The party comes together in the town of Cadia: a small town in a far corner of Bael Turath. The party arrives to find a pall of unease has settled across the town. Refugees are pouring over the border from the dwarven holds to the west; speaking of attacks by an unusually large and well-organized orcish horde. Compounding the town’s fears is the fact that there has been no contact with the soldiers sent to garrison the watch towers along the border. Elhorn Carter, captain of the guard, hires the group to investigate the watch towers.
The party finds the towers have been captured by members of a mercenary band known as the Crimson Fists. The party fights valiantly to retake the towers and alert Cadia of the presence of mercenaries in their territory. In the process of opening a magically sealed door, Tolmacopo must scar his palm. This scar now marks him as a member of the Crimson Fists. Amaranth Duskrider also finds an amulet bearing the mark of her village on the body of a Crimson Fist shifter whom she does not recognize. By the time the towers are retaken, smoke is clearly visible from the direction of Cadia.
With the towers cleared of mercenaries, and the warning beacons lit; the party splits. Amaranth scouts into the border crossing. She discovers a sleeping hobgoblin wizard bearing a bizarre enchanted staff, and accompanied by gnolls with arcane marks carved into their flesh. She kills the sleeping wizard and steals his staff.
Meanwhile; the rest of the party returns to find Cadia besieged by orcs. The vastly outnumbered heroes hatch a plan of attack as they wait for the cover of darkness. With Amaranth returned, the party launches a daring night raid on the orc encampment. Amaranth rides through the camp setting tents ablaze. The rest of the party charges in on her heels, and fight through to the leader of the orc forces. The beleaguered defenders of Cadia take advantage of the confusion to attack the orcs, and the adventurers are able to defeat the strange leader of the orcish band.
While negotiating the surrender of the orc horde, the party learns that the creature leading them is a half-orc. A strange product of hobgoblin sorcery. He is one of many examples of this new race; created by the hobgoblins to stir up the scattered orc tribes into a coherent fighting force.
The siege is now broken. The orcs have retreated. The town of Cadia has not come through unscathed. Elhorn Carter, captain of the guard, is dead. Much of the town is damaged. They still require assistance from the adventurers who have driven back the orcs. The party agrees to escort a trade caravan south to the town of Thowald’s Crossing so that Cadia can purchase vital supplies.