Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 11

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #126

On Prince Frost’s command every citizen within Icewall moves from the outer walls and into the center to be closer to the keep. They are to cease work on any reconstruction and begin assembling defenses and armaments to aid in any attempt of a future assault. The most important of his orders is that all children, including those among the refugees, continue with their learning and studies.

Despite his slip up with the king earlier, my friend continues to impress me as the future ruler of the kingdom.

Those among my kin who can wield steel are sent to the armory to aid in Icewall’s defense. I tag along to help with communicating in the orcish tongue. Among them is young orc no older than myself when forced into The Restless Hand testing the feel and weight of the swords. A small scar marks his cheek as do many on his hands. It seems his tribe had begun training him for battle at a young age. I approach the lad and ask him his name.

Ozruk.

I pull the old cutlass from its sheath, holding it out before me and admiring the blade. There are many memories I can see in the reflection. Each knick on the edge is a reminder for each time I have fought for my life or to save a friend. Resting the flat of the blade in my other hand, I motion for Ozruk to take it.

He hesitates, questioning my motives.

In our kin’s tongue I inform the young orc that the sword has slayed many enemies of this kingdom. Urging him to take it, I remind Ozruk that this is his home now and he needs to protect his people. With understanding beyond his youth, he slowly takes the blade and longingly stares at it as I had just done.

As he swings the blade to adjust to its size I give him a word of advice given to me by Lothric. It is not the power of the weapon that matters. It is the skill and knowledge of the warrior who is wielding it.

Out of the corner of my eye an orc who dwarfs me in size watches on as I teach Ozruk a few moves with the cutlass. With each practice stroke of the weapon there is a nod of approval.

As long as these refugees are in the care of Icewall, I promise that they will never end up like those butchered by Novak or Slukx.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 10

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #125

We all sit in silence. The quiet is deafening as everyone tries to sort it all out. I cannot hold my rage back anymore and speak my mind. It makes the most sense.

My suspicion is instantly shot down by quick thinking Lithia. She points out that if the Skulx is building the abominations, why would they need Henry.

A solid point.

Balasar finally chims in, bringing to my attention that it could be our new friend in the North. The couple looks at him confused as I think it over.

The paladin could be right. It is very odd that Nathanos would contact me days before the attack on Icewall happened. The mage also knew we were heading North as well. And anyone in their right mind would never trust a lich.

Except Lothric.

Prince Amon asks who this friend could be and I do not hesitate to tell. He and Lithia’s jaws drop at the mention of what he is and the ties to the Sunbreakers. I assure them that Nathanos is honest in his claim at the title, informing them that I took a look at his gem. They look skeptical as I reveal to them that the undead wants us to head to his castle as I reveal the key.

Doing so brings the eavesdropping King Frost into the room, who gently scolds his son for hold private matters in such an open area. The prince slightly hangs his head to hide his reddening face. It seem I may have spoke to soon of the boy become a man.

Placing a hand on his son’s shoulder, King Frost assure Amon that he is grateful for overhearing our news for the king knows of the lich’s name. Nathanos has a place in the history of Icewall. Over a century ago, then a living and breathing orc, he traded with Prince Frost’s great grandfather. They considered one another a trust alley.

We all breath a sigh of relief.

It seems the gods are favoring us with this news. We need to meet the Sunbreaker to find Lothric. Once the sheriff is found surely Brask will not be too far behind. Then we can retrieve Henry’s corpse and return it to peace.

The only downside to this is that we believed we were done with Cindermaw’s chosen. Now as soon as trouble begins to brew they enter our lives again.

So be it.

Snatching the key from the table, I inform everyone that in the morning it will lead us to the lich.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 9

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #124

I warn Amon and Lithia about Tuskgutter and Doctor Slukx, the creator of the thing. Throwing the notes and journal on the dining table, I express my fear that since they have let these orcs into their kingdom that the abomination will head here seeing how the two were heading North.

The concern on the royal couple’s faces is dreadful at the news.

With another deep sigh, Prince Frost tells Balasar and myself the story, how days ago the orcs had arrived at the gates freezing, starving and fearful for their lives. None would speak of what they experienced save for one survivor. The refugee’s appointed leader told our friend of a hulking and savage one of their kind who easily killed all who opposed it.

