Tales of the Northern Regions

Orcish Intrigue

Or, "How The Party Arrested A Racist Wizard And Killed A Necromancer"

Naturally, as one does when a companion is turned into solid rock, the party immediately sought out a cure to Markus’ condition. Following a friendly guard, they ended up at the door to a wizard’s laboratory. The wizard, among the screeches and hoots of his varied pet selection, agreed to help the party out for a favor. He brewed a cure, which was spread around Markus’ skin. The wizard, negotiating payment, asked a small favor of the party: that they track down a nearby orc encampment, killing them, and returning the magic crystals they had allegedly stolen from him. By midnight Markus had healed and was back to his normal self, so the party departed town in the morning and found the orc camp with relative ease. However, after Orik was tossed over the wall for a quick look, they realized all was not as they seemed. The orc camp was not filled with warriors, but rather with a small family and some friends. They were surprisingly courteous with the party, and after some negotiation, agreed to exchange some crystals in return for some seeds for crops and a good word around Jertal. When the party returned to town, they decided to investigate the strange discrepancies in their quest, and asked around town. They came to the conclusion that the wizard, who told them the orcs had stolen the crystals, was lying, and that the orcs had bought them rightfully at the local arcane store. Not knowing the wizard’s true intentions, they managed to gain the help of the local law enforcement and arrested the wizard. However, a well-placed magic missile and some slight of hand, and the wizard escaped through a portal, out of the guards’ hands and away from the party. A cursory search of his laboratory revealed his intentions: to use the magic crystals in some way to incur disaster upon the town.
They returned to the orc encampment and gave them the news. However, soon after, Planus’ paladin senses started to tingle, and the next morning the party found the wizard. He was washed up on the river shore, soggy and bare of everything save for his robes and a hat. His flesh was also rotted, and he was clearly dead. That, coupled with plumes of smoke in the direction of Jertal, signaled something was very, very wrong. The party rode hard and fast, but discovered a town set aflame, and Dumrus, cousin of Orik, slain in the streets. A vicious battle ensued between the party and a squadron of undead soldiers, as well a powerful necromancer who intervened at the last moment. Outnumbered and out-magicked by the mysterious mage, the battle finally ended due to the helpful collapse of the wizard’s tower, a well armed lieutenant, and the Wyvern Riders of the King’s Army. Unfortunately, the army was too late. The town was reduced to charred rubble, and its inhabitants suffered the same fate or were resurrected as zombies, only to be cut down once more by soldiers come to save them. Jertal is no more, and the unknown yet terrifying plans of the necromancer Ner’zhul are seemingly being put into motion.

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