Last week on the Tuesday game...
Day breaks, and despite not having anyone stay up for guard duty, the adventurers find themselves unharmed and in the same location that they went to sleep. They resume their exploration of the ruined city, and after a couple of hours they eventually reach what appears to be an entrance into Mt Amarath itself.
Unfortunately, the entrance was not unguarded: fluttering banners marked with a bloodied handprint adorn the sector of the city leading into the cave entrance, and as the party step into the sector, they find themselves quickly surrounded by armed orcs. As the savages jab and gibber at the party, their apparent leader - an orc who speaks Common with surprising fluency - demands that they surrender their weapons. They do as requested, and they are brought through the entrance of the mountain, into a large cavern, and out the other end into the side of the mountain.
This, the orc leader explains, is their tribe's village, and they have been living here on the mountain for several generations now. The paladin Taman blurts out that they are here to slay a dragon, and a dark look crosses the orc's face. Snapping his fingers, he demands that the party are thrown into a pit for the night, and the orc warriors gleefully execute their orders.
Day breaks once more, and the party - now thoroughly cold and miserable from their time in the open air pit - are dragged before the orc who demands that they speak only the truth. Sera takes the lead this time, and after shooting Taman a dangerous look to warn him to not interrupt, she explains the situation: it is true that the party is interested in seeking out the gold dragon who lives on Mt Amarath, but they have no interest in slaying it. All they are interested in is meeting with Ymriss the Lame and, if possible, working with or for him.
Still a little perturbed by these bloodthirsty strangers, the orc leader says that he will return their arms to them and give them free reign of the village if they do him a service. About a half-hour away from the village lies a small forest that have been traditionally part of the orcs' hunting grounds; however, a foul creature now stalks the woods, and he has since lost five of his best hunters to that thing. If the party will slay the evil thing, the orc says, it will prove that they mean both Ymriss and the village no harm; and, after all, since the party was more than ready to face a dragon, what harm could this creature possibly be to them?
The party agree, and after a brutal battle with some demonic creature (during which Taman gets brutally beaten to a pulp), they finally manage to put it down. Alistair identifies the creature as a hezrou, a foot solider from the Abyss, and correctly surmises that the glowing spacetime wound currently staring at them in the face is a) probably a portal to the Abyss and b) probably where the demon came from in the first place.
With the help of Alistair's limited planar knowledge, Gabriel performs a ritual to close the portal and ensure that no more demons find their way into the woods. However, the two of them notice that the portal does not resemble most other portals that they have seen in the past. Judging from the frayed edges, the gash in the fabric of the universe, and the persistent stink of evil, they come to the conclusion that this portal may have been ripped open instead of being conjured into existence like most other portals.
The party return triumphantly to the village where, true to the leader's words, their arms are returned to them. By way of thanks and contrition, the orc offers the party either his grandfather's bow or his grandmother's spear. Taman leaps at the opportunity and gleefully grabs the spear, and while Sera negotiates a trade deal with the orcs, he stands outside the tents fighting off his shadow and jabbing his new spear at imaginary foes.
While the party is resting, they hear some commotion coming from outside the village: it seems that the orcs have caught another bunch of adventurers, and that they are requesting to meet with the party. Under the wary eyes of the orcs, the two adventuring parties meet, and Alistair and Gabriel immediately recognise them as being the Knights of the Square Table: better known as "the group that so unceremoniously tossed them into the Feywild".
After a few jibes at each other, the two groups finally agree to work together to put an end to Winter. Alistair shares what he knows about the five Talons of Biatos, and how they killed Rasinth Flamekissed, while Mordai and Borock tell them that Zennar and Deldruss are currently hot on their heels and, according to the demon they met in the Underdark, just a day away.
Both parties eventually agree on a game plan. While they will both head for the second tier of the mountain (towards the skeleton of the Black Dragon of Amarath, where a bunch of robed mages are known to reside), the Knights of the Square Table will head on to the third tier of the mountain, where Ymriss is known to lair. However, the orc leader warns them that Ymriss has not been seen for many months now, and that a worm-like creature has since taken up residence outside his cave.