Orcs of the Red Blade

Tribe Annals => The Campfire => Topic started by: Verzan on February 04, 2021, 12:13:42 AM

Title: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on February 04, 2021, 12:13:42 AM
New Campaign - First Adventure into the Shadowlands!

This is a place for me to collect together various battle reports mostly written by Verzan Skywise all in one place from the campaign, they would be accessible to Clan members and there are several copies.

Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on February 04, 2021, 12:14:19 AM
Campaign Report: Arrival in the Shadowlands

The solemn beat of a single drum brought the clan to the place known as Sindragosa’s Fall, a clutch of Argents waited and watched sentries to the clan's departure from this world. All around us flickered candles, one for each clan member, placed around the circle and waiting for us to gather.

The Death walker Enrah took the middle of the circle and began to cast their magic, drawing the power from the reliquaries recovered by the Clan and deemed fit for this purpose. The light around the clan faded to the illumination of Death Knight rune glow and the air grew chill and biting. Some orcs reported witnessing dozens of shadowy figures watching from beyond the circle, were these the same spirits who had aided us when trying to locate Sharguul several weeks ago? We found no answers to that question as they silently peered at our actions.

As the circle darkened, the death walker's hand began to bleed some strange dark liquid. It had no scent and seemed not to be blood but part of the invocation we had all now become bound to. A method they said of marking the orcs so that they could easier guide so many to the Shadowlands, more than a few orcs were dubious but none refused the gesture - more fool the Death walker if they tried a trick on this many Red Blade orcs.
Had it been a trap it would not have ended well for them.

It however seemed not to be a trap and was exactly as explained. Only causing upset when Keshrakk, the youngest orc among the clan, Karak Stormsong’s son enthusiastically stood forward against his father’s wishes to be painted. The child would go to the Shadowlands to rescue Sharguul.
I can recall Chieftain Kozgugore Fereleye’s words. ‘I have been ready to venture to the afterlife a long time already, I just did not think it would be like this. So be it.’

Some orcs spoke of glory. Others of honour, soft gestures exchanged between those with close bonds. Wolves snarled and whined. The ritual continued forward at a pace, the wait was almost painful.
When the magic was thickest in the air Enrah paused ‘’Remember our purpose in this act, remember why you travel to the place where the dead walk. Do not forget yourselves…’’ she said, using her runeblade to seemingly slice open a death gate through to the unknown.
‘’I will see you on the other side. It has been an honour Orcs of the Red Blade’’ were the last words spoken by our navigator into death as she stepped through the gateway.


Through the gateway senses rapidly found themselves warped of colour and shape, dark grey mute tones expanded to a dazzling light of radiant blue swirling around them. A feeling of being pulled along on threads while all the time buffeted by the strongest of gales that consumed all sound to the roar of winds.
A horizon painted itself in the distance of this cosmic journey the clan undertook. Closer and closer toward this destination they were pulled, when suddenly the energy shifted. Difficult to understand at first and only recognisable by the distinct change in the ‘air’

This change began to manifest with purpose, becoming the large shape of a giant spectral hand. Seeming of an irritable demeanor the hand swung at the travelling clan with a backhand gesture as one might swat insects buzzing about them on a hot evening.
It hit each orc with enough force to wind them and send them spiralling away from the distant exitway upon the horizon.

Outwards and away from the streams of energy that had previously guided all of us. The orcs scattered, all around the flow of energy was broken, a stormy and seemingly never ending abyss. It becomes difficult to sense time how long we were floating, falling or twisting in that other place - none know.
Finally we see more than just the storm all about us, finally a different slither of colour beyond that grows larger and larger before the eyes until it becomes clear that we are all tumbling toward it.
It is only when the green colours of the storm about us take hold do orcs finally feel themselves return to the stability this journey had originally been. The ebb and flow of magic restored the tug of thread that kept us on our way, dragged us toward a similar exit point on the edge of sight.

And we are allowed to pass beyond this gateway.


The landing was clean, it took time for senses to refocus having fallen a few feet and landed upon the spongy wet ground. It seemed all had arrived bar Razaron Madeye, the elder was missing. As was the Chieftains wolf Shrewd.

There was a feeling of shock among the clan orcs as they peered out at a landscape not too dissimilar to the plaguelands of Azeroth, they had been expecting many things but this? This seemed beyond the pale for many.
Recovering their wits quickly the orcs were swiftly confronted by a group of the shambling horrors of this plagued landscape as they came to investigate the sudden crowd and, as expected, the Red Blade defended themselves. Hurriedly mustering a battle line and cutting down the enemies before them. These creatures were horrible, their bodies made of many different pieces of people. Bones and grafted skin, bolted together to make a whole.

When they are cut down, in the distance heavier footsteps can be made out approaching, the orcs rally once again. Rykana Skywise shoots into the fog and lands a hit into the obscure distance but it does not halt the steady progress of step. Whatever it is merely grunts and then approaches.

The creature might have once been a Tauren, he is tall for his kind and seemingly grafted together from the bodies of many other creatures. A reinforced spine bears spikes that might have been horns and his right hand seemingly replaced with a vicious looking scythe-like blade larger than a swine.
The Tauren monstrosity approached and raised his hand in a gesture of peace to halt the aggression. He seemed to look over the bodies of the fallen and some orcs recognised the ethereal shapes of spirits lingering about the fallen corpses, he seemed disgruntled to see such a mess.
‘Please...lower your weapons mortals…’ the Tauren speaks in orcish common. There is a sense he is not familiar with the term and a tense exchange of words begins.

Many orcs simply do not trust the creature, while others seem curious to know more of the alien landscape they now find themselves within. There is a surge of questions thrown at this stranger. Who introduces himself as Torm Sagewind, a shaman who died in the time the orcs came to Kalimdor. He does his best to answer the orcs.
Explaining that they now find themselves in a place known as Maldraxxus. One of the many different realms that make up the Shadowlands themselves. He confirms to the orcs that he is not Scourge though some seem to find it difficult to believe this, convinced it could be a trick.
He seems certain that his purpose here is to protect spirits and the Shadowlands themselves. Building bodies for those who are too weak to manifest their own and making them stronger.

The conversation is cut short when an enemy patrol is sighted just on the edge of the gully where the orcs arrived. He offers to take the Red Blade back with him to the House of Constructs, where he explains more of this strange land. The House of constructs is one of five great houses.
Some have fallen to ruin, others have not and there are enemies here. Necrolords they call themselves, he and many like him are fighting against them.


We were taken to an even stranger place than the wilderness that met our arrival. A town constructed of bone, with piles of fleshy pieces both old and fresh. Where abysmal creatures wretched in their design sort through the piles to build together an endless work line of fleshy constructs. Oozing pus and great vats of ominous liquids stood all about us and next to butchers tables more fitting of the Azeroth Scourge factories than any settlement the orcs had ever discovered.

It is made clear that the orcs are not welcome but they are not unwelcome either, they are allowed to remain for now until those in charge have spoken with the clan. Sagewind also offered to ‘lie’ on our behalf by suggesting that the group the Red Blade had butchered were taken by the enemy patrols and none seem to speak out against the idea.

Too much hangs in uncertainty with there being war in this place for us to depart out on our own and we are far from our intended destination, the city of doorways Sagewind had called ‘Oribos’. Maybe Sagewind is good to his word. That we can find allies here and those allies can help us get to the city?
Right now the clan face different challenges - we are reliant on our rations for both food and water, our shaman face the challenge of forging a bond with the new elements of this place. We are in a hostile landscape and we have few friends here. Sharguul is still in danger and it feels like he is still so very distant from us.

Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on February 07, 2021, 03:15:51 AM
Shadowlands Report: Bodybuilding

There has not been night or day, just a strange grey murk for countless hours. Some orcs wrestle with their demons and their expectations of what the afterlife would be, while others prepare for what must be done to get us to Sharguul’s side.

It would have been easy to place the ‘nights’ actions as something none of us would ever lower ourselves to do, not in our darkest dreams. To sit in the monstrous construct yard we make our camp in and actually build these fleshy totems of necromancy. But that is exactly what happened. That is what we had to do, we caused the problem the night we first arrived here when we took down a patrol seemingly of Scourge enemies in this wasteland of bones and plague. Cutting them down with little effort only to find things were not what they first seemed.

Sagewind informed us of the crime and how we could make recompense.
It was not all talk of crime at least, if we are to find a way to this city of gateways Oribos we have to fix what was broken and that quite literally meant rebuilding the constructs we had killed. There is hope that this at least moves us toward earning some merit and passage away from this place. This clearly isn't the only thing we will have to do, it's just the start.


For some the task that was asked of them was too much, the stain against their honour too great. They kept themselves away from the activity entirely and there was no grudge held against them for doing so -- however someone had to do it, we had to fix what had been broken.
It seemed as a sign of good faith to our Scourge-like hosts when even our Chieftain Feraleye stood among the collection of construct building orcs who gathered to hear the colossal self proclaimed ‘Admiral’ Wallace Seaworth explain the task.

Seaworth himself was a grotesque construct taller than even the tallest of Tauren and about as wide with cruel blades and hooks about him, he appeared to have once been a Kul Tiran sailor of the second war, though he had forgiven orcs for being the ones who brought the former sailor to his end on Azeroth.
None Could be too sure if he had purposely come to meet us to get some sort of petty revenge by making us do what was clearly an abhorrent task to our people - either way he seemed to be enjoying swaggering about and loosely explaining what was to be done if we wanted help.
It was Sagewind who actually gave us a little insight into how we would be building the constructs. He also explained to us about a strange substance known as ‘Anima’ and what we must do. While he did this a dozen or more smaller constructs dragged out pre prepared corpse bases, mostly skeletons ready for us to effectively fill in the blanks and tailor to the waiting spirits' needs.
There were three spirits, an Ogre, a Quilboar and an Ethereal.

Three teams rapidly formed around each spirit and lively discussions about their needs ensued shortly afterwards before a creative level of assembly began. Some dived right in with both hands, while others chalked out their plans on the ground. Karak found himself attempting to haul large body parts alongside Thronk as they attempted to meet the needs of the Ogre.

Elsewhere Bamm and Soulwalker attempted to gift the Ethereal eyes for the first time and somewhere around the middle Kozgugore Feraleye stood alongside Enrah the Death Knight attempting to make their creation although both ended up falling at various points, spilling pieces of corpse everywhere when they did.

Another delivery of parts arrived once construction was well underway and it did not take long before the crafters were ready to reveal their handiwork, fill it with goo from the giant vats of green and purple sludge and then bond them with their patiently waiting spirits.
First up was the Ogres new body. Keshrakk was keen to make things right, taking charge of his fathers clumsy actions as Thronk presented a hulking body of pale green skin with large bulky limbs and head seemingly from a Gronn of Draenor. The right arm of the creature seemed to have been forged with a large crushing hammerfist ready to crush and laced with spikes.
The Ogre was pleased and the procedure was made easier by a very willing spirit leaping into the body without much effort nor ‘anima’ consumed.


Next up came Soulwalker and Bamm with their slender creation. Seemingly not too tall of nature, athletic and almost elegant with four very long arms, two of which having eyes placed as part of them. There were more eyes placed as part of the construct's friendly face, four in fact. Lastly the legs, they seemed strong and agile, seeming prepared for swift running.
The Ethereal stood ready, accepting this new shape. There was seemingly a more lengthy process this time as the stream of ‘anima’ became wild. Soulwalker struggled to control it and Torm stepped in. Between them the stream is secure enough for the spirit to pass into its new body.


Lastly the Chieftain Feraleye, Rykana Skywise and Enrah the Death Knight. They had fashioned for themselves a squat, soft footed, spiny creature with so generous a collection of eyes the construct yard may suddenly be lacking for them. Hideous to behold the small creature seemed to loosely resemble a Quillboar in life but much shorter. This was a thing made for stealth and scouting more than anything else.
The team seemed especially proud of the spine louse they had captured and placed at the constructs ‘rear’ as some sort of twitchy louse tail, that moved of its own will. Nobody seemed very convinced it would remain attached for long but it was very wriggly and bitey.

However things did not proceed entirely as planned. It is unclear what happened entirely whether it was a miscommunication between Ebon Knight and Sagewind himself but Enrah seemed certain she could infuse the spirit into the corpse her way using Unholy magic and when doing so her Runeblade seemed to consume the ‘Anima’ set aside for the spirit.
Sagewind rushed in to correct the Knight but much was already taken and tempers frayed as the Maldraxxi Tauren and Ebon Knight clashed on their methodology.
Sagewind pushed her away from the process, finishing it himself. The Spirit was put into its body and seemed content to take the last of the ‘Anima’ in the canister so little harm had been done and there was no further incident between them.

It appears that the Ebon Knight’s blade can consume this ‘Anima’ which Sagewind had described as a sort of energy attached to life rather than actual souls.

The presence of ‘anima’ here in this realm is an interesting one and many orcs with knowledge of similar concepts mentioned that they had encountered demons focusing upon the collection of similar rare substances back in the world of the living. There is so much more to be learnt - but we cannot lose focus on why we are here, we still feel no closer to finding nor rescuing Sharguul and must await the next task of our Maldraxxi hosts.

Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on February 10, 2021, 01:34:34 PM
Shadowlands Report: Flesh, Bone and Logistics

If you just sit and watch them for a few hours you can see the whole thing come together like a creepy work of art. A little one will chop things with the precision of a butcher and a hauler will fetch the thread to a surgeon. They stitch them together much like you might the wounded except these creatures were never actually alive. Then tubes of stuff go in - like we discovered and anima animates it with a spirit hopping in, they say there is a drought so they must be spending big for something important.

And then comes the letter from Seaworth, the dead Kul Tiran seems very keen to use our strengths to benefit the House of Constructs and with the letter informs us that we’ve caused a shortage of eyes and other bits in the Stitchyard thanks to our construct building efforts a night ago.
But he told us not to worry as reports had made their way to him about scouts being on the nearby ridges peeping into the House of Constructs business. He wanted us to go and take them out and let the parts be claimed by the bodybuilders in the yard.

The feeling we’re being used is pretty rampant among the orcs and the action of dismembering enemies seems to touch a little close to some orcs personal honour. I cannot say I am best pleased about it - except we have to keep these constructs on our side as much as we can for the moment. We don’t have anything else to go on right now that can get us closer to rescuing Sharguul.
So we take up Seaworths job - it's not too difficult to put a few enemies on the deck and we cannot entirely be certain what happens when you cut the corpses down here, seems like they have some never ending battle going on.


The clan orcs head out in a large enough group and the ridges where the enemy scouts are rumoured to be are not actually far from our own location. Which begs the question of what the Necrolords are actually up to so close to hostile turf.
There is a general consensus that we need to ask these enemies some questions of our own and the thought to take prisoners is a strong one at the front of many orcs minds as Karak Stormsong notices the first hint of where the scouts might be.

We make our efforts to try and sneak up on them but such a large group of orcs with very varied skills and abilities was never going to actually get the drop on these foes. We are spotted and a hail of arrows spills down in our direction. The fight started before we could even ask a question or take command of the situation.

I quickly run into the melee, getting into the fighting with my bow and regret every moment of not fetching the sword on this mission. Thronk is quick to join me alongside Karak Stormsong’s pets and Bamm who seemed cheerful even when deadly arrows are being sent his way - can’t tell if he’s mad or just genuinely having a good time.
The archer who had no doubt spotted us was taken down swiftly, Rykana Skywise taking it down with a well aimed shot to the face that cut through their helm. At the same time Nakobu Shadowbreaker called upon the powers of the light igniting one of the nearby mushrooms in a blast of holy flame.
It was odd to behold as it caused a blinding flash that made the undead pull away from it. The light seemed to cause trouble to the unliving here in the shadowlands as much as it might those back on Azeroth - it was a good lesson to learn. Though it caused Shadowbreaker to become the target of one of the enemies attacks, he was lucky at least that I could get over and using a discarded enemy helmet parry the incoming shot before it caused the light user injury.

The fighting became a tangled melee of arrow shots and grapples. Karak Stormsong’s dinosaur Tyrri clamped her jaws about one of the surviving undead scouts and began to thrash while Thronk wrapped his arms around it and then I threw a scavenged helmet at its face. Subduing it from the rest of the fighting.
The final Necrolord would not go down easily and the skeletal warrior clad in tarnished plate gave the larger group of Red Blade orcs quite the scrap as they held their ground for what seemed a very long time.
But it was a decisive crack to the back of the skull from Rykana Skywise that finished the combat. She was quick to bind the scout and Thronk was ready to scoop them up.

It was at this point I will add that many orcs noticed Drastal Halfbuk had fallen in their second or possibly third hole of the evening. Though they had been contributing to the violence we saw them in the hole and only had more questions about how they were unfortunately finding every single one in Maldraxxus.


The Camp on the Ridge was empty by the time we had found it, hurried tracks suggested that the enemies seemed to know the jig was up and had time to get all of their material and supplies out.
Drastal Halfbuk from within a hole noticed the sound of voices just around the corner and we quickly discovered that it was the last of the scouting group getting away on the backs of giant bone construct birds. The first two got themselves airborne even as Bamm attempted to bring them down using a power flashbang device, turns out undead birds don’t need to see to fly but it was a worthy effort.

The last rider threw themselves at us. Hollering ‘For Krexus!’ and ‘For Maldraxus!’ as they furiously charged our waiting blades. Their bird might have gotten away but they were very quickly overpowered and captured by the orcs.


And this is where things took a turn that I cannot say I am content about.
We had three ‘live’ prisoners, two were unconscious and one was kicking and fighting though restrained. Hauling them back to the Stitchyard felt dubious as many could paint in their own minds what might happen to these scouts under House of Construct interrogation. Especially as here and there we saw the little nimble chopper constructs peeking out from under tables ready to come claim the corpse parts.

We did not have long and aimed to ask a few questions of our own. A little way out of the yard a number of us clustered around the one conscious captive and sought to strike a deal. They were resentful of us. Leaving us in no uncertain terms that they would never break and never tell us anything of what they had been doing here.
Stormsong explained our situation, offering up that we genuinely were new to this land and knew nothing of the battles here. This actually seemed to open the scout to sharing one small tidbit of information with us, except we would have to give our word that we would take their life and end things before the choppers got hold of them.

Deal made and word given. The scout chuckled cruelly about the fact the Necrolords had a person on the inside who had been helping them and that if we didn’t know who they were already we never possibly would. When asked who? The scout laughed and asked us to pay up our side of the deal.

Perhaps we took too long in following through on the matter - perhaps they didn't trust us to hold to our word. The Scout lunged for Thronk and I grabbed for an arrow stuck through their chest to finish them off while at the same time my sister Rykana Skywise shot the scout in the back of the head. They died.
And then the haulers came to claim them all. Dragging them off to wherever the House of Constructs takes their captured. I advise orcs not to think on it too much. This was a grim task but we must stay focused on our task, we can hope it buys us some favor in getting closer to Sharguul.

-- Verzan Skywise --
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan.
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on February 10, 2021, 01:35:20 PM
Shadowlands Report: A Change of Camp

They interrogated the prisoners we had captured last night. I didn’t watch but some orcs did and reported that they had set the little corpse cleavers to work on taking them apart, the captured ones told their tormentors nothing and died. If you can say that is what happens to those who fall here?
There is discontent among the clan orcs. What sort of a place is this? Every fresh new day it tests our honour and the limits of what we consider decent in the face of this strange alien war. It is a war that we are not part of and should not become part of but what choices do we have? It feels like the petty squabbles of the clans of Draenor and an endless conflict where the souls of those who fall do not seem to ever die.
How else are we supposed to get to this ‘Oribos’ we have been told about, how else can we save Sharguul but continue to earn ourselves allies here who can get us there. It's challenging. I keep trying to reassure others that we will get out of here soon but there is no clear sign of when we will leave. Things cannot go on as they are right now - if nothing else we will run out of supplies here soon and the food and water are not good.

There is a strange atmosphere in the camp tonight, has the clan orcs discontent at the treatment of the prisoners been heard? Did our new hosts notice our scorn for their necromancy or the mishap the Ebon Knight had while handling their anima. I cannot be sure what has caused this but whatever it is - there is a clear change in the air as though we are overstaying our welcome.
Maybe that Kultiran construct did have a grudge against the orcs after all?


We are approached by the Constructs and offered new lodings for the clan. We are to move to the other gate of the Stitchworks. I called it North but I am reliably informed the new camp's position lies in the East, direction here is difficult to find as we cannot see the stars. There has been no obvious sign of day nor night yet either, just an endless half twilight.
Regardless with the growing tensions in the air it's time to move. Collecting the supplies we can and every wolf, child, orc and other associated Red Blade person and thing we depart.

The Stitchyard is a busy place, the dead do not seem to ever sleep and there are always more bodies and bones to be put together. Things seem to be on a war footing however and after a short walk you do not need to be a veteran of any wars to notice the forms the constructs are crafting. Many are bulky heavy shapes with spikes and scythe like arms, made entirely for battle.

Some of the smaller chopper creatures and the twine carriers seem to whistle as they work, it is an awful tune and it lingers in your ears like bad bird song. The ‘music’ is a near relentless stream of sea shanties in a dock yard as each different group seems to have their own work tune. None of them are worth remembering, it is all bad.
We pass a necromantic looking pillar and the vats of green, orange and purple liquid. The same stuff we saw poured into the constructs to give their new bodys life. While the fumes from these are acrid they at least are not toxic to the orcs who need to breath, I still would not advise anyone jumping in the strange liquids.


Across this part of the yard we drop down a long set of stairs and are presented with a different area of the House of Constructs. The created warriors seem to gather here, tended by Surgeons nursing any splits and tears in their new forms. They seem to be idling and waiting for something - a battle to come maybe?
Regardless we can already see the gate we are heading towards but it is the other side of the yard. Trouble is these giant bulbous war formed constructs aren’t the best at seeing who or what is around them, even just watching into the yard we were witness to one surgeon getting knocked over by an inconsiderate bump.

There was no alternative pathway to be taken, it was a matter of waiting for the constructs to part and make a dash for it and for many orcs that was a simple feat. Myself and Targnar Windsong made the first dash without incident, for an old orc he practically danced past the constructs.
For others it was a little rough. Thronk and Bamm took a bit of a jostle from inconsiderate constructs who seemed more than a little focused on the glory of the battle to come.

But it was Karak Stormsong who was due to have quite the terrible night of crossing this yard, he quickly found himself stepped on by one of the constructs and knocked down, expecting perhaps some level of notice and decency to let him through. He tried to get up but was quickly swatted a second time.
These were not planned attacks but rather just unthinking or unseeing ‘accidents’ but their accidents were more than a small strike when something bigger than a Kodo is excitedly bimbling around and has hatchets for arms.
Rykana Skywise was quick to leap to Stormsongs rescue, dragging him clear of a further flattening and helping the older orc to regroup with the rest of us but we had only made it as far as the corner of the yard. Recovering as best we could it would be another dash before we could get to the gates at the front of the House of Constructs.

I shall confess, having seen Stormsong struggle once we let him take the lead on the charge ahead toward the gate, just in case something came up. He at least would have two Skywise carers and most of the assembled orcs watching his back but -surely- his luck wouldn’t be so bad and he wouldn’t get stomped by these inconsiderate hosts twice--
Well. Seems his luck dislikes him immensely as yet another construct swatted him once again and he went down flat across the stones. Keshrakk his son seeming to stick with his father for a moment before I scampered over to try and help. Getting the boy first to run on ahead might have been the right idea but it was a costly delay and another construct backed up, broadsiding both myself and Stormsong.

It was like being a ball here in this cresh for constructs only here to be kicked about as meaty walls of flesh and knives jaggedly wobbled about in all directions. I scrambled across the floor. Rolling to dodge blades and feet to find Stormsong now unconscious in a heap but at least the other orcs had made it to the far side of the yard.
Getting to the unconscious orc was difficult and much of his equipment had been smashed but I got there and being a little shorter than most, I picked him up by the boot and dragged. If not for the quick thinking of Targnar Windsong who distracted one hulky construct and Bamm who directed Ragnar Whiteclaws wolf while her rider was also unconscious in his saddle who knows what might have happened.

It wasn’t the tidiest escape from unwitting peril we had bimbled into but we got clear - that's all I care for and we won’t be returning across that death trap again if I have anything to say about it.


The gates were as tall as Orgrimmar city’s walls. Huge and flanked in places by twitching quivering structures of bone that moved seemingly of their own will. High above a Necropolis floated in the air casting its shadow over the gates and whatever jelly-like treacle it was tipping out from a skull shaped sculpture in its side - this of course hit some of the orcs passing below it. A seeming parting gift from the Stitchyard.

After a brief walk through the gates it was easy for the Red Blade to find their future encampment. Corpses from the scouts we had located lay in various piles, some already chopped to pieces by the smaller constructs and others waiting their turn. There was a project being built for certain and we were to be camped close by.

Weary and injured, the orcs took to camp building if anything to avoid peering at the butchery on the lawn or spending too much time peering out at the constructs continuing to mass for battle. When camp was made mending took place and others began to investigate a strange stone pillar close by the stonework seeming different to the overall feel of Maldraxxus. It seems anywhere we go leaves us only with more questions.

-- Verzan Skywise --
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:00:35 PM
Shadowlands Report: Literacy, Magic and Empowerment

It would be a long night - perhaps we should have known this when the Lich approached with their chittering gaggle of robed ritualists to deploy us on yet another task.
The ritualists had forced their way into a nearby tower, getting past the main door but they seemed reluctant to enter themselves, rather they would sooner we went in their place. This wasn’t an easy sell for them and the Red Blade orcs present made it clear that they were more than just skivvies for doing this sort of partially suicidal busy work for these creatures. However after a heated debate with the lich, the orcs had been reassured they would get their passage to Oribos and things would be ‘fine’

With the temptation of forbidden knowledge in some ancient Necromancers tower and a potential chance to learn more about the Shadowlands the orcs had their own reasons for agreeing to go.
We had been tasked with the recovery of three orbs of ‘Anima’


The Journey to the tower was uneventful, the landscape beyond the House of Constructs continuing to be a bleak mixture of slime covered rocks, fungus and bone. The skies were still a harsh twilight that refused to be greeted by dawn. Lurid pools of toxic green sludge littered the fields before the tower that was as described open at the front doors but little explored within.
The air that leaked from the open door smelt musty and of old papers. Like I would expect particularly old mages and conjurers to scent if you got close to sniff one. The untouched place did not lack for movement as at the middle of the dark room beyond books floated upon enchanted magics, sorting and resorting themselves. But never in height order - that is an illogical aesthetic done only to make librarians scream in misery.

