After leaving the wizard school our group makes it to the holy shrine of my Monk’s Order with no problems. No one is there to meet us at the appointed time but Bruce decides to take advantage of this opportunity of finally being outside of the city walls and begins a ritual of communing with nature in hopes that an Animal Companion will come to join him. After two hours of waiting two monks from my order arrive. They seem a little uncomfortable answering our questions so Rath suggests that I take them aside to see if they will be more forthcoming. Once its just the three of us the monks confide in me that they don’t know anything especially unusual about Gunther, but after some thinking they are able to remember that two years prior to his arrival the order was given the building, one of the most fortified areas in the city, and given a large amount of money which was used to not just for area beautification but also to improve the stonework, and make repairs, and overall make the place more defenseable. Around that time is also when the cook, who sacrificed himself so that we could get Gunther to safely arrived at the orphanage. They also confirmed that the King’s body has yet to be found and that the Wizard’s Council is rulling in his place. In reality the King was just a figure head, and the council has ruled all alolng, but now that he is gone and there is no heir, there power and authority is absolute felt even more. When the King was here he had the authority to refuse the council but hardly ever did so in fear of the consequences. Some say that several hundred years ago there was a King who had magic of his own and at that time the Wizard’s Council’s didn’t control things they way they do now but for some reason the King’s Line hasn’t had an ounce of magic since. Interestingly enough I’ve seen what looks like the lights going on in Gunther’s eyes every time he sees Rath or I cast a spell. If the kid has the potential for wizardry, surely it would be bad news for the council. Once the monk’s departed I conferred with the rest of the group and we all quickly came to the agreement that Gunther was placed in the orphanage for his own protection, and that the cook was placed there ahead of time to make the place as secure as possible which he likely did by ensuring the orphanage was in the most defendable place possible. Its as if he or someone was specifically preparing for the day the Orcs came looking for Gunther.
After a good nights rest, a Great Wolf appeared in answer to Bruce’s call, and we began moving towards the first equipment cache enroute to the mountains. On the way there the group came upon a large cave and after some investigation found tracks which Bruce was able to figure out belonged to a giant centipede. The idea of just trying to bypass the cave was discussed but Rath’s thought that how many adventuring parties can boast of having killed a giant centipede along with my thought of to the victors go the spoils held enough influence for us to take the risk. Of course while we were finishing up the discussion and concluding our investigation of the area using a light spell cast by Rath to see into the darkened cave, Alanna gor tired of all of our talk and charged in. She landed a mighty blow on the creature. Seeing that she was wasting no time, I focused the energy from within to encase my hand in electricity and joined the group in their melee. Between Bruce, the Wolf, Rath, and Alana, and a blow from me delivering a shocking blast the Centipede was made short work of. As we searched the cave and found gold, gems, and various armor pieces I had a conversation with Bruce and Rath about useful things we could do if we had some of the centipede’s poison and Bruce using his survival and knowledge nature skill along with Rath using his Healing skill and me using my alchemy skills successfully extracted 4 dosses of the poison which we will figure out the best thing to do with later.
