The party finishes their business in Marliss. Valeron whistles and Carthesis shows up, lightly wounded and covered in orc blood. They put Arianna on his back and start their trek north.
They find ruined village after ruined village. On the road, they find a group of orcs trying to kill an old man. They save him and discover that he was up in the mountains when the cairns released. He fled a dragon and head north. The dragon is visible in the sky to the south and he points it out. Val, Huir, Taren and Rosa are all but transfixed by their need to go kill it. Still, they have duties.
That night they find a cellar to camp in in Annora. While sleeping Val is attacked and effectively disabled by a Black Stalker. They manage to disarm and kill the thing, but it’s sword appears to be a sword of Valeron slaying, which Talinor wants to keep because screw Valeron that’s why. Also, he seems to have a theory that magic is a virus and you can inoculate against it.
They destroy the sword, which becomes very brittle when filled with the light of God. Also, Vincent attunes with the cloak and realizes it’s made out of distilled evil, but it give a +50 to hiding, so he keeps it because screw what’s right, that’s why.
They put Valeron on the horse as well and the next day they arrive at Inis Valesh and find the place besieged by an enemy army. Worse, the army isn’t just orcs. There are 30,000 orcs, about 1,000 titans, and 30,000 humans. No one knows how the humans got there, but someone mentions that scriptural descriptions of Aclainian’s war with the orcs make it impossible to make maps. They make no consistent sense, but there’s a slightly heretical theory that maybe he had a way to travel with magic, making it possible to cross the continent in a couple days. This goes against modern magical theory, but it would explain the scriptural inconsistencies and more importantly, how this army got here. The other explanation is that they conquered every nation between Valesh Eren and one of the coasts.
The clouds are supernaturally thick so they set up in the destroyed village of Yalar and build a fortified raft. Using it at night would not normally be useful with orcs, but it’s too dark for even nightvision to spot things well. That and a shade spell allows them to get into the city.
Crispin convinces the guards to arrest them.
Vincent steals blankets from freezing refugees who need them. Because screw the poor, that’s why. Also, his blankets were dirty.
They meet Lord Alimon, Division Commander of the Inis Valesh watch. He attended Val’s knighting so he vouches for the group and lets them go. Also, I mentioned to Jen that Val saved the crowned prince of the kingdom in the last big battle of last summer’s war, wielding a two-handed sword after being disarmed. I don’t know if she shared this with the rest of the party. Vincent would know as well.
They find rooms at Barracks 15 in the Sword Quarter of the city. Vincent finds out there’s a blanket shortage and takes the dirty blankets back to the guard house. They also learn somewhere in here that there are 100,000 refugees in the city and they are getting arrested just to have a warm place to sleep.
The next day they meet the Abbess, a lecherous old woman who examines Arianna and tells them that if she takes it easy she’ll recover, but she doesn’t dare take one of her healer’s out of commission healing her. She also lightly gropes Valeron and offers to give Crispin a check up.
They then meet Crispin’s Uncle Edwin, Cardinal of the city (which is the highest position in the church that one can attain without royal blood.) They tell him about the death of his family. He offers them all beds. He also says that Vincent can poach a laundress if she’s willing to follow him through an orc-infested wilderness.
Throughout all of this they’ve been hearing about Preia Occeri, a play that’s going on the next evening. We end with the plan for everyone to attend that then next day because starting a session with the GM describing a play is always a great cold start.