Under Sharn
Prospective Prospectors

Entering the seedy tavern known as the Horse Buckle (or the Nags Cog to people who don’t think Horse Buckle is steampunk enough) our adventurers look around, seeing a veritable who’s who of theives and brigands. The tavern is a hideaway for people who would rather not encounter the guards who rarely come down this low in Sharn.

Uljira, spotting some hooded men in the corner brazenly approached, leaving Vanguard and Farac behind to question the barman about any work.

As Uljira approached the table the hooded figures seemed unperturbed and instead continued conversing, it was only after he spoke that they noticed him.
“Hey, you guys got any work for some adventurers?”, Uljira was always direct, preferring not to waste time on politeness.
The hooded figure closest to him simply answered no and moved to pull his hood down to further obscure his face but a glint of red from his eye was enough of a clue as to whom these men were.
Uljira quickly thought of when he had last encountered a vampire, it hadn’t been since he ran from them in Northern Karnnath. The Emerald Claw was rumoured to have recruited some vampires into their ranks but as so few non-Karnnathians ever lived to tell the tale the rumour hadn’t spread far.

Uljira took this denial of conversation as reason enough to turn to rejoin the others. They had pressed the barkeep for information and were now questioning the crying woman in the corner.
Uljira didn’t like the look of her, perhaps it was the sound of her tears stirred a hatred in him or it was his misplaced anger at the hooded figures rejection of him but his hand moved to his mace as he approached. God, he just wanted the crying to stop.

Vanguard, being ever wary of Uljiras tendencies reacted quickly to his attempt to quiet the woman with his mace, blocking the blow before backhanding Uljira to return him to his senses.

“There’s no time for that, we have work”, said Vanguard, and with a stare commanding Uljira’s obedience.

Vanguard once more turned to the woman, urging Farac to tell her to continue.

“As I was saying, my husband is missing and the door was broken in, oh God, it was the cartel, I just know it”, she cried before breaking down into sobbing.

Farac turned to Vanguard and Uljira, rubbing his chin.

“This far down in Sharn? It’s likely the Goblins, they run this section from the sewers, basically like loan sharks. Keira’s husband here got a loan to pay off another goblin loan, idiot played a fixed game and lost. Still, the Goblins work out of the sewers and there’ll be gold a plenty from the prospectors and the Goblins themselves. I say we take it”, he leans in closer, “Even if we don’t find him, we should find money enough to make it worth the trip”.

Vanguard nodded his approval, turning to Uljira to make sure he agreed too and to stem any outburst he might have but it was not needed as Uljira rapidly agreed.

“We’ll do our best to find him, but there is the question of a reward…”, Farac explained.

“A reward? But I told you we couldn’t even pay our loans!”, she cried, looking vaguely taken aback that the prospect of a reward was all that motivated the company.

Farac stared at her before nodding slowly. He stood up and turning, walked out of the tavern, Vanguard and Uljira in tow.

“Wait, so we’re doing this for free now?”, Uljira complained,“Why couldn’t I kill her then? Her husband is probably dead anyway, it’s not like they take you down there as a gift!”

“Doing what for free? She can’t pay but the Goblins have money a plenty, we’ll get ours, Uljira, don’t worry”, Farac said, smiling as they made their way to the closest sewer opening.

“Cold as a warforged”, muttered Vanguard.

Farac would often take this as an offense, but seeing as Vanguard was himself a Warforged, he thought it best that he take it as a compliment.

Eventually they made their way to the sewer opening and upon prising the grate open were met with a hole, descending into darkness with no ladder. The group looked to one another wondering what to do. It was at this point that Farac picked up a brick and, muttering a few choice words, lit it with an eerily incandescent glow before chucking it into the hole.
The brick visibly rolled down what appeared to be a ten foot deep slanting pipe.

Upon seeing this Vanguard, not one for waiting about needlessly, positioned himself to slide down the pipe. It was at the last second however that he felt a weight upon his back, which spurred his body down the pipe. Farac was surfing Vanguard to the bottom, the screeching of metal grinding on metal was piercing and yet it only served as fuel to the rage that Vanguard felt within him at being mocked so.

Farac dismounted swiftly at the bottom, already furiously apologising but to little avail as Vanguard advanced on him, battleaxe unsheathed. Words flowed freely from Faracs lips, he knew he was in the wrong but he also knew that Vanguard wasn’t exactly the kind of person to simply let something go – apology or not.
Thankfully Uljira arrived, which is not a circumstance that someone is often thankful for, backing up Faracs story that he tripped and fell onto Vanguard and that it was not meant as a joke.
Wishing to at least see some money come to him before murdering his group Vanguard angrily grumbled, sheathed his axe and moved on. The two remained still for a second welcoming the boon of a second chance at living.