There is no doubt in my mind that it is Tuskgutter.

Amon’s journey into manhood continues to impress me as he decides to move the orc survivors further into Icewall to protect them. Further more, construction will be halted until the spring months. Hopefully this will protect not just the newcomers to the kingdom but all of its citizens.

Another deep sigh leads the Prince’s terrible news.

Large, mounted birds of some kind bombarded the graveyard outside the kingdom’s walls. Due to the distance, none were able to get eyes on who or what rode in the saddles. None were shot down by the archers. As Amon, Lithia and a handful of guards rushed the area they where stopped and routed by walls of fire from the bombs.

The attack had lasted only minutes, making it apparent that whoever had lead the assault knew what they were seeking. Besides scorched earth and minor damage to some headstones, only one grave site was disturbed.

Henry’s body had been taken.

My heritage’s rage begins to take a hold as I through a chair into the wall. We were kindred spirits, both used by Novak as he held our families against us. None at this table could ever understand that bond. Even though the dwarf feared the King of Icewall would have his head if he found out about Henry’s ties to The Restless Hand, he died a hero and gave his life during the siege.

And now those bastard came for his body. I just know it was them. Why would anyone in all of the Sword Coast come for one dead dwarf with a brand?

Then it dawns upon me.

This incident and Tuskgutter is connected. It has to be. The Restless Hand are building more of these orc slaughtering freaks. But why do they need Henry’s body?

Whatever the reason I am going to hunt Tuskgutter, Slukx and the reaming members of my former organization and kill every last one of them.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 8

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #123

As our horses trot to the gates of Icewall I see the spell Nataku had taught me months ago worked. The snowbird that was enchanted by my nature magic delivered the message ahead of our arrival. On top of the battlements of the gates Balasar and I can see Prince Amon Frost pointing us out to his guards.

Our friend is a welcomed sight from the harsh winter cold of the North. We have been through much together in the short time Amon and I have known each other. I went from setting Maddox, Varix and myself up for the prince to capture to pleading with him to aid me in destroying The Restless Hand. Prince Frost had proven to me that he was the only person I could trust through Novak’s long reach on the Sword Coast. Alongside Lithia and Balasar, we defeated him and his organization.

Or so we thought. Luring him in with promises of power to protect his people, the naive prince fell under the corruption of the First Breaker.

He was an unwilling agent for Vecna’s causes. They were using him to not only get to me but to take over the kingdom of Icewall. Despite the deceit, Amon broke free over their control to rise up and help us defeated The Maimed Lord’s minions once and for all.

We have a friendship bound by brands turned scars.

He welcomes us into Icewall with firm hand shakes that are pulled into hearty hugs. The boy seems as if he has grown into a man with the beard now framing his face. I would hope so seeing how Amon is now a father more than anything.

As the guards take our horses to the stables for some much deserved rest I am proud at what I see in this once war torn kingdom. Prince Frost’s promise that all citizens would be treated as equals has come to fruition. All within the walls are working together to rebuild what was lost during The Restless Hand’s siege almost a year ago. Then there is quite the surprised for Balasar and myself among the folk.

Full blooded orcs?!

Balasar and I cannot believe our eyes at what we are seeing. Just over a dozen of the strong brutes are assisting in erecting several of the buildings. A few look in our direction with nods of approval and not a care for the look of shocks on our faces. Has the young Amon truly become worthy to carry the title of king?

The smirk on his face as we look at says enough.

We continue our walk to the keep without much of a word spoken. What the prince is doing in Icewall will speak volumes to the community in the North after the fall of the orc kingdom Many Arrows years ago.

To solidify this stance as we enter the dining hall, Lithia Muun-Frost counts among her children an orc infant among their twin boys. The baby is tended to by the maidens of the sorceress no different than Henry or Randle. A good sign indeed for the future of this kingdom.

Or one that could bring a bloodbath if Tuskgutter were to find itself within these walls.

