17th of Dearth 5060
The party retreated to a secure shelter, and interviewed the hobgoblin they escorted away from the keep. The evacuee, a “spirit talker” named Girrock Hregek, told the story of how he and the orcs got to the keep.
Many of the humanoids from the steppes fled south when the undead rampages began. They crowded out and clashed with local tribes there, until a strange shadow-stained troll appeared among them as if out of nowhere. The troll, Black Brok, carved a bloody swath through the countryside. He whipped several orckish warlords into submission, and turned them against other warbands. They slew or enslaved anyone who got in their way. Other bands allied with them to win the spoils of conflict.
Several bands took their gains (weapons, goods, mostly slaves) and headed north before the tables turned on them. Hrikk Ice-Blood took his band here. He has three dozen orcs, a dozen half-orcs, and at least two dozen goblins and hobgoblins. You could also count at least a dozen kobolds and a few humans. Most of the non-orcs are slaves.
Girrock said he could contact his friend in the keep, and they would not stand in the way of the party’s assault on the warlord. The kobolds would obviously flee at the first opportunity, but the others would need to put up a good front before escaping.
The party said they would not molest anyone leaving, which apparently was good enough for Girrock. He did some quasi-magical circle ritual to communicate with his compatriots. Then he made camp with the party, and they made their assault early in the morning.
The party approached the keep much as they had before, invisible and by air. As they approached, an air elemental surged at them from the top of the keep. It caught several of them in its whirlwind. When they became visible, they became targets for pot shots from the keep. Sender got a grease spell through an arrow slit, which inspired Edane to follow suit.