The wall swings open and two strangers enter Winston’s secret work shop. Almeran does not lookup from the work table he has been at all day but Grune, who had been pacing, approaches the two new comers asking what they have learned. After a few moments their appearance changes as the spells disguising Khaine and Ingrid fades.
It has only been two days since the attempted ambush at the warehouse, and the city watch has been very active looking for them. While they could leave at anytime via Almeran’s magic, the warlock was determined to complete his work. Winston’s hidden workshop provided a perfect place for them to lie low and address the mystics needs. Only Grune had been truly stuck with nothing to do but wait as, using powerful scrolls of Seeming, Ingrid and Khaine had gone out into the city to investigate several locations from the intel they retrieved.
Their efforts confirmed that several warehouse’s have had additional off the books materials flowing through them. Individually it would not be enough to take notice, but collectively it was enough and of the type to support and resupply a large armed force. It also further pointed to the Grey estates as being one of the destination for the overages.
Ingrid updated Grune quickly but her eyes never left Khaine who appeared concerned or conflicted. When Grune inquired what was the matter, it was again Ingrid who spoke saying word was spreading that Solomon Gru had returned and was planning to address the Blade Schools members tomorrow. Ingrid seemed to be repeating herself to Khaine saying he should stay away that this could only be a trap. She had to leave to leave to attend other matters and would return the following night and would help ferret out the truth when she return. Khaine simply stated he was aware of the potential risks and the importance of their current mission. Ingrid, not completely satisfied with his answer, departed.
It was mid evening when Almeran stepped away from his work and the three spoke of the last few days and of the even at the school tomorrow. After some discussion they decided that they would use the Scrolls of Seeming to infiltrate the school event as orcs. If Gru was back Khaine needed to speak with about his sword and the larger threat to the world. If it was clear it was a trap then they would simply leave. Grune, not thrilled about looking like an orc was the most excited getting out of the 10×15 stone box he had been stuck in. Fresh air and a stretch of his legs would do him good.
Their approach to the school was uneventful. Khaine had prepped them on where to meet inside and looking like orcs they entered the grounds with other students also there for the assembly. Heading through some back areas they made their way to into center of the compound and exited upon the mezzanine overlooking the “Heart of the School”. The training arena where students were taught and tested.
A number of orcs were there already and there seemed to be some mixed emotions. As the heroes got closer railing they saw why. Sitting upon the Masters Chair was Rugar, master of the brute spear, and standing just behind him was a red robed mage. Flanking the two and at several doorways and sets of stairs were orcs wearing the Grey Wolf armbands.
Khaine was about to indicate he and his companions leave when he noticed on the arena a figure was tied to the Blade Tree. Barely conscious, it was a severely battered and bruised Solomon Gru. Also dozens of cuts lined his face, arms and body from the leaves of the Blade Tree. He froze, again conflicted, as he knew this was clearly a trap but he could not justify leaving his master like this. Even a healthy warrior could be cut to death if he stayed too long under the branches of the Blade Tree. And it appeared that Gru was far from healthy.
It was an impatient Rugar that stood and settled the crowd. Addressing them he stated that Gru had dishonored himself by betraying the kingdom and allowing himself to be captured and put in this state. That he was disappointed that he would not be able to defeat him by combat as he will meet kingdom justice soon, but would take over this school none the less. If anyone had objection to this, they may challenge him now or keep their piece. Murmurs for and against Rugar’s words floated in the air and the Grey Wolves readied themselves for possible anarchy. It was in this moment that Khaine stepped forward and leapt to the grounds below and accepted the challenge. None seemed to recognize this orc, nor the black blade he carried. Rugar acknowledged at least one of Gru’s students had the orcish stones to face him, and that he would honor this brave warrior by making his defeat quick and asked him his name.
Khaine looked at his master and then back up at Rugar and said. “I am Khaine, and the only defeat today will be yours!” With that Khaine willed the spells on him to end, not only ending the illusion, but the disfigurement effect as well. He stood in the in the Heart of the School as himself to the shook of all around him. Including his companions.
The Grey Wolves stared to move in on him until a bark from Rugar stopped them in their tracks. His impatience scowl now replaced with a hint of smile he declares that none shall interfere with this challenge. He then leaped down and after another verbal exchange between the two combatants they agreed that should Khaine fall his blade would be forfeit, but should he prevail that none shall touch him nor his master. The terms agreed upon they circled and then clashed.
