PrP: In The Thick of Things

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In The Thick of Things




|   Name   |  Race  |    Class    | E Lev| CHP | HP  | AC  | For | Ref | Wil |
|Tillianne |HUMAN   |Pal          |  5   | 51  | 51  | 21  | 11  |  7  |  9  |
|Drakha    |SITH-MAK|Sor          |  3   | 25  | 25  | 16  |  4  |  3  |  3  |
|Arissa    |HUMAN   |Sor          |  5   | 31  | 31  | 14  |  4  |  4  |  6  |
|Garthos   |HUMAN   |Ftr          |  5   | 23  | 50  | 18  |  8  |  4  |  5  |
|Kilroy    |WAR_GOLE|Bbn/Sor      |  2   | 20  | 20  | 18  |  4  |  2  |  2  |


The robed man has sent out his final call for adventurers. Things have gone sour in the village, and the backroom deals of the Shadow Elves there have apparently turned against them. The entire village plays host to the forces the Elves tried to treat with now, and the entire blight from the foundations up must be removed.




Encounter 1: Complete.

CR7 5 Ogrekin + 1 Ogre.

Encounter 2: Complete.

CR 6 Half-Fiend Minotaur.

The Adventure

Once again, the day grows long as the sun charts an unswerving course into the Western horizon. The sky is largely cloudless, promising a beautifully brilliant night sky when the stars begin to more fully wink into existence. As of now, however, the sky is a blank slate overwhich a pair of unfriendly painters have fought, spilling orange and red across its entirety.

Far beneath the cloudless sky is not a caravan, this time, but a fully-fledged mercenary band. They have arrived in transport wagons, by horse and by foot. The situation within the village has gone from suspicious to outright dire, apparently, or there would not be this great volume of armed men milling about anxiously as they await their orders. A quick count will reveal no less than one hundred armed and armoured men and women, though thankfully it does not appear that anyone has brought siege equipment with them. At the forefront of the group which spreads the length of the road and well out into the fields on either side is the dark-skinned man robed in equally black clothing, his eyes to the village that lays just beyond the hill.

He beckons to the group of adventurers, those hired through the Guild and not outsourced through other, perhaps more less than reputable channels. When the party is gathered before him, he begins, "And here we are again. As you may surmize, the situation has gone from bad to worse. What we were able to.. Extract, from the prisoners you produced the last time we sent you to this place, lead us to believe that someone of tact and guile was running the show. Among other things, of course. In any event, it would appear that this someone is either dead or moved on, as there is nothing in that village resembling subtly now. Ogres have moved in, along with their lesser brood. The villagers have been run off or lay rotting in the streets, though some may yet remain within as captives. If this is so.. I pray for them," he pauses, a symbolic gesture taking the place of his voice for a moment before he continues, "We're here for one thing alone now, to exterminate what remains of this place and purge the monsters that have taken root. You will follow the main charge, and move to the town hall in the heart of the village. There is a truly foul creature lairing within, he has apparently laid claim to this area and all the creatures here now pay allegiance such as they have to it. Expect him to be guarded, and expect the way to the hall to be.. Sticky."

Arissa is visibly alarmed at the sight of an army gathered at the meeting place. She remains every bit as confused even as the group meets up and receives their instructions, openly puzzled: "How could this be so? We have in so many weeks driven out those devoted to Maugrim and saved those who were pressed into unwilling service, then again with those seeking to elevate Taara. Now I hear everyone has been driven from the village and do not understand. What is so vital here that so many factions war over this place?" It's a lot of things to say to the black-robed man, but she has a lot on her mind.

"If your hired men kill any of the actual captives, though, I'll hold ya responsible directly. And ya won't like that." Garth asides to the man with a frown, a frown that deepens by the second as he looks into the distance, towards the village. His brows have been furrowed since their arrival. "No problem with the ogres, though. So. What do ya know of this creature you're sayin' has moved in?" he inquires, more pleasantly.

Kilroy winces slightly at the mysterious robed man's mention of ogres. "Ogres have moved in? As in more than one?" the black war golem asks incredulously. "One did well enough for me last time! Glad to have a chance for payback." He briefly scrunitizes the new face in the group, but says nothing else.

Drakha stands near the leader, his gaze set towards the village, or what is left of it, anyway, not paying much mind to the mercenaries amassing around him. "First Taara, then Maugrim... what this time... Gunahkar?" he notes coldly, grasping his spear at hand. Then turns his attention towards their employer. "And you... who do you serve? What interests you in this village so much to spend a fortune for hiring an army of this size to claim it?" he questions, though doesn't really expect a clear answer.

The man claps his hands together, and a nearby man who is quite likely his aid, prompt places a stool for the robed man to see himself upon. He does so, laying his gnarled old hands into his lap as he looks at the adventurers gathered before him. "The why is, unfortunately, painfully simple. The Elves you had been dealing with and driving off in droves, or murdering as the case may be, tried to bargain with creatures that.. Do not tend to honour their deals. These Elves were splintergroups, extremely small in scope after having broken away from a satelite colony though we are not sure where. They made a very foolish mistake, and they have paid for it with the remainder of their lives. Or at least, those following their leaders have; I suspect the heads of the groups made good their escapes when they realized the ogres were about to turn on them."

He glances first in Garthos' direction, "Duely noted. These men are not brainless, however. They've been instructed to wipe out the monsters and bring all humans back alive, hopefully to be tended to and sent on their way to better fortunes. We don't know who or what, exactly, it is but we do know that it is brutal enough to bend the arm of the ogres within the village. Much more than that I'm afraid I cannot say."

He leans back now comfortably, his back to the village that smokes in places. Even from this distance, the smell and noise of the brutes is detectable. "I am not here to claim this village, merely destroy these monsters. I spend a very ample amount of coin on a regular basis, hiring people like you to kill things like them." A thumb jerk indicates the monsters within the village. "I serve myself, to be deliberately vague. Suffice to enough to say that I am one of the people who line your pockets routinely, and I believe there's a saying about gift horses or some such that sums up our interaction sufficiently."

The young woman with that short blonde hair, wearing plate armor custom fit to her, steps up behind Drakha to the sound of clanking metal. Her movements are subtle enough that she actually isn't making as much noise as one might suspect in armor. She looks at him, and then to the village, and frowns harshly. Her eyes settle in on the sight for a moment and then she too turns to look to the leader.

Kilroy frees his spiked hammer from its resting place on his back, then thumps the haft into the ground with a dull thudd. "That answers my questions." he says, addressing the party, "Shall we go earn our coin, then?"

Arissa seems unenlightened, but concedes the matter by backing off a few steps from the robed man. "Then we may as well go forth." Stepping over beside Garth, she nods to the swordsman. "You are well enough, I hope? I will be relying on you and your skills until my plans against these wretched brutes are fully realized."

