The orc tribes of the central lands on the southern continent of Minara are invading and occupying the Eneyan Empire, sacking and plundering human cities as they go. One group of green warriors and scouts joined a late-departing war party, travelling deep into the northern reaches of the continent, to the mountain fortress of Raven’s nest. Among the warband were
- Nustar, an old, grey, mottled, shrunken cleric of Grummush, long in the southern swamps and well past his usefulness, and his newly acquired assistant, the young neophyte Krolo the Assiduous.
- Mork, a wild warrior, son of a merchant from the orcish city of Kylae out of favor with his house
- Punch, a strangely disciplined fighter, also from Kylae
- Wolfcaller, a half-orc fled from a largely human order of druids that protect wildlands now overrun by warbands
- Rayburn, a brutish lout of tremendous strength and meager reason
These few were already drawing apart from the rest of the warband, united by skill and circumstance and daring as they scouted ahead of the remainder of the band on the way to Raven’s Nest, battling repeatedly with a tribe of gnolls and slaughtering a group of human warriors and paladins, stealing from them a strange artifact—a wrought metal circlet interspersed with a web of arrows radiating out from its center.
Upon arriving at the disorganized, sprawling, illness-plagued camp of orcs spread around the outer walls of Raven’s Nest, Punch made contact with a strange group of rather wealthy and influential friends, most of the Throatcutter Tribe, orcs with an unusual disposition to order and discipline. These friends—and particularly two imposing fellows with the names of Tanarr and Gagrah—asked the party to perform tasks in exchange for rewards, including unusual relics and weapons that they and their associates were trading with the less organized warriors in the camp. They readily agreed, and Punch readily gave to them for safekeeping the strange relic that they had captured in the mountain passes.
The party went into old tunnels carved by dwarven architects beneath the exterior wall, and sent in goblin sapper-slaves to undermine the walls to their death. There, before achieving success, a startling event occurred: Nustar appeared to go mad, demanding that Krolo be sacrificed to Grummush to sanctify the coming attack. The party killed him, but even after death he appeared to act and move until his body was hacked to pieces.
But the party was too bold to hang back: with Wolfcaller’s command of the elements, they burrowed into the outer city and wreaked havoc, setting fires and stealing human trinkets and children for slaughter. Harassed by a mage and the town guard, the party lost Rayburn, but freed a humiliated prisoner of the human armies, Danko. Finally, fleeing the city, the party encountered a train of three wagons under guard of a paladin and a sorcerer, but were unable to stop the flight of all but one wagon—which spilled gold into the street, bars of raw gold that the party snatched before they were compelled to flee outside the collapsing city walls.
Hungry for more plunder, the party was ready to return to the city with the invading forces—weakened as they were with a terrible fever overwhelming the ability of the army’s clerics to cure. Gagrah advised Punch, however, that the fall of the Eneyan Empire would not be ensured by give more warriors banging at the inner walls of the citadel, but by the skilled band chasing down the remaining wagons, which were carrying a payment of gold to satisfy the imperial debt and restore the alliance between the humans and the elven empire of Al’Darra on the northern continent. Punch was able to get the party—including a newcomer, the mentally deranged orc who believes himself to be the divine Spear of Grummush—to agree to the pursuit, which took them to the shore of the Middle Sea. The gold had already made it onto a boat, which they sank, then spent days recovering through the magic of Danko and Wolfcaller a good portion of the gold from the seabed, fighting off seabeasts drawn to the blood.
Flush with wealth, and with more on the seabed, but no way to spend it, the party secreted the gold sought out the nearest city: the former human city of Wolfport, by the capital of Wolfsblood. . . .