The tunnel they had fallen into was long, about 50 foot to the end and pure black. The stench of lower Sharn waste penetrated their noses, though as Farac was the only one who could smell anything Vanguard and Uljira appeared unfazed.

“Light my axe so that we may see, unless you or Char-face over there would like to lead” growled Vanguard still none too pleased.

Farac muttered a few words that Vanguard suspected weren’t entirely spells before his axe illuminated. He then turned and led the way along the path, keeping close to the right wall as he could see an opening 10 feet in front of him to the left. As they passed the opening Vanguard raised his axe high peering into the empty room and seeing the ragged cot within. He continued the trek towards the end of the tunnel. As they neared the end they came upon two large grate-like doors.

“Well, no time like the present”, Vanguard said as he raised his leg and booted open the doors. His foot crashing against the steel set the tunnel to ringing and the faintest muttering that Farac had been about to inform Vanguard of had stopped.

The silence didn’t come, the ringing of the doors was replaced by the sounds of swords being unsheathed and screeches from within the room they had opened. Suddenly torches danced to life among the walls, lighting the room so that Vanguard and co. could gaze upon whom they had disturbed. Five Goblins lined the wall, their short tusks cracked and their skins blackened by grime and filth, not that Goblins were renowned for their cleanliness. Behind the four Goblins what Vanguard knew to be a Hobgoblin stood up, he had slain enough in The Last War to recognise the danger they were in.

With few words the group went to work, they had been together only a short time but they knew each other was a competent ally in a fight. Vanguard rushed forward towards the pack of Goblins, axe raised and hungering for blood. This was his element, he was home.
As he ran arcane missiles streaked past him, burning the goblin on the last left severely enough to launch him back into the tunnel beyond – the long scream could be heard echoing up through the chasm.

Uljira was happy to fight, running forth he uttered a prayer to The Raven Queen to grant him strength, he felt that familiar feeling as the power washed over him, she had heard his prayer and responded favourably. Bringing his charred hands together he focused the divinity and let loose a pulse of holy light, blinding the Goblin on the far right and searing the eyes from his skull, as he flailed about unseeing Uljira brought his mace down in a forceful swing landing the Goblin into the pool of water from which he wouldn’t get up.

Farac couldn’t remember much but he remembered this, he knew this. It felt good to burn that Goblin, by the Sovereign Host it did. He had more plans for the Goblins who had since retreated back to the protection of the Hobgoblin. His hands started preparing the ritual and he began to mutter the incantation.

Vanguard circled with the Hobgoblin whilst deftly dodging out of the way of two Goblins who were thankfully unaccustomed to using what were clearly human sized crossbows. Their clumsy aim was sadly not clumsy enough to plug their leader with one by mistake. He decided he must bring the fight to the Hobgoblin itself and letting loose a terrible road he charged, his axe coming down on the shield of the Hobgoblin before being knocked away. Out of nowhere a clawed mace was brought down, denting in his shoulder. As Vanguard jumped back, checking the damage he could feel that he was perhaps foolish in his initial rush. The tables were about to be evened though as suddenly a blinding light erupted from the ground beneath the three Goblins in front of him. Fire rose and tore through their armour, seething through every crack, screams of agony twisted upon their faces and one fell writhing on the ground before the flames seceded and they were left quivering.

Vanguard looked back to Farac, sweat poring from his brow he weakly grinned back. Vanguard turned again to the Goblins, it would be easy now. He launched forward for a new assault on one of the weaker Goblins, hoping to pick them off to leave just him and the Hobgoblin but as he raised his axe the Goblin darted for one of the tunnels and leaped down into the depths. The Hobgoblin roared after him, but to Vanguards knowledge it didn’t sound like anger but rather a command, he knew they would have to finish this soon before more came.

Uljira, using the flames as cover, had snuck around behind the Goblin with the crossbow, as it was loosing yet another arrow aimed for Vanguard he brought his mace down in front of its neck before crushing it back towards his chest. The Goblin went limp and was down. Uljira vaguely hoped he wasn’t dead as they would need a guide if they were to navigate the sewers, people have gotten lost in smaller places.
He looked over to Vanguard, the fight was continuing but the Hobgoblin seemed too good a match for Vanguard, with only Faracs magic missiles making small dents in the Goblin armour. Uljira figured that they would have to gain an advantage and focus their efforts. He crept further around before running and launching himself into the back of the Hobgoblin toppling it into the pool of water beyond. The pool was shallow but deep enough to drown in and so landing on top of him Uljira immediately attempted to keep its face under the water. Sadly it was too strong and deftly shrugged Uljira off but it was too late for standing above it axe raised was Vanguard.
Vanguard brought the axe down and cut off the guttural scream which had begun to escape its mouth.

