Approaching the keep, Iakob and Matise ran reconnaissance to see what we could find. Unsurprisingly, a large clan of orcs had moved in and were using the keep as their base. They hadn’t been there for long, as there were still large holes in the walls and the main gate was not very well locked. Circling the keep, we discovered three towers (two with orc sentries), two halls (one with goblin miners), the cave entrance to the Brightstone mines, and what we can only assume to be the chieftan’s pet hellhound.
Unlocking the main gate, Iakob and Matise returned to the wagon where the party established their assault strategy and assisted each other in attempting to make a stealthy attack. The ploy succeeded; Sorka the Dragonborn paladin bashed in the previously locked door, and the party’s readied actions all took place immediately, surprising the inattentive orcs. With the sergeant targeted first and the off-duty sleeping orcs annihilated by Matise’s Flame Seed, the battle was resolved quickly. Curious sentries from the tower roof were quickly overwhelmed and dispatched.
During a short rest, Iakob took a free shot at an orc minion on guard at the tower across the courtyard; despite his lack of proficiency with longbows, the arrow found its mark and the orc lieutenant was none the wiser. A quick trek across to the second tower revealed that it was occupied, not by orcs, but by their ghosts; a third group that was slain in the rivalries common to their species.
Battling the undead to their last, spectral sergeant, Sorka demanded that the bloodied ghost surrender. Suiting Tritiny’s merciful nature, she planned to grant the spirit its eternal rest, but Iakob’s furious hatred for the undead demanded that he first interrogate the creature as to how he came to be in his current state. After some tense intimidation, the ghost revealed that, faced with an eternity in the Hells, he willingly brought the spirits of he and his warriors back to the world with the power of the necromancer Kurjan Sawtooth. With the revelation that the orc had deliberately chosen to escape death, the party made a focused assault and destroyed the unnatural ghost and sent him to his eternal damnation.