Reign of Winter (Session 06)
While it ran the risk of having the lady of the tower return while we were still present, we decided it would be best to take the fight to the enemy one floor at a time if at all possible. This would help us to shepherd our resources and hopefully prevent us from overreaching our grasp. And at least thus far, it seems to be working well enough.
After taking some precautions with the gateway mirrors and watching the dwarf dismember bodies, we settled in for the evening to rest – at least as best we could given the fact that we were sitting in a hostile fortification. But, other than a brief foray from an atomie, we were unmolested and managed to refresh ourselves enough to continue pushing forward.
It turns out that it was very good that we took a moment of respite, as our trip to the second floor of the tower quickly became a singular, rolling combat. As soon as we were through the portal we spied a rather surprised looking forlarren at the end of the hall. Those of us with sharp ears also heard the tell-tale flutter of invisible atomie wings in the area with us. And so, just like that, the battle was on.
We made short, brutal work of the atomie. The forlarren, which turned out to be a rather competent bard, was another matter entirely. She used music and magic to fairly effectively tie up both of the animal companions that travel with us. And to make matters worse, we heard further noise from both of the rooms off the main hall – so there was no question that it was only a matter of time until additional combatants joined the fray.
One door was opened to reveal a rather nasty Spriggan, already grown to his angry combat stature. Thankfully, he was trapped in a bit of a bottle-neck and wasn’t allowed to make full use of his size. Between the dwarf and the oracle, they were able to lay the brute low before he was able to deal anyone too grievous of harm.
While this was going on, we had been hearing casting from the opposite door. Then, the occupant – a stern looking woman wielding a great sword – slipped through an off door into the room we first appeared in. Thankfully, the rogue heard her approaching and was able to squeeze himself behind the door and get the drop on her when she entered. But she was made of stern stuff and she answered him blow for blow, nearly killing him before assistance could arrive.
With the woman and the spriggan both down, the forlarren agreed that discretion was indeed the better part of valor and accepted my offer to surrender. Smart lass, that one.
Then came the tending of wounds and a bit of friendly interrogation… during which everyone was surprisingly civil and cordial to one another. Perhaps some of my compatriots have finally twigged to the fact that not all of the people we are battling are truly evil. Some of them are simply being pressed into service by powers far beyond their ken to have any chance of coping with. Hell, for many of them it is likely either service or death – and not only for them, but for their loved ones as well.
But I digress. We garnered a fair bit of information from Mierul Ardelain, the forlarren bard. It seems she was a guest in the tower and didn’t seem to hold any great loyalty to the occupants. She gave us a bit of an overview of what else to expect from the tower’s occupants and warned us of the doppelganger posing as a noble woman in one of the rooms on the second floor. She also warned us of the mandrake in the kitchen – a nasty little plant man who would just as soon kill you as talk to you.
After letting Mierul go, we turned our attention to Sgt. Hestrig Orlov, one of the two people in charge of the tower’s defenses. It took a bit more convincing to get her to speak with us, but the fact that we had treated her wounds and had kept our word to the forlarren and let her go seemed to carry a fair amount of weight with the wounded soldier. She gave us the key to the higher portions of the tower and warned us about both Radosek and Jairess Sonn, a sylph who acts as the mistress of the witch crows and keeps herself in the eyrie. She warned us that both would be able to fly, or at least levitate, so that is something we will need to take into account as we prepare to deal with them.
We also sent Hestrig on her way in peace. Mig, the spriggan, we simply allowed to bleed to death, as there was little chance of a peaceful change of heart there. We also disposed of the mandrake, taking the plant’s body for magical components.
Then it was time to deal with the doppelganger. She wore the guise of Argentea Malassene, which I’m sure would have been terribly confusing had we not spoken with Mierul about her true nature. As it was, she managed to run the dwarf through with a rapier before he cut her in twain.
After that, we set about scouring the second floor, breaking the scrying mirrors, rooting out anything and everything of value, and determining the best place to hole up for the evening before progressing on to either the eyrie or to Radosek’s private chambers.