The Spiderbot sprinted through the tangled marsh, skipping over the muddy road that crawled through the Golden Savanna, approaching the leaning towers of the Amber City. Closest buildings are also the newest, crafted by both the Aati and the Clanless from clay and straw, these sturdy and spacious huts are built in a grid formation, and well maintained. The truly chaotic nature of the cities ramshackle construction becomes readily apparent as soon as the adventurers passed these clay houses, into the riot of haphazard slums and shanties that crowd the weathered passage as it flows deep into the ruined city.
The machine broke from the treeline, shocking the gathered host of Unmarked. Unphased, the metallic arachnid plowed forward, carefully avoiding the mass of gathered Orcs, who stood around huge bonfires. The creature skittered towards the center of town, where an open area sat before the frozen gates of the Amber Dome. The creature continued, full tilt, never slowing, as a hidden door opened in the ground ahead, revealing a concealed portal leading to darkness below. The spiderbot descended into this opening without skipping a beat, following a smooth ramp into a cavernous mechanical bay that stretched onward farther than the eye could follow. As the great construct began to power down, the gargantuan circular door silently closed behind it.
The group disembarked from their trusty robot steed, after ensuring that the creature had indeed been deactivated. Old machinery hummed to life as lights slowly flickered on, one by one. The group searched their immediate surroundings, finding an intact engineering station showing signs of recent use, and the journal left behind by its previous operator. Phil hastily pocketed the journal, while Ryn began exploring the seemingly endless rows of mechanical bays, hoping to find valuable tech salvage within. He stumbled upon the activator for the entrance, and reopened the door before venturing deeper into the underground ruins.
Cylis somehow pissed off Phil, who wandered among the throngs of gathered clanless, hoping for gossip or information, or maybe just a breath of fresh air. At the edge of the bonfires he found an unlikely pair of Aati, an elderly arthritic Stork sniper named Cuork, and a recently maimed bear warrior named Bron. Phil struck up a conversation with these military men, while Cylis briefly introduced Wog and Nurl to the mechanical bay, and the robotic creature that bore them here.
Nurl pulled Cylis aside as curious Unmarked Orcs poured into the garage, confiding his fears in the young mist-shaper. Nurl informed Cylis that most of the Aati and able bodied Orcs had been drawn away from the city on military business a few days earlier, and that some young hunters had gone missing to the north, near the Deep Badger Den. After this brief discussion, Cylis used his powers over the mist to assist a somewhat self-conscious Nurl in delviering a rousing speech to the Orcish mob, bringing hope to a fearful people.
As the speech came to its conclusion, Phils sharp ears were able to pick out the sounds of a galloping creature, barely discernable over the roaring crowd. He surged to his feet, quickly knocking an arrow, as a lone gazelle stamped into the firelight, its huge eyes wide with fright. Behind the creature, securely fastened by a crude rope was a badly beaten clanless boy, barely clinging to consciousness. The delirous youth mumbled incoherencies about his lost companions, seemingly lost in fever.
Cylis and Phil quickly attended the poor boy, administering to his wounds and forcing an antipoison down the boys parched throat. The Clanless youth struggled to speak, but could only mutter garbled warnings about the treeline. Cylis used his looking glass to scope out the eastern road, where he spied a long line of figures at the edge of the overgrown Marsh. Despite the distance, Phil and Cylis were easily able to discern the clan markings of the Laughing Serpents, who appered to be engaged in some sort of crude jousting tourney.
Cylis watched this event with intent, and soon realized that the cruel northern raiders were toying with the remaning clanless children, forching the h hapless prisoners to joust with poison-tipped spears. Cylis witnessed the first unlucky contestant fall from his hyena-viper, twitching uncontrollably.
The gathered host surged out of the Amber City, with Ryan and Cylis leading the charge. The enraged defenders covered ground quickly, as Ryan and Cylis drew far ahead of the slower Orcish mob. Ryan roared out a challenge to the Serpents leader as he raged, barreling into the surprised raiders, as Cylis summoned the spirits of the Great Grey Leapers from within the Mist. Cylis’ vaporous construct took shape among the surprised Serpents, who were knocked from their feet by a single powerful swipe of the creatures massive fist.
Ryn called upon the eldritch powers of his dragon blood, and grew to the size of a dragon itself, taller than many of the Marsh trees and dwarfing the frightened Orcish raiders. He charged into the mass of reavers, tossing them about like a child might with his toys. As he called upon the powers of his blood, Ryn heard a faint voice, warning him of imminent danger, but the furious Lobex was lost to his rage, and these warnings fell on deaf ears. Phil charged into melee atop his trusty steed, firing arrow after arrow into the mounted leader, who was thrown clear from his saddle by the force of the arrow. Phil set about calming the riderless Hyena Viper, who seemed entranced by the Aati. As the players dispatched with the Serpents, Cylis and Ryn both noticed movement concealed amongst the overgrown swamp. As Cylis peered into the dense undergrowth, he noticed dozens of camouflaged Orcs standing motionless by a large metallic structure covered by leaves and debris.
