The Wild Hunt

The flight from Dorl’s caves went well at first, the confusion of their magical distractions, and with invisibility and insubstantiability on their side, K’larsh and Haerak were able to meet with their friends in the woods south of the cave, without the goblin horde giving chase.  Jhota however, had no such luck, despite the magical protection offered by the potion, he did not make it to the cave mouth, but instead was almost certainly captured or killed by those inside.

Haerak and his companions made haste for Lastinn, but before long, the howl of wolves could be heard behind them, goblin worgs, hunting them down.  The scouting party that found them numbered four worgs and riders, hardened goblin veterans, more dangerous than the cowardly rabble that makes up the bulk of any goblin force.  They struck the party swiftly, the worgs attempting to knock their victims to the ground, where they could be savaged by the beasts powerful teeth, and lacerated by the jabbing spear of their rider.  Still badly weakened by their ordeal against Dorl, the fight went badly for Haerak and his friends, they managed to drive off or slay their attackers, but, they were left bleeding and torn by the brutal attacks of the worg riders, and there were more of them not far behind.

 Knowing that their flight could not succeed against the speed and tracking skills of their pursuers, K’larsh offered to lead the enemy away from the rest of the group, planning on relying on his berserker speed, combined with a temporary boost from Grestmaul, to keep ahead of pursuit, hopefully buying enough time for Haerak and the others to lose the rest of the creatures.  Haerak could see this was the only chance for survival, so he agreed, clasped K’larsh on the shoulder, and led the rest of his friends with all haste for Lastinn.  

They had nearly reached the city when a lone waylayer attacked them, a skilled and dangerous bugbear wielding a pair of blades, both dripping poison.  The creature fought well, but when Haerak survived its initial assault, it quickly found itself surrounded and slain.

The group at last made the city gates, where they returned a beaming Firella to her amazed and grateful father.  Haerak refused to take the mans life savings, and gave the young maiden a few pieces of jewelry looted from the bugbear encampment to help her and her father start anew.  He then found the nearest temple of St. Nadia, where they were able to undo some of the damage the spirit of Dorl inflicted upon Haeraks soul.

Haerak sent his companions to the inn, and set out to find his friend K’larsh, heading into the wilderness alone.

He returned to the point the where red skinned orcish berserker had left them, and followed his trail for hours, seeing the trail of his pursuers merge and break off, and merge again, where they must have guessed wrong and doubled back.  In two places he found the savaged corpses of slain goblins, but, other than a cold trail, no sign of the mighty warrior K’larsh.  When night fell Haerak spotted a bonfire in the distance.  Fearing goblins, but too concerned for his friends safety to avoid it, K’larsh investigated.  The bonfire was goblins indeed, or rather, a pyre of their corpses.  The goblin force had apparently chased its way into the territory of a group of elves, who did not take kindly to the presence of the monsters.  Haerak parlayed with the elves, whom he quickly realized had been tracking him for some time.  They were not friendly to the barbarian, making it clear that he had best be gone from their territory sooner rather than later, but, they at least informed him that they had seen no sign of his friend.

Haerak slept a cold night in a dark hollow, by a river when the magical gaze of his helmet failed him, and, in the morning was only able to find a few hints of his friends trail.  Haerak was a reasonable tracker, but time, traffic, and a bit of fresh snow made trail difficult to follow.  As luck would have it however, he was near the trails end, after a few short hours he came upon a walled logging town, he came to learn was called Pebbleford.  
The little logging town was run and protected by a stout force of halflings.  Many of the workers were human, and to Haerak, the place seemed as close to a paradise as anywhere he could imagine.  The men and halflings worked together without obvious quarrel, and he quickly learned, one of their patrols had found his friend in the river while on patrol the day past.  Rather than leaving the strange half-orc(or finishing him off), they had brought him to town, offered him healing, and, with Haeraks assurance of K’larshs character, removed the chain they had placed on him for their own protection.  Haerak enjoyed the hospitality of the town for some time, learning of the history from the Mayor, and a pretty young bard in the towns tavern.  The mayor also introduced him to his horse, a strange and eerily intelligent beast they mayor claimed might be an ancient creature, tied to the tragic history of the area.  The pair stayed there for a day before taking passage on a barge headed to Thaarstead, all the while waiting for the other shoe to drop. However, the good people of Pebbleford played them true, to Haerak, the little village seemed like a tiny beacon of goodness and freedom in a mad cruel world.

 

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