Zor, 19 Aufgasta, 3E998
The four Heroes 4 Hire were almost finished with their briefing with Kwon when he said he had hired two more men to go into the temple ruins with them: a battle cleric named Karraway, and a fighter. The two men came over to the table and introduced themselves, and to the Heroes surprise the fighter was none other than their old hireling Greves, from their days in Hellespont. With their introductions and reunions complete, the Heroes now numbered six.
Illyia Baham and Lt. Diplo Norixius went to reconnoiter the ruined temple that Kwon had briefed them, to see if there was any additional information they could discover that Kwon could not from his safe perch. Diplo stayed an inconspicuous distance down the city street from the temple, far enough to stay out of anyone’s notice, but close enough to run to Illyia’s aid if he should need it. Illyia approached the ruins nonchalantly, hiding in among the normal passersby, and used Nightshade to scout the rooms immediately beyond the several visible doors in the exterior, finding a stable with human guards, a stonecutter’s workshop with orc guards, and of course, six orcs and 4 human guards on duty in the front entry yard behind the portcullises. Not wanting to press their luck and blow their cover, Illyia and Nightshade retreated after this initial look to rejoin with Diplo, and they observed the rooftop patrols to ascertain numbers, patrol routes and frequency. Once they had that information, they returned to the Yellow Flag and relayed what they had found to the rest of the team.
Far, 20 Aufgasta, 3E998
The Heroes waited through the next day until after nightfall, and then proceeded to the temple ruins. They sneaked up in the darkness to the far side of the complex and used a grappling hook to scale over the 40’ eastern wall of the cloister. Once all six were atop the wall, the team began hearing an alluring sound coming from the overgrown garden below, the music of four female voices, beautiful and haunting in the night air. Beeblebrox, Diplo, Greves and Karraway walked entranced to the edge of the cloistered garden and leaped down, Beeblebrox being the only one to land on his feet. Dajjal and Illyia remained atop the wall, flabbergasted that their teammates would just walk off an edge to get to some voices that so obviously spelled certain doom.
The four entranced adventurers made their way out of the unkempt underbrush and onto the less-overgrown foot path that bisected the garden, searching for the sources of the voices that made them yearn so. Their friends still atop the wall watched in horror as four harpies swept down from their roosts in the trees to attack. Each taking on one of the charmed adventurers, they attacked with their claws and clubs, successfully striking Karraway and Beeblebrox and shaking them from their enchantment. The halfling and the cleric returned the favor, while Dajjal and Illyia rained shots in from atop the wall, and two of the harpies fell immediately.
Diplo and Greves, witnessing their so-called ‘friends’ attacking these beautiful creatures… these most-high-precious-loves-of-their-lives… moved in to stop these betrayers. Diplo stepped up and smacked Beeblebrox with his warhammer in a mighty arcing golf-swing, and at the point of impact the resounding explosion of a Thundering Smite echoed from the cloistered garden, alerting everyone including the potted plants to the adventurers’ once-stealthy approach. Greves flanked Karraway and swung his battleaxe, but the cleric saw it coming and managed to deflect the blow with his shield. The four unaffected Heroes then counterattacked, finishing off the remaining two harpies, and Diplo and Greves suddenly came back to their senses, stunned that they had attacked their own companions.
With that, Illyia swung the rope over to the other side of the wall, and the four in the cloistered garden climbed back up with him and Dajjal. They crept around the perimeter toward the entry yard behind the portcullises, but rapidly spotted a group of orcs climbing the access ladder from the very same courtyard to come investigate the disturbance on the roof. A short engagement ensued, six orcs versus the six Heroes 4 Hire, and the orcs were quickly wiped out. The team then crept the remaining distance to the edge, assured that their presence was well-known to all the occupants of the slaver base. So much for sneaking up on them.
Looking into the entry yard, they saw the remaining four humans from Nightshade’s reconnaissance gathered around a strange cart, some weird contraption of unknown purpose or design. The team deployed itself for an attempt at surprise, but the humans looked wary and alert, aware of the presence of intruders and on their guard. The Heroes opened up with range attacks from the rooftop, and Beeblebrox leaped down to attack one of the guards as they spun the cart towards Illyia. Now close enough to clearly identify them, Beeblebrox discovered the guards were not humans but actually half-orcs, and he dispatched the first in his usual monk, fists-of-fury fashion. Another pushed and pulled levers on the back of the cart, and a fiery stream of liquid spewed out of a nozzle on the front, arcing up through the night sky and engulfing the area on the roof where Illyia was sniping in a blazing coat of oil. Illyia retreated well back from the edge, and then stopped-dropped-and-rolled to put himself out. The remaining half-orc guards died quickly under a hail of arrows, bolts, harpoons and halfling fists. The team then held for a few moments, listening and waiting to see if anyone else heard the combat and were coming to investigate.
So how do you prefer your Elf… extra crispy?
2230, Far, 20 Aufgasta, 3E998
Will the Heroes 4 Hire be swarmed by reinforcements? What will they find as they assault deeper into the Slave Pits of the Undercity? Exactly how ‘flaming’ is Illyia Baham?
Find out next week! on “TGC: Heroes 4 Hire!”