of this side trek.

The only combat tactic that was identified as a training necessity of both Charnel and Hendrik, was the need to practice a bunch with the javelin, as both nearly hit Tronar in the pine tree with errant throws.

After both great beasts were taken down, and all needed healing was performed the rituals proper began. Hendrik was asked to strip down, and lose his white-eye vestments. Ghostwalker explained that the rituals where meant to introduce the spirits of the land to Hendrik, and better tune the warrior nature with these spirits. The first was the Ritual of the Child, which all tribe children go through, and was called for as Hendrik was seen through the eyes of this land as still a child. The Ritual of the Pack was next, where the protective spirits of the group became more accustomed to Hendrik. This would help Hendrik relate better to everyone else in the group, and in true Elven fashion charnel disrobed for this as well, and did much dancing. The Ritual of the bear totem was the last and was meant to increase the warrior’s ability in Hendrik. All in all, there was much chanting, dancing, a lot of smearing of bear blood and bear dung along with mud, and some colorful painting applied (and no insertions at all).

The group left ‘two bear cave’ several days later with several bear hides, a bunch of meat, and some new guardian spirits for Hendrik (Well at least the first two). The tribal members now understood the meaning of the bear carrying a snake omen, where the bear stood for the object of the hunt, and the snake was double-crossing trappers. The remainder of the journey into Growtharn lands was uneventful, and within a week they would be ready to attempt to convince the Growtharn chief of this idea of unification.

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What was the significance of three chattering squirrels again?

As the group moved around the Whitetail Village preparing to for an over ground trek to the heavily forested lands of the Growtharn, Chief Tandrik of the Whitetail asked Ghostwalker into his tent to smoke another pipe full, and to ask a favor of the group in return for an interesting boon.

He began by stating, “I have considered you words carefully over the last two nights, and have decided to heed your warnings. For the safety of our tribe, we will move away from the White-eye. I had planned to start the breakdown of camp today, and we will move north into the hills along the coast. My mind was set on this course yesterday afternoon, and I sent my Grandson and a few on the younger warriors to retrieve the headdress of our ancestors from Great Stag Valley. It is only a short distance from here and they should have returned by now. Can you brave warriors make sure my grandson is safe? The only item that I value besides his safety is the headdress. If you can secure that for our tribe, I will be in your debt. For doing this I will give the backing of the Whitetail tribe toward your goals for what it is worth.

In completion he handed Ghostwalker a rough map as to the location of Great Stag Valley, and added, “For the safe return of my grandson, you may keep what you find in the tomb besides the headdress. I would want it to end up in the hands of the tribes instead of the White-eye thieves.”

Ghostwalker spent a few moments and explained the Chief’s request to the rest of his new traveling companions. Though the group had been gearing for a trip to Growtharn lands the detour would be ok, as they were all somewhat glad to hear that the chief decided to heed the warnings of their counsel.

Before the group departed, Ghostwalker pointed to the skies and shook his head in discouragement saying, “Bad omen. Two hawks flying north”. The other members of the twelve tribes understood and only grunted in agreement. Hendrik and Tronar looked blankly at each other and shrugged. Tronar did sarcastically question Ghostwalker, “What was the significance of three chattering squirrels again?”

The trek was aided greatly by the map and only in one instance did Ghostwalker falter in reading the natural lay of the land, and led the group headlong into a bog, where the normally sure footed Nanzad and Charnel both ended up getting stuck. However, that delay did not derail the group too much, and in a two-and-a-half hour period were within sight on Great Stag Valley, which now lay across a small river from their position.

As Ghostwalker bent down to listen to the water spirits about this area, Hendrik yelled a warning as he saw the giant ants breaking from the underbrush on either side of the stream. Nanzad was the first to charge, dropping one of the worker ants on the side of the river, where the group had formed into a defensive position. However, the defensive gains were lost, when Tronar moved to the far side of the bridge, leaving himself open to the attacks of two warrior ants coming from the far side – a slight miscalculation.

