8th Sandstone, 101 (mid-autumn)
“Clanleader, I don’t think the warlocks took kindly to you refusing to trade.”
“Whatever makes you think that?”
“Sir, the world is on fire…”
Sure enough, there is the unmistakeable smell of smoke. Dropping my meal, I ran upstairs to see what madness had befallen us. The camp was in ashes, and with it most of our supplies. Our stocks of food, our woodpile, our leather, our newly completed dock, almost everything was gone. In the still glowing embers of the trade depot I could what I fear are the charred remains of all the hill orc merchants; a glowing amulet atop a heap of ash is all that remains of one of the warlocks. The frozen river had stopped the spread of fire to the west, but to the east the fire front continued to progress. Yet somehow the trees remain, even though the snow-covered grass did not. The insanity of the warlocks leak from their minds, and twists reality itself to be the madness of my most fevered dreams.
One of the accursed warlocks steps past me. Their face is covered by a dark cowl, and a voice with a chill from beyond the grave speaks to me:
“You had a bear snooping around, probably looking for food. We fixed that for you.”
I’m enraged by this senseless destruction, but I allow the merchants to depart. To bring the wrath of the warlocks upon our head would surely mean death. I do not look forward to when I have to explain to the hill-orcs what happened to their clansfolk. There is no honour in this madness.
I walk about what remains of our camp. Our homes are safe, being below ground, none of our clan were harmed, and there are still wild plants across the river upon which we may subsist. Some of the more durable remains of the orcish caravan have survived the fire, although much is ash, and there are pools of lead upon the ground. The flames must have been intense. Theog reports that there were indeed bears; our hunters had slain two across the river, and remarkably, a large caged crab has survived the fire. So at least we will have food for tonight.
There is no doubt that the plume of smoke can be seen for miles around. This is confirmed with the arrival of seven taiga orcs—much like ourselves—searching the wilderness in hopes of shelter and glory. They have a dreamwalker as their guide, an uruk as their warchief, and a collection of orcs and snagas amidst their numbers. I am to meet with their leader later today; it sounds as if they may be willing to help us rebuild. I am worried that our foes may also be drawn to us before we are ready, now that our location is so clearly marked. We must remain vigilant over the coming months.
Despite our losses, spirits in the camp remain high. Before the docks were lost, we managed to trade a great deal of lynx-thread sailcloth for a fine steel scimitar. Our elite squad, The Incestuous Fires, repelled a band of ogres that were menacing in the woods, and CptCrunchy—leading The Hairy Poisons—reports to me that strict instructions have been given on the importance of bringing quivers. Their bowshots are impressive indeed; they seemed to predict both the wind and their prey’s movements, and many arrows hit their marks.
The ogres are mighty foes, and despite what seemed like dozens of strikes and a fractured skull, the spirit of the one we downed refused to leave its body. We respected its fierce will to live, and formed a guard of honour just out of sight amongst the trees. When it finally awoke, we did not prevent its leaving with the others of its tribe. It is glorious to share the wilds with one so worthy.
Underground we found a vein of haematite. While disappointingly short, it has provided valuable iron. While I know most would prefer to honour their heritage with hardened leather and obsidian, I fear we must work with common metals for defence now that our location is so obviously known.
But now it is a time to meet with our guests, and assess what our common strengths may be. Who knows, we may be surprised by what is forged from these flames of madness…
Other news and screenshots:
Sage likes her weapon:
Molten lead in the building inventory; sign that !!fun!! is about to start:
The start of the fire, back when we still had stockpiles to speak of:
A view of The Circle from underground. Rung three is almost complete, giving us housing for 20 orcs. I don’t like all the moss which is growing, although this will be less of a problem once workshops and personal stockpiles are in place:
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