After resting for a few minutes, the Heroes move towards the open end of the large Hall of Heroes. There, they stand at high up in a massive cavern, a long series of staircases and landings leading down to the cavern floor nearly 100 feet below. The only problem is a group of orcs climbing the stairs to intercept them.
Descending into the depths of the mountains, the party faces heavy resistance from the orc band. They are tenacious fighters, and traversing the staircases are harder than expected; the terrain is rather difficult, slowing the party’s movement somewhat. Thankfully, the group is able to jump down and move relatively quickly, defeating the orcs.
Next, the party enters the final chamber beneath the Monastery, the Chamber of Works. Inside a fearsome blaze rages on one side of the natural cavern, making silhouettes of the orcs gathered there. An hulking orog warrior named Og is mercilessly beating a dwarf, demanding in broken Common that he open the tunnel. Theren recognizes the dwarf as Kalad, a dwarf paladin. The party rushes in, catching the orcs completely by surprise. It is not long, however, before the orcs begin to give as good as they get. To make matters worse, the flames begin to spread outward and attack the combatants (and threaten Kalad). Eventually, the battle ends up with a delicate hostage situation: an orc Eye of Gruumsh is threatening to kill Kalad if any of the heroes move against him. Fortunately, the group acts quickly and kills the orc with a lightning fast attack before he can coup de grace the paladin.
Moving quickly, the Heroes drag the unconscious dwarf out of the room as it is engulfed in flames. Erik immediately begins to work on the dwarf, who begins to heal slightly thanks to Erik’s skilled healing. He informs the party that he collapsed two of the three possible routes through the mountain. There is only one route left, he warns, and that is the route most dangerous—The Nexus. The Farstriders were to have closed it, but Kalad is insistent that the party double-check to ensure their success. He insists on accompanying the party (“I’ve got a score to settle with with these monsters, and none of you can stop me from coming along.”)
Traveling back to where they fought the orc scouting band earlier, the party finds the Vents. These fissures are visible for quite some distance because of the steam rising high into the air. Upon arrival, the group finds five horses tied up with empty feedbags hanging from their heads; the Farstriders, it seems, have not been back in several days.
Entering the labyrinth that is the Vents, the group moves cautiously. They get turned around a few times, but eventually make their way through successfully. Listening carefully, the group hears some orcs arguing about what to do now; apparently they have just faced some unexpected resistance. The heroes surprise them and eliminate the orcs before they even have a chance to get their weapons up: the battle was over before it even began.
Now, the heroes stand at the entrance to the secret Dwarven passage beneath Bordrin’s Watch. If the orc army gets through before the heroes can seal the Nexus, Overlook and the entire Elsir Vale will be overrun and everything will face certain doom! Notes: Kalad is alive and has joined the party; he defeated some heavy Orc resistance. The Farstriders (the ass-hole adventuring group) are dead. New quest to close the Nexus, before orcs are able to get through and open the way for the entire army. (Updated Quests). Vimak uses the Object Reading ritual on his axe (see [[Episode Seven Interlude: Casting the Ritual | Episode Seven Interlude: Casting the Ritual]]).