The great conclave of Ithalliel has taken place, but conspicuously absent were the Dwarven representatives from the Hills of Thorns. Concerned, Lord Edirian sends Amir, Denrog, and Tannen to investigate. The travellers reach the Hills, only to find that the Dwarves have been beseiged by a sizable force of Orcs. Bypassing the main force, the companions locate the ‘back door’ to the underground kingdom, which is being guarded by a far smaller contingent of Orcs than is the main entrace. The party brings the Orcs to battle, defeating them and slaying their warleader. The Dwaves, now encouraged, decide to take a chance and deploy a large portion of their forces to the surface. With their captiain dead and the Dwarves now on the offensive, Orcish morale is shaken, and the Orcish army breaks up into its component parts and flees. Denrog manages to capture a beast-like golem that had been under the thrall of the Orcish captain. He is happy with his new pet.