The heroes follow the orcs back to their base, a corrupted altar of Moraddin – and defeat their half-ogre leader. They discover a smashed portal and signs of a battle between the orcs and the purple dragonborn.
The orc’s ambush had mixed results: on the one hand, a great deal of property had been successfully stolen; on the other, the majority of the orcs and harpies who had executed the raid had been, themselves, executed.
By a third reckoning, a great many innocent and helpless people had thrown themselves to their deaths, due to the harpy’s song; on account of that, and to some degree the pleas of a certain gaudy businessman to recover his merchandise, Bigby, Truceus and Reverence scale the cliff to chase the ambushers who had managed to escape. Ashar and Tick Tock remain behind to do what good they can there (namely clearing the track in order that the train can continue on).
The intrepid three scale the cliffs and follow a trail of harpy feathers and lesser coinage, through a cave piercing the mountain and out the other side. Emerging into a funneling ravine, Truceus looks up in time to spy a pair of ogres crouching overhead, waiting for them. The ambush fails largely due to the ogres’ poor aim, and they are dispatched in short order by claws, magic and arrows.
Continuing along the natural path (determined to be an old watercourse diverted at some point in the past, the three begin to find stone sentinels: large, totemic stone carvings, familiar with dwarven iconography, but somehow… off. Arranged in pairs to either side of the path, every statue they pass is slightly more distorted than the last, becoming more and more corrupted as they approach their destination: an impressive excavation cut cleanly into the side of the mountain. Containing a structure which, at first glance, could be taken for a fortress, it has high and obviously doughty walls, and is watched over by circling harpies. Bigby, Reverence and Truceus sneak past the harpies using the cover of the increasingly-twisted statues, and gain entrance to the inner sanctum by a door which, though cast in a face that was once resolutely dwarven, now twisted into something definitely not, is not barred, or even difficult to open.
Within, they find a proud, paved courtyard with larger statues even further twisted, and orcs encamped. Having found them with their guards down, the party seizes initiative and attack, cutting through the orcs, and the harpies who come to aid them, with relative ease. When the smoke clears, one lucky orc minion has managed to survive; a near miss from Truceus’s revolver prompts him to surrender, resulting in his restraint and interrogation.
He reveals that the orcs had no agenda in attacking the train, apart from being orcs; they were only after plunder, and have no idea what they took. It’s a reversion to type in lieu of any better ideas; their previous purpose having been taken away when the ‘purplies’, who had been employing the clan until relatively recently, took their leave. The ‘purplies’- readily assumed to be dragonborn from the description- had been guiding the orcs to raid Evereska, to take slaves and plunder as the goblins had been compelled to in Loudwater. If they had any more specific object or goal, the minion cannot illuminate. The purple dragonborn had crossed into the world via a portal located within the temple.
To be continued, eh.