Verdant was a silent and invisible assassin of awesomeness. She successfully and quietly hopped up the back keep wall. Then she scouted the stone buildings and found the room with the wizard Tarroyo and the fighter Merkul asleep in bed. She also found a trapdoor in their bedroom and successfully snuck down through it.
Down the trapdoor Verdant explored silently and carefully. She found some cells with the missing Cleric in one of them. A slightly confusing conversation was carried out between invisible Verdant and imprisoned cleric, but the Cleric was freed from the cell and followed Verdant up through the trap door.
Apparently the Magnificent Gentlemen had sold the cleric to Illyana.
At about this time Kayoshin gathered a small group of rats from within and around the keep and sent them into the room that the archers had come out of previously. Once they were in there she ordered the rats to chew on the nocks of the bows, thus disarming the archers.
Verdant quietly and carefully removed most of the weapons from the bedroom with the wizard and fighter. Then she assassinated the wizard and started attacking the fighter as soon as he woke up. She chased the mostly naked and unarmed fighter out into the courtyard of the keep.
At the same time the rest of the party stormed the front gates of the keep. A clever use of Knock by Brandr opened the gates. We left five hired archers outside the gates to keep the gnolls and goblins on the walls occupied, while the party stormed in and headed for the Orc barracks.
Verdant finished assassinating the fighter and retreated back to the bedroom with the trapdoor. There she tossed the bed, but found nothing. So she used a disguise to casually escort the freed cleric out to the walls.
In the Orc barracks Brandr put many Orcs to sleep, and then the party killed them all. Attacking in the middle of the night has a handy advantage of not fighting Orcs in armor. After the Orcs were all massacred, the party went back out to the gates and took over one of the gate towers again. Hobgoblins and Goblins were put to sleep and killed, not necessarily in that order.
Verdant and the rescued cleric successfully made it to the top of the wall and the cleric was lowered down the outside to go join up with the hired archers in relative safety.
The Human archers, armed only with swords, and a whole pile of Goblins, poured out of their respective barracks, just in time to get hit with a Scroll of Fireball from Kayoshin. The ones that didn’t die outright were set on fire.
After that the rest of the keep inhabitants surrendered. Verdant met up with the party. The hired archers (the two who were left) and rescued cleric came into the keep and guarded the prisoners while any remaining living gnolls, hobgoblins, goblins and humans were herded into the stone barracks that the human archers had come out of.
The party then spent some quality time looting everything available. First stop was the keep armory, where with a ranged weapon restocked arrows and crossbow bolts and where Kristek got himself a longbow. The armory also supplied several casks of oil which were dumped around the keep and one was positioned at the top of the trapdoor. Next looting stops included the gnoll, orc, goblin, and hobgoblin barracks where a variety of coins and some gems and jewelry were deposited into the bag of holding. The Mess Hall was also hit up, and Kristek drank a fair bit of beer. The final looting location was the Goblins Direwolf stables, where Kayoshin found and took a Direwolf puppy.
With a bit of description of what Verdant had seen earlier the party went down the trap door.
The first room remained empty aside from the suspicious and icky blood stain. Of course that meant that we entered the room the stain was coming from. A bit of listening and looking had the party prepared for an encounter with an Owlbear. We rushed in, fighters first, and quickly brought the Owlbear down. Regrettably, we had not seen the Ogre behind the door. Luckily for Brandr, the Ogre was more than a bit thrown of his game and Brandr’s hair was merely ruffled. The party, with reflexes like cats, spun around to bring down the Orge. Brandr, with reflexes like a slightly more skittish cat, ran out of reach of the Ogre. The Ogre was swiftly slaughtered.
After that the party moved out into the hallway, and looked into many of cells. All of them were empty. Several storerooms were also investigated, and Kristek stuck a small barrel of beer into his pack.
Attempts to investigate the room in the center of the cell area resulted in suddenly being face to face with six of the vulture humanoids. They were actually called Kree, were apparently pleased to see humans, and were happy to give the party information. Ilyana had the Talon of Grexis and the vulture people were sworn to follow it and assist it’s holder. However, they weren’t completely sure that Ilyana was the rightful holder. They also shared a variety of troubling details about Theosius’ ability to control and pursuade, and their belief that Ilyana wasn’t in control of the Talon, but it and Theosius were in control of her. The Kree were unable to aid the party against Ilyana, but they did agree not to get in our way.
