After a few more minutes of parley with MIles, the groups part ways. Miles heads off into the forests and the group explores the mines for an hour or so. They discover hundreds of gnomes – all bewitched in some way. They free the gnomes but find they are incapable of coherence. After a brief discussion they leave the gnomes and journey down a path which leads to a ridge that overlooks a small valley. The remains of the gnome settlement are visible. The gnomes discovered at the mine are surely the remnants of this town, right? Should they be avenged or forgotten?
The group presses onwards, riding into the vale of filth, past orcs that breed in the fetid squalor and towards an inn – of sorts. Therein they find a sextet of evil tainted gnomes that serve them passable food and add their fare to Mile’s tab. The group is a bit bewildered, given that Miles was declared to be aiding the gnomes imprisoned in the mines. Hmm. Stranger and stranger.
Riding their luck, the group rides towards a palisade-ringed encampment. A pair of orc guards are busy arguing and do not hear the party approach. A sleep spell buys some time and the group brazenly enters the courtyard. Therein they find an uber orc smith and a chained gnome as assistant. A guardhouse and a latrine and some sort of orc bunker complete the picture. The group talks with the smith, who informs them that there will be no more weapons until the last batch is paid for. As the group meanders away from the smith, they dismount and talk briefly while the cleric pretends to use the latrine.
As they talk, a squad of orcs leaves the bunker and marches off towards the mine the party looted hours earlier. As they depart, the party makes its move and slays the smith, the guard and the occupants of the bunker before freeing the gnome. He speaks with them and tells them of the fate of the valley and the charming of the gnomes by a magic mirror. He wishes to join the party as long as their goals and his align. He wishes to liberate his people and kill orcs. The group wishes to kill…orcs.
They search and collect what little plunder they can. As they are deciding what to do, the group of guards comes running back from the mines. The party decides that silencing them is important and allows them to enter the compound before shutting the gates and slaying them in a matter of seconds. Pausing only to make sure of complete lack of survivors, before sauntering through the orc villagers, the group heads towards a distant shrine they spotted on the way into town. Arriving around dusk, the group is attacked by harpies and half the party members are charmed. Despite the setback, the remainder of the group rallies behind Dudley and his magic blade. The harpies are slain or driven off and the charmed party members are pummeled into unconsciousness and tied up. The shrine is found to contain waters that heal the body an mind of those that drink it. As darkness falls, the group is exhausted and depleted- in a dead end valley, surrounded by orcs but with the means to restore the minds of the gnomes – provided they survive long enough to administer it, of course.