Even with Tronar’s error in tactical judgment, the group managed to overcome this insect ambush with the help of Ghostwalker’s spirit wolf, Mist, and highlighted by a jumping bulrush from Nanzad. This maneuver knocked the last ant off the log and into the waiting rapids, carrying it downriver away from the group.

Once the group finished the combat, they all crossed the log and continued on into Great Stag Valley, where they found many of the Sarian ant hills. The group continued cautiously, avoided the roving groups as much as possible, and smashed the solitary ones quickly as they went deeper and deeper into the valley.

As the group approached the Valley’s end they saw one of the “would be” Whitetail warriors, in a tree, and obviously hurt. From where they were, they could also see that the tomb door was open enough for maybe someone to squeeze through. There were also about 15 ants roaming around, which would have to be dealt with first. Additionally there were three of the ant hills, from which additional ants could be seen coming and going from.

This battle seemed to flow much better with tactics that were acceptable to both Hendrik and the raging barbarian, Nanzad. The group highlights had Ghostwalker making a spiritual attack that handled a majority of the opponents, and where Nanzad charge the slow soldier ant at the command of Hendrik and, and where the rest of the group managed to hold their own. The only real threat came when a pair of ants took Ghostwalker down just long enough for the rest of the group to come to his aid, and have one ant continue to run back and forth across him.

After the battle, the group collapsed the ant hills, healed the warrior in the tree, and rescued the Chief’s grandson from the tomb, where he was found defending himself. The group gathered up the two survivors, the headdress, and three other items of interest from the Great Stag tomb (an enchanted antler dagger/spear, a Whitetail Totem, and a suit of enchanted war armor), and then quickly departed the ant infested valley with haste.

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A Warning of Pain to Come

Crystal Assembly

The scene in front of New Greeshan was chaotic, as the crowd gathered to see the punishment bestowed on the three Whitetail Tribesmen. The punishment was now obvious, but the number of lashes still in question. All three tribesmen stood, tied to the whipping poles with their bare backs exposed toward the one with the whip. Their faces were exposed to the crowd, so that the anguish could be shared with all once the whipping commenced.

As colonists and natives alike gathered to witness the mockery of justice to be handed down, watch commander Von Fredrikson began, “The three before you are guilty of interfering with the lawful gathering of lumber used in the construction of New Greeshan. The punishment is to be 20 lashes each”. As he spoke, he nodded to the whipsman, who lined up before the first of the accused. However, as his hand reared back for the first lash, one of the gathered tribesmen stepped forward and called for a halt to the punishment.

The commander, who was frustrated with his orders to begin with, halted the punishment to hear the words of Ghostwalker the Moonspeaker, a position of respect amongst the tribes. The young Ghostwalker spoke now as an elder would, speaking that the colonial punishment was unjustly hash for the crime, when it had been wagon wheels that were temporarily disabled.

Fredrikson did not want to openly ignore the respected tribesman, and saw the possibility of an uprising occurring with many colonists in harm’s way. This would not look good on his record, and his superior would probably have his ass regardless. He quickly changed direction in an attempt to satisfy all, and suggested that the tribesmen do two days hard labor to pay back the time lost to the lumber crew, which should be more than enough.

As the gathering broke up, both tribesmen and colonists returning home. Many colonists were unhappy as they had wished to see the expected harsh punishment. On the flipside may of the witnessing tribesmen were left with a feeling of sorrow, that the white-eyes would treat them this way over something that was not theirs to begin with. One of colonists that had witnessed the exchange took the time to express his approval over the outcome with the commander.

Hendrik van der Heijden, an ex-sergeant major in the Imperial army was pleased, as he had seen too many times the results of Imperial justice carried out when there were better possible outcomes had a little foresight been used.

After that, Hendrik saw the vocal tribesman, Ghostwalker, looking around the open air market of New Greeshan. Hendrik wanted to make sure that the tribesman, and his three strange associates stayed out of trouble in the strange environment.

