The Nearby Jungle
Amos walks through the dense flora while wiping his axe and knife off after hunting down stragglers from the battle to take the city. The sound of his movement is picked up by someone on the road nearby, and the traveler asks if a friend or foe comes his way. After a few tense exchanges, the traveler identifies himself as Tlalok Suddenstorm, and threatens to burn the forest unless his assumed foe reveals himself. Amos decides to come out and they get to talking. Amos decides that he’s trustworthy, and Tlalok reveals that he’s going to Tagkra to see Arcady Longaxe and judge if he will be a better lord than those from the recent past. Amos grunts an affirmative, and they walk back, sharing their stories.
The Lord’s Hall
When Amos returns, Chief Doomhand tells him about the arrival and subsequent kidnapping of Yogn Tlor and Avery Redpine. Amos and Arcady meet up and begin an investigation. While Arcady calls the Kalashek and Gjekrat parties to tell them of the investigation, Amos looks over them to see who looks the most suspicious. He picks out one of the Kalashek soldiers, and once Arcady is done, Amos comes at him hard, and gets him to break. The guard reveals that a group of orcs teleported in and knocked him out, and the description he provides, allows Amos to identify GronAkan Lurj, one of Grelka’s men as a perp. He reports to Arcady, who has discovered that a group from both Grelka and Doomhand’s men are missing. Together, they recall that GronAkan used to base his activities out of Boar-Tusk Cave, so they go out on a limb and travel there, leaving Lord Thagrosh in charge.
Arcady and Amos approach the cave, and Amos sneaks in to listen to what’s going on. He hears a human woman bargaining with two dwarves, one of which is translating for the other, who is quite grotesque. They reluctantly come to an agreement, and the dwarf takes Yogn Tlor and Avery Redpine away in chains. Amos and Arcady confront them once they’re out, and translator tells them that they’re being taken to the new EjHumta on the island. They both piece together that the grotesque dwarf is Aldebaran the Bastard in disguise, but they wisely do not reveal that in order to keep Tlor and Redpine in the dark about his disguise abilities. They have a quiet and uneventful walk to the nearby EjHumta.
Aldebaran, disguised as the dwarf Eosif Worminger, directs his assistant Bunderwal to take Tlor and Redpine to the “back room”, then takes Amos and Arcady into his office. He goes behind a room divider, then breaks character and greets them while removing his disguise. He tells them about his EjHumta enterprise and how it’ll serve as the fundrasier and recruitment center for the New Entente, and they nod in approval. Arcady tells Aldebaran about the purpose of Tlor and Redpine being in Tagkra was, so they decide to check up on them to see if Bunderwal picked up that the “back room” was the fun back room, not the one where you get killed. Fortunately, Bunderwal chose correctly, and they see Tlor wrestling a boar, and Redpine doing a forced keg stand. To the side, a fight to-the-death goes on between two orcs. Aldebaran takes the shaken Tlor and Redpine out, but before they get to leave, one of the duelists yields due to a severe stab wound. Aldebaran comments that there is no yielding, and executes the loser by knocking him out with a potent hydrocarbon, then burning his body. Amos and Arcady look at each other alarmed, though The Cutthroat is pleased. They three of them leave with the ambassadors in tow. After a mile or so, Tlor and Redpine have regained enough of their composure to speak. They talk first of revenge against those that kidnapped them, claiming that it’d help the Guarat Portectorate get a better deal. Redpine wants them dead, and Tlor advocates enslavement, which Aldebaran scoffs at given Tlor’s recent experience as a slave. They shut up and make their way back to Tagkra.
Back at the Lord’s Hall
After giving Tlor and Redpine a chance to clean and recompose themselves, Aldebaran and Arcady are ready go back to the table. Before they enter the room, Aldebaran convinces Arcady that he needs to trust his lead when they go in there, and that they don’t need to make alliances with these people to be powerful and self-sustaining. Arcady pushes open the double door to the conference room, and they sit down at the table. Tlor and Redpine don’t get introduced to Aldebaran, but Arcady gives him the floor, and Aldy stands on the table, whips it out, then pisses on their documents. After Aldy’s dramatic gesture, Arcady explains his decision to take his nation on its own path, outside of either the Kalashek or Gjekrat spheres of influence [paraphrase].
Redpine leaves immediately, red with anger. Tlor expresses his disappointment in Arcady, then begins using Haxitumite magic to subdue Aldebaran. Arcady stops him before it goes too far, leaving Aldebaran with a terrible fear boner. Tlor takes his leave. Arcady shakes his head, but agrees that the message was sent. The two of them run into Doomhand, who has learned that some of his people were involved in the shenanigans, and he vows to punish them horribly. Aldebaran counsels against that, saying that a mysterious “execution” will sow more fear. He goes to Lady Grelka to tell her the same, and sees Siobhan there. He proudly shows his fear boner to her, and she scoffs and shakes her head, then leaves. The boner is no more. Meanwhile, Amos is in the armory sharpening his axe and making some more bolts. The door creaks open behind him, and an elf, the same one that traded them Siobhan, steps in and draws his sword. He announces that he will kill Amos and The Cutthroat, and glory for The Society, then charges.