65. A fatal mistake

Talo’s attention is split briefly between the fleeing form of the orc and the filthy abomination. Quickly, he fires at the fleeing orc.
His crossbow thrums and the orc falls, only to hobble back onto its feet and hop into the left hand side of last section of the dome.
Recalling their problems from before with the mind screeching of the illithids, Talo reaches out to Cynan and blesses him with protection from evil. Talo drops the crossbow and liberates his holy axe and shield. The dwarf then focuses all this efforts on attacking the mindflayer entombed in the mechanised golem.

Cynan looks in horror at the strange creature that approaches them. Quickly he regains his composure, “Concentrate on the mind flayer, he obviously is in control. Looking around the dome the paladin looks for cables or ropes lying around. It seems slow and cumbersome maybe we can wrap its legs up and trip it”

Gildor does his best to either flank or get behind this new threat. He’s looking to stay out of harms way as much as possible. If that option is not readily available he fights defensively striking trying to hit the fetus creature or legs saying , “What kind of creature is that?”

Not feeling nearly strong enough to wade into another battle, Kradorn cautiously brings up what would be the rear. Coming up as quietly as possible to the dome entrance. Listening intently for the sound of the party ahead, if he can’t see them..
With the sound of the curtains being torn down Kradorn moves into dome. Unsure what’s ahead, gripping the pole axe with both hands.

Cynan starts looking about for ropes or cables to entangle the golem/mindflayer but a call from Kradorn gets his attention. Between him and the fighter is the steel spider/tree now armed with a collection of hand tools and moving towards him remarkably quickly. The paladin readies his shield as the thing closes and sweeps at it with his smouldering sword as soon as it is in range. He misses, distracted by Talo who has run across the room to cast some sort of dwarven prayer on him. The metal thing slashes at him but Cynan parries the tool easily enough and by this time Kradorn has closed on the thing from behind. However the thing is fast and able to wield eight weapons at once.

Talo turns to see how Gordon is getting on and is shocked as the gnome is crushed beneath a great metal fist. Then he notices that three other Gordons dart about in front of the giant steel golem. Another is smashed out of existence with a puff of sparkles before one of the two remaining Gordons smashes his axe against a metal arm. The gnome’s axe just glances off its armoured skin.

Then Talo spots Gildor, creeping up on the golem from behind.

With his axe arm still slightly numb from striking the metal arm, to no obvious effect, Gordon starts to run through his mind what other tactic he could use with the overriding thought, “we have to get at the creature rather than the machine!” then he realises the only thing he really has that could get it, other than his dodgy bow skills, is his Summon Swarm spell. With this solution firmly fixed in his mind Gordon beats a hasty retreat towards the dismantled flying disk, once there he skids to a halt and casts summon swarm in the ‘cab’ of the golem where the mind flayer sits. He keeps his concentration on this for as long as he possibly can, his hope is that such distraction will also see the other golem disabled as the mindflayer has to deal with the swarm.

Kradorn overcomes the slight horror of a mechanical monster. Flesh and blood is one thing but a machine of steel… magic of science. He is glad he picked up the longer weapon of the pole axe of the captain. The ranged weapon hopefully keeping it out of reach.
He pushes the attack, hoping something can slow this down before they are all dead in the belly of the earth.

Gildor catches the metal bot thingy out of the corner of his eye just long enough to realise they are in a bad situation. He quickly puts that out of his mind and focuses. He tries to back-stab the monster that’s desperately trying to kill Gordon. He puts everything he has into trying to hit the creature just right and to do the most damage possible to the most critical part of it. He prays mentally, “Lady of summer guide my blade.” He uses his shield to fend of any retaliation or attacks while tumbling about to give himself added protection.

Talo presses the fight on the golem attempting to kill the marionette via the puppet master in the heart of the creature.

Cynan’s sword clatters against the thin metal creature he’s fighting, damaging an arm and causing sparks to fly. His shield parries two attacks as Kradorn swings his poleaxe and whacks the thing too. There are more sparks and the axe seems to have buckled the rigid body slightly. Cynan sweeps his sword up, cutting off a limb, then has to dodge and parry two more of the fast moving arms. Finally, Kradorn brings his axe down on the dark sphere atop the metal creature, smashing it and bringing it to a shuddering halt, sparks, flames and dark goo shoot from the orb. Both fighters turn and run to help Gildor and Talo, now fighting the big metal golem together.

