After finishing off the last orc, Hernane slumped against the wall of the cave, tired beyond years, she took her water canteen and took a long draft, trying to ignore the shaking of her hand. She closed her eyes in exhaustion and immediately saw the terror stricken eyes of the orc she had killed in her mind, she sobbed—once—this killing was not for her she thought. She slowly raised herself up, it was not seemly for the others to see her in this state. She knew Feldard would be strong and she did not want him to see her so forlorn. Hernane avoiding the webbing, slowly walk a few paces into the cavern listening for anything untoward, in truth she needed this solitude to gather herself.
Feldard wiped down his axe blade on the coarse hair of a orc’s head, then seeing that Hernane was already on lookout, he set about hauling the orc bodies down into the midden pit. Before throwing them over, the dwarf did a cursory check of them – what he might be looking for the dwarf had no idea. Their hunt of the goblins that had attack Sukiskyn had brought them to this cave – but why? Was their a connection between the goblin attacks, these orcs and the Sons of Night? Feldards head hurt with such thoughts. Best to leave such to the mage and cleric—that’s what they were good at.
Sensing an end to immediate danger, Stephan sheathed his blade and turned to assist Feldard with dragging the bodies to the midden. He did so wordlessly. As he did, he took note of the strange tattoos covering their faces and skin. These orcs had sure liked their spider. Once the work was done, Stephan did what he could to wipe his hands clean using some of the loose dirt in the mine. He shown his lightstone about the room, checking for anything they may have missed.
Hasan watched as Feldard and Stephan began their labor. “Bah,” he cursed to himself. “Filthy business.” He quickly passed by the fighters, and moved through the troglodyte’s teeth. “I’m off to see from whence these have come. Follow me. None will find those we’ve left behind.” He strode confidently up the corridor in which the party first encountered the orcs, knowing well that his comrades would be close behind.
Stephan stood nonplussed for a moment. Muttering to himself, “Why are we tidying this Halav-forsaken place.” He turned and followed Hasan.
Hernane having recovered from her moment of weakness and not wanting to see again the slain orcs followed Stephen and Hasan. The sooner they were away from these cursed caves the better she thought to herself. “Feldard, come on,” she called, “We are wasting time”.
Feldard grumbled as he kicked the last of the orc bodies over into the pit. He gathered up what little he had found in their possessions worth keeping and followed after the group, taking rear guard position for now.
Maruc cast his eyes over the result of the battle. The tattoo’d spider-worshiping orcs were slain, their black blood made the floor slippery. As the others drew the corpses over to the pit, Maruc studied each one for any clue as to what their purpose was and any connection with the information that had lead them here…it was usless. The bodies revealed nothing, no tokens or hints as to the path ahead. The party was chasing shadows. Miklos was wrong to divert them here a second time. Halav had guided them here to save Hernane, nothing else. The plans of Vlaak would only be served by further delay.
“I see no benefit in delaying here any longer. We must press on after the goblins if we are to stop them.” He hefted his heavy shield onto his shoulder and turned to Miklos. “Are you satisfied with your searches?”
“Stephan himself has discovered something of his trinket. I’d be interested with the challenge of deciphering the runes on his statuette. You cannot deny the uncanny resemblance between it and the animations below? Would that we had ten Feldards below, eh? Perhaps we might have learnt the truth?”
“Come now! We are all hearty warriors with ne’r a scratch on us! I say we seek further, perhaps we might discover the access to the statue chamber from the other side? Where’s your sense of adventure?” he offered.
“Aye. I must say,” Stephan was a little shocked he was speaking. “If we but not touch the statues as we enter, perhaps we can learn more of what may connect my token to them.” Stephan kicked at some slag. “I mean, we came back in this dank place. Are we to leave with only having battled strange jackals and more webbed orc fiends? We’ve but scratched the surface. We came back in this place. Seems a pity to leave without knowing more. I say we high back to those devil statues and see what’s really about!”
“Aye, the statues deserve a second look,” called back the elf, already backing away impatiently from the group. “But let us not ignore roving orcs, who present the clearer danger for now. I would learn what we can of them, before they mass against us. We can investigate the room further when the caves are safe.”
“The statues protect something of value to someone. But I agree with Hasan, clearing the caves needs to be done. Perhaps in doing that we will learn the key to moving past the statues without triggering an attack,” Feldard called from the back of the party.
“Aye,” Stephan nodded at Hasan’s and Feldard’s words. “Let’s go back outside find our gnome friend. He may be able to point out where the orckind may hide.”
Hernane was quite keen to get out of these caves, they were cursed! She turned to Feldard and said “Tekaryon still has a goblin trussed up, maybe we should go and interrogate it to find out where these greenskins are coming from and why they are here”. Plus we cannot expect that Tekaryon will be able to keep his prisoner forever. Sooner or later, it will escape and bring his tribe to exact vengeance on him”. With that statement she hefted her axe and made her way along the tunnels to where Tekaryon was last seen, regardless if the Goblin could tell them anything useful, she would not leave it alone with Tekaryon any longer.