Garth nods, seeming to accept that as a good enough answer. "Right." he says to the robed man, pausing a moment. His massive arms lift, crossing and settling over his chest. "If that's all, let us know when it's time to go." he tells the man, but ends it there, perhaps somewhat less talkative today than he usually is. "Followin' the main charge, he said." he reminds Kilroy and Arissa as he begins to stride away, to wait for the assembly of the other mercenaries and the rush into town. He looks ponderous, the frown never moving from his expression.

<OOC> Arissa has prep-magic before they march in, then! If it's okay.

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Any prep work you have, feel free to start it up now."

<OOC> Drakha says, "I will do mage armor just before we start the attack"

<OOC> Arissa will do an Extended Resist Energy (Fire) on self. Resist Fire 10 for 100 minutes, so bit over hour and a half.

<OOC> Tillianne will cast bless but totally forgot how to work spells.

GAME: Arissa casts Levitate.

<OOC> Drakha says, "proxy casting since its bloodline spell"

<OOC> Arissa proxy-casts due to bloodline code stuff etc.

GAME: Drakha casts Magic Missile.

GAME: Tillianne refreshes spells.

GAME: Tillianne casts Bless.

Kilroy belts on a magical torch in preparation for the attack. "If I fall in battle, I would be obliged if you would apply the potion in my belongings if no other magical healing or repair is available," the golem idly remarks. "Best to make these things clear, as was demonstrated previously."

<OOC> Arissa nods. Extended Levitate, 10 minutes, then.

GAME: Arissa casts Levitate.

"Well, if that's all the questions then I wish you all good luck. Hopefully, you will not need it." The robed man remains seated, beckoning to his aid once again who in turn nods and looks to the gathered soldiers in the field and road. A horn is produced from his belt, and lifted to his lips before a sharp, loud blow rings through the evening air. Calls go out in the fields from individual squad leaders, and the entire force begins to move forwards.

They walk until they reach the peak of the hill, and then they begin to jog, row by row, as they make it over the crest. For mercenaries they are surprisingly good at keeping formation, and the entire company begins to surge towards the town. There is no element of surprise whatsoever this night, it is simply an all out battle. Within the village, roars and shouts answer one another as the monsters within begin to mobilize themselves as well.

Arissa begins a series of incantations as the mercenaries take formation. Rod held overhead, she invokes a pair of spells... mostly focused on herself; Celestial chanting causes the air in front of herself to ripple briefly and then fade to normal, then her back has a pair of miniature white-feathered 'angel wings' to it. Only then does she stow the rod, a wand in hand as she moves alongside the others in this group; she has no interest in being part of a major 'battle line.'

The first wave of soldiers crash into the village, moving between houses and immediately meeting the fiends within. The battle starts from the instant the first soldier's boot crosses the border between field and village, and the noise that begins to erupt is like a rising crescendo. By sheer force of numbers, the human soldiers push the monster further back into the village in order to take the fighting to the more open streets where their numbers count for more than the narrow corridors between houses.

The main route into the village is as clear as any road will be for some time. Brutal fighting is taking place on either side of it, and throughout the alleys that stretch away from it like the tributaries of a greater river. Directly in the center, however, is a group of monsters far more organized than the brawlers about them. Five truly ugly ogrekin, headed by a much large true ogre, smash and crush every soldier that gets within reach, fighting as a true group.

GAME: You roll initiative for OgrekinGrp1: Roll: 15 + Bonus: 5 = Total: 20 GAME: You roll initiative for OgrekinGrp3: Roll: 12 + Bonus: 5 = Total: 17 GAME: You roll initiative for Ogre: Roll: 17 + Bonus: -1 = Total: 16

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Feel free to roll init after posing."

GAME: Arissa rolls initiative: Roll: 2 + Bonus: 6 = Total: 8

Garth has since drawn his sword, allowing the mercenaries to do what they've been paid for and focusing on his own tasks. As he spies the ogres ahead, however, his jog towards the town hall in the carnage slows. "Those are bad news." he notes, more muttering it to himself. "We'll need to take those ourselves - break that momentum fore they push the boys right out of the place." he asides to his companions, stopping and dropping into a battle-ready stance.

GAME: Garthos rolls initiative: Roll: 1 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 3

Drakha waits for the main group of the soldiers to charge in to keep the rank and file of the enemy busy before starting to march along the road towards the town hall, keeping an eye out for any stragglers that might try to attack them, but there seems to be none opposing them, until that group blocking their path near the middle of the village. He glances around the others after seeing them. "Those don't look much different from the ones last time, don't you agree?" he points out with a nod towards them. Doing some further defensive magics on himself then as it seems likely they want to fight.

<OOC> Drakha says, "Would like to cast Shield if possible?"

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Sure Drakha."

GAME: Drakha casts Shield.

GAME: Drakha rolls initiative: Roll: 16 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 18

Kilroy says, "Yes, it does appear that they will be our dancing partners for the evening," gesturing towards the ogrekin and their ogre leader with his weapon.

GAME: Kilroy casts Shield.

GAME: Kilroy rolls initiative: Roll: 3 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 5

Tillianne charges in with the rest, drawing her sword with a metallic sliding sound as they near their destination. Seeing the ogres however, she pauses alongside Garth. She frowns. "Sounds like fun," she says dryly to him while blowing a lock of hair out of her eyes with a sharp exhale of her breath up across her face. She then grabs her holy symbol and utters a soft and brief prayer, extending a divine advantage to the others.

===== Current Initiative Order =========
 20                  OgrekinGrp1
 18                  Drakha
 18                  Tillianne
 17                  OgrekinGrp3
 16                  Ogre
 8                   Arissa
 5                   Kilroy
 3                   Garthos

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+7: (14)+7: 21

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+9: (5)+9: 14

GAME: Kilroy rolls blunts: aliased to 1d20+6: (12)+6: 18

GAME: Kilroy rolls 1d12+6: (7)+6: 13

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d6+5: (5)+5: 10

GAME: Lithuin damaged Tillianne for 10 points. 41 remaining.

<OOC> Drakha says, "So there is one dude next to me?"

<OOC> Lithuin says, "If you were right near Kilroy or Tillianne, yes."

<OOC> Drakha says, "Well I will hit it with my spear then"

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Two just moved up, two are are still standing off to either side of the ogre. For reference."

<OOC> Drakha says, "I hit the same one that was hit by the AoO"

GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+5: (5)+5: 10

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Kil you'll get an AoO on the one charging Drakha, and the second ogrekin is remaining back by the ogre."

