"Now that Karl is dead I get his share right?" - Franz the porter
Would you trust these Under hobbits?
Once more Ugh found himself in a tavern surrounded by spiritless men and shiftless women. He found himself light on funds having paid for training and so promised an untried duo Karl and Franz 10% of the loot found on the next expedition. Karl looked like he could barely hold a sword and Franz wasn’t interested in fighting at all though he agreed to help carry the lantern and any sacks of loot required. Figuring this was the best he was going to be able to do Ugh ventured once more into the darkness beneath.
This time he explored to the northeast towards the Halflings. Fang the orc-mastiff growled as it approached the area. It had picked up the scent of orcs though these orcs had perished some days ago, their bodies decomposing in the corridor undisturbed. Ugh continued and was surprised to find the Under Halfling hiding spot abandoned. Pressing on he emerged in a large cavern full of stalagmites. Earlier Ugh had lent Karl his old bastard sword and the hireling had been busily swinging the blade in practise motions at stalagmites despite Ugh’s insistence that he stop mucking around. As they explored the natural cavern Ugh heard a manly shriek. Karl dropped the blade swearing it had turned into a serpent before his very eyes. It was then that a booming voice ordered them to drop their weapons and treasure of they would regret it. Ugh would have none of this and eventually called the voices bluff. Five Halflings with slings at the ready emerged from their hiding spots about the cavern. The half-orc and his companions felt outmatched and fled.
Cursing the loss of his sword and vowing to take it out of Karl’s wages, Ugh returned to the cavern. Here he encountered a short fellow wearing a jaunty hat, carrying a cane and speaking with a lilting voice that sounded like a poor version of Irish. As it so happened the diminutive fellow was Ugh’s best friend or so the half-orc believed for he had been bewitched. Ugh was for some reason still deeply suspicious of his new best friend but did permit the short fellow to cast a spell of invisibility on his dog.
Upon return to his hirelings Ugh found Karl doubtful of the Halflings motives but Ugh shrugged his accusations off. Ignoring Karl’s pleas to put the little buggers to the sword Ugh stomped off to the south to explore the area where his one time thief companion had heard reptilian roars.
The band was confronted by the severed heads of several elves placed on spikes in the twisting tunnels to the south. The elves decapitated bodies lay as they fell. The group barely had time to take in the grisly warning when they heard the sounds of combat echoing along the tunnels. Creeping ahead they saw a band of troglydytes and Neanderthals locked in melee. The Neanderthals appeared to be protecting a demonic looking crab human hybrid. Ugh let the battle play out for a while partly to allow each side to wear each other down but also because he did not know which side to aid. Eventually Ugh leapt to the assistance of the troglydytes, choosing to do battle with the unnatural crab abomination. Karl held back but later would join the fray only to be cut down by a Neanderthals crab claw club. Such is the brutal and short life of the hireling.
The battle was grueling; Ugh was finding it difficult to land a telling blow with his great sword as his opponent’s solid shell served as most effective armour. Fang was having a great time of it felling several brutes with his powerful jaws. The crab beast turned out to be some form of shaman and it channeled mystic energy into its mighty claw before landing a telling blow on Ugh, which rent through the half-orcs armour. Badly wounded Ugh called the retreat and easily outdistanced the crab thing as the beast found it difficult to navigate the tunnels, as it had to scuttle sideways. Ugh reached into his pack and retrieved the wand of doors he had found earlier. He uttered the command word and magically a sturdy door popped into existence sealing the tunnel behind him and protecting his retreat.
It did not take long for the crab thing to reach the door and begin battering it down. The door had bought Ugh enough time to reach the pool of healing and take a long draught. Feeling better Ugh went looking for the crab beast again and lured the enraged abomination into the Halfling chamber. Surely his new friends would aid him in his battle.
Instead the Halflings were angry. They cursed the half-orc for bringing such a deadly foe to their home. Such was not the act of a friend, they declared. Ugh and Fang would have to battle the brute on their own and they did for a time. Fang landed some heavy blows tearing into the creatures face. It staggered under the blows and looked ready to fall. At the command ‘Finish them’ the Halflings drew short swords and looked ready to move in. Ugh hoped they were going to assist. In the end the Halflings had left it too late as Fang the mighty Orc-Mastiff seized the creatures head in its powerful jaws and tore it clean off. The battle had ended and the unnatural crab abomination was no more.
Ugh returned to the southern tunnels to search the main battle site in the hope of loot. He was disappointed that the combatants had nothing of worth though Franz his porter did spot a ruby clutched in the hand of one of the decapitated elves. Rigor mortis had set in and some finger bones had to be broken to liberate the gem. Thus far the expedition had yielded only this gem as treasure. Eager for more the band pressed on exploring the twisting tunnels.
It did not take long before they were challenged by a towering brutish ogre. Fortune smiled on Ugh for the ogre was inclined to talk and even offered to share one of the troglydytes that the brute planned to eat. The ogre introduced himself as Gulag and offered to trade with the half-orc for a few potions he had lying about. Unfortunately the ogre wanted an impressive hound like Fang as a trade. Fang was far too valuable and so Ugh refused. The half-orc did get to spy the ogre’s treasure horde as the brute dug through the pile to find things for trade. Deciding not to press his luck Ugh bid the ogre good day and retreated back to the safety of the surface.