8th Day of Meloramensis – Part I

Hogar’s Journal (Translated from Giant)

Year 781 of the founding of the City

8th Day of Meloramensis – Part I

Thunderspire Mountain – The Horned Hold, South Gate

I was roughly roused from fitful dreams of Diefenbaker's last moments by Glen who was on watch.  He was alerting us to a presence in the chapel.  As we sprang to our feet and readied weapons a deep rumble echoed around the chamber.  The rumble was pierced by an ominous cracking as a large section of ceiling fell to the ground.  As the dust cleared it became apparent that a large chunk of masonry was blocking our progress through the chapel.  After some arguing as to what to do next we settled on what was really our only option, to retrace our steps and look for another route to Mirklemoor.

Moving back into the landing where we encountered the foul smelling zombies we proceeded along another corridor.  As we approached an iron bound door loud voices became apparent.  They were speaking in what both Eligos and I recognised immediately as giantish.  My heart raced at the prospect of facing orcs.  Killing some of my despised kin would be some solace in the face of the loss of Diefenbaker.  Eligos could make out four distinct voices bawdily discussing their success in some previous skirmish.  I motioned for the others to drop back into the darkness of the corridor and barged my way into the room.  Three orcs sat around a rough wooden table clutching tankards.  Their discarded weaponry carelessly rested against thighs or on the table top.  In one corner crouched an ogre gnawing on a suspiciously large looking bone.  Between mouthfuls of marrow he was regaling his comrades with tales of the loot he had taken from some town or other.

“You dolts!  The prisoners are escaping”.  I barked at them as I burst through the door.  Four fanged faces turned to look at me without comprehension.  “Fools!”  I screamed.  “Get over the bridge and after them before they get away”. 

As dull witted as they looked none of the four dared to question someone of the orcish race who spoke with such authority.  They lumbered to their feet as one and moved towards the door.  Barely had they got into their stride when Minron came barrelling through the door head lowered and charged into the nearest archer.  Tankard, orc, chair and bow went crashing to the ground.  I quickly sank an arrow into one of the other orcs as the rest of the party came through the door, weapons at the ready.

As he came though the door Vic made use of the black magic he has been studying of late and uttered a curse at the nearest orc.  As he did so I noticed a change in him that I could swear has happened overnight, though perhaps I've just failed to notice before.  He had taken on a sallow hue.  His waxy skin seemed to hang taught over his bones and his eyes were dull and hollow with a haunted look about them.

As we moved to attack the slavers the ogre reacted with a lightning speed that we did not expect.  He smacked Minron with a wooden club itself nearly the size of the massive minotaur.  Glen, immediately reacted to the threat posed by the giant ogre by circling around behind him to take advantage of the brute's preoccupation with Minron and sliced him with his ugrosh.  Though not devastating the attack clearly surprised the ogre who yelped out in pain and turned his attention to the plucky dwarf.  Amazingly, despite being five times his size the ogre seemed somewhat cowed by the determination of the stalwart fighter.

The orcs, though much more nimble than the orge must have been considerably slower of wit.  Throughout these initial moments of struggle they remained standing around the table open mouthed.  Rodney ensured that such reticence did not go unpunished as with a gesture he caused the table to erupt into a searing column of flame which roasted the flesh of all three of them.  The stench of seared orc awoke my hatred of the creatures that have caused me so much suffering over the years.  I notched an arrow and loosed it to bury itself in the breast of the prone orc as he struggled back to his feet.  Quickly I notched another and put it through his left eye and into his brain thus ending his life.  Another of my evil brethren sent to collect the skulls of his dispatched foes from Grummush.

The death of his comrade unnerved one of the remaining orcs and he ran towards a double door at the other end of the room.  His friend showed altogether more bravery and stepped across to cover his retreat and throw a poorly directed hand-axe at Minron.  Eligos saw the fleeing orc and transformed herself into her brute form to give chase.  As he placed his hand on the door handle the unfortunate orc was hit full in the face by Eligos' flail.  Blood erupted from his snout but to his credit the beast did not go down.

