As the crew waited in their laboratory Vixia appears and calls on them "all of clan Kobra are summoned to the main hall by House Mother Agna for a sacrifice of a heretic”. To prepare all males had to remove all weapons, armour and clothing. They were only allowed a cloak to cover themselves. Most of the crew had magic rings, or amulets so they took those. Kalan had his magic eye imbedded in his head - so that had to come with him. The females went as they were – clothed, armoured and armed.
As the crew entered the hall they were jeered at by the other Riever crews and scorned by other members of the house Kobra – seen as scavengers they were the lowest in the Drow hierarchy. The crew took their places just as Agna appeared followed by her daughters - the elite of the Lloth priestesses. Form the other side guards appeared pulling a screaming male between them. He cried "It wasn’t me I’m not a heretic!! Let me go!!” Agna spoke to the Clan "A new heresy has invaded our house and will be purged from us like the previous sickness. All hail to Lloth!!” The Clan scream their approval as the unfortunate Drow male was stripped and laid across the alter. His arms and legs pinned down by the guards. Agna lifts up the sacrificial blade and shouts again, this time a Lloth prayer of sacrifice to the god. The knife plunges down into his stomach and his entrails are pulled out and cut up. He takes a minute or so to die and then the signal is given to dismiss the clan. As most of the crew now are followers of Vhaerun they all jump around as enthusiastically as any of the Lloth followers – but let out a collective sigh of relief to get out of the sacrificial chamber and don their clothes, armour and weapons. Was the heretic a follower of Vhaerun? They did not know nor wanted to ask unless it brought undue attention to them.
Vixia had them quickly back to their duties cleaning, assisting with ship repairs and supplies. As the Drow ordered the Goblin and dwarf slaves to do their bidding they were aware of a flyer approaching the city and the Clan Kobra tower and the House Dragon patrol ship in quick pursuit. Kalan with his magical eye could spot it was an Orc on a Griffin – and he had the insignia of the Red Orcs. The Orc brazenly sets his griffin on the landing platform of House Kobra – the Dragon ship veers off to leave it to the House Kobra to sort out. The messenger starts chattering away in Orc. Berun and Gorlab are the only two who speak the tongue so they talk with him. The Orc messenger pulls clear a message tube and passes it to Berun. Vixia stomps over and snatches it from Berun’s grasp. She sneers at him "I’m the captain - that is for me!!” She opens the message to see that it has been written in Drow. Vixia smiles to herself then rushes into the building.
When Vixia returns she informs her crew that Chief Chairman Naskhund of the Red Orcs requires the services of the Drow to aid in breaking the siege of the White Orc city New Orc. The Orc messenger is told that the clan agree to the request and will be heading out to meet the Commander. The Orc messenger takes to his griffin and immediately flies off. After the Orc leaves Vixia and Faylin move off to the side. Vixia and Faylin are seen to be in a heated argument and the captain storms across towards the crew. Vixia calls them all in "Right you lot. I’ve checked out your quarters to detect magic and was nearly blinded by your personal items. This has to stop. All treasure and magical items must be returned and shared as you know in 20ths. 10 shares to the clan house, 2 to me as captain and you get 1 share each. Any magical items found I get first refusal as captain. Remember I have spies everywhere!! You Joruuz!! When we return I will have that amulet you wear … Okay!!” Vixia levels her stare at Joruuz and smiles evilly at him "Oh, by the way. Clan Kobra wants to organise a trade with spider silk with a buyer in Trade town. It is said you are the one who knows who to deal with. Be sure you don’t fail your clan … male.”
The crew complete the ships preparation and make their way out. Gorlab had bonded with the Pseudo Dragon and paid 1500 gold to Kalan. The small dragon now sat quietly and contentedly on Gorlab’s shoulder. The captain has added a Lloth spider to the crew, and another male Drow joins the ship but is not introduced. The first stop is to Trade Town to organise the selling of spider silk and an opportunity for Kalan and Zaen to get the spells they require to help them return to normal. This was a round about journey the Orc’s request taking second place at the moment.
