The Many-Partings festival, once a bittersweet farewell to old friends until the spring, had become a nightmare as a trio of orcs, under the guise of Karakzhar dwarves, had unleashed a ferocious owlbear upon the unsuspecting people of Keen. Festival goers ran for their lives as the monstrosity tore through them with its powerful claws. The orcs, likewise, leaped into the crowd, felling people left and right with their cruel, black axes.
Era and Lemaia distracted the owlbear, making it focus on them, while Merle dealt with the orcs. The owlbear was a vicious opponent, raking its dagger like claws across Lemaia and Era both. Lemeaia’s new hound, too, tried to gain the beast’s attention, but instead only invoked its ire. With one swift swipe it ended the poor dog’s life, and moved on to larger prey.
Merle dismantled one orc, and was working on a second, when Era’s spell of sleep caused the brute to fall into unconsciousness. She had intended to knock out the owlbear, but the beast proved too resilient. She then decided on Plan B; swinging her scimitar at it. With a few well placed blows, she slew the monster. Merle was meanwhile trading blows with the remaining orc. The orc was stronger, by Merle was faster. In the end, the dwarf monk was the better warrior, breaking his enemy’s neck with a powerful blow.
The taste of victory was short lived. Screams pierced the night. Smoke billowed in the distance, with the flicker of firelight dancing upon the blackened plume. Fires had been set. It seemed more orcs had found their way in.
Era and Merle rushed to aid the town militia on the eastern gate while Lemaia, with the aid of Rolo Stonehelm, transported a captured orc to the jail to be questioned later. On the gate, several men and women were firing arrows into the distance as a shielded mass of orcs slammed a battering ram into the gates proper. Era raced to the top of the wall and began firing arrows as Merle pressed his back to the door to keep it from swinging open.
Moments later, Era noticed a lone orc sprinting from the treeline carrying only a lit torch. She fired two arrows, hoping to fell the mad orc, but still he ran, leaping towards the wall with the torch held out. As soon as Era realized what was happening she leaped from the wall, but Merle was unaware until the area exploded into bright light, fire, and splintering wood. Then everything went dark.
When Merle came to, he was laying under an overturned cart with a splitting headache. He crawled from beneath, and was soon met by Era and Lemaia. Era explained that after the explosion, a horde of orcs spilled in, killing everyone in sight. From within the heart of town they could hear the sound of people screaming, and the roar of orcish warriors.
Wounded and shaken, the three companions, reunited, cautiously crept deep into town, avoiding rampaging raiders and fighting only when absolutely necessary. After a time, they came upon Lady Niavara, who was cowering at the feet of scarred and brutal orc, even by orc standards. The companions sped into action, dismantling the seemingly unbreakable opponent.
Now with Lady Niavara in tow, they ventured on, coming to the town square. Large cages had been erected, and townsfolk and visitors alike were being herded into them. Overseeing the scene was a tall orc, clad in dwarven armor, a beautiful pale skinned woman with a black, feathered cloak, and a hooded man with a golden mask, riding atop a black horse with flaming hooves and eyes that glowed like the fires of hell. The man in the golden mask surveyed the crowd, pointed at on person, and they were brought forward. To the shock of the companions, it was Ozzy. The man in the golden mask nodded to the woman in the black feathered cloak. The cloak unfolded into magnificent wings. She wrapped a rope around the defenseless gnome and shot off into the sky, flying somewhere north-east.
The three companions were soon discovered by Fella, who ushered them back to the Green Dragon Inn. Once inside she encouraged them to use the tunnels in the cellar, since the orcs knew nothing of them. Fella was prepared to join them when the orc commander from the town square appeared behind them in the entrance to the inn, demanding they surrender. Fella complied for a moment, but then reached behind the bar and threw a vial of Alchemists’ Fire into the orc’s face. Merle grabbed Fella’s hand and made towards the cellar, but she did not budge. The commander, still aflame, held Fella tightly. With a tug he wrenched her from the monk’s grasp and kicked the dwarf down the cellar stairs, sending a lit lantern behind him as a final parting gift.
With the stairway engulfed in flames, and the inn following too, the three and Lady Niavara reluctantly left Fella behind, and fled down the tunnel. After a time they arrived in the familiar shafts of Dhol Kuldihr. With most of their belongings scorched, and the town of Keen now in the hands of a small army of rampaging orcs, the three were left to ponder…
What happens now?