The next morning the group is summoned to Caer Overlook, a sprawling fortress of stone hauled out from the depths of the earth rising above all the other districts and buildings in the city. The castle consists of eight round towers arranged in a star pattern surrounding a central keep capped with a domed roof. Hedging in all the towers and the keep is another stone wall, taller than the wall bounding the High Hall it raises to two hundred feet tall.
Once there, the PCs and other adventurers are led through a maze of corridors until they reach the High Hall. Standing on the 20-foot tall dais are the five elders. Each of the three male dwarves has long beards that hang to their feet, and two are old, being gray and wrinkled. The third is younger, with black hair and hard features. The two female elders are both attractive, one with red hair and the other with brown. All five wear the robes of their office—luxuriant purple and silver damask. Arranged beneath them, filling the chamber completely, is a motley crowd of common soldiers, militia, and adventurers, with each race and occupation represented, and most standing in small groups, but a few mingling.
After a few minutes the youngest male elder steps forward and addresses the crowd:
“Welcome to High Hall friends. I am Elder Cadrick. I don’t much see the point in bandying words, so I’ll lay it out for you. War is upon us. A great host of orcs comes from the west. Their intention is clear. They will come through the mountains bent on slaughter. Those they spare can look forward to a short life of slavery. Overlook, and Bordrin’s Watch in the mountains, have long held fast against these raids, but our scouts say never has such an army gathered. Thus, we turn to you brave souls to help defend not only Overlook, but also all the Elsir Vale.
When the orcs arrive, we’re certain they will come up through the pass. We know this because already there have been attacks from the tunnels below, compromising the fastness. The defenders have fought back the savages, but it’s clear the rest are coming and fast.
So here’s the plan. Durkik Forgeheart will lead the militias and most of you to bolster Bordrin’s Watch. Orc trailblazers infest the tunnels below, so we’ve tasked their security to the Farstriders. One more mission remains, though. We need a group to evacuate the monastery on the other side of the mountains. It’s dangerous work, what with the orcs and all, but priests need a warning of what’s coming if they don’t know already.
Do we have any volunteers?”
The group looks at each other and each realizes that once again opportunity has presented itself; Daeniroth speaks loud and clear for the entire hall to hear “We would be honored to help protect the proud city of Overlook in this capacity.” This announcement is quickly met with looks of skepticism and unbelief from the people gathered in the hall.
“Splendid” Cadrick says as he sets his eyes on the four.
Just as quickly as he says these words Edgar Sommerfield, the leader of the Farstriders, angrily steps forward and says, “Should I remind the Council of our previous arrangement?” Cadrick responds with a nod and a placating gesture, thanks the group for volunteering their service, and dismisses the gathered crowd. The elder speaks with the Farstrider’s leader for a few moments, after which Sommerfield storms out of the hall. Cadrick then calls the group over and promises them 1,000 gp upon their return.