The Gauntlet of Ghemar

Ghemar, a collection of ruins on the border of greenskin territory. Remote, cold, uninhabited save for the occasional raiding party or band of fugitives, it’s a good place to avoid.

Problem is when the Horn Moon River floods, the old highway wending through those cracked, mossy stones is the only other route through that part of the province. So… it’s off to Ghemar we go.

L-> R: Matt’s Tracker, John’s Tracker, Mike D’s Mancer, and Other Pat’s Blade.

A Nightwatch Pact in pursuit of a vampire coven (‘Clan Bruha, born to sow the seeds of anarchy‘) agrees to escort a merchant traveling the same direction for a reasonable fee. Relieved, the merchant’s ursine security decides to stick near his boss and let the Nightwatch members earn their coin.

As the road narrows into the prefect location for an ambush, the Pact members take the lead. All they need do is get the merchant and his giant turtle to safety at the far end of the path.

Not a dozen paces and a pair of dire boars charge from the ruins. They are swiftly put down. The Tracker is considering carving up a few fresh flank steaks when a Ork brute and a third boar emerge. Shouts of alarm, a war cry, grunts and squealing, the fight is on.

Decide to move at their own pace. The Bear has a big axe and a bigger attitude: he’s decided that unless something mean and ugly gets past the Nightwatch, he’s staying with the one-turtle caravan. The giant tortoise, while good for heavy loads over long distances, is ambling as fast as he can – which is to say ‘slow’. So the Nightwatch have to stay on their toes and be prepared to slug it out every step of the way.

Which they do; more Ork brutes appear, bellowing for blood, cheap trade goods, and maybe a huge tureen of turtle soup.

At this point, all the enemies have spawned from the left. Confident in his comrades’ abilities, Other Pat’s Blade stays on the right, wary of potential attackers coming from the crumbling shell of a monastery.

Good thing, too.

Chuckling with glee, the Ork War Chief charges at what he thinks is the merchant’s unprotected flank. Fortunately, Other Pat’s Blade stops him in the narrow arch of the entrance. The brawl is on.

Meanwhile on the left, the two Trackers and the Mancer send arrows and incandescent bolts of arcane power against the final pair of bloodthirsty brutes. It takes some clever maneuvering and a bit of luck, but steadfastness of the Nightwatch warriors carries the day. A few rabid greeenskins is nothing for those accustomed to facing down nightmares. The bear and the tortoise trundle on, unbothered by the ferocious carnage.

As the last of the brutes fall, the last enemy appears: an Ork shaman.

Other Pat’s Blade and the Ork War Chief have been trading blows, with neither gaining the upper hand. However, the shaman spawned near the start of the road, and he creeps up to the far corner of the monastery ruins. The Blade’s attention understandably focused on more immediate concerns, the hunched Ork’s strange, guttural chants go unnoticed.

One, two, three flashes of slickly yellow light fly from the shaman’s staff. Two get past the warrior’s armor to wound him. Staggered but still upright, he refuses to give ground.

“A little help here?” he calls out. John’s Tracker comes to assist.

His shots at the shaman are deflected, so the Tracker shifts his aim and targets the War Chief instead. Anything to take some pressure off Other Pat’s Blade.

At the head of the column, the Mike’s Mancer and Matt’s Tracker finish off the last of the marauding Orks. The merchant breathes a sigh of relief and leads his turtle of burden into the final stretch. Speaking of relief, the bear steps into the woods to do something…

At the rear, the Other Pat lands a decisive blow on the War Chief and his massive frame slumps to the ground in the doorway. Outraged, the Shaman screeches and looses more caustic spells at the puny humans. Mike D sends his Mancer darting back and within moments, he adds the last of his spells to the Tracker’s arrows. A well-aimed shot and a blast of supernatural power, the scrawny, hooded Ork is killed. The last enemy the party sees is the shaman’s goblin assistant fleeing into the underbrush with a steaming, black cauldron perched on his head.

Game Over.

And so ends Other Pat’s last session with us before his move. A fine showing too, going toe-to-toe with the Ork warchief and bringing the big bastard down.

Although I’m confident Other Pat will land on his feet and good things are waiting for him and his family in this next chapter, we will all miss him. It’s easy to take good friends and a good gaming group for granted, but I’ve found they are actually quite rare IRL and something to be treasured.

Onward and Upward.

That’s all for now. More Nightwatch Blood and Bone, minis and terrain, and Zona Alfa on the way. Have a good one.

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