On reaching Overlook you bring this information to the attention of the council elders. A meeting is hastily organized and you are called to the council hall along with all the other adventuring parties and mercenaries that have not yet been sent to Bordrin’s Watch. The hall is crowded with grim looking warriors and shifty looking strangers. A few of the faces you recognize. Edgar Sommerfield stands proudly near the front of the hall surrounded by his Farstriders. The Farstriders are probably the most famous adventurers currently working out of Overlook. The group includes twin elf rangers, Uulath and Reiner, a female half-elf warlock named Jen, and Corben, a human fighter. Their most famous exploits include slaying a black dragon, ousting a nest of kobolds, and even undergoing an expedition into the Shadowfell.
Megan is also there. Wilgold has not seen her since he and Harad first left Brindol over two years ago. She now leads an adventuring group called the Freeriders. They consist of Ragnum Dourstone, a graying dwarf priest of Moradin, Sylen Leafrunner, one of the northern Westdeep Fey, Ghena Tenson, a talented human arcanist, and Madrick a diminutive pale skinned Fey with a raccoon pet called Bandit.
Dudrino doesn’t notice any of this. His attention is drawn exclusively to the back of the hall. There lurking in the shadows is a figure he was hoping he would never see again. With sinking dread, Dudrino recognizes the bounty hunter Gilgathorn. His fall from the cliffs outside Castle Greyhawk had obviously not been fatal. His right eye now sports a black eye patch and you at least gain some satisfaction in seeing that he didn’t come away from your last encounter totally unscathed. Still, that probably hasn’t improved his mood any so with whispered warnings you hall duck your heads and head for the other side of the hall. You never know, he might not have seen you…
Lord Cadrick, of the House of Duenrend, calls for quiet and then addresses the hall.
’Welcome to the High Hall my friends. I am Elder Cadrick. War is upon us. A great host of orcs comes from the west. Their intention is clear. They will come through the mountains bent on slaughter. Those they spare can look forward to a short life of slavery. Overlook, and Bordrin’s Watch in the mountains, have long held fast against these raids, but our scouts say never has such an army gathered. Thus, we turn to you brave souls to help defend not only Overlook, but also all the Elsir Vale.
’Bordrin’s Watch has never fallen to force of arms. But new intelligence has reached us that the tunnel network, thought to be secret and unknown to our enemy, has been breached. We have reports of orcs already east of the mountains and this morning we hear there have been attacks from the tunnels below, compromising the fastness of Bordrin’s Watch. The defenders have fought back the savages, but it’s clear the rest are coming and fast. So here’s the plan. Durkik Forgeheart will lead the militias and most of you to bolster Bordrin’s Watch. Orc trailblazers may infest the tunnels below, in particular the complex known as the Nexus. We’ve tasked their security to the Farstriders. One more mission remains. We need a group to evacuate the Monastery of the Sundered Chain as we know there are tunnels beneath this site. It’s dangerous work, what with the orcs and all, but priests need a warning of what’s coming if they don’t know already. Do we have any volunteers?’
As Harad steps forward to accept the challenge so does Megan. Again you find yourselves arguing your case before a group of city counselors. This time your arguments are better received and you are given the task of warning the monastery, much the Megan’s frustration.
You set off immediately out of Overlook into the foothills of the mighty Stonehome Mountain. The air is cold but clear as you climb higher and you can see the jagged peak of The Hammer impossibly high above you. As you raise above the snowline you are attacked by ghouls on a narrow mountain shelf. This, the altitude and the hardship of the climb leaves you exhausted by the time the monastery comes into view.
It’s immediately obvious that the monks already know of the orc threat. Crude camp fires can be seen burning within the grounds and a number of orcs are huddled around them eating what suspiciously looks like chunks of Dwarvern monk. They don’t look to be taking their guarding duties very seriously and you quickly dispatch them. The first real resistance comes once you enter the main monastery building. A hideous orc hag commands a sizable force and reinforcements quickly arrive from a spiral staircase sunk below an alter in the center of the monasteries chapel.
