Afternoon, 22 Mid-Season Harvest
On our way back to Master Orth’s compound, we discussed what we should do with the cockatrice egg we had found in the tower, but came to no conclusions. We kept Simol inside the wagon, and Luhluh disguised him, just in case he was seen and recognized.
Upon arriving at Orth’s compound, the guards escorted us back to the Common Room where we had met with Orth previously. Luhluh spotted the guard with whom she had talked on our last visit, and he winked at her. Soon, Master Orth swept into the room. He asked the results of our mission and we told him of Vlondver’s death (although not in too great detail; Cora reported that we had dispatched the ‘cave monster’ he had sucommed to).
While Cora and Brinn spoke with Orth, Trosk and Zamaia were sizing up the surroundings. Trosk noticed that one of the guards was remarkably tall, blond haired and blue eyed, and burly; not Brandobian in appearance. Said guard was also staring at Cora. When Trosk caught his eye, he blushed and looked away.
Meanwhile, Luhluh was trying to tickle ‘her’ guard.
Orth pulled out a substantial sack, and gave us 500 gp with a flourish. His grin conveyed that he expected us to be in awe of this mighty sum. Brinn abruptly stated, “now that our business is concluded, Cora, you wanted to try diplomacy.” This was not the transition Cora was hoping for. Still, she carefully brought up the subject of Simol’s wife. Orth instantly denied the charge emphatically, claiming to have never heard of this man, clearly lying. Cora did catch him referring to Simol as a tailor when she had not identified him as such, but made no real headway opening a conversation. She smoothed things over (struggling to keep Brinn aware of her true meaning while not also alerting Orth), stating that we were eager to return to our homeland. We agreed to depart at once. Trosk noticed the blond guard trying to catch Cora’s eye and nodding.
Once out of earshot of the gates, Cora started the conversation about how to save Simol’s wife, Rosla. Brinn wanted to be direct and honorable, but Cora was worried that the woman may come to harm that way. Sir Didymus and Trosk brought up the blond guard. Cora was willing to flirt with him for information given the chance. Luhluh suggested more silly and/or extreme approaches. We asked Simol about the layout of the residence, and he filled in a bit of our map.
We sent Wendell to do reconnaissance. He noted that the kitchen door is often open, and observed seven guards, none the two we might want to talk to. They seemed busier than before. Also, he confirmed that the tower did contain a maiden.
After some debate, we decided on a two-pronged approach: Brinn and Sir Didymus would go directly to the gate and challenge Master Orth, while the rest of us attempted to slip over the back wall and sneak in. Faust would guard our hidden camp, where Simol would wait.
Once it was dark, Brinn and Sir Didymus rode up to the gate. The guards told them that Master Orth was not seeing guests. Brinn demanded that they be admitted in the name of the Law, but the guards did not go for it. So Brinn demanded to speak with their supervisor.
Meanwhile, Zamaia, Cora, Trosk, and Luhluh snuck up to the wall. The guard on the nearest tower was armed with a heavy crossbow, but it was not loaded. Wendell flew up for a closer look, and observed that he also had a flail nearby, and was not a guard we knew. Trosk held Luhluh over his head, and she jumped using the ring to grab the edge of the wall. She climbed up, tied a rope, and dropped it down to the rest of us. Trosk climbed up, snuck up behind the guard, and choked him.
Brinn told the guards a mediocre joke.
Luhluh disabled the guard’s alarm bell. Cora climbed up the wall, but was not as quiet as hoped. The next guard down noticed and began to ring his bell!
Sir Didymus first suspected the bell was the sound of the gate guards calling a supervisor, but Brinn recognized it as an alarm. Sir Didymus offered to help defend the castle from whatever the bell warned of. The guards began arguing over whether they should let him in. Brinn argued the point successfully, and they opened the gate.
Zamaia climbed the rope, and she and Cora headed for the kitchen door. The guard in Trosk’s choke hold finally passed out, so he followed them as well.
Two of the guard patrol came around the corner, and one spotted Cora. Servants began looking out the doors and windows for the source of the alarm.
Brinn and Sir Didymus rode toward the tower where the bell was first ringing, shouting, “They’re over here!”
Zamaia flung mud in the eyes of the guard who saw Cora. Cora and Trosk slipped past him, and Trosk opened the door to the left of the kitchen door. It led to the gardener’s quarters, and had no interior doors. Wilem the gardener cowered in fear.
Other guards were gathering, so Cora cast Ventriloquism and made her voice come from behind the nearby stable, shouting in Orcish. The first guard cleared the mud from his eyes.
Luhluh and Zamaia ran up the stairs on the exterior of the mansion. Cora cast Invisibility on herself (defensively) and followed them.
Trosk ran along the front of the stable, grabbed a torch, and threw it into a pile of hay. Then he ducked into the stable to save the innocent horses from the fire he had started. The stableboy ran away.
Guards poured out of the kitchen, knocking the maid aside. The guard who Zamaia had blinded turned to attack Brinn, who was trying to direct him to fight the fire. He and Sir Didymus almost succeeded at refocusing the guard’s attention, but when he kept coming Brinn batted him with his lance. Sir Didymus called for the rescue of the horses and rode past the guards (who swung at him and missed; he didn’t seem to notice). Brinn fought with the guard who had attacked him.