The battle was over, and they had won.

Weakly Uljira got up and limped over to the inert Goblin, as he leaned down to pick him up he heard footsteps from the closest tunnel.

The rest of the group heard it too and turning they saw three men emerge from the tunnel.

What did they want?

Uljira was overcome with vivid imaginings of impending rape, his loins quivering with excitement.
He turned to look down at his groin, “Easy boys, easy…”.

A father's debt.

The three adventurers of Bazzorg! found themselves facing another party of 3, their was a thick tension in the room that made the air heavy and lent itself to a weariness among the two teams. Upon examining the other party it became clear that the character in the middle, due to his rather extravagant apparel, was indeed the leader. The people to either side of him were more than likely mercenaries, they clearly were not from the same background going by their much more thuggish appearances.

Uljira was about to use his considerable diplomatic skills to address the other party and find out their standing in relation to their own but that familiar feeling passed through the nerves in his neck, causing his eye to twitch, signaling— another minor episode of mental psychosis. He moved a few steps forward, addressing the opposing party member on his right. He raised a blackened finger, outstretched at the mercenary and hissed “I know your Father” continuing with considerable commitment to the bluff in his tone “he owes me 35 odd gold and I think you should be the one to repay it. A debt is passed on at the time of one’s demise after all”. The mercenary seemed to believe the bluff but did not have time to react before the leader of their group took command of the dialogue. “Tell me, who are you petty adventurers and what is this scene before me?” motioning towards the corpses of various goblins. Uljira, clearly convincing himself now also of the debt, attempted to shift the conversation back to the matter he had conjured up but Vanguard silenced him while walking pass the other members of his group. He stood at the fore of the group now , confident of himself and gaze fixed upon the opposing party’s leader. Pharic mean while had been sizing up this character, instantly noticing that he was not a wielder of mere physical weaponry, and by this point had come to the conclusion that his powers matched his own, if not succeeded them even.

There was a small pause where only the faint drops from age worn sewer walls broke the silence, each one becoming less faint and more shrill as tensions built and their ears adapted to the silence. “We are a group of adventurers” Vanguard bellowed with a stern mechanical articulation “down here to save a man that was torn from his distraught family by the Goblin Cartel”. Upon hearing this resolution Pharic was unsure of it’s integrity but happy to hear that he would address the situation as one of help, Uljira vomited into his mouth slightly. The leader of the opposition noticed this dynamic between the team and was skeptical that Vanguard’s story was authentic. “Are you sure you’re not just down here for the gold, under the guise of helping a poor wretched woman?” he pried. Vanguard immediately replied “Of course we are here for loot also, but the life of that man is our main priority. Now tell me, who are you and what is your party here to accomplish?”. The leader of the team clearly had no interest in sharing such information and confidently replied “It is not the business of some petty 2 bit bandits that call themselves ‘adventurers’”.While saying this he noticed the unconscious Goblin laying beside pharic and, knowing that his partners could speak Goblin, seen this beast as a useful guide in the maze of tunnels that surrounded them.
Calmly he demanded Pharic to bring the inanimate Goblin to him, Vanguard and Uljira laughed at this request before noticing that Pharic was mindlessly dragging the creature towards him, much to their shock. Vanguard, noticing Pharic’s glazed eyes, thrusted the base of his great axe into Pharic’s stomach and knocked him out of it. Coming out of his temporary control, Pharic quickly reacted by throwing the sound of approaching goblins down the tunnel behind the 3 figures before him. The 2 mercenaries quickly spun around and readied their weapons but their leader was not fooled and focused his attention on the party. Taken aback, the 3 adventurers realised this man was going to be an enemy but before having time to follow that train of thought a party of 5 hobgoblins poured in from the single tunnel on the Northern wall of the room. Uljira, noticing the danger in such a party roared out “We’ll talk about this after, for now it appears as if we’ll need each-other’s assistance”. It seemed as though everyone reluctantly agreed as all 6 of them turned to face the mutual foe before them.

