The Leviathan Coast

When it's time to party, we will always party hard
Viola gets high, gets smothered

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I was super stoked about Garlan Arundel’s party, as I had only dreamed of parties like this growing up as a small town cutpurse and here I was, at an actual drugs-and-live-band type shindig. At first, all my dreams of how such a party should go were fulfilled. Right away, Sable Moonflower, Adder’s Tongue, and Leopard’s Bane were available in magnificent quantities. I took ample part of the Adder’s Tongue.

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I feel on the whole this was a good idea. There was a lot of cool shit to see at this party, such as a Tiefling summoning ghosts from the great beyond in the courtyard.

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One of the ghosts accused Val of being a murderer. Val immediately reacted, as she is wont to do, by getting all puffed up and indignant. I convinced her to calm the hell down, but now I have my suspicions that Val has some dark secrets I must know about. Perhaps asking Carric and Xavi what they know will result in some answers. We do have all day tomorrow, hanging out at the Friendly Flounder.

Things were going well and I was drinking some very expensive wine when we met Garlan and Yorienne Softshade, who were bickering about who employs what prostitute. Yorienne got very upset when I mentioned Bardryn Sarich, but outside of that, we had no problems.

Suddenly, Garlan hauled Clara off to talk about some family bullshit. Clara came back to myself and Carric, disguised as some young and handsome dude, and asked us to break into Garlan’s office and steal some document. If I’d been sober, I may have asked some more questions, but I was feeling adventurous, so agreed only to do this on the grounds that Clara free me from her demand that I share some of my stolen goods from her. (Not that I was able to steal anything this night! Everything went by too quickly.) Xavi and Carric had some other business going on, so we invited Xavi to help us break into the office. With their help, we disarmed the magic on the locks and I had no problem breaking in. Unfortunately, as soon as I was in, a rug attacked me. Yes, a rug. I was trapped!

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I had smuggled Sparklemotion in, but it was stuck inside the rug. I was helpless! Xavi, Carric and I pounded on the carpet, but nothing was working. Carric finally turned into a giant bear and attacked the rug. Then Xavi whipped out some crazy Neen Jo magic and beat the rug until it set me free. At this point, a crowd had gathered. I quickly grabbed the papers Clara asked for, but we had a crowd to contend with. Luckily, Carric started to pretend he was the entertainment, a dancing bear.

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The crowd went nuts. He and I did a bear/halfling dance act while Xavi quietly shut the door. I was beat up and fucked up, but still remembered how to tango.

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Xavi slipped upstairs and I knew Carric wanted to join him. But all these people wanted to follow the bear. I tried telling them that he needed to relieve himself. I told them that I wanted some private sexytimes with my bear. Nothing worked! Finally, I offered them drugs.

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That worked, and Carric was able to escape unnoticed. The crowd was, after all, extremely high. Which means that they saw this:

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But they will probably remember it as this:

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At this point, Garlan was pretty sure his niece was up to no good. They argued and his guard kicked us out, leaving me totally unable to talk to new people or find out if Xavi really meant to kill someone on the roof. Which is just as well, because that rug nearly killed me, if I’m being honest. So I went to bed to magic-heal.

In the morning, we met at breakfast and Clara told us that she had heard that Yorienne Softshade had been framed for the murder of Bardryn Sarich. She tried to help her escape, believing Yorienne innocent, but Yorienne, who said she was connected to the Harpers, was going to some place called “The Farm”, with the help of Larealra Harsard. That is all very complicated, but we’ll always have the bear.

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Bird's Eye View: Ep. 06 -- Cepi Corpus

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Welcome to the home of Garlan Arundel, Waterdeep’s preeminent purveyor of flesh, particularly to the nobles and enforcers of the city. His parties are infamous, and Clara’s invitation gained everyone access to a once-in-a-lifetime (okay, once-in-a-fortnight) event.

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To the right of the foyer was the party favor room, and Viola wasted no time snorting some Adder’s Tongue and feeling even more invincible than she normally does. The room also offered Sable Moonflower, the feel-good dance enthusiast’s companion, and Leopard’s Bane for those who like to seriously mellow out.

Val had arrived in her own purple garb as Ylva Scorlsun, a statuesque blond scholar from Silverymoon. Everyone surveyed the ground floor and noted a variety of young and old nobles mixed with merchants and city employees.

In the courtyard, they saw a Tiefling woman sitting on a stage made from the stump of a massive tree, easily 20 feet wide. She was conjuring spirits, mainly animals, for visual entertainment. Every once in a while, though, someone would encounter a relative from the past for a fleeting moment.