Gildor figures the neck would be as good a place as any to drive his sword into the golem, so holding on to the great armoured bulk of the thing with his left hand he drives his shortsword down between the armour of its back and head and into the exposed mechanisms there. There is a flare of sparks and a grinding noise as the elf backs off but then the body of the golem rotates on its hips until the partially formed mindflayer is facing him. Gildor feels a surge of pain in his head but aware of the danger, he’s already moving when the worst of it hits and while staggered at the pain he’s not stunned into inaction. He isn’t expecting the great metal fist that catches him in the ribs and lifts him off his feet and onto his backside though.

Another metal fist catches the elf and knocks him sideways but Gildor isn’t down yet, he steps in closer to the golem and slashes at the mindflayer catching it with his shortsword. The mindflayer looks at Gildor and the elf can see what’s coming next. He ducks behind the golem’s bulk and the illithid’s mind-blast goes harmlessly, though not painlessly over his head.
Kradorn’s axe slams into the steel plating next to the mindflayer which dismisses the attack and lashes out with one of the steel tentacles at Gildor. Gildor is hit but reactions and chainmail save him from any real damage.

Out of the darkness of the dome, a buzzing, chittering mass drops on the golem and mindflayer. Talo and Gildor back off for a moment as the swarm descends, while Gordon concentrates and tries to keep the swarm of cockroaches centred on the mindflayer.
Distracted, the mindflayer is clearly vulnerable and Gildor, Cynan, Talo and Kradorn all leap in, hacking and stabbing at close quarters. Kradorn lands the killing blow, impaling the mindflayer on the end of his poleaxe. The creature rises from the mass of insects and makes a scream audible in the party’s heads as well as their ears, then collapses back into the mass. The golem slumps, takes a step to steady itself then goes limp, sparking and smoking from where it has been damaged.

Gordon waits a few seconds for the swarm to do its worst and them dissolves the mass back to wherever it came form. The dead mindflayer is darker and has shorter limbs than any other the party have seen and its bloody body (blue blood) is wet with pale slime.

~

Zelmar silently moved close to the ramshackle dome hiding in the shadows from the orc guard, observing his reaction to the creature’s appearance? His intention was to ambush whoever came out to attack them from behind. and if possible perform a holding action, blocking the exit and limiting the number of enemies facing him.

As Zelmar watches more orcs come to the entrance of the orc dome and look about, clearly hearing the racket of the fight in the distant dome. They talk amongst themselves but make no move to come to anybodies assistance.

Zelmar came out of the shadows hacking and slashing at the orcs, no warning given.

Zelmar catches the orcs completely by surprise and two go down before they even realise the elf is amongst them. The other two don’t last long but are soon reinforced by more orcs from inside the dome. When the fight is over, a dozen orcs lay about the bloody ranger, who has suffered only a slight wound in the fight. From inside the dome come orcish howls but no more orcs. Then it strikes Zelmar that the howls, are howls of fear and anguish rather than battle cries.

Zelmar looks about him at the dead, dying and wounded and realises that none are orc warriors, only the old, the maimed and the young, some no more than children.

~

Kradorn glances around the room. “Another close battle. Can we heal ourselves? We are questionable health.” Kradorn comments then looks for a rag to wipe any gore for his newest weapon.. Then begins looking for any of value, weapon or coin.

Talo’s face is still dripping sweat as he looks through his brows to Kradorn’s request. Pallid and quiet, the dwarf mends the human’s wounds as best he can (heal check).

Talo takes a few minutes to bind Kradorn’s wounds. Kradorn doesn’t really notice the difference but at least he’s not leaking red anywhere now.

Catching the attention of the group, Talo crags his hand across his throat and motions to the transporters with a jerk of his head over his shoulder.

Gildor tells the others quietly, “I believe the potions I handed out are healing potions just like the ones we used when we fought the orcs near the rings when we first came down. Here I’ll try this one I was saving for Zelmar and perhaps Talo can test the dark grey to see if it is a greater healing potion.” Gildor sips the green potion hoping he feels slightly better or remembers if it is the same stuff as before.
Gildor takes a sip of the potion and immediately feels a little bit better. He finishes the potion and is immediately and completely ‘healed’.
Gildor says, “The dark green potions are healing potions gang. I’d use them if you have them. I don’t know about the dark grey one I gave you Talo. It tastes bad but I feel better.”