Orcs ventured in past the seal of the door that had been so rudely torn open by the Ritualists, I have no idea what they did to it but it must have been powerful. We stepped in expecting there to be traps, as our eyes adjusted to the dim light of green flame nothing seemed to move but the books.
Books that flapped their pages at us and attacked.
With the magic from Enrah and Dusklight on our side some of the attacking papers were disenchanted, sucked dry of their unholy and shadow magics before they could really do damage. While others cast spells of Fel flame, ice bolts and thorny vines. One even turned Torm Sagewind into a polymorphed sheep.
These books found themselves cut down by axes from some and arrows from the Chieftain and Naroda. As soon as Takkat Warwolf had cleaved her axe through the final floating angry book a warding seemed to drop at the far side of the room that granted us access to a staircase.


The stairs led upwards and onto another level of the tower. Gingerly the orcs stepped forwards, not trusting the steps they placed their boots upon. They could have been trapped or worse. Mages and Necromancers alike are not known for wanting to share their spells nor knowledge with anyone.
Dusklight was the last to head upwards, the scholar seeming invested in scouring the shelves for forbidden knowledge he might learn but the ground floor seemed to hold only the least interesting of books.
Upon the next level ghostly hands floated between the shelves. Anima constructs seemingly tasked with the never ending duty of sorting the shelves, some orcs swatted them and they appeared to reset back to a particular font in the room before attempting to return to their duties.

High above the orcs several fragments of key hung and a mould. It wasn’t clear why they were up there but if you are a master mage I would expect that you can float your way up to retrieve them to access the higher levels of your tower. Several plans were enacted, the Ebon Knight moving books and chairs to pile up a sort of launch pad of sorts orcs could climb while hands moved to try and resort things.
It was precarious at best but Dusklight had a better plan. Using Levitation the orcs would send someone up to collect the keys for them. The youngling Naroda bluntly refused and many of the orcs seemed quite heavily armoured for flying - Takkat Warwolf eventually volunteered to go up.
And quickly recovered the key fragments, pushing them into the mold with Dusklights expert handling of the floaty magics.

Meanwhile those below raided bookshelves and stood guard expecting more trouble to happen when the key was created. Thankfully none came and upon opening the locked door that would take them further up the tower the orcs found another winding staircase that would allow them to reach what appeared to be the top of the tower.


At this unusual tower top rested a Cauldron in the middle of the room, an ominous purple liquid bubbling within. There was no scent to be concerned about though none were keen to touch the liquid and find out if it were anything truly harmful.
Examining the rest of the room the orcs found three basins marked with runic script, the Ebon Knight could read this and explained ‘Do not fill above marked line’

With that knowledge, it became clear something would happen when the orcs filled the three basins with the purple liquid. At first the orcs mused over what to use as a scoop, some suggested Pauldrons on their armour and others removed gloves. Then finally Sagewind and Chieftain Feraleye seemed to have a better plan - to move the Cauldron itself from the middle. With Soulwalker acting as look out making sure the orcs did not overflow each basin.
It was a tricky feat at first but as the cauldron became lighter the task became a little more trivial until completed - though it still took almost every orc and construct in the room with the exception of Dusklight and Soulwalker to haul.

As soon as the three basins were filled with purple, a strange gas began to emerge. Thick and heavy it clung to the ground like ominous fog, moving with a will of its own to one corner of the room where it congealed. As those who breathe hurriedly covered their faces, the gas coalesced, shifting and changing before becoming a more solid form - a secret doorway leading to stairs and a hidden room above.


Treading lightly we approached the hidden chamber, which appeared to be something of a forgotten bed room. Discarded cushions, a bed and signs of habitation long ago dressed the room before us. When suddenly the Ebon Knight who had been poking around trying to detect the presence of magics grabbed something in the air, her plated mit wrapped around a ghostly spectre and dragged it into the visible world.
The apparition seemed to shimmer and flicker, an after image of the lich that once lived in residence here. Soulwalker described it as not rea,l a construct of Anima, and no sooner had she spoken than suddenly the fight was on.
The apparition shot spells of magic out at the orcs who fought back in kind against the displeased home owner. Thorny roots attempted to bind them. Spells of fel fire and ice merged and exploded about them and still the orcs fought on.

Orcs simply devastated the apparition image of the lich, it was barely stable after such intense fighting from the orcs. As its power seemed to wane from damage and the draining effects of a hungry Runeblade keen in its taste for Anima. The apparition held one last magical trick in its array of spells -- it distorted the very ‘time’ in the room.
For five seconds the orcs feel able to see all possible actions and outcomes, failures and successes. Overwhelming to some and impossible to comprehend to others the youngest Naroda seems quick of her heels to slide across the icey stones of the room and fires a shot into the face of the apparition - taking it down with nothing more than a simple arrow.

As the apparition dies, vanishing for the most part and yet magic from the construct pours a way outside. Flinging itself outward from the window balcony of the tower.


Sagewind seems convinced that the way forward isn’t a sheer drop down the length of the very tall tower but a hidden portal. To prove this the construct throws himself off the tower and upon reaching about half way down vanishes - nobody seems entirely convinced.

As Chieftain Feraleye put it ‘If I am to do something as stupid as this. I have no desire to overthink it. WITNESS!’ he would say before hurling himself from the balcony. Alongside all orcs present for this tower assault.

With a rush of wind and a turning stomach each found the portal and were swiftly transported to the inner sanctum of the spell casters home. Lofty and quiet, bathed in the green glow of Maldraxxi anima the room contained three huge glowing orbs at its center among the many bookcases and other unusual items you might expect to find in a mage's lair. The most notable of these things being strange chains.
The orcs approached the orbs with uncertainty, while some bickered in the background about whether the Ebon Knight should ever be allowed to touch them - it seemed to make its own mind up to collect chains. Alongside Sagewind and Warwolf.
It was the young orc Naroda who handled the anima orbs first. Followed by the Chieftain and then Warwolf. Encouraged of course by Sagewind to do so and bid words of caution about the volume of anima they were handling. As soon as the orcs would leave this place there would be other powerful beings able to sense the anima’s presence and hold nothing back in their desire to have it.

Point made. The orcs did not dawdle. They left the tower with their treasures of orbs, chains and books. Sharing cautionary words about the dangers of forbidden knowledge.


A single chittering ritualist and its skeletal cronies waited for our return expectantly back at the camp. Its beady eyes peered at the orbs as if we carried in our arms the purest gold and it was at this point our Chieftain reminded these Constructs that our willingness to offer our aid in tasks was not to be abused.
He reminded them by threatening to withhold the anima we had just found and the exchange became somewhat more heated than the Ritualist had anticipated. After all with this much rare Anima in the clan’s control, they could likely find an alternative route to Oribos.
The skeletal figures warned the belligerent Chieftain not to test them and Feraleye reminded them in no uncertain terms that our clan were not to be trifled with, after all we win our battles and anyone here in this land had already died once. With a stern reminder that we expected results for this, he rolled the orb over to the creatures to be deposited in the chest, shortly followed by the others.
With much grumbling, the skeletal creatures took their chest of anima and scuttled back towards the House of Constructs, seemingly berating Sagewind for the terse response they had received from the orcs tonight.

Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:00:58 PM
Shadowlands Battle Report: Siege of the Seat

Even before Torm Sagewind approached our camp the constructs were rowdy, there was movement behind the main gate that you could feel through the ground, it came with a sort of energy of its own. Orcs began to gather suspecting that now was the time of the mentioned battle we would aid them with and discussing their options. Skywise had a map suggesting bolt holes to the Chieftain when Sagewind arrived to inform us of the coming siege. Candidly asking us not to do anything foolish - this statement became a theme for the construct as he continued to mention that we should only do what we needed to do.

As the orcs mustered, the usual warnings were issued, stay together and spare your strength after all sieges rarely are over in a night and those that are-- nobody much wanted to talk about what happened with those ones when not enough people face an impossible army.


In the courtyard the Constructs mustered around the ‘monster’ we had helped build.
It stood seven meters tall, in the form of an undead chimera, pieces of flayed wings made up the vast majority of its shape twisted about it to give it not two but six wings in total. When we first approached the monster was dormant, its wings wrapped about it like a huge bone stitched bat, yet to be given life by the ritualists.
Seaworth was standing up front and center giving speeches among the other leaders of the Houses, whipping up their forces ready for the battle to come. His words were bold and strike many orcs as not entirely what they had signed up for. When we had been assured we would be part of a defence of Maldraxxus against Rebels, he spoke of Conquest and when they mentioned the creature we had aided them building. It was referred to as a ‘Doomsday weapon’, something did not ring true.
The orcs found themselves with more questions than answers at Seaworths battle speech.
Sagewind who stood alongside them had little to say on the matter, he was not as motivated by those speakers as the rest merely murmuring ‘Bear in mind the words I spoke before’

Loud cheers continue as the green Necromantic energies swirl and glow above them, pouring down in a show of otherworldly magic that with the aid of ritualists brought the dormant construct to life. The monstrous creature flapped its huge wings and sent many sprawling to the deck. Its roar was louder than summer thunder.
As the monster took to the skies, it was time for the Horde of Constructs and ritualists to depart. Their leaders gave them a buoyant command to ‘March!’ and they were all too keen to obey.
That was our call to leave alongside them. Sagewind secured for us mounts, great Tauralus. Undead bull-like monsters with saddles. tall as Kodo and much less placid but they would do.


Riding out among the crowds the orcs were paid little heed by their fellows. The Constructs surged along the road keen for glory and to make their names upon the battlefield ahead. Maldraxxus skies boiled and twisted as the winds picked up making flying for the wind riders troublesome but not impossible.
Upon the journey the clan passed by an immense fighting arena, curious eyes drawn to peer between the arches of the immense halls. This arena was larger than some towns in Durotar but seemed quiet on the eve of the battle, the hollow halls echoed with the boot steps of the armies marching past it. There was no time to investigate it further.

Chieftain Feraleye, riding atop a particularly huge Tauralus, marshalled the orcs ever onwards, keeping the pack together as best he could. While Skywise above reported the marching army’s progress. All roads seemed to funnel the warriors toward a vast bridge on the other side of the Arena and beyond to the feet of a great skeletal statue sitting down among the hills themselves - this must be the seat of the Primus that the speakers had mentioned.
Ahead of the army, Necropolis had begun firing salvo of green magical energy at the defenders who mustered along the ramparts ready to give their life for their cause. This was no mere rebel faction it seemed but quite a formidable army in its own right, who were doggedly hunkered down in their fortress-like encampment.


It was not long before the orcs found themselves at the foot of the bridge. Formed up on mounts and peering down the void of empty space between the armies. Larger constructs occasionally jostled for position, eager for the charge and desperate almost to be the first into the melee. The air was tense, filled with anticipation bordering on excitement for the battle to come. Mounts whine, construct blades shine and leaders exchange harsh words over the void of no man's land.

Seaworth was keen to berate an orcish leader on the Necrolord side.
Though few of the orcs could make out the detail of the orc that he spoke so bitterly at.

Then something changed, weapons were raised. A Cheer went up and the charge began. Both sides screaming ‘For Maldraxxus’ as they run forwards. The orcs charge too, buffeted along in the first surge of the battle.
As the charge rushes forward, the defenders launch the first salvo of green flamed shot from catapults and ballista on their battlements. The shots erupt in flame among the front ranks, shrapnel and flames even striking some of the Red Blade from their mounts but it does not halt the charge. There is barely a dent made in the advancing armies ranks.

Orcs are quick to spread along the frontline as the Necrolords become almost indistinguishable from Constructs and others among the brutal melee. Dozens of the undead were cut down before the orcs, while Rhonya Steelheart hauled Karak Stormsong and his son onto her wolf to rejoin the others. Only then to have him save Takkat Warwolf the moment he reached the melee.
High above them a terrible shrill cry could be heard, the winged monster made for this battle swooped down and fired a great green ray of fiery doom into the back ranks of the defenders. Almost immediately as they scream and wail in flames, the attacking constructs cheer on their monster. Revelling in the sight of such a champion.
‘Witness the sight of the enemy falling before our might!’ One attacker called but they seemed to be given little heed as the orcs continued to forge their own path in the chaos of the battle engulfing them.
Drastal Halfbuk raged with the fury of a forge, losing himself in the scrum to bloodfury. Other orcs were less fortunate, the blind seer Kogra Windwatcher became victim to several blows, one attacker leaping onto the shaman with axe in hand to plant it into their shoulder before they could be torn away by Skywise.

