The Shattered Lands

Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.7
Plot thickens

We have been in the dwarven hall for hours it seems and we spot a figure slumped against a door, which we soon discovered was a dwarf being used as a door stop. as we go through the door we see piles of bodies one Dwarf the other Orc and looted. there is more sounds that catch our attention and we cautiosly look to find it is a small group of Orcs arguing aboout thier latest loot. rurga decides to turn on the charm and finds these boys don’t seem to be intrested in her as much as she would like and at that moment the rest of us are forced to take action. as we round the next corner I waste no time doping a weekminded fool and continued on to seal thier escape, which was really not neccessary for the rest of the party is quick to dispatch the rest.
We soon continue and run into the caverns were there is some whispered chanting echoing off the walls, this sends us on the hunt.
The source of the chanting is found and he is not alone but no matter we have some of the most eager combatents in the world. Schurr and Holg act quickly to take down the Orc warriors, and as Zarek puts an arrow into the shamen I realise he may have more knowledge about our enemies and of this sacred pit and cavern. I move to capture his mind and learn all I can, A few questions later and we are on our way, I decide to keep this one close to me for a little longer. There is a bit of a travel before we run into yet another patrol, this one trying to get to a small group of dwarves that are chanting, and very tired looking they are trying to keep a defensive barrier between them and the Orcs. I suggest that the shaman might put his warrior comrads to sleep as to not get into a conflict. unfrtunatly this is all botched and more combat ensues and I am forced to take my new puppet’s life rather abruptly. After the small skirmish we give aid to the Dwarves, in exchange one agrees to be our giude to the citadel.
The halls are long and wining for we are using some of the lesser traveled roots threw the mountain pass and it is brilliant that we end up by some falls just outside the citadel. Upon arriving at the citadel there is another small regiment of Orcs, one on a rather large boar. I cannot help the thought of one pig headed warrior on a larger pig. I notice there are gaurds on towers and by the gates. The warriors go to work quick and Schurr takes down three in a flurry of power and killer instinct, and Holg in a commanding voice challenges the mounted warrior to duel. I quickly notice the Dwarf getting into possition to fire his crossbow and Zarek reading his bow as well. I focus on my target and have this thought of a matchstick, in turn I see the Orc ignite on fire and start to burn just as i imagined.
The battle waged forth and we took one after another until only Holg and leader were left, and then there was just Holg victorious and a little worse for wear. With the battle finished we decided to rest for a bit.

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Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.6
dwarven hell

Another tale for the lore books. We begin this adventure at the gateway to the dwarven stronghold also known as stonefang pass. There is much to behold in the craftmanship of the dwarven made pass. The walls covered with the details of the dwarven war versus a mighty giant. chains are a main element in the carvings done in the wall, I can only assume they are trying to bind or hold controll over the mighty foe. Not long after we enter the threshold it takes no time at all before we are attacked by flying creatures that suck the lifeforce and living essance from thier victims. I am not surprised that the mighty Holg and the faithful puppy instantly go into combat, they can not resist the urge and have no problems taking down the creatures with a little help of course. Holg takes a minor wound during the melee but to him it is just a flesh wound.
Walking and searching ferther on I reach for the thruming orb I was givin to find another of its kind, its faint but I can feel the pulse and I believe I am on the right path. While examining a statue of a dwarf I find nothing of note in it, but leave it to a curious cleric to find the statues true nature it was a clever looking fountain.
Moving further into the hall we feel the ground shake, walls rumble, and fissures open, with movement detected spiders start flowing out of the cracks and again we are quick to react to them and take no time at all disposing of their lives. With the first contacts in the great hall of this stronghold being highly combative I realize we will need to be very cautious and keep are wits if we are going to servive, for the dwarves told us it was overtaken by Orcs.
Only moments later we run into a solid wall with a small passage to the right, curiousity gets the best of all of us and schurr and I go up the stairs and into a small room, in very little time skurr and i figure out the mechanism that moves the troublsome wall out of the way, only to reveal the dumbfounded faces of Orcs on the otherside. With quick desisive action I suggest to schurr a non combative aproach and he draws the sword that fools ones eyes and mind. I know its not honorable for Holg to not challenge his metal but now is not the time to fight we need to conserve are strenght for this hall did not fall to a small band of Orcs but an army of them. I am sure are time will come were we will have no choice but to fight.