Then, as Val was chit-chatting with a couple of jealous/curious mages named Karcius and Mirela, the ethereal image of a boy stepped forward from the stage and shouted at Val: “DEMONSOUL. MURDERER. DEMONSOUL. MURDERER.”
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And then was gone. The party was initially aghast, but only momentarily. Soon it was forgotten as another unpredictable stunt at one of Garlan’s parties.

A quick scan of the basement revealed a set of pillars, the source of the water in the courtyard (an underground spring), and several sets of old armor lining the walls. Upstairs, you found a room full of happy dancers tripping the light fantastic. Amusingly, they included Cade Thorngage, who was quite smitten with the giantesses of the party: Clara and the new Ylva Scorlesun.

Next, our intrepid adventurers encountered Garlan Arundel himself arguing with a raven-haired woman in all-white garb. She turned out to be Yorienne Softshade, and she was not too pleased about losing her recent protege Beyza to Garlan.

Some of the gang speak with Yorienne separately, and she is clear that she has some sympathies for the recent events at the docks and elsewhere. She even admits to being intrigued by the idea of a brothel guild.

Garlan, meanwhile, is haughty and obnoxious, at least until Clara spills that she knows something of the death of Bardryn Sarich. Garlan turns sour and concerned, and he hauls her off to his office.
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When Clara returns, she says she spotted a paper with a strange word on it: Draezir. Our Draconic speakers recognized the word immediately: it meant “retreat.” Not retreat like run away, but retreat like, a retreat. These distinctions are always crucial in translations. The paper also had a symbol on it — a circle with a very particular design. Clara described it something like this:
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Bardryn’s office was locked, but that’s never really stopped this crew before. Clara enlisted the gang’s help getting inside the office. Clara had spotted Bardryn speak a phrase and the lock light up earlier, so Carric removed the magic and Viola got them in. Unfortunately, there was a trap waiting for them.
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The rug in the room rolled up and tried to smother Viola. It was squeezing mighty hard, so Carric transformed into a bear and shredded it with his bear claws (real ones, not doughnuts). As you might expect, though, this ruckus drew quite a crowd. Fortunately, it was the crowd from the dancing room, aka Sable Moonflower Central. Carric improvised.
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Viola joined in as the ringmaster/rider and the audience was delighted. Xavi managed to close the door while everyone was distracted, but Bardryn came to find out what the disruption was about. Everyone celebrated him for bringing such a delightful act to the party, but he was pretty sure this had something to do with Clara trying to break into his office. Garlan tries to take Clara and Viola to the basement for further questioning, but they refused and were escorted out forcefully.

The rest of the gang split up to pursue their own agendas — check the player secrets section below for more!

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The Hellmouth Is Real
Viola wonders what's in it for her

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So last I updated, I was standing not in poop water (thankfully), but poop water adjacent, as we decided to go check out the sewers to meet our friends. Clara’s traveling outfit did not last long, as she fell in the sewer water, but we went ahead with the plan. Down the sewer we quickly caught up to our friends, who were battling a bunch of rodents of unusual size, who I later discovered are called wererats.

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At least there were no wereturds, or I might abandon my new friends entirely and join up with some kind of organized criminal organization. Wererats, apparently, can only be fought with magic or magical weapons, at what point my tendency to hoard such items became what the Cottagers call a “value-add” to my immediate community. I tossed Talon to Clara, who remembered she had a magic wand and thus tossed it straight to Ges, who gallantly returned it after we finished killing off or scaring off wererats.

Those wererats were apparently running from something, and we quickly found out what that something was: A group of people and people-like beings whose mere presence sends wererats a-scrambling. Nissa the Dragonborn, Larealra Harsard the Sexually Magnetic, Hubyr the Elf were coming from a place called Skullport, which is some kind of hell dimension under Waterdeep that occasionally burps up ugly evil things to kill people in Waterdeep. These three said they were members of the Moonstars, which appears to be a group of open-minded, anti-racist individuals. I like them. Even more after they nabbed my buddies some more of those raven passes, dramatically declining the value of the one I have and reducing Clara’s ability to use that as leverage to squeeze money out of me.

We left the sewer and there was lots of meeting and talking and I got bored and tried to sack more warehouses, but I only found some oil, which I took. The big reveal was that Cade Thorngage is a Harper, which means that while he’s ostensibly fronting for The Man, he actually means well and is trying to forestall some kind of all-out war between the half-orcs and the racist humans who blame them for everything.