Gildor continues softly, “Well I think we are low on magics and prayers Kradorn. We best be looking to finish this up down here and head topside if we don’t find more healing potions. Wasn’t there an orc in here or did we kill it? Did we see a mindflayer run out of here before the fighting started that came out of one of these tanks. I wonder if these tanks heal things in some way. I don’t know how we’d go about finding that out though and it might work for a mindflayer but not a humanoid. I’d love to spend some time researching this stuff. The things I could learn.”

Kradorn cautiously waits as there is some question to the potions nature. But upon seeing Gildor healed, he drinks up.

The potion is fast and effective. Kradorn feels heat rush through his body and when it fades all his wounds are healed, all battle scars, old and new, faded.

Talo listens to Gildor’s assessment of the potion and turns a critical eye to its contents. Looking no further for answers, he uncorks the top and takes a sip of the contents in hopes of understanding its effects.
He immediately feels slightly better.

Talo looks at it in surprise and walks to the most wounded of the party and hands them the elixir and motions for them to drink.

No one will take it with Talo being the only injured party member remaining, until they find Zelmar, where ever he is.

Cynan looks around what is obviously a workshop of some kind, ” if you want to search now is the time, I don’t think anything else is a threat here”. The paladin steps out of the workshop heading to the screams.

“This must be some sort of young Ithiliad looking at it,” seeing the slime trail, “Could it be that they grow their young in those vats as it looks like that is where this one has come from! Strange creatures indeed,” mutters the gnome shaking his head. He then wanders over to look at the now deactivated metal golems and marvels at such engineering and alchemy.

The golems are things of steel with innards of shiny coloured ropes and strings. Lights sparkle on parts of the devices and where damage has been done to them sparks occasionally spit and smoke drifts.

“Talo, did you down that final orc as he fled or has he got away? We need to be vigilant in case there are more on their way. Gordon makes a gentle jog to the rear exist where the orc was last seen, axe at the ready just in case it should be lying in wait. He will quickly scan out the back door to ensure there is no immediate danger before returning to the group.

Gordon sets off after the missing orc and soon spots a trail of black blood. It seems Talo hit his target but the orc hobbled off into the last section of the dome. On the left there is another flying bowl, this one even more badly damaged than the one at the entrance. No repairs have been attempted but several panels have been opened and inside Gordon can see ropes and wires have been disconnected.
The trail of blood leads behind more of the translucent sheets, covering something next to the damaged flying bowl. In the other half of this section are more tables and shelves and books of all sorts. This part looks more like the library of a mage.

Kradorn continues to rummage around looking for anything of value. Pausing at the tomes and books, seeing if any may be notable for a mage. Putting anything worth selling into his pack.

The books seem to be in many sorts, there are highly decorated and stylised books in some form of elven, hand-written script. These books are filed with disturbing and shocking pictures and exude evil and malice. There are a series of dwarven printed books, all very plain and dull looking apart from some line illustrations of rocks, crystals and gems.

There are more printed books but the script is unknown to the fighter. He’s seen it before somewhere but he can’t place it. There are three stone tablets in an unknown script all bearing a fishy looking illustration at the bottom. At one end of the table are a pile of featureless ebony tablets and by these there are a series of notebooks written in the mindflayers script.

Looking over the books he had hoped something would jump out at him, like spell book of immense magic or tome of sword fighting. But alias it became a judgement call. Given their relationship with the dwarves of late. He takes the series of dwarven books, figuring they are written by some ancient author or someone of note to them. Followed by the unknown script books. Then the mindflayer’s notebooks and lastly the stone tablet if there is room.

Kradorn looks at his backpack currently filled with the orc captain’s platemail. He reckons the backpack will hold 50lb, so at the moment its full. The 3 elven books weigh in at about 2lb each, the 8 dwarven ones at 1lb each, the 6 unknown script books are smaller and lighter at 0.5lb each as are the two dozen mindflayer notebooks and the 3 stone tablets weigh in at a hefty 5lb each.

Cursing softly at his overzealous treasure hunting. He looks around the room for bit of cloth to wrap the books in then bind with some rope or ripped cloth. Wrapping the dwarven books, the unknown script books, with the notebooks. Gripping the sack of books in his shield hand.