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Holg's Journal IV

We were able to make it to the pit that holds Stonefang without any interruptions, but we were too late. As we round the cave’s corners, we’re met with the titan reaching up out of the pit and climbing to his feet. As I charge in, the titan reaches down, grabs one of the Orcs standing around performing the ritual, and eats him. Not knowing what to do, knowing only that attacking would do nothing, I run to one of the glyphs on the ground and hope that it’s the right one. I then see Zarek come out of one of the four cave entrances, he has the rib in his hands, don’t know how he got it but the next thing he does is place the stone rib on a glyph and begins to say, “With this, I bind thee, Stonefang!”. As he puts the rib down I notice the rib is glowing purple and so is the glyph it’s on. I take a moment to notice that the glyph in front of me was glowing green, I look at the stone fist I have in my pack and see that it’s also glowing green. That’s when I took the stone fist and repeated what Zarek had done, “With this I bind thee, Stonefang!”. The others do the same, then all we had to do was some how knock the titan back into the pit and seal it. After attempt after attempt of knocking him back, we succeed and seal the pit. As the others try to figure out how to protect the pit once more, I head off, eager to just leave the damn pass.

That night, I pull together a ritual event to prove myself to Gruumsh that I am a great warrior, I begin to tear out my right eye in Grumsh’s honor, to become an Eye of Gruumsh! I raise up my knife and begin to carve out my eye, without a sound of a whimper or the sight of a tear, I prove my worthiness to the great god of Orcs and Half-Orcs.