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+9: (18)+9: 27

GAME: Kilroy rolls blunts: aliased to 1d20+6: (11)+6: 17

GAME: Kilroy rolls 1d12+6: (8)+6: 14

Drakha sees the ogres using a typical ogre tactic sometimes called as 'charge,' and end up near him. He takes a jab with his spear towards the one that was just hit by Kilroy but estimates the distance somewhat wrong and his thrust stays short.

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d6+5: (4)+5: 9

GAME: Lithuin damaged Drakha for 9 points. 16 remaining.

<OOC> Tillianne says, "Smite evil on the ogre and activate divine bond."

<OOC> Arissa says, "So, Arissa casts Grease on the Ogre's handheld weapon (I'll fetch spell text momentarily), then Levitates 20 feet up."

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20: (2): 2

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Dropped."

GAME: Arissa casts Grease.

Arissa paces along with the others, calm even as the sounds of fighting ring out through the area. When there is talk of the ogres ahead being 'dance partners', she seems to take it literally; Arissa shows a beaming smile, eyes glazing over to give her a distant and dazed demeanor as her hips begin to sway, then she starts twirling around, calling out to them: "Even when we have routed so many of you, you do not flee? Then I shall see you put down swiftly for preying on an entire village!" Oddly, she doesn't even sound angry... more like excited.

She continues this 'dance' as she chants in Celestial... and a hand held overhead conjures up a batch of sky-blue and white gel, coating the ogre's weapon. He fumbles with it for a second, then it crashes to the floor! Arissa's mini-wings begin to flap right after that, starting to carry her above the battle...

<OOC> Kilroy says, "I'll withdraw 20'"

<OOC> Garthos says, "Is there a position into which I can scoot that allows me a flank on at least one ogrekin, with another ogrekin adjacent, that does not have me get an AoO from the ogre, and which is within 30 feet of where I am currently?"

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Yes."

<OOC> Lithuin says, "There are two right near where Kilroy was."

<OOC> Garthos says, "Okay. Then I would like to move into this position and Cleave, using the primary Cleave attack on the one I'm flanking."

<OOC> Garthos says, "And the secondary on... the other one."

Kilroy lays about wildly with his hammer, slamming two onrushing ogrekin with bonecrushing force. Just after the two ogrekin reach him, Kilroy warily disengages from melee, ready to intercept any additional attackers.

<OOC> Garthos says, "For reference, who am I flanking with, Tilly or Drakha?"

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Roll it. If you hit I forsee one of them dying for sure. Drakha."

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+1+2: (7)+5+5+1+1+1+1+2: 23

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+1-2: (8)+5+5+1+1+1+1+-2: 20

GAME: Garthos rolls 2d4+7+6+2+1+1: (6)+7+6+2+1+1: 23

GAME: Garthos rolls 2d4+7+6+2+1+1: (5)+7+6+2+1+1: 22

<OOC> Lithuin says, "One ogrekin remaining up front, the other is still back with the ogre."

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+7: (7)+7: 14

Garthos surveys the situation. His lighter armor - well, lighter for him - allows him lots of mobility. He jogs in, slipping behind the two ogrekin at the front lines, trapping one of them between himself and the crimson lizardman. He brings his large sword about, the runes upon the blade's surface aglow, and takes it through the creature - and right into its nearby companion with a cacophony of shattered bone and split flesh. The two creatures collapse, one after the other, in heaps.

GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (12)+7: 19

GAME: Drakha rolls 1d8+3: (6)+3: 9

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+7: (20)+7: 27

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+7: (18)+7: 25

GAME: Lithuin rolls 2d6+10: (2)+10: 12

GAME: Lithuin damaged Drakha for 12 points. 4 remaining.

<OOC> Tillianne says, "LoH first though, before anything."

GAME: Tillianne rolls 2d6: (6): 6

GAME: Lithuin damaged Tillianne for -6 points. 47 remaining.

<OOC> Tillianne will take the AoO's and charge the ogre.

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+7: (2)+7: 9

GAME: Tillianne rolls weapon1+1+2+5-2: (2)+10+1+2+5+-2: 18

GAME: Tillianne rolls 2d6+1d6+7+6+5: (10)+(5)+7+6+5: 33

<OOC> Arissa begins Summon Monster I.

<OOC> Kilroy says, "I'll move and attack the ogrekin molesting Drakha."

GAME: Kilroy rolls blunts: aliased to 1d20+6: (4)+6: 10

GAME: Arissa casts Summon Monster I.

Arissa continues to float in a soft, up and down 'hovering bob' above the fight. It's a pretty safe place to be for the time being, and affords her a lot of calm... calm mixed with excitement, even as the ogre begins to pull back. "It is too late to flee now! Really a wretch such as you will only prey upon others later if you escape, and I cannot allow that!" She resumes Celestial chanting, a small white-glowing circle forming in front of her...

Kilroy advances and attacks the ogrekin engaged with the Sith'Makar, the ogrekin's shortspear wet with the Drakha's blood. The golem swings his hammer, missing by a wide margin.

<OOC> Garthos says, "I hit the remaining ogrekin, please."

<OOC> Garthos says, "The one in the "front" with Drakha and I, I mean."

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+1: (13)+5+5+1+1+1+1: 27

GAME: Garthos rolls 2d4+17: (6)+17: 23

<OOC> Drakha says, "I will hit the ogre with magic missile"

Garthos glances at Tillanne. "Ya okay over there?!" he shouts over the din of the battle. "I'll be there soon as I can to help! Just lemme finish this one off!" He promptly lives up to that, stepping up to the remaining creature near him, bringing the blade of his weapon diagonally across the ogrekin's chest. Blood flows and the creature crumbles to the ground.

GAME: Drakha casts Magic Missile.

GAME: Drakha rolls 2d4+2: (3)+2: 5

<OOC> Lithuin says, "And the ogre is dead."

Drakha lets out a hiss of pain as the brutes spear manages to find a weak spot in his scales and sink in quite deeply, good thing that it was only a short spear, had it been any longer shafted one he would likely be down. As it is he takes a few steps back to regain his balance, ready to counterattack, but then Garthos cuts his opponent down, he gives him a nod, then turns over towards the remaining foes, seeing the ogre trying to run he points his hand towards him, sending two glowing red beams from his fingertips that dart over the battlefield, striking uneeringly at the back of the fleeing giant, causing it to fall down.

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Tillianne?"

<OOC> Tillianne has lost track of the situation. Are there cleavable targets or only individuals left that could be charged? Or neither.

<OOC> Lithuin says, "One ogrekin next to you, that's it."

GAME: Tillianne rolls weapon1+1-2: (11)+10+1+-2: 20

GAME: Tillianne rolls 2d6+1d6+7+6: (4)+(1)+7+6: 18

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+7: (6)+7: 13

<OOC> Arissa says, "Summon I completes, Celestial Eagle placed into flanking with Tillianne. Its starting position is adjacent to the enemy, so full attack, smite evil used. Arissa's actions to follow if necessary."

