The taming of the North

Bloodaxe's tale part 3

How Gorek got a girlfriend

Hey, Rorik, Arnulf! You boys met my woman, yet? Her name’s Tillu, ain’t she lovely?
Wait, you don’t know where the goblins came from? Bloody hell mate, where you been? Alright, fine, I’d better start from the beginning then. Well, as it turns out that Wolven army isn’t here for us, so there was a whole bunch of us all armed up and ready for a fight that wasn’t gonna happen. Yeah, Sir Suluk and his fifty men went up north to keep an eye on ‘em, but the rest of us were bored, right lads? So us scouts decided to do some scouting! Griff, Neb, Oddo, Jeff and myself thought we’d check out that haunted temple the kobold prisoner told us about. Neb’s pussycat found a coyle patrol on the way there which we were able to avoid, and after two days’ pleasant stroll, there we were. Not much left of the place, the walls didn’t even reach knee height in most places. Only stuff of interest was the old altar, which had a sword stuck in it, and the nearby pool, which Griff told us was magical. The water puts you to sleep. Oh, speaking of which both Griff and me have waterskins full of the stuff if anyone fancies some. Just make me an offer! No? No one, really? Oh well, your loss.Oh yeah, the pool was also haunted. Lucky for us though, it was some long-dead paladin who’d been sacrificedby the local clerics. His sword in the altar, by the way. Unlike most ghosts I’ve dealt with he didn’t want to kill us, in fact he wanted our help- his bones were in the pool and he wanted them buried. No problem, Griff cast a spell and lifted them out. That pissed the pucks that’d been watching us, though. They were shapeshifted into boars so we hadn’t realised what they were. No big deal though, I mean pucks ain’t exactly tough, are they? Once they was all dead, we set up a nice big fire and cremated his bones. As a reward he gave us his sword, which had a holy enchantment on it. Neb claimed it ‘cause he was the first of us who could touch the damn thing, but Jeff’s been using it since because he can actually swing it properly, unlike the Pint Size Pussycat Paladin. The cremation took most of the day, so we ended up spending the night camped out in the ruins. There I was, having a lovely dream about this big titted Orcish lass I used to know, when I was woken up to the sounds of fighting! It was a little way away through some trees, so we sneaked over there to see what was what. Goblins, led by that crazy magical scarecrow thing we’d heard of, fighting a mixed group of Elves and Wolven. It was all over by the time we got there, the last Elf and Wolven just finished off the last goblin as we arrived. Griff approached them and had a chat, and they ended up hiring us! Turns out they’d been sent from the main Wolven force looking for some old Wolven religious book in an old temple in the region. We were happy to help, and why not? Plenty more loot for us, and we figured if this book was important to the Wolven it’d be a good bargaining chip if it was in our hands. We burned their dead- bloody Wolven wouldn’t let us loot ‘em first, the arse. Oh well. Anyway, once they were all ashes, we rested for the rest of the night and set off in the morning, heading south. About midmorning, we ran across a Goblin warband. At least thirty of the buggers, all well armed and feeling pretty fuckin’ pissy at us. Oh, we were quaking in our boots- not! They didn’t stand a chance. Oddo prayed really hard, and the Gods graced us with a massive bloody gargoyle! Those damn goblins must have shat themselves when that thing appeared! And if that wasn’t bad enough, he also put a hex on Neb to make him fly. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Neb had turned into a tiger back when we heard the fight. So we had a gargoyle and a flying tiger swooping down on these poor goblins, ripping them to shreds, plus us plinking the survivors with arrows! It was a slaughter!