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Holg's Journal III
After my victory over the great Eye of Gruumsh warrior, the group had began to walk into the Citadel to find the last two pieces of Stone Fist: the eye and heart. We walked into the Citadel, following the puny Dwarf, there was many supplies found scattering the ground of what seemed to be the main floor of the stone structure. In front of us was two stairways, the Dwarf, Schurr, Rurga, and Astrid took the right, me and Zarek headed up the left, not knowing where it will lead. Zarek and I continue up the stone stairway as we start to hear the clash of metal, Zarek then tells me that him and Astrid were somehow staying connected and that it was the other group on the other side, they ran into some Orcs but have gone by with out much trouble, me and Zarex continue up the path. We later meet up with the other group in what seems to be the top of the Citadel with nothing but torn maps, but this time the Dwarf was not with them, I didn’t bother to ask, it didn’t concern me. We spot a ladder that leads up to what seemed to be the very peak of the tower, we climb up the ladder only to see three Orcs, two Shaman and a big Orc with a green dragon skull mask on, he began to say that he has been waiting for us, we begin to fight. I head for the shaman to the right and begin to cut him down with my Orc double axe, soon after Zarek comes up and fakes an attack, I get on the other side of the Orc thus making him trapped between us, I deliver another blow to him, Zarek then stabs the Orc in the back through the heart, instantly killing him. I then turn around to begin my attack on the big Orc, only to find Schurr already fighting him, and a mysterious spear behind the Orc, I come over and hit him once with my axe and attempt to hit with a second hit, only to miss. Schurr moves to the right of the Orc and attacks, then come Zarek again to stab the Orc. Becoming surrounded, the Orc begins to somehow, float away, both me and schurr react fast enough and deliver two attacks on him, he then begins to fall down the tower, but Zarek goes and grabs the Orc and drags him back onto the tower. Little did I know but the other shaman was dead, supposedly by falling over the edge, I search the big Orcs body, nothing of interest but the mask, I attempt to pull the mask off, only to rip the mask and the flesh off the Orc. We begin to look for the eye of Stone Fist, we find it in one of the chest under some draped tables, this is when I’m told the heart of Stone fist was found earlier down in the Citadel, with our job only half done, we rest. When we awake, we begin to head down the Citadel, we run into the Dwarf that was with us earlier and five other of his kind, I was hoping he had died, I have no idea where the others came from. We begin to head towards the pit of Stone Fist to place the pieces on the runes.
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Holg's Journal II
After finding the pit that withholds Stone Fist, and the shaman bringing us to some damn dwarfs, which hold one of the pieces needed to bind Stone Fist in his pit. After everyone but me gives food rations to the “leading” dwarf, we set out to get to the Citadel to find the other Pieces. On our way to the Citadel, the dwarf brings back past the pit, as we go back up the spiral stairs, we run into the orcs that were in the room trying to get the dwarfs, Astrid then says something to the shaman and all of a sudden four of the six orcs fell on the floor asleep, the other two were searching for the secret passage way. Soon after the orcs falling asleep, Zarek attempts to silently walk up behind the orcs and kill them, except the two orcs heard him and turned around and began to ready themselves for combat. Zarek then runs up with his rapier and stabs the orc through his armor enough to put him to the ground crying (Weakling), I then run up to the other and deliver a devastating blow, crumpling him to the ground. After the quick battle, the shaman whom witnessed the brawl grew confused and the next thing I see is him falling on the floor dead and then Astrid behind him with a bloodied knife in her hand, I just shrug it off and start moving the sleeping orcs outside the hidden passage and close the door. We walk down Stone fang’s pass a little ways and then the dwarf looked at the wall and knocked on it, he then began to open a secret passage leading to a place called the Falls, which is a waterfall adjacent to a small fortress, the dwarf then told us that after the fortress there was a door that lead to a spiral staircase that heads into the citadel. We look down at the fort and notice not only 10 orcs heading back into the Stone Fang Pass, but we also spot another 10 orcs at the fort, one of ‘em being an Eye of Gruumsh riding on a Dire Boar. I don’t know what everyone else was planning but I knew that the Eye of Gruumsh was mine, and mine alone to kill. Me and Schurr head up the middle as Astrid, Zarek head up the right side, and Rurga and the dwarf head up the left. I yell out to the Orc Chieftain to dismount his bore and face me like a true orc, he yells back to his orc squad and says “That one is mine!” pointing to me. I move up to the middle of the stone bridge over the waterfall and wait for him to come to me, he charges towards me, still on his boar, and it pushes me back, but I was able to get a hit off on his boar. After many trading blows, the Chieftain drops his club and grabs a spiked net and throws it on top of me, I’m trapped for only a few minutes as I tear the net off and return the attack. The Chieftain then reaches for another spiked net, but this time misses me, I again hit him, and he grabs a stone fist and lifts me above his head and throws me just nearly of the bridge. After another couple of devastating blows to the Chief, he finally crumbles to the floor dead, I have finished what I have wanted to do since learning of the Great Orc warriors in this pass. After the battle was done, I looted the Chief and found a golden gem-encrusted hook that were holding the nets, and gave the nets to Schurr, I then chopped of the orc’s head as a battle trophy. The team then opted to spend a night outside of the fort due to the amount of damage done to some of us. Next thing to do is climb up to the Citadel.
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Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.5
A day at the Faire

After another mission finished, we return to Max for payment. When we receive payment, we are told that a gentleman called Heddard wanted to meet us at the faire. We decide to enjoy the faire, for it is an annual event. The faire does hold goodies for one truly seeking, and I find what I’m looking for. A little charm goes a long way, and I am able to purchase some much needed supplies at a discount. The faire seems to treat the others to some much needed fun. It seems Rurga likes to bet on fights, especially if the bet is on Holg. Holg joins in this battle of strength with as much enthusiam as a young child viewing a toy he can’t wait to break. They make an interesting pair.

