Session Recap by: Chris Wagner
Six fresh recruits of the Cleaver Gang were lent to the cause of the Soggy Bottom Kriel. While appearing a little rough around the edges, they seemed eager to impress. Loka Shadowfist, Jostun's second, volunteered to lead the new recruits into battle, “I will come with you and make sure these young guns don't get outta line.” She exchanged an intimate moment with Jostun before the group departed.
Meanwhile, Zorga seemed a little on edge during the wait for the two Trolls to return. The constant echoes of the many bells and chimes in the pass seemed to be unnerving her. "How much longer? I hunger," she growled. Major Doncastle acknowledged that the Gator had eaten little since her capture and tossed her some scraps.
As the shadows deepened in the Demonshead Pass, Chieftain Swampbreath, Grissok and the new recruits rejoined the rest of the party. The group quickly broke camp and chose to make for the Dirty Tankard Roadhouse, wishing to return to the Fen as quickly as possible.
The rank aroma of rotting vegetation entered their nostrils long before they laid eyes upon the Cloutsdown. Coupled with an eerie silence that seemed downright ominous, a thick mist hung heavily over the entire Fen as they left the foothills of the Watcher Peaks behind.
Ranging forward of the main group, Major Doncastle and Grissok scouted the mists ahead. Just off the highway, a grisly display emerged out of the shadows. The severed heads of three Gatormen had been driven upon a pike with a crude sign that read 'DEATH TO BLOODROT' hung from it. Major Doncastle managed to determine that a skirmish between four combatants had occurred a short distance from the scene. He managed to make out the tracks of the three Gators and a fourth, large, heavily booted set of tracks.
While travelling upon the highway, Chieftain Swampbreath took the opportunity to regale the Cleaver Gang recruits with the exploits of his Krielmates. Once they stopped for the night, Loka took one of the male recruits for a stroll. The pair came back a short while later and the young Trollkin was clearly smiling broadly.
Encountering little danger upon the road, the party arrived at the Dirty Tankard Roadhouse in short order. The Roadhouse had seen major activity since their last visit. Most shockingly of all was the rough wooden palisade that was being hastily constructed around the perimeter of the building. Several Gnasir tribesmen could be seen hewing timbers to be added to the fortifications, a rusty Buccaneer Steamjack stood idling nearby while the tribesmen worked and the familiar voice of Tank could be heard issuing orders from within the compound. The sight of the party marching along the highway caused the Gnasir tribesmen to halt their work and stare at the Trollkin and their entourage as they approached. Unaware of the group's approach, Tank bellowed at the workers, "Why don't I hear any work being done? I paid good coin for you boys!"
Once he saw the party approach, Tank smiled and hobbled over to them, “Dhunia be blessed! Welcome back my friends! I trust your journey to Raakmor went well? I see you have a few new additions to your ranks. You must be thirsty, come inside, have a drink and tell an old Gobber a story now."
Major Doncastle wasted no time in presenting Tank with the wreckage of the Hunter Warjack that he had salvaged in the Watcher Peaks. "Is that a Hunter? You boys been scrapping with the Swans now too? Best not be making too many enemies, it's bad for business,” Tank commented, brow furled. "I've been known to tinker a bit. Never seen the inside of a Hunter before though. I'll have a look at it if you're interested."
Oreg's glare lingered on Zorga as the party filed into the common room of the Roadhouse. The seasoned Orgrun mercenary never did talk much but he uttered a colorful curse at the Gator as she entered. He emptied his tankard, wiped his mouth on his sleeve, stood and then drunkenly stumbled outside.
Moving behind the bodged together pile of scrap that passed for the bar, Tank piped up, “Ignore that old brute, he's always been a bit uncouth. Are you keeping company with Gators now? I thought we were at war with the Bloodrot?"
To which Major Doncastle informed Tank that Zorga was in fact a defector of the Bloodrot Tribe and that she was a valuable intelligence asset.
Chieftain Swampbreath inquired about the group of Trollkin he had sent to the Roadhouse prior to leaving the Cloutsdown.
"I haven't seen any of your Kin come through here since you left a fortnight ago," was Tank's reply.