Despite the failure of the orc to reach the door it swung open unaided, creaking on its hinges to reveal a pitch black void beyond.  Rough moaning emanated from the darkness, the unmistakeable tortured voice of the long undead.  Slowly a mummy shambled forth, foetid strips of linen hung loosely from him swinging in counter-motion to his pendulous gait.  The sight of the creature made my heart constrict in my chest.  Somehow he seemed to emanate a feeling of dread.  Minron, who later admitted to experiencing the same fear, dealt with it by charging headlong into the mummy sending the reanimated corpse crashing to the ground.

Our attention was drawn from the new arrival by the smack of the ogre's club connecting with Glen's head.  However by turning to face the dwarf the ogre left himself open to an attack from Old Vic who unleashed a dark bolt of energy from his wand.  A shadowy tether formed between the orge and Vicrael’s wand that seemed to drain the beast's energy.  His misery was further compounded as Glen and Rodney followed up with vicious attacks of their own.  The valour of my companions had left the ogre visibly stunned but still he fought on.  My thirst for the blood of orcs temporarily sated at the death of the first orc I turned my attention on the ogre and sent two arrows into his gullet, killing him.  As the giant toppled I glimpsed an orc drawing back to strike at Minron.  I put a third shaft into his armpit causing him to miss the minotaur.  This last misfortune and the death of two of their comrades was enough to send both remaining orcs fleeing through the door and into the darkness, Minron's assailant trailing black blood from his wound.

Only the mummy now remained to threaten us.  Eligos and Minron bore down on his prone form slashing at him with sword and flail tearing putrid flesh from rotten bone.  Even under such an assault the mummy managed to regain his feet.  As he did so flesh and bone knit together to make it appear that his ordeal had never happened.  Thus unscathed he swung a fist at Minron and struck with such force that the mighty minotaur staggered back a step.  The attack availed him little though as Minron simply used the space between them to charge the mummy and once again send him sprawling on the floor.

Vic stepped forward and engulfed the mummy and Eligos in a gout of flame.  The flames had no effect on the tiefling but the mummy fared less well.  The musty linen enshrouding his entire form burst instantly into flame.  His low moan raised several octaves to become a shrill squeal as he staggered about in agony his arms flailing wildly.  Glen took a step towards the mummy and with a mighty heave sent the blade of his ugrosh into his exposed neck to cleave halfway into the creatures chest.  The mummy grasped the shaft of the axe even as he dropped to one knee.  Glen placed a boot on the mummy's shoulder and heaved the weapon free, releasing a torrent of blood and another scream from our foe.  Eligos and Minron both charged into to stricken mummy sending it crashing to ground to ooze blood and other unspeakable substances into the flagstones.  An eerie silence filled the room.

The silence was broken by a wet sucking noise and the return of the familiar undead moan of the zombie.  The creature rose to its hands and knees, all the while dripping gore onto the floor as the great rent in its torso sealed itself before our very eyes.  The monster, bandages singed and soaked in crimson blood, turned on Glen and punched him in the face.  The blow splattered the dwarf’s face in gore.  Minron rushed to Glen's aid and knocked the mummy over once again.  Glen immediately chopped his axe down on the creature's neck nearly severing it but even with the merest slip of flesh holding his head to his shoulders the mummy tried to rise and continue its attack. 

Rodney brought matters to a head by calling for us to step aside.  He raised his magic orb above his head and engulfed the mummy in a blast of searing energy.  The creature screamed one last time as his body disintegrated to land on the floor as a pile of dust.

As we followed the trail of orcish blood into the darkness Glen fell in beside me to point out to me that the ogre was on his last legs when I stepped in and dispatched him.  Utter nonsense obviously but I've learned that it's best to humour him.  I noticed that he was sweating slightly before the dark engulfed us, I hope that mummy wasn't carrying some sort of contagion.

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