I find that Zarek and Schurr are very much creatures of thier work, and I have to admit I’m interested in what Heddard has to say. It is always good to learn more about your oppo… err client. It seems Heddard is the son of Conrad, and as such, is a part of the Blue House, one of the richest in the city. Finding his location is really easy since the house flag, a Stag with a crown and antlers, hangs outside a local tavern. We show the letter to the guard outside and are allowed to enter. There, a guard escorts our small band to the back of the tavern where our host is waiting. I’ve seen his type before, wealthy and pampered. Heddard tells us that he has a job for us, and it involves guarding him on a mission. It’s a treasure hunt and he is the only one who can read the map. Not much information is given as to the nature of the treasure. As far as I am concerned, it is nothing but a baby sitting job with someone who is not yet a man; he is a little boy trying to prove how big his sword is. I am, however, part of a group and will go where they go for the sake of learning more of our crew. That is all cut short when an assassin kills our client before the mission begins. The situation soon goes sour as we try to stop this stealthy assassin, who is capable of going through walls as a ghost. With our paths now blocked by guards trying to reach their boss, I try to calm the situation rationally. For my peace-keeping efforts, I am struck in the face as if I were just a mere barwench. I detest those who touch me without my permission, so I decide to put him in his place: on the floor writhing in pain (ultimate head ache). I notice we need to get out of dodge. These guards believe we have killed their leader and are prepared to arrest us. I decide the only course of action is to wrap up the small-minded muscle men with my charm and allow my crew time to escape.

With our crew’s current situation, Max supplies us with some gear and tells us to take leave for awhile till things can cool down and he has time to fix the misunderstanding.

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Stonefang Pass pt2

The night starts with the team just having gotten past a large group of orcs by using the Sword Sightblinder. The Orcs, believing Schurr was their warleader, charged off to the other end of Stonefang Pass, believing an army of dwarves were mounting an assault.

Ahead, the smoothly carved passage wall is interrupted by an angle. A door·sized portion of the wall projects outward, and lying at its base is the body of a female dwarf. Someone has unceremoniously used her corpse to wedge open a secret door.

Regrouping and moving on, the group found a secret passage wedged open by a dwarven body. Inside, more confusion, two piles of bodies, dwarven and orc flank the room. The bodies have been well looted, but Rurga finds a remarkable hide shield with which she quickly replaces her old worn shield. Magical in nature, she makes note to study it further when time permits. Just around the bend, 3 Orcs huddle over the loot from their kin and kind, arguing rather than guarding, and are soon overwhelmed. What they were supposed to guard, the stairs to a deeper level, showed a history of brutality against the Dwarves by a single figure, bigger than a Giant, a Titan? In the end Dwarven heroes were able to rend four pieces from the Titan, weakening him sufficiently to throw him into a pit and hold him. At the bottom of those stairs, the party may have found that pit. And a couple orcs, one to slay and one to control. Pumping the Charmed Shaman, the party learns of four Dwarves holed up, magically keeping the Orcs at bay. They also find four glowing wards meant to bind the Titan, but the Wards are missing the important Pieces of the Titan. The Titan may be breaking free, explaining the recent earthquakes. Sending the Orcs harrassing the exhausted Dwarves away with another use of Sightblinder, the party hears the rest of the story.

‘Thank the Gods you’ve come at last! Now that the orcs are all dead, we can seal in Stonefang forever. Quickly, Give me the rest of the titan’s body fragments. He struggles to escape even now! We have little time."

The Dwarves could not keep the Titan, Stonefang bound, and he was too powerful to destroy. So they make a pact with Torog, God of Jails and Bindings. The four Pieces were used in Wards to bind the Titan in the Pit, forever. And for hundreds and maybe thousands of years it worked. In time the history of Stonefang Pass became legend, and the keeping of the Wards fell to a select few, a cult of Torog. When civil war all but destroyed the Dwarven clans that dwelt there, and they left for other Holds and Kaerns, the cultists stayed behind to do their sacred duty. Few in number, they were unable to stop the Orcs from invading and taking over the Citadel and then the Pass. When the Orcs caught one of the cultist leaving by way of a secret passage to scout for food and help, they found their way to the Pit. The cultists managed to take with them one Piece of the Titan, Stonefangs’ stout rib. Using its magic and a ritual chant, the Dwarves were able to save their own lives, but lost the rest of the Pieces to the Orcs. Without those Pieces, Stonefang cannot be contained. And when he breaks out, his rage and power will know no bounds. All the free people of the lands will be in danger. It is up to the party to recover the remaining pieces and return them to the Pit and the waiting cultists to once again bind Stonefang in his stony prison.