Cylis feared these concealed Orcs were the true threat, and set about warnign the approaching clanless defenders before the trap could be sprung. Sensing that their plan had failed, the concealed Orcs attacked, firing an anciant technological weapon at the advancing Clanless. This devastating device produced a beam of solid energy, capable of demlishing all in its path. The first hasty shot veered wide away from the approaching Orcs, melting a wide swath of grasslands, as the energy beam dissapeared into the distance.
Cylis sprang into action, summoning another vaporous leaper behind the obscured cannon. The desperate pilot frantically attempted to flee the machine, but the beast was faster, and crushed the horrified orc in a looping double-fisted blow. The remaning Orcs turned to the mist-elemental in horror, as the vaporous beast casually smashed them to the ground with its mammoth fists. Phil approached the remaning mounted Orc, a hapless Clanless who was desperately trying to reign the vicious beast in. The experienced woodsman had little difficulty taming the beast, as the frightened boy clambered to safety.
Meanwhile, the insistent voice in Ryns head grew ever louder, as it attempted to steer the raging barbarian towards the garage. The defenders suddenly heard the familiar voice of Wog in their minds, worridly informing the players of an unsettling scratching noise issuing from the walls of the subterranean mechanical bay.
Cylis was the first to react, flying with great speed back towards the Amber City, fearing the words. Ryn followed immediately, trusting that Phil would have little difficulty vanquishing the few remaining Orcs at the treeline, as the Marksman placed another casual shot through the eye of a charging raider.
As Ryan and Cylis hustled back towards the tarage, they both noticed furtive figures creeping out from the Souther Swamps. These skulking amphibians were quickly identified as the same Boggards who had long plagued denizens of the Amber City. These marauders moved slowly, as they took measure of the battle at hand. The heroes arrived at the garage to the sound of screams, as frighteened orcs fled in terror up the steep ramp to the surface.
ylis descended into the depths of the subterranean garage, followed by the monstrous Lobex, who had grown to such a size that his massive shaggy head nearly brushed the cieling. Frightened cries of fleeing orcs filled the vast chamberas the two heroes searched for the source of distress. Dust hung low in the garage, creating an obscuring brown haze that flowed silently from a recent tunnel in the stone wall. As the heroes watched, a huge form snuffled and shuffled through the hole, pushing aside great boulders with a single swipe of its muscular claws. Patchy, shaggy fur covered the badger-like crature, whose shoulders stood easily higher than a full grown Orc. The creature let out a huge shuddering snort, swivelling its ugly mole like visage towards Cylis. Another such creature followed behind it, and in the distant tunnel, Ryn and Cylis heard the horrifyingly familiar chitinous scuttling of the Skitterswarm.
Ryn charged headlong into the fray, attempting to draw the attention of these savage beasts. Cylis spoke anciant words of power, calling on the elemental might of the Mist to form a great wall of flame, a roaring inforno that washed over the skitterswarm down into the tunnel and beyond. The flame illuminated more forms deeper within the crude stone passage, two Orcs dressed in the vaunted Smolderscale armor, wielding enormous bone halberds. Behind, dressed in luxuriant crimson robes and leanding heavily on a gnarled staff was Smolderpriest Grumsh himself, a look of apoplectic rage on his scarred visage. Grumsh watched in fury as his precious Skitterswarm burned to ash, though the flame washed over he and his cohorts without effect. The Northern priest shared one last hate-filled glare with the heroes, before fading back into the flame-shrouded tunnel, as his heavily armored warriors charged into the garage, covering his retreat.
Meanwhile, Ryn was engaged in a titanci battle with the savage Deep Badgers, one of which had latched into the Lobex’ fur, grappling the huge Lobex. Ryn managed to dislodge the beast, but not before its companion dug a deep furrow into Ryns midsection, spraying blood. The Smolderpriests enchantment faded from the Badgers as Ryn fell to the floor, and the bewildered creatures scurried to the exit. Cylis managed to administer a healing salve to the Lobex, just int ime for Ryn to protect him from the furious attacks of the remaining Smolderdrake warriors, whose eyes burned with eldritch flame. The injured Lobex traded blow for blow with these barbarians, matching his diamond sharp claws to their enchanted armor, and finding his metal far stronger. Ryn found an opening, and sent the larger Orcs weapon flying as he summarily disemboweled the Orcish barbarian. His companion took the brief advantage, hacking the ichor-soaked Lobex with his bone Halbard, and the Wolfish barbarian slumped to the floor, blood leaking from many wounds.