<OOC> Arissa says, "2 talons, 1 bite as follows:"

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (3)+5: 8

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (17)+5: 22

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (13)+5: 18

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (2)+3: 5

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (3)+3: 6

<OOC> Lithuin says, "And it's down."

Tillianne whirls that big flaming greatsword of hers around as the ogre retreats and then promptly is killed by magic. She dances left and swings at the ogreskin, slashing and cutting into it while leaving some burns behind. She then reflexively turns her body and takes a half step back with one foot to quickly provide room for her sword, which she uses to parry the counterattack. "I'm fine," she answers Garthos, but not loudly enough to really be heard in battle.

Arissa's mid-air chanting ends in an eagle gold headfeathers emerging from the circle. It lets out an avian shriek even as the circle rapidly shifts to deposit the bird behind Tillianne's foe, talons and beak glowing as it tears into the ogrekin! In a frenzy of feathers and tearing and slashing, the eagle brings this enemy down... and Arissa mouths a soft Celestial "(Thank you)" to the bird, though it's uncomprehending regardless of her language.

Then she looks down at everyone, calling out: "You are all well, I hope?"

"That went better than last time," says Kilroy coolly, giving one of the nearby ogrekin corpses a casual kick in the ribs. He replies to Arissa, "Quite well."

Drakha leans on his spear with one hand while his other one moves up to hold at the wound with some blood trickling out through the scales from where it was punctured. "I have been better." he manages to reply. "Might need some divine blessings before we proceed." he admits.

Tillianne turns around to look at Drakha, the obviously wounded, but she looks at the others to see if anyone else is hurt.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Not a scratch." Garth replies. "Drakha's a bit under the weather, though!" A glance at the lizardman, at the grievous stab wound. "Ya okay there?" he calls to Tilly once again, having not heard her reply, as expected. "Ya hit them real nice there. Never seen anythin' like that before."

As the chaos in the immediate area settles somewhat with the death of the ogre and his immediate companions, the soldiers find themselves revitalized with the impressive victory that plays out before them. They redouble their efforts, cutting swaths through the ogrekin in the area and dispatching them with impressive speed and zeal as the adventuring party emboldens them.

The minutes tick by and the fighting finally slows along the main road, the last of the ogrekin in this area finally falling to the swords of the soldiers. Those who remain yet in the area wipe their collective brow and begin to move through the wounded and dying; the ogrekin are killed the instant they are found among the already dead and the soldiers are carried back by their companions. One man in particular, however, seems to be a commander of some sort. He finishes wiping a fresh batch of ogre blood from his blade as he moves up to the party, hailing them rather merrily for a man in the middle of all this death and carnage. "I've just returned from the center of town, you'll find the way mostly clear." He turns and points a gauntleted hand off down the blood-soaked road, "A few pockets of resistance here and there but we're pushing them back. If all goes well we'll have this place cleared of the creatures before night has even had a chance to chill the blood that's already laying all over the ground." He ends his sentence with a rather hearty guffaw, giving his sword a quick swing and saluting to the adventurers as he turns away to move back in the direction he came.

<OOC> Arissa says, "Heavenly Fire on Tillianne. Healing for..."

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+2: (1)+2: 3

GAME: Lithuin damaged Tillianne for -3 points. 50 remaining.

Arissa descends slowly, her mini-wings bringing her to the ground. Most people seem to be okay, and Tillianne is handling what isn't. However, Arissa walks up to her with a soft smile and comments: "You are tending to others well enough, and I saw your blade bore the mark of justice. Though your pain from the blow you took may be insignificant in your service to the heavens, I would nonetheless see you whole and well!" Without even waiting for acknowledgement, Arissa thrusts a palm at the nearby Paladin. It's an abrupt motion, one that may well make her worry.

And perhaps with good reason, as Arissa's hand lashes out with gold-white flames! They wash over Tillianne, and... not only refuse to burn her, but reward her kind nature. The fire changes form, turning into sparkles of healing energy that will mend Tilliane's wound and send a momentary sensation of something wonderful and 'right' through her.

Arissa seemed to expect this outcome, because she's just standing there smiling at the Paladin the whole time... not even playfully so, just warm and pleased. Enough so that Arissa isn't immediately aware that an impromptu strategy session has started as mercenaries join them. Tillianne answers louder, "I'm fine," to Garthos but still not very easily heard. It's more like a grumble of increased volume, almost as if she doesn't like being asked that question. She has only the most minor of injuries and seems to want to tough it out. She begins to walk towards the wounded Drakha but pauses when Arissa comes down and over to her. "Nonono," she says quickly while shaking her head. "I said I'm-" and then she lets out a scream that is an octave higher than her speaking voice and makes her sound half her age as she starts flailing at the flames as she is covered in liquid fire of the highest order of destruction! Though when she feels no terrible burning, she just smacks at the flames purely on instinct, still shrieking though and hardly looking to be a fearsome foe of evil anymore.

GAME: Tillianne casts Cure Light Wounds.

GAME: Tillianne rolls 1d8+2: (2)+2: 4

GAME: Lithuin damaged Drakha for -4 points. 8 remaining.

GAME: Tillianne casts Cure Light Wounds.

GAME: Tillianne rolls 1d8+2: (2)+2: 4

GAME: Lithuin damaged Drakha for -4 points. 12 remaining.

<OOC> Tillianne shall now lay on hands!

<OOC> Tillianne has 6 charges left. 5 after this.

GAME: Tillianne rolls 2d6: (6): 6

<OOC> Lithuin says, "You can renew your spells before we start up the next encounter."

GAME: Lithuin damaged Drakha for -6 points. 18 remaining.

<OOC> Arissa nods. Should I go ahead and mark the new casting of Extended Levitate presently?

Garthos just nods at the mercenary silently, not really partaking in the man's perhaps misplaced mirth. "If the spellwork's done, let's get movin'. We've a job to finish." he asides to his fellow adventurers, nodding in the general direction of the town's center, where the town hall lies. He does not bother to wipe the blood from his blade - likely knowing more will end up on it anyway soon enough. And he manages - just barely - not to burst out laughing at the flailing Tillianne. "Calm down, calm down! The fire ain't gonna hurt ya." he assures her, in friendly manner.

<OOC> Arissa nods. Marked.

<OOC> Arissa says, "Rod is out of charges for today, of note."

After Tillianne stops panicking, she casts several spells and divine energies upon Drakha. The flames on her sword go out as she does this though.

<OOC> Tillianne says, "On more LoH. Down to 4."

GAME: Tillianne rolls 2d6: (7): 7

GAME: Lithuin damaged Drakha for -7 points. 25 remaining.