On the way out a creature is spotted flying towards the ship – Kalan’s magical eye picked it out but he did not recognise it. From his description the rest of the crew quickly realised it was a cock-a-trice. A dangerous creature that could turn you to stone once close enough. Shouting the alarm the ship was turned around to allow the gunner Berun a clear aim at the creature. Berun was at his position and fired as it came into long range – it was a hit. As it came into bow shot it was hit again and Berun struck it with another bolt. The cock-a-trice then fell out of the sky. As it dropped to the ground several of the crew especially Gul pleaded with the captain to land and retrieve the animal. Gul new that the feathers could be used as an antidote for petrification. Vixia agreed and the ship landed to retrieve the carcase.
As the ship made its way to the Trade Town the new male who had come aboard and had stayed in the captains quarters made an appearance. He was obviously not a new crew member – the captain had referred to him a passenger! The original crew eyed him suspiciously and tried to keep out of his way. Kalan noticed that the male started taking each of the crew aside and having a quite word. Now he was very alarmed he must be an inquisitor for the House Clan Mother trying to seek out heretics. Finally Kalan notice the male approach him. "Can I have a word in private crewman” he said. Kalan nodded assent and followed him over to a quieter part of the ship. The male Drow looked about cautiously leaned into Kalan and said "I’m one of those who believes in Vhaerun, and I’m making my escape. Would you know of anywhere safe for a fellow like me to go once we stop at Trade Town?” Kalan was shocked and let this show on his face. So the poor sod who was sacrificed by Agna was a follower of Vhaerun. He looked straight at the male and said "I would not know of any such place I am merely a scavenger! Now get away from me! Vixia my take your money but I want nothing to do with you!” The other male backed away trying to calm the situation saying "okay, okay I was only asking”. Kalan decided to report to Gul regards the strange situation, and protect himself, he could see Joruuz and some of the others had done the same. Gul took on what the others had said and went to the captain to inform her of the passengers strange behaviour and questions. If she was unaware the passenger would likely be killed and chucked overboard. But if it was a ploy to oust any other followers of Vhaerun she would likely show little reaction. Kalan watched Gul approach Vixia and ask to speak to her she agreed but turned and went to her quarters. When he returned Vixia appeared and made her way casually to the passenger. No shouts or alarms they talked quietly to each other with a few shakes of the head the male turned away and went below decks again.
With no other incidents the crew arrived at Trade Town and made their way to the Green Dragon Inn. The passenger left the ship and went off in another direction. Vixia and the crew arrived at the Inn and took a table - Gul was ordered to buy a round of drinks by Vixia. A dwarf was sat up at the bar he had passed out and was the only other customer. Gul struck up a conversation with Bluedo the barman who recalled them from their previous visits. He mentioned that they were looking for the Goblin trader Zindago they dealt with before (he provided the earth elemental spell for them). Bluedo smiled and then sent one of his boys to fetch the merchant. Zindago arrived within the hour and recognised some of the Drow crew he had dealt with before – the captain he did not recognise. Joruuz quickly set out the plan for the Drow to look for a merchant to sell on the Drow spider silk. Kalan and Zaen mentioned their need for restoration and regeneration spells. Zindago thought for a moment then said he could not help but new another more powerful merchant who might. He then stood and quickly took his leave saying the merchant Raska would be in touch within the next few hours.
As the Drow waited the dwarf came to his senses but was still very drunk. He was horrified to see Drow in the bar. He muttered and shouted in both trade tongue and dwarf "Murderers, killers, slavers, evil Drow… Oh those poor souls … the poor wee wanes … Poor Copperfield destroyed by those black skinned, black soul bastard Drow” The dwarf then staggered swearing at the Drow as he left the Inn.
