The morning after Wiri hired Lotheric, Ville, Ulipa and Alex on a hit contract, they were packed up and walking out of the inn on the Bolitus pavilion–when Barkar, flanked by a huge bugbear and four beefy orcs start jogging toward them. Everyone drops their backpacks and draws their weapons–but unfortunately the party gets separated into two groups.
Barkar and two orcs attack Ville and Alex and the bugbear and other two orcs gang up on Lotheric. The fighting is heavy–Lotheric is unusually slow this morning and nearly hurts Ulipa when he over-swings and misses the bugbear. In contrast: orcs are fresh and cunning, landing piercing and stunning blows to Lotheric and Ville with brutal accuracy. These orcs must be representing for all their fallen comrades, they hit so hard!
Lotheric barely has time to wipe the sweat dripping into his eyes before he is struck again and nearly toppled. This is preposterous. Time for bigger guns, Lotheric says to himself. Putting his left hand to his right, he twists his Ring of the Ram into position and fires a mighty blast into the bugbear–to great effect!
Lotheric has a bit of time to take a few steps back and Ulipa makes it back to him an restores him somewhat. At about half his energy, Lotheric looks over his shoulder and finds that the bugbear, shoved many yards away and tumbling an orc in the process, has gotten up and is shaking himself like a dog to fling the dust off. That orc that should have been killed by a huge bugbear falling on it is nearly back up as well. What the hell?
A little breather is better than no breather, so Lotheric grips his greatsword again. He has a second to look over at Ville, who’s taken a viscious blow and is down, with Alex and Tiberious standing over him, fighting off Barkar and the other two orcs. We’re not winning, Lotheric mumbles to himself. This is bad. Everyone is injured and–amazingly Tiberious lands a killing blow on an orc!
But we’re still out-matched, Lotheric mumbles, and swings at the bugbear again. Finally, a solid hit! But an orc is behind him and strikes at the same time. And Lotheric hears a scream as Tiberious is hit. Ulipa is hit trying to get close to Lotheric. Things are going so rough he barely notices the sound of horse hooves and the jingle of new swords.
Their bouncer orc that introduced them to Wiri was at his side, parying blows from the other orcs! And a half elf ranger he hadn’t seen for months was at his other side–where did he come from? No time to talk…
But the orcs kept hewing at them and the bugbear wasn’t showing any signs of wearing down. Tiberious and Alex were retreating and draging Ville to the mules, but Barkar and an orc were still hewing at them as well. Everyone was going defensive.
Two arrows sang through the air and stuck the orcs before Lotheric, followed by a rough voice, “Hands off! Those people are mine!” commanded Wiri. He stood with his hand on a short sword, and four rouges half orcs on either side of him, two of them with longbows and two brandishing longswords. Before the moment of confusion was over, Wiri was already standing over Barkar, brandishing his sword at his neck. “This one is mine.”
Wiri’s crew pushed away Barkar’s hirelings and they turned and fled, the bugbear crashing right through the leatherworker’s tent to many curses from the vendor.
“Lotheric!” Wiri announced, “That was disappointing. I’m going to have to reduce your rate. I expected more of you and your crew. Don’t hang around here, go do your task, and return promptly–I want to see evidence of your task soon!.”
Lotheric sighed. Day is off to poor start. Getting harassed by evil crime lord is embarassing…
And the team gathered their packs and headed south, looking forward to a short night of rest halfway to Anitus. The offer of 800 gold for their job getting cut somewhat–how much? Very frustrating. If they don’t develop a reputation for working with the crime lords in the cairn towns, though…how will they learn where the evil power in the region actually resides?