Arissa looks baffled by Tillianne's panic. "Why do you quail so? You are also an agent of the heavens and surely must know you are not being harmed? You are being judged, but they have found you delightful in their eyes and are rewarding you! Please take heart and do not despair!" Arissa simply stands there, trying to calm the Paladin... and working some magic in Celestial, her wings vanishing for a moment before re-appearing, renewed.

Drakha blinks a few times as he watches the girl run around screaming with the fire, contemplating on if he should say anything about that, but

Garthos gets ahead of him in that so he just shrugs it off. Then he nods to the paladin when she makes his wounds heal. "Thank you. May the ancestors watch over you." he offers to her, reaching a hand to grip her shoulder with for a moment in a gesture of appreciation. Then he turns his attention back to the task at hand. "Yes lets get this finished and see whats lurking in the town hall." he suggests.

When the party approaches the town hall, they will find an impressive scene of carnage laid out before them. The street that encircles the building is literally blanketed in corpses in most places, and the stink of blood is almost overpowering when combined with the smell of charcoal and burning flesh. It's rather ghoulish, and the only ones who remain standing in this place are the soldiers with the sturdier stomachs. They patrol the edges of the roads that meet at this, the heart of the village, but for the moment it appears that no push-back from the monsters has occured.

A squad of no less than seven men, however, stand before the steps of the village hall with their weapons levelled in its direction. They seem quite tense, as if waiting for something to spring out at them but nothing has done so yet. Above the noise of the village burning and the fighting in the distance, audible footsteps can be heard within as well as guttural grunting.

Instead of looking appreciative, the young paladin looks embarrassed and angry. She points a finger at Arissa. "The heavens can kiss my" she begins to yell really loud, but she stops herself by turning the point into a angry fist. Soon as she is done healing Drakha, she turns away from him and walks to the front of the group again, looking ready to take any kind of attack that might come at them from the front. Yeah she looks to be the really angry dedicated sort.

<OOC> Kilroy says, "I guess I'll re-up my shield before we go in"

GAME: Kilroy attempts to cast Shield but fails due to ASF.

GAME: Kilroy casts Shield.

<OOC> Drakha says, "I will recast my shield as well"

GAME: Drakha casts Shield.

Arissa winces at Tillianne's anger, genuinely not expecting it. "Forgive me... I had only thought to share a boon with you and not see you upset..." Nonetheless, Arissa tries not to linger on it; there are things to tend to as they approach the town hall. "Even from here I can hear it thrash about in so much violence... it will be very powerful indoors. Perhaps the door could be opened and I could strike at it from a distance, bringing it out here?"

Kilroy arrives at the village hall along with the rest of the party. "Just look at this carnage," he says, "if I could whistle, I would." As the footsteps and gutteral grunts emerge from the village hall, he casts a spell -- or tries to. After an interminable string of curses, he utters an arcane incantation and a shimmering translucent shield leaps into being in front of him.

Garthos patrols around the back of the group, protecting the flanks and rear as best he can and allowing Tillianne to lead them further on into the decimated town. Once they reach the town hall, the smell makes him gag, but he keeps his lunch down and does not otherwise turn green or such. He quickly draws a cloth, tying it around his nose and mouth. Yes, he carries such a thing with him nowadays at all times - Alexandria and its myriad of disgusting aromas have made certain of it. He glances at Arissa, then. "Best see what it is, first. Might be able to fly or somethin', and if so, best keep it under a roof." he voices his opinion. "We'll work it out as we go along." is added, with a grim little smile.

Drakha feels part of his magical protections fading as they move to the town hall, so once they actually get there he will reinvoke the blessings of his ancestors, causing a transcluent field of force to form around him, visible for only a moment until it fades. He shakes his head at Arissas question, motioning towards the group of men standing on guard at the steps. "If it didn't come out to challenge those men, I doubt it has any plans on doing so anytime soon. Closed spaces are better to fight in anyway, less room for the enemy to run. Besides, whatever is in there, it sounds big, so it will likely be clumsy in an enclosed area like the building."

Tillianne marches up towards the guards aiming their weapons at the building. What would normally be this pretty and charming face made to disarm and carouse is smudged with ash from the burning and streaked with a thick splatter of blood from right eye to nose to left cheek, and the glint of the burning fire reflecting in her eyes. Creeeeepy. Okay, she's seriously making up for the squealing girl part a few minutes ago. "Have you seen what's in there?" she asks the guards.

"Whatever it is, we could burn it out," Kilroy muses.

They start a bit when they are addressed, or at least some of them do. The nearest to the group lowers his weapon as he turns to face the party, motioning in the direction of the hall as he begins to speak, "Some.. Great.. Big monster, thing. We're not really sure what it was. It had horns on its head, carried a big axe. It.. It was horrible, I only saw it for a second when it thundered back inside. It had wings and claws too, ugliest thing I've ever seen in my life and terrifying." He shudders slightly, as if suddenly wondering /why/ he is standing in front of the door blocking it.

"There's a pair of ogres in there too. Don't know if the thing 'et them yet or what, but nothing has come running out at us since the last of these things." A booted foot kicks a nearby ogrekin corpse.

There's a huge roar and a thunder of broken timber as, quite suddenly, a hole is punched through the roof of a town hall. Some winged, hellborne monstrosity does not escape from it however. Instead, the ripped and torn frame of what was quite likely an ogre goes sailing through the air before landing with a sickeningly wet thud some several yards behind the party and the soldiers.

Drakha listens to the description that is being given of whats inside, glancing between the others to see if any of them might know anything matching that description. "Wings, eh? Well sounds like we better keep it inside then." he notes, then turns his head sharply to look up at the ruckus, watching the ogre being thrown out. "Well... that answers the question about the ogres, at least." he adds with a chuckle.

"Yeah. I'm thinkin' it's time to get in there and see about--" Garthos begin, nodding at Tillianne and the soldiers, when the corpse makes its appearance. He twitches, turning and staring. "... About killin' it." he finishes after taking a moment to recover.

Kilroy quips as the ogre ker-splats, "That's one less problem." He continues, "As charging in has proven less than fruitful, perhaps we put one of Arissa's pets at the van and follow it in?"

Tilly's hand holding her sword begins to tighten as she listens to the description of the creature inside. "Move," she tells the guards, as they seem to be in her way. At least to her. "This thing is beyond you." And then as if on cue, the ogre goes flying out of the building. The young paladin looks up with narrowed eyes and watches it sail through the air and then where it lands on the ground. She then shoots a determined look at the building and walks the rest of the way up to it, passing by the guards. She must lack sense or experience or both to show no fear, but then again she looks -so- angry that rage can be an overpowering substitute for courage. When Kilroy offers the suggestion, she pauses at the door, but she sure as hell doesn't look like she'll be the second one going inside.

