Beginning of August, European Calendar; Khoiak Waxing, 4th month of Inundation, Stygian Civil Calendar
I find myself returning to this chronicle with many things to write… regardless of time away from the quill!
Our number were surprised in camp shortly after Inali and I relinquished our duties at watch. What I have pieced together since the encounter is that a human in Roman garb and an Orc dressed as a hunter in natural patterned armor happened upon us. It would appear that they were as surprised to find us as we were to see them appear. The human recovered more quickly and deployed a form of screening smoke to cover their escape. (This effect is not unlike the sorcery that Inali calls down for us for similar purpose). The two made haste to escape through the wood toward the direction we suspected we would find Vauculusa…and the direction of travel for a patrol of orcish beasts. (There were a few dozen of these and they were dispatched with haste. I few escaped the fury of the cohort and I suspect that these alerted the two that tracked us to our camp.)
Following the two we made our way to the waterfall I had read about in Avignon. After our troubles, I dare not lose pursuit of these two so I gambled that the waterfall would be a hidden entrance to caves or mines where we would find the cultists. I was able to swim into caverns beyond, but lost pursuit of the Roman garbed man. After arriving in the caverns recalled a minor Gift of Set and rendered myself unseen. Shortly afterward, the Orcish brute found his way through the water and into the cavern. I gave chase as he stormed deeper into the cavern. Following him, I found my way to an exit overlooking several buildings collected along the side of the river on the other side of the mountain we had entered. Thinking it best not to give chase without the others, I waited for the remainder of the band to assemble.
Together, we made our way down to the valley below and made battle with those that would stand against us. More orcish beasts were pushed against us to test our strength. They fell in swathes to the blade of Kizzar and the magicks of Inali and Lewanna. Once freed of the screening advance, it became clear that our opponent was not unstudied in the arts of war. The entire approach, where we were forced to travel, had been prepared to make all visible for bowmen and spell conjurors. Several of our number fell to arrows coated with a powerful slumber inducing formulae. Of those that pressed forward, Erik made haste to advance and was separated from our sight. We later found that he paid his life for this moment. The remainder of the cohort advanced steadily forward masked by a majickal fog of Inali's conjuring. This was decent proof against the considerable skill of the archers that tracked us through the cleared space…as, despite the concealment, a number of arrows found their way to World Eater…each contact ringing loudly even in the din of combat.
Once we accounted for our number in the woodline, Inali set out protections against the withering fire of the archers. This proved wise as within moments were were set upon by Ogrish beings with mattocks and hammers. Several killing blows were required to fell these monsters and we were able to do so through skill and sorcery.
A lesson that was well learned is that the chaos cultists are not necessarily as eager for death as they might claim. They fight with strategy and intelligence…and sometimes brilliantly. The Roman garbed human, having escaped our earlier pursuit, returned to make battle with us…from our flank…as we were engaged with the ogres previously mentioned. The effect was devastating. He was able to move silently and quickly through our ranks…dispatching one after another of those that remained. Inali, guided, no doubt, by her new found affinity for Darkness found the bastard and bound him with sorceries that rendered him immobile. He was brought down by Connor and, as we have seen previously, his death triggered chaos magick that repelled us from his corpse.
This majick conjured spiders…spiders the size of pack dogs…and we were finally driven back. Few in number and short of battle sorcery that would see us through to the village, we collected those we could and fell back to the caverns.
Here, Lord of Dark be praised, much good came of Erik's demise…as we agreed as a group to offer the Dark the Book of Lies that was being carried among our number. This offering, on a most holy occasion, was to the liking of Lord Set and is a most auspicious beginning to the new year ahead.
Once we have recovered our wounds and are fit to advance, we shall press again to the village below. Perhaps, if we can accomplish it, we will secure a reconnoiter of the place before we venture forth. This will be something to discuss once the others have awakened and regained their wits. For now, I retire from watch to prepare for the battle we will find below.