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While the Moonstars were interested in what we had to say about the revolution and Sarich’s murder and whatnot, they also seemed a bit frazzled, saying that they had bigger things to deal with. I can relate, as I often wonder when I am going to make some time for robbing and stealing, but apparently they were talking about a great battle of good against evil.

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They said a Drow is hitting Moonstars and so they have some kind of great battle going on that they appear to believe dwarves the mundane concerns about class warfare and ending feudalism. Drows vs. feudal lords?

I dunno, at least Drows got style. I remain neutral on this subject, but will wait for more information to see how I feel about this situation.

However, there is something of interest: The Blackstaff has been missing for an entire month. Larealra is keeping things quiet while doing the Blackstaff’s job, but this is clearly a big fucking deal. In addition, there has been another murder. Arwin Hume, the chancellor of the University of the Silvery Moon has also been murdered recently, killed by a hatchet, but with two guards burned up by the same kind of magic—-or so it seems—-that killed Sarich.

At this point, we broke off, bought Clara some clothes and took her back to the Fiery Flagon to un-poop her. Then we went to the Market Square to hear Yari Wisetide, the Open Lord, speak about the recent unrest. Our old buddy—-well sort of, as fuck that guy for taking our mine from us—-Sildar Hallwinter was there with some rich-looking dwarf lady named Lomana Drakesiege. Yari droned, politician-style, about peace and whatnot (I can’t say I was paying much attention), concluding that they will pay 10 gp to any dock workers who break strike and return to work. I do remember that, because a bunch of scabs who are suddenly loaded with money would make ripe targets for pick-pocketing, and I don’t even think my friends, who can be kind of judgy about that sort of thing, would say a word about it if that’s what I did.

And then Sildar and Lomana announced that they are investigating Sarich’s murder. And they are offering a handsome reward to anyone who has information. That sounded cool, and then I remembered that we were the last people to see him alive.

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So now we have some time to kill before the party. I have a raven card and some unguarded warehouses to loot. Hopefully, I’ll find something

It’s only the evening of the 5th and we still have Garlan Arundel’s party to go to. And then, tomorrow, I have to stake out the Friendly Flounder much of the day to find the mole and then, at 7PM, go to the Blackstaff Tower with Clara to do research. But in the meantime, we party.

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Bread and Barricades
Xavi Grows More Annoyed with Politics in the West

There are moments when I believe that my adopted father Quoril Silverkin was right, that I began my Dajemma too soon. Or perhaps, I miss the clarity of the people of Rashemen.

There is a old Thaysian proverb: “It is better to buy your enemies than to kill them.” Against the backdrop of Thaysian slavery, and perhaps the slavery of Western prison state of Calimshan, the proverb has a double meaning. Wisetide, the Open Lord of Waterdeep, may not be acquainted with the proverb in words, but he is clearly acquainted with it in deed. Buy the workers you can, build the army you must parallels buying the witnesses you can and killing those you cannot, with respect to the murder of Lord Sarich. The same double pronged strategy for the two crises. It may work in this city. Given a decadence that has lasted so long, it is unsurprising that many of the masses see liberation as sharing in the corruption. As one of the wise of Rashemen once noted of the slaves of Thay, “After being enslaved so long, the look that the slave turns on the master’s world is a look of lust, a look of envy; it expresses his dreams of possession—all manner of possession: to sit at the master’s table, to sleep in the master’s bed, with their spouse if possible. An enslaved subject is an envious person.”

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A ray of hope came before the Open Lord’s threats disguised as incentives: we found the Moonstars, but what they confirmed is cause for greater concern. From them we learn that the Blackstaff has not been heard from in a month, and she disappeared without a sign. We also learned from the Moonstars, that Cade Thorngage, like Maddox, is a Harper—a good sign.

The voluptuaries that rule Waterdeep have spread the story that the Blackstaff battles evil on other planes. Given what we heard from Larealra Harsard, Lala, this is clearly a naked lie. It is a lie that may still play to the mob, however. Worse than the lie, coin may be what saps the Common Alliance. There is no sign that the Common Alliance has sought to internally divide the Watch and the Guard from Lords, to do to the Lords what the Lords are trying to do to the Common Alliance. Armed force must be willing to defect or at least must be willing to defy orders if the Common Alliance is to survive. And the Lords of Waterdeep would have to learn that they are losing the loyalty of the armed forces to the opposition. Thorngage may be sympathetic, but it will take more than one commander to stop a slaughter. It will take the transfer of legitimacy among the soldiers from the Lords to the people.