One of the new recruits pointed out a wanted poster that had been posted up in the common room, "Hey Bendek, isn't that you?" Noticing that the bounty still remained at 500 Gold Crowns, Bendek tore down the poster and threw it into the fireplace. Loka grinned at Bendek and shot him a wink as he did so.
Chieftain Swampbreath negotiated with Tank for free drinks by offering to assist with the building of the fortifications. Himself, Bendek, Loka and the recruits all went outside to help. The Gnasir tribesmen were grateful for the assistance.
Joruk did not see the use in wasting time with such a task and took Tor and Murga out into the swamps to hunt for food.
At this point, the Major noticed a young Cygnaran woman sitting casually at a table in the corner, she appeared to be dining alone. The Major met the young woman's gaze and she nodded at him. A familiarity in her looks and her demeanor gnawed at the back of his mind.
Grissok, already drunk from the flow of ale since their arrival, wandered over to the young lady and promptly sat down across from her, "You, human female. We have human male in our party. He is old and wise. He kills many Gators with his rifle and he makes a great turtle-cock bisque. If he should die in battle our Kriel will be without one with skills such as he. You should choose him as a mate. He would make a good mate."
Looking up from her meal, the young woman spoke clearly in Molgur-Trul, "Does your human have a name? Do you have a name?"
Startled by the young woman's calm response in his own tounge, Grissok continued to drunkenly blather, "Dong... Dongcastle. Because his dong is as big as a castle! And he is a Major as well. A good mate for sure!"
"Yes. I do have business with Major Doncastle, but not of that variety. Would you be so kind as to inform him that I need to speak to him. My name is Alicia."
Realizing he had been so casually dismissed by the young lady, Grissok wandered over to the Major, "She likes you."
The Major stood and walked to Alicia's table, "Major Tymon Doncastle, retired. How may I assist you, my dear?"
"Hello Major, my name is Alica. I believe you served with my father in the Trenchers, Sergeant Alfred Wenkel?"
"Alfred Wenkel you don't say? How is that old chap? That mechanikal hand still holding up? I'm glad he didn't decide to go with the hook. Hard to throw a grenade with a hook."
"My father is getting along just fine, thank you. I have a letter for you. It comes straight from Scout General Bolden Rebald himself. I'm told it's encrypted but I trust that you know the cipher." With that Alica produced a small weatherproof satchel, removed an envelope and placed it upon the table.
The Major took the envelope and opened it, it was indeed encrypted and he did indeed know the cipher.
Major Tymon Doncastle,"I'm in," the Major said as he folded up the letter and stuffed it into his jacket pocket.
It is by my order that as of this moment, you have been returned to active duty within the ranks of the Cygnaran Reconnaissance Service. Your former rank will be reinstated and you will report directly to the agent that delivered this letter to you.
It has come to my attention that you have been conducting private operations within the Cloutsdown Fen and have made contacts among the Trollkin of the region. Over the last several weeks, I have received reports of Cryxian raiding parties that are believed to have originated from this region. I would have you utilize your contacts and familiarity with the area to substantiate these reports if at all possible.
Scout General Bolden Rebald
"Very well, I will need to debrief you immediately. I have a room here, follow me in a few minutes," Alicia stated, rising from the table and paying for her meal.
Grissok drunkenly grinned from his seat at the bar as he watched the Major follow the human female to her room.
"I would like you to start with providing me with details of your Trollkin allies," Alicia began once they were in private, "Would you say that they are sympathetic towards Cygnar?"
Producing a leather bound journal, Alicia began taking notes as the Major provided what intelligence he could regarding his newfound allies among the Kriel. At mention of Hoarluk Doomshaper drafting many of the Kriel's warriors, Alica acknowledged that Boshgar and Hoarluk had a history together. They were once part of the same Dhunian Knot in their younger days.
"As you now know, multiple Cryxian raids have been traced back to the Fen. Our Rangers were unable to continue tracking the raiding parties once within the Fen itself, as they encountered strong resistance from the local Gatormen Tribe. We would like you to discover what intelligence you can regarding any Cryxian activity in the region."