Drakha does seem to agree with Tillianne, even though he definetily has no problems with letting the paladin go in first, following just few steps behind her. "Lead the way." he offers to the woman with a motion towards the door.

Kilroy follows the others. "Lead on," he says.

<OOC> Arissa tosses up a Bless then. Lasts 5 minutes.

Arissa blanches at Kilroy's words, protesting: "They are not pets but also heavens-blessed beasts, showing as kind a heart as any priest or knight! Others still are the essences of the world, and in no case are mere 'pets.'" This isn't a refusal, however. She begins to chant... then is interrupted as ogre-remains are sent flying. "Oh my..." She takes it fairly calmly, surprised but not panicking.

Chanting resumes, and the party is engulfed in gold-white holy light! Though it may look a bit different from Tillianne's magic, the result is virtually identical; a rush of righteous courage runs through them. Then Arissa regards the door and states: "I could nonetheless bring forth one or more of them if you wish?"

GAME: Arissa casts Grease.

<OOC> Tillianne rushes in when everybody is done with their preps.

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Go ahead and roll init now. It won't be surprised when you boot the door in."

GAME: Kilroy rolls initiative: Roll: 13 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 15

GAME: Tillianne rolls initiative: Roll: 5 + Bonus: 1 = Total: 6

GAME: Arissa rolls initiative: Roll: 8 + Bonus: 6 = Total: 14

GAME: You roll initiative for Demon: Roll: 11 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 13

GAME: Garthos rolls initiative: Roll: 16 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 18

GAME: Drakha rolls initiative: Roll: 4 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 6

===== Current Initiative Order =========
 18                  Garthos
 15                  Kilroy
 14                  Arissa
 13                  Demon
 6                   Drakha
 6                   Tillianne

As the double doors to the hall swings open, the ruined interior can be seen plainly. Fire-light filters through the holes that have been punched in the walls where windows used to be, as well as overhead through the hole created when the corpse of the ogre was unceremoniously flung out. It's a fairly spacious room, at least sixty feet long and thirty wide. All the tables and other paraphenalia that had occupied this hall, however, are ruined and shattered upon the walls. Instead, a massive creature stands in the center of it all. A solid twelve, perhaps thirteen feet high, it turns its fiery red eyes on the door as it opens up to reveal the full measure of the creature. Cloven-hooved feet stomp the floor angrily, and wings constrained to the creature's back stretch outwards. A huge, wicked-looking great axe is held in one hand and it slowly begins to swing the blade back and forth before it as its free clawed hand flexes and unflexes, waiting for the party to make the first move.

<OOC> Arissa tries to identify it?

GAME: Arissa rolls Knowledge/The Planes: (8)+2: 10

You paged Arissa with 'You cannot determine what the devil it is, but you can tell it's not a natural creature.'

<OOC> Garthos says, "Since I don't want us to end up all bottlenecked in the doorway as it goes stomping in, I'll scoot inside (passing through Tilly's square in doing so, assuming she'll allow me) and along the wall maybe some 10 feet, pull a javelin in the motion, and hurl it at the creature (holding my falchion idle in the other hand)."

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+2+1: (7)+5+2+1: 15

<OOC> Kilroy says, "I'll delay action"

<OOC> Arissa begins Summon Monster II.

"Dammit. It's gonna bottleneck us here if we let it." Garth hisses, realizing the entire party is stuck in the doorway. As thus, he slides past Tillianne, moving inside the actual chamber - along the wall, however, keeping distance. As he hustles, a javelin is drawn and hurled its way. It skitters harmlessly off the creature's scaly hide.

<OOC> Arissa says, "Cast, pose, end turn?"

GAME: Arissa casts Summon Monster II.

Arissa does not specifically recognize the monster before them. She has some broad, vague idea of what it is... as merely being near it, looking at it, feels deeply wrong and awful to her. "Driving out followers of Maugrim and Taara brought no real comfort or salvation, and now I must wonder if you are the true cause! Something so vile has no place in this world..."

...Her eyes glaze over again, a bright smile forming as she chimes: "...So allow me to remove you presently!" Then Arissa begins chanting excitedly in Celestial, the glowing white summoning circle forming in front of her once more.

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+13: (15)+13: 28

GAME: Lithuin rolls 3d6+4: (7)+4: 11

GAME: Lithuin damaged Tillianne for 11 points. 39 remaining.

As Garthos' javelin sails by harmless, the great creature snorts rather derisively before laying his other hand on the handle of his greataxe and surging forwards. Buoyed by his wings and propelled by extremely powerful legs, he closes the gap between himself and Tillianne in the blink of an eye, leading his heavy-handed charge with the razor edge of his axe to wound the paladin painfully.

<OOC> Drakha says, "Is there room for two people to be next to each other at the doorway?"

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Yeah, double doorway."

<OOC> Drakha says, "Well I guess I will take 5 foot step to be at the side of tilli, in melee range, and then defensively cast burning hands on it, to see if its fire proof."

GAME: Drakha casts Burning Hands.

GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (7)+7: 14

Drakha steps in next to the paladin to get a clear line to the enemy, waving his spear towards it to keep it at bay while he focuses on awakening his draconic heritage in the form of a fire breath, but unfortunately is distracted by the flailing beast too much to manifest anything noteworthy.

<OOC> Tillianne says, "Well, smite evil on it. +5 to hit and +5 deflection AC again and ignores DR. If it's a demon, double paladin level damage on the first and only first hit."

<OOC> Lithuin says, "No double damage."

GAME: Tillianne rolls weapon1+5+1-2: (1)+10+5+1+-2: 15

GAME: Kilroy rolls 1d20+9: (3)+9: 12

Tillianne is ready to swing her sword through the beast as she channels her divine powers of wrath through her blade and directed towards the monster but BAM! She gets hit with the axe. It clashes against her armor and staggers her back and blood begins to flow through the gaps in her armor. She is so stunned that her swing against the beast is off timing by just a fraction of a second and she misses. She doesn't cry out, but she squints hard and makes a very pained expression.

<OOC> Garthos says, "I'm inside, hooray, so I 5' further into the room (diagonally if we're not adjacent so that we ARE adjacent) so as to allow the boys and girls some delicious FLANK. And then I PA it. With said flank."

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+1+2: (19)+5+5+1+1+1+1+2: 35

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+1+2: (19)+5+5+1+1+1+1+2: 35

<OOC> Garthos says, "Crit."

Kilroy bellows a furious rumbling howl, charging the demon head-on. He takes a wild swing at the demon, missing the winged beast.

GAME: Garthos rolls 4d4+17+17: (11)+17+17: 45

<OOC> Garthos says, "So. Is it still standing so I know what to pose?"

