Sky, playing dead, was able to slip away thanks to his particular skill set. Mistaking Arcadian for the elven prince rumored to be missing in the Melvaunt area, Bremmen turned him over to his orc allies, who paraded him back to Xul-Jarak, barely alive.
The remaining party members questioned the new Lord Bremmen on their comrades whereabouts, or at least attempted to. They were turned back at the gates, threatened that if they pushed any further, they’d be added to the list of fugitives wanted for the murder of Lord Dornig Leiyraghon. RUmors began circulation that due to Oreal being the only survivor, it was possible his father had hired assassins to consolidate power in the town. It became wise for the scattered members of the Conniving Caravan to do just that: scatter into the wind.
And with good timing too. With the entire town of Melvaunt, including the Council of Iron distracted by infighting, the orcs moved their armies from the wilds of Thar, emboldened by their new Warlord Thrull, and swept into Melvaunt, taking the defenseless town after just a couple weeks travel and a single day’s battle, if you could call the slaughter that.
The Elven Court offered no help either of course, and watched from the far side of the Moonsea as orc territory grew, unthreatened due to the natural border formed by the sea.
Zhentil Keep remained “neutral”, feigning concern over the “growing orc menace” and bolstering their forces, but had already cut a deal with the orcs. In exchange for control of thier rival city Mulmaster, Zhentil Keep would form the western border of the new orc empire.
The attack and victory had come so swiftly, no one noticed the majority of Thrull’s forces had been moving through Bloodstone Pass. By the time they claimed Ironfang Keep, the new base for Warlord Thrull’s dominion, it was too late for Mulmaster to do anything, and they were just as quickly overwhelmed as Melvaunt.
Finally with threats closing in, the elves of the Elven Court Gathered to meet the orcs in battle to the east in the Flooded Forest. They were surprised by both Zhentil’s forces approaching from the west, and the great green dragon Vanthavaxxus, who burst forth from the Moonsea allied with the orc armies. The Elven Court did not fall as swiftly as the rest, but it fell none the less. Most horrifying of all, was the ‘elven’ war banner flown by Thrull’s forces. They had kept the mistaken elven prince barely alive, as they crucified him on a mighty wooden structure shaped like the Eye of Gruumsh, and marched with the ‘elven’ war banner inspiring the army. Leaving the forest in ruins and the elven kingdom in wastes, with the Zhentarim guarding the west from their Keep, Venthavaxxus guarding the south while residing in the Flooded Forest, Ironfang Keep protecting the east, and Xul-Jarak the north, the orcs had an empire to call their own, one so established they could not be driven from it with the might of civilized nations.
Marking their borders on the edge of the forest, they left a message to all races who would challenge them: the giant Eye of Gruumsh still housing the dying elf.