The taming of the North

Bloodaxe's tale 1

The colony begins

Oh, you want to hear what happened, eh? Buy me a drink and take a seat, then.
Once we landed we set off through the woods, heading towards the hills. For a while, everything was fine, we didn’t see anything interesting at all. Then we heard voices. Wolven voices. Neb went forwards to investigate, the little bugger’s damn sneaky when he wants to be. Turns out it was a small group with bows, probably just a hunting party. We had no reason to fight them and we needed to save our strength for when we reached the tower, so we decided to leave ‘em alone. Yes, I know they’re monsters, but if we killed ‘em then, there’s no chance you can enslave ‘em later, right? Okay. Now, if you’re finished interrupting, can I continue, boss?

Right, where was I? Oh yeah, after the woods we reached some hills. They weren’t massive, but the trees thinned out a fair bit. We were able to see a bit of the terrain from the hilltops. Over to the southeast there was a bunch of standing stones, and pretty close to us was a mound, looked like an old barrow. It wasn’t much of a detour, so we thought we’d check it out. Turns out there was fairies there, I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but apparently they wanted us to play with ‘em and go see their king. Bugger that, we thought, and we was out of there sharpish! Not before Neb got his money pouch nicked though. Anyway, yeah. Might be worth staying away from there if you’re up in the hills. We kept going, heading towards the tower. We, uh, saw a dragon flying around in the evening. It didn’t see us, but I noticed it was heading towards the ship. Sorry, there was no way we could have got back here quick enough to warn you, so we just pressed on.

It was pretty dark we were thinking of stopping for the night and making camp, when we were attacked by a savage beast! A devil digger, biggest one you’ve ever seen, and mean too! It came at us snarling, spittle dripping from its stinking jaws! Neb got a couple of bolts off at it, then it was on us! Sundance and me, we fought like heroes! It bit and clawed at us, we were stabbing it and swingin’ our weapons at it, it was carnage! Gods, last time I saw a beast fight like that was when Ashrak Eagleclaw fought a damn rhino back when I was just a lad! Aye, we were bloodied but eventually we stood victorious- the evil beast was slain! We ate well that night, licked our wounds and continued on.

Oddo found us in the morning, and after some restoring prayers, we went on our way. What? No! Aye, magic is bloody unnatural, and no I will not accept magical healing. I don’t want a mage going anywhere near me! Oddo‘s a priest, ain’t he? What he does isn’t spells, it’s prayer. He asks the gods and they bless us with their favour. Nothing unnatural about that. Prayer ain’t spells, now shut up and let me talk! Now then, we left the hills behind and soon we was at the beach with the tower. Turns out it was Elven, built back in the Big War. We had to wait a few hours for the tide to come out, then finally we could get to it! The door was locked tight, but I ripped it clean out of its frame, tossing it aside like a leaf! The moment we went inside we were hit by a stench fouler than a demon’s arse, it took all our strength not to throw up! We had a job to do though, so we carried on. There was bones all over the place, animal, wolven and goblin. Whoever lived there, they ate well. We set off up the stairs, me going first, then Sundance, then Oddo and Neb. Didn’t take long for the harpies to notice us, they started screaming and screeching, kickin’ up a real fuss! Unfortunately, that distracted us. We didn’t notice the one creeping up behind us until it was too late. It grabbed Neb, ran off with him before we had a chance to do anything. We chased after, but couldn’t get it in time. It took off, trying to take him up to its nest. Neb had dropped his knife, but he stabbed the birdy bitch with one of his crossbow bolts! It dropped him, and he fell right in the damn mud! It was like, ker-splat! Bye bye gnome, hello mud creature! Oddo invoked the gods and scared it off, leaving us with one more harpy to fight. It dived at us, going for Sundance. She jumped out of the way and I swung me axes, opening the bitch from gizzard to guts in one blow! We had a look through the tower, found a few old weapons and a couple of trinkets, then we headed back to shore. Neb washed himself off and we set up camp, planning to head back in the morning.

That night, the surviving harpy attacked us. She went after Neb again, I think she must have had a crush on the poor bastard! This time didn’t go so well for her, Sundance got her with her grappling hook and I finished her off. After that it was a lovely night’s sleep.

We set off after breakfast in good spirits- we’d done what we’d set out to do, had a hearty meal and the sun was shining, life was good! It was a beautiful day, everything seemed so peaceful. And then the arrows came. We’d been ambushed! Kobold archers were firing at us from all directions, I was pincushioned before I even knew what was going on! I threw my new francisca at ‘em and we got behind cover. My axe and Neb’s crossbow were our only ranged weapons, so we had to improvise. I threw one of the other axes I’d got from the tower and Sundance chucked her knives, while Oddo prayed for our lives. I’m glad he did, probably would have died if the gods weren’t watching over us. We traded shots for a little bit Neb took one of them down, then the Kobolds got bored and charged us. Stupid mistake. There was one against Neb and his new pet and two facing me and Sundance. They were good, but we were better. They hid behind those big shields of theirs, stabbing at us every now and then while me and Sundance hooked them open and chopped ‘em up. We traded blows and both of us got some nasty cuts, then one fell. The other one tried running, but he was too slow. Swing my axes so fast they were just a blow, i disarmed him and forced him to yield. Sundance tied him up and I went over to help Neb. The little guy doesn’t look like much of a fighter, but he was really holding his own. Both him and Kitty had taken a few hits, but he was still standing at least, and this one had some serious skills. He was fast, he was fearless, he was tough. Definitely their leader. Every blow, he blocked or parried. Every opening, he struck at. I was already badly hurt from the last fight, and he got in a lucky shot, finishing me off. I fell, everything fading to black. Well, what can I say? I was a god in the arena back in my prime, but time and hard knocks wear down even the greatest champions, no? I’m not what i once was, sad to say. I woke up after the fight, Oddo fighting with the gods for my soul. ‘Not yet!’ he cried ‘This brave, strong orc is not yet finished on this world, you’ll have to wait!’ He must have been convincing, that or the gods just didn’t want to see my ugly face messing up the afterlife just yet, because with lots of prayer I was feeling almost as good as new. My bad shoulder’s a little creakier now, but at least I’m still alive, right? Okay, okay. I’ll tell you what happened next after some food, alright?

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