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After a few more minutes of parley with MIles, the groups part ways. Miles heads off into the forests and the group explores the mines for an hour or so. They discover hundreds of gnomes – all bewitched in some way. They free the gnomes but find they are incapable of coherence. After a brief discussion they leave the gnomes and journey down a path which leads to a ridge that overlooks a small valley. The remains of the gnome settlement are visible. The gnomes discovered at the mine are surely the remnants of this town, right? Should they be avenged or forgotten?

The group presses onwards, riding into the vale of filth, past orcs that breed in the fetid squalor and towards an inn – of sorts. Therein they find a sextet of evil tainted gnomes that serve them passable food and add their fare to Mile’s tab. The group is a bit bewildered, given that Miles was declared to be aiding the gnomes imprisoned in the mines. Hmm. Stranger and stranger.

Riding their luck, the group rides towards a palisade-ringed encampment. A pair of orc guards are busy arguing and do not hear the party approach. A sleep spell buys some time and the group brazenly enters the courtyard. Therein they find an uber orc smith and a chained gnome as assistant. A guardhouse and a latrine and some sort of orc bunker complete the picture. The group talks with the smith, who informs them that there will be no more weapons until the last batch is paid for. As the group meanders away from the smith, they dismount and talk briefly while the cleric pretends to use the latrine.

As they talk, a squad of orcs leaves the bunker and marches off towards the mine the party looted hours earlier. As they depart, the party makes its move and slays the smith, the guard and the occupants of the bunker before freeing the gnome. He speaks with them and tells them of the fate of the valley and the charming of the gnomes by a magic mirror. He wishes to join the party as long as their goals and his align. He wishes to liberate his people and kill orcs. The group wishes to kill…orcs.

They search and collect what little plunder they can. As they are deciding what to do, the group of guards comes running back from the mines. The party decides that silencing them is important and allows them to enter the compound before shutting the gates and slaying them in a matter of seconds. Pausing only to make sure of complete lack of survivors, before sauntering through the orc villagers, the group heads towards a distant shrine they spotted on the way into town. Arriving around dusk, the group is attacked by harpies and half the party members are charmed. Despite the setback, the remainder of the group rallies behind Dudley and his magic blade. The harpies are slain or driven off and the charmed party members are pummeled into unconsciousness and tied up. The shrine is found to contain waters that heal the body an mind of those that drink it. As darkness falls, the group is exhausted and depleted- in a dead end valley, surrounded by orcs but with the means to restore the minds of the gnomes – provided they survive long enough to administer it, of course.

Departing the Barony, the group travels along a river ‘road’, stopping at the occasional village for food and gossip, The priest of Torm bestows minor cures and spreads the word. A few days out they encounter a trio of escaped slaves who tell a tale of imprisonment at the hands of Miles, the outlaw. This gets the group onto a side track off the main road and into the deeper wilderness.
They arrive at a dilapidated and ramshackle village – stuffed to the gills with armed toughs and sporting only a few bedraggled looking peasants. The group navigates the environment without starting a major event and so no blood is spilled – but information is gathered from some men in Mile’s employ.
The group journeys even further onward, eventually arriving in a collection of huts, scare large enough to be called a village. There they make contact with a large red-capped ogre and his human advisor. They inform the group that they are waiting for Miles, but do not know where he is. As the group is riding out of town, they make contact with a ranger who claims to be in Mile’s group. He explains that they are in hiding – for there are many bounty hunters about. Miles is apparently in the area, helping the gnomes – whatever that means.
The group rides into the woods, then sends back the invisible mage to spy on the place. Little is learned save one of the occupants is a dwarf. They seem careful to remain hidden from the main road.
Pressing onward, the group becomes hopelessly lost, and stumbles upon a mining operation where enslaved gnomes toil under the gaze of a half-dozen orcs and a quartet of burlier humanoids. The group gives battle and during the fight they are aided by Miles and his men. This prompts a parley and Miles reveals that he is the rightful heir to the seat in Ludensheim, but his place was usurped and he has retreated to the wilderness to fight a guerrilla war.
The group ponders the many twists and turns that the story has taken so far and wonders what to do next.

After buying some goods, the party mounts up and starts to travel southward along the Easting Reach. Within a tenday they arrive at Uthmere. There, the cleric and paladin visit the local church of Torm, while Malchor, Kreus and Thunderbear journey to the seedier side of town to seek items magical. Arriving at the Bloody Hook in the morning allows them time to survey the place. Some bribery and a willingness to consume stolen wine earns a visit to the fence, Haggling commences and the wizard departs a bit lighter in gold, but with a fine cloak and a set of silverware. The group spends one last night in luxury and then departs in the morn.
The journey southward is largely uneventful, aside from a chance encounter with some red-hatted goblins stealing cattle, The group charges, the goblins disperse and the cattle are repurposed as pack animals and food.
Eventually the group turns into the forests in search of the Barony of Botkinburg. The path is treacherous and narrow and the group is ambushed a few times by goblins wearing red hats, but a show of force disperses them quickly and eventually the group makes its way into the town.
Introductions are made and the problems facing the duke are outlined: red-hatted goblin raiders disrupting trade and wreaking havoc, a frenemy dukedom to the north, and a roguish scalawag of a brigand between here and there. Questions?

Now the group turns its attention to the coffins. Two of the stronger party members slide open the lid while Kreus and Dudley take turns manning the group’s lone magical dagger. Luckily, most of the coffins contain swag, but two do contain a surly undead. The undead are returned to undeath, and the loot is gathered.
The escape route is discovered and used in short order. The party returns to their employer and delivers the report. The bossman is much pleased and offers a bonus and an introduction to a distant barony. The group accepts and prepares to buy supplies for a long overland journey through the shattered remains of the neighboring land.

After opening the doors to the central courtyard, Malchor sleeps the wolves and the party swiftly slays them. They search about and rummage through the detritus of the rooms, garnering whatever swag they can spy. The carrier pigeons are loosed and the group settles down to wait.
The days pass without incident and owner of the house arrives. Upon being told of the unopenable door, he sends for a mage. the mage arrives – blows the door off the hinges – and leaves. The group searches and finds a bricked-over trapdoor.
The door is opened and a ladder is revealed. The ladder leads to a hatch, which it opened and the group descends into a room.
As soon as they are within, the hatch vanishes and they find themselves trapped! A lonely old man walks out of the darkness and offers to lead the party to safety. Kormier suspects a doppelganger, but agrees to meet with the old timer in the room just vacated. His suspicions prove correct and he nearly dies for not listening to his inner voice. The party sets about exploring the area, finding and slaying two crazed magicians and almost having a gelatinous cube eat Thunderbear. They explore and explore and explore some more before calling it a night. They arise and explore – finding berserkers, piercers and trapped chests – along with strange subhumans that try to eat them. They finally find a corpse with a key – and the key is used in an ornate door.
From there it is a quick hop through the glowing curio cabinet to a room full of coffins. They exit the room to prove they can – then rest once more. Now out of food, they face the coffins – with the hopes of finding an exit…or lunch. But not a lich.

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