(most recent listed first)
Banished (Again) (Adventure 21)
Tea and Liches (Adventure 20)
On One Condition (Adventure 20)
Tower Shield of Faith (Adventure 18)
Beacon of Hope (Adventure 17)
The Isle of Zesil (Adventure 16)
On The Channel Druia (Adventure 15)
Trust is a Sticky Thing (Adventure 14)
On the East Echer Sea (Adventure 13)
Drunk with Paranoia (Adventure 13)
The Legend of Beroroen (Adventure 13)
This is Only a Test (Adventure 12)
The Play's the Thing (Adventure 10)
Under Construction (Adventure 10)
The Fate of Orcs (Adventure 9)
After the Battle of Cormuk (Adventure 9)
A Grave Matter (Adventure 9)
Saelchigh Sthigae (Adventure 8)
Plaque (Adventure 8)
Coming Home (Adventure 8)
Lelorghagh's Brew (Adventure 8)
The Lady of Hope (Adventure 7)
Under Athal City (Adventure 7)
Prayers for Polemus (Adventure 6)
Dossan Errands (Adventure 5)
Growing Pains (Adventure 5)
One of Hräsh’s earliest memories was the warmth of the furs his parents wrapped around him in their winter lair in the Coal Mountains of Sáregris in the Orc’s Teeth archipelago. Hläng, on the other hand, remembered the cold wet air that assaulted his nostrils that early spring morning Hräsh dragged them out of the warmth of the cave that fateful morning.
“Where’re we going, Hräsh?”
“We gotta find MomMama.”
“Where is she?”
Hräsh didn’t answer. Hläng wiped his dripping nose on the back of his hand as the two of them collectively stumbled down the hillside, vainly tracking their mother, barely a year old. How were they to know that when ettins mate, the parents only stay with their young long enough to see them through the first winter.
After a couple hours, the young ettin rested on a fallen tree.
“I’m hungry, Hräsh.”
“I know, Hläng, I feel it too.”
“He’s gone too. He wasn’t in the cave this morning when I woke up.”
“Maybe they’re coming back, Hräsh.”
Hräsh didn’t answer.
“I wanna go back to the cave.”
Hräsh pulled a twig off the log they were sitting on. “Yeah, let’s go back.”
The ettin slowly hiked his way back up the rocky slope to the cave he was born in. A light cold spring drizzle began to fall.
HräshHläng’s parents never did return, but they had left him with enough food to sustain him another couple months until he could go out and hunt for himself. At first the young ettin hunted rats and squirrels, and sometimes even birds. As he got older he moved on to larger animals; bobcats, badgers, and the like. The ettin lived in that cave for another two and a half years with only himself to talk to, until one morning a nearby commotion got his attention.
“Hräsh, we should go check it out.”
“No, Hläng, it’s not our business.”
“But I want to find out what’s going on.”
Hräsh paused to listen to the sounds of battle coming from the valley below. “It sounds dangerous. We’re safe up here.”
Further argument from Hläng resulted in the decision to finally go down and investigate. By the time they reached the valley floor, the battle had moved on farther down the river. The road was littered with bodies of dead orcs and humans. HräshHläng had never seen humans before, but the orcs were familiar. Perhaps it was the fading memories of his parents trading coin and diamonds with passing orcs for hides, metal objects, and other useful items that prompted him to search some of the fallen and recuperate their monies.
“We shouldn’t stay too long, Hläng, they’re probably coming back.”
“But they’re dead…”
“Whoever killed them isn’t. And they probably want this gold and silver as much as we do.”
“Who are these creatures? We should find the orcs and find out what is going—”
“Wait, hear that?” Hräsh interrupted, and he dived them down the bank and lay close to the ground.
“What is it, Hräsh?”
After a moment of waiting in hiding, an orc came running down the road. He stopped in the middle of the battlefield, and looked around, sniffing the air. After surveying the dead, he quickly regained his pace and continued on down the road.
HräshHläng picked himself up once he was out of ear and eye shot.
“Let’s follow him, Hräsh.”
“Just a second, let’s pick up that sword.”
“What do you want that for?” Hläng asked, as they walked over and removed a sword and scabbard from a fallen human.
“It might come in handy.” Hräsh replied, as they tied the belt around their waist. He then ran off down the road, following the orc.
As the sun sank from the sky HräshHläng could make out an orangey-red glow over the horizon. He continued down the road until it crested over a hill and he was stopped cold at the sight of a panorama he had never imagined.
The hills gave way and sank down beneath the waves of the coast. In the distance he could see water stretch until it met the sky, interrupted on either side by the mountains and hills of the peninsulas surrounding the gulf on either side. The sky was darkening purple, and the sea was a silvery grey. At the edge of the land was a fortified port city, ships bobbing in the harbour, flames leaping from some of the taller buildings, the light dancing across the nearby waves.
“What is it, Hräsh?”
Hräsh answered by taking the first step down the road, Hläng didn’t need any convincing.
