Hogar’s Journal (Translated from Giant)
Year 781 of the founding of the City
6th Day of Meloramensis – Part III
Thunderspire Mountain – Horned Hold, Entrance
Charrak’s map was good and I was able to lead us to the Hold with few mishaps. After about half a day the oppressive tunnels turned into a series of large caverns criss-crossed by deep gorges that disappear to unknown depths. Shortly thereafter we were confronted by the front of a formidable fortress sitting on the other side of and surrounded by a particularly wide gorge.
We crept from rock to rock gradually getting closer to the stronghold. From our hiding place we could a gated and crenulated wall, accessible only by crossing a narrow causeway. This was not the main part of the Hold however. Behind the gated wall we could see in the distance a bridge leading to the centre of the Hold on the other side of the gorge. To access the Hold we had to cross the causeway with a sheer drop to our right and a cliff face extending up into darkness to our left. We then had to negotiate our way through the small gate sealed by a portcullis, all the while being overlooked by a series of small windows perfect for sheltering snipers. Should we make it through the gate we had no idea what lay inside between us and the bridge.
I then noticed two orcs standing behind the portcullis and felt a cold fury spread through my bones and bloodlust cloud my vision. Vic stayed my hand however, deciding that we should attempt to gain entrance by subterfuge rather than break ourselves upon the walls of the fortress. He instructed Rodney to hide his weapons and strode forward towards the portcullis with the human mage in tow.
After the pair had covered roughly half the distance from our hiding place to the gate they were challenged by the orcs. Vic declared that he had been sent by Kediri with this human to sell. After a brief discussion between themselves the orcs sent out a halfling to collect them. As the halfling met our companions he produced a rope to tie Rodney’s hands. As Rodney put his hands forward to be bound the Halfling spotted his magic orb concealed up his sleeve and asked loudly what it was.
Vic and Rodney cut their losses. Rodney charged the gate and cast a thunderous wave at the orcs behind it. Vic drew his sabre to stab the incredulous halfling. The rest of us broke cover to rush to their aid. Despite Rodney’s thunderwave the orcs managed to seal the portcullis and began to jab at the mage through the gaps with their spears. More orcs appeared behind the gates and three more halflings armed with slings appeared in the windows above to pelt Vic with shot, quickly knocking him out.
Glen and Eligos charged the gate in an attempt to force it open but found their efforts foiled by the strength of the lock. Glen took to returning the stabs of the orcs through the gaps in the portcullis with the spear end of his ugrosh but Eligos was too hampered by it to have much effect with her flail.
As this was happening I was so consumed with rage that I could do nothing other than send shaft after shaft at the orcs behind the gate. I was concerned with nothing other than the destruction of these foul beasts, though I had little success. Minron had rushed to the aid of our stricken leader. He easily killed the halfling that had left the safety of the hold and revived Old Vic. Having thus saved the day he charged to join the others at the gate and in a feat of strength only possible from a battle crazed Minotaur, ripped the portcullis from its housing, shattering the lock as he did so.
The gate now removed Glen, Eligos and Minron pressed into the hold to attack the orcs, killing them all with relative ease. Vic and Rodney cleared the halflings from the windows with projectiles, killing all except one who ran down a ladder and managed to escape through a double door on the other side of the courtyard.
The disappearance of the last halfling brought quiet to the courtyard. After allowing Vic a moment to clear his head and catch his breath we all followed the fleeing halfling.