Despite what some may think, those in Zhentil Keep haven't forgotten about their orc troops in Phent. In public discussion in Zhentil Keep, the leaders of the Zhentilar, the military branch of Zhentil Keep, have confidently asserted that the orcs in Thesk are completely loyal to Zhentil Keep. They maintain that the orcs are just biding their time and building up trust among the citizens, until the appointed time when the word is given.
In private, these same leaders are gravely concerned. The leaders didn't get to positions of command by being idiots, and they know that the orcs are treated well and accepted in Thesk, which is a rarity for them with the humans and humanoids of Faerûn in general. The leaders know that many of the orcs would be reluctant to destroy the source of this acceptance.
But what if the orcs' chief god, Gruumsh, told them to?
The Zhentilar turned to the Black Network and presented the problem. The Zhents knew what to do. The Zhents have dispatched a powerful cleric, a master of persuasion and deception, to pose as an orc prophet of Gruumsh and whip the orcs into a destructive frenzy. In addition, the Zhentilar have staged raids against human caravans by what look like orc warriors so that they can start antiorc sentiment among the population of Thesk.
Twin Oaks is a tiny, sleepy little thorp located just within the sheltering eaves of a great forest. Home to an extended family clan of farmers and woodcutters, the community was founded within living memory and since its creation the inhabitants have known only peace and prosperity. But just as the gentle breezes of late summer can transform rapidly into the deadly storms of autumn, dark times have come suddenly to Twin Oaks, in the person of Deskryn, a vampire who finds himself on the run from deadly enemies.
Just two nights ago, as the good folk of Twin Oaks prepared for the annual harvest, Deskryn’s castle home was invaded by an intrepid band of adventurers led by a noble paladin. Although the party did not achieve its goal of slaying the vampire himself, they managed to drive him from his lair and force him to flee into the night with only the barest fraction of his former resources in tow. Unfortunately for the good folk of Twin Oaks, theirs was the community onto which the 2 vampire stumbled first, and it is here that the fiends have taken refuge.
The little settlement offers the displaced vampire all that he needs: shelter from the hateful light of the sun, a selection of new servants, and a supply of fresh mortal blood.
Even in his current condition, Deskryn alone is more than a match for the nhabitants of the thorp; but his best hope of survival lies not in conquest, but in secrecy. He plans to hide in Twin Oaks until he believes it safe to leave; then, he can begin plotting his revenge on the hateful paladin and her compatriots who brought him to this lowly state. As for the citizens of the thorp, they are all but helpless in the face of this powerful enemy. The vampire has already slaked his unholy thirst on one of their number, and his minions have taken hostages to ensure that the inhabitants do as they are told. All the folk of Twin Oaks hope that Deskryn will take what he wants and then leave them in peace, but few of them believe that such hopes are realistic. Until Deskryn has satisfied himself that the coast is clear, Twin Oaks—and its people—belong to him.
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