Next Verdant listened at a door and determined that it was a barracks for a few guards and the guard captain, named Blackmorn, that the Kree had mentioned. A bit of clever planning ended with the Owlbear corpse being dragged down the hallway a few yards past the door to the barracks. Once that was in place the party hid around the corner and readied their ranged weapons. A loud pounding and hooting noise was created to draw out the guards. Three guards popped out of the door and went to investigate the Owlbear, before they were turned into pincushinons.
Half the party went in to investigate the barracks. The other half stayed in the hallway to check out the second doorway down the hallway (past the Owlbear corpse). We all burst into the next room together, expecting to see Blackmorn, whose voice we thought we’d heard sending the guards out to investigate the noise we’d created. Instead we found some poor man tied to a chair in the middle of a sorcerous diagram staring at a spinning cube floating in front of him. We freed the man, but he couldn’t really tell us much, since he’d spent his time either in a cell or drooling and looking at floating cubes.
We directed the newly freed man up and out of the keep, and then did a thorough search of the room he’d been in. A secret passage was found leading out to the hallway around the corner. The party rushed off down the hall in pursuit of Blackmorn.
Regrettably Blackmorn wasn’t completely stupid. In fact after slipping away he’d set a trap. A trap that the party literally fell into as the floor went out from under them. Fortunately only Xandros, Kristek, and Kayoshin fell into the pit. Verdant and Karamail were just close enough to need some fancy footwork so they didn’t fall in, too.
Brandr and Verdant start to help get the rest of the party out of the trap. However Karamail and Gertie hear the sound of a door opening and closing behind them. They turn in time to see a man in very ornate plate armor come out of a secret door and head back down the hall past the Owlbear corpse and towards the exit. So of course Karamail and Gertie take off after the man (who turned out to be Blackmorn), and chase him down.
Karamail was especially nimble and Blackmorn tripped over his feet, so there was a pretty speedy apprehension of Blackmorn. By the time the rest of the party got there Karamail had tackled Blackmorn and Gertie had searched him and removed weapons, armor, money (gems and coins), wolfs’ bane, and the cell keys. The various spiffy items went into our bag of holding, and Blackmorn was locked into a cell. We asked him a few questions about what he was doing with wolfs’ bane. However, he was unamused at our concerns that he was a werewolf.
After that the party investigated the secret door that Blackmorn had come out of. It was his bedroom, in which he was keeping a prisoner. Verdant tossed the bed, but didn’t find anything other than dust bunnies. The prisoner turned out to be a rather dirty and scratched up woman. Her name was Sariah and she was a bit wary of the party. However, she was rather pleased that we had disarmed and locked up Blackmorn. She was also very interested in revenge and wanted to help us attack Ilyana and Theosius.
Brandr tries out his white knight routine on Sariah. After Sariah declined heading out and up to safety we armed her with one of the spare long swords from the Bag or Holding. Brandr was all too happy to chat up the rather disheveled former prisoner and attempt to show her how to use the sword.
The party stormed into the throne room with Theosius and Ilyana, and were faced with a number of undead, two guard dogs, and Theosius and Ilyana. Gertie turned a number of the undead, Kayoshin slept the dogs and then webbed Theosius and Ilyana. Karamail, Xandros, and Kristek stabbed at the closest of the undead. Verdant and Brandr used various ranged weapons to lock down Theosius’ spell casting. Sariah, to the surprise of everyone, turned into an actual tiger and did her best to bit and claw Theosius.
The party had been expecting that Ilyana would be charging up to attack, so our ranged attacks had gone to taking out Theosius first. Especially after the warning from the Kree vulture people that Theosius was entirely too charming. This expectation was overturned in the worse way when Ilyana raised her sword and called down some sort of nasty wind upon us. Her second magical attack with the sword ended up blinding Verdant, Xandros, and Kristek in addition to doing nasty feathered wind damage. Fortunately by this time everything was dead except for a few of the turned undead who were still cowering off to the side, and Ilyana herself. We remembered just in time that we were supposed to bring Ilyana back alive for trial.
While mopping up the remains of the combat in the throne room Kayoshin divested Ilyana of the magic sