As our heroes arrive at the gates of Throlmar, capital city to the orc empire (?), they see totem poles depicting vicious animals, intricately carved, but fallen into disrepair. The path towards the city leads to a cliff face with orcish writing.
As they approach the gate, they see a gnoll pulling a covered cart that smelled strongly of decay. The cart was leaving a trail of blood as the gnoll pushed it forward.
The party arrives at the gate at the same time as the gnoll. The gnoll is singing, and bangs loudly on the door. Brie tries to peek into the cart but fails. The gnoll snaps an insult at her. Brie brushes it off, smiling instead, intent to kill rising.
An orc answers the door at the gate. The gnoll introduces himself as Grrello (sp?), a peddlar. The orc wants to see the merchandise. The gnoll throws back the covering to reveal cages and cages filled with King Cavalier Spaniels.While the orc is inspecting, the gnoll, tries to get Nerver to pay him in exchange for getting the party in.
Elric tries to show a medal symbol of some sort, but the orc doesn’t care for it.
Nerver begrudgingly gives over 80 gp, causing the gnoll to say that the party was with him. He puts his arm around Brie, who shoots Nerver a quick, disgusted but questioning glance. Nerver nods and Brie smiles again, unflinching, to corroborate the story.
Elric tries to show the orc Verbal’s arm (?), but the orc is offended, as they didn’t keep goblins as slaves anymore. Elric admits that they need help, and the orc goes to check on something. He returns and tells them to seek Marak.
The gates open, and the party enter the large courtyard. It is filled with statues, figures of various races, using different stones, suggesting that they were taken. The courtyard opens into an open-air city, intricately carved into the stone.
As they walk through (with the gnoll in tow), they are stared at, sneered at. A Hill giant approaches, adn the guard goes to talk with him. Another orc with a wooden prosthetic hand approaches the party, looking more like a peasant that a warrior. He is not sneering, but is intimidated. He asks why the party is here.
The gnoll eats a puppy.
The guard yells at Dirk, the peasant orc, telling him off, and hitting him. Elric steps between the orcs, and politely asks about the identity of the peasant. The orc says that Dirk is scum, and won’t entertain questions about scum. The party tries to hide Dirk on Grrello’s cart, but fail. Nerver lies and says it’s completely his fault, and suggests hand to hand combat.
Nerver and the orc fight.
Elric and Brie try to convince Grrello not to reveal that they have a goblin in their midst, and try to stop the battle.
Another orc walks towards the party. He is dressed with outside influence, and a large eye symbol, the symbol of a cleric of learning, is embroidered on his robes. He almost looks human. He introduces himself as Thorik in a well-spoken manner. He offers to lead them to Marak’s home, and explains that the party needs to convince Marak to convene the war council in order to help Verbal.
The party carry Verbal with them into a large room, lit by a single candle.
Two orcs are sitting in the centre.
After their entrance, Marak asks why she should help. Elric proclaims that the Keepers of the Vale are still here, and that there was a place for the orcs within it.
Marak does not answer, but asks to look at Verbal. A slew of spiders emerge from her robes. They bring her a flaming skull with a spinal cord.
Meanwhile, Grrello tries to steal things and attempts to talk with the other orc, who does not reply.
After awhile, Marak answers that Verbal has been cursed with ancient orcish magic, and says that she is unable to help. She says also though that with a Soul Gem, she might be able to do more, but only if it were from another plane, as Gems from this plane would have no magical power.
Grrello tries to make a pitch for his dogs.
Nerver asks how we would know it was a Soul Gem.
Grrello sells a cavalier taco.
Marak leaves to convene the war council.
The orc from the gate returns, and takes them to a plain, circular building.
The party (and Grrello) enter to find 20 orcs and a single drow sitting around a table in full armor.
One orc stands. He is not wearing armor, but is wearing a kilt,and is very muscular.
The party is invited to sit at the table.
Grrello is very happy to be there.
The orc who has stood says that they will share blood wine. It is poured into goblets, and looks thick and red.
Elric comments that they might never have another chance to participate in this ceremony.
Grrello drinks it down right away, and everyone stares at him. Everyone else then makes a toast and drink in a single motion.
Turning to the topic, the orcs want to be convinced that they should help.
Eric floats the idea of an orc candidate for the Keepers.
One of the orcs scoffs at “protecting the weak”, and Elric insists that it is instead to maintain their strength. He mentions the Radiant Order, and says that all races that try to make it alone inevitably fail. He tries to convince the orcs to stand with them to stay strong.
Another orc mentions the soul gem, and says that it alone would be reason enough to go to the other plane. He also asks though why the orcs should not just retrieve it themselves.