Luhluh opened the door at the top of the stairs to find a dark room. Zamaia looked inside and determined that this room also lacked interior doors. Cora joined her – and saw the guard coming around the back of the building. It was the blond guy who had stared at her earlier. He kept walking toward the crowd.
Brinn found himself fighting six guards, while another three caught up to Sir Didymus. Despite Sir D’s declarations of helpfulness they stabbed him.
Suddenly, a bolt of lightning came from across the front of the building! It scorched the grass in front of the stables.
Luhluh went down the stairs, caught up to the blond guard, and whispered that her friend had come looking for him. Cora became visible, waved at him, and ducked into the dark room.
Sir Didymus continued to proclaim the need to aid the trapped horses. He rode into the stables, provoking blows from his attackers. There he freed three of the horses. Trosk was also freeing horses. Brinn, meanwhile, spurred Prisa and rode away from the eight guards now attacking him. The guards pursued Brinn, although others did enter the burning barn. Some of them finally began to get water from the well.
Zamaia took an opportunity to dart into the kitchen. Luhluh soon followed.
The blond guard followed Cora into the room atop the stairs, and began the conversation by asking, “if I surrender will you take me with you?” Cora, surprised, answered “of course!”
Trosk and Sir Didymus finished releasing the horses. Brinn rode to the narrow space between the back of the mansion and the rear wall, where his opponents could only approach him one at a time.
Zamaia agreed to pick Luhluh up and carry her. They crossed the kitchen and passed through to the stairs.
Cora learned that the blond guard’s name is Colindor. He wished to get out of here, knew where Rosla (Simol’s wife) was kept, and was willing to help. However, he stated that he would not hurt anyone. He quickly told Cora where Rosla could be found, and confirmed that we needed to go through the kitchen door. He suggested that the two pretend that he had captured Cora, and she agreed to the ruse.
Trosk dramatically leaped onto a fleeing horse and rode into the courtyard. Guards continued to follow Brinn, now forming a single-file line in the narrow space. Sir Didymus rode after Trosk, catching a guard on his lance in the process. Trosk shot one of the additional guards now coming out the front door, while he rode to the far side of the building.
Another lightning bolt came down from the mansion’s tall tower and just singed Sir Didymus!
Zamaia and Luhluh climbed the interior stairs. The 2nd floor was mostly empty, with rooms that looked like guard quarters and the balcony over the Common Room. They headed for the next flight of stairs up.
Sir Didymus wheeled and charged the guards who were following him. Brinn continued to fight one enemy at a time. Cora and Colin entered the building and hurried toward the stairs.
Trosk shot his pursuers, and continued around the corner of the building. The guards chasing Sir Didymus gave up on attacking him on foot and made for the guard tower. Brinn struck the nearest guard with the magic longsword from the pirate ship, and the guard clawed at his own throat as if choking.
Trosk also headed for the narrow space behind the mansion, now on the far side of the building from Brinn. He continued to shoot at the guards on the wall, focusing one arrow on each before doing further damage to the first one shot. He quickly knocked out the guards that followed him.
Brinn took down one guard and stepped over him to strike the next in line.
Zamaia and Luhluh arrived on the 3rd floor, and picked a lock to find a bedroom. Inside was a woman in a pretty dress, standing on a nightstand to peer out the window.
Sir Didymus came up behind the line of guards attacking Brinn, and intimidated two of them into surrendering. Brinn echoed his call and two more lay down their arms.
Zamaia walked through another door on the landing, an open one, to find Orth’s study. She opened the door into his bedroom and found it empty of people. Cora and Colin caught up. Luhluh confirmed that the woman in the first room was Rosla, and told her she had come to rescue her.
By this point, the guards who had run for the tower had manned the heavy crossbow at its top.
Sir Didymus convinced the guard who Brinn had injured to surrender (the sword had left him oddly thirsty). One hostile guard was left; Brinn convinced him to surrender as well. He gave the injured man a waterskin.
Zamaia headed up toward the top of the tower. She found the way blocked by an exceptionally bulky guard, and behind him Master Orth armed with a wand. She backpedaled away from them.
Cora, Colin, and Rosla headed down the stairs, while Luhluh slipped off to explore.
Zamaia told Orth to stand down. He agreed, and he and his guard gave Zamaia their weapons. Then Zamaia went looking for Luhluh.
The fight over, we tended to the wounded, and gave Orth a tongue-lashing about keeping a woman against her will. We demanded that he give Rosla some recompense. Meanwhile Luhluh snuck about upstairs and swiped a small bag of gems.
Trosk returned his portion of the earlier 500gp in recompense for the burnt barn, commending Orth for not keeping slaves. Luhluh chatted with the guard she had spoken to earlier, and gave him some money. Sir Didymus gave the horses treats.
“He seemed cute” – Trosk, regarding Colindor
“You don’t sound sanitary.” -Kara
“He doesn’t understand how a moat works” -explaining a misinterpretation of the map
“Are you gonna come in this way and attack the other side of the death queue?” -Kara