After resting and recovering their strength, the party decided to return to the Malachite Fortress. Clearly, it was still important to the minotaurs and orcs and the party wanted to find out why. Also, Alena pointed out that the primordial was once imprisoned somewhere beneath the fortress. Perhaps they could discover what once bound him as it might offer a clue on how they could do it again.
The party left the ruins of Tir Kitor, following the old road that once joined the eladrin city and the dwarven fortress. As they followed the worn route, they ambushed a group of orcs. Their enemies had deadly archers and a storm shaman, as well as the usual brute warriors. A fierce battle erupted as both sides used the rocky, mountainous terrain to their advantage, but the party’s teamwork helped them overcome their foes.
They continued on, till they reached the Malachite Fortress around dusk. There was a large open field before the entrance to the dwarven fortress. The stone and wood remnants of an old dwarven surface village dotted the field, and from the party’s vantage, they could see the ribbons of smoke rising from at least two campfires within the ruins. Not wanting to enter the ruined village at night, they kept a watchful vigil and prepared to enter before daybreak.
When the appointed hour had come, the party gathered themselves and tried to stealthily approach the nearest building in the village. The lack of much cover made things difficult, and they were soon spotted by a number of orcs on watch. Rather than engage the orcs in the open where they could be surrounded, the party rushed in and bottle-necked the orcs at the entrance to the building, where Brathis and Vorsk stood with readied weapons. Alena and Lyris launched their spells over the heads of their allies, further hampering their enemy’s movements.
The spellcasters’ invocations left flames to burn at the feet of the orcs, and with no room to move away, the fires scorched the trapped brutes. The fighter and paladin systematically hacked away at the survivors, grimly felling their opponents. Through the smoke and flames, they saw a lone surviving orc flee out of the back of the building. Cursing, Vorsk darted after it. As the dragonborn entered into the street, he pulled up short as the orc disappeared into the maze of buildings.
Vorsk looked over his shoulder as the rest of the party joined him. As warning cries and sound of activity sprang up around the village, the group took a defensive stance. “Get ready,” the dragonborn growled. “They know we’re here.”