The party awoke the next day and were preparing for their activities when Juden ascended the stairs to the inn. He handed Alteris a bag containing 450 GP, payment for the water barrels and “welcomed” the party to leave town as soon as possible. As Delmirev was moving to hitch up Themule for action, Ara noticed an arrow with a note that had been shot through the window. The note, from Smithus, indicated that by the time it was read the town delegation would have already made their way to the meeting with the Orcs in the eastern cave, and that the party should make their way there to offer aid if that was their goal.
The party left town by the Western road and turned back east to the cave (to avoid detection) and upon entering heard very agitated voices inside. Ellywick was unable to make out what was being said until Ara mistakenly revealed her presence to the others deeper inside. An Orc that had spotten Ara decided that they were being doublecrossed and attacked Smithus (an act that would later be revealed to be justified as Smithus was provoking and goading the Orcs to the annoyance of Aran and Juden). Smithus was knocked to the ground as the Ardenians, the party and the Orcs engaged. The attacking Orc, Krugen then attacked Aran while the leader (Dorgo) landed a heavy blow on Kithri (who was attempting to assess Smithus’ injury). After injuring Kithri, Dorgo turned to Judan and brought down his greataxe with deadly force on his sheild. Juden, who until that point was undecided as to his next action, glanced to Othenez and Zal for any cue. Othenez had begun to drag Zal out of the fight to safety, so Juden took that to mean the deal was off and he was authorized to fight back.
Juden, Smithus and the party made quick work of Dorgo while Aran slew Krugen. Aran then ran off into a dark corner of the cave where a gasp and a yell rang out.
Upon questioning Othenez, Delmirev was able to find out that the artifact they were dealing for was a source of water the villagers could use to deal with the Fires of Arden. Aran returned from the darkness to report he had slain another orc and found a chest. Delmirev used the Sannix Key Rudrai of Ur to open the chest to reveal a Decanter of Endless Water.
It was decided that the party would then head west to confront the Fires of Arden. While passing through town the party passed the Neverending Flame. Othenez and Juden explained that the Flame has been in the town for generations, and provides fire to all who need it. An “Identify” spell cast on the Flame (partially, because Delmirev could not touch it without injury) revealed that a spell was acting on it, but could not identify the specific spell. Delmirev put its cleric/mage abilities to good use in researching the flame, discovering that the Flame had been given to the village 175 years ago by a Dwarven Wizard who expected nothing in return.
Othenez mentioned that the Fires of Arden had appeared only a month and a half ago, and that the water they had been requesting from Holshwen was simply to use in town, drinking and washing.
The party continued to the forest west of town accompanied by Smithus, Juden and Aran. As they passed a certain distance from the town, the Fires appeared before them. A Ray of Frost cast on it was met with aggression as the fire charged toward Alteris (the caster) and attacked, draining half of his hp. The three village guards then took cover behind rocks as Ara attempted to put out various fires with the Decanter. Delimrev ascertained that the Fires were indeed a Fire Elemental and attempted to communicate with it. It was discovered that Delmirev and the Elemental had no languages in common. Although what the Elemental said was mostly unintelligible to the party, one word – Ortuga – stood out. The Elemental apparently did not see Delmirev as a thread, as instead of attacking it merely knelt down to face it and repeated “Dahush taguth. Ner kumt Ortuga”. Ara repeated the word “Ortuga”, which drew a reaction from the Elemental who repeated the word. The party decided that the Elemental and the Everlasting Flame were connected somehow and returned to the village. As they left the Elemental shrank into a resting stance.
Delmirev again applied its scholarly abilities to find a lexicon, finally managing to translate some of what it heard to “I mean you no harm. Give me Ortuga.” When the party reached out a torch to the Flame and uttered “Ortuga”, the flame transferred to the torch with a small wind. The party returned to the Fire Elemental outside town, lifting the torch into the air to the Elemental and uttering Ortuga to watch the elemental engulf the torch and absorb the Flame. The shape of the Elemental changed somewhat to reveal what can only be assumed to be the Flame on the Elemental’s shoulder. The Elemental uttered “Machumtor nontra” as, in a blinding flash of light, it disappeared, presumably returning to its home plane.
The party returned to Arden to celebrations and a feast. They were told that they would always be welcome in the village, and they would be celebrated any time they returned. When they returned with this tale to Holshwen, they were told to keep the money that Juden had given them plus an additional 50gp.
Trade has once again been established with Arden, and with it, news of the party’s deeds.
Some points that did not come up during the game but which should be interesting:
- Zal is Othenez’ daughter, and although it is unknown to most of the village, Juden is her father. Juden loves her just as much as Othenez does. His and Othenez’ romantic relationship ended over a decade ago, but they are still kindly friends to each other.
- Zal had managed to fix the lottery that would decide her fate, through Juden’s help. Juden supported Zal’s decision to do this and would not have suffered anyone to take that decision away from her. It was only after Othenez and Zal ran from the engagement in the cave that he felt that Zal had changed her mind and that he could therefore fight the Orcs.
- Smithus had every intention of someday marrying Zal, and would have killed whoever he needed to keep her safe, including Juden (although that fight would have ended very badly for him if he tried)
- Aran has returned to his butcher shop and although he still doesn’t trust Orcs, he has a new appreciation for non-humans. His perspective has grown as a result of working so closely with a Dragonborn, a Halfling and a Gnome.
- The Fire Elemental Guldrenes had received special dispensation from the powers governing the Elemental Plane to summon himself to the physical plane to retrieve his son, Ortuga. Ortuga had been summoned by magic a great many years ago, and Guldrenes has been looking for him ever since. The terms for Guldrenes’ incursion into the Physical Plane were that he was restricted to uninhabited forestland and could not harm any living creature even to defend himself unless Ortuga’s life was directly in jeopardy (he did in fact break this rule when he attacked Alteris, and will be punished upon his return).