That evening after making camp and going to sleep Alana woke the group and we all realized that the entire area was covered in a ominous fog. Figuring the best bet would be to travel until we are out of the area we spent 2 hours trying to move out of it before realizing that we had no idea of its boundries and that it was not holding to any weather or wind patterns that Bruce could figure out. Neither Rath nor I could figure out what the fog cloud might be or might portend to but we needed to get some rest so in an unsettled state we made camp again went to sleep. Again Alana woke us up with loud screams that we were under attack by large spiders. These were no ordinary spiders, they phased in and out of our area delivering deadly poisonous bites and with each phase the group also experienced waves of negative energy slowly draining away our life force. Rath managed to line up the spiders perfectly launching his sword in a whirling blade striking them both before it returned magically to his hands. I followed his attack by landing two scorching rays one on each spider before they began phasing making attacks more difficult. The spiders seem to easily resist my burning hands but as we cluster the group back to back it means we are all more susceptible to the energy drains but it also gives all of us opportunities to attack between there phases. I pull the coldness out of the air and encase my hands in chill and begin striking at the spiders with chill touch whenever possible. Between this tactic and the might of the rest of the group, Rath weilding his frost blade with both strength and precision, Alana’s expert bladework, and Bruce fighting in tandom with his wolf and causing flames to burn from his hands, we finally manage to kill both spiders. The scariest moment was when Gunther was hit with the negative energy, if it had not been for Rath’s quick thinking with his close wounds spell, who knows if Gunther would have survivied. Our whole quest could have gone for naught just that quickly. After the battle Rath used his healing skills to help Bruce’s wolf overcome some of the effects of the centipede’s poison and I supplied Rath with a vial of antitoxin to help him do the same for himself. Bruce then cast a restorative spell to help his Companion shake off most of the lingering effects and after some studying and concentration Rath is able to do the same for himself. Next Rath heals himself, Alana and I of our wounds while Bruce does likewise for himself and his wolf. After pooling our knowledge we come to the conclusion that this cloud is likely extraplanar in origin and our combined knowledge of magic confirmed that these spiders are phase spiders and though their poison is deadly as both Bruce’s Wolf and Rath could attest, they don’t have the ability to use negative energy to inflict wounds. This helped me remember that historically something like this happened before two thousand years ago. There was a time of magical decline where most magic stopped working all together and even the easiest of spells became incredibly difficult to cast. Directly before this happened a fog much like this one appeared but I can’t recall how they were connected. Although we don’t know the cause or effect in the big scheme of things our group is beginning to suspect that it is possible that the wizard’s council knew that another magical decline might be coming and wanted to completely confirm their power by removing the King and taking his place officially to ensure they could still rule even if their magical power was diminished. A heir to the throne with magical potential would definitely be a problem in their plans.
After traveling the rest of the day and making camp we make it through the night quietly. On the next day near the cache we have been traveling towards we hear a group of humanoids in armor off in the distance. We are able to figure out that it’s a group of orcs. Discussion of trying to evade them is cast aside as we realize it is our duty to do all we can to put a stop to the rising Orc menace. Given a little time to plan, Rath, Bruce and I begin to cast spells to help us in the coming combat. Bruce gifts me with the agility of the cat and Alana with the strength of the bull and Rath covers himself and Bruce’s Wolf in protective spells. I spend my time covering my fist in chilling cold and pulling the heat out of the air to summon muted fires of hell to surround my body. From there we begin moving forward at Rath’s pace. Bruce decides that his time can be better spent scouting and he uses his Druid’s gift of woodland stride to move forward and get a better look at the enemy. He returns telling us that there are at least 3 or 4 orcs, some of them wearing full plate, and that they have a group of Elves captive held in chains. Hearing this I know combat is imminent so I tell Gunther to go hide in a tree and we begin moving forward again but are quickly hit with a fireball clueing us in that the orcs know where we are and that they have a spellcaster with them. As the group attempts to spread out the forrest slows us down and another fireball hits us. By now we have noticed four orcs, two in platemail closer to the front and two in chainmail further back rushing in our direction. Bruce finds a spot of safety and begins summoning lightening from the clouds, Rath releases a fiery bolt then continues moving forward, I fire two scorching rays and do the same. Bruce’s Wolf charges into action not quite reaching his intended prey and Alanna looses an arrow from her bow, quickly stashes it back on her back and draws her blade while moving forward taunting the Orcs to show her what they can do. The two forward Orcs in plate have been hit by spells but continue forward, one reaching Alana and I and another reaching Bruce’s Wolf, the two chain mail clad orcs, one with an arrow prodtruding from him begin moving forward, and two more orcs