C losing in on the missing emissary, the grizzled band of adventurers approached the countryside fortress. Nearly in ruins and held together by haphazard repairs, the building’s owners were nowhere to be found in the wake of destruction, likely fled or dead. From the scattered debris to the ragged banners, it was clear who were the stronghold’s new tenants: the Red Fang Orcs.
Under cover of darkness, the party devised a plan to infiltrate the fortress and locate the missing emissary. While the orcish army wandering this stone keep had prepared for a full-scale attack, their defenses were left wide open to a stealth approach, allowing the adventurers to make quick work of the guards within.
While searching the great fortress’ labyrinthine hallways, they encountered the encampment’s cook, who had no interest in violence. In exchange for the party’s mercy, he offered up valuable information on his brethren’s plans. More than a simple head count, the party learned that the Red Fang chief, Ulmuron gro-Khazlam, had been communing with other tribes in the region — burying generations-long blood feuds and banding together under a unified banner.
The party made their way into the bowels of the fortress, engaging in mortal combat with the brutal jailer, allowing them to free two of Emissary Burakazi’s aides, Fariba and Kimiya. While equally grateful for their salvation, the pair held a curiously split opinion on their journey and the intentions of their emissary. While Fariba insisted they had been attacked by savages and brought here for ransom, Kimiya suspected that foul play was afoot. Not wanting to waste time squabbling, the party escorted them to the safety of the woods and returned to track down Burakazi and find out the truth for themselves.
Breaking into the stronghold’s opulent living quarters, the found the emissary living in comfort, a stark contrast to those kept in the dungeons. Burakazi explained that while she remained as the orcs’ hostage, she had brokered a deal with them, insisting that she was more valuable to them in good health than tortured and starved. The adventurers did not hesitate to question her, pressing her on the suspicions of Kimiya. Insistent of her innocence in the matter, Burakazi emphasized the true threat of the orcish tribes uniting, and invited the party to the lookout tower to witness the camps themselves. Gazing into the distance, the twilight glimmer of orcish war camps painted the horizon, with soldiers numbering in the tens of thousands. But with the adventurers distracted, the Emissary fled the roof, leaving them to deal with a pair of baleful genies. Another fierce battle would ensue, testing the party’s combat mettle once more.
Finally, as they stood upon the spectral remains of their exotic foes, the four adventurers were left to ponder their next course of action. What were Machalat Burakazi’s true motives? Why did she flee Waterdeep and attack the party? Would they have time to pursue her, or would the impending threat of a united orc offensive leave the fate of Waterdeep in their hands?