Merle and Lamaia came to in an abandoned shop. Era sat in a corner, having bound and healed their wounds. Many hours had passed since their battle with the witch doctor’s undead thrall, and the three companions were growing concerned that the dwarves they had liberated from the mines may have met their end. A whole day had elapsed since they had destroyed the war horn. By now they had expected to hear the sounds of battle in the streets as liberated dwarven prisoners fought for their home. Instead was only the deafening quiet of a city whose inhabitants were woefully absent.
After composing themselves, they set off toward the center of the city, were Korrog sat upon his taken stone throne. There seemed to have the largest concentration of orcs. Lamaia, more cautious than ever after brush with the witch doctor the day before, decided to scout ahead. Ever so silently she crept through alleys, ducking her head out every so often to take in the landscape and search for sign of life. Some time later, while scanning for potential foes, she felt the odd sensation that she was not alone. Turning about, she found herself face-to-face with the witch doctor’s ominous bone mask.
A pale, lifeless orc and a broad-shouldered, tusked skeleton shambled from the shadows behind their master. Lamaia thought that this would surely be the end of her when the orcish shaman did something she did not expect; he bade her to join him. He revealed himself to be a follower of Bhall, the God of Murder, and told the tielfling rogue that she had such marvelous potential in the field of taking lives, making her a perfect devotee to his dark lord. For a moment, she considered the notion.
As she pondered, Merle and Era had caught up to her position, and were surprised to see her there, not engaged in deadly combat with the foe who only yesterday ordered their destruction at the hand of a small horde of the undead.
The witch doctor told her that indoctrination would be easy. All she had to do was murder her friends. Hearing that, Lamaia had made her decision. She drew her blades and lunged at the witch doctor. A fierce battle ensued, but in the end, the three companions were victorious.
As Lamaia searched his body for anything of use, she found a very curious longsword forged of a black steel. Unlike the hellforged weaponry they had been churning out, this was darker. Small specks of white dotted the blade’s surface, like it was a shard of the night sky. She kept it, wondering if it would be of any use later.
With the aged orc and his minions slain, the three contemplated their next move. Surely the disappearance of such a high ranking member of Korrog’s tribe would be noticed. Whatever their next course of action was, they would need to think fast. Era and Lamaia looked over the orc’s body, and the surprising amount of armor he’d had concealed under his robes. With the mask, they could possibly make a convincing disguise. After an hour of cobbling together materials and determining proportions, they had a very convincing witch doctor disguise. With Era and Lamaia’s slender frames beneath the robes (Era in the armor), and Merle lead by a chain, the three made their way toward the heart of the city.
The sight they witnessed when they finally arrived was macabre. The dwarves that had lead the charge to free their kin from their prisons, and what appeared to be every other dwarven prisoner in the orcs keep, had been strung together with chains and rope, then suspended over the chasm that separated the keep from the rest of the city, like a horrifying living rope bridge. The cacophonous groans of agony of hundreds of dwarves filled the area like a choir of the damned. Their captors sneer and laughed as they passed.
Amid the hellish display, the three noticed a familiar-if not bloody-face. Baldin hung from the edge, his hand and leg bound to another dwarf, who was bound to another, and so on. The companions’ disguise seemed to be working. No orc question them, or made eye contact. They hurried to Baldin’s side. Lamaia conjured some of her fiendish power to make her voice sound as deep, dark, and threatening as the actual witch doctor. She demanded, in his voice, that Baldin be cut down and given to her for… experimentation.
The orcs complied, and Baldin was set free, though his kinfolk were sent screaming into the far wall below the keep, slamming into the stone with a sickening crack. While still alive, it looked quite painful for all of them.
It was then that the massive iron doors of the keep swung open, revealing Korrog. “Shaman. To my throne room. Now.”, was all he said before disappearing inside.
The companions turned to head back into the city, Baldin and Merle in tow, when two orcish guards blocked their path. They wanted to know where the witch doctor was going, and why he was not heeding the warchief’s command. Thinking fast, Lamaia issued a veiled threat, which was enough to part the orcs without any further argument.
They returned to the abandoned shop where they had rested after their battle with the witch doctor’s zombies. Once inside, they revealed themselves to Baldin. The cleric breathed a sigh of releif, and told of how he and the other dwarves had managed to rescue their comm rads with little effor, only to find they had walked into a trap. With the ambush sprung, the dwarves had no choice but to fight their way out. Unfortunately they were overwhelmed by Korrog’s forces, and were placed in the dire situation the companions had found them in,
With Baldin rescued, the three pondered their next move.