After many days, life in the camp had almost become routine, Knarillas learning his Giant words, Badden working on his tattoo with the minotaur shoulder-women, and Saint Belardan mulling over his future. Cecil had been deep in council with Utullk, and seemed to be cutting some sort of deal.
Led into this scene by minotaur braves – the bedraggled form of Kade, covered in mud and gaunt with fatigue. His horse looked suspiciously fresh though. He met Knarillas and Belardan, and after some questioning was recruited into the party. Cecil seemed delighted with this, since Bison had declared his intention to join the gathering minotaur host.
Later, a party of minotaur scouts arrived with news of the enemy disposition. The heroes woke after the next pulse to find the camp in motion, as the warriors prepared to head east to attack the orc armies.
Uttulk was worried that there were bands of orcs that could threaten the minotaur rear, and requested Cecil’s assistance. Cecil duly delegated the party to take on the band located in the ruined keep near Kautas’ tower, and they obligingly headed that way, spoiling for a fight. Cecil himself travelled west with the shoulder women in order to interrogate them further.
Arriving at the keep, the heroes interrupted a feud between two orc sentries. The sentries fought on, oblivious to the enemy assault, although their ogre auxiliary noticed and attacked the heroes. He was dispatched fairly easily, and the orcs appeared to have done for each other. Badden hacked them just to be sure.
The keep was almost completely destroyed, but a remnant of one building still stood. Kade led the party down into the dungeon below, and they encountered a chamber of cages, and a bunch of surly orcs overseeing this prison. One of the cages was occupied by a fallen humanoid. A fight ensued, and some of the orcs were dispatched, while others were trapped behind a wall of thorns conjured by Badden, and retreated further into the complex.
The wall was dispelled, and while Kade and Badden secured the door, Knarillas fey-stepped into the cage to check on the body, which turned out to be a dead minotaur. Unfortunately, Knarillas was then unable to escape from the cage, and as the door to the chamber was forced open by an angry horde of grumpy orcs, he was forced to fight from within the confines of his cage. Still, he felt a sense of security in lashing out with his sorcery while protected by some rusty bars. Could this cage be rendered portable somehow?
The battle raged on, and the heroes were initially pushed back from the door until some vicious spells from Saint Belardan and Knarillas cleared some space. Belardan succeeded in pushing one of the tougher orcs back into the chamber beyond, where he fell through a false floor into a stinking pit below.
Still more orcs poured into the chamber, accompanied by a dire wolf, and Kade was surrounded by a surging mass of grey flesh and fur. Somehow he survived their assault, and with Knarillas picking off the odd orc he could see from his cage in the adjacent chamber, Badden lashing out with his thorn whip and Belardan continuing to rain down radiant death, the battle was concluded in the heroes’ favour. In the process, the orcish chief was dragged to the edge of the pit and unceremoniously dumped into it, there to do battle with whatever horror called it home.
Apparently he won, as the distended, bleeding belly of a serpent-like creature could be seen, whereas the orc himself was gone. With Knarillas freed, the party decided to rest and count their loot, secure in the knowledge that these orcs at least will not bother their allies.