Grune and Almeran were still up on the mezzanine and trying to make their way to the stairs without drawing attention. They however noticed that while all the students’ eyes were on the battle below, the Grey Wolves and the Whisper Mage were scanning the crowd intently. Almeran tried to cast Charm spell on one of the students but was notices by the red mage who pointed him out. From her hiding spot below Sylhouette stepped out and fired a shot at the disguised warlock, taking the arrow shaft in the chest. The disguised Grune stepped up to heal him which got a crossbow bolt fired at him. The nearby orc student didn’t like that his “comrades” where being attack unprovoked and set to defending them.
Seeing Sylhouette, Almeran was worried their might be more hidden dangers. He played up the “wounded orc” routine and used the eye to see if there were any other threats. All threats seemed as they were but bound to the Blade Tree was not an orc, but an elf with silver hair. Before he could get the words out could see another arrow speeding his way. A smile on Sylhouette’s face as she appeared ready to say something. In a moment inspiration Almeran refrains from using his gloves and lets the arrow connect. Pain erupts in his shoulder has he cries out. Sylhouette’s smile fades and is replaced by a slightly confused look as she quickly goes back to scanning the crowd whisper “that’s not him, where’s the witch!?”
The gamble worked, she was expecting him to catch the arrow and confirm his identity. Taking the second hit only further infuriated the other orc students who were now either trying to leave or get to the Grey Wolves. During this distraction Grune healed Almeran and overheard him “whisper” to Khaine letting him know that wasn’t Gru under the tree it was Din’dae’s uncle, Silvermane.
In the arena Khaine was pressed hard, Rugar was much faster and agile than he expected. He darted in out making well placed attacks before sliding away from Khaine’s counters. When Khaine was able to take Rugar off his feet, the spear master when just tuck and roll away, spring back to his feet before Khaine could follow-up. Khaine had dealt some respectful blows to the spear master which only seemed to delight him as Rugar hungered for true contest of skills.
However, respect aside, Khaine also knew that Rugar was getting the better of him. He doubted he get take another hit from the spear master, and felt he would need one lucky stroke or two to best Rugar. The pair had separated again, circling and sizing each other up when a ray of energy assaulted Khaine sapping a bit of his strength. Both he and Rugar looked to see that the whisper mage had cast the spell and was preparing to cast another. With a roar of anger Rugar pulled and through a javelin at the red mage, hitting him in the leg. The spear master yells at the mage to stay out of his fight and then looks to Sylhouette and tells her to control her pets lest he end them.
While that exchange was happening Khaine heard Almeran’s words whispered in his ears. He told the young blade master what he saw and that all was not as it appeared. Khaine nodded and as Rugar turned back to face him he decided to take a gamble himself. Rugar, for all his posturing appeared to be acting honorably. He even inquired if Khaine was able to proceed after that mages dishonorable attack. This behavior was very different from that of the Grey Wolves and his conviction about Gru was such he doubted the spear master know that was not him.
Ignoring the pain he was in he stood up straighter and attempted to appeal to this orcs honor. He told him that was not Gru, but an elf of the watch. That he was being deceived. He paused for a moment but believe this was merely a ploy to avoid defeat he attacked with Khaine defending. Again Khaine stated what he knew and said “you know you don’t trust that elf, and I bet she served up this plan to you.” That stopped in his tracks. Khaine had hit a nerve and pressed on calling out how “that elf” and the baroness were playing him and many others for fools.
Rugar’s spear tip lowered a bit as he considered. Trying to think through Khaines words and other events the young blade master could only guess at. Almaran, seeing the spear master pause, dispelled the illusion that surround Silvermane. Shocked orcs student fully rebelled then at being deceived and Sylhouette shouted in rage “It IS You!!” and sent arrows flying at the mystic. The first one he caught with a smile and the second missing with a bit a “traveling”. Rugar, seeing truth of the captive disengages from the fight saying to Khaine “their dual is not over, but this fight is not his”. He then leaves the arena floor.
With the students now attacking the guards and his charade now over, Almaran cast a spell and temporarily ruins the mind of the Whisper Mage. Sylhouette had consumed a potion of invisibility and was trying to stalk closer to the warlock. Unfortunately for her he was still under the effects of the All Seeing Eye. As she attempted to close the distance he looked right at her and with anger and irony in his heart cast a spell and robbed her of sight. Surprised she lost her footing and fell to the arena floor. While Grune made his way to Khaine for healing, Almaran continued to unleash his magical might on the elven archer.
Black tentacles sprang into being grabbing her and a few others nearby. At that orcs stopped rioting and starting fleeing the area. Sylhouette continued to wail as still blinded the tentacles slowly began to crush her. Her wailing of anger hit a crescendo of pain when the warlock called forth a searing column of light to strike her as she grappled ineffectually against the magical tentacles. As the light fade silence reigned and the heroes realized they had won.