Week 48 - Taking the castle

Cassandra and Lord Numesti were patched up after their personal ‘confusion’ battle and the group started up the stairs to the next level. Larran was first to open the door, to be met by a wall of cracking purple flame, Vaguely he could see Baroness Drelev, with a goblet in her hand, standing in doorway at the other end of the hallway. She was instructing the man next to her to ‘let them have it’ - although her language was a bit more forthright than that. Raising his staff, he did just that and a fireball exploded amongst them, catching them all where they were packed together on the stairs.

The elemental wall slowed them down, as party members were, initially, reluctant to run through it – so early attacks were a return fireball by Cassandra and a grease spell from Rudy. That seemed to barely touch the man, but Baroness Drelev fell to the ground severely injured while he yappy little dog (called Jewel) was burnt to a crisp.

Eventually the fighters closed, while Lord Numesti and Ox tried to make a flanking manoeuvre through the Ball Room. They tried to push Stroon (they found out later that he was the Baronesses brother) away from his sister, and Ox even tried to grab the baroness and physically pull her away from her brother – but she turned into a kick and biting ball of ‘really upset’ woman, and he couldn't get a decent grip on her. Eventually Stroon reached down, grabbed his sister and the pair teleported away.

Up to the next floor and there was corridor leading away from the top of the stairs, with a Red Dragon poking its head around the far corner. They tried the side doors first, looking for possible flanking routes, although there were none obvious and they didn't look for secret doors, but they did find the Baron and the Baroness’s bedrooms, as well as various court costumes and some nice furniture.

Eventually Larran closed with the dragon and hit out at it, only to see the wound he created start to heal immediately - and to be attacked from the Baron who was hiding around a corner of the corridor.

Finally the battle was closed, with Ox and Larran in close combat, Cassandra invisible and Rudy able to see invisible. At one stage Ox had his head inside the dragon’s mouth, and it was preparing to breathe - but by this time they had decided it was an illusion and it was serving as little more than a distraction. Eventually Quintessa picked something up from the floor and the dragon just disappeared. Realising the game was up, she ducked into an adjoining room, and then through a secret door to another bedroom a bit further away.

There was a bit more combat and the Baron threw his sword down and surrendered. While Rudy and Robert were interrogating the Baron, Larran found Quintessa, just sitting demurely on a bed waiting to be ‘rescued’. He didn't believe that and was quite rough with her – putting a sword up against her throat, then instructing her to stand up and turn around – all very aggressively. Eventually he punched her, and she slapped him around the face. Then he grabbed her, gripping her tightly to him, before she just disappeared, out of his grapple, with a slight popping noise.

Back in the hall way, Numesti wanted to hang Drelev and take control of the city state - and Drelev really didn't seem to know much that was useful. So they slung him is a one of his own prison cells, called in the horse guard that were by the secret entrance, and prepared to face down the guards in the rest of the keep.

Out in the courtyards, some of the guards had set a simple ambush, others had fled trying to raise the alarm and gather re-enforcements. However, a combination of frontal attack and a haste spell put paid to the ambush, and left Robert facing off with a number of guards trying to get out of the gate. He managed to hold them up for a round or two, until the hill giants (who had been patrolling the town) got back to the castle. The fight with the giants lasted a bit longer, but the remaining guards managed to escape in the confusion.

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