~

Gordon moves on, following the trail of orc blood, axe and shield ready. Whatever is under the sheets, it stands three metres tall and is probably a disc or ring of some description standing on its edge. Two cables snake out from under the sheets and connect to two metal boxes. One is a simple black box 50cm by 20cm by 60cm tall with a glowing green crystal on the front. The other, a much larger and complex box, has one of the black globes on top, which displays the mindflayers strange symbols. A bloody hand-print marks where the sheets have been parted and where the orc seems to have gone under them. Gordon grabs the sheets with one hand and pulls them away to reveal a steel ring with 5 crystal balls spaced unevenly around its circumference.
Through the ring Gordon can see another large room, dimly lit with ivory panelled walls and a large steel cylinder in the centre. The room looks unkempt and dirty but the gnome can see the trail of orc blood continues into the room, heading directly away from the ring.

Passing by the curtain and looking at the ring Kradorn says. “Its a portal, lets cut it down and be gone from this place. There is more to search if we want this place secured.” he continues as he sees glimpse of Gordon looking about.

Talo nods firmly at Kradorn’s suggestion to destroy the portal.

Talo looks about the workshop for the largest wrench or sledge hammer he can find and approaches the gateway holding the tool in both hands. Looking to Gordon and Kradorn, the dwarf awaits their reaction.

“Destroying powerful magic might be dangerous to do by hand. Might explode on us.” Kradorn replies, looking for something holding up the portal. “Maybe just cut down the support?”

Hearing Kradorn’s suggestion of weakening the structure, Talo drops the hammer and watches the gnome enter the passage, all the while watching for the errant orc.

Burgo spots the trial of orc blood leading up to the ring.

Gordon moves on but keeps an eye out behind him as he passes out the far end of the dome. Once through the exit he’s almost blinded by the white light all around him. It takes nearly 10 seconds for his eyes to adjust and when they do all he can see is a smooth white tunnel 60m long and 18m across which opens into a large open space perhaps 80m across with a black dome 9m across in its centre. Gordon can’t be sure but he thinks he sees something swirling in the blackness of the dome. It gives him the willies so he returns to the party.

Kradorn waits for Gordon’s return after his own search of the battle room. Upon his return and listening to Gordon’s findings. “Let us go out to Cynan and the others to see where we go from here.” Kradorn suggests.

“I think we would be better securing the whole complex before we start searching for booty paladin, there is the main dome and the orc dome which could both hold serious threats yet. I say we move on and return to make a thorough search once the place is cleared.” Gordon will then head outside with the others. As they all gravitate towards the howls and cries of fear he accompanies them, but stops when they pass the entrance to the mind flayer dome. Whilst he is sure there is need to carry on with the others he fears something coming out behind them and wreaking havoc, so he holds his position at the entrance, just watching and peering into the darkness within (assuming there is no door). After a minute or so, and hearing the others appear to be in no danger and are negotiating with the orcs he takes a step closer to the entrance, and another and then sticks his head in to just have a little look around, get a feel of the place, the lay of the land.

Just inside the door is a huge, white, square hall 60m x 60m with another doorway on the far side. To the left and right of this hall are 50m wide passages heading north and south as far as the gnome can see. It takes a second or two for Gordon to realise what the problem is with these passages, they are both straight but they should both curve to follow the internal shape of the building. The gnome backs away to look at the exterior then puts his head inside again to look at the interior, just to check, but the illusion is still there.

The gnome simply can’t help himself, despite his lecturing of his comrades not to go wandering off alone he takes a step into the white hall. “The passages can’t be straight,” he tells himself, “must be something to do with the white light tricking my mind.” He concentrates for a moment on the right hand corridor trying to discern if it is an illusion or not before skirting the edge of the hall to reach it for a closer look. Is there anything else present in the hall or the passageways, what do they appear to be made of?

The interior is made of a smooth white ceramic (like bone china), very hard and slightly translucent. The whole interior surface seems to glow slightly giving the corridors a odd, flat light. The corridors are just over 300m long with with another hall at the far end and then they carry on beyond that, into infinity it seems. Half way down the corridor is an arch on either side leading into large rooms beyond. From where Gordon is stood he can’t see into either room.

Once he’s had a bit of a look down the passage Gordon decides it’s probably best if he lets the others know what he has found.

~

Zelmar used their distraction caused by the carnage and hid in shadows again, going silently in the large tent. (HS, MS, Spot and Listen checks).