The Drow passed the rest of the afternoon quietly at the Inn. Gul was sent to buy several rounds and some food for the crew. An hour or so passed until a huge black scaled lizard warrior stepped into the Inn and made his way slowly to the bar. His weapon was a huge club attached to belt at his side. He cautiously eyed up the Drow (the only patrons at the Inn) then nodded to someone just outside the door. A smaller Lizardman covered in cloth from head to foot entered and made his way directly to the Drow – he was followed by another huge black scaled lizardman. So this was Raska the merchant and his bodyguards. Joruuz and Raska soon got to trading – Joruuz provided a small sample of the spider silk. Raska was interested and they haggled over quantities and prices. Joruuz would get 2 gold coins for every 50 foot, and Raska planned on selling it for around 4 gold per 50 foot. At this time another black scaled Lizard warrior looked in on the group to check everything is okay then disappears outside again.
After Joruuz and Rasks were done Kalan and Zaen asked about their need for powerful restoration and regeneration spells. Raska said he could help but it would be difficult – the sum would be 6000 gold each to be paid now and that it would be a month before the spell would arrive. Kalan and Zaen were shocked at the price, it was a small fortune, and it would use up all of their ill-gotten gains. But they had no other choice, and passed over the small fortune in gold. Before the merchant left he asked "By the way were you involved in the Copperfield massacre?” Vixia answered carefully "Drow were involved why do you ask?” Raska responds "Well if you find yourself with spare Dwarf slaves I would be interested that’s all.” The merchant and his bodyguards soon leave the Inn. After a few moments the Drow ready themselves and also leave.
With their business now completed in Trade Town the Drow head for the camp of Chief Chairman Naskhund of the Red Orcs. Vixia with the usual crew for these missions made their way to the building where the Red Orc Commander had his headquarters. The Drow made their way past several Orc guards. The Red Orcs were winning but they were not taking any unnecessary chances. The Drow were better received this time after there last successful mission for the Red Orcs.
The Drow enter and spread themselves around the room. Here they see the Commander flanked by a powerful looking Orc Wizard, and 4 more guards. Chief Chairman Naskhund was pleased to see the Drow and this was shown in his warm welcome. Vixia was pleased with the thought of the 20000 Gold the clan would receive and her ample share – throwing her scavengers into the teeth of the storm while she sat safe in her ship again.
Chief Chairman Naskhund set out his plan to take the New Orc city and crush Krawn the Crazy once and for all. He planned to strike hard at the North, South and Western gates to create a diversion. With the appearance of a small force at the Eastern gate. This had been the most difficult as it was protected by a squad of around 30 ogres and a wizard who is capable of sending out multiple lightening bolts. All attacks on this gate had resulted in serious losses of officers and manpower to the Red Orcs. His plan was to use the Drow to get into the city and take the gate. Once they had raised the two portcullis’ the real larger force would smash through and the city would be in the hands of the Red Orcs. Just as the commander spread out the map detailing the layout of the Eastern gate and the location of the portcullis controls the windows on the other side of the room smashed inwards and 4 assassins appeared.
The Drow immediately took action sending magic missiles and viper bolts at the assassins. Kalan tried a sleep spell but this had no affect on the experienced assassins. Instead an Orc guard to dropped down into a deep sleep. One assassin immediately fell dead from the first salvo from the Drow. The remaining three moved to attack the Red Orc commander. They first had to pass the Drow who were now prepared with their melee weapons. The assassins specialised training allowed them to nearly float passed the infuriated Drow who would watch a critical hit being dodged by these enemies. The Drow were persistent and managed to kill another assassin just as two dodged passed and made for their intended victim.
One assassin attacked the Orc wizard before making for the Commander. The 3 Orc guards were badly outclassed by the assassins and were easily brushed aside. The delay in the assassins trying to get passed the Orc guards was enough. More Orc guards from outside pilled into the room and the Drow sent more magic missiles and a few bolts before finally hacking and slashing until the last assassin dropped dead.
