Once upon a time the Orcs had a city that was relatively large and robust, the Orcs that lived around it were relatively bright and the valley they lived in was nice and green and fertile around a big silver spire.
Then an army of High Elves (their commanders and officers wearing a heraldic device identical to that of Lord Seth's but in different colors, purple/black/white instead of blue/black/gold) attacked the city during the night and took something large and glowy from said silver spire, while slaughtering all the Orcs in their path.
After that what was left of Orc civilization fell apart as the crops and game in their valley died off, the spire tarnished and became black, and the valley was overcome (slowly) by a choking silver-grey dust that kills most of what it comes in contact with.
Cut to the modern day: A big valley full of silver-grey dust with the "Pillar of Night" sits north of Dorothel, where the northern farmlands have started to have crappy crops, wells turning up tainted, and a bit of fine silver-grey dust blowing around in increasing volumes.
The Orcs that roam around in war bands are largely disfigured degenerates (not the same sort of thing that you experienced in your Orc bodies) and an increasing number of them have been unifying under the leadership of "The Spider" (cough cue Siolas and Saréna backstory tie-ins cough).
You end up being informed of all this from a tall figure in a white mask and full cloak that turns out to be...Shurod, the female leader of a tribe of pure-blood Orcs. The Spider was one of them but they kicked him out because he was a psychotic nutball, apparently he's been rallying the lesser Orcs to do his bidding. He's now got some sort of goal for slaying everything else with his degenerate Orc army and taking everything over. They think his next move will be to try to take Clefalls, a town in the northern plains known for it's metalworkers and mine. If they were to get real equipment they'd be a pretty significant threat to other armies of the known lands.
Shurod mentions that the shadows (or something) has tried to be in touch with you. Having sent messages through dreams to Mouse and Edgar. She has a small bundle wrapped in cloth containing a finely crafted silver necklace. Mouse would recognize it as "something that should be safely stashed in the bottom of my backpack because people are trying to track me down over it." Edgar would recognize it as "when house Clawes was levying massive taxes against my family to take control of their lands this was a piece of heirloom jewelry the family used to try to pay part of those taxes." Apparently it was forged shortly after the fall of the Old Elven Empire by the elves out of a piece of the casing of the item they took from the city of Nullukarbh. It's super shiny, unusually light, and has never appeared to tarnish or need cleaning.
Meanwhile, that big black pillar is still (after a couple thousand years) sloughing off silver-grey dust. There are some sort of sentient shadows (well, more than shadows, not like "oh, the ground is dark where they are" but like "the ground is supernaturally black and sort of incomprehensible and it makes your brain hurt looking at it" shadows) that have apparently been telling the purebloods (they call themselves the Wastewander tribe) that the item that was taken still exists and would be able to set things back on the path to how they used to be if it was returned.
SO: I will post a poll to gather feedback, but I've got two potential paths for folks to go down (unless you guys come up with a different plan) and just need to get an idea of which one I should be stacking stuff up for.
A- There's a big Orcish army being led by a psycho Orc bent on killing everything and more or less ruling the world. He may have the forces to pull that off.
B- The Orcs are all up in everyone's business (and the Halflings are edging towards a problem as well) because of something that the Elves took from the Pillar of Night, it might be possible to return it and try to get things back in order.