Scales of War
Siege of Bordrin's Watch
Chapter 2: Siege of Bordrin’s Watch
HOW CAN WE FORGET the suffering of our kin during the Age of Chains? How can we set aside those ancient grudges when the risk of slavery is now greater than ever? Fellow warriors, the orcs are upon us, marching once more to the beat of the giants’ drum. It falls to us to stop them—to hold fast no matter their numbers. If we falter, we give into fear. It’s not just ourselves and our way of life that will suffer; all people of the Elsir Vale will perish as well. War is upon us. Now is the time for men and women of courage to stand up and defend those who cannot defend themselves.
Returning to Brindol from the dungeons of Castle Rivenroar, the heroes of the Second Wind find themselves feted as heroes, though unseen opponents watch in the shadows, tracking their every move. At a reception held by Councilman Troyas in your honour, Niniel Moonglow introduces the party to a new comrade, the minotaur barbarian Theseus, a protegé of the aged druid Quamara, the only surviving member of the renowned Order of the Phoenix. At Niniel’s suggestion, Theseus joins the ranks of the Second Wind, replacing the valiant, fallen Iorminas.
Niniel brings the heroes dark tidings, and asks for their help. “Orcs are growing bolder in the Stonehome Mountains in the west of Elsir Vale,” she says gravely. “Dark rumours are reaching us even here in Brindol, rumours of an enemy horde whose ambition is to bathe the Vale in the blood of their enemies. And to an orc, we are all enemies.”
“If the Red Hand taught us anything, it is that we cannot wait in complacency until our foe is at the gate,” she continues. “We must strike this threat down before it grows too powerful for us to overcome. Some weeks ago, messengers came to Brindol, asking for able-bodied adventurers to travel to the dwarf city of Overlook out west. Apparently, the Council of Overlook is willing to pay handsomely for anyone who can help stop these orcs from breaking through Bordrin’s Watch and overrunning the Vale. Are you willing to undertake this journey?” Proving their moral worth, the heroes agree to help defend the Vale, and shortly thereafter, the Second Wind sets out on the long road to Overlook.
However, the road to Overlook itself is perilous, as a blood-force of barghests and bugbears ambushes the party. The heroes of the Second Wind overcome the ambush, only to find, on the bodies of the slain, written evidence that someone is stalking Aldor Rake. Even more disturbingly, this mysterious antagonist wants to harvest the organs of the half-witted eladrin, who is unable to remember more than fragments of his past. The note implicates a certain person in Overlook, a furtive entity known only as the Splinter.
In Overlook, the party meets with Elder Cadrick of the Council, who has recruited every adventurer he could find in the Elsir Vale to help meet the orc threat. Among the throngs of adventurers in attendance, the party spies the insufferable Edgar Sommerfield, leader of the Company of Wolves, and the Freeriders, who maintain a friendly rivalry with the Second Wind. A hush falls over the assembly as Elder Cadrick gets up to speak.
“Welcome to High Hall, my friends. I am Elder Cadrick,” he says rapidly. “I don’t much see the point in bandying words, so I’ll lay it out for you. War is upon us. A great host of orcs has arisen in 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.
“When the orcs arrive, we’re certain they will come up through the pass,” he says. “We know this because already there have been attacks from the tunnels below, compromising the fastness. 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 infest the tunnels below, so we’ve tasked their security to the Company of Wolves. One more mission remains, though. We need a group to evacuate the monastery on the other side of the mountains. 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?”
The heres of the Second Wind rise to the challenge, accepting the task of evacuating the monastery. Before they leave Overlook, however, they decide to investigate the mystery of Aldor’s hidden assailant, combing the city for information. Along the way, they expose a hidden cult of Asmodeus at one of Overlook’s finest inns (Belden’s Rest), cross paths with Benita, lieutenant of Rufus Crumley, and learn that Edgar Sommerfield, besides being a braggart and a liar, is also a thief — the elf Kalaban reveals that he stole a volume of rare poetry from Kalaban’s collection a few days ago. Benita reveals that a dwarf known only as “The Splinter” had a meeting with barghests at a tavern known as the Salty Mug shortly before the heroes were ambushed on the road. This tavern is run by Yerrin Delavoy, an unsavoury halfing who has his stubby little fingers in every form of illicit activity in Overlook.
However, the heroes must now depart for the monastery, since time to thwart the orc invasion is growing short. Fighting their way through swathes of orcs berserkers, they reach the lower levels of the monastery, where they discover that all the dwarves have been wiped out. Upon returning to Overlook, the heroes learn from Elder Cadrick that a greater threat remains. The Company of Wolves, assigned to seal the vents leading to the ancient Nexus, have not returned. The heroes journey to the vents, where they discover tracks leading in, but not out. Inside the vents, they face hordes of orcs, as well as strange mechanical creatures, cave trolls, and dark creepers. The Nexus is a mighty sealing mechanism ringed all around with a walkway that leads up hundreds of feet; the heroes make their way up, fighting orcs every step of the way, until finally they face Tusk, leader of the orc horde, and his shadar-kai witch consort. Pushed to the limits of their strength, the heroes of the Second Wind prevail, slaying Tusk, sealing the Nexus, and making their escape. Once again, the intrepid members of the Second Wind have saved the Elsir Vale from disaster, though as is quickly becoming typical of their exploits, dark questions continue to swirl around these adventurers, who are clearly destined to achieve greatness in their future … if they live to see it, that is.