Chief Chairman Naskhund looked extremely relieved – he would not have survived this attack were it not for the Drow. He watched them as they quickly searched the bodies and removed certain items – the Drow removed small paper balls with different dots on them, most red, one blue from the dead assassins. The Drow each took the assassins weapon the katana – a two handed sword. As the Commanders Orcs removed the bodies he returned to his map and the plan – with these Drow this suicidal mission could just work. Vixia and the Drow went over Chairman Naskhund’s plan and formulated the easiest way into the city without using too much magic. The Drow informed Chairman Naskhund that they had used most of their magic reserves and would need time to recover. This suited Chairman Naskhund who informed them he planned the attack for the following night.
The Drow planned to initially go with the attack of the Red Orc army on the Northern gate then fly over the centre of town. The ship would then drop down at a dark quiet point in the city and the Drow would have feather fall cast on them by the rest of the crew. Tied together with the magical rope provided by Birz (who was sitting this one out again) the Drow would float down to the ground. As soon as they landed Kalan would cast his more powerful invisibility spell to affect everyone. They would then move secretly to the Eastern Tower. Kalan and Gul would be used for their powerful fire ball and lightening bolt spells, the others would use sleep, magic missiles and healing. A magic missile was to be fired from the tower to call the ship to their aid if they needed to get out quickly. Their plans set the Drow depart the Red Orc camp and make for their ship to rest for the following night.
The crew go in the Despair to meet up with the Red Orc army and attack the north gate. As they fly over the gate and into a darkened quiet point in the middle of the city the crew cast feather fall on Gul, Kalan, Joruuz, Berun, Gorlab, and Faylin. They drop out of the ship and are held together with the magical rope. Kalan then casts his more powerful invisibility spell affecting all of them within 10 feet of him. Still tied together with the rope they make their way invisibly to the East gate. As they near the gate a group of 10 White Orc guard come marching down the street. The Drow move out of the way of the Orcs and let them pass.
They soon come to the East gate made up of four connecting towers, two on the north side of the road and two on the south. The road passes through two sets of portcullis’ - the middle enclosed section is a clear killing ground.
Gorlab sends out his Pseudo dragon to spy out the defences. It is clear that the majority of the ogres are stationed in the two south towers (estimating 10 in each). The Southwest tower houses the only door into the towers. The small dragon locates 5 sleeping ogres in the northwest tower. Leaving the wizard and at least 5 ogres in the remaining tower. There was one smallish ogre standing watch on this tower, and 5 on the roof of the Southeast one.
The Drow knew from the Red Orcs information that the operation of the portcullis was located in the two northern towers. Since they would loose their invisibility as soon as they attacked they needed to make the first strike count. They decided on an attack on the tower housing the wizard on the Northeast. He was the most dangerous and needed to be eliminated quickly.
The Drow stayed tied together and invisible made there way along the curtain wall just North of the East gate until they found stairs and then moved up onto the ramparts. They then made there way along to the tower to the East gate the small dragon had sensed the Orc wizard. Their plan was to get Joruuz and Faylin to cast sleep as Kalan and Gul took on the wizard. Berun and Gorlab were to see to any ogre not sleeping and assist with magic missiles, or healing when required.
Joruuz tried the door on the ramparts to the tower – it was open. The Orcs were not expecting an attack from inside the city. Joruuz carefully opened the door and then cast sleep and three ogres dropped down fast asleep. Kalan jumped into the room and fired his viper at the Orc wizard – the bolt struck true but the poison had no affect. Berun also jumped in and fired his bolt but the poison did not work on the wizard. Gorlab sent his little dragon to distract the remaining ogre and moved forward to attack the Orc wizard in melee. Still outside the tower on the ramparts was Faylin and Gul.