Zelmar creeps silently into the orc dome, his eyes and nose taking time to adjust to the darkness and the stink. The huge dome is divided into many sections by leather partitions (the skins of various humanoids) and he proceeds carefully with swords drawn, ready for any ambush. His ears pick up the sounds of orc breathing behind one of these partitions and cutting it down he faces 5 orc females, all armed with knives or daggers.
They come rushing at Zelmar with a scream and two fall under his swords before they get close enough to use their knives. More come at him from his left and more from behind him. The ranger spins and slashes, cutting down orc after orc but being cut and stabbed in the process. At one point he is facing 10 orc females and one leaps on his back as they charge again. Zelmar throws the orc over his shoulder and finishes her with his longsword but another one replaces her and buries her knife in his chest. Zelmar gasps and stops for a moment and when one knee weakens the weight of three more orcs and more knives buried in his back and neck brings him down. He feels knife after knife pierce his body and hears cries of orc vengeance and even after his sword decapitates one of the orcs they are soon back on top of him. His shortsword impales another but then one of the orc females lands on his chest and her knife buries itself in his neck. The last thing Zelmar sees, is the orc licking his bright red blood from the blade of her knife while orc screams ring in his ears.

~

Cynan stops in shock seeing the bodies of the young , old and injured, and listening to the yells and screams from within the dome.
A look of disgust and disdain crosses his face as he whispers the word Heroic. Looking around the group he yells for someone who speaks orcish, tell them “Truce, we mean no harm to them we do not make war on the young or infirm. We offer you the choice of moving to another cavern with food and water available for your tribe or if you wish safe passage to the town above but I fear the dwarves will not welcome you. If you all wish remain in this cavern then you have my word no one will be hurt”. Cynan waits for an answer.

Gildor feeling better translates for Cynan after a quick search of the place.

From out of the orc dome strides what must pass for an orc female. There are perhaps a dozen more behind her, cowering in the darkness. All are armed with knives or daggers. She’s covered in blood, her hands and face dripping. She snarls in orcish at Gildor, then throws something at him which lands with a wet thunk by his feet. Something hairy and round and about head sized.

“There elf, take this back to your cavern. We’ll keep the rest of him and the young will play with his bones. We will mourn the dead and then we will eat his flesh. We are not afraid of you… demons. We will all fight to the last to protect what we have left!” Gildor translates in shock.

Gildor hesitantly looks at the head in shock slowly realizing it is Zelmar. He stutters a bit saying, “It…it is Zzzzzzelmar. He…he’s dead.”

Gildor’s blood begins to boil as his anger begins to rise but he is so confused too. Why would Zelmar attack the young and females? Was he tricked somehow? Did they not give him any choice but to fight? He tells the others, “We should get his body so he can have a proper burial. I don’t think we should fight these females but I don’t want to leave Zelmar’s body either.”
Gildor holds up his hands non-threateningly.
Gildor says in orcish,”We will take our friends body too. We are sorry for what he has done. If I can stay my comrades hands we will leave you in peace if we get his body too.”
Gildor translates for the others what he has said and continues to translate both ways as needed.

The orc listens to Gildor and smiles, then turns to the other orcs and mutters something. A few moments later one of the other females comes forward and throws something at Gildor’s feet. A hand. More pieces of Zelmar are thrown to or at Gildor until only bloody chunks remain. When that is done, one of the females takes a bite from something in her hand and passes it to the leader to whom Gildor has been speaking. “There he is elf, everything but his heart. This we will keep.” and she takes a bite from the bloody chunk of flesh.

By this time Kradorn and Talo have wandered over to see what’s going on and where Zelmar’s got to.

Gildor fumes with anger at how the orcs cut his friend up. He’s at a loss for words as he looks to Cynan and finally says, “…can’t believe this. There’s no point. His body is in pieces.”
Gildor hears the others coming and tells them what has happened.
Gildor says to his friends, “I believe we should decide how we want to deal with this situation. If you wish to retrieve anything we need to decide quickly and be gone or finish things once and for all.”

Cynan grips the hilt of his sword tightly as he views the gruesome sight. The paladin takes a deep breath and whispers to Gildor “I called truce I will not break my word. Zelmar took one too many chances wandering off alone like he was often doing, I cannot blame the females for defending their young as they did tell them this for me.”
The paladin speaks loudly so all can hear “I will not break my word of truce with you or any within the dome. However I want the elf’s remains brought forth and all his possessions they are not yours to keep but his clan and family. Do that and we will leave you in peace on that I swear by Ringheru. Remain within your dome until we depart and the truce will hold break it and I swear your clan will be nothing more than a whisper on the wind in the memory of others”.

