<u>Session 20: Saerinith 24, 4717 AR-Arodus 10, 4717 AR</u><o:p></o:p>
You were now firmly in the territory of the mated Red Dragons Tyrakis and Sheblis. Despite the presence of a trail, it was still tough going through the mountains and even at the height of summer, the weather was cool verging on cold. On the 27 Saerinith, you came across an Orc warband. Their symbol identified them as members of the Ice Tooth clan, which Rex informed you had submitted to the dragons. There were approximately two dozen of the creatures, including several leaders and a war drummer. After a few minutes of intense negotiation, in which the Orcs demanded 1,000 gold crowns from each party member for continued passage, the band refused to be intimidated by Atish and Rex. Before you could act, the drummer pounded on his instrument summoning Tyrakis from nearby. After a few moments of fierce fighting, you took out most of the Orcs, but failed to really damage the dragon. You all were forced to retreat when Drinna fell to the dragon’s mighty claws and bite and Rex was downed by an axe blow after he succumbed to some Orcish magic that paralyzed him. Both should have been dead, but survived their deadly wounds through heroic force of will. Luckily, the dragon chose not to pursue.<o:p></o:p>
After resting and healing, you all decided to travel to the nearby city of Lepistadt to restock and decide your next move. The going was slow, as the party had lost all of their horses except for sturdy Seekeks. Aside from an easy encounter with 2 Bristleback Boars (wild boars with bristly spines indigenous to the Tusk Mountains), you made it to Firewatch Peak on 10 Erastus. From there it was 2-day journey down to Lepistadt. On the way, you were attacked by a band of Hippogriffs. Rex managed to take one alive and convinced Belflin to begin training it as Rex’s new mount.<o:p></o:p>
Your stay in Lepistadt was brief (from 12 Erastus to 14 Erastus), but everyone welcomed the brief return to civilization. After stocking up on mundane supplies and a few minor potions and purchasing new mounts for Drebb and Gambler, you all resumed your journey. The return journey to Firewatch Peak was interrupted by a roving band of 4 Hill Giants, but you all easily dispatched them. Once you reached Firewatch Peak on 19 Erastus, you all realized that you were no match for Tyraxis, let alone his mate Sheblis along with their Orc servitors, so you reluctantly decided take the long way around the dragons’ territory. <o:p></o:p>
The grueling journey took you about three weeks. The first two weeks were through the trackless mountains, while the last week you hooked up with the trail that slowly descended from the mountains towards the border between Belkzen and the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. Your only encounters were with an Ogre Mage and his 4 Ogre cronies, a pair of Spire Drakes, and 2 more Bristleback Boars, all of which you took out with relative ease. As you approached the edge the edge of the Desolation and the Camp, Belflin noted the increasing blight upon the land due to the location of this territory on the borders of the Worldwound. The weather became hotter and drier and the lush mountains and plains were giving way to an arid, desert-like climate. After camping on 10 Arodus, you were now a half day from the Camp and the beginning of your mission.