The Orc wizard blasted Gorlab and Kalan with a lightening bolt. Gorlab managed to dodge and only took partial damage. Kalan suffered the full blast and it nearly kills him. Gul ran in and attacked and killed the wizard while the rest either dispatched the sleeping ogres or finished off the remaining ogre. Kalan called for healing and was restored to nearly full health by his fellow crewmen.
As the party regrouped, and bolt the door to the southern tower preparing to take out the other northern one. Suddenly a trap door opens in the roof, near the top Southwest corner, and a small ogre head appears sees the Drow and then shoots back up out of sight with the trap door slamming down. Gul makes after him with the Gorlab’s small dragon. The Drow could hear the ogre above them calling the alarm to rouse his fellows in the other towers. Kalan also made his way up to the roof as this was the best position to let loose his fire bolts.
Gul had picked up the Orc Wizard’s lightening wand and a feathered cloak that would improve his defence rather than his looks. He threw the lightening wand down to Gorlab to use and attacked the ogre sentry on the roof who was being attacked by the small dragon. Gul killed the smaller ogre with one hit then turned and made his way down to help Joruuz take out the other northern tower. Kalan moved passed Gul on the roof and took up position. Kalan could see the five ogres from the opposite tower charging down inside. They would soon be out on the ramparts. The other southern tower was also coming alive with angry ogre shouts. Just below Kalan he can hear Berun had started to raise the portcullis on the outer Eastern gate.
Joruuz runs over to the other tower with Gul following closely behind. He casts sleep and ensures three of the still sleeping ogres will not be getting up too soon. As he is about to cast sleep for a second time one of the ogres gets up to look to see a Drow at the door of the tower. He mouths "Ohh” of surprise then collapses under the influence of the spell. As Gul bolts shut the door to the southern tower and starts to open the portcullis. Joruuz then spies a pile of hides in the corner and quickly makes his way over to it. He finds a treasure chest with a spell book (he quickly takes) and around 2500 bars of platinum (worth 25000 gold) this he suspects would have been the ogre pay. He smiles to himself and starts looking for his bag of plenty.
Meanwhile the angry ogres erupt from the other two towers. Kalan casts a fire ball at the squad making for the tower Gul and Joruuz are in. While Gorlab uses the lightening wand to blast away at the ten ogres charging at the tower they are in. Kalan’s fireball damages all of the ogres in the squad but is not powerful enough to kill any of them. Gorlab’s lightening strikes five ogres, killing two and severely wounding three others. As the ogres reach the towers the Drow are in Gorlab and Kalan fire all they have into the eight ogres attacking their tower – Gorlab then slams the door shut and bars it. This kills all except the leader who is carrying a magical sword and a bullette shield. The ogre leader is badly wounded but smashes down the door only to be met with Gorlab and another lightening bolt that kills him outright. Kalan appears from the roof and sees that Berun has raised the outer portcullis – he shouts to Berun and Gorlab to take the magical items from the Ogre leader and help the others in the other tower. As he turns he finds Faylin standing by the door (she had done nothing throughout the combat). Kalan passes her he shouts "cast sleep or magic missiles at the ogres and give our boys a fighting chance!!”
Just as Joruuz prepares to help himself to the platinum into his bag of plenty the door smashes in and several ogres leap out to attack Gul and him. Pity he and Gul hadn’t taken the time to kill the sleeping Ogres when they had the chance. As the melee is fought Gorlab sends out two more lightening bolts to kill another two ogres still outside the tower, Faylin casts sleep which fells three ogres but these are quickly revived by their mates. Berun and Kalan charge over to help Gul and Joruuz. Gul shouts sarcastically "Kalan’s arrived we are all saved!!” Kalan frowns at Gul leaps in and kills and ogre who had suffered from the earlier fireball he had cast. Faylin dispatches one of the slumbering ogres, before the Drow are beset by eight angry ogres. Four are hurt from the fireball the other four are fresh just awoken from their spell sleep. The fighting was furious Joruuz was surrounded by three ogres until Gul and Berun manage to kill off the weakened ogres surrounding them. Fortunately the Drow’s superior armour and fighting skill win the day and eventually the last ogre falls dead. At this point Faylin had taken over to ensure the last portcullis is fully opened.
