After several days of selling items and exploring the city on edge, the party heard an announcement for mercenary recruitment, and decided to jump at the opportunity to make some quick steel.
They reported to the advertised place a little bit late, but were accepted nonetheless, meeting the commander of the mercenary force, a veteran solamnic named Lord Aubrecht, who bore some familial resemblance to Marilyn Aubrecht, whom they had met in Imburg Vale. He told them that the Prince would be watching their operation from afar, so they should make every effort to conduct themselves professionally, and then dismissed them.
They marched out the next day, the destination a small walled village that perhaps 3 dozen large ogres and scores of smaller ones were believed to be occupying. Aust, having the most practical war experience, was made squad leader, and aided in the operation’s planning.
The main objective was to drive the enemy out of the safety of the walls so that the heavy cavalry could run them into the ground. Thus it was decided that half of the infantry would approach from the front to draw attention, and the other half would sneak through some nearby woods to assault the walls from an alternate direction, hoping to instill such fear and confusion that the foe would rout.
In the forest, they ran across some pickets, and just before the ogre could blow his alarm, Aust cleaved his horn in twain, and then soon the ogre’s skull. Arriving at the edge of the woods undetected, Vadania and Slivet took flight to play their part, setting fires and infiltrating invisibly behind enemy lines to strike at targets of opportunity.
While flying over the town, Vadania spotted a large number of hard liqour casks set against the side wall of the tavern, which exploded with a little alchemist’s fire, killing several. This broke the invisibility until they landed and Slivet re-cast. The pair then hid while Vadania summoned a hippogriff to sow confusion on the north wall, attracting guards there when it comically bit an ogre on the chin.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party had heard the alarm go up as the main force was spotted, and the sound of explosions from within the village, so they began their assault. They used grappling hooks to scale the wall, and battled fiercely to overcome the first defenders and a wave of lesser ogres coming to investigate.the rucus. They then proceeded north, towards the center of town, striking terror into the little ones to such a degree that no organized resistance was set against them.
Back on the north wall, Slivet created an illusion of another Hippogriff, which attracted the ogre chieftan and his guards. They overheard (thank’s to the kender’s Comprehend Languages spell) a plan to split forces and go south by different routes to catch the humans in a pincer attack. They followed the little boss as he got together many other small ones to smash the humans… Once they were far enough away to ensure the Ogres would not come Vadania created a ball of flame in the center of the growing mob. This set the leader aflame, and then Slivet created the illusion of a dozen more rolling down the street. Such a panic occured that the little ones trampled each other in their haste to run, killing a dozen of them and scattering the rest.
Aust’s group had penetrated, but now sought a vantage point to decide their next move. They found a tower and cleared it. From the top they could see the other squad that had taken the wall with them was hard pressed between greater and lesser ogres. From the heights, Aust’s squad rained shots down on the small ones, and they had finally had enough. The chieftan and his guards withdrew and made for the gates. As they exited, Aust blew the signal, and the battle was won.
A few days later, back in Daouda, Aust was awarded a medal for exemplary service, and as the squad had taken no casualties and done so well, they were awarded half again the completion bonus.
A few days of rest and recuperation later, Gidget had finished his vehicle, and Seshana had purchased some new armor. Since they were next headed for Palaga territory, Aust visited their camp and asked around for a guide. Most turned him down because they needed to stay and protect the camp, but a single elderly boulmaukan named Ajakall accepted, saying it had been too long since he had went on pilgrimage.
He needed a day to cleanse himself, and suggested the party do the same. They met him to leave on the following morning.
Ajakall seemed a man of few words, and not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he knew the ways of nature well, and the miles rolled by as they went north towards the foothills. On the second day they were attacked by a Zuma raiding party, and Ajakall refused to help, but encouraged the party to fight the zebra riders. Similarly, the Zuma did not target the elder. After they had been driven off, he said that a truce had been called between their peoples because of the rampaging Ogres, and he could not break it.