The orcish empire crumbles.
Orcish expansion has stopped, and the army is in full retreat. Colonies off of Thornner are abandoned or overrun, and what military remains run ragged around the homeland, crushing any wyrmkin or dragon that manages to make landfall. For the dragons have added new members to the ranks of their horde. Humanoid and semi-sentient, the lizardmen are smaller but far smarter than their monstrous kin. They’re also able to function outside the direct control of a dragon, allowing the dragons to fight on even more fronts simultaneously.
For the first time in the history of their race, the orcs grow frightened. They face utter defeat, and they are running out of ways to fight back.
- Gretchen’s training continues apace, and her squad begins to become renowned for their unparalleled skill and brutal effectiveness. She spends more and more time with the Warchief, and the old orc as often treats her like a daughter as he does an officer. But it is not long before he decides to test her training. Her squad is ordered to track down Chief Warrant Officer Karn Wulfgar and return him to Eragdush. Alive. (“But, sir…” “Alive, lieutenant.”)
- Amunash, for the first time in several generations, is at peace. Ostia, Jan, and Bael’Sol return as heroes. Bael’Sol begins to better understand his role as an ambassador, and Jan is surprised he not only survived but was important. Ostia acknowledges the praise, but is already looking back to the horizon, listening for the sound of the sea. Sai is mostly ignored until word of his abilities gets out, when he suddenly has a lab and tide of research assistants wanting to learn from him. Draconic subjects, however, prove difficult to come by, and Bael’Sol refuses to let the orc near his new pet.
- Zuldane disappears shortly after the group returns to Amunash. Though he claimed to be heading back to his family’s mining business, Ostia grows suspicious when a compass and the remainder of the dark metal come up missing after the delver’s departure.
- Though Sai was lost in the fall of Vrarag, Dram decides to stay with Major Glorg, who, along with a company of loyal orcs, defects and sets up a base in the mountains on the coast northeast of the old fort. Dram is thrilled when Tlaloc and Itzli agree to stay with him. With scouts reporting that the new lizardmen ride into battle on the backs of flying wyverns, Dram envisions a way to fight the dragons on their own turf and perhaps reach a lasting peace.