Just as the last ogres body drops to the floor the Drow hear a mighty roar as the Orc Red Army pound their way passed the gates below them and into the city. The Drow look at each other relieved that they have survived another suicidal quest with little damage to themselves – Kalan had taken the heaviest hit earlier from the Orc Wizard’s lightening wand but had been almost completely healed by his crewmates. Noticing Faylin was occupied Kalan makes his way over to the chest quickly followed by Berun. They start to collect the platinum while hiding a modest share for themselves. Joruuz also starts to make his way to the chest as Gul considers whether they should risk of going in with the Red Orcs to do their own plundering. The Drow feel that with the Orc blood lust up their small party would soon be killed by either side – so they decided it was time to call for the ship. Faylin finished with her task spots the others surrounding the chest and quickly makes her way to the chest. She blatantly takes some platinum and places it in her armour in plain sight of the male Drow. Kalan with a look of surprise says "I take it that is your captains or House Kobra’s share”, Faylin shrugs off the comment but said nothing still helping herself to the platinum.
Just out of the corner of Kalan’s eye he sees Joruuz raise his mace and launch a surprise attack at Faylin shouting "this bitch must die!!” Kalan steps back in horror and surprise – attacking a Drow female is certain death. Kalan also remembered the captains warning "I have my spies everywhere”. He thought of the scrying bowl they had given to House Mother Agna – could she be watching them even now. If so they were all dead. Berun had no such hesitation and leapt in to attack Faylin. Gul pause for a few seconds then he too attacked. Faylin throwing everything into her defence manages to hold them at bay and pleads to Kalan "you are loyal to Lloth, help me!” Kalan looked his crewmates he could not be involved in the cold bloodied murder of this female. But he was more aligned to the crew and as a follower of Vhaerun so he says pathetically "I am sorry sister I cannot help you.” Faylin realises she is on her own and tries to attack back but is quickly overcome and finally Berun kills her.
As the crew stand in silence considering what path Joruuz’s actions have now sent them Gul and Joruuz spot something at the window. They rush across and see the Lloth spider, this was with the captain on the ship, drop to the ground and start scuttling towards the city. Gul with a large part of his manna still intact sends out a lightening bolt that blasts the spider into a million pieces of ash. The crew realise that this was how Vixia intended to spy on them using a psychic link to the spider. Its sudden demise would have alerted Vixia but fortunately the ship was too far away for her to have used the link and seen what the crew had done.
Gul quickly takes charge and the crew hatch a plan. They have to take the ship when it lands. Gul and Berun would distract Vixia, and her henchmen the Pilot and the Dwarf, with the tragic story of how Faylin was killed by the ogres. Pretending to return the bullette shield Vixia had loaned to Faylin. Meanwhile the others would ready the other followers of Vhaerun – the males were about to mutiny.
With superior numbers Vixia and her followers were quickly overcome and killed their bodies tossed over the side. Gul takes over as captain. The crew consider briefly with the idea of going back to the city Shanizar but they feel the risk would be too great - they are just not powerful enough yet. Vixia’s death would raise suspicions and they would be most likely caught and their minds read – Kalan shivered in horror at the thought of that happening to him again. Gul’s plan was to seek out the Red Orc commander Chief Chairman Naskhund to offer his services and crew as an elite fighting force. The wily Commander accepts the offer but he makes it clear he still intends to deal with clan Kobra. Gul’s charisma just did not translate between Drow and Orc. This also meant the Red Orc Commander could just as easily set them up to be caught by the other Drow.
The Despair crew are now renegades. They now sleep rough and never camp in the same place twice.