Upon Eirik's return to Alucard, he maintained his focus on the future. He requested Lord Krogan obtain some ore from Steel Hill from which he intended to make better weapons for himself and his brother, Deirik. Unfortunately, this would take time. Lord Krogan could initiate the trade negotiations, but the ore would not arrive until after the coming Winter.
A few days later, while seeing his family come in and out of the warehouse in which they were living, Eirik was visited by Lord Krogan. When he arrived, Krogan told Eirik to come with him to the Workman's District. As they progressed, Krogan and Eirik discussed the coming Winter and how Eirik may best utilize his time. It wasn't long before the two of them came to a small smithy already well stocked not only with the items Eirik would need to ply his trade, but also a number of vardatches and daggers to be repaired. As Eirik explored, he found that there was also a small one-man apartment attached to the back of it.
When he came back out of the smithy, Krogan informed Eirik that it was all his as a gift! Not only that, but Krogan had arranged for an apprentice for Eirik since he knew Eirik could be called away on missions and would need someone to look after the place. It wasn't long after that a young man came along, his head shaved in the Dornish tradition (in shame for losing the war to Izrador) and some light hints of blonde scruff just starting to show on his lip and chin, and shyly introduced himself as Valgard.
Eirik asked who used to run this smithy, and Krogan informed him that he was named Thomas, but he had very recently died in a tragic accident... drowned in the canal. Eirik solemnly acknowledged the man's passing, then gratefully accepted the smithy and apprentice and got straight to work. As Krogan left, he indicated he would call for Eirik soon as he already had a way for Eirik to start paying him back.
"Soon" came quickly enough, Eirik was called for the next day. Lord Krogan informed Eirik that there was a large group of brigands that are occupying some caves South of Alucard along the Be'neeya river. It's Eirik's job to kill those brigands to the man as they've been stealing supplies needed by Alucard for everyone to survive the harsh Northern Winter. Krogan let Eirik know he could order some orcs to accompany him, or he could try to recruit men or hobgoblins. Eirik hated orcs, much preferring to hunt them than hunt with them. Also, he wasn't sure how battle-ready any man in Alucard was that he could recruit. Since he has previously led hobgoblins, he chose that route.
Eirik went to the Southern side of town where the hobgoblin troop was hastily erecting a barracks for themselves before Winter. He spotted a couple of the hobgoblin sergeants with whom he'd spoken so often back when he was their leader and called them over. These two were named Kiro and Brungle. Kiro was the one who was capable of speaking Orcish and communicating with Eirik. The three discussed the mission at hand, with Kiro translating for Brungle as well. Eirik only wanted to recruit those hobgoblins that were willing to go, as he recognized the importance of the task they had at hand. Kiro indicated that many of the hobgoblins would be happy to accompany him since he earned their leadership, and set off with Brungle to recruit those he could. It wasn't long before Eirik had a contingent of 30 hobgoblins at his side and began to march South along the Be'neeya.
The trip only took a few days with no disruptions, as there are very few who would disturb an army on the march. They soon saw, off in the distance, the tree-lined location of the brigand's caves, noting that there were camps on both sides of the river. There were not enough hobgoblins to perform an attack on both camps at once, so they would need to make short work of the one, and then cross to the other before they could escape. Eirik knew they would have guards and scouts amongst the trees, so he called for 5 hobgoblins, the stealthiest of them, to accompany him to take those guards out. They waited until well after nightfall, since hobgoblins can see in the dark far better than humans, and set off. They slunk amongst the tall grass and brush, using what cover they could to avoid detection and heard no alarms as they reached the trees.
When they began making their way through the trees, it wasn't long before they spotted two men, sitting on the ground back-to-back. Eirik and the hobgoblins approached silently and executed their ambush... only to find the men were already dead! They couldn't have been dead for more than a few hours as they were still "on watch". Eirik set about beheading these guards so he did not have to deal with the Fell in addition to the brigands. He continued on with his stealthy hobgoblins at his side, finding each pair of guards already dead. They looked in on the brigands' camp and saw there were still many of them alive there, most of whom had retired to the three caves that were large enough to host humans. Confused, Eirik considered the dead guards a stroke of good luck and decided to bring the rest of the hobgoblins in for the attack before these dead guards were discovered.
