Four days outside Tower Rock, the party realized they were going to reach the leaders of the Sons of the Beast the next day. Rangrim lobbied to strike now, before they reach the leaders, but Malidar pointed out that they still hadn’t achieved their mission of gaining any useful information.
That night, as Ginni sat idly on watch, Rusalka the tiefling approached her. Claiming not to be able to sleep, he mentioned that she’d caught his attention with the way she’d participated so whole-heartedly in the blood ritual a few days before, and that he could sense that the she’d been “touched by the darkness.” Ginni confirmed that she has some arcane skills, and asked about advancement opportunities. Rusalka revealed that there was, in fact, an arcane ritual coming up to raise Gruumsh, whose body was found under a goblin king’s grave, using bottles of smoke. The tiefling arcanist in charge of that ritual is Astoreth. And the blood rage ritual is something the tieflings did not bring, but which the orcish races are able to feed with their primitiveness. Ginni nodded and continued some small talk about the plans before being relieved of her duties.
She woke Malidar stealthily and gave him a quick run-down. Then Rhio and Rangrim were woken up and Rangrim told the guard on watch to go check out something he heard “over there.” Ginni sent Blinky out to cast Ghost Sound, and the hobgoblin went to check it.
When he reached Blinky, he yelled “what the hell is that?!?” waking up more orcs. Rusalka approached to talk to Rangrim, they argued, and Blinky popped up behind the hobgoblin, in flank position. Rhio moved up silently behind Rusalka.
Taking their moment of surprise, the party attacked without hesitation or remorse. As orcs and hobgoblins fell beneath Rangrim and Rhio’s weapons, their blood sprayed out in a fine mist, covering them all. When Rusalka died under Malidar’s tratnyr, his body burned off into ash, and a twisted black thing with two burning eyes glared balefully at them, memorizing them before darting off towards the hells it calls home.
The fight over, the party moved off a ways and set up their private campsite. Ginni cast the ritual to transform them back into their natural forms, and they resolved to return to Az and make their report to Jovan.
Malidar made a stirring speech and the party performed a ceremonial ritual to become blood brothers.
They headed to Tower Rock in the morning, meeting a group that included the wardens on the way. They discussed events, told the wardens about the leaders, and bought horses in Tower Rock to make it back to Az more quickly.
The party rode hard for 8 or 9 days, past the ruin of Farmenton, and reached Az. They met Eliza and Jovan there and told Jovan everything.
Meta: They leveled up.