As we walked through a more open area, I was startled to suddenly spy a huge humanoid charging up an incline toward us. He stood, waved his gigantic flail in the air, bellowed a loud guttural sound, and charged Gledrick.
Gledrick braced, and used his hammer and shield to guide the arcing flail to the side. But, I saw Gledrick do something I have never seen before. He staggered. The blow from the ogre clearly missed, but the sheer force of the swing made the dwarf take a step and reset his stance.
I attempted to cast a flash in front of the ogre, but with the distraction of a second ogre, my spell was weak and had no effect.
Illirithil’s viscious snarl pulled my full attention to the second ogre. The dog prowled around to the back and bit deep into a hefty leg. Taking the cue from Illirithil, Alexey also came up behind the ogre and with two flashes of steel, drew a broad red ribbon from the back of the howling ogre. Aimon drove an arrow full into the gut of the beast.
The ogre swept his flail behind his legs, sending Illirithil sprawling and crying for fifteen feet. He cast hateful gaze at all of us.
Behind me, I heard a nasty crunch followed by the raging voice of the ogre. Then, I heard a second, louder, crunch and Gledrick’s faltering voice emitted a stream of dwarven oaths. I know the dwarven tongue, but I lack the familiarity Gledrick has.
I am always amazed at the speed and all the mighty feats of battle. Illirithil, who I expected to be down for good, charged the ogre, leaping high and clawing his way up the back, only to clamp his jaws on that thick neck. The ogre spun around, looking surprised. He dropped his club. His massive hands reached up for his neck as he fell to the side. Illirithil held tightly until the shaking stopped and the ogre lay motionless.
The remaining ogre had no chance. It was sad, actually. I watched as a distraught look came into his eyes when the other ogre fell. He fought on, but without much hope now. Aimon’s arrows and Gledrick’s hammer took their toll and kept him distracted. With all the ogre’s attention forward, Alexey made his way behind and cut the backs of the knees. The surprise of pain brought the ogre to his knees. Now, at a proper height, Alexey drew his blade across the throat and let loose the flow of life.
A brief search showed that the two ogre companions each had a shiny rock – one piece of obsidian and one of malachite. Alexey estimated their worth to be 5gp and 2gp.
We gathered the horses who had scattered during the fray. A couple hours further and Aimon found a likely ford. With robes and legs gathered high and a tight hold on the neck, my horse and I safely crossed. We found ourselves at the feet of the mountains in a gently sloping glade with a blanket of grass and leaves. We set up a camp and took a well-earned rest.
In the morning, a quick look around convinced us that the horses would likely be injured on the steep trail that lay before us. We let them loose. Aimon hoped the food and shelter of this area may keep them close at hand for our return. He warned, however, that we shouldn’t count on it.
We transferred some of the load to the more surefooted mule. He carried rations, blankets, torches, my books, and other supplies. We then began the climb. Gledrick took the lead, seeming to feel his way forward through the familiarity of the mountains. We climbed. He occasionally called out his dwarven greeting, but no answer came.