After winning the battle, Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf take stock of themselves, their army, and their winnings. Ygvard realizes that he used magic in the presence of a Legate, Voldash, but hopes in the chaos of the battle that Voldash was not able to pinpoint the source. Eirik eyes the well-made chain shirt left behind by Voldash and decides its best use is for him to wear it. The men decide to return to Halderton to give them the news before returning back to Alucard with the hobgoblins.
When the men arrive back in Halderton, they get a mixed reception. Tianna and her friends consider them heroes, but the elders believe they've doomed the town to an even worse fate than they were about to experience. Deirik honestly doesn't care at this point whether it's a stay of execution or if the town was saved, as his outlook on life since dealing with his family's (especially his grandmother's) death has been bleak, dismissive toward others, and solely focused on revenge on Torvald the Betrayer. So the men decide that they should simply move on and deliver the hobgoblins to Lord Krogan.
It takes some time to make it all the way back to Alucard, but with an entire army at their backs, they have no issues the entire way. When they reach Alucard, Eirik reiterates to the hobgoblin sergeants that he answers to Lord Krogan and they are to be his troops. The hobgoblins acknowledge this fact, though they still see leadership in Eirik as well, and prepare their troops to be presented to Krogan. The Men of Mjarn then meet up with Krogan and give him the news. Krogan is quite pleased with the results of the mission, and accepts the loss of the seven hobgoblins who died in battle as necessary to achieve the goal.
He also notices Eirik's shiny new armor and asks where it came from. Eirik informs Krogan that it was retrieved from Voldash's tent. Krogan immediately begins casting, causing the men to shrink back from him, and then stares at Eirik. Nodding to himself, Krogan then tells the men they should rest up in town for a couple days. He excuses them all except Eirik who he holds back and then informs him in private that the armor is magical, which confirms the rumors Krogan had heard about Voldash and his skill set, and that Eirik may wear it but does not own it.
After their couple days of rest, Krogan informs the men that he is taking a force of orcs to Halderton to claim the land as part of his territory. He wants the Men of Mjarn to go ahead of the army and apprehend the leaders of the resistance so he may take them as prisoners, claiming the land from Voldash by crushing the rebellion that Voldash could not. The men realize this means turning on the people, the kids, they just saved, but they have their orders. They request Krogan not kill the rebels but simply sell them into slavery, to which Krogan agrees.
Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf grab their gear and head back into the Forest of Randencs to go back to Halderton. As they trek through, they encounter three ogres bearing greatclubs who seem intent on killing the Men of Mjarn. Boldulf immediately starts stealthily circling around them to flank, Eirik hefts his greatsword, but Deirik holds them all back and asks the ogres what they want. The ogres, a bit surprised they get to make demands instead of just kill, tell the men that they're hungry and want meat. To spare the men's lives, they require three large deer, one for each ogre. Deirik accepts their terms and sends Eirik and Boldulf out to hunt these deer. It takes hours of effort, but finally, the last deer is delivered and the ogres allow the men to continue on their way. After they're clear, they discuss whether it would've simply been easier to kill the ogres. Deirik explains that he doesn't want to throw his life away for something so pointless, so if there's another way to go, he's going to take it. While the others don't necessarily agree, they do let it drop.
After several more days of travel, the men safely arrive at Halderton. When they do so, they go straight to Tianna's family's homestead to speak with her. Tianna greets them at the door and they begin telling her the news when Tianna's mother again comes between her daughter and the men. She attempts to intimidate them and throw them out of her house, but the men calmly explain that the only way this entire town does not get crushed by Lord Krogan is if Tianna and several of her friends who "lead the rebellion" turn themselves in. Tianna's mother refuses, shouting and crying at the men to get out, that she and her family would leave before Tianna could be taken. The men point out that this would be a death sentence for the hundreds of others in town, and would make their family hunted outlaws. After a long, difficult discussion, Tianna slips out from behind her mother and realizes that she must make this sacrifice to save not only her family, but everyone in the town for whom she cares.
Tianna tells the men that she should be the one to retrieve her friends, and takes her leave of the men to do so. The men decide to examine what's left of the orcish barracks in town so they can prepare any items within to include in their report to Krogan. When they get inside, they find it is untouched, still full of the orcs armor and weapons. As they continue to the basement of the building, Deirik, first in, turns the corner and comes face to face with an elven woman who immediately starts casting a spell! Deirik, caught by surprise, fails to fight off the effects and suddenly "recognizes" this Elven woman as his best friend. As the other men come down the stairs, the woman, who says her name is Nylia, tells Deirik to protect her. Deirik steps in front of her and keeps her and the other men a safe distance apart, explaining to Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf that this woman is his best friend, Nylia, and she means no harm. As soon as she is safely out of the barracks, she again casts a spell and disappears from sight.
When Tianna returns with her friends, she does let slip that Merrick, the town's Master Leatherworker, may have been a point of contact for the Elves in the past. She also lets the men know that those friends that are now in attendance, a total of 5 of them, have agreed to come with the men. However, she could not bring herself to tell them why. Deirik takes Tianna aside and lets her know that he will do his best to save them from their fates if given the opportunity to do so, because he knows how hard a life of slavery is, but they can never return to Halderton. Tianna lets Deirik know she appreciates his efforts and hopes that he can make good on that promise. Deirik then plans with the others to wait until Krogan has sold Tianna and friends into someone else's custody and attack that caravan to set them free, to which they all agree.
Within a few days, Krogan and his orcs arrive at Halderton and are met outside of town by the Men of Mjarn and Tianna and her "rebels." When they see Krogan, Tianna's sadness is easily evident on her face, while the rest of her friends are filled with shock, rage, betrayal, and despair. Krogan greets the Men of Mjarn and quickly takes control of the prisoners. He then informs the men that their next assignment is to go South to the town of Bergen, the location of Lord Voldash's temple, and take Voldash prisoner. He expects them to leave immediately as time is of the essence while Voldash's forces are severely depleted. The men follow these orders and depart for Bergen, looking back at the camp as Krogan barks orders regarding the handling of prisoners and establishing better fortifications in the town.
Player Commentary: This was really "Deirick's Session." He had a lot of decisions to make, and not all of them went over well with the rest of the party.
First, the Ogre's. Man, were we annoyed by that. Eirik had already showed that he can win against an Ogre in a one on one fight, and Boldulf was, if anything, even more nasty than Eirik. We were all ready for a fun little fight, and Deirick "negotiated" our way out of it. Worse, we clearly came out on the short end. We could have taken them, and moved on, but no. We were hunting. For Ogres. Not the best rep you want to have.
Of course, Deirick is the older brother, and so Eirick would always take his side, at least in public.
But then, the "rebels." When the DM calls this arc the "Corruption" Saga, this is what he's referring to. None of us wanted to hand the kids over to Krogan. Hell, a few levels ago, we would have been the same kids. Deirick insisted, and since he was the one who knew them, it was his decision. We still wanted to find some other way, but Deirick promised we would double back and free them, and so we swallowed our pride and went along with the plan...
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