Tanned and rested, the heroes moved further into the grounds of the Abbey, seeking a way to the top. Captain Oakley had declared that he needed to gain the high ground to perform a cleansing ritual, but from the fringes of the wooded area where the party rested, it appeared the approach to the complex at the top of the hill might necessitate a traverse through the orc-infested township.
Velfarren and his followers had briefed the adventurers on what to expect in the town – gangs of orcs gathered together to pass the time, usually collecting around one of the large firepits they had made. A few mercenaries were known to move freely around the town too – perhaps the group could pose as a squad of sellswords to pass through the orc rabble unmolested. Knarillas and Badden took pains to conceal their fey heritage, lest they provoke the orcs to rage by their mere appearance.
It seemed to be working as the party made their way through the ruins. They attracted a few glares and suspicious looks, but no real trouble occurred until they walked into a small group of orcs bickering around one of the ubiquitous firepits. The leader appeared agitated, and moved to confront the heroes.
A cloaked Knarillas bludgeoned his way through some halting local dialect, seeking to claim authorisation of their movements by a fictitious orc chief. The suspicious leader was having none of it, and his band, riled up already by their argument, moved to attack.
This fight went on for some time, as additional orcs and even a couple of ogres were attracted to the fracas. The heroes dispensed with all of them, but nearly exhausted their strength. As they hustled away from the scene of the violence, a few bestial faces cast admiring gazes from a safe distance, before moving in to pick over their former comrades’ corpses.
Before them lies the twisting path ascending to the plateau Oakley calls the Dragon’s Roost.