At the end of last session, the party were in the city of Ratikhill during early Goodmonth. The PCs had been recruited by Lord Nanther, Sword Lord of Ratik, to journey into the Loftwood in search of the ruined orc fortress of Xul-Jarak.
Lord Nanther’s spies has reported that several orc tribes – the Vile Rune, Broken Fang and Roving Eye, were gathering there before launching an attack on southern Ratik. Matters had recently become more dire as another adventuring band – including Lord Nanther’s son and the scions of several other noble families – had gone missing in the area.
Heavy rain delayed the party’s departure by a day, but on the 9th the adventurers left the city and travelled along the Glister Road toward the border town of Glister. This portion of the journey was without incident and after a brief rest in Glister (which Klara used to learn more about the orc tribes gathering around Xul-Jarak and to purchase disguises) the party plunged into the Loftwood.
The first part of their journey was largely uneventful, but toward that evening the party came upon a ruined, overgrown hamlet. A half-dozen orc bodies were scattered about the place as was a rotting horse corpse. As the party moved to investigate, they disturbed a ferocious owlbear feasting on one of the corpses. Enraged it attacked, but was quickly slain by the party. Searching the ruined hamlet, the party discovered the body of a slain dwarf warrior. The battle had taken place at least a month ago, but after examining the body Adoven declared that this was likely Dorn Crownshield – battle companion to Oreal Nanther. Adoven buried the body and the party discussed what to do next for it seemed likely the remainder of the adventurers were also dead or (perhaps worse) prisoners of the orcs.
The party picked up the orcs’ trail heading south and followed it. The next day, they discovered an orcish encampment hidden deep in the woods. While no prisoners seemed to be in the camp, only about a dozen orcs lurked in the area. The orcs were not particularly vigilant and so the party easily gained surprise. The battle was brief, violent and decidedly one-sided. Even the release of a captured dire boar by the orc leader could do nothing to stem the slaughter…