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Holg's Journal
The past day or so, hard to tell in this damn mountain side, we have ran into flying rats and over sized spiders, so when we’ve ran into my own kind, I was eager to prove my mettle against Gruumsh’s greatest warriors to prove to my god that I am a better Orc, to carry out his power. As I’m about to make combat with one of the better Orcs of the group, one of my fellow group members un-sheaths a mind bending sword that seems to influence others of seeing things, making them trust him for whatever reason, and telling them to meet the damn dwarf army at the beginning of the path. As they leave to face the dwarf army, I am left to ponder to myself if I truly fit in with this, “ask questions first” group, I feel my trust slipping away, specifically with the gnoll, the killer instinct inside Schurr has seem to have disappeared. Later on our travels through this path, we came across a dead dwarf propping open a secret passage, seems to be the only thing they’re good for, turns out that door stopper was the female dwarf we were looking for. We move through the doorway of the passage, further inspection of the passage, Rurga spotted three Orcs looting through some junk they found, Rurga then, being the type of Orc she is, walks right in and attempts to bluff her way out of combat. When that failed, she used her charm to distract them, when that went wrong she called me her husband, to get me in the room and start the slaughter. As we begin to fight, one of the Orcs starts moving towards me with his spear in defensive position, I attempt to attack and hit, but in much of my disappointment, it only shakes him. Schurr then came from behind and split the Orc’s head, this proved to me that my earlier accusations were wrong, at least by a little. After the encounter with the Orcs, we descended down the spiral staircase only to lead to a giant chasm with weird images on the ground and a giant pit in the middle. As Schurr surprises an orc from behind, but misses, that is when I come in with a light blow to the Orc, but oddly enough the Orc just falls down dead. At the time, Zarek shot a shaman with his bow, then comes Astrid with her freaky mind tricks, doing something to the wise Orc’s mind and causing him to fall under some sort of magic. After squeezing information from the Orc, we learned that the so called glyphs on the floor are spots to put the heart, eye, rib, and hand of the titan called Stone fang, of whom we learned of by the writings on the wall. Rurga talks the shaman into leading us to a place where some dwarfs were blocked in a room by a magical barrier, when we get there, I planned to kill all Orcs there so to honor Gruumsh, but Schurr pulls out the sword again and the Orcs stand there and listen to everything he said. That left us with just us five, the shaman, and four dwarfs behind the barricade huddling over one of the pieces that we needed to trap Stone Fang from emerging again, although I have thought of possibly controlling the titan.
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Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.4
The Motley Crew

Traveling with this crew, I’ve realized they have quite a lot of potential. I compiled my thoughts here in my journal.
First up would be…
Schurr, Gnoll: barbarian
I prefer to think of him as a battle hound without a leash. If you want to remove an obstacle from your path or a life force from its body, this is your ummm… man? Grizzled and tested, this Gnoll is no ones pet, but perhaps I can make him mine.

Holg, Half-orc: barbarian
Warrior of God, this Half-orc has a true fighting spirit. He is willing to do anything to appease his god, and he is always willing to test his strength. He is a valuable team member.

Rurga, Half-orc: Cleric
What can I say… a person of God, though why she prays, chants, and goes through her divine rituals, I’ll never know. It is comforting to know that, like Holg, she fears little. As such, she has unique skills that this team needs.

