The story begins with the group accompanying a caravan traveling south from the City of Selenica, through the Black Peak Mountains down into the northern wilderlands of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. The Caravan Master, one Averos the Saddlemerchant hired on Garidy the mercenary as one of his caravan guards. Baltan the Halfling money lender had business southward and offered up his martial services as payment for travel with the caravan. Tanowar the Elf, somewhat bored of his past centuries spent in the depths of Alfeheim, served as horse tender for the caravan. Averos was heading south to Kelven with his fair daughter Melinda, barely 16, whom was to be married to a merchants son in that city as part of a trade alliance.
The story opens up as the caravan has come down out of the Black Peaks, and is but a mile or so from their destination: the Castellan's Keep, better known as the Keep on the Boarderlands. There the merchant hopes to resupply and perhaps unload some of his goods before carrying on to Kelven. It is mid afternoon, and as the caravan creaks along the muddy road through the thick forest, they are set upon by an Orc ambush. It is in the middle of this ambush we begin....
Baltran's pony was spooked by the attack and nearly bucked the halfling off. He managed to recover just in time as an Orc set upon him. Garidy, still upon his warhorse, charged upon one Orc and crushed it under his hooves. Garidy then charged his mount upon a short bluff to overtake an Orc bowman there. Tanowar, noticed that there seemed to be two different clans of Orcs attacking, noting the difference of skin color ( green vs grey) eyes and armor and adornment and weapons.
While he was assessing all this, he was set upon by two Orcs and unable to get a spell off.
The battle continued with caravan guards and riders dropping here and there on the shaft of an arrow, the thrust of a spear or the head of an axe.
Garidy, now down off his horse to slay the Orc he had knocked down with his charge, was in the clear for Orcish archers that began to riddle him with arrows and he soon fell.
Baltan assisted by a caravan guard, were being set upon by Hookhand, an fierce some green Orc with a nasty curved hook for a hand and a jagged sword in the other and two of the grey Orcs. Baltan took the nasty hook into his shoulder and was lurched about by the massive Orc to lay unconscious upon the ground.
Meanwhile Tanowar, seeing the situation as being most dire, sought to flee into the woods, but was quickly bludgeoned under the blow of a stone axe and fell unconscious.
A few of the group gained consciousness as they were being tended by some remaining caravan members. The Orcs were gone, along with them they had taken the majority of the caravans goods, some of the guards and Averose's daughter, Melinda. Averose was alive badly injured, his ribs and leg having been crushed in the battle, was being tended by his scout Voraxal. Slowly the group gathered what mounts they could find and tethered them back to the wagons and carts and began a slow crawl back to the Keep. The last thing the PCs remember before falling unconscious again, was seeing the silhouette of the keep high upon the rock outcropping as they wound their way toward it.
The PCs awoke the next day, being attended by some priests in the Church of Law in the Keep. The Curate, Father Jorin brought them up to speed on the condition of their caravan crew and Averose. After a night of rest and magical healing, the group were summoned the next day by Voraxal the scout and taken to the tavern where Averose and some of his men were already very drunk and upset about the raid and the capture of his daughter. Averose, first angry with the PCs for allowing his daughter to be captured by the repulsive creatures, lapsed into a fit of cries and sobs and begged them to go back to rescue Melinda.
The group agreed to assist, and Voraxal offered to act as scout to track down the Orcs back to their lair. They learned from the locals that the area the Orcs were hiding was well known and called the Caves of Chaos, a place of foreboding and evil. They also learned that the raids upon travelers and caravans had become more frequent and organized, which has the Castellan of the Keep, Lord Corbett, very concerned.
The group spent time resupplying at the local trader then set off. They were further assisted by two of the caravan guards Jeb and Bush who would serve as men at arms on the mission.
The group left the Keep the next day, all healed up by Father Jorin, and set off to back down the road to find the location of the caravan attack. About an hour later they found the site, still littered with caravan debris and bodies, now being picked clean by scavengers. Tanowar summoned a viper with the thought of sniffing out Orc tracks but had no luck. Voraxal easily found them and the group made their way through the thick forest toward their quarry.
It took nearly an hour of hacking their way through the vegetation to finally come upon the deep wide rocky ravine where could be viewed about a dozen cave mouths starring down upon the party. Voraxal determined that the Orks had dragged their spoils back to this area but had split up and one set of tracks led to one cave and the other to another. Tanowar reminded them that there were two groups of Orcs, so each cave probably served to lair each band of the creatures.
They decided to climb the ravine and explore the nearer cave first. At the entrance, Balton lit a torch and held it forward while Garidy moved inside. To the rear of the cave they viewed a wall covered in the heads and skulls of humans, elves, dwarves and humanoids. A passage shooting off to his left and right. As Garidy began to move into this passage, he was nearly felled, as spears rained upon him from the darkness of the right passage and Grey Orcs charged upon him.
A battle quickly ensued and Baltran jumped in with swords in each hand but was quickly knocked unconscious. Tanowar stepped in and was backed up by Jeb and Bush with spears while Garidy cleaved through one with his sword sending the second one stumbling back down the passage. Garidy grabbed the haflings body and tossed it out of the cave mouth to Voraxal to help meanwhile alerting the group that his Elf ears had detected the sound of more Orcs coming. The group readied themselves for the attack, as 5 more Orcs set upon them. This time Tanowar was ready with spell and took the creatures out with a Color Spray spell, knocking them unconscious.
The Orcs stopped before the opening to the cave and their leader threw the group a bag of gold and said something in Orcish, gesturing for them to leave. Unsure why the Orcs would bargain at this point to save their lives, the group decided it was very injured, so they took the gold and returned to the Keep.
Back to the keep the injured party went. They sought healing from Father Jorin once again, and bought some healing salves from the trader as well. They reported what had happened to Averose, and began to ask about if there were anyone of the healing arts who could accompany them on their mission. A jovial man named Tovak stepped forward, claiming to be a priest of Law, and vented his hatred of the Caves and of the evil that was at work there and offered his assistance. He also had with him two acolytes in robes, sworn to vows of silence. The group decided they needed a healer and more combat power and willingly took up the priests offer to aid them. They agreed to meet outside the gatehouse early morning ready to go.
They sought council with Father Jorin once again and found it uncanny that he hadn't met Tovak yet, both being priests of Law, but Jorin explained there were different sects and they had no connection to one another. Priests often came into the walls of the Keep. The group decided to be cautious just the same, but as they really needed the healing and additional manpower, had no reason to not have the priest along. The PCs then found lodging at the Inn and bedded down for the evening.
Thus ended the first session.