<OOC> Lithuin says, "It is."

<OOC> Arissa says, "This enemy... is it flying (albeit low to the ground), or /on/ the ground? This actually matters for an effect."

<OOC> Lithuin says, "On the ground."

<OOC> Arissa says, "Arissa Completes Summon II. Small Earth Elemental, 'behind' (adjacent to Garth) it. I... think that's legal and correct, if I'm visualizing this right?"

<OOC> Arissa says, "So if it can appear 'behind' (relative to Tillianne) within 35' of placement... cool. Attacking with flank, then."

"I hate demons. I -HATE- demons!!" Garth bellows, sidestepping into a more tactically advantageous position. The creature is fully distrated by the paladin, and the Angorite takes the opportunity - a spin of the large blade in his hand to position it, and then he plunges the weapon into the creature's side. The Elven runes upon the blade flare and it slips readily past the tough, scaly hide, plunging deep into the demonic thing and causing a spray of dark blood. The creature roars in agony from the immense blow. If the windows were not gone, they'd shudder from the sound.

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+11: (7)+11: 18

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d6+8: (2)+8: 10

<OOC> Arissa says, "She casts Grease on its axe. Spell Resistance doesn't apply, far as I know."

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+7: (14)+7: 21

GAME: Arissa casts Grease.

<OOC> Arissa says, "Arissa then moves back as far as she can within 30 feet of movement while still keeping LoS, then ends turn."

Arissa's chanting causes the circle to suddenly slide behind the axe-wielding monster, a vaguely humanoid slab of stone emerging. It snarls in a deep voice, thick arms raised to bash at this foe, striking but failing to rock it nearly as soundly as one might expect.

Meanwhile, Arissa continues to chant and conjures a batch of sky-blue gel onto the axe... but its wielder shakes the weapon, clearing it before the gel can spread too far! Arissa begins to shy away from the battle, considering her options... she's not leaving, simply wary of what could happen if she stays close.

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+11: (20)+11: 31

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+11: (12)+11: 23

GAME: Lithuin rolls 9d6+27: (28)+27: 55

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+6: (9)+6: 15

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+6: (1)+6: 7

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d20+6: (16)+6: 22

GAME: Lithuin rolls 1d6+3: (3)+3: 6

GAME: Lithuin damaged Kilroy for 6 points. 14 remaining.

The creature's earth-rattling roar does indeed rattle what litttle glass is left in the frames. It positively howls with rage and pain as it takes a faltering step to the side, clutching at the horrible wound inflicted on it. As it turns its eyes on Garthos, they illuminate briefly with a red glow that threatens to sear the very air hovering around its skull. Gaining its footing, it wraps its massive fists about the handle of its axe, twistins and swings with such ferocity that before the axe hits Garthos and sends him hurtling to the far end of the hall in a hail of debris and blood, it blows out the section of wall that had been somewhat in the way near the fighter. Turning on those remaining, it aims a backswing at Tillianne that goes wild and carves away more wall before gnashing its fangs in Drakha's direction and then goring Kilroy directly in the chest with the horns adorning its brow.

GAME: Drakha casts Burning Hands.

GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (3)+7: 10

<OOC> Tillianne says, "LoH as a swift on myself and then attacking with PA."

Drakha shakes his head some to clear it and focus more this time, starting to create fire once more, but then sees Garth get golfclapped to a wall in a rather spectacular manner which is more than enough to distract him again and break his concentration.

<OOC> Tillianne is down to 3 LoH after this.

GAME: Tillianne rolls 2d6: (5): 5

GAME: Lithuin damaged Tillianne for -5 points. 44 remaining.

GAME: Tillianne rolls weapon1+5+1-2: (8)+10+5+1+-2: 22

GAME: Tillianne rolls 2d6+7+6+5: (8)+7+6+5: 26

<OOC> Lithuin says, "Well."

<OOC> Lithuin draws little x's over its eyes.

Tillianne somehow manages to regenerate much of the wound in a matter of seconds as a golden white glow seeps from the gaps in her armor that blood was once flowing through. "Gartho-!" she begins to yell when she sees him terribly maimed and flung across the room. She can't finish even saying it though because the beast swipes at her and only through divine protection guarding her is she not maimed as well. The second after she ducks and dodges the blow, she leaps up from a crouch with her sword held above her head in both hands in a stabbing position. She then drives the blade right through its chest and force of her body hitting it knocks mortally wounded beast over with her kneeling on it. The sword is yanked out in a shower of blood that gets all over her and then blade comes down again. Panting hard she pushes the edge into its throat so hard that she takes the head off.

Garthos lies still. He's, somehow, survived that! Tough bugger, him. He bleeds, however. Profusely. It drips over shattered bits of wall and furniture that surrounds him.

Arissa stares as Garth falls, alarmed; she may only have seconds to get to him! It's something she can't risk with that brutal axe still being swung about... but Tillianne puts an end to it, and Arissa immediately drops her Celestial chanting in favor of jogging near Garth and flinging holy fire at him. It's a strange but sincere way to express concern, but one that works; the flames like him just as much as they liked the Paladin, turning into healing sparkles and stopping his bleeding... and may even be enough to bring him weakly back to consciousness.

GAME: Lithuin damaged Garthos for -6 points. 0 remaining.

Garth stirs. "Mrrrh." His eyes open and he sees Arissa there. Deja vu much? He cracks a smile, his lips and teeth stained with the crimson of blood a little. "Hey there." he greets her, sounding a little delirious. His eyes are a little unfocused. "Issit dead?"

Kilroy shoulders his weapon, surveying his damage with the poke of a finger on his free hand. "Glad I didn't take that hit," he remarks absently before tending to his own injuries, hand glowing with repair magic.

Drakha was preparing to start poking at the thing with his spear when its already cut down by the others, making him to relax and just look around to see if there might be anything else lurking nearby as he steps in fully, but doesn't find anything. "I wonder where that thing came from and how it got here..." he notes idly as he nudges the dead thing with the point of his spear lightly.

Arissa smiles down to Garth, offering a hand down to him. "It is as you say! You have been fallen for only so many moments and the battle moved quickly, but the wretch is no more. Forgive me..." Her smile fades, "I had thought to disarm it so this would not happen at all, but its grip was firm. Still... we should not stay in this building much longer. If I support you, will you be well enough to walk out so we can tend to you more properly?"

Garthos barks a laugh - something that causes him to fall into a coughing fit, one that has him cough up blood from what's probably a right mess down around where his internal organs are. He wipes at his mouth with the back of his hand. One hand seeks the handle of his sword, and once he finds it, he hauls himself to his feet - slowly and shakily. "Ya clearly got no idea how much I weigh." he asides to Arissa with a grunt. The words are good-natured, though.