Yikes, all this talking’s making my throat hurt. Get some ale for me and Tillu, will you? Cheers, mate. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, we headed a bit further south until we came to a big hill. Lin, the elf, said the temple was hidden underneath it, so we started looking round for the entrance, which Griff eventually found. He claims he used magic to find it, but I swear he just tripped over a root and fell into some bushes and there it was. Eh, either way, really. We found it and that was all that mattered. The tunnel was small at first and we had to crawl, but it soon opened up a bit. Sundance found a pit trap a little way down the tunnel, but we easily got past it by sticking a plank over it. The moment Griff and me were across though, we were ambushed! Goblins again. One of ‘em tried barging me over the edge into the pit, but it was like running into a wall. I didn’t move an inch. Lin cast a spell to put them to sleep, but a fair few of them resisted it. Typical magic that- unreliable. They dragged their snoozing mates out of the cloud and legged it. While that was going on, the ones right by us had no choice but to fight. Griff and Sundance were okay, they held the goblins off and didn’t get pushed back. I, on the other hand, kicked arse. I gutted one goblin, hooked the next with my axe and threw him into the pit, then I buried my axes in the last one’s neck! That fight did not last long. After that we carried on, and eventually came to a T junction, with doors on either way. one was locked, so Sundance poked the key out and fished it out under the door. Now they were locked in, instead of us being locked out! With that way contained, we went down the left passageway. First, we found a room full of magical stuff, which we just steered clear of. No sense in messing with that lot if we don’t need to. After that, there was a bigger room with statues of Anubis, Anhur and Bes, with a nice big magical pool of blood in front of them. I know, creepy, right? And after that, there was another room with some summoning circles an altar with a gold statuette of one of the gods on it. That was it for that part of the temple, so we went back and had a look what was behind the locked door. We came into a big room with three doors in the opposite room. Nothing happened at first, then a raven cawed. That must have been the signal to attack, because all three doors opened and eight goblins poured out. Another sleep spell put six of them out, but the other two were still standing and fighting. They were the least of our worries though- the damn raven was actually a transformed dire harpy! I hacked into it a couple of times, blood and feathers flying, and that put the fear of the gods into it. The cowardly bitch turned back into a bird and tried to fly away! Sundance threw a knife, she missed. I threw one of my axes, missed. Lin tossed a fireball at it, no luck. Griff shot at it, just clipping the bitch. Then I took out one of my daggers, I aimed, let out half a breath, and threw! That little knife hit it right between the wings, and it dropped dead. The goblins started waking up soon after that. Two ran off, but the rest surrendered and pledged themselves to me. We headed on and found the goblin priests’ chamber. A little poking around found us a secret passageway in the far wall. We followed it and ended up in the main temple area. Just as we came into the room, one of the Goblin priests came through the main door. We caught him by surprise and hacked him down. It was the other two that was the real problem. One of them had raised a couple of their dead friends, plus the priest we just killed, and was sending them after us. Lin was paralysed by one of them and Griff was nearly killed by an axe to the head, wielded by a sneaky bastard who’d been following us! I cut down one of the priests and shoved past the zombies to get to their master. The coward had vanished, though! I had no idea where he was until his knife caught me in the guts! Well, until he tried to knife me in the guts, anyway. My armour caught the blow, I was fine. And even better, now I knew where he was. I swung at him, but he must have ducked or something because my blade bit nothing but air, then I felt a nasty whack on my elbow. The nerve flared and the axe went sailing out of my hand! I drew one of my swords and kept fighting though, and next time I swung at him I did some serious damage. At least I think I did, hard to tell really. But it certainly felt like a good solid blow. Sundance caught up with me and joined in, and we hit him a couple more times, then he ran. Didn’t get far though, the blood trail made him easy to follow and we cut him down like a dog. A quick search of the other rooms found us a few more goblins, including my lovely Tillu. We were all tired after that, our wounded needed healing and the mages needed to recharge, so we locked the goblins in a room and settled down to rest. The next day, we looked for the secret passage to the real temple. We found it after a few hours, hidden away behind the altar with the statue on it. We didn’t get far down it before a black cloud appeared and we got terrified. I fear no man or beast, but that cloud was unnatural- it was magic, messing with our minds! Griff and Oddo were unaffected but the rest of us fled back into the main room. Well, most of us did, anyway. The Wolven went the wrong way, further into the passageway. He… didn’t come out again. Oddo and Griff retreated back to the rest of us and we waited for the magic to wear off. It was bogeys, apparently. We tried getting past them for a while, but only Griff and Jeff were able to stay in that damn acidic fear cloud. Eventually even they were pushed back so we healed up and waited. Finally the cloud faded away and we moved in. The bogeys had buggered off, so we went down that passageway to try and find them- didn’t want to leave them alive to block our exit. The room we came into had no sign of any fairies, but it did have three gergoyle statues in it. Heh, correction- two statues and one actual gergoyle, as Griff found out when he got a bit too close. He backed off sharpish, and me and Jeff closed in. That demon was a bloody tough foe, and I’m sure if Oddo hadn’t given me the armour of Ithian I’d have got a few nasty wounds from it, but the Gods were smiling on me- instead I didn’t get so much as a scratch. The same can’t be said for the gergoyle, of course- Jeff and me hacked away at it, him with his holy sword and me with my two magic axes. It blocked most of Jeff’s attacks, but that left it open for me, and my axes drank deep! Three or four good blows and the demon was horribly wounded, close to death. Finally Jeff finished the thing off, driving his sword through the foul creature’s chest and cleaving its heart in two! Of course, without my axes he’d never have got the chance.