All this tells me the Common Alliance has launched its actions prematurely: within a day of its formation? before its leadership could congeal? There is a saying among the Rashemi, ""There are those who think and those who dream." The Common Alliance may have neither; it needs both. It remains to be seen if its members have the discipline to resist the simple compromises offered. It will take time, and perhaps this is a necessary step. A system like Waterdeep’s, one that has lasted centuries will not be overthrown in days. Troublesome is also the fact that the Common Alliance has not released its programme, its demands for structural reforms. All it has asked for is better living conditions, not the unmasking of lords, not for a right to name some, no procedures to regularly share in the wealth. It has asked for simply more money for the masses, and the Lords have offered it. For many dock workers, this will be enough of a victory. For the rest, it will be slaughter.

Still, the Common Alliance is proving a threat not only in Waterdeep but in all of the West. An alliance of “lords”, an alliance of power and privilege, an alliance that extends beyond the rulers of the Sword Coast enters the fray. This should be expected. Waterdeep is perhaps the more tolerant and tolerable of the cryptic plutocracies of the West. If it should set the precedent of submitting the distribution of wealth and advantages to the rule of masses, similar demands and upheavals will follow in Cormyr, Amn, and the Western Heartlands.

Against this backdrop, Garland Arundel’s party awaits, fiddling while Amn burns. I go to a fete of the decayed and gross disguised as that of the free and sublime. The boundaries of credulity are stretched furthest in cases of mass self-deception, and Waterdeep’s time of troubles may be the worst case of mass self-deception in recent memory.

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Finally, I learned from Carric that a Thaysian is among the leaders of the Common Alliance. Whether he is a refugee, a dissident, a loyalist, Carric cannot say. No one has even been able to say if he is or was a Red Wizard. No loyalist could openly support the Common Alliance; only if he were a spy. “What good can come of alliance with evil?” as the counsellors of the Iron Lord say. I meet him tonight at the party. Chaos seems assured.

But I am patient. As my order teaches all novices, If you wait by the river long enough, you will see the bodies of your enemies float by.

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Bird's Eye View: Ep. 05 -- Ex Infra

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Kythorn 05 continued.

As the action resumed, our two groups of heroes both decided to enter the sewers under the barricaded docks. When they did, they encountered a half-dozen Wererats scurrying the other direction. A few fell before the might of the group and the rest continued hauling ass the other direction. What were they running from?

Would you believe a band of Harpers/Moonstars returning from Skullport? Led by Larealra Harsard, they went in search of Vajra Safahr, the Blackstaff, assuming that she had gone to fight evil in the city-below-the-city most Waterdhavians don’t even know exists. But they came up empty… and injured. Maddox Beyne has a deep cut that won’t heal and seems to be sapping the life out of him. (This sort of thing is why most people don’t go in search of Skullport). Also, their Dragonborn cutie Nissa wasn’t too impressed with our heroes—except Ges. Was there a spark there? The other members were:
Florens Hendrik, an excitable human wizard.
Hubyr Aquilan, a dour Elf paladin.
Jadda Redmead, a sarcastic human fighter.

The Moonstars were shocked by the news of the riots and Sarich’s death. They went their own way but made noises about possibly showing up at Garlan Arundel’s party. Oh, and they told you Cade Thorngage‘s big secret: he’s a Harper, too.

Returning to the docks, the gang talked with Thorngage and brought him and Gurrath together. Cade explained that he was scrambling to find a way to defuse the situation and superficially appease the nobles (and prevent any talk of a more permanent end to the half-orc community in Waterdeep). Thorngage and Gurrath spoke privately, and an uneasy, fragile trust seemed to be forming.

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A bunch of people then bought or made pretty outfits for the party later, and everyone made their way to the market square to hear from Yari Wisetide, The Open Lord.. Yari made the following declarations:

  • Lords taken aback by anger teeming under surface of Waterdeep
  • Revealuating the situation, considering how best to help all the people of Waterdeep
  • Asks for time and patience to hear and understand concerns
  • No one will be punished, but the docks will be open tomorrow (the ones not barricaded)
  • 10 gold to every worker who shows up at dawn to work
  • Not a dock worker? City Watch is also hiring. 10 gp signing bonus, 2 year contract.
  • Blackstaff is engaged in a battle elsewhere, defending free peoples of Faerun
  • The murder of nobleman Bardryn Sarich was an abomination. This cannot stand.
  • Introduces dawrf Lomana Drakesiege and old buddy Sildar Hallwinter from Lords Alliance to investigate.