When they reached the city, there were more dead humans outside. They looted one more body but then couldn’t resist getting closer. The south city gates were broken. Inside there was shouting and screams coming from everywhere. The place was crawling with orcs. There were dead humans in the streets, and live humans being tied up and dragged away. In the chaos, nobody seemed to notice him. The humans were defeated and weren’t fighting back, and not being human himself, the humans didn’t seem concerned with him at all.
As it turned out, two neighbouring orc tribes had allied together to take the human town of Tayoun. The chief of the Ochaboedhgrad-hordh had been killed in battle, so chief Glornagh of the Groenororn-hordh became the new Lord of Tayoun, or Dachoen as the orcs now called it. The surviving humans who had not fled in time were entered into slavery, and with the orcs rebuilt the keep and city for Lord Glornagh.
HräshHläng lived in the city for two years. The orcs tolerated him and the hand-full of other humanoids and giants that populated the city along with the orcish majority. The orcs called him ChráschChlaeng, and sometimes SlorchChlaeng, translating Hräsh’s name into orcish. He spent much of his time with adolescent orcs, as he was about their height and size, even though he was a few years younger than most. Many had trouble understanding him, as not all of them knew the giant and goblin language words he peppered his speech with.
He quickly associated himself with one young orc in particular, Haudhlagh, who also spoke giant and so had few problems understanding HräshHläng’s speech. The orcs didn’t coddle their children, and the young orcs were expected to do a lot of work and military training. HräshHläng found that he had to tow the line along with the other orcs to survive in the city.
Lord Glornagh had appropriated the three largest ships that were in the harbour at the time of the invasion, and they became part of the new Dachoen fleet. Dachoen quickly began to prosper conducting trade with ports on other islands, visitors from Karalon usually seeking diamonds or other treasures unique to the Orc’s Teeth, and raids on shipping trade travelling the seas.
When HräshHläng was 6 years old, and only five and a half feet in stature, he was enlisted along with Haudhlagh and his colleagues to serve on one of the ships, renamed the Esichoerísigh, under the command of Captain Laugragh. He was fitted for a chain shirt by the city’s armoury, and his longsword was sharpened. He was posted to the crow’s-nest, as he could look in two directions at the same time.
Early in his privateering career, the Esichoerísigh sailed into a storm while pursuing a private trade ship on course for Aire. The storm drove them west, and the waves escalated until the ship was capsized.
The next day, Hläng awoke to find himself washed up on a sandy shore, atop a portion of the broken ship’s deck.
“Hräsh, wake up…”
“What?” Hräsh coughed, spitting sand out of his mouth.
“We’re on land, we made it to land.”
The ettin dragged himself to his feet and surveyed the land. The beach seemed to stretch roughly north-south, and was sandy up to the high-water mark, where it abruptly met a dense jungle, whose tall trees made it impossible to sight the outlying terrain.
“We should try to find a hill,” Hräsh explained, “somewhere we can get a good look of this place and find out where we are and how big this island is.”
The ettin bushwhacked his way into the wilderness, trying to find a rise in the land. After several hours, Hläng spotted the shadow of a rocky outcropping through the trees. Finally after a couple hours working his way towards the hill, HräshHläng managed to climb the summit and take a survey of this new land.
The coastline to the west stretched to the north and south as far as HräshHläng could see. The jungle seemed to be a at least a few days hike across. In the hazy distant north-east the peaks of a mighty mountain range stretched into the sky.
“Something tells me we’re not in the Orc’s Teeth any more, Hräsh…”
“Let’s head for those mountains, Hläng.”
“We should stay here for the night, Hräsh, it’ll take a few days to get out of the jungle.”
HräshHläng climbed back down the hill and went hunting for dinner. He also found a spring near the bottom of the hill and quenched his thirst.
The next day, he made out in the jungle to the north-east. He travelled for two more days, stopping only to hunt, eat, drink, and rest.
Early in the third day he was walking through a thinner part of the jungle, realising that he was probably only two more days from the jungle’s edge, when Hläng heard a noise.
“What’s that, Hräsh?”
“What’s….? —someone’s up ahead…”
HräshHläng snuck ahead quietly. It wasn’t long before he spotted a couple of hill giants. Suddenly he found himself hoisted up by his mail.
“What’ve we got here? Hey Gäshen, Lehem.. I found something!”
“Let me go! Let me-” Hläng protested.
“Shut-up, Hläng!” Hräsh warned. The other two hill giants walked over.
“Lookee, Gäshen, I think he’s an ettin!”
“He’s a young one, Smohli,” one of the giants observed.
“What should we do with him?” another asked.
“Do you want to keep him, Gäshen?”asked the first giant, apparently named Smohli.
“Does he have anything useful?” The giant named Gäshen asked.
“He has a nice mail shirt, won’t fit any of us though. And a rusty sword,” he answered, pulling out HräshHläng’s sword.
“Hey, that’s mine!” Hläng exclaimed.
“No Hläng, it’s mine, halfwit!” Hräsh argued
“What’s your names, ettin?” Gäshen asked them.