The orc female listens to Gildor’s translation of Cynan’s words and shakes her head. “No warrior, we’ll keep his swords for ourselves. A prize for slaying the elf demon. It seem you like to keep booty from the slain yourself, warrior.” she says indicating Cynan’s orcish platemail.
“Seems to me, you’re more interested in your friend’s treasures than his body. Take what’s left of him… the rest is ours now.”

Kradorn’s head gives a little tilt as he comes out to see Cynan in negotiations with what appears to really ugly women. Probably orcs he thinks cracking a smile. As he moves closer. The smile falls from his face as he hears the name of Zelmar and pieces of an elven body scattering the ground. No way for a noble elf to be treated, although there is no love loss between orcs and elves. He has seen too many of his friends fall in fighting these underworld creatures.
Dropping the books on the ground, then shield and axe. To take up his bow as he awaits Cynan’s movement or words to let arrows fly.

Gildor sensing a renewed tension calls to Saphiria, “Come girl. Things may get out of hand.”
“We can burn the body parts here before we leave and say our goodbyes to a good friend. I can have Saphiria put him to rest, unless you have other plans. This tribe may seek vengeance and use the weapon in a distant future, but I loathe the thought of unnecessary death. You have given your word as well. Shall we leave?”

Having finished his reconnaissance of the mind flayer dome Gordon wanders over to the rest of the party and the negotiations with the orc womenfolk, reasonably content that things are in hand and they can thoroughly search the place without the fear of attack at their backs. As he nears the group he can hear Cynan’s strained calm and catches the end of the conversation which puzzles him, then he spots the bloody lumps of meat strewn over the floor and then he spots Zelmar’s head lying at the paladins feet and everything falls in to place! A wave of horror washes over the gnome that such a mighty warrior could be slain so horribly, then his horror turns to anger!

“What the hell are we doing talking to these creatures” he asks of Cynan and Gildor? “They have mercilessly slain one of our own and you stand negotiating with them!” The gnome is clearly getting more and more angry and agitated now. “Tell me Paladin, are they evil? Have you even bothered to use your godly powers to tell?”

Gildor stands ready as Saphiria glides down to be nearby. Saphiria waits for more commands. She sniffs at Zelmar’s body parts and her posture sinks a bit, noticeably as she cared for the ranger. She stiffens and looks intently at the orc females with determined eyes. Gildor pets her and says, “Easy girl let’s see if we can talk a bit first.”

Cynan looks at Gildor “Yes this place has brought us nothing but grief, it is time we left. Let the dwarves seal it”. As Gordon approaches and begins his tirade the paladin listens then replies. “Revenge is that what you want now Gordon? I do not need my gods powers to know what orcs are, I also do not need his powers to realise that here are females and the young. Is that what we are to become making war on the innocent simply because they are there and should be destroyed. Maybe the reason I am not evil is that I understand the concept of mercy, and to kill for killings sake has never been my goal. Who knows perhaps one of these infants will recall one day as he is older the time his life was spared, and exhibit mercy to a human or gnomish village, or elvish. If all we do is kill upon sight then the circle will never be broken and those who cannot defend themselves will always be mere fodder for those who are stronger, where does it end?
Yes, Zelmar was my friend as well but he risked once too often by himself, if you want to vent your anger then be realistic, these here defended themselves from Zelmar. The elf brought this on himself, look at what he wrought here as well. Do you see warriors among their dead? All of you, do what you want here, if massacre is your choice then so be it, but do not any of you try to take the moral high ground in this endeavour.”

Kradorn puts away his bow and picks books and gear.
“Let’s burn his remains and drink to his memory and deeds.” Kradorn comments looking to his friends. Nodding to Cynan.

The dwarven cleric walks out of the dome with Kradorn and Gordon. Seeing the dismembered remains of Zelmar is an assault on his senses. The shock leaves him riveted to the image of the orc matriarch before them. Talo’s knuckles whiten on the hilt of his axe at the sound of truce. The dwarf looks agape at Cynan. “You hand out a tongue-lashing and degrading of your companion in the fog of combat.” Talo points a plated gauntlet at the orc and continues, “but then proceed with peace talks to… these ‘innocents’?!? That must be a LOT of ‘purity’ which dispatched Zelmar. Is this a rightful end to a friend of yours – that is it?” With a shake of his head, the war priest marches off. Looking to the orc female he stops and screams every orcish profanity he knows. After having vented his rage Talo gathers the remains of Gombur and Zelmar on a cloak then prepares a pyre upon which to fare them well into the afterlife.