Tales from Essoterra: The case of the missing Dwarves

The characters:

  • Krankle, Gnome Tinkerer - Not so sneaky, kinda shooty

  • Akaru, Wood Elf Ranger - Ranger who, well, ranges

  • Orin, High Elf Wizard - Wizard and all around ok dude

  • Urvosh (me), Dwarven Fighter - Is now on a quest to find his bros

  • Previous Installments

Don’t mess with a soldier’s brethren

Urvosh has been through a lot in his life. Victories and losses on battlefields both near and far from home. Countless injuries sustained and healed, both naturally and magically. The healers of his vanguard stopped asking questions about how he took his hits and just got down to healing whenever he showed up. Hundreds of cuts and stabs, but the wounds that hurt the worst were when he lost a battle brother. Either to savagery, monsters, or weird arcana… the ones that didn’t come home that he couldn’t protect stayed with him forever. So hearing that he friends were taken, possibly not to be seen again, there was no way that was going to happen. One already came home, but the others were out there and Urvosh was going to find them.

The rest of the team, not forgetting the fact that their continued living is due to Urvosh’s shield, is on board. That is, until Orin pointed out that a demon is expecting information and a rune covered bone being a constant reminder of this. It was decided that because this was also a pressing concern, Orin would stay behind visiting temples and libraries to try and suss out information that would be useful in the dealing with this demon. Maybe something about a birth, or possibly something more on its desires themselves. A quick resupply and, with some quick thinking of Akaru, one map later, the team is on the road to the brewery on the lookout for the stone marked turnout that the dwarves were abducted at.

A few hours down the main road, they happened upon a cart with a bloodied man coming the opposite direction. The man called out to the armed and armored companions, begging their help. A story was spun about an attack against him and his two sons by wolves. Next to him was a tarp under which was the mangled body of a young boy. Akaru, being the most traveled of the surface companions (dwarves and gnomes don’t deal with farmers too often) immediately raises suspicion on the man’s story. If you had two sons, where is the second? If one was actually dragged away by wolves (highly unlikely already) than how did the other come to be with you? You’re injured, but have no weapons… this cart isn’t outrunning wolves, how did you escape? Too many questions and not enough good answers from the man.

Before Akaru could start a process of justice, Urvosh, who was impatient through all of the interrogation, forcibly reminded him that some farmer and his dead sons are not their concern. Dwarves are missing and possibly alive. The kids are dead and the man probably did it. They are not the law around here and it is time to go and go they did. The farmer calling behind them still begging for help for his sons but his cries fell on deaf ears. There was a mission to accomplish, and it didn’t include dealing with that child murderer. Later down the road, the party happened on a small clearing with blood and wolf tracks mixed with human tracks. Slightly shaken, maybe the farmer was telling the truth, but still unconvinced they continued on until dusk when Akaru found them a place to camp for the night that was defensible. Nightly preparations were made and watch schedules were set, it was time to rest for tomorrow they were gonna track some dwarfnappers and, gods willing, find Urvosh’s traveling companions.

As the night passed, it wasn’t until second watch when Urvosh noticed some wolf-like shapes lurking in the tall grass near the camp. Three wolves were counted and despite the dwarf’s threatening manner, the wolves seemed intent on dying that night. The other two were roused and defensive positions were taken in case the wolves decided to do something stupid. This was the same behavior the two warriors and gnome had seen before, at the mine. The wolves were probably starving and desperate. Shame really, because those teeth will have a hard time getting through Urvosh’s chainmail and shield.

Before the wolves were able to act, a bark and growl took them by surprise. Akaru, who was trained to be a wood ranger from a young age, was making attempts to communicate with the hungry canines. If a wolf could look confused by living food, this was the time it happened. Several minutes went by with exchanged barks and howls. Akaru then told his two shorter friends that the gist is that these wolves have been dying of hunger due to the woods being over hunted by what we could only assume are goblinoids. After a few more minutes of conversing with the wolves, a deal was struck to exchange the equivalent of four days worth of rations to split between the three of them in exchange for the party not having to kill them. The dwarf was also asked to remove an arrow stuck in the biggest wolf’s haunch. Having little experience working on flesh in general, but even less on wolves, the crude surgery was preformed. Luckily, the wolf lived and was relatively unhurt.

The rest of the night goes on without any real happenings. Rested, fed, and generally ready to get on with the day, the group strikes camp and continues on up the road. Every hour that passes is one less hour the dwarves have in remaining alive. A few more hours of road travel, and the turnout rock that was described to the team was discovered. They were close, and Urvosh was starting to get itchy. Akaru understood and Krankle was along for the ride, but neither of them really understood the feelings that their dwarven compatriot was feeling. It was one of the few times his hands longed for the comfort of his hammer and not a shield or tankard. His friends will be found.

A few hundred yards from the road the small twisty path found its way into a dense forest. Not too much further down that path did the group come upon what looked like a temple that had been stripped of it’s livery with wooden fortifications built around it. On top of these small bulwarks stood three men. Two seemingly archers and another in robes. The companions walk right up the road about 50 feet from the walls until they were noticed. Once they were, the men on top started shouting down some incredibly terrible things. It wasn’t long before the party realized that these were certainly the men who took the dwarves and they did so specifically because they weren’t human.

“We won’t tolerate you mudbloods being near here, leave or join the bodies of your brethren!” Screamed the man in the robes. Two arrows flew by from the archers and with that the team fell back to the forest out of the men’s sight. These men are not the kind of people you want around respecting folk and they have Urvosh’s people. A plan needed to be formed to storm the walls, because these men are going to pay the blood cost of messing with a soldier’s brothers.

It was time the bullies met the Bull…