Out of the 5 hobgoblins 2 were Archers, wielding crossbows with superior skill and familiarity than the previous encounter’s goblins. The 3 other hobgoblins loomed over these archers with a half a foot more in height and width. They were wielding jagged swords of goblin fashioning, darkened blades upon leather bound handles with clear signs of regular use all along them, telling a history of battle and death in dried blood waiting to make a new chapter of the intruders before them. Although their craftsmanship could not rival that of more civilised races it is the formidable design of the blades, with their deliberately notched edges to take hold of their enemies flesh, that leaves them as fiendishly dangerous tools. Each of the larger hobgoblins were adorned with black armour that over time had been bathed in the blood of countless enemies, their armor covered their torso, thighs and shoulders but left the rest of their body bare showing their atramentarious jade flesh. Upon the right of one of the hobgoblins breast plate was the insigma of the Goblin Cartel.

Vanguard made his way towards a single hobgoblin warrior to his right as the Mercenaries made for the North east towards an Archer and a warrior. Pharic was weary of the mind controlling leader’s abilities and decided to keep an eye on him while taking out the enemy hobgoblins. Uljira saw the unconcious goblin as a possible nuisance at this stage, made haste towards the figure and crushed his skull with his mace while making his way towards Vanguard and Pharic’s hearing range. “We should take out 4 of the hobgoblins before turning out attentions on that psionic bastard, we’ll use the remaining Hobgoblin as a guide.” Uljira uttered in a hushed voice. The other members agreed and made their way for their respective opponents. Vanguard, having slaughtered the previous encounter’s hobgoblin, found it easier to strike these opponents that he had experience against and brought his axe down upon his opponent with surprising accuracy and finesse. The hobgoblin was taken aback at the already substantial injury he had received and lunged out at Vanguard but his anger only made him falter. Meanwhile Pharic was launching magic missiles at opponents but being distracted by the Mercenaries leader he found himself not making much contact [more like magic MISSiles, am I right? COME ON GUYS!]. The mercenaries were battling it out with the barbarian bringing his axe down upon the enemies in front of him. Unfortunately he was getting bombarded by enemies from different directions and was taking considerable damage. His ranger partner was providing support but the goblins were focusing their attentions on the barbarian to get him out of the equation quickly. The leader of the 2 mercenaries looked disappointingly at his hired barbarian and upon a click of his fingers the barbarian felt himself reinvigorated. “Surely you’re not thinking of dying here?” leered the leader while healing his employee. The 5th hobgoblin had made his way around the pool near the center of the room and was directly facing the leader now, he charged forward at him with a vigorous warcry and brought his blade down directly upon the leader’s head. It seemed as though he was done for when suddenly, as the blade appeared to make contact with his cranium, he phased and the sword accomplished nothing. The hobgoblin didn’t even have time to react before his eyes glazed over and he dropped his weapon. Standing prone the leader began to focus energy into an orb which he then rammed right into the beast’s stomach. As the hobgoblin began to regain control of his own body he reached for his blade, clearly distraught with fear, but as doing so felt the leader’s hand upon his head. He froze with sheer fear and went limp as energy began flickering around his head before it suddenly erupted into a fountain of energy and a fine mist of black blood.

Pharic had seen this and became gravely concerned over his opponent’s abilities. It was at this point that an archer, clearly fuelled by a mixture of fury and fear, launched a bolt from his cross bow, piercing the leader’s left shoulder. A look of considerable fear came across the leader’s face as he recoiled from the puncture. Pharic, whom had been keeping watch upon the leader, noticed this and began trying to figure out what this inproportionate fear could mean. By this stage Vanguard had brought the enemy before him to his demise, he pulled his axe out of the hobgoblins pierced armour and made his way towards the Archer to the left of the leader. The mercenaries were now more incontrol of their situation than before, with the barbarian bringing the blade wielding hobgoblin before him to his knees with a strike that shook his very bones. It was at this point that the ranger saw an opportunity and pulled out his most formidable move. Loading a single arrow onto the string of his bow he unleashed it with such force that it split in mid-air and hit both the archer and the blade wielding enemies in front of the barbarian. The archer dropped to it’s knees and collapsed as the arrow protruded from his left eye, his body slumped over, spasmed for a moment and then went motionless. Seeing the hobgoblin before him on the ground the barbarian brought down his great axe repeatedly in a rage and annihilated the foe on the ground, leaving a pool of blood and flesh that only the armour left their would hint at it being a humanoid beast.