The Major took this opportunity to inform Alicia of the increased aggressiveness of the Bloodrot Tribe.
"Your operational budget is 500 Gold Crowns," Alicia said, tossing a coin purse on the desk. "I also saw that you hauled in a Hunter, I can requisition any replacement parts that you might require if the wreck can be repaired."
After a means of clandestine communication was established between the two agents, Alica prepared to depart. "I don't want to spend one more moment in this hellish swamp, it reeks. I don't know how you do it." It was at this moment that the Major noticed that Alicia had stuffed her nostrils with cotton.
By nightfall, most of the palisade had been erected. The Gnasir tribesmen had renewed their work once the Trollkin began assisting them. Bendek noticed that Loka was lustfully watching him while he worked. Once finished for the night, everyone gathered into the common room of the Dirty Tankard and more drinking commenced.
Tank eventually returned from working on the Hunter, "Well, I've got good news and I've got bad news. You're going to need a cortex, and I don't have one. The gears are totally stripped on that thing as well. But if I had the parts, I figure I could manage it."
"How many rounds does that gun have?" Grissok inquired.
Major Doncastle immediately began writing out the requisition for the parts as well as extra ammunition for the long arm.
Oreg stumbled back inside and sat down with the Trollkin. Before passing out again, he bragged that he had killed three Gatormen two days back and driven their heads upon a pike.
Instead of sleeping in the common room with everyone else, Loka rented a room with a bed and slipped Bendek the key.
A watch was set and the Major volunteered for first watch. He took Zorga outside with him and continued with his earlier questions, "Tell me, how would you suggest we best assault the Bloodrot?"
"My father has abandoned our village. He moved the tribe to the submerged ruins that we recently discovered along the coast," Zorga answered.
"Ruins you say? Can you elaborate?"
"I believe that they are from the time of the Orgoth occupation."
Startled by her reply, the Major was not sure if he had actually seen movement out in the swamps. He silenced the Gator and brought up his scoped rifle to get a better look.
Moments passed and Zorga suggested that they get a closer look, "Our warriors would attack at night, it would be preferred, but my father has not been concerned with this... little shack."
Moving beyond the palisade a few yards, the pair were startled by a hulking shape that was moving just beyond the range of the Major's rifle. He was able to get a good enough look to identify the creature as a Dracodile, an apex predator of the swamps and rivers of Western Immoren. A cold sweat suddenly came over the Major as his brain kicked into overdrive. He was in these swamps ultimately to hunt creatures such as this.
Quickly retreating to the Dirty Tankard, the Major awoke his sleeping allies and warned them of the imminent danger of the Dracodile out in the swamps. Everyone quickly readied themselves for combat. Tank gave the Major the verbal code for the Buccaneer Warjack.
Once everyone was ready, Chieftain Swampbreath lit his Fell Caller Torch and rang out with a Signal Call. Out in the swamps, Joruk heard the call and knew that his Chieftain was in danger.
Lured to the compound by the scent of food, the huge beast was not more than fifty yards to the east by the time everyone was outside. Joruk and his Trolls approached from the south.
Ringing out with the first shot, the Major sent the Buccaneer charging into the Dracodile in hopes that it would not be able to savagely rend any of his allies to pieces.
Chieftain Swampbreath began his inspired chants, empowering everyone around him and steeling them from the terror of facing down such an imposing foe.
Grissok used his sorcery to ensure solid footing for the war party.
Bendek put a few rounds into the beast with his hand cannon, blasting large holes in the creatures hide.
The recruits fired off rounds from their pistols to no avail but with much smoke and cacophony.
Loka made to scale the palisade walls and slipped into the shadows.
Zorga began guttural chanting as her form began to take on the appearance of a rotting corpse.
Joruk and his Trolls closed with the Dracodile and managed to do some serious damage.
Splitting it's attacks among the Buccaneer and the Trolls, the Dracodile managed to rip the left arm of the warjack clean off and sink a rending wound into Tor.
A second wave of attacks commenced from the defenders, and a final blow from Tor managed to put the creature down.