When the party finally emerged from under the Casrian mountains into the Exoria valley, they found themselves just north of the woods east of Dossa. The Exoria valley spread out northwards and southwards before them. From the bluff in the hills at the mouth of the hidden cave entrance, the dry riverbed that served as the southern portion of long road between the Casrian and Lageos rivers known as “the Haul” could be easily descried. To the north, the infertile land of the north Exoria valley seemed to stretch to eternity; to the south, the valley greened from the irrigation of the Lageos river glinting in the distance under the late autumnal sun. It only took another day and a half to reach the town, built on a westward bend in the river.
As the party approached the town on their second day of travel, HräshHläng was surprised at the greeting the party received as they passed by the outlying farms and orchards. Farmers and townsfolk who at first seemed to react with fear and surprise at the sight of an orc and an ettin marching towards Dossa with a pair of gnomes, one riding a badger, and a robed human, seemed to calm instantly on a closer approach, greeting the party warmly.
Upon entering the town, the party was greeted no differently. The townsfolk seemed more curious than anything else with the strange travellers.
A quick exchange with a couple of friendly visitors revealed the truth; HräshHläng and Haudhlagh were marked by the ancient gold wyrm Aurisivex of Illyra, who had appeared to them as an old man named Auris during their visit to the commonwealth.
Dossa seemed to be benefitting from a good harvest that season, and the market square was busy with locals and merchants and traders.
As small as Dossa was, it was well-equipped to take in travellers, being an important stop along the road from Illyra to Asten. Before setting out on the town to take care of their own matters, the party stopped in one of the local inns to secure board for a couple of days.
Caelum noticed that HräshHläng's weakness had not recovered since their exit from the ancient orcish mine under the Casrian mountains.
“Come with me to the temple,” he suggested, “there may be a priest who can restore your spirit to full strength; it will cost us some of our gold.”
Hräsh and Hläng consented, and joined Caelum to visit the church to Angelique in Dossa. After the priest had cast the restoration spell, HräshHläng felt much better, and prepared to leave.
“Aren't you coming?” Hläng asked Caelum. “No. You are not the only one who bore scars out of the mine. I still have some business here to attend to.”
At that HräshHläng took their leave. They had decided that they ought to buy some proper clothing; His old clothes, reduced to torn rags, were then clearly no longer sufficient.
They happenned upon a tailor named Toruius who was both particularly impressed by Aurisivex' marks, and intrigued by the challenge of fashioning some sort of adventurer's clothing for a large creature with two heads. Toruius requested HräshHläng visit the baths before fitting, however.
HräshHläng had never been to a public bath before. There was such a building in Dachoen but HräshHläng didn't think that the orcs actually did much proper bathing.
The building was a modest one; upon entering though, they noticed the air was heated, either by magical means or some conventional devising. There were a few men relaxing and washing in the heated water. HräshHläng got undressed and went to join them. Curiously enough, they all decided to leave politely as soon as he got in the water. Hräsh and Hläng decided that perhaps they wanted to give them their privacy. After he washed himself, he got out of the (now) brown water and made his way back to Toruius' shop.
It was HräshHläng's first set of clothes that included such things as buttons and, well, different pieces. Hräsh was particularly pleased with his new outfit, however it was going to take some getting used to for Hläng.
HräshHläng then went in search for the local armourer, in order to acquire a new suit of armour, as his old suit had become far too small. His search ended at the shop of a gruff man named Angustus.
“It'll take five weeks to craft you a new shirt of mail,” he replied to Hräsh's inquiry.
Hräsh's face fell. Hläng was occupying himself by examining his reflection in a polished breastplate.
“We're only going to stay two days.” HräshHläng himself had no particular personal reasons to travel to Meridian—indeed, they missed their home in the Orc's Teeth. Their brief stay in Dachoen was far too short, and they yearned to return, though they knew it would not be safe, not yet. If they decided not to go to Meridian, Haudhlagh might stay with them, but the others would not. Besides, it was not only their gold that was buying this suit.
“I'll tell you what,” Angustus offered, “Travelers sell me now and then a suit of armour from a fire giant they've killed. I usually use them for materials, but I think I still have a fairly complete shirt of mail. I can let out the neck, and make some other adjustments to fit you.”
“How long will that take?” Hräsh asked.
“I could do it in a couple days,” Angustus replied.
Pleased with the arrangement for getting new armour, HräshHläng decided to look around some of the other shops.
They stepped into a weaponsmith's shop, and began to look around at the different weapons. When HräshHläng got to the back of the shop, they noticed a couple racks holding a selection of large swords, hammers, and maces.
“I thought you'd want have a look at those,” the shopkeeper interjected as Hräsh and Hläng started eyeing the larger weapons.
“Why do you have all these large weapons?” Hläng asked.
“Rather fequently, travellers up the valley encounter and dispatch some giants. Sometimes they've got good quality weapons, and they bring them here and sell them to me because they can't use them.”
Hräsh found a master crafted scimitar he liked, and Hläng found a similar quality warhammer.
“We'll see if we can get some gold from our friends and come back tomorrow,” Hräsh said.
The day was getting on and HräshHläng went back to the inn to find Haudhlagh.