Ostia stared across the empty room he shared with his dwarven sailors. They had all passed out hours ago. Cumae had left for sleep even before that. She got the only private room. It had been more private of late. Ostia dared not come to her bed stinking of this draught the orcs called “ale”. It still cost Ostia plenty of gold. All they could do was sit here and wait. Without his boats, he could not get them back to Amin. They wasted their days here. They could only defend their shack of shared living space from occasional orcish raids. Orcs had come to despise outsiders even more than normal. Ostia kept thinking back to what had gone so wrong. He had a grand plan; he would become a trader on the seas. Why had his plan gone off course? He could sail a ship around the Valtameri Ocean, but here he was stuck. He would soon run out of money. He had only been able to salvage the coins he had kept with him. The orcs had impounded everything; luckily he had traded a large portion of his trade goods. Then setting up this small building, keeping up the men in food and booze, defending themselves. They were all taking their toll on Ostia’s finances.
Bitterly he thought, “why won’t that mountain of an orc woman take the clear path? Was she that blind with her one good eye? Her precious warchief set her down this path. Why wasn’t she seizing the opportunity? Fighting for it? She respected none of these imposters, then why didn’t she try her own hand at warcheif? She was raising a damn formidable unit, even if it included Sai. He never struck me as the soldier type. I hope my scouting will eventually find us some other source of revenue. I will be out of money before the month is finished.”
“I wish I knew how to convince Gretchen to take a stand. I think she can end this civil war, but not until she chooses a side” Ostia spoke to his drink and the room filled with dwarven snores. He finished the drink and walked out of the common house. He went to relieve himself, drinking always filled his bladder, and he was doing too much of it. “Tomorrow, I will scout further in this orcish land. Pireaus’ journal cotains almost nothing of this continent” Ostia told the wind and trees. With a look at the silent trees, he couldn’t help but think of Bael’Sol and Jan. They were stuck here as much as he. They had no way to get out either. Ostia hoped they visited soon; maybe his men, toughened by defending themselves from orcs, could breach the defenses and save his boat….
“No” Ostia shouted. “I will have to convince Gretchen that she can help me. That I can do…I just wish I knew how!” With that thought in mind he decided to take his place with his wife. He walked slowly and quietly to her bed, but finally Ostia was resolved to succeed where for weeks he had failed to convince the orcish woman of her destiny.