It is only in these moments do the orcs become aware of the hostile skies whipping up about them. A soulstorm seemed to be blowing in across the bridge, while it seemed not to hinder the great monstrosity terrorizing the skies above. It begins to be felt by those upon the ground, touching the edges of the bridge and pulling some warriors up and into the winds ‘Ride the wind!’ they call as if seeming to know what the Soulstorm is. Others are smashed against each other violently.
Another wave of defenders surged into the front lines and that is when the air darkened and the full force of the Soulstorm was felt. Ripping the smaller orcs from their feet, Keshrakk and some of the animal companions of the orcs are lifted. Some intentional, Skywise throwing Windwatcher into the saddle and getting in the skies to fly them both to safety.
Debris and violent attackers take their toll as the wind buffets across the battlefield. Keshrakk the child is plucked out of the air along with Tyranni the dinosaur and brought to ground. Told to hide and keep from the fighting - who brings a child to a siege anyways?


The storm passed leaving attacker and defender bruised in its wake.
Maldraxxi picked themselves up from the ground and continued to wage their wars against each other. The orcs for the most part do the same, cutting down the last few defenders before another wave can launch itself into them.
It is at this point the Necrolords are losing ground, focusing fire on the monstrosity owning the skies above them. It paid off for the defenders as several expert shots connected with the flying beast, clipping its wings and bringing it to ground several meters ahead of the frontlines. The bolts fired contained chains and these chains stopped the monster getting back in the skies above.

Sagewind seemed to defend Thronk from the debris kicked up as the monster crashed to the floor but the Construct had other plans - suddenly rushing across the lines. He made it through safely as if the enemy defenders parted for him and joined in the swarm of Necrolords hacking at the monster. With chains gained from the Necromancers tower several nights ago he headed directly to the heart of the monster, wrapping them about it and using their power to seemingly drain the anima from the creature.
Whatever he was doing it seemed to have worked, the creature seemed to lose control. It reared its two heads with a violent yank and tore itself free of the defenders. Green billowed in its throat and it fired a burst of green flame onto those in front of it, defender or attacker. Before charging for the armies fighting on the bridge and seemingly also the Red Blade.


There was nowhere to hide as debris and flame came for the orcs, heroic saves were made across the lines, the orcs were looking tired now. Many were on the floor bleeding with Steelheart doing her best to mend and keep them stable. It is at this point that Verzan Skywise utters the words ‘I have a plan’ and the remaining fighting orcs listen as the Elite explains.
Take the rope we have and attach it to the biggest fallen constructs and lasso the other end around the winged monstrosity. It was a long shot but it couldn’t fly, kicking the corpses off the bridge would hopefully drag the creature away before it could crash into the clan.

Chieftain Feraleye and Thronk attempted to secure lines to construct bodies, Skywise and Warwolf attempted the messy business of getting rope on the monster end of things. While Bamm who had been doggedly fighting his way through the conflict, lay wounded blasting away one of the monstrous constructs heads and made it actually easier to rope.
It was Warwolf who heroically threw herself at the creature to secure the line but the orcs couldn’t stop the beast charging one last time. Even as the young Naroda woundedly joined Chieftain, Skywise, wyvern and Thronk on the floor pushing corpses. It wasn’t enough.

There was almost relief as the corpses tipped over the bridge, the rope snapping tense and then sharply dragging its hostile form over the edge with them. Disposed of and defeated.


The constructs and their allies were however now sounding out the withdrawal from the bridge. The defenders had won the hour as fighting morale slipped away from the bridge like their destroyed monster so did any support the clan shared with their ‘allies’
Too many Red Blade were on the floor.
The Elite called the Nag’Ogar to make a stand, to buy the orcs a chance to get clear but it was in vain the forces they faced were too numerous and the orcs themselves more than a little battle weary. Steelheart stood over Stormsong seemingly able to wield strange green flames at her palms in defence, she held ground before trying desperately to carry Stormsong from the bridge.
While others like Naroda, Bamm and Felhammer were too injured to give much fight at the incoming surge of victorious defenders.

There was simply no choice, the Necrolords were keen to take some captives even as the orcs were witness to them executing Constructs around them. Some were simply too injured to stop themselves being taken while others fought until they could not hold a sword any longer. Even keshrakk was found and hauled like a sack of violent wheat into the custody of the Necrolords.

The clan were captured. The Siege at the seat lost.

--Verzan Skywise--
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan.
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:01:24 PM
Shadowlands Report (of limited access) - Captured Under the Seat

I can remember the last moments of the battle, standing next to Takkat Warwolf swinging blades to hold up as many rushing Necrolord defenders as we could to buy the orcs behind us time to get away but they were too hurt and we were too few. I did not entirely know what happened to us next.
I wake after a time, below what I suspect is the bridge or some adjoining place. Green flame illuminates the roof, I can hear other orcs shuffling. Some sound to be in pain while others are subjecting their captors to prickly harsh words of protest and bile.

We are captured then.
Peering around a brief count of the orcs that I can see suggests that all have been found who set foot onto the battlefield, with the exception of Halfbuk. I do not see him for now. The Chieftain is standing already and Karak Stormsong is beating the guards with pointed words to match his own misery from injury and the near loss of his only child.
Others are not yet conscious, the youngling Naroda seems to be down, Felhammer too hasn’t moved though I can see his breath he seems soaked in his own blood. He did not fare well this battle. The liches among Necrolords however appear to have mended those who could have died if left untreated.

Torm Sagewind stands across from us. If it was not certain before, It is clear he was never on our side. He was not part of the House of Constructs but instead a sleeper agent working for the Necrolords hidden among the ranks of the enemy. Warwolf spits blood in his direction and calls him traitor - there are no kind words for the former Tauren from many.
‘Do not do anything foolish’ His words at least made sense now but we could never have known before the battle quite what he meant. Nor expect him to understand the oath of the clan orcs when they refused surrender.


Sagewind attempts a dialogue with the clan, aiming his words at the Chieftain but finding even Feraleyes diplomatic turn of phrase somewhat damning.
An Orc commander joins Sagewind in the discussion, as tall as he is wide this monster of an orc seems ancient and has been able to keep his original shape for the most part. His body was littered with scars from battles fought and won in the past. It was this orc that Seaworth had been calling out across the battlefield. He expresses disappointment at our attempt to battle his forces.
The orc ‘Kargesh Spinebreaker’ who had recognised the Red Blade clan symbol reacts in his own scornful way and mentions Githya. Githya being an orc of his time. Though it seems in life he did not have the best experiences with Githya Redblade, the namesake of our clan. He says little more to the clan, rather drinks in a good look at us and departs.

It is Torm Sagewind who once again attempts to sit down and explain what is going on, with mixed results. He speaks to us of the conflict in the Shadowlands of how the other Houses of Maldraxxus have begun invading the other realms and claiming anima from them for themselves subverting the purpose of the Maldraxxi as defenders of the Shadowlands.
He speaks of the souls destined for the Maw, those endless countless people thrown into the worst of places because something has fundamentally broken here and it seems like there is little we as clan orcs can do about it but survive and not join their number.
Perhaps in some ways this break in the order of things here in the Shadowlands could explain the troubles facing Sharguul - Sagewind did not know and upon finding himself unwelcome in our company he left us.


It was clear much is happening beyond our control.
More so now we are trapped in a cage waiting to see what these Necrolords will do with us. Many orcs are preparing themselves for a fight, should these undead come to execute us like they did the prisoners back within the House of Constructs. We have small weapons and we are resting, it is all we can do for now.

--Verzan Skywise--
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:02:17 PM
Shadowlands Report: The Almost Rescue

Each of us had found our own way to that quiet cave, each with our own reasons for having missed the siege or avoided capture. The dusty ground of the forgotten cavern echoed with the quiet footfalls of uncertain orcs and beasts as they tried to understand what had happened and determine what they should do next.
The Clan was gone, that much was certain. None had been able to sight them or receive response over the Spirit Link. Their last known location had been the main bridge leading to the Seat and that was now a battle-scarred ruin, weapons and armour littering the wartorn stone.

The orcs that were gathered quickly decided that they must act to discover the fate of their Clan for certain, even if that was just locating their remains and giving them the proper rites and rituals as deserved by a Red Blade. I suggested that we venture out close to the Necrolord lines, moving quietly until we could capture someone who might know something and gain some direction to our goal.
The others agreed, keen to do something more than sitting in this dusty tomb.


The group gathered up their meagre belongings and moved out across the fleshy landscape, quietly certain that they would not return to the cavern that had provided safe haven and that there was some truth out there to be discovered that would set their world right again.
We wove a path between giant mushrooms, towering tall as Zangarmarsh of Outland, picking our way along roads littered with the refuse of battle. Signs of conflict were everywhere, carts and barricades shattered and littered with the bodies of the fallen.
All were thankful to find no orcs among the broken corpses or any construct moving to halt their progress. Things were quiet, that eerie quiet that follows battle, where the world holds its breath lest death find them as well.

The group of orcs reached the edge of a large trench, the steep sides oozing with a thick clay that clung to their boots and clothes as they rushed across, keen to be clear of the open ground and the perils that lay in its basin. They made it across unscathed but it was clear any attempt to journey back the way they came would be significantly more challenging.
There was nowhere to go but forwards, the safety of the cavern had been truly left behind.

A narrow path led them through the peaks of jagged stone, revealing the Seat towering above them, skeletal features of the giant figure a looming presence over the scene of the recent battle. There was another stretch of open ground before they would reach the edges of the Necrolord camp, many of the orcs readying their weapons as they ducked into the cover of debris littering the path, keen eyes turned out towards the distant foe as they tried to find a path forwards.


Ragnar Whiteclaw believed the basin would prove the safest path but the open ground and sparse patrols made me concerned, too many eyes looking out over the exposed basin around the outer defences. Instead, I suggested a route lined with large bones that jutted from the earth like the ribs of some long-forgotten monster. It should provide cover enough for our small group to sneak closer to the enemy and try to find a worthwhile captive.

The plan was agreed and the Red Blade stole out across the sucking ground, “Quick and Quiet” had become our motto of the evening and we stuck to it as we made it to the far side, whispering our relief that the eyes of the guards had not been upon us as we settled into the cover of the broken bones.
We crept forwards, Meri Soulwalker finding herself surprisingly camouflaged in the pale landscape but the terrain proved tougher for the others. Whiteclaw slid down one of the hills, but when we came to stop at the next edge of the bones there was no alarm raised, no eyes or weapons turned our way.
We were fortunate, at least for now.

They were met by the sight of a single guard, towering taller than any orc and clutching a halberd that seemed large enough to skewer a dragon, facing away from the orcs as it guarded a set of steps leading upwards. Further into the camp, patrols of shuffling undead grew thicker. There would be no sneaking further that way, it was the stairs or we’d have to turn back. And no orc wished to turn back.
It was quickly decided that we wouldn’t be able to subdue this giant of a guard without alerting the others and so a different plan was concocted. Nakobu Shadowbreaker and Meri Soulwalker would use their connection to the Light to levitate some of the objects near to the guard and make enough noise to force them to leave their post and investigate. It wasn’t a perfect plan, both of the Light wielders advising that their connection was diminished in this place but that by working together they should be able to do it.

We once again crept closer, giving ourselves the shortest distance to cover before making it to the steps, readying ourselves for the sprint ahead as the two Light wielders prepared to lift some of the bones and scatter them against the boxes of ammunition.
The bones bobbed into the air, clattering against the boxes as the guard stared dumbly ahead, a tense moment passing before they suddenly realised that something had happened and lurched off to investigate, grumbling about spine louses. Clearly this guard was not picked for its intelligence.

As soon as the guard had moved away, the orcs sprang into action, racing up the steps and pressing themselves against the wall of the Seat itself, crouching down as they caught their breath and peered ahead at the figure standing on the balcony at the top.
They had their back to our little group of would-be kidnappers, seeming to be standing with an air of authority lacking in the guards below. We could not see what lay around the corner of the archway we crouched beside but this seemed to be our only moment.


It was agreed that this wasn’t the perfect plan but we had to do something now or risk losing everything.

The Red Blade pounced just as the figure turned and noticed us, too late to prevent Ragnar Whiteclaw and Ussa Tideseeker from snatching her arms and pinning them while Rykana Skywise raced forwards and pressed a knife to their cheek, the point nudging threateningly close to their eye.

What we had no way of knowing was that the door to the Seat was open and now guards spilled out to level halberds at us, easily outnumbering our small group as we were trapped on the edge of the balcony with our hostage.
There were calls for the guards to keep their distance, Skywise shuffling the hostage to the edge of the balcony where there was a gap in the railing, threatening to hurl their skeletal prisoner over the edge if the guards did anything foolish while the deathwalker Enrah rattled her runeblade along the edge of the enemy halberds in a warding gesture.

The figure recognised the symbols of our Clan around our person, hissing out the name of our Clan as they lifted a hand to halt the guards advance. What followed was a terse exchange of words, questions jabbed at the skeletal hostage while they tried to deescalate the situation, assuring us of our Clan’s wellbeing and their distinct desire not to kill us. Skywise, Whiteclaw and Tideseeker all urged for the release of our Clan but were assured that our people had been placed in captivity to prevent further conflict while passions were still high following the siege. This did little to appease us.