There is a large reward for info on Sarich’s death and death waiting for those who have any and don’t share it. Our heroes realized that Finithin Nix, Lorbrin Cooper, and Shava Moonwhisper all know that the gang has info on said death.

But hey, those are worries for another day. Y’all got a party to go to tonight.

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A few scattered twigs on the roof
Nothing to see here

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Ill-fitting Fragments and Errors in Forethought
Xavi on Our Stupidity

Of all the blunders, the failure to think through a response to Finithan’s announcement that he has been conducting his own investigation is the most fatal. He knows we are lying. He doesn’t seem to understand why, or understands why, that this is a trap, that he is a suspect, that he is an infiltrator, or so we suspect. Tomorrow will not go as planned. Nothing prevents him from going to Shava and Lorbrin.

We need a contingency. Perhaps, we need to actually “produce” a witness, that is, if the city is not ablaze.

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The Widening Gyre
Xavi Becomes More Alarmed than Ever Before

The Blackstaff of Waterdeep, Vajra Safahr, is missing. Of all the ill-foretokens of the past few days, this is the most worrisome. Safahr’s ascension to the post was fraught with intrigue, I remember. But she secured her post and her power, a post founded by a Chosen of Mystra and imbued with the core of the Weave. It would require enormous power and amoral complicity to defeat or kidnap or kill such an Archmage, one of the greatest in Faerun.

A murdered Masked Lord, a missing Archmage, and an army in the streets of Waterdeep: if ever there was an ideal setup for a malevolent seizure of power, this is it. The prosperity of Waterdeep is marked by the limitations of this era, the disruption of the balances of magic and divinity, and the rise of commercial interests. The Nobles whose wealth stem from the turning of land into instruments of commerce have come to confuse profit for honor, seeing their greed as the basis for brotherhood. Waterdeep’s seeming commitment to openness and diversity are incompatible with this mode of life, which has sadly become the fundamental trend of the era. Waterdeep’s is a foredoomed utopia. The elites of this city cannot imagine how the principles of freedom and diversity are now at odds with their their rise in this manner. Pure self-deception: enabling all is the conviction that their privilege is just dessert. All their attempts to blur this distinction between the truth of their life and the “Truth” of Waterdeep will release pent up centrifugal forces; it is releasing centrifugal forces. They have already begun to see enemies in every crevice, but they will not see the real enemy in so many corners. But towards the former, towards whom they claim to protect, they will see a need to draw a sharp dividing line, a dividing line between themselves and the rest of the world, and they now are on the road to drawing it with the edge of the executioner’s axe. At the moment, the edge is only drawn by the barriers erected by city guards. Tomorrow, we all risk turning the streets into a tomb. Tomorrow, the workers will feel either snubbed or only partly heard; either way they will feel the urge to escalate. Tomorrow, the city will unleash battle mages and war clerics. The Common Alliance is outgunned. They need allies. They need a power of virtue. They need the Blackstaff.

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Perhaps only the Blackstaff could change the course of this tide, which makes her disappearance all the more evidence of something larger than an uprising of the maltreated and exploited. Oddly, Waldich mentioned none of this. And he seems unconcerned that the successor of Mystra’s own elect would have gone missing. (This is the second of Mystra’s powerful servant that have suffered—first Hume and now Safahr. Someone is killing Mystra’s servants in the West. More than why, “How?” is the question.)

We must find the Tel’Teukiira, the Moonstars, whom I’ve heard have been revived under Safahr’s reign as Blackstaff. Dedicated as they are to Mystra, perhaps they can help control this expanding whirl of politics and subterfuge. But there is no sign of them. There is even no sign of the Harper’s.

Soon, we go to see Yari Wisetide address the city. Nothing he says will turn events. Power is in the streets… and it is also in the hands of someone unseen cabal.

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After Action Report: Orc-Human Brotherhood Anthem II
By Ges Slahoot

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The second of two morale-boosting songs I have written on the neglected topic of orc-human brotherhood.

Half-Orcs: Our Brothers From Another Mother (Literally)

Fierce Gurrath and mighty Lop,
Can strike fear in any cop,

Our human hearts do swell with pride,
We’re so glad they’re on our side,

We have teeth and they have tusks,
But underneath, they’re just like us!

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After Action Report: Orc-Human Brotherhood Anthem
By Ges Slahoot

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Songs boost morale. However, I am unaware of any songs on the theme of human-orc brotherhood. In an attempt to fill this void, I have written one of my own.

Gurrath is the Right Path

Man and Orc unite at last,

Arm-in-arm we will hold fast,

We have all bled, behold the scars,

From this day forth, the docks are ours!

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