As my friend begins to introduce her unusual babe I cut her off, warning both Amon and Lithia of the terrible news I bring and how it will now affect Icewall and its newest citizens.

Looking sternly at me in a way only Muun can, Amon exhales a deep sigh of concern. Prince Frost waves away the maidens to take the children as he hangs his head in one hand, taking another deep breath to slowly release it.

It is a sign that Lithia and he have terrible news as well.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 7

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #122

As the skeletal orc beckons me to follow the key home I once again ask myself if trusting this godsdamned lich is right. The creature makes me uneasy like all undead do but this one is different than any I have ever put down. Far different to say the least. It as all the benefits of its cursed existence with all the power of an archmage.

At this point I have no choice but to put my faith in the thing. The Sunbreaker gem is an indication of a trusted ally of Lothric. Though I do not trust the dragon, Cindermaw would not bind the artifact to the lich if it did not uphold law and justice.

Through the magical connection I question the sheriff’s cryptic ally. The lich freely gives the answers.

Lothric is not on a mission given by Cindermaw but a one he holds personal. My friend hunts down Brask, once a member of Icewall’s military under Randle Dundragon. Feeling betrayed by his commander after his pride led to the soldier’s demise, Brask rose from the grave as an undead to seek revenge on our ally. We heroes of Red Larch had repelled him and his soldiers within the walls of Icewall during the siege.

The undead mage continues on, informing me that it and Lothric had fought along side each other before he settled into his adopted home. I take the hint that the sheriff had been a Sunbreaker before coming to defend our small town.

And as if to earn my trust, it tells me it’s name.

Nathanos.

Eyeing the bright, red gem set in the old, wooden staff I asked of Cindermaw and his plans for the remaining four gems?

The lich informs me that the great dragon has almost purified the corruption within them. Once Novak’s taint is removed, the fire wyrm will seek out those worthy of gem’s power to restore law to the lands.

Nathanos goes on to notify me that my path is leading to him, that I will find his fortress in the glacier past Icewall. His key, given to me by Lothric, was forged there within the ice and will allow me and my companions entrance.

It’s mentioning of the glacier does not sit well. For the life of me I cannot figure out why as he rambles about the key. Much like Slukx was rambling on in his notes about the glacier.

The same glacier this fortress lies within.

I cut the lich off, warning him that Tuskgutter is coming. Nanthanos dismisses my concern with a wave of his hand as if it does not matter. With a grim and threatening tone he declares all who have tried to enter have died. As the magic begins to fade I explain that the abomination was crafted to sense and hunt our kind.

Again, Nathanos waves his hand showing not a care.

With the image of the lich gone I cannot help but believe it would not be such a bad thing to have a confident and powerful ally.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 6

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #121

We wasted little time as possible once returning to Red Larch. Leaving Stormaxe in the roll of sheriff during my absence, I said my goodbyes to Amara as Balasar got his business lined out at the Last Tavern on the Left.

She is all I have thought about while on the road to Icewall.

Remembering the sadness on her delicate features has made every night restless. My love reassured me that she understood why I must go but it does not ease the pain of leaving. Every morning I have woke up telling myself that this is what must be done to protect her and everyone in my home. It is a promise made that I intend to keep from all those days ago.

We briefly stopped Mirabar to resupply for the bitter cold of the Northern wind. I decided to warn Lamoram on what we had discovered. With Tuskgutter being intelligent as Doctor Slukx claims, our guess is they have avoided all settlements to not give themselves away.

The meeting was mostly pointless. He nor his organization could offer any aid. It seems the siege of Icewall had took a toll on Mirabar and its resources. The most the priest can offer is a hot meal and a warm cot, a most welcomed gift during the harsh winter months.

During our short stay with the priest and just like every night on the road, I can feel the pull of Lothric’s key, guiding me like a compass past the city. It is almost urging me to continue on as if under the lich’s spell. Despite my efforts to ignore lure, the pulses get stronger every step we take North.

Just a day outside of Icewall, I used magic taught to me by Nataku to send a message ahead to warn of our arrival. A tingle of magic in my mind throws me off, it is not of nature. The recipient of my spell could never arrive so fast to its destination nor should there be any feed back after casting.