Our ‘hostage’ explained something of Sagewind’s purpose and the lies we had been fed by the House of Constructs, our weapons slowly lowering as it became clear they had no wish to be our enemies. She spoke of preparations being made for our departure and that they had no desire to make slaves of us. We eventually released our hold of her, clear that she did not wish our deaths and was willing to discuss matters with us.
She introduced herself as Captain Narielle but was met by stern words demanding what we were owed for completing the tasks set to us by their agent Sagewind, reaffirming our need to get to Oribos, the mysterious city. She regretfully informed us that while preparations were being made to transport us there, it was not her decision what should happen to us in the meantime. That rested on the shoulders of one Kargesh Spinebreaker.

After more assurances that the long string of ‘tasks’ we had suffered over the last weeks would soon be at an end, our little group agreed to be escorted to the rest of the Clan. Skywise demanded that they be given a chance to retrieve the weapons and armour lost by our people during the siege and have it returned to them, as a gesture of good faith.

They assured us they would dispatch their agent to see what items could be found and that they would be returned immediately.


With heavy hearts our group of Red Blade allowed themselves to be escorted down beneath the bridge, rejoining the rest of their Clan.
We had suffered no wounds and learned a little of how this place works and the plans we had been swept up in. It wasn’t the success we had hoped for but a Clan together is better than a Clan divided and at least we would have all orcs armed again soon.

We just had to survive whatever this Spinebreaker had planned for us in the coming nights and we would be free of this hateful place. And if they went back on their arrangement...well, the Red Blade had had enough of being strung along and blood would mark the walls before they breathed their last.

Rykana Skywise
Nag’Ogar, Red Blade Clan
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:03:19 PM
Shadowlands Battle Report: Two Heads, One Choice

It would have taken much tonight to make the orcs go along with what Kargesh Spinebreaker offered up. Many were angered and frustrated that they had been used by the House of Constructs and were now being asked to do another task for another group of undead. Although at least this was an opportunity to strike some revenge against those who had abused our trust.
We were told preparations for our departure to Oribos were being made and given a choice that if we did not desire to fight we could wait it out until it was departure time. Things seemed to be changing, we were about to depart this land once and for all. Very few orcs chose to wait it out, encouraged by their Elders to fight, although the warlock Gatran Felhammer almost rested through the choice to come with the clan to battle.

Revenge was on the cards and Necrolord liches lit the portal that would take us directly into the heart of the enemy stronghold and right to where we needed to be to face down both Seaworth from the House of Constructs and Shrakk from the House of Rituals.


When they said we would be taken right into the heart of the enemy’s stronghold, they had not lied. Emerging on the other side of the gate, cold stone and green Maldraxxi flame illuminated the archways that led forward. Beyond, a set of stairs took the orcs' gaze out into a circular room with two raised platforms at either end, in the middle stood both Seaworth and Shrakk. Their voices could be heard though the conversation was lost in the vast rafters of the room.
They appeared unaware of the Red Blade’s arrival or if they did, they seemed not to care.

There was a call for smoke bombs and seeming happy to oblige, Bamm handed out a brace of finely engineered smoke dispensing canisters painted with ‘happy’ looking faces.
Pin’s pulled and bombs thrown, the silence of the room was shattered. Smoke gushed out the tiny canisters and spread rapidly as orcs charged forwards through it into battle with the undead.
It seemed many focused their ire upon the former sea captain Seaworth, he had not spoken kindly to the clan and had earnt every strike and slice against him. While Shrakk was hounded by Whiteclaw and Halfbuk, chased into hiding behind Seaworths lumbering form.

Shrakk would not be shielded for long though as orcs continued to fiercely harry both from their portal gifted ambush position. In the fray Eliff Watersong cleaved one of the chunky limbs from Seaworths body - this forced Shrakk to attempt a burst of shadowy magic and ‘wings’ to knock everyone back. It seemed almost ineffective as the lich became more and more desperate against the overwhelming attack from the clan.


Then suddenly! A powerful shadow-like spell filled the room. Even the mightiest Red Blade spellcaster could not evade its power, vision turned to darkness and voices were lost in a sudden rush of terrible energy.
When sight returned. The golden sunset of the Spires of Arak greeted the orcs' eyes, their feet touched upon gold and glass as the sweet winds of Draenor crossed their senses. They were seemingly at the top of a tall mountain spire belonging to the Arakkoa of old.
But this was an illusion it was quickly discovered, it all felt so real and yet belonged only in the realms of our minds. The battle paused for a moment as the minds of the orcs fully realised their situation. The pause was not long, the distance of a single breath across the lips that faded into a second charge.
This time toward some dream-like ‘living’ form of Seaworth the Kul tiran sailor and Shrakk the Arakkoa with their wondrous wings as she flew for the skies above. Once again orcish blades cleaved into Seaworth and his human-like form could not defend against them all, nor could Shrakk’s wings spare her from the missiles, spells and arrows of the clan. Some even throwing shanks made while in captivity among the Necrolords, they wouldn’t be used in an escape now - waste not want not?

The fight seemed as one sided as it had before, an appropriate show of force from orcs who had their trust broken by these undead directly. Not even their minions had to pay the price, just these two - It was all going so well and then from above a sun disc moved. The platform brightened in the lamp light and with it came the terrible beam of light.
The first orcs touched were burnt terribly, their armour melted and skin blackened with burns. It turned the glass and gold of the floor to thick molten liquid that sucked at the boots of those caught nearby. Many leapt aside, while others screamed out their agonies - but as it reached its full power it shot across the backline of the clan there were but moments to spare those in its path. Rykana Skywise was given a choice to rescue Kogra Windwatcher or Nakobu.
The light user was just too far away from the Skywise and to the horror of every orc the beam caught him with all its might, rendering the caster to ash in the blink of the eye. There was nothing anyone could do to save him.

It may have been an illusion, we may have told ourselves it was but the pain was real. The sight of allies, students and friends being burnt and destroyed was still a sight no orc would forget quickly, Rhonya Steelheart clutching at the ashes of Nakobu in quiet grief, and yet the nightmare continued ever onwards.

There was an imperative now it seemed to take down Shrakk, perhaps if she fell this Illusion would shatter before anything more could happen. Even as some orcs mourned for Nakobu’s loss they threw themselves forwards into the fighting again and a hail of attacks brought the ritualist to ground. Sending her clattering against the glass of the platform.

Now was our chance to end it - and yet before any could lay a murderous blow against Shrakk, Ravens swooped down. Black and purple twisted through their feathers as their talons wrapped around the shoulders of orcs they plucked from the melee with a wrathful caw. Snatching up Thronk, Verzan Skywise and Eliff Watersong.
Watersong was quick to disentangle herself, biting the bird's foot before it could properly take hold of her. While Verzan had other plans, she wanted to climb the Raven and ride its back. The tangle between Raven and Wind rider became frantic as she battled unsuccessfully against its claws seeming not to realise how high it was flying nor what its intentions were.

This again left her sister with an impossible choice, Rykana had an arrow nocked to her bow but there was only time to save one orc. Thronk or Verzan. For a short moment the archer hesitated, hoping against hope Verzan could climb the birds back. In the next moment Rykana had shot. Her arrow flying true to the head of the Raven Verzan fought. She had saved her sister but at what cost?
The Raven flew high carrying Thronk in its claws. The warrior would stab at the bird's flesh but this only caused the great creature to lose its grip and drop him. Thronk fell like a stone, plunging deep into the cursed pools below.

I am told stories of the Arakkoa and the cursed waters of Sethe that took their flight and drove them mad. Never before had I thought I would be witness to what might happen to an orc should they tumble into the same fetid pools. Nor did any orc on the platform believe the same. Thronk fell and screamed, calling out for aid but he was too far away.
Rykana raced to the edge of the platform, desperate to help but all she could do was watch our oldest friend, helpless to find any way to rescue him.

And yet the fighting was not over, as she watched Thronk the orcs behind her struck down Seaworth. A vast array of projectiles hitting him and most noticeably arrows from the Chieftain striking true even as he was doubled over by Windwatcher’s sling, allowing my own blade to cleave the Kul Tiran in half. The illusion all about us began to falter, Shrakk herself was being brutally cut down where she had fallen from the skies. Whiteclaw and others stabbed and slashed at her.
But while the assault raged beside her, Rykana took aim with her bow. Invoking the prayers to the ancestors she fired and shot, not for our enemies but at where Thronk screamed in desperate pain. Ending his suffering in the pool below with one sharp shot.

Thronk fell into the dark waters as Bamm hurled a grenade at Shrakk, finishing the fight.
The illusion concluded in fire and sorrow.


As the orcs woke back in reality, still within the room they had previously been fighting, those injured in the illusion found themselves drained and weaker than before. But if the orcs felt bad, both Seaworth and Shrakk felt worse, seeming to be victims of their own hostile magic and subdued by it.
There was not a moment to spare as those who could levied an attack against them. Notably Eliff Watersong dashing forward to cleave Seaworth’s head off and Drastal Halfbuk, in a fury against the light magic he had been witness to, taking down Shrakk’s cowering form.

The fight was over, though it took Verzan Skywise dashing forward to prevent Halfbuk smashing the lich's phylactery. We had many injured and most notably Thronk and Nakobu who did not rise after the illusion was shattered.
Those with the skills of menders were quick to assess their condition as alive but broken. Almost as if their bodies had been tricked into believing they are dead by the liches illusion. It would take more than a medicine or bandages to fix and both orcs were carried away from the hall where the clan had claimed victory.

The lich's Phylactery and Seaworths head were claimed as trophies of the fight to be hauled back before Kargesh as proof of our deeds but there was little more than a perfunctory exchange. He would have offered us a view from the seat of the Primus at all the lands of Maldraxxus themselves but the focus of the orcs were with their injured. Celebrations after the battle were a muted affair - most simply wanting to leave this land and never come back.

I am told we travel for ‘Oribos’ tomorrow.
And I encourage all orcs to prepare for whatever our next step forward on this journey might bring us. Do not forget why we are here, we are travelling to find Sharguul. To rescue a Patron spirit of our clan and save our people from even darker fates than were witnessed tonight.

Verzan Skywise
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan.
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:03:47 PM
Shadowlands Campaign: Oribos, the Eternal City

Can’t say we were expecting things to turn out this way when we first came to the Shadowlands, to be flung into the land of the dead not where we had thought we were going but Maldraxxus. Where the skies are always a shade of murky twilight and the landscape has something more in common with the Eastern Plaguelands than anything else we could have possibly thought the afterlife might hold.
I am speaking the truth when I say our first contact with the inhabitants of this land led us down the wrong path, we joined forces with a dubious faction. Aided enemies who we believed were our allies, though many of us considered their tasks distasteful, it felt we had no choice but to aid them in their strange ways. We built constructs for them and took out Necrolord scouts when we should have been helping them instead.
The experience has been a challenge to many of us - the greatest was when we fought against the Necrolords. Taking our place among the ranks of the House of Constructs during a great siege upon the Seat of the Primus but the siege failed to accomplish its goals, quickly turning into a rout and many of the clan were captured.

It was only then that we could understand. Torm Sagewind who had been our first contact in Maldraxxus was a double agent, hiding among the Constructs on behalf of the Necrolords and through his efforts he was able to secure our safety at the Siege. Even if he had not told us this at the time.
‘Don’t do anything foolish’ is a dangerous phrase to say to our people it seems, almost like a challenge without context.


Back on track it seemed we had one final task to do in this land. Fight and slay those who had misled us even though it seemed like the same as before but under a different flag, the clan did it. If nothing else we sought revenge on those who had used us.
Task completed. The Necrolords promised us passage to Oribos as soon as it was done, with some of the clan severely injured we took a night to recover but sure enough these undead were good to their word and a portal gifted to our people.


Through the spirals of green Necromantic light the clan hurled themselves.
It seemed like forever since the Deathwalker subjected us to the same twisting energies, hurling the entire clan through the places between realms and beyond to the heart of the Shadowlands themselves. Oribos, the Eternal City.

Eyes cleared to behold the sights before us, Taller than any structure we had been witness to and created by creatures unknown, the creators described only as the first ones. A city of alien stone and metal of circular design with a stream of infinite souls pouring right through its belly.
As we arrived a strange Attendant moved forwards to greet us, ushering the whole clan along to guide us through our first steps. Describing the city and its many features. Speaking of an Arbiter, Brokers, Traders, Realms, Souls…. It was a little overwhelming. Though the general theme seemed to be that here at the heart of the Shadowlands, all souls must come first, they are judged and move on. This in turn draws many traders and beings from a magnitude of places.
Though it seems travel has been broken recently and only four such places are even possible to visit at this time. The guide did not dwell on the broken nature of things and brought us instead toward a portion of the Eternal city known as the Idyllia - a tavern. It then left us to our own devices.

Weary from the exertions of being flung between worlds and still carrying some serious injuries from the battle against the House of Constructs and the House of Rituals. We sought a place upon the outer rim of the city to claim for our own camp. It seemed quiet enough.

In the quiet of the outer rim of Oribos many orcs marvelled at the wondrous nature of the place we had discovered, many concluding that they had seen this place before. In the visions granted by the shaman weeks ago. This could perhaps be the first sign that we are finally picking up pace in our journey and search for Sharguul?

-- Verzan Skywise --
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:04:52 PM
Shadowlands Report: An Unusual Adventure to Argus - Day one

The worst thing about going to Argus wasn’t that it was this fabled place where the Draenai came from that was told to us in stories as a beautiful tragedy but the fact that here in the Shadowlands, in Oribos, we could simply pass through a gateway as easy as a Mage might cast a portal for us back home and in a few steps through that gateway we would be there standing upon the shores of the broken dreams of another culture.

