Undead Horrors

Deep beneath the Stoneheart Mountains

Koraashag's reprimand

- You told me you could handle it, half-breed! Do you remember your words? I remember them exactly! Tell them to me!
- Koraashag, please…
- Do not address me by my name! You have lost this privilege!
- High priest, there are reasons for my failures, unforeseen circumstances. You have to listen to me!
- How dare you! Is this what our lord is expecting? Excuses? From a half-breed rapeborn? All you had to do is secure the keep and enlist the shadow’s help. Your work was cut out for you! You brought orcs of your own and you told me… You told me, no one else did, you told me you have knowledge of small tribes of orcs in the region. Don’t tell me that a weak cleric of Freya together with a guard made out of peasants were able to kill you… If this is your excuse you are banished to Calthraxus’s service as a slave to his needs!
- High priest, this was not the case, please listen to me! The might of Tavik could not have been kneeled by that whore of a she-elf! There were others!
- What others?
- They looked like a party of adventurers, looking for the treasures of the wizard…
- Eralion had no treasure… We took all of his treasured belongings.
- I do not question their reasons, neither their existence or their capacity. They were led by a cleric of Cuthbert.
- A dwarfold?
- It didn’t seem so, he was not white haired, and his show of power was less than the tomes speak about.
- What about the others? Were they followers of the new dwarfather?
The old orc spits on the ground, once he mentions the dwarven god.
- No, high priest. It was most bizarre. There was a tiefling with them…
- A tiefling? Are you mad enough because of your defeat, that you’re willing to lie to a high priest of the demon god Orcus, Lord of the Undead, Scourge of the Living?
- It is not a lie, high priest! On curse of eternal pain in the layer of Cania, I swear!
- Enough of your trivialities! What of this tiefling?
- A warlock of some fiend. He manifested an imp familiar, so he must be chained to one of archfiends.
- Is he someone known? There aren’t many tieflings on this realm…
- We will consult the divine knowledge of Orcus and we will commune with the lord’s darkest fiends! We’ll find his lineage…
- You are starting to intrigue me, Tavik… Carry on.
- There were four more, a shape shifting druid, a gnome wizard, a human sorcerer and a dwarven fighter.
- A band of looting adventurers… They may prove to be a nuisance. I trust you will exact true vengeance on them and bring them to our lord’s service.
- The wheels of true vengeance are already spinning.
- There is hope for you yet, but do not fail again, or you will spend an eternity in pain before we let you wander the mortal realm again!
From the long corridors, sounds of pain and torture are heard at every minute, providing a grim background music to the discussion. Cadences of louder and louder footsteps add a certain rhythm to the noises and in a few moments, five acolytes, led by a dark robed human enter the chambers.
- Ah, brother Tavik! I see you are alive and well! How did you reach the temple so fast? Master Korashaag, I have requested a stone of recall at least once for myself and you told me that we do not have resources for something like this.
- I am no brother to you, filthy human! Tavik yells like a mad man, frothing at the mouth and readying his mace.
- I will destroy you both! SILENCE! You behave like the lowliest of the gnolls, Koraashag intervenes.
- Master Koraashag, I was just expressing a curiosity. We certainly did not expect a failure from one of our most prominent disciples. I am so sorry for you, Tavik! Mazargul smiles as he finishes the sentence, gazing patronizingly at Tavik, then continues:
- Is there anything we could’ve done to support your efforts, Tavik? You do know that our acolytes are more than happy to help?
- I do not need, nor want your help… Do not dare to assume you would have done better!
- We work towards the same goals, disciple, you will learn better. Master Korashaag, I would like to inform you that the recent divinations reveal that indeed the spirit of Eralion has been freed from the service of Orcus. There is reason to believe that the adventurers that have defeated Tavik are behind this. Shall we dedicate acolytes to their study?
- No, Mazargul… This would be a great opportunity for Tavik to set things straight. Tavik, you are to handle these nuisances as you see fit.
- But Master, Mazargul smiles, given the record of disciple Tavik…
- YOU do not command me, Acolyte! You are not of black blood, be grateful for our lord has received your service!
- Yes, Master.
- Now, join Barzag in the burial halls and finish your work. We need leverage for our plans!
- Yes, Master, I will see to it… Tavik… The human nods, as if bowing before the two.
The Half Orc growls, then the room is filled with silence and only the footsteps of the acolyte group leaving are heard.
- Master, I will see to this task and I understand that failure is no longer an option.
- Do not fail me again, Tavik! You have shown promise, but our lord has little patience with disappointments.
- I would also like to engage in securing the service of the black orcs near our temple, on the surface.
- This is for another time, disciple. For now, Calthraxus has precedence over them and we do not want to battle the ones that have similar purposes of existence. You have yet much to learn. See to your current task, and the death of your enemies will show you the way!
- I will not fail, Master!
- Report to me with your plans, when they are ready. If you travel on the surface, be wary, for you still carry savage blood and even though some may be used to your kind, you will still be noticed. Use the acolytes, this is why our lord has provided them. They are expendable…
- I will return at the next nightfall with my plans.

To be continued…

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