The passageway was dark, but flickering firelight (and plentiful orcish racket) were clear up ahead as our party made their way cautiously forward...
Filled with rage at this defiling of his ancestral home, Sir Reginald led the charge into the great hall. It was piled high with looted furnishings, weaponry and chests of precious things, while around the table groaning with food and drink was a veritable horde of greenskins, including the fearsome chieftain.
|Strangely, the orcs had managed to make their stolen goods look like a heap of lead,|
and the long table in the great hall like upturned black plastic...
Hoping to use the loot as a barrier to funnel the orcs and goblins, taking away their advantage of numbers, the heroes dashed in, only for one of the retainers to be hurled to the floor with three crudely fletched arrows sunk deep into his chest.
Taking advantage of this gap in the front line of heroes, the goblins started to swarm over the barricade, while Sir Reginald was engaged in increasingly desperate combat with an orc henchman. All the while, the orc chief stood astride the table urging his minions on to greater acts of brutality.
Realising that they couldn't give away the height advantage of the barricade cheaply, and keen to come round to Reggie's aid [he was getting pounded by a succession of dreadful dice rolls], Sir CJ led the counter-charge, leaping up onto the chest in front of him and slaying his goblin...
..and allowing the others to scramble up and over as well. But too late! With a yell of savage glee, the orc facing Sir Reginald brought his morningstar down with a sickening crunch onto the knight's head! After all his weeks of captivity, and the valiant efforts of his friends and rescuers, Sir Reginald now lay in a motionless and crumpled heap in the dust and squalor of what had once been his home...
[Brief pause to rail against fate]
Filled with anguish and vengeful fury, Sir CJ leapt down upon the murderous orc and hewed him in twain with a single blow.
There was no time to mourn now, the battle still raged on.
And now the orc chieftain joined the fray, raining blows down on a reinvigorated Sir CJ [he had accumulated sufficient Hero Points to recoup his d12] and shrugging off the blows he received in return [the orc had the Toughness trait, giving a 1-in-3 chance of ignoring injuries]. The intrepid retainer assisting was casually swatted aside, joining his late master in the soiled rushes that strewed the hall...
... before eventually succumbing before knightly virtue and Sir CJ's skill with the blade [Weapon Master(sword)]
At this, the remaining goblins fled, with only one of them escaping without being cut down by the deadly duo.
As the room fell silent, the two knights cleaned and sheathed their weapons, and sorrowfully returned to kneel beside their fallen comrade. Had it all been for naught?
But wait! Was that a breath? Fainter than the fluttering of a moth's wing, but yes - he was still alive! As carefully as they could, the two knights bound his wounds and rushed him back to the king's court. Perhaps the king's wizard could yet save him?
CJ and EM waited impatiently outside the wizard's quarters, hoping and praying that the strange sounds, smells and lights that crept out to them under the heavy door were a good sign. They did not have to wonder for long. An apprentice, slightly drowned in his formal court robes, came to them. "Sir Reginald is at the brink of death, but there is a faint hope. If he can be given holy water, drunk from the Chalice of the Grey Lady, he may live. But we must hurry! The Chalice is supposedly in the ruins of Castle Grisdame; no-one knows for certain, but it is the only chance he has."
The two knights did not hesitate, but called for their horses and set off at the run. "Wait!" called the apprentice, "I must come with you to identify the Chalice." And he too began to run towards the stables...
And so the story arc continues, but this section of the quest is complete. We tried some scrambling onto and fighting across barriers or ledges rules on the fly (some great suggestions from the ankle-biters; they're going to be ace roleplayers in a couple of years!), and generally had a great time.
Till next time,