It wasn’t part of our lives, for many orcs like me and Ryk we’re Azeroth born now and the Draenai people, they’re alliance. Can’t think of many if any who’ve got a kind word to say about orcs. Our people did some things but for the Mag’har I can understand why this land we had found a way to get to held almost a spiritual significance. For them it wasn’t always the war against the Light, it was the victory against the Legion.
The same Legion that ruined Argus. This was what things could have been and what they together with the Draenai had prevented happening. It was a big deal and one I perhaps did not quite understand until we got to Argus and I saw that look painted across their faces.


Argus itself was wondrous and awful, two great things butted up against each other as we arrived in a place called Mac'Aree, a great city now floating in tatters akin to Outland. Fel tainted, even the air we breathed was filled with the scent of foul magic. It was a sight to behold to see such ruin and still find life. Nature here wasn’t dead; it was corrupted and broken but far from dead as the plants twisted through the stone work of the ancient city in lurid magenta shades, doing what nature does best given enough time without a gardener to push it back.

Plants reclaimed the stone but we had little time to drink in the sights or explore as monstrous fel creatures emerged from the shadows, first pouncing upon Karak Stormsong as he strayed forwards ahead of our group.
These things were as tall as an orc at the shoulder, with eyes glowing fel green. Their mouths were rows of jagged teeth and bone slapped by a long tongue and acidic bile. It's a wonder he was not torn apart in the first attack, Thronk was quick to leap in and bring his shield up in defence.

While the rest of us and our Broker E’on remained in the shrine where we had arrived, sending a flurry of arrows and magic at the nearest creatures. This only seemed to get that beast's attention as it leapt after Rhonya Steelheart. Myself and Ryk ran into help but we could not pry its jaws off her, it was only when Nakobu Shadowbreaker assaulted the beast with a dazzling beam of light did it finally let go of its hungry embrace of the shaman.

These Vile Fiends seemed to work together as a pack, spitting acid at those they could not reach while slashing at shield and orc with huge claws upon fingers so long they had to run on the knuckles of their paw.
But whatever force they threw at us, it did not take long for us to push them back, again another blast of light from Nakobu taking down the larger of the beasts while the other was cut to ribbons by the efforts of Drastal Halfbuk and Thronk.
Fight was over but it was not without costs, I had gotten myself injured stepping in to stop a spit of acid from striking Karak Stormsong during the melee. Turns out the wound was much worse than I had first thought and the demonic acid was more corrosive, it had gone through my armour rapidly.
Rykana Skywise took things from here while I remained at the camp with our Broker E’on. It seemed things were more hostile than even they had planned and they hastily constructed a sort of beacon to protect and shroud our location from the local wildlife should it come and attempt to make a meal of us again.


A few hours of cautious exploring had the orcs teasing at the edges of the ruined garden, it seemed quiet enough now the pack of vile fiends had been taken down. Quiet enough for the curious orcs to spread out tracking for the beast E’on wanted captured.
Nibbled grasses and the faintest tracks became apparent the further toward the distant edge of the temple complex we went. Tremors shook the land around us, the cracking of stone sounded like the carving of great ice sheets back on Northrend, like this unstable platform was still slowly crumbling away.

Some climbed trees, while others discovered the body of one of the vile fiends. It was wounded and left by its pack, it had been laying there dieing on the stones for some time when we came by. Cruel fel glowing eyes peered at us with contempt, as if it could still lash out any moment for an orc despite the huge wound in its side.
Rykana shot the creature. It was slain and its misery ended, quick and clean. When Naroda paid it closer attention the beast appeared to have been gored by something with larger horns. Perhaps the Talbuk herd we were seeking, even the more experienced orc hunters would remember the non-tainted Talbuk had a skill for impaling their enemies upon their antlers. Ancestors could only know what one with the mutations of fel was capable of here.

Drastal continued to hurry ahead of the main group, collecting rubbings from trees and small sketches of the architecture all around him. This might have been a little earnest as the curious half-blood found himself startling the herd of Talbuk from where they grazed, the creatures were clearly on alarm after the vile fiends had been hunting in the area and bolted at full tilt away from the clan.

Our hunt seemed to be over for the night. The Talbuk we were seeking were here but skittish, it would take time for them to return to the golden meadows at the edge of the temple.

E’ons beacon gave us sanctuary for the night, keeping the orc camp magically shrouded from the eyes of whatever monsters lay out there in the fel soaked landscape.

--Verzan Skywise--
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:05:16 PM
Shadowlands Report: Hunting of the Herd - Day two

When we made camp an order was given. ‘Do not leave camp alone’ There was no way any Elder could have given anything more serious, too many of the orcs wanted to explore the landscape around them but the dangers of this place had been made clear for everyone to see. It was not just my leg that had been burnt by acidic spittle, Steelheart too had been injured.
It came as something of a shock to many to find that not only had this order been ignored but they had actively been deceived by an illusionary gem placed by the light user Nakobu. The gem projected an image of him reading within the safety of the camp when he had snuck out to explore alone.

He was returned to camp some hours later by both Skywise and Steelheart bearing a bloody nose but in no way seeming apologetic as orcs began to gather for the hunt to come.


This was not the start to the second attempt at hunting many had wanted but it was what it was. Chieftain Kozgugore had some experience with hunting Talbuk and took charge, guiding the party back through the ruins at a more cautious pace.

It paid off immediately as a flock of huge mana ray creatures swooped down to attempt to snatch orcs up into the skies above. Almost all threw themselves clear, except Stormsong who had to be wrestled free of their claws by Nakobu. It was an attack of opportunity and the ray’s did not fly back down for another swoop at the orcs - seeming to take the hint to find prey elsewhere in this fel poisoned land.

Chieftain took us along a narrow ridge at the edge of a huge purple and golden temple wall, couldn’t be sure what it once was but the architecture was very much the purple arches and golden glowing glass of Draenei design. Hopes were that we could use the ledge along the temple wall as cover to approach the golden meadow where the Talbuk had returned to graze.
The ledge crumbled and caused those who had suffered injury at the hands of the vile fiends a night previous to fall behind or tumble from the ledge. I can remember lifting Stormsong up from the scree down the side of the ledge - he really does seem to have the worst of times. Our Broker E’on seemed to remain hidden using their own magics and walked effortlessly along the broken cobbles of the temple gardens without concern for alerting the prey we hunted on their behalf.

Finally we reached a place along the edge of the Draenei wall where we could get a clear view of the Meadow and the Talbuk within it. These were not the normal animals that many had known on Draenor but mutated huge beasts with shoulders as broad as an orc, jagged armoured backs and huge spikes protruding through their thick leathery hides.

Even more impressive was the stag standing at the head of this herd of fel tainted Talbuk, easily several feet taller than the others, with magnificent horns sprouting from his brow, the creature had a fierce look in its gaze as if it would fight most things that came its way. Even if its thick muscled legs would carry it to safety just as swiftly as the others.


Plans were made, the orcs would split into two groups. The larger and more heavily armoured would stick with the Chieftain Feraleye while the lighter more stealthy orcs would follow Rykana Skywise to a spot in the long grass, using a ridge at the edge of the meadow to get there.

This seemed easier said than done. While the first team of heavier armoured orcs slinked through the broken ground against the Draenei buildings completely unseen, it was a difficult task for the others to get around the herd and on more than one occasion they had to stop silent and still or threaten spooking the entire herd again ruining the whole hunt.
With a little orcish perseverance though they got themselves into position - the spirit link chatter suggested it was go time and every orc sat hidden around the herd waiting for the Chieftains signal.

Signal given! It was a rush to leap out of our hiding places and surround the herd, with Feraleye’s knowledge of Talbuk we knew that if we gave them nowhere to run they would form up into a ring and try to defend themselves. It worked immediately as the flighty creatures took on a defensive circle -- only to have the lead stag charge out from their line and onto the end of ours, threatening to smash right into Rhonya Steelheart but the quick thinking Naroda grabbed the shaman just at the last moment and stopped her getting trampled or worse.
Many orcs found themselves with an armoury of weapons and spells but few that could capture a beast alive while at the same time those orcs on the furthest edge of our ambush were far from the furious Talbuk stag, they had to rush over swiftly.

Stormsong approached the herd and caused the large male to charge his way, it got the beast away from Steelheart at least and close enough for Thronk and others to grapple the beast while Gatran Felhammer threw his warlock curses of weakness upon the beast. Stormsong’s luck might have improved from almost certainly going to be gored as so many leapt into the fray to take the Talbuk down.
The herd of Talbuk did not simply stand and watch their alpha be taken by the orcs, instead they began to stomp their hooves and muster into a stampede sweeping around the meadow to run down any orc they could find.
‘AHHHHHHHH!!!’ A mighty roar left the Chieftains lips as he evaded the charge. Not all orcs were as lucky, several were sent sprawling into the dirt. But Feraleye kept up his holler chasing the Talbuk and turning their attack against them. With a mighty splurge of insult he began chasing the herd.

This rallied the orcs and their efforts to overpower the large Talbuk stag began to turn the fight. Rykana Skywise leapt onto its back as Stormsong used his beast mastery talents to keep it from bolting alongside Thronks giant grasp. Only Naroda the youngster got toppled as the beast tried one last effort to escape, taking a cut to her shoulder - but the beast was bested.

E’on the Broker scurried forward and using their unusual technology encapsulated the Talbuk stag into an orb of silver magic and metallic swirling discs.


There was no lingering in Argus after the Talbuk had been secured by the Broker, as soon as the beast was captured E’on deployed a portal and we were quickly all extracted from the meadow where we stood - giving us one last fleeting glance back at the fel broken world before the fresh neutral scent and cool air of Oribos greeted our senses, like a welcome wind of fel-free breath.
A deal is a deal it seems with these Brokers and E’on was good to their word. Word done, payment given. We had secured the Talbuk for them and in return they suggested that we might find our wayward Spirit wolf in the realm known as ‘Ardenweald’ a landscape of rebirth.
As an additional reward, seemingly gifted for our ‘gentle’ handling of the beast's capture as it was barely damaged, we were given choice between three strange objects. An item that called upon the Everworms, an item that would aid the orcs should they return to the shadowlands or a necklace that could heal a greater spirit.
All clearly had their uses it was decided the orcs would take the Talisman of Spirits Blood. Which all thought might be of great use in helping Sharguul when we finally found him.

Though not every orc might have agreed with the Chieftain entrusting the care for such an object in the hands of Karak Stormsong who had recently seen most of his belongings broken during our time in Maldraxxus.

At least our efforts proved not to be wasted - we now have a location to search for Sharguul and a new potential ally with the Broker E’on. Who perhaps might be able to secure us passage from Oribos to Ardenweald.

--Verzan Skywise--
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan.
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:05:41 PM
Shadowlands Campaign: Travel to the Ardenweald, Realm of the Winter Queen.

It was the Broker E’on who had informed us that they knew where Sharguul was and after several days of pondering what to do, it was E’on we approached to travel. The Elders of the clan negotiating at some length to get us to this other realm “Ardenweald’’ at the cost of a future favor.
None seemed to like the idea of doing any more tasks for the entities here within the Shadowlands but what more could be said. We couldn’t be sure how much more time we had to get to Sharguul before it was too late.

Outside the metal structure that had taken us to Argus only days earlier, the orcs, their animal companions and their mounts gathered. E’on waited patiently, balanced upon those strange thin stilt-like legs of theirs waiting for the group to settle before weaving the magic of this realm to transport us.
I cannot say that portal travel has ever been my strongest, it will always turn my gut and here in the shadowlands I get an extra flashy light show as I am pulled between places just to really mix things up. These transports from E’on seem guided and without interference from evil hands that might attack us - I’d say it felt safe but I'm not certain that would be appropriate.
Whatever it is, it did the job and the whole clan emerged out on the other side.


As vision cleared we were able to behold a landscape not too dissimilar to Ashenvale. It was a forest. High above us stood its magnificent trees with colours more like the crystal ones in Icecrown, glittering purple and woven in all the colours of moon light. Even the plants under the shade of these massive trees had a luminescence of their own that shimmered on the gentle breeze.
There were birds, insects and animals. Your nose filled with the scents of fresh cut grass and pollen. This for many orcs was what they believed the afterlife should have looked like. It seemed very different from the rotten cursed landscape of Maldraxxus and yet at the edges of our wondrous vision not everything was right.

It was easy for the young to wander with desire to explore this fantastical landscape, only to be scolded and called back by the rest of us. When wonder faded orcs began to notice in the distance not all of the giant trees were like the others - some were withered and brown, dying a slow death like the lands below them.
When some orcs reached out to touch the vines, the leaves upon them crumbled to dust carried away on the same sweet breeze that had greeted us. A large portion of this realm appeared to be withering away. Though none of us could tell why.


From behind us suddenly as if summoned to our side Kyrazah Throatrender appeared, much like the other Varog’Gor it had been believed she had been lost when travelling to the Shadowlands and yet here she was - alive and safe. Alongside her, the Chieftains wolf Shrewd who had also been lost and another figure, one we did not recognise.