A voice echoes in my thoughts. The image of the throne covered with overgrowth takes shape. A Sunbreaker gem sparks as green eyes flare to life. My bones are rattled by the pulsing of the key. Spiking cold pain quickly wracks my body.

Once again, the lich beckons me.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 5

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #120

I am lost in my thoughts. The anger at what Balasar and myself have discovered weighs heavily on my shoulders. The distraction is so great it takes the sharp pain of piercing cold in my hip to bring my attention to the pulsing with my pouch. As soon as my fingers touch Lothric’s key something reaches into my mind.

The anger subsides to fear as my memories race back to every time Novak had done this to me. I fight back, willing myself to block out the intrusion. A shimmer of an illusion begins to form. Then I see it, a glowing red gem.

A Sun Breaker.

They are heavily cloaked, sitting in an old throne covered in mold and fungus as if they are deep within a ancient forest. Its voice is dry and cracked as if they have not spoken in over a century. Whoever this is warns me that Lothic is in grave danger. That I am to gather allies and head to Icewall to begin a search.

As they lean forward I can see within the darkness of their hood as tiny, green orbs begin to glow, revealing the skeletal face of an orc. Thin, dead skin hides parts of its face. Unlike myself the tusk are larger and worn. A small fracture marks the front of its skull.

A godsdamned lich.

The undead tells me to follow the key home.

Why should I trust him after Novak and Prince Amon’s experiences with Cindermaw’s gems of powers? Despite Lothric’s affiliation with the dragon, my trust in him is due to the bond we developed over The Restless Hand. But it knows I have no choice. I have to have faith that this is my friend’s doing.

Willing myself to speak through the magic, I ask of if it knows of this Tuskgutter and Doctor Slukx. It leans back in its decrepit throne, revealing what I assume is a smirk.

The Sun Breaker informs me that they are both involved in the larger scheme of things. To hunt them down is to learn of the truth of why The Restless Hand was created. It assured me all will be revealed in time.

Growling at this undead mage, the image of the magic slowly fades away as does the light from its eyes and that of the glowing gem in its staff. As it does something violent shakes me. Instinctively grabbing for Novak’s shortsword, a firm grip stops me.

Rapidly blinking me eyes as the magic ceases, Balasar warns me not to do so. The paladin knows something important has just occurred. With a deep breath I tell him what I had experienced.

With more to worry on our minds we pick up the pace to Red Larch.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 4

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #119

As we rush back home my heart fills with hate. Rage muddles my mind. The calm before the storm is over. This oversight has let The Restless Hand slip right back into my life.

How could I have been so careless?

I grind my teeth as it hits me like the club of an ogre.

I have become soft.

Before Red Larch, before Amara and everything else I was cold to those around me. After Novak had let Remy die and forced me into The Restless Hand all I could do is think about how to rid myself of them.

From my time in my organization I had been taught to tie up loose ends. Once I had my chance to be free of Maddox and Varix there was no doubt in my mind what needed to be done. As they slept in their cells the night after our trial I set them ablaze. Their deaths would prevent them from chasing me down.

That was the first of many loose ends.

Since that night all I did was sever my ties to The Restless Hand. I defeated Novak and aided in killing his ally, the First Breaker. This all lead to preventing them from gathering the Sun Breaker gems and stopped the siege of Icewall.

But to do that I needed allies when I had not trusted anyone in years. Through Prince Amon Frost I had learned to open myself up and put faith in other people. With Lithia Muun I had found someone who understood my bluntness and wariness of people. Balasar, someone who I blamed for so much in the beginning of my rebellion, taught me forgiveness and became my brother in arms.

I believed all my loose ends were tied.

All of this blinded me to be cautious of what lurks in the shadows. It dulled the edge built in back ally fights. Just like that young and innocent orphan running the streets of Waterdeep, I had let my guard down for The Restless Hand to gain footing in my life once again.

There is no forgiving myself for this.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 3

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #118

The two zombies are not an issue, they go down effortlessly. It is what we find in the back of Lance Rock, the source of the horrid smell. The scene is all too familiar, it is one both Balasar and myself wished to never lay eyes upon again.