appear in the fog further back, both appearing to be casting spells. I was able to evade both of the fiery attacks from the orc spell casters and I wonder if my abilities might be better served shielding either Bruce or Rath from the fire as they seem to be getting hurt the most. I voice this question and Rath yells, I will take care of this, so I decide to go on the offensive. Alana levels a mighty blow at the Orc facing us and I realize that she will have little problem facing this foe and tell her to move on leaving him to me, but she prefers to standfast and face this foe and hopefully draw more into her deadly reach. Willing to oblige her I dodge to the side, giving up the ability to strike at the orc and move forward towards a chainmail clad orc who swings at me and misses. Seeing an opening I strike at him with a scorpian’s strike, one of my attacks miss him but the one the hits glows with cold and I see his strength begin to fade. I follow up the strike with a grapple hold which he fails to pull away from. As I pull his body into me the muted flames I surrounded myself in earlier leap from my body and start burning away his flesh. As I continue to grapple with him I manage to land another blow though I see him shrug off the strength drain but I smile as I see the flames continue burning him to the core. To my surprise he manages to pull away from me so I move in again and strike him and again he manages to shruge off the strength drain and evade my attempts to pull him in for another burning embrace. While this has been happening the second chain mail clad orc has joined with the orc fighting Bruce’s Wolf and two of t hem manage to overwhelm the animal and drop him to the ground. The Great Wolf fought valiantly and both of the orcs look the worse for wear, one of them moves to attack Rath and the other to attack Bruce. Alana positions herself so that while fighting her foe she also threatens the orc striking at Bruce and her whirlwind attack slashes into both of her foes. Another fireball spell catches Rath but he smiles as the protection from fire spell he has casts prevents any of it from touching him. He uses his great sword to finish off the orc that was ravaged from its battle with Bruce’s wolf. From there Rath moves to me just as my final blow to the burnnig husk of an orc that was holding onto the thinnest thread of life falls dead. Rath then launches a fiery bolt at one of the casters and I follow it up with an orb of fire. Between the constant bolts of lightening that Bruce has been calling down on the two casters and those two fiery spells, the two orcs collapse to the ground as smoking corpses. The two of us give each other mutual nods of respect and turn back to see the rest of our party looking very hurt and still facing two orcs. Bruce, not lucky enough to be under any magical protections has been blasted by an additional fire ball and hit with multiple missiles of force by the spell casters before they perished, and before Alana joined him he was doing his best to fend off a axe weilding orc while calling lightning. His best wasn’t quite good enough as the bloody axe slash across his chest demonstrates. Angered at the loss of his wolf and the orc having the nerve to try to cut him in half, he moves away and pulls down another lightning bolt on the orc that Alana successfully pulled off of him. Alana is still swinging with wreckless abandom to great effect but she looks near to bleeding out herself. Rath launches his sword at one of the orcs with his whirling blade spell but unfortunately he misses and it returns to his hands, so I follow up with another orb of cold and it drops to the ground. Given room to breath and now only facing one foe, Alana swrils her blade into a two handed swing and cuts the remaining orc in two. After we regroup, heal some of our wounds, rejoice over the fact that Bruce’s Wolf isn’t dead but merely unconscious, we move to the Elves and realize that there are 8 of them bound in chains. We free them and they tell us that they are thankful for the help and would like us to escort them back to their village. Though it is a slight detour for us we feel duty bound to escort them to safety, and Rath remarks that as he glances over the bodies of the orcs having activated a detect magic cantrip, that they are loaded with magical items that hopefully we can get identified at the elven village.
We make it to the village safely, get our new gear identified, replenish ourselves, and discuss with them how the orcs were able to assault them and kidnap the group so easily.
Waiting for further information: Group will have to discuss how to best split the gear. Are the Village personnel able to tell us anything useful, how the orcs got in, is there anything special about the 8 people they kidnapped? Can they afford to buy the equipment from us that we do not want? Are their casters willing to offer Rath and I access to their spell books for the standard cost to see if there are any spells that we can learn? Filling knowledge gap. Our characters are better at this than we are, but when we spoke with the mysterious person in the castle who requested we get Gunther to the mountain strong hold, he wouldn’t tell us his name but was he willing to give us a name of someone who we should speak to, ask for, pass Gunter to whom he trusts in the mountains. I don’t remember if we asked this or not but if he thought it was important enough that we take Gunther all the way there I think he would have wanted to impart that kind of information to us. Also he said there were five people who knew that Gunther lived. Himself, three wizards on the council who we couldn’t trust, but were we able to find out who the fifth person was? Was he counting the cook who sacrificed himself in that five people?
Just added the note that the fifth person was the general in Rilark where you are taking the boy. Added by your crazy DM.