With some guidance from Arcanus Keanne, the group was heading towards the Roan Elk Orc Camp, to see if their Shaman, Mauhauk Splittrunk could shed some light on the appearance of the Red Orcs. The party was outfitted by the Duke Ummor and they left the next day.
The first hint that something was wrong came when they saw smoke in the distance. Hurrying along their way, the party rounded a bend and saw the camp of the Roan Elk still smoldering from recent fires. Several tents lay in ruins, and the camp as a whole was in a state of high alert, challenging the group as they made their way to the gates of the hastily built barricades. After the group verified their intent, they were led before a large tent, from which a wizened orc emerged. Mauhauk Splittrunk was old, even by human standards, but age, while slowing the orc, didn’t seem to diminish him in any way. A powerful figure, he gripped a stout walking staff, but some debate as to the necessity of the staff could surely be made, for he didn’t seem to rely on it to steady himself at all. He turned his still alert gaze upon the group and a tusky smile crossed his mouth.
“The Arcanus chose well, but as you can see, Creston is not alone in the perils that befall the land. Roan Elk also has come under attack. The demon Orcs come and take from us our children, kill our warriors, and burn our homes. They are not so many in number that they could wipe out the Roan Elk, so we fought back, chasing them from our home. Lurtzog Snakebite follow them to the banks of the Misty River, but they have crossed into the mists and vanished like smoke into the night air.”
The party took in this grave news and asked questions about the Red Orcs and who came to take the young orcs.
“The Demon Orcs are an abomination! They take our children and change them, they take our injured warriors and change them. In places of great power, they use their unholy rituals to change our people. The places that were once holy that are corrupted offer more power. If you wish to find the source of the Red Orcs, you should look to these places.”
The group conferred with each other for a time, before Olvan remembered that there were some old temples dedicated to the Dwarven Gods in the hills above where the Roan Elk were camped, beyond the Misty River. With Lurtzog showing them the way to the river, the party struck forth again.
The first indication that they were on the right track came shortly after passing the river. Vaeriel was scouting for the group, using her woodcraft to stay hidden, while looking for signs of the Red Orcs passing. She was almost past a rocky outcropping before she spotted a horrifying sight. Waiting behind the rocks in ambush were two hounds both with two heads, with slavering jaws that drooled a noxious bile. Leading the hounds was the most hideous creature Vaeriel could imagine. Only the size of a teen child, the figure was bloated. A writhing mass of corpulence, that shuddered and writhed with each movement, yet did so with alarming swiftness.
One of the hound’s heads jerked in Vaeriel’s direction and let out a low growl, and Vaeriel wasted little time wondering if the hound had sensed her. She made her way swiftly back to the group, alerting the rest of them what was coming, just about the time that the two hounds came bounding around the rock, followed by the demon. Vaeriel turned and fired an arrow back at one of the hounds hitting it, but not really slowing it down, while Teleryn and Trianna readied for it to reach them. Olvan on the other hand, charged the demon with a battlecry that rattled the hills, and cleaved through the thing in one mighty overhand stroke of his axe. The creatures dissolved into a noxious black ooze. Shortly thereafter the two hounds fell quickly to the combined magic and martial prowess of Trianna, Teleryn and Vaeriel.