She was spectral, a spirit of this place. Draped in old orcish garb with wolf mask and bearing a tabard with what seemed to be an ancient design for our clan symbol. The better read among the orcs recognised it and this stranger spirit introduced herself as Matriarch Grugna Longhand.
Though it was clear many of those who initially spoke with her were quite young in their studies of the clan histories, the Matriarch seemed not to take it personally that they had no knowledge of her name. Rather the time for our reunion with missing pack mates was over and she got down to the business of guiding us away from the withering forest edge.


When safely escorted to the shores of a glittering pool filled with the colours of opal blues and huge shield sized lilly pads, Longhand explained that it was through an anima bowl of some sort they had cast their Farseeing magics to know of our coming. When we would arrive and where. She had found Throatrender this way and the pair of them had been working together waiting for our arrival.
She believed Sharguul was indeed somewhere in Ardenweald and we could use the same power again but it would need to be a larger scale. I had been joking when I suggested we use a lake as a bigger scrying bowl but that was actually Longhand’s plan. However we would need to prepare, not only would it require a larger scrying bowl to locate a Great Spirit such as Sharguul but it would also take objects of his and a great deal of this ‘Anima’ that appears to fuel everything here in the Shadowlands. This anima would have to come directly from the clan orcs and many were considerably dubious about what that meant, having heard several conflicting stories of what this Anima stuff actually was.
Longhand reassured us that it would cause no lasting damage and that she would not force the orcs to do this if they really did not want to, only that it would be needed to power her larger scrying bowl for us to find Sharguul.
We would also need an item connected to Sharguul in some way but with our freshly found Varog’Gor we had that part covered, all of them have special daggers from Sharguul - or at least Throatrender had one.

With this news the Matriarch left us, she had much to prepare. We too had our own amount of settling to do, the clear cool waters of the nearby pool were the first actual water many of the orcs had seen in the shadowlands that had not been conjured or purified by shaman. It was a welcome refreshment and many took the chance to fill their canteens before anyone uttered the words ‘bath’

Though caution is being advised the urge to explore this land is too great. I can say for many they hurriedly marked down the location of this glade where the clan will make our camp and swiftly headed out, barely even stopping to pitch their own tents and such.

I do wonder. Ardenweald is different to the other places we have visited that is easy to see but it cannot all be this peaceful right? How could Sharguul be in such dire trouble here if this place is so calm? What problems lie beneath the canopy of this magical forest?

-- Verzan Skywise --
Nag’Ogar Elite, Red Blade Clan
Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:06:10 PM
Shadowlands Campaign: Fate and Farseeing

Throatrender sat peacefully watching the waters of the pool upon an enormous lily pad, many of the others were close by when the spirit Matriarch Longhand approached the group once again. It was time for the orcs to perform a ritual by the shores of a great lake in order to find Sharguul.

It felt odd to walk through the ‘town’ Hibernal Hollow. The eyes of the strange occupants of this land were upon us. Creatures that seem to have more in common with the Night elves and Cenarion circles allies than anything else we have known. Some were like dryads, half the body of a humanoid creature and the other half deerlike. Curling antlers sprouting from their foreheads like gazelle. Spirits of animals glowing vivid blue mingled with the traders alongside fae and satyr people.
Nor was this a conventional town, rather the hollow of some immense tree stump that filled with glittering waters pouring over the edges into pools. Pathways guided us over small streams and shimmering jade lilies. Through the hustle and bustle of it all, it seemed in many ways stranger than Maldraxxus as we navigated past the myriad of glowing inhabitants. More and more orcs began to question which are the animals here and which are the people, is it both? And where does that leave us regarding resupplying ourselves and hunting?
Longhand humoured our curiosity at least. Answering questions about the nature of this realm but every question answered seemed only to spawn several more.


Travel through the town and out along the roads through the forest did not take long before the whole clan emerged on the shores of a large and deep lake. Matriarch Longhand had brought us to the perfect spot to attempt their far seeing ritual.
The ritual however would not power itself and the orcs were asked to contribute anima from themselves. Longhand was quick to reassure them that no harm would come of contributing a little from each of them, other than a short bout of weakness they would feel that would come to pass.
There was no loss of memory, no weakened souls. It was exactly as Longhand suggested it would be. As each orc took up a small Animacone in their palm to draw the anima out - with the exception of the Deathwalker Enrah who the animacone seemed unable to draw power directly from.
Instead it seemed that she would draw anima claimed by her Runeblade in Maldraxxus into the cone. This gave it a strange greenish tint but there were no harmful side effects beyond the colour distortion.

When all of the acorns were charged, one last thing was needed. The Varog’gor knife that Kyrazha Throatrender held, with reverence to Sharguul she offered the knife over only to have Longhand hurl the weapon to the deepest portion of the lake.
Before any orc could complain, while many were standing peering confused, the Matriarch began the ritual, calling them two by two to place their acorns into the waters and the first to offer theirs over were Karak Stormsong and Rykana Skywise who uttered words to the ritual as if promising the Blackfur her intentions to rescue him.


The cones floated over the water and instantly discharged their anima cargo with a flare of astral energy that quickly turned the waters darker hues of deeper blue. The whole surface of the lake began to move in a clockwise direction when the vision began to become visible for the watching orcs to see.

Instantly their eyes were greeted by the sight of an autumnal woodland with fallen leaves upon the dry earth-scented ground. Tall runic structures seem marked out like waystones with dark cyan magics upon them, there are countless bones of beasts and humans alike in this death touched landscape.
The waters shift and there is a sudden movement. The sound of paws. A vision of Sharguul running, being chased and fighting. Spectral blood weeps down his side leaving a trail in his wake. Beings leap from tree to tree in swift pursuit behind him. Warped and twisted bark-like creatures imbued with the same cyan magics as seen before.
As these creatures draw close to him. Sharguul bites one and quickly dispatches it but not before another lands a wound upon him, the orcs can do nothing else but watch as he is forced to continue running. Over and over these actions happen - he is losing and the vision fades away.


Longhand requests the next two orcs place their acorns into the lake. Without hesitation Kyrazha Throatrender and Enrah do so. Once again the waters move and drain the cones of their anima before turning a murky colour, though not by the deathwalkers doing. The vision presented is grim.
One of the winged night fae is dead. Laid out upon a wooden pathway, it has been savaged. Disemboweled in some ritual fashion, the creature's huge eyes peer upwards lifelessly. Around the body are rings of runic script Enrah seems to recognise and describes as ‘Runes of travel, portals and death’

The orcs watch as the runes flare and a gateway begins to tear itself open through the faeries corpse, gnarled hands reaching out to heave their lumbering shape out onto the earth close by. Another willowy twisted tree like creature just like those that came for Sharguul. Seemingly hand crafted from numerous scraps of wicker into a mockery of human form it hauls itself fully from the portal before seeming to steady its bearing then sprinting off into the shadows at full tilt.
Even after the creature has departed the vision lingers on the open gateway before fading, anima spent and the ‘normal’ shimmering waters return.


The last two to place their anima cones into the waters was the youngster Naroda and the Chieftain Kozgugore Feraleye. For the last vision the orcs are greeted by the bewildering sight of what appears to be a forest amphitheatre somewhere in the Ardenweald. There are actors upon the stage performing with masks and costumes. There is a full and cheerful crowd enjoying the show.
This scene feels like it is something to come, a vision of the future, as if not all the parts being shown in the waters are entirely whole or painted in and the picture quickly fades back into the tranquil lake with little more to show us.
Longhand is quick to guess the location as the Amphitheater at Star lake, treating the short glimpse of a location as a sign that that is where the clan must travel if they want to locate the Great Spirit they are searching for.

She seems certain and there are few other suggestions of alternative plans. Longhand asks the orcs to summon their wolves and yet many seem to be resting their companions or simply did not fetch them to the Shadowlands - seeming perplexed the Matriarch summons to her side a pack of spectral wolves, natives of this forest to aid the orcs who were lacking in mounts.

The clan depart for a night at the forest's heart upon the back of spectral spirit wolves, waiting to learn when next the Theatre will put on a performance and they might learn more of the strange and troubling visions.

Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 09, 2021, 08:06:47 PM
Shadowlands Campaign: A night at the Theatre?

After all we had been through in the lands of Maldraxxus it was hard to believe what Matriarch Longhand was saying when she invited us to the Star Lake Amphitheatre. Really? A night to watch actors tell us stories, a chance to armour off and be entertained by the natives of Ardenweald.
It was a welcome piece of respite. Though few orcs dressed down for the occasion, it seemed only Karak Stormsong had thought to fetch his silks and formal attire to the shadowlands at all. It was no less welcome by all, as we headed from the casual bar where only a night or so previous we had been speaking with the Astral Order, through the crowds and claimed ourselves a prominent seating arrangement toward the middle center.

The stage was an open amphitheatre wreathed in long willow strands of blue leafed vines that tickled the tops of the tallest orcs heads. The furniture was carved timbers and wood, seeming to still be growing despite its new role as table and chair. The stage itself was illuminated by a great many dancing lights, as if tenders had trained the bioluminescent plants to focus their glow where it was needed most.


Slowly they twinkled and illuminated the stage before us, there was a hush of the audience. The show had begun, the stage was transformed by magical illusion and clever prop placement and before our eyes we saw a disturbingly familiar scene. Bones rattled the floor of the stage as a single goat-person stood heavily armoured in a wood, wielding a crystalline halberd. He remains at the center of the stage despite walking, his surroundings changing about him.
When a narrator's voice booms loudly for all to hear ‘We follow our brave hero of the Wild Hunt, who has found himself lost in the nightmarish realm of those terrorising the Weald, having valiantly chased after the evil-doers who have been defiling our groves!’

Though many were watching the show and listening to the rather pertinent story of the night, there seemed to be other noises carried between the bows of the twilight trees. The sound of fighting, was this part of the story being told?
It seemed to coincide with the hero on the stage beginning to fight and cut down a number of twisted tree creatures that appear with masterful puffs of purple smoke for him to cut down. The narrator spoke again ‘But long has he walked, seemingly in circles… Many has he slain, but greatly does he now tire!. Mighty in physical strength is he but magical he is not. Through his foes own dark rituals does he return to the Weald, ready to bring retribution?’

What was this story suggesting?
The hero drops into a crouch and now sneaks along through the dark woods depicted upon the stage, he approaches a group of tree creatures guarding what appears to be an open portal. He chops them into fire wood with several dramatic thrusts and the lights grow dim.

When the lights return the stage has changed before our eyes, illusionary scenery has changed to show the forest as the main hero stumbles out of a portal, above the slain body of another creature. All about him upon the stage is fighting, he has emerged out into a battle as the masked ones attack the Wild Hunt defenders.
‘Finding himself in the midst of ongoing battle, our brave hero leaps into the fray, cutting down those who would bring us harm for their own gain!’ the narrator speaks again, the hero upon the stage matching the spoken words with flourishes of skill and violence against their enemies.

Again the sounds of battle are couriered to us by the gentle breeze. There is fighting upon the stage for certain but we are orcs and fighting is in our blood, the sounds coming our way seemed a little too real to be a performance surely?
‘Pressed on all sides our hero and his allies fend off the attackers with zeal’ the Narrator speaks and the orcs are calmed for a moment, even as the performance expands into the nearby crowd. An action that seems to come quite the surprise to those watching as if it isn't normal but they accept it as a new spicey addition to the show, feigning fear and rescuing their mid show beverages.
Lights are hurriedly shone upon the fighting in the audience. As if those controlling them were unprepared and yet the show must go on.


Fighting continues within the theatre as those upon the stage defeat their opponents in gloriously flamboyant shows of skill, yet those who fight among the crowd are less victorious. Their mashed enemies seem to be pressing heavily toward the crowd. The two depictions do not seem to match up?
Gatran Felhammer gets up from his seat and begins to weave through the crowd politely to try and investigate what is going on while Thronk, confused by this mismatching performance, picks up a smooth blue pebble from the ground and hurls it at the masked fighters. His rock hits and the ‘actor’ collapses to the floor, their head split open and bleeding.
Stormsong scolds the giant ‘Now you’ve killed an actor! We’re going to get kicked out!’ he shouts angrily. There is a terrible gasp from the audience, a gasp that wasn’t supposed to be there yet - those on the stage pause to peer at what is happening.
Actual murderous violence is happening as those among the crowds seem to have been discovered and begin to lash out at the crowds. The Audience up sticks and begin to panic, numerous night fae begin to try and escape the invaders and crowd toward the western side of the Ampitheatre.

While the orcs and defenders seem to have other plans.
Rykana Skywise calls for the orcs to arm themselves and make ready for battle. As the surge of panicked audience members begin to push past them buffeting the orcs and knocking Halfbuk over.
Enrah pushes into the crowd and snatches one of the attackers from assaulting an audience member with a death grip, hurling them toward her and knocking several escaping patrons over in the process. The Ebon Knight holds the squirming goat-person aloft, warning the other orcs that the mask this one wears is real, it is bathed in the magic of death.

