Fall of Kingdoms
Blood and Honor
With the blue dragon relic safely in The Box, the party confers on their next move. The decision is between moving to pick up a second relic before returning to Brevya or returning to the Order first. The map of Relor is consulted and the locations of the two remaining relics noted. Ultimately, it is decided that the party will deliver the blue dragon relic first, and then they will pick up the relics from both Xixle and Lesling in one final push. With this decided, they head off toward Vindon, making plans for that final push on the way.
The party passes through a small hamlet without stopping, then arrives at the trade city of Trel, the halfway point in their journey to the Order Stronghold. The plan is to spend one night in Trel. When they arrive, the party sees that the city has implemented stricter gate policies than are usual, seemingly in response to the Western mountain orcs coming down, obliterating the hill giants, and spreading into the Reloran countryside (while the army is occupied with the Eastern orc invasion at the Bulwark). Getri speaks with the gate sergeant, who lets everyone in but with an admonishment to “not cause any trouble.” The gate sergeant also asks if the party members all have papers. Only Polgara does.
Still allowed inside the city, the party’s first step is to secure lodgings. They find a handy inn. At the inn, which is for all we know actually called “the Handy Inn,” Getri sets Zach and Ghaal up with a tab at the bar to keep them from causing trouble. Since neither of those players are present to defend themselves, the ploy works.
All is not well in Trel, however.
Everyone (who isn’t getting drunk) spends the rest of the day browsing the markets. It is here that the party’s itinerary hits a snag when Renic and Getri encounter a pair of orcs held in a gibbet in the market square. The orcs have clearly been tortured and starving. Getri activates busybody mode and begins making inquiries as to why prisoners (orcs though they may be) are being treated so. He learns that the display is to show “control.” When he asks why the orcs are not just dead, he learns that they have not given the city the intelligence that Trel needs to fight the orcs. Thus, a plan is hatched.
Getri and Renic head to the chapel-barracks and ask to be let in to see the man in charge “on matters relating to the war.” Getri is let in, while Renic is stopped at the door on account of being funny-looking. Getri is introduced to the sergeant in charge of interrogations and misc. paperwork, and he makes his proposal. The paladin makes it clear that he wishes the orcs dead, rather than in misery, but is not unsympathetic with the city’s needs. Thus, he proposes that he be allowed to offer the orcs a more honorable death in exchange for information. Although he rolls a 2 on diplomacy, he astutely mentions that he has a barbarian comrade who, among other things, is on fire. Realizing that the chance to fight a genasi isn’t something many orcs would pass up, the sergeant agrees to the proposal.
Renic and Getri are brought down to the “holds,” where two more orcs are being held. Getri speaks his proposal to the orc. Renic makes an appearance and shows off his spark, and the paladin rolls a 1 on his diplomacy check.
One hero point later, the deal is made. That night, the two orcs in the gibbet are transferred to the holds, the city gets the information it needs, and all four orcs are given three good meals to help them regain their strength. The following evening (giving the orcs enough time to more-or-less recuperate), the duels take place.
Although they have the option of fighting their choice of Getri or Renic, all four orcs are of the same mind; walking pyres with big swords are way cooler enemies than 16-year-old humans in hoodies. Renic, being a genasi of honor and someone who understands the warrior spirit, goes to some lengths to ensure that the fights are fair. Aside from having argued for the orcs being given a full day’s rest, those three good meals, and some healing, the barbarian also makes sure that the orcs have the time they need to psych up for the fight.
Despite all this, everyone knows that this is an execution. Renic cuts down orc after orc. The leader of these orc scouts is even cut from cod to crown in one fel swing. The fights, such as they are, are short and (at least for the orcs) glorious. Renic expresses his regrets that the orcs were not in better health, but everyone seems to agree that things turned out for the best. Ghaal probably wouldn’t have agreed, but he was getting drunk, and both Getri and Renic saw fit not to mention the whole affair to him.
What’s done is done, and the party sets off again the next day. The road back to the Order is, after this, relatively uneventful, and the blue dragon relic is turned in without mishap.
There is still trouble in the kingdom of Relor, however. The Western orcs are making good headway in the Reloran countryside, and the party is worried that the herding village of Lesling may be overrun before they can retrieve the relic from there. On the other hand, bringing a relic into Xixle, heart of the Meloran faith, may not be such a hot idea. Eventually, it is decided that the party will head up the central road, take a detour to check on Lesling, and decide there whether they want to retrieve that relic first or the one in Xixle. Thus decided, they head off.
The road north is rife with skirmishes. Presumably, Ghaal gets to kill lots of orcs on the way up. The party passes through Trel and then the smaller town to the north, where they learn that the intelligence gathered from those four orcs has been put to good use. Gratified, the party continues on to Lesling, where the session ends so that everyone can be present for the events that will transpire.