On his way out of the trees, Eirik stumbled upon a pair of brigands who seemed to be out to check on the guards. Before they could make a sound, Eirik and the hobgoblins fell upon the brigands and made short work of them. They then returned to the troop, discussed what they'd seen in the camp and made their plan. They would break up into three groups of 10, two groups would stay in the midst of the camp while one goes into the caves with Eirik. The two groups outside would be reinforcements and guards for any outside threats. With the plan agreed upon, Eirik and his hobgoblins moved in.
When they entered the camp, Eirik and his group swiftly entered the first cave. The hobgoblins considered it an honor to be at Eirik's side and were always eager to be at the front of the group with him. The brigands, having heard no alarms, were unprepared for the ferocity of this attack and the first cave was cleared quickly with only a couple cuts and bruises taken by the hobgoblins. However, the noise from this fight alerted the other caves. When Eirik and his group left the first cave, the hobgoblins he'd left outside were taking cover and firing arrows into the other caves, preventing any of them from reaching the longboat beached on the shore.
Eirik and his group dove around the corner and into the second cave and met with much more resistance. As they cut their way through, Eirik with his iron-tough skin remained at the front, but the hobgoblins at his side had to be rotated to prevent any one from taking too much damage. The Dornish brigands were cornered and fought viciously, even doing some damage to Eirik himself. However, in the end, they were no match for the attack and fell to the man. Eirik noted that this cave contained a large amount of the supplies that were marked for Alucard. He had no time to reclaim them now though, there was another cave and a whole other camp to deal with.
He rushed out to find that the Dorns in the last cave had made a push for the boat, several of them were dead on the rocky ground between the cave and the boat, but had gotten pushed back in. Eirik and his group raced in and took care of those who were left.
By the time his group had left the last cave, he noticed one of the outside groups had made their way onto the boat and were trying to launch it. It took a moment for Eirik to realize that the camp on the other side of the river had emptied onto their boat, having figured out what was going on here, and had launched to get away from the onslaught. Eirik ordered his group onto the boat alongside the other, and told the 3rd group to shove them off. The brigands were just catching the current when Eirik's boat splashed down. However, Eirik drew upon his viking past and organized the methodical hobgoblins into a professional boat crew.
The hobgoblins, under Eirik's direction steered their boat into the current as well and raced downriver to catch the brigands! Eirik knew the Be'neeya well, and directed them through some rapids that gave them enough speed to catch the brigands boat. However, with no grapples or ropes, the only chance they have of getting onto that boat is to ram them! Eirik gives this order and moves to the bow of the boat, prepared to use the collision as a launch to send him and the hobgoblins to dare to follow into the midst of the brigands.
The boats SLAM together and Eirik times his leap perfectly, swinging his greatsword as he flies and decapitating two brigands before his feet even touch the deck! The sounds of splintering wood fills the air as those hobgoblins who followed fly across and start tearing through the brigands alongside Eirik. The brigands are numerous and more prepared than the first camp, and succeed at doing damage to Eirik and even killing a couple of the hobgoblins. It's not enough though, and Eirik ensures that the brigands are killed to the man. Afterward, he evaluates the boats and determines they are both still relatively seaworthy and should make the trip back to Alucard.
He and the hobgoblins return to the brigands camp and load up all the supplies from the caves. While doing so, Eirik hears a strange sound: three great booms of thunder approximately 10 minutes apart coming from far off in the distance to the Northeast. Seeing no storm on the horizon, he shrugs, finishes the load out, gets the hobgoblins to crew the two brigand boats, and sets sail back to Alucard.
Eirik reaches Alucard a couple days later and brings both boats to the dock for repairs. He then reports to Krogan who is quite pleased with the results and lets Eirik know he has saved lives with his success.
Players Commentary: As we see in this adventure, Eirik remains rather undefined. Even in his solo story, he's playing catch to the other characters, most notably Deirik. Throughout this arc, various "builds," prestige classes, and customization options were proposed and considered but none of them ever felt quite right. He's the backup/support character of the party, rather than a dynamic for like Deirik or Ygvard, let alone the "lone badass" that is Boldulf.
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