Episode 6

Into the Heart of Darkness

Character Journals
Cah Jihad Mutu Tahlavain

“Where’s that little snot Zongo?” spat Tahlavain, referring to the group’s recently acquired goblin companion. He was upset that the goblin had gotten him trapped alone in a room full of bloodthirsty orcs. Luckily, his eladrin companions were able to reach him by teleporting past the portcullis that had been dropped to block their way. Wondering himself where the creature had run off to, Jihad craned his neck to look behind him, the last place he had seen the slippery creature. The sudden movement sent a shock of pain through his body forcing him to grimace.

“I don’t see him,” grunted Jihad, stretching his strained neck. There was a knock from under the large wooden table in the middle of the room. It was quickly followed by the wet sounds of tearing flesh. All four companions were now peering at the muscled corpse of the orc leader which was splayed on the floor, legs spread-eagle, the upper half of his torso hidden in the shadow cast by the table. His body wobbled in rhythm with the cutting sounds. After a few seconds it stopped. A moment later the bulbous green nose of Zongo, highlighted by his beady red eyes, poked out of the darkness.

“First Bite?” he screeched questioningly, dragging the thick, meaty left arm of Darko from under the table. He was eyeing Jihad. As Zongo dragged the limb across the floor towards the eladrin paladin a dark stain of blood trailed behind the recently separated shoulder.

“That’s disgusting,” muttered Tahlavain, rolling his eyes. Zongo pulled the limb behind him until he was standing directly in front of Jihad. In an awkward offering, he tried to lift the meaty appendage up to the paladin. It slipped from his grasp and fell the the stone floor, splattering blood on Tahlavain’s boots.

“First Bite?” he asked, thrusting the end with the hand at Jihad while lowering his head in submission. Jihad stared at him blankly, unable to make sense of the goblin’s actions. With a sigh Mutu dropped the Bloodreaver slave contract he had been looking over to his side.

“He’s asking you to take the first bite Jihad.” The paladin’s face paled noticeably upon hearing Mutu’s explanation. With the tip of his axe Jihad nudged the bloody limb toward Zongo.

“No thanks. It’s all yours my friend.” Zongo’s eyes widened with disbelief. He quickly dropped to his bony knees and sunk his fang-like teeth into the orc flesh before Jihad could change his mind. The eladrin turned away in disgust. Mutu continued to look on. He had seen similar rituals before. A minute later Zongo wiped his bloodstained mouth and gave the heroes a beaming smile.

“The Fat One never feeds us so good. You poindee-ears are strong and very in.. intel…. intellerjent! Maybe you can free Prince Splug and save the Spider Clan!”

Zongo had asked for their help restoring Prince Splug to power. However, something didn’t feel quite right with the party’s recent triumph over Darko. Compelled to continue, they decided to explore the only remaining option—a long dark corridor to the south—and told Zongo they would return to help him soon.

A room full of traps greeted the party. Once again, the fey heritage of the Eladrin kept Tahlavain and Cah from being sucked into a surely perilous trap. Thus, the battered group pressed on.

The room that lay before them was a hideous sight. Blood poured from an altar, running down through a hole in the floor. A large orc with one eye torn from its skull stood by the altar. Guttural prayers echoed from its mouth as two berserkers rushed the party. They held their ground but suffered heavy damage. Grudgingly, Tahlavain and Jihad called for a retreat. It came just in time as strange reptilian humanoids attacked from the side, attempting to cut off the retreat.

The group had few options. They could leave the keep and go back to Winterhaven…or they could stay and most likely perish. A third option presented itself as they returned to Zongo. It was decided that they would help Zongo. However, the liberated goblins would have to help the party against the orcs in return. Zongo and prince Splug agreed.

An intense debate followed as the heroes confronted the Fat One and his goblin horde. Jihad and Cahs’ tongues worked magic and the horde stirred into a frenzy shouting for “first bite.” They swarmed the Fat One, and Prince Splug was once again in power. A chilling goblin party ensued as the group struggled to rest for what they knew would be a difficult battle.

The next day they returned to confront the kaelol. Prince Splug, his spider-mount Gerza, and the sharpshooter Zongo followed in tow. This time the party had a plan. Tahlavain and Mutu used their speed to skirt around to the right, charging the spellcaster just as his bodyguards charged Cah and Jihad. Splug and Zongo watched the left for the lizardmen. Only a surprise attack by an invisible knife-thrower kept the battle from coming to a swift end. As Mutu and Tahlavain searched for the pesky creature, the rest of the crew struggled to bring down the last of the stubborn berserkers.

A last arrow from Mutu narrowly missed as the dark one dove into the hole. Only the rattle of chains followed its escape…



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