“How many years have you got, Hräsh, Hläng?” Gäshen asked.
“I’ve seen six winters,” Hräsh replied.
“You’re quite the young ’un,” Gäshen went on, “do you want to join our gang?”
Hräsh slapped his had over Hläng’s mouth. “Yes,” he answered quickly. Even though the word he actually uttered was the orcish word “rae,” the ettins seemed to understand.
“Good enough for me. Smohli, put him down,” Gäshen ordered.
Smohli dropped HräshHläng back into the underbrush. “Come on, ettin, let’s get going.”
Lehem turned to their leader, asking, “what do we want him for? He doesn’t even know how to hold his blade.”
“Ettins grow up fast, Lehem,” Gäshen replied, “don’t you know it’s good luck to have an ettin around?”
The troupe marched for the rest of the day and then set up camp.
After they were done eating, Hläng suddenly spoke up.
“What’s that? Hräsh, do you hear that?”
“What?” Gäshen asked, drawing his weapon, and signalling the others, “what do you hear?”
“Three,” Hläng answered, “I think, that way,” pointing in the direction he was alerted.
Lehem picked up a nearby rock, and looks in the direction Hläng indicated
“There!” He shouted, hurling his rock in that direction.
Smohli quickly picks up the young ettin and tosses him behind the camp into the underbrush.
“This’ll be no fight for a young ’un!” He shouts after him.
Gäshen rushes and charges the ogre mage, who roars out as Lehem’s rock bounces off his shoulder. As suddenly as that, the ogre vanished. Before Gäshen could turn around, another ogre leapt out of the sky behind him, and slashed at him with his sword. Gäshen roared with rage, turning, and swung at the ogre mage with his club, landing a painful blow across his chest. Gäshen immediately followed with a hard connect to the ogre mage’s left temple. HräshHläng could hear the sickening crack of the solid club ringing the ogre mage’s skull from where he was crouched in the underbrush. He could see the silhouette of the monster’s frame consequently drop to the jungle floor. Lehem and Smohli ran up to where Gäshen was standing over the mage’s body.
“You fools!” Gäshen shouted at them, “there’s still—”
Gäshen was interrupted as a freezing blast of cold air swept over the three of them. The source of the attack materialised up in the air, off to the side; another ogre mage in mid-flight. Gäshen and Lehem each leapt to either side, but Smohli only vainly tried to block the freezing blast throwing his arms in front of his face. The giants quickly resorted to tossing boulders at the flying ogre mage. Three boulders connected to the flying ogre mage, dropping it from the sky.
“Like stoning crows!” Lehem exclaimed. As soon as he did, another blast of cold struck the trio from the other direction, as the third ogre mage materialised into view. This time the roles were reversed as Smohli managed to duck away from most of the blast, as he had just happened to have glanced behind him right after the other ogre mage dropped. Another three boulders went flying into the air, but only Smohli’s connected. The ogre mage consequently disappeared.
“Great,” Smohli complained, “now what?”
“We should burn the magi,” Gäshen asserted, “or they will rise again.”
Suddenly the ogre mage reappeared behind Gäshen and tried to slash him with his sword, ineffectively. The ogre quickly flew up in the air to avoid Gäshen’s club. Again, three boulders chased the flying ogre mage. The ogre mage cried in pain as the boulders crashed into him, then dissolved into a hazy mist that wafted off into obscurity.
“He’ll be back,” Gäshen muttered under his breath, “quick, let’s burn these bodies.”
HräshHläng got out of the bushes and helped the giants loot the ogres’ bodies and drag them towards the camp fire.
It was in this way HräshHläng proved himself valuable to the gang of hill giants. They left that jungle before the ogre mage came back to settle the score.
The giants trained Hläng how to coördinate using a weapon at the same time as Hräsh, using a war-hammer looted from some passing adventurers.
On their way through the wastelands between the jungles, the gang unwittingly camped too near to a Ludimarite patrol route. As they were about to head out in the morning, Lehem spotted their approach in the distance.
“There’s twenty-four of them. Half of them look like zombies.” He said.
“What are zombies?” Hläng asked.
“Walking dead,” Gäshen explained, “The followers of Ludimar make them from the fallen to fight for them.”
Hräsh thought back to the aftermath of the battles on his home island in the Orc’s Teeth. He imagined the dead rising and fighting against them, realising the terrible power of such a resource.
When the patrol came close enough, the giants attacked, hurling stones. Though the patrol was quick to retreat from the attack of the three hill giants, one of the cultists managed to curse Lehem with blindness.
The gang of giants continued on, despite Lehem’s blindness, and a year later, HräshHläng finally climbed the feet of those mountains he saw on his first day in Mazavi. They came to trade the plunder they earned in the lands below with the denizens of the mountains and the caverns below them.
During one of their travels through particularly deep caverns, while the giants were battling a pair of earth elementals, the floor between HräshHläng and the giants collapsed, separating HräshHläng from the group, leaving him to wander the underground alone. After HräshHläng had eaten all his meat, he started to make his way towards the surface, looking for food.