Dozens of butchered orcs lay, hang or are stacked about the cave. The sight make me force down the vomit rising in the throat. An inspection of their bodies reveals some limbs were torn by force, others were cut by a blade.

My blood boils as I think back to the Bringers of Woe compound where we had seen this before. My scarred shoulder begins to ache at the thought, a reminder of the abomination that was constructed there. Novak had the thing hunting my kind in some strange cannibalistic fashion.

Balasar draws me away from my thoughts, pointing out the forge and tools. The bloody saw among them only reaffirms our findings. Beside them sets a cot and table for a smaller person. Atop the old table rests a blood stained journal.

Shuffling through the pages we find out the butcher fancies himself as Doctor Slukx. The entries are frantically written, a clue that either he was in a rush or insane. I imagine it is both due to the notes within.

It mentions his failures lead to this great creation. This new abomination is intelligent despite its hunger for its own kind. Slukx marvels at the thing’s keen ability to think and how it is an asset to the hunt. It has even thought to give itself a name.

Tuskgutter.

Overwhelmed by what we have discovered, I give no thought to check the drawer of the table before opening it. The tiny cut from the razor is nothing to the panic that is starting to swell within me. Another journal is inside, this one is more personal than medical.

Quickly thumbing through the entries I notice The Restless Hand, including sketches resembling my brand from them. Novak is mentioned very little. There are some ramblings about a glacier in the North. But the final pages breathe life into my fears.

Slukx and this Tuskgutter are heading toward Icewall where this glacier rest. Are they hunting me? Do they believe that is where I will be found? Are they hunting the orc tribes in the area?

Pointing out my findings to Balasar, I express my fear that they could be in Red Larch this very minute. My friend quickly calms me, explaining if Tuskgutter was tracking my scent we would have already confronted the abomination. He believes they are heading North without hesitation.

The paladin suggest we do the same.

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Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 2

Lynch’s Journal

Entry #117

A quarter mile outside of Lance Rock the land is eerily quite, more so than it would be in these winter months. There are no squawking of snow birds or the crunching of leaves by squirrels making their last forages before the bitter cold sets in. Not one trace of life marks the area. It is nothing but dead silence.

As Balasar and myself move closer we see the enormous land mark out in the distance. But the size is not what draws my attention, the creek before it does. For as far as we can see it is frozen solid.

Our horses become uneasy as we trot down the slope toward the creek. Not wanting to spook them, we back track a few dozen yards and head out on foot. Just within bow shot we can see why the water is froze solid.

Glaring out of a icy geyser is that wretched black skull. All around it are fish, some decayed to skeletons while others remain preserved, trapped within their frozen prison. The sight makes my skin crawl. Closing my eyes, the nausea washes over me. With a flash of yellow I am remind of the pain and fear of coming into contact with it. With Balasar at my side I place a hand on his shoulders to balance myself.

The paladin scolds himself for not coming back. Though understandable I remind him to not be so harsh on himself. With everything we were caught in it was easy to forget something so small. I reassure him all we need to do is take the cursed skull away from here and by summer all should be blooming and bright once more.

Again, Balasar stands firm on his beliefs. It is easy to tell he feels the evil here, reassuring himself by pointing out that the cave radiates with the strong aura as much as the area outside. He gives no doubts that we need to check within.

Not wanting to waste anymore time around the black skull as need, we quickly chip the ice away around it. Taking every precautions not to touch the thing, we wrap the paladin’s cloak tightly around it before placing it in his pack.

Quick stepping ahead I take the lead into the darkness of the cave mouth, posting up against the unusually frigid walls to let my eyes adjust to the dark. Within the smell is horrid as if meat had spoiled in the summer heat. It does not take long to locate the source. I hear them before they show themselves, the shuffling feet of the undead.

Slowly moving in for an ambush I signal to Balasar that there are two up ahead. As he marches forward to draw their attention, the slaying of the living dead brings a smirk to my lips. It reminds me of all the good we heroes of Red Larch had done with defeating Novak and The Restless Hand’s undead hordes.

It reassures me the peace that I have earned is well deserved.

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