Week 49 - The Watch Tower

Once the giants had been defeated and the noise from that battle had died down, they noticed the shouts, yells and screams coming from the town - so, like true heroes, they headed straight out to see what was causing the commotion.

They met a mob of towns folk - some were carrying torches, a few had visible weapons and a number were showing signs of fresh wound – who looked like they had clashed with some of the escaping guards. However, the mob shrank back from the party and didn’t really engage with them at all. So they continued down towards the new watch tower they had seen built.

As they came around the final corner, there was the new watchtower about 400 feet away from them. However, there were guards on the top and they loosed a set of flaming arrows as so as they saw the group. It was long distance and they weren’t the greatest of shots, certainly not in the dark, so no one was hit, However, the arrows did land among the buildings and started small fires. Rudy used his slippers or climbing and acrobatic abilities to leap around removing the arrows, putting fires out and doing all he could to rouse the residents, while the others closed with the tower as fast as they could - Rudy followed shortly afterwards.

On the ground floor they found a couple of locked and barred doors, and were caught by a falling rocks trap and a number of arrows from arrow slits. They smelled a strong frying type smell, and wary of boiling oil, Robert (with an air walk spell) and Rudy (with his slippers) headed up to the top of the tower, but found it packed solid with guardsmen. Eventually Cassandra managed to target a fireball that hurt a number of guards, but also blew up the oil cauldron.

After trying to break in through the locked, barred and strong doors, Cassandra cast glitter dust through one of the ground floor arrow slits and they dimension doored in – to what turned out to be the kitchens. There was a quite straight forward fight on that level, although the guards were dogged and fighting to the death. There was a spiral staircase to the next level, which they needed to take in single file - Rudy lead the way – only to meet a boulder coming down towards him. Cursing roundly, he started back up the stairs, opened the door at the top, and was met by a volley of arrows where the guards had been waiting for him. Rather than stand back and make them selves pin cushions, the party charged into melee range and tried to pin the guards back. However, there had been more of the guards waiting behind the curve of the staircase, who pushed forward to surround the party. It was a gruesome battle, and Cassandra was caught in the middle of it. Time after time the sorceress was attacked, for she was using spells constructively and damaging lots of the enemy at once, and they were bright enough to realise that she was the easiest to hit. They did win the fight - but both Cassandra and Ox were nearly killed in the process and all but Rudy was seriously injured. Rudy, with his conjured mirror images, and magical protections sometimes seems to live a charmed life ….

They spent a lot of time and healing preparing for the next flight of stairs and the fight they know they would have on the roof. The casters were just about completely out of spells, they hadn’t had a chance to rest and recuperate since they started to assault on the castle, and were relying on wands and potions for magical support. So prepared as best they could be, they pushes up to the roof – only to find it abandoned and ropes hanging down the outside of the tower. However, they was a circle of shadowy figures at the bottom, all with bows pointing towards the top of the tower.

However, after a resigned enquiry from Rudy, they discovered these were the rump of the original Drelev Scouts ( a cross between policemen, country patrol and customs men) under their commander Lady Parevain Khavortorov. Lady Khavortorov was being carried upon a stretcher, as she had lost part of her leg in the original conflict, but she also has a daughter given over as a hostage to the barbarians. She and Lord Numesti are the two remain nobles and senior officers of Fort Drelev.

With the scouts spreading out to take control of the walls and gate, the party and Lady Khavortorov made their way back to the castle. Drelev was being his arrogant self, and still from his prison cell, demanding that they hand over his lands and castle and prepare them selves for trial. Numesti and Khavortorov are equally adamant that he will face trial, and then be hung the next morning.

However, they also managed to find Stroon’s notes, of basic information gleaned from scrying spells, there was the location of the camp, next to an ancient barrow mound, and a few details about the leader. The leader is called Armag, apparently named after a legendary horde leader who was reputed to have become one of Gorum’s favourites. It is said that Gorum was so pleased with the original Armag’s ferocity and barbarity that when the war lord died in battle, Gorum set his soul into a magical weapon of great power.

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