Lord Kalad shoves the last orc in the ransacked dwarven quarters deep in the vents towards the recently rescued Longbeard. Savagely, Longbeard finishes off the orc. The Heroes of Brindol take a moment to discuss their plan of action and eventually decide to clear out the dwarven shrine to Moradin to the east, leaving the exploration of the Nexus to the north for later.
The Heroes charge into the shrine, forewarned about the presence of a troll… but unaware of the great number of orcs in the shrine with the troll. The troll sniffs the air as the heroes approach and growls, “Fresh meat.” It tossed aside a half-chewed haunch of half-orc. Most in the party, after finding the corpse of Miss Suzie, figured this new corpse to be that of Two-Teeth of the Diamond League.
Ravavyr dashes forward and buries a crossbow bolt in the neck of the nearest orc and shouts something at the troll. Clarissa follows the eager rogue and ducks behind one of the stone pews lining the room like rows of soldiers in formation. She tosses a cinder bomb towards a large dwarf statue which has a number of orcs surrounding it. The flames and shrapnel from the orcish alchemical device blasts three of them clean off their feat. Burning fragments of clay and orc flash cause the flesh of the troll to sizzle. Clarissa then darts from out of her hiding spot with a sudden burst of speed to try and finish off the orc struck by Ravavyr, but it weaves to the side, reeling in pain and throws off her aim.
The troll then lumbered forward and pulled Clarissa into its grasp with filthy claws, covered in half-orc bone shards, flesh, and blood. The rest of the heroes charge in and surround the troll as it flails at them with the golden-eyes thief. Ravavyr snags a cinder bomb from the nearly dead orc bomber and holds it up high, catching Clarissa’s eye as she swings by. A moment later she vanishes from the trolls grasp and appears next to the rogue. She grins and takes the cinder bomb and hurls it at the remaining orcs and troll. The flash of smoke, fire, and flames causes the nearly dead orc bomber to slump to the ground, which causes his remaining cinder bomb to explode amongst the heroes and the troll.
The battle ends swiftly as the dwarves, Lord Kalad and Longbeard, take turns hewing into its meaty flesh and then chopping its head off. The residue of the alchemical bombs continues to sizzle into the troll flesh long after its dead. Lord Kalad then chooses to remain behind and sanctify the shrine while the heroes press onward.
Skardreg is momentarily confused by the hot, metal doors that bar their way into the Nexus, but he decides to kick them open in true orcish fashion. A flood of scalding hot water washes over most of the party. Wired is spared the burning water and Clarissa dances backwards, avoiding the ebb and flow of the steaming fluid. A vast room opens up before them. A giant screw of some kind spins slowly in the center of the room, surrounded by platforms and walkways around the room at various heights… all leading up towards the top of the machine.
The heroes decide to throw caution to the wind and hurry inside, rushing up the stairs along the walkway to the west of the doors. Clarissa nimbly avoids the scalding water by running along the wall and then swinging through the door with an acrobatic twist. A series of handholds and a narrow ledge allow her to reach the top of the second set of stairs along the rising walkway. Wired hitches a ride on top of the shoulders of Longbeard, allowing the deva cleric to avoid the worst of the water.
Ravavyr and Clarissa leapfrog their way up the walkway, taking out orcs here and there with blade and bow. Others charge up and cleave the orcs in two. Francis sacrifices his fey companion, allowing her to be banished back to the Feywild to rest and recover, to keep two orcish crossbow bolters from flanking the party. The running battle is swift and fierce. Skardreg charges into the midst of a bloody scrum at the top of the fourth landing, washing over the Shadar Kai from the shadowfell like a tide of iron. A follow up slam with his shield sends the shadowfell witch over the edge of the walkway and into the water to be boiled alive.
Tusk, a heavily armored orog, rushes ahead of the party to try and get to the Nexus control panel before them, to take control of the Nexus and prevent the heroes from sealing the vast network of tunnels and preventing an orc invasion by that route. Longbeard charges forward, catching the orog with a devastating blow from his great axe, but the armor turns aside the worst of the damage. The orog spits at the half-orc warrior, Skardreg, and shouts, “You should be supporting out cause!”
A fearsome chop of the orogs own great axe swings wide and catches both Longbeard and Skardreg in its path. Clarissa dances beneath the clumsy swing and uses the opportunity to slip past Tusk to try and prevent the orc and ogre bastard offspring from escaping. Tusk chances a trio of attacks against his exposed back to join with the only other remaining orog in the Nexus.
Longbeard, full of rage, charged forward and up the steps to try and shove Tusk from his perch, but a swift kick ends his chance. The orog soldier next to Tusk pushes forward and slams into Longbeard. The dwarf barbarian’s arms pinwheel as he is caught off-balance by the orog’s relentless attack. Longbeard barely catches himself as he slips towards the edge of the walkway.
Clarissa dashes forward and pushes off the wall at the orog with a piercing strike that shoves the orog back, but the mongrel bastard falls on his back instead of tumbling over the edge. Tusk howls in fury as the rest of the Heroes of Brindol eye the rising water with some trepidation, but turn back to the battle at hand with grim determination on their features.
… to be continued…