Tilly rises from the corpse slowly, covered in its blood. She takes a quick look around the room while her senses are still in a state of adrenaline pumped hyperalert, but it's not long before she is making her way over to Garthos quickly. She kneels down beside him and immediately places her hands to him and concentrates. Whatever she does works really really well, but it looks like it took a lot out of her because shortly after she slumps against the wall.

"Perhaps, but to the heavens you are no great burden." Arissa taps one of her mini-wings as some explanation to Garth. "I would..." She cuts off, backing up a few steps as Tillianne intervenes. Once it's over, Arissa smiles to the Paladin and speaks in Celestial, "(Thank you.)", then back to normal. "I would not wish to remain here too long... even in its death, being around this wretch brings me some discomfort. Pardon me," And with that, Arissa begins to walk outside...

Garthos flexes, revitalized by that little touch of divine power. His fingers gingerly touch his side - the wound has been re-knit well and natural healing of it should not take long after that. He sheathes his blade, offering Tillianne a hand - both for a shake and to help her straighten again. "Thank ya." he offers, sincerely. A glance behind himself, at the monster. "I think we're done here. Get me a rope - I'll get smelly here back to our secretive employer." he offers, not seeming too pleased about the secretive part, but still. "If there's still fightin', seein' him missin' a head outta have the ogres give up."

Kilroy nods at Garthos' words. "That should take the fight out of them, alright. Let's head back and collect some coin," he says.

The soldiers all look rather agape at the body as it is hauled out of the town hall and then the steps, every thud prompting a wet splat and a little more blood to dribble out of the corpse. The going is not terribly easy, what with the field of corpses all around, but it is still doable. Any monster that gets within seeing distance of the party decides that there are better ways to spend their time than an ugly, headless trophy and as such do not trouble the party at all. More than once, they can be seen skittering off into the alleys and out of sight. It seems that largely the battle has been one.

Back at the starting ground where the robed man still waits, the party receives a rather flabergasted welcome. The dark skinned man pulls down the cloth that had been obscurng his mouth, as well as the turban from atop his head. He's that surprised at what they've found, moreover that they've managed to haul the thing back, that he literally needs to remove some clothes to get a little air. He hurries forwards, two aids coming along with him, to inspect the massive body in excited whispers. The robed man continues to investigate while his aids eagerly shake the hands of every adventurer willing to do so, and those that aren't anyway. This is rather big news, apparently. When at last the man is done investigating, he seems still quite surprised though a much more thoughtful expression. Snapping his fingers quickly, the aids scamper off and then return with a moderately sized wooden case between the two of them. "Your reward, my friends, plus a bonus," the robed man explains, pushing open the top of the case to reveal an ample amount of gold coin within. "Take it and my blessings. Hopefully, you will never need to see this place again. Take some horses or a wagon and go from this place, you do not need to linger in the stink of death."

"Here's your problem!" is Garth's greeting, followed by a grunt, as he brings the horrible, scaly, hoofed body and deposits it in front of their employer. "Well. Former problem." he adds with a grin. He shakes the hand happily - firmly, but clearly holding back some of his strength so as to not injure the man. He waves away words of the reward, saying: "Can deal with that later. What I really wanna know is who ya are. A name, maybe, if ya ain't gonna share anythin' else. Ain't right if ya know my name and I don't know yours, yeah?" he offers to the robed man.

Drakha grins as he sees the chest full of gold being presented to them. "Everything looks to be fine to me. I sure hope as well that I don't have to see this cursed village ever again. Nothing but trouble here it seems." he notes, seeming to be perfectly happy with just taking his share of the gold and getting back to Alexandria.

Arissa isn't much help in hauling it back; she's not very strong, and her magic can't lift something /that/ big... so she mostly lets others deal with it, but does have some questions as the robed man speaks to them; she moves to stand by Garth and nod in agreement with his concerns. "Really I have similar matters weighing on my mind. I would ask simply enough, what are your aims? Imagine if you will a man of secrecy with an army behind him, who has continually deflected questions, has sent us to deal with so many dark threats... and this was after the very people here hired us to do the same. Though you offer plenty of coin... forgive my concerns, but I cannot help but wonder what was so vital that so many died over it. Will we have cause to come back here?"

Tillianne takes up the rear this time, being the last one out of the village. She looks tired, yet still carries a certain intensity to her even when fatigued. Motives, money, whatever is being discussed, Tilly just listens to passively in the background as she gives a tired stare to the robed man. She eyes him with suspicion too.

The robed man looks at Garthos for a moment, stroking his chin idly in thought. "Alfar din Khalim, is my name. I can offer you little more than that in way of my own personal information, but now you know as much about myself as I do you." His hand drops from his chin and he seats himself on the comfortable stool that had been placed there earlier. "If you're curious as to my intentions, I assure you they are always for the greater good. Despite the rather clandestine way I often need to go about things." His slips his hands into the opposite arms of his robes now, sighing comfortably. "I wish you all the best on your return trip."

Kilroy merely accepts his payment and expresses his thanks to the robed figure. "Glad to be of service," he says. "As for myself, I think it's time to head home."

He perks back up, briefly, "Ah, the village head? Yes, he hired you in order to remove the Elves who worshiped Taraa from this place. They were two small but warring factions. He served those who worshiped Maugrim. With them gone, the worshipers of Maugrim more or less had free reign to do with as they wished. And you can see how that resulted," he motions to the burning village. He adds as an afterthought, "He was swayed by the Maugrimites, if that wasn't obvious. I believe his body is probably laying somewhere in the village right now."

Arissa flicks a hand through her hair, apparently placated. "So it seems. I should be back in due time to tend to those who wish to return... but /this/," a gesture to the battle-ravaged town, "Seems to be done enough for now." She then backs off a few steps, quieting down...

Garthos nods at the introduction, the friendly smile readily returning to his lips. "Pleasure to meet cha." he offers. He seems pleased, at least, that the man did not rebuff that request. He pauses, glances towards the town. "If ya need an extra pair of hands, I'll help ya clean up here. There are a lot of graves to be dug and a lot of ogre corpses to burn." he offers. "Otherwise, I suppose it's time to leave."

A pause. A long pause. A longer pause.

Garthos turns to face the man. "Just one question, though. Bit unrelated, but... ya outta know an answer to this one, I think." More pause, briefer. "What's a Malik?"

The old man tilts is head somewhat curiously as he looks at Garthos, "A chieftan, more or less. Why do you ask?"

"Met one a while ago, is all." Garth says, nodding his thanks to the man. "I'll stick around a while. Call if ya need me to help with stuff." he says, and is then leaving the robed man to his thoughts - and a smelly, scaly carcass.