The road home to Freeport had been long and the most trying of the their lives but Sveta was eager to fulfill her promise to Cormanthyr. “Who is this orc that I need to kill? Where can I find him?” she asked the admiral. “His name is Dashglunk, a warlord of the Ashbloods. They were camped out east of town but have since moved into Scurvytown. They’re carrying away anything that isn’t nailed down.” Durge grumbled a bit and whispered to his daughter, “I know this Dashglunk, very dangerous…perhaps I should fight him.” Sveta sneered at her father and simply replied “No.” Grishma and Edge stirred uncomfortably expecting the orc to correct his daughter but Durge only gave a slight nod and smiled. Sveta had been itching for a stand up fight and after dealing, bartering, and sneaking her way through the outer planes, the time had finally come for open bravado.

A fine mist was blanketing Freeport as the company left Doren’s Well for Scurvytown. Normally only armed patrols of the city watch would brave that area of Freeport by night but Sveta insisted on leaving right away. Even from a distance screams and shouting were clearly heard and it was obvious that parts of the ghetto were burning. Not sure where to look for Dashglunk, Sveta decided to head for the one place in Scurvytown that all orcs loved, Crom’s Throat. The Throat is the only orc bar in Freeport. There are no tables, no chairs, and not even a bar. Four cisterns the size of cathedral bells line the back wall and a feeding trough sits nearby. Lining the bottom of each cistern are dozens of bronze nipples from which a steady flow of rot gut whiskey flows. Any orc who wishes to drink or eat must fight their way to the prize and hold their spot for as long as they wish to imbibe.

The town watch, led by Captain Sandek, had formed a score of roadblocks to contain the chaos. They had no interest in helping the residents of the slum, their orders were to prevent the rioting from entering the wealthier areas of Freeport. Sandek glared at Edge, the bad blood still burned between the two, as he approached the barricade but Sveta was determined. She grabbed her elf companion and pulled him along. Edge’s score would have to wait.

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The company moved past the barricade wasting no words on the watch. For a moment, the glow of burning buildings and the reek of dense smoke reminded Sveta of the horrors of the outer planes but the thoughts soon passed as the sight of orcs chugging whiskey and shoving a badly beaten human between them met her eyes. Turning the corner to Crom’s Throat a dozen Ashblood orcs, warming themselves by a large bonfire, blustered at the companies approach. When Sveta attempted to enter the bar one of the orcs blocked her, “Mirdautas vras gruiuk” the orc sneered. Nearby, Sveta could see Cragwipe, the owner of Crom’s Throat. He was battered but still alive. Before Sveta’s eyes returned to the orc, she threw up her forearm to deflect a punch. “Vras Undur Kurv,” roared the orc as the rest of the Ashblood leaped forward. Grishma, the half-giant, caught two of the orcs by the throat and slammed them into the wall of the bar while Edge grappled with another. Durge cared little for brawling with orc savages and buried his axe into the chest of the Ashblood that blocked the door. A fountain of blood poured forth covering Sveta. The remaining Ashbloods stared at Sveta as she turned to face them. Orcish blood ran down her face in thick black streams onto her chest and stomach. Sveta’s teeth flashed yellow and gritted, “Leave or die!” The orcs chose life.

Sveta pushed the free swinging doors of the bar open to see ten heavily armed and armored orcs drinking and feasting. Durge followed behind. “That’s him,” he growled, conspicuously pointing out a massive orc leaning on a great axe. “His axe is the Ashblood totem of power. You will need to take it!” Dashglunk was dressed in the hides of a dire bear and his mouth, bulging with a pair of stained tusks, was large enough to fit a human head within. There was something unnatural about this orc but if the Ashbloods were to be brought under control he would have to die.

The orcs stood silent save Dashglunk who snarled as Grishma, towering in stature, strode in. Edge, leaning in the doorway, eyed the hazy street. Sveta stepped forward, clenched her fists, and stared at Dashglunk. Every hand in the room moved slowly for the hilt of their weapons, each side waiting for the other to strike first. “I am here to kill you Dashglunk but you can still live if you give me your axe.” The giant orc let out a hideous laugh, his great mouth lurching open with the convulsions of his body. “No Kurv can be king!” he replied with disdain. Another orc, scarred and wrinkled, leaning heavily on a twisted staff, and covered in bone charms interrupted, “A challenger has come, just kill her and be done with it.” Still laughing slightly, Dashglunk realized that the eyes of his lieutenants were on him. Sveta took a step forward and shouted, “Bring it coward!” With a roar, Dashglunk hefted his axe and charged Sveta. The massive orc’s first blow struck Sveta with incredible force sending her back into Grishma. Gritting her teeth, Sveta grasped her chest but snapped back quickly striking with a flurry of fists to the face and throat that left the orc on his back gasping for air as his axe rattled free from his hand. Durge kneeled down and lifted the Ashblood Axe but the Shaman slammed his staff across the axe’s haft in protest. Dashglunk was stunned but not defeated. Smiling at his daughter’s display, Durge tossed the axe on top of the orc, “Here, you still need this.” The orcs lieutenants were screaming for Dashglunk to get up when Sveta closed in and delivered a hail of fists, knees, and elbows. Dashglunk was in a heap pissing himself, unable to do more than awkwardly lift his head as sheets of black blood poured from his face. Sveta drove her knee into Dashglunk’s spine and wrapped her arm under the orc’s chin. Pausing a moment, her eyes scanned the room and met each of the orc lieutenants before snapping the warlord’s neck with a loud crunch. Again, Durge grabbed the Ashblood Axe as the stunned orcs looked on. Sveta motioned to her father who tossed the great axe to her waiting hand. Placing one foot on Dashglunk’s shoulder, Sveta brought the axe down sending the orc’s head rolling towards the Shaman.

Sveta turned to the orc warriors as she buried the axe into the fallen warlords back. The axe’s haft stood freely as Sveta, her face and chest still stained with thick black blood, glared at the Ashbloods. “You will do as commanded or I will come back and kill everyone of you mother fuckers!” Sveta roared at the orcs and booted Dashglunk’s head against the wall. “Take your worthless hides back to camp now!” Fumbling over one another the orcs ran from Crom’s Throat screaming for their warriors to follow. The Shaman, moving much slower, bowed and tapped the gnarled end of his staff on the ground. “We will follow as commanded warlord.”

 

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