As you move deeper into the monastery complex it becomes increasingly unlikely that any of the Dwarves have survived. The place is teaming with orcs and the walls plastered with dwarf blood. Any thought of rescue leaves you and instead you resolve yourselves to at least cleanse the monastery of it’s filthy orc infestation.
You fight your way through the dwarf living quarters and lower into the monastery until you reach a huge underground cavern almost 200 feet deep. Stone platforms had been built at intervals down it’s steep bank with narrow stairs linking them. A potential deathtrap with no cover on the stairs and a fatal plunge to the trench for any missed step. The platforms were guarded by orc drudges and bowmen lead by a orog (a half orc ogre hybrid). But this would be Wilgold’s finest hour. Conjuring a vortex of swirling air, Wilgold flung the enemy like rag dolls to their death far below. Seeing his troop wasted within seconds, the orog leader tries to make a dash for it down the stairs but is run down by Dude and Harad. Nobody takes any damage until you are almost to the bottom of the trench. A huge explosion rocks the chamber. Both Harad and Diff stumble and fall from the staircase. Harad manages to catch onto a ledge after only about ten feet but Diff bounces like a beer keg some forty foot to the cavern floor. You’re not sure what has happened but the sound seems to have come from a cave leading away from where Diff sprawls painfully on the floor.
An ominous orange glow emanates from deep within the cave. The cave narrows to a tunnel but then opens out into a large chamber with forge fires lining the walls. The forges seem to have been crafted from natural lava sources and heat within the room is oppressive. At the back of the chamber a tunnel once lead further under the mountain but is now blocked by a rock fall. The cave-in looks fresh and you guess this was the result of the explosion you heard earlier. Many orcs crowd this chamber. Mainly drudges and berserkers but also an orc shaman brandishing some Gruumish holy relic. At the back of the chamber a huge orog called Og, one of Tusk’s senior lieutenants, holds a dwarf at arms length off the ground. The dwarf has been roundly beaten and Og is shouting at him in orcish to ‘open the tunnel’. As you enter the chamber Og drops the dwarf and rounds on you in a furious tempter. The other orcs also attack.
As simple as the last encounter had been, this fight was anything but. The orc drudges we able to land a few hits before they were killed and the berserkers proved difficult to deal with. As usual Harad had waded in and was taking the brunt on the attacks. Harad had already soaked up too much damage by the time Og joined the fray from the back of the room. A few swings from Og’s bastard sword had Harad reeling and most of the party, except perhaps Wilgold, were on their last legs. It had been a long time since you had rested. Things were touch and go and even Harad started making furtive glaces toward the exit. Meanwhile, Wilgold was desperately going through his options. The orc shaman was almost done for which would leave them with only Og to deal with. Unfortunately the towering orog was still going strong and not looking like tiring. Looking over Og’s equipment it didn’t look like he had any ranged weaponry and he didn’t look that quick. Perhaps you should fall back into the cave and then up the cavern stairs taking pot shots at Og as you went. You could maybe ware him down and finish him off in one of the monastery’s upper floors. But then …Oh f**kit. Wilgold fey-steps right into the fray distracting the shaman long enough for Duderino to skewer it with a dagger.
While this was going on, the tortured dwarf, left discarded at the back of the chamber, slowly raises to his feet. He fumbles for an axe and staggers toward Og’s broad back. Diff can see their new ally is in very bad shape. Diff heals him as best he can but the cleric is virtually drained of divine energy and there is only so much he can do. You would find out later that the dwarf is called Kalad and is a paladin of Moradin. Kalad is in no real shape to fight but his arrival means Og has another flank to deal with. Surrounded and attacked from all sides, Og finally falls but not before Harad succumbs to his wounds and crumples to the floor.
Wilgold and Diff rush to his side and manage to stabilize him. Then everyone, with a collective sigh of relief, slumps to the floor in exhaustion.