Xanzilisa

5. Assassins of the Light

While traveling quickly through the Orcish side of the Mountains, the party heard the sounds of battle and carefully approached to find a group of orcs whose camp was under attack by large white-furred wolfen creatures. 

Coming to their aide, the party was able to save on Orc before the creatures were slain and the group was surrounded by mounted Orc warriors who escorted the party to their encampment. There, the survivor was taken before a war chief, who then asked to speak to the heroes.

Grundergap – the War Chief of the this band who called themselves Infinite Legions – explained that by saving the Orc warrior, they had robbed him of a rightful death and shamed him in the eyes of other Orc. The party apologized, but there was nothing to do for it now. The Chief revealed that he was in a similar prediciment. His own son, Hu-thor, had left recently on pilgrimage with a small group to a temple where he would make offerings to his ancestor spirits.Having not returned, Grundergap feared him dead or taken prisoner and wanted to send aide to him, though doing so would shame his son as unfit to be a warrior. He asked the heroes to travel with the rescued Orc warrior to the temple and try to locate his son. Their ploy would be that they were now slaves to the Orc warrior and he was traveling to the temple to atone for his shame. If the party returned with his son alive and kept up the ruse, Grundergap promised them safe, escorted travel to the land of the Sky Elves, the border of his land and a just reward. If they brought back his corpse, they would be free to go, but he could offer no protection.

The party agreed, and restocked their goods in the encampment, including picking up some fine Orc bows and throwing axes as well as poisons and potions. They named their Orc companion Scrote, and made way to the temple.

At the temple, the party found a desecrated site, with no signs of pilgrims or clergy. Entering, they found the place in ruins, though it had probably been in use just a few weeks prior. Scouring the temple, they came across ritual chambers (some of which they performed to pass on, others they simply strong-armed their way through). They discovered a colony of goblins that had taken up residence in the ruin and promptly defeated them. Moving on they found more goblins, their bosses wearing strange, primitive religious symbols, very unusual for goblins.

The party found a barricaded chamber where Hu-thor and two surviving members of his group had holed up. On their journey, they too found the temple abandoned but moving through it came across something larger and much worse that goblins. Over powered and unsure of what they had found, they retreated, but found themselves trapped. They had been waiting for days. With some convincing, the wounded Orcs agreed to help the heroes finish off the evil and cleanse the temple.

Eventually, the heroes discovered the source of the infestation – a Bugbear cleric of a cult calling themselves the Assassins of the Light, worshipers of Hruggek of Acheron. Along with two bug bear acolytes and his legion of goblin slaves, he was here to extinguish the sacred flame of Bahgtru, ancestor-diety of the Plains Orcs who summoned the flaming Hellstone from the sky to crush his mortal enemy Gruumsh, ancestor-diety of the Highland Orcs.

Setting aside religious history, the party struggled mightily against these formidable foes who took the life of one of the surviving warriors and knocked unconscious both Eli and Scrote. Defeating the acolytes, the party disrupted the ceremony being performed by the head cultist on the eviscerated corpse of the temple shaman. His profane ceremony interrupted, the Bugbear Cleric became partially consumed by a black-tendriled entity that control part of his body, while he slashed out with a mace with the his other half. Beating him down, the tendrils eventually destroyed their host, before consuming themselves, finally falling apart into a dark ichor on the temple floor.

Their task done, the party returned triumphant and were rewarded. Grundergap's own Dread Axe and Hu-thor's Helm were given to the party, along with fresh mounts. Together with members of the Chief's warband, the party rode hard for several days south, finally reaching a forested area where their caravan was met by mounted Sky Elves. Peace gestures were nervously exchanged, and the party was handed over into the keeping of the Elves, with promises from Grundergap that if they ever entered his lands again, they would be welcomed as Orc, and full members of the Infinite Legion.

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