Goblins? Bogeys? Even a thrice-cursed demon? Obviously there had to be some damn good loot in this place, so we headed on. Not long after killing the gergoyle, we came across this huge door- easily twenty feet square! It was locked, but Lin got us through. We went through a second, then a third, both just as big as the third. It’s a shame this place is so far away, I think we could scavenge quite a few decent building materials from it otherwise. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, this last door opened up into a big long hall with another door at the end, lined with statues. They were big, they were holding big, bloodstained weapons, and there were pools of blood in front of them. Not a good sign, hey? Sundance couldn’t find any traps, the mages said it wasn’t magical, but still- you see something like that and it makes you pause. Have to be simple not to, right? Well, Griff ain’t called the Mad Wizard for nothing, he just strolled along out there like it was nothing. Turns out ‘nothing’ was right, but still- either he’s crazy or he’s got the biggest balls ever. Sundance got us through the door at the end, and we were in a sort of cross shaped room with a bunch of sarcophagi in it. One was sealed with wax, one was open with a burnt body in it. Obviously we left the wax one alone, but we figured the others were fair game. There were mummies inside, but we made short work of them. Well, except for the third one. Apparently there’s a chance a mummy can keep its knowledge from when it died, and this bastard was a powerful priest. We fought bravely until it turned the floor into lava. The others ran then, but I stayed and fought- me and Lin had to cover everyone else’s retreat, and besides- I fear no man, living or dead! Why would I flee? We fought for a while, then it stopped and started talking. I didn’t understand but Lin did, so I went and rejoined the others while Lin had a chat with the mummy. It must not have liked what he had to say, because it buggered off pretty soon after that, leaving him charred to a crisp. Oh well, I got his dagger and mail shirt. Traded the dagger with Jeff and Neb for this axe. We needed to rest and regroup after that, and with a few of us dead we figured the goblins may as well come along. Those fucking bogeys messed with us again on the way, but Oddo prayed and the gods sent something to crush the little bastards. We went back through the crypt, through a door the mummy had left open and into the biggest room I’ve ever seen! There were skeletons everywhere! A row of giant magical statues in the middle of the room! And the skeleton of a giant, sitting on a huge throne! When he saw how strong the magic on that thing was, the blood drained from Griff’s face. We… didn’t go in there. There was nothing more that way, so we went back and explored the rest of the passages, hoping to find Grizzlebok, or the goblins that got lost. We were going down a corridor when one of the goblins in the back cried out. Then he was gone. There was something in the darkness, picking us off! We rushed over to try and kill it, but then another one jumped on Griff! Giant spiders! We killed the damn bugs, but Griff was feeling pretty ill for the next few hours. The missing goblins turned up not long after that, or at least what was left of them- poor bastards had fallen down a pit trap. There was an iron door not far after it, so we went through. The passage behind it was warded, but against what the Gods only knew. We didn’t set anything off, though. We followed that passage for what seemed like an age, dressed stone giving way at some point to rough-hewn rock. We were in a stinking cavern, far below the surface. Everything was still and quiet, then Bam! A horrific monster charged at us out of the darkness! Easily thirty feet long, it had a body like a cross between a dragon and a snake, with claws as long as my arm and the face of a man! The goblins fired arrows, I threw my axe! We charged, trading blows with the foul beast for hours! I soaked myself with its blood, my axes cleaving off huge chunks of flesh! Finally, when it was weak and bleeding, near dead, one of my goblins- Meltar- shot an arrow straight though its evil eye. It went in right up to the feathers, and the creature screamed like a pig with a broken back! Then it collapsed, dead. He earned a mail shirt with that shot. The creature had a bit of a hoard- mostly nothing special, but there were two silver daggers, so at least we’ve got more stuff to fight those werewolves with, right?
On our way back, we found that old troll by the beach. Yeah, her name’s Mogla or something like that, she’s a bit dappy- okay, she’s completely insane, actually- but she’s harmless enough. She even promised not to eat anyone! Apparently she thinks she’s a dragon, can you believe that? What a nutter!

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