With the weapons the orcs have they engage the enemy, taking them down with a flurry of ranged attacks as the audience clears out through the western exit. But they do not hold in the stands, hurriedly the Red Blade rush to the eastern exit from the Amphitheatre. Stepping over the bodies of the fallen and moving toward where the sounds of conflict continue.
A dozen or so masked raiders assault the Wild Hunt guards on the outside of the amphitheatre and as quickly as the orcs got to the eastern exit they ran again back into the fighting to aid the Wild Hunt. Enrah and Thronk charged into the melee while the rest threw ranged attacks at the enemy.
The barrage of unholy magic, arrows, axes and blade turned the fight and the Wild Hunt finished off their attackers. Though bloodied it seemed most had made it through the battle and their Captain paused to speak with the orcs. Explaining that they had been chasing the raiders all the way from the Fenn, they would never have stopped them getting into the Amphitheater if it had not been for the orcs cutting them off.
The Captain seemed weary, attacks had been on the increase becoming more bold and close to the heart of the forest. This was simply one of many bold attacks they were facing, he could not even fault the orcs who had believed them to be performers. Even Matriarch Longhand seemed to scold herself inwardly for not realising the situation within Ardenweald itself.

Skywise asked the captain if the Red Blade could investigate further the site at the Fenn where the masked raiders had come from. The Captain agreed but warned the orcs they were to see a grisly sight.


The walk was long and uneventful, discussions focused on the information the Astral Order had told the orcs. Were the masked ones creatures known as ‘Drust’, they did not have answers. Here and there along the trail were the bodies of the unlucky who had stood in the way of the raid.
When close to Dreamsong Fenn the Captain called a halt. Before the orcs lay the ruined remains of one of the winged night fae. She had been disemboweled much like the fae had been in the vision the orcs had seen. Cold dead eyes peering lifelessly upwards into the twilight trees. Surrounded by a circle of runes and other small ritualistic fetishes of grisly construction.

‘Through those they slay they perform their rites and open gateways to their realm. They used this settlement as a staging ground to open a number of portals and it was a mere stepping stone for their attack upon the theatre, I am sure you can imagine what would have happened had they reached the audience you were part of’ The Captain added darkly before granting the Red Blade the opportunity to remain in the area now it was secure.

As he left, Enrah began to examine the body of one of the fallen, taking note of runic markings and discussing what needed to be done with Matriarch Longhand.
The Deathwalker seemed certain she could use the runes and grisly ritual again with her unholy magic, repurposing the enemies portal gateway to allow the clan to pass through into the realm of the Drust, just like the hero had in the play we had watched that very night. It would be a grim feat but necessary, though she would need a sacrifice much like they had used to power the gateway.
Longhand was quick to suggest an alternative to night fae the Drust had gutted, offering the idea of hunting one of the greater beasts that roamed within the forest - this seemed to give the orcs some sense of direction.

We would hunt a great beast of the Forest of Ardenweald, utilising it in an unholy ritual that would open a gateway through to the nightmare realm of the Drust. There we would surely find the trail of blood from Sharguul’s wounds that would lead us to him and ultimately to his rescue from these masked terrors.
Our mission here finally seemed to be drawing toward its final battle.
We can only hope we reach Sharguul in time.

Title: Re: Campaign: Shadows Over Sharguul
Post by: Verzan on March 10, 2021, 11:51:39 PM
Shadowlands Campaign: The Blighted Land

Chieftain led the hunt through the wondrous forest of Ardenweald, it had been chosen that we would hunt for a creature blighted already by the magic of the Drust. Rumors from Matriarch Longhand suggested there were huge toads at one corner of the fen who had become violent and aggressive toward the citizens of the forest and though many did not directly want to end the lives of the beasts without need - our need tonight was serious. With time against us we had to act, there was no other way and at least we would remove another Drust threat from the area.

So we hunted for the giant angry toads and it was not too long before the forest song became that of toady chorus and flowing water. As hunt leader the Chieftain stalked ahead to confirm what lay ahead. The rest of the orcs waited in the nearby hedges and tall plants when suddenly there came a cry-- ‘Get over here! We got ourselves a big one!’

The hunting party dashed up the hill to a sight few orcs could believe.
Many simply stared slack jawed for a moment as before their eyes the Chieftain appeared to straddle the back of an enormous leaping toad. This creature was easily as large at the shoulder as a clefthoof and just as wide, seeming grafted to its face was a wooden mask and upon its back a flailing Chieftain being bucked and thrown around like a dashing Wolfking cloak, though he did not release his grasp of the creature.

The huge beast stampeded toward the Red Blade, smashing through the group in several frenzied bounds and fighting followed in its wake. Hunters shot arrows, avoiding hits against their own Chieftain while melee combatants splashed into the shallows of a sparkling stream. In the next moment the creature was thrashing orcs with its tongue, its rampage quite a bit less humorous than it had seemed at first glance. The bruises were very real and the danger.
When suddenly the New Blood Drastal Halfbuk kicks off. Realising what is to become of the toad too late to change its fate, he loudly protests the creature becoming a sacrifice for an evil ritual to fetch the clan to the realm of the Drust. Believing in his core that there had to be another way only to be firmly corrected by the orcs about him that there were no other choices.

The fighting continues as does the argument. Halfbuk is told the mask upon the toads face has sealed its fate, it is a dangerous creature here in Ardenweald. It has to be put down one way or another. It just happens to be useful to the clan at this time.
As this happens a combined effort of unholy magic and melee aggression binds the toad to the spot. The orcs quickly swarm to grab it and take it down. Enrah the deathwalker grabbing its tongue as Rykana Skywise fires a wyvern sting poisoned arrow into the limb seeming to paralyze it, allowing the Ebon Knight to wide it in like rope before finishing the beast with a killing blow to the eye.


The orcs moved its body to the shore and began to prepare their own version of the ritual circle the Drust had created around the night fae’s corpse mere nights ago. It was a grim business as the collected animal bones were scattered and dark runic markings painted around the circle under the direction of the deathwalker Enrah. She had spent the time preparing and could now put the work into dark practice - even the deathwalker seemed to dislike the Drust magic.

The toad's belly was ripped open by the runeblade as the markings upon the ground glew vivid cyan, fuelled by anima power from Matriarch Longhand. Eerie and dark the ritual was primitive and bloody even if the words spoken were of duty and bold threats against those who would endanger the great spirits of the clan.
At its climax the Enrah sought more power but Longhand kept the deathwalker’s hunger in check and the stream of anima steady so as not to disrupt the portal's opening. It opens slowly pooling like black treacle around the corpse of the disemboweled beast.

A dark gateway to ‘Thros’, the nightmare realm of the Drust.
Heroically the clan passed through the portal.


Darkness engulfed the orcs, thick black darkness that let you feel your footsteps before you but removed every hint of direction. The only certainty that came with every step taken was that it was one further away from the serenity of Ardenweald.
As dim grey light finally met each orcs face, we knew that we had arrived in the land of nightmares. A faint mist clug about our knees and the plant life seemed stuck in a twilight of autumnal hues and lingering decay. Gnarled trees hung overhead and the faintest hint of amber sunlight fought to get through their canopy.
Effigies and nooses hung from their branches like warning totems against any who might set foot in this cursed landscape. Even the air itself was heavy with an earthy scented oppressive aura, constantly pressing against each orcs mind as they stepped onwards.

We had arrived but we had no trail though many could recall the visions of Sharguul running through this forest, being attacked by the Drust and bleeding. Trackers took point ahead of the group searching for signs of this battle while others guarded their backs, casting a cautious eye over the nearby forest floor. Nothing felt safe here, distant calls sounded between the trees and none could be sure if they were animal, bird or monstrosity.

It did not take long before the orcs located a set of torn apart bodies and then another set. Each seeming to paint a story of plant monsters attacking a beast that would rip them to pieces if they fell within its jaws. Sharguul.


The trail continued and orcs followed it in earnest, passing under black twisted branches and cawing raven calls before rounding a corner and appearing by a strange site. Rune carved pillars of stone stood like guardians over a gristly altar marked bloody with sacrifice and ritual. A still wet knife had been discarded next to human remains, even though the magic was fading it seemed worthy of the orcs' notice and drew them in like moths.
No sooner had we approached than suddenly, from the earth around us, twisted willowy plant-like constructs emerged. Already alert many were not caught off guard though and quickly moved to dispatch these hexed monsters before they even got to their feet. The ambush had failed to fool the Red Blade.

Through the mist many orcs reported hearing voices, some louder than others and familiar and though the Varog’gor Throatrender warned them her warnings fell upon deaf ears as some dashed toward the noise. Scaling the slope of a nearby leafy hill and rushing down the otherside into an eerie forest basin below.

Boots splash into dark water shrouded by the mist at the bottom. Shadows lurk under the bows of an enormous gnarled old tree growing fatly around another stone altar that sits at the middle of the basin. Focus is not upon the tree but a message each orc hears. Friends, loved ones, family. Each vision is unique to those who can see it. Tugging at the heart as it manipulates those listening to lower their guard. Then ambush again!

Willowy creatures made of wicker and spite grab for each orc, wrestling them into the waters or dirt the top of the slope. Grabbing for their faces to force a Drust mask upon them.
Some are not so easily fooled, their loved ones speaking words that make no sense and the ambush fails as they lash out at the creatures, dispatching them quickly but others are thrown into the waters completely unprepared. Half drowning and pushing up to escape right into the incoming facial coverings.
Karak Stormsong, wearing his sorrow like armour, is taken quickly by the monsters, a mask thrown over his face that none can stop, even with the efforts of Throatrenders arrows to try and halt it. A narrow miss that cut his cheek but could not save him from the madness the mask inflicted. Alone, Karak stands dripping in fetid waters, he lashes out striking his son and hurling the boy away before violently attacking the nearest orc, Throatrender, with fury as he seems to lose his mind and the mask takes hold.

For a moment it seems the clan will fall, too many becoming overpowered by monsters and then just as quickly as hope was lost those who were quick to shrug away their manipulators rallied to save the others, the giant Thronk leaping up the hill to save both Felhammer and Skywise. Even Shrewd rushed to save the ancestor Matriarch Longhand.
It had been close, perhaps a little too close.


Fighting now seemed inevitable for every step taken in this realm of Nightmares, as the orcs secure Karak before he could hurt any more. Halfbuk tries to fix him but it seems impossible. Perhaps he was too far gone? And many braced for the terrors that would come next.
They were not waiting long before being greeted by the sounds of another nearby conflict and then the loud and piercing howl of a wolf not too far away. Could this be who they are searching for or simply another illusion preying upon their hearts desires.

They hurry onwards through the murk and before them the unmistakable sight of a Great Spirit can be seen. Taller than any natural wolf in the realms of the living, incorporeal and shadowy in nature. Its fur seemingly black yet spectral. It was Sharguul and he was fighting yet, as the orcs rushed toward him, he made a tactical retreat moving away retreating deeper into the forest.
Following at a pace the Red Blade continue to fight the wicker pursuers, cutting them down with flame, axe and blade. Holding nothing back as they advance toward Sharguul, who himself seems to take down two or three of his attackers, before it seems the willowy monsters realise the futility of their efforts and retreat back into the dark woods all around.

There is a moment of peace and the blackfur takes a moment to catch his breath. He is bloodied and weakened by the relentless attacks seeming no less appreciative of the Red Blades sudden arrival.
Many orcs explain the situation to him as young Keshrakk steps forward clutching the scarlet coloured amulet the orcs had chosen from the Broker E’on. The child holds it out and the magic within seems to take effect, swirling brightly around Sharguul to mend his wounds and revitalise the spirit.
Power restored somewhat, Sharguul bids the orcs his gratitude for the rescue, approving of their resilience against the harshness of the nightmare realm and then laying eyes upon Karak, who had perhaps fared the worst. Manhandled by the Chieftain to be deposited in front of the great spirit, it seemed Sharguul had strength now to aid him. Using his magic to destroy and remove the mask that twisted Karak’s mind, freeing him of the Drust curse before it could fully consume him.


With all of the orcs mended, Sharguul spoke with them at length...

“This is a realm of nightmare. Of horrors made manifest. This one has never lived, so this one has never learned what it is like to have dreams or nightmares. For you, however… this place preys upon your deepest fears and doubts.
This one does not know how much time has passed since this one has been pulled into this realm. It feels like this one has been fighting back against their hunt for aeons now. Ever attempting to elude their efforts to overwhelm...chased around in circles.

These beasts -the Drust- they have been draining and taking the wild spirits from Ardenweald to empower themselves. So too did they seek to overcome this one.

They are usually not able to operate beyond their realm like this. Someone - or something - must be aiding them to grant them this influence. But this one does not know who or what. This one cannot pierce the veil of this realm after they have sought to bait this one with the souls of Red Blades of the past.

So many realms traversed and perils faced to come to this one's side. It is humbling, given this one’s nature. This one wishes it did not need to come to this but its gratitude is nonetheless great for each and everyone of you.

This one has ensured all of the Red Blade have been taken from this realm and all that remains is us. Now we may fight back to escape this realm for good. But first. We must gather your strength for now. We may set up camp here to recover and this one shall remain by your side. When we are prepared this one shall conjure up the strength to get us all out of this realm.”

And once the wolf had spoken the orcs were led to a nearby hidden nook.
It would be safe for a short rest, he would hold back the mists and monsters for a time, obscuring the orcs before they would next be able to move out. Though it was clear very few found any rest at all, even under Sharguul’s protection.