Zarek, (not human): Rogue
Quiet and cautious are two excellent words to describe how one should be when near Zarek. His actions are secretive and stealthy, and he likes to work the same way. A part of me is truly curious, and I genuinely think we have a mutual respect for privacy and methods.

In closing, I believe we are in for a grand adventure.

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Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.3
Mission one

My first mission with this ragtag team was a trip to a place called Greenhallow. There were reports of a horde of goblins that are super agressive and attacking the town. Our journey to this small outpost went rather quickly and uneventfully. We arrived at the outpost to find just a skeleton crew of guards, outnumbered by the people they protect. With resources running low, this situation was bleek. Our party needed to be swift with plans and action, for we had only till sundown to prepare for the coming onslaught.

With much discussion and brainstorming, we hatch a plan. Knowing we don’t have a lot of time, I take a moment to rally some of the townfolk to help us. This was not too difficult, especially after I explained that they had very little time and their resources are running dangerously low. I told them that the time to act was upon them or there would be nothing left. With a small work force and the cunning of our group. we assembled traps and a strategic lookout point.

That evening, we waited for the inevitable to happen. The goblins didn’t disappoint; they arrived full of vigor and ready for almost anything. The first wave reached the traps, and I sprang them by firing a bolt lit on fire into the oil slicks and igniting the goblins in a blaze of fire and smoke. It would have been nice to have it end there, but as I looked further I noticed a demon rallying even more goblins to advance onto the town. I focused my attention on the demon, attempting to enter his mind and lock his higher intellect out and stop its leadership capabilities. The demon began to flee as his goblins continued to fall. With the goblins leaderless and fleeing, the Gnoll’s bloodthirst was triggered and the Half-Orc barbarian went into a full out leap over the walls. The Cleric and I pursued as well, and we caught up with the remaining goblins in the fields. We clashed head-on as the goblins turned to fight us. I wasted no time with the first opponent, blasting his mind with my psionic energy. I then continued to skirt the edge of conflict as the Gnoll, Barbarian, and the lagging Cleric engaged the goblins with a lust for blood and victory. I took another goblin down and increased my speed in the hopes of catching up to the demon who was ahead of us all and desperately fleeing into the woods. After a few brief moments, the demon was spotted going into the cave.

The team finally assembled at the mouth of the cave, some of us still breathing heavy from combat.The Rogue volunteered to go into the cave first, and with his quiet footfalls, I think even death could not hear him coming. The Gnoll is ever ready for a fight and almost seems to have a death wish. The Half-orc went next, eager to finish this night and possibly add a few more scars of battle to his collection. The Cleric, vigilant and clutching her bruised hands, had shown me she wasn’t afraid. They had no trouble moving around in the cave, but I could barly see five feet in front of me. So I lagged behind just a bit, lit a torch, and entered cautiously. In mere moments, we were spotted and all hell breaks loose. We followed the “Scouts” down a winding hall and out into an alcove with a large statue. The demon was there, catching his breath and readying himself for combat. My wish for an easy fight dissolved quickly as goblins come down from ceiling dwellings via columns and ropes. The Gnoll sprinted into combat, followed closely by the Half-Orc barbarian. Both were vicious and swift in dispatching their foes. It dawned on me that we needed to stop the demon as fast as possible. That proved no easy task as the ground soon started to shake. I knew we were in for more than we bargained for. The statue came to life and began to attack the nearest foe. The Half-orc met the goliath head on. With some concentrated efforts, I realized the Gnoll and I had the same idea and worked togeather to take down the demon, who to our suprise was just a mere man. With the demon’s defeat, the statue came to a halt, ceasing to move. The Gnoll grabbed the sword beside the mystery man, changing our Gnoll instantly. He let out a commanding roar of victory, his voice booming with authority, which cleared the room of opposition. With the battle over, we escorted the man back to town and brought him to the jail. Apparently, the townsfolk knew him and had picked on him for being a hunchback. He was not thought highly of. One night spent in the town and we were on our way to claim our payment from Max.
I believe this group might be just what I needed.

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