To spread the word of the Empire’s rebirth, Aramil and Old Breddy work with Bane to begin sending missives to everyone they know across the northlands that was at all associated with the Empire of Nerath in the past. The letters ask for their help in supporting the new Empire and bringing peace to the land. Old Breddy receives a confusing response from one of the letters sent to an old sergeant he served with in the Empire, a dwarf named Rort who is now mayor of a small village. The letter says, “I’m sorry I won’t be able to join the Empire. We are already protected by the Sisters of Corellon.” This response is suspicious, as Old Breddy knows that Rort spent many years fighting the Sisters of Corellon as the Empire fell in Quinalyn. It doesn’t make sense that Rort would pledge his support to this group. He manages to convince Aramil to let him take a contingent of men to investigate Rort’s village, Krat’thar, in the dwarven ruins of Arnathon. The party consists of the same group that battled Uthrin on the docks, along with a few soldiers under Old Breddy’s command. Each party member takes time to wish one of their friends good luck on their journey:
- The Zaza – Lucinda, human ranger
- Erik – Old Breddy, human warlord
- Aramil – Palloth, half-elf thief
- Invicto – Voland, wilden invoker of Melora
Visiting the small village, the party finds the town overrun by a tribe of ogres, led by an ogre mage named Grull. Krat’thar is isolated high up in the mountains, and with the ogres controlling the only bridge out of the village, the local townsfolk have no choice but to accept their new masters. Moreover, Grull has taken up residence in Rort’s house and is holding Rort’s two young daughters hostage to help squash any ideas of rebellion. The town still carries on its day-to-day business, while the ogres waste away the days, drinking and having their way with many of the local women.
The party arrives and heads into the local saloon. They find a large group of ogres drinking and playing cards. Palloth boldly steps up to the ogre that seems to be the leader of the group, a hulking creature named Thos, and asks to join the game. She coyly solicits information on the situation in the village from Thos, while enduring his clumsy groping. Palloth is skilled at cards and gambling and does well in the game, surprising the ogres. Eventually, Thos insists that Palloth bet herself and Lucinda in a hand. Lucinda’s sharp eyes spy one of the ogres stacking the dack to ensure Thos will win. A fight quickly breaks out, and the group manages to dispatch all of the ogres in the tavern.
The local townsfolk all flee the tavern when the fighting breaks out, not wanting to incur the wrath of the tribe of ogres. However, a young dragonborn child, Kendrick, approaches the party and tells them he can safely hide them from the tribe of ogres that will certainly arrive any minute. They follow him to a hidden cave on the outskirts of the village and regroup to consider their options.