As Hendrik watched the interactions between the colonists and these tribesmen take place, one of the strangest looking ones approached him. Speaking in a surprisingly civilized tone, Tronar, the Dragonborn sorcerer from the north addressed him. The conversation was pleasant enough, but it should be continue over ale thought Hendrik as he offered the Dragonborn the invite. After all anything is good with ale.

Shortly after, all four of the Sarian natives were joining Hendrik for ale in the Pot of Brew Pub. Not just Tronar and Ghostwalker came in, but so did Charnel the storyteller, and Nanzad the Kordian barbarian. There was a period of adjustment as tribesmen adjusted to the more civilized interior of the pub, and it adjusted to them. The hour or so that followed, saw many questions coming from those less accustomed to civilized ways, and many answers from Hendrik with his military point of view of life in the Empire.

After a short period of sightseeing around New Greeshan, the four tribesmen were off to spend the night in the camp of the Whitetails, and as Hendrik watched his new friends leave he saw something very disturbing. Off to one side of the courtyard he stood in, he noticed Loric the Timber Magnate giving orders to several members of his press gang. As Loric finished, eight of these armed men departed in the same direction as his four new friends. Thinking the vindictive Loric was about to start trouble, Hendrik headed off in the same direction.

Following the two groups of men and knowing the area a little better than the others, allowed Hendrik to move ahead of Loric’s men, and intercept the two groups about the time that Loric’s men overtook the others. However when Hendrik attempted to stop the hostilities before they erupted, he was rewarded with a mace upside the head. Though Loric’s men came on strong and confident, they were no match for the battle hardened barbarian, the ex-Imperial soldier, the war-singer, the thrower of Dragon magic, or the Moonspeaker. In the end, Loric’s men were down or surrendering, while the other were barely touched.

Hendrik had to convince the others to spare the lives of two of Loric’s men who had lived. The tribes saw the proper ending to a warrior’s life as on the battlefield with honor. When the souls of the warriors could make amends within the spirit world for their lack combat effectiveness. To die in battle was an honorable way to go, and the tribes saw that as the only outcome of a lost battle. Hendrik saw the need to send a message back to Loric, and let him know that to press the issue would result in more losses for him.

As the defeated pair returned to New Greeshan with their lives (minus some hair), Hendrik and Tronar remained at the battle site to keep the scavengers off the bodies of the dead giving time to the two to return with a wagon to pick up their fallen comrades. The other three continued on to the camp of the Whitetail. Hendrik and Tronar later watched from the shadows as the armed contingent of men retrieved the bodies of the fallen. Hendrik silently cursed the pair of men for getting the military involved in this.

At the Whitetail camp later that night, sitting around the chief’s fire much was discussed. Hendrik was clued in on the omens of a growing darkness in the East, where One Horn the new King Bull was amassing the warlike tribes for a campaign of destruction and domination. Hendrik then spoke of the Empires history and expanding nature. Chief Tandrik of the Whitetail was informed that his peaceful tribe should relocate, if he did not want to end up being destroyed. The other discussion was the need to ally the tribes, as it was seen that one lone tribe, such as the Whitetail, stand little chance of having a strong enough voice or enough muscle to stand up to the Empire, or the growing dark tide in the east.

The morning saw Hendrik returning to the colony to see what the fallout was, while the others checked in on the treatment of the Whitetail tribesmen on work detail with Loric’s Lumber crew. Hendrik found, in discussion with commander Fredrikson, that Loric’s men had stated that they were attacked by the Whitetail tribe. The military stance at this time was to let things die down, but if there were any further issues then they would come down hard on the Whitetail tribe.

The treatment of the three on the work detail was bad, but not worse than could be expected. Once the Moonspeaker was satisfied that the prisoners were being treated reasonably, they returned to the Whitetail camp where they made one final appeal to the Chief to move his camp, collaborated with Hendrik, and made plans to set out in the mornings for the lands of the Growtharn tribe, the homeland for both Charnel and Ghostwalker.

The next day all five set out together to gather the tribes in alliance, even Hendrik who could speak best on the powers and ways of the Empire.

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