By now there was only the archer that was facing vanguard remaining, the battle between them had left him already gravely injured and with this knowledge, and the death of all his allies, vanguard gave him an ultimatum “Help us navigate this series of tunnels or feel my blade. Which is it beast?”. The hobgoblin knew bits and pieces of common speech from his dealing with and kidnapping of many surface folk, as they called them. In a shrill and broken voice he pleaded “I help, no kill, I HELP!”, Vanguard rested his axe on his shoulder and turned to see a row breaking out between the mercenaries, their leader and Uljira. Uljira had been trying to convince the mercenaries to join them and defeat their leader. He claimed that the leader wasn’t trustworthy and anyone that could control minds would surely not pay those that he clearly saw below him. The ranger remained silent on the issue and the barbarian stated he would not dishonour a contract unless it was terminated by the death of the leader. Unfortunately for the barbarian his wording was picked up as disloyalty by the leader. The leader had been charging energy for sometime now and turned to Uljira saying “Now you’ll realise my full strength and why you should have known your place!” hurling a deep oceanic blue org of energy surrounded in sporadic lighting at the barbarian. The barbarian reacted and jumped out of the way with the energy mass tearing through the tunnel behind him and causing it’s structural integrity to falter and collapse. Already weary from battle the barbarian knew that the blow would have surely killed him. Pharic used this opening to launch an acid arrow at the leader damaging him significantly, although he was worried by the leader’s power Pharic knew that he couldn’t take much of a beating so a good offense would be needed if they were to have any chance against him.

Uljira, taking this turn of events as a clear indication that the barbarian would now be fighting against his leader, called for him to rush the momentarily incapacitated leader and he would use that opening to heal him and at the same time weaken the leader further. The barbarian was unsure but figured he was no match for either the leader or the adventurers on his own so accepted. The moment he came within range of the leader he felt his power return as Uljira’s prayer to the Raven Queen successfully rejuvenated him, leaving him feeling stronger than he ever recalled, he lunged at his former employer with this reinvorated might but just as his dark iron axe came down, the leader phased, the barbarian’s eye glazed over and he suddenly started making his way towards Uljira. Uljira was so taken aback that he froze for a moment leaving himself open, the barbarian seized the moment unleashing a blow on him that connected with his shoulder and caused Uljira to see red with anger. Vanguard, seeing that this wasn’t going to work out well made haste towards the leader just as an arrow from the ranger pierced the arm of the man he was approaching. He was onside now aswell and Vanguard saw this as an opening to slay the leader and win the battle. He raised his great axe, ran in with all his might and lunged at him. At the last moment of his attack Uljira shrieked “Vanguard, don’t!” but it was too late. His axe phased through the leader, Vanguard’s eyes glazed. Vanguard swung around and set his sights on Uljira. Pharic had been analysing the situation, now seeing that Uljira was the main focus of the Enemy’s attention he had an opening. He knew that magic could harm him but he didn’t have enough strength to let loose another acid arrow. He then realised he could use the leader’s own tactic of controlling someone else’s strength in his favour. Quickly murmuring a few select words, Pharic focused his attention on Vanguard’s great axe, he cast mage’s hand and readied Vanguard’s axe to attack the leader. As he unleashed the swing using both his own strength and vanguards he roared “Psionics should not underestimate the arcane!” and with that the axe burst into the chest of the leader, ripping through his flesh and breaking the mind control he had been using and ending his life. he leader stood there in shock, his eyes lost much of their life and blood trickled from the side of his mouth, he looked down in shock and muttered “This can’t be, n…not by you pathetic…”. The axe had destroyed many of his vital organs, as vanguard pulled his axe out the cavity left began to gush blood and within seconds he had bled out.

Vanguard coming to his senses thought he had killed the leader and stood proudly, only to be told by the ranger that he was actually used as a puppet like so many of his brethren by both the leader and Pharic, much to his fury. Uljira’s entire body glowed with a black aura that seemed to warp and absorb the very light around him as he prepared to take the barbarian’s life but managed to come to his senses upon seeing the corpse of the leader. Perhaps had he not also burst into laughter at Vanguard’s false sense of pride he may have still killed the barbarian but alas he did not. When everyone had realised the situation they were in they faced eachother, to make sense of what would happen between them from here on out. The adventurers had their hobgoblin to navigate with but his common speech was probably not going to be of much use to them. Uljira had ascertained that both the ranger and the barbarian spoke goblin so they would need one of them to at least talk to the goblin for a bit, if not actually come along and translate throughout the passages. At the same time there was not any trust between the two parties, and the mercenaries original reason for being down there had just been killed.


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