With Verdis’ and Rovert’s sages warning that the orcish Schek (cults) are able to communicate receive messages from their gods (the “true” giants living on the moon) during the days between the full moon (September 20th) and the Equinox (September 22nd), Verdis hires Gorg to find out what these communications are (for he has been told on many fronts that the return of these giants is imminent). On the 19th, Gorg grabs Victor and they head toward the nearest main shrine, that of Schek Kagirt.
- Gorg (HuS): Level 9 Orc Thief
- Victor (TrS): Level 6 Elf Thief
They follow the road from the orcish hunting cabin on the hill overlooking the god of knowledge dam toward the shrine, but keep to the edge of it to avoid being known by any orcs along the way. They see some wolves along the road and consider simply chasing them off before remembering that orcs are known to patrol their holdings in wolf form. They instead take to the upwind side of the road and bypass them through the woods. They make good time that day and, not wanting to lose sleep or travel time with a watch, Gorg finds them hiding places in the trees for the night.
In the wee hours of the morning, Victor wakes to the snarling a canine face near him on the tree. He manages to escape any wounds and Gorg shoots the creature and it flees into the woods. Wary, but sleepy, they move their camp in case he goes for reinforcements and then sleep on.
In the morning, they continue toward the shrine keeping away from the road. They happen upon a swarm of massive beetles with a pile of refuse and make their way around. Soon they can see the massive tower of the shrine ahead them, clearly sized to house the “true giants” who once lived there. They wait for nightfall and then approach the walls, using Victor’s grappling hook and rope and Gorg’s superior climbing ability to scale them unseen.
Before them spreads the courtyard of the shrine, hundreds of yards across to the tower and its attached short buildings. Victor has seen such a courtyard on a smaller scale, that one a grove of trees with winding paths. This one surprises him with lava flows, steaming vents, and spurts of fire befitting the god of earth and fire.
Keeping off the paths that wind through the glowing landscape, and benefiting from Victor’s perception and infiltrator’s intuition in the lead, they reach the massive, single-story, but 100-foot-tall, building around the base of the tower. With grappling hook and Gorg’s climbing, they ascend the wall 20 feet or so to a window sill where they stand and look into the building, not seeing a tower access in this room, but seeing many sleeping orcs and goblins strewn across it.
They decide to continue climbing the tower on the outside, but with not enough rope for Victor to reliably climb it, Gorg climbs to the roof of the outer building and uses his chalk of return to bring Victor there. With Victor not being turned inside-out by the journey, or left naked while all his stuff travels without him, Gorg climbs the rest of the tower, 300 more feet to the roof of the top floor, where he teleports Victor up and they rest through the night bundled against the cold and terrible wind.
In the morning, the 21st, Gorg descends into the rafters of the room below, a massive chamber with a ritual flame whose smoke ascending through the opening in the ceiling causes his vision to swim. As he watches from the rafters as orcs and goblins gather, including one goblin (abused by most of the orcs) who seems to be taking notes. As they increase the smoke of the fire, the slanting light of the setting moon and of the rising moon, entering through opposite windows, impacts upon the smoke and writes runes, read out by the Kagirt high priest. Gorg doesn’t know the Nephil tongue, but at least when the whole light display is over, the high priest repeats those parts intended to be told to the general populace in the common orcish and goblin tongue known among their people. He learns that Garim will be returning to the world and that Kagirt is counseling his followers to be leery of them.
When all have left the room, Gorg decides to infiltrate the tower itself. He climbs down to some smaller windows that seem to be quarters for orcs and goblins and enters one, finding some Kagirt priestly robes which he puts on and sets out sneaking through the tower. He makes it out of the priestly quarters into a Nephil-sized corridor. This eventually brings him to the library, where records are being transcribed to Nephil-readable copies. Gorg sees the goblin who took the notes during the communication ceremony and approaches him, claiming to be a priest from one of the far-flung villages (of his invention). The goblin quickly perceives him as really dense, but accepts his offer to help him set up his writing station at the evening communication and protect him from the orcs that bully him.
Gorg lays low until time to meet the note-taker and then attends the meeting with him, resisting the intoxicating smoke and learning that Schek Aguluk is rumored to be receiving instruction to ally with Schek Garim. They should also not be trusted. While they pack up the goblin’s writing tools, an orc priest approaches Gorg and questions him. He berates him for his shabby robes, questions his relationship with the scribe, and says he doesn’t want to see him at the next ceremony. Gorg talks back and the priest orders him to accompany him somewhere else to talk. The priest locks him in a chamber with a powerful crystal that burns. He can feel his skin blistering and his lungs burning, but finding the door too difficult to pick, he is able to use the chalk to teleport to the circle he left on the roof of the tower. Victor tends his burns and they sleep through another cold night.
They hear another session, the last, in the morning with more instruction and then Gorg sneaks to the library and approaches the scribe, who says everyone expects him to be dead and he can’t be seen with him. Gorg returns and they rest and sleep through the day.
When night falls, Gorg enters again, steals all of the scribe’s notes (leaving a mocking note as if from Schek Garim), draws a circle in the fire crystal room with one end of the chalk, and then finds the orc who tried to kill him. He is sleeping and Gorg steals his vestments and magical items (including the key to the fire crystal room) and then draws a circle around him to teleport him, bed and all, to the fire crystal room. He gets back to Victor and they flee the compound. They are seen climbing the outer wall and are pursued, but manage to hide from their pursuers and make it back to the Vale on 24th where they seek someone who can translate the documents.
We had way to much fun with Gorg roleplay in this session. HuS really had TrS worried that he was going to manage to completely blow it by talking to the goblin and the high priest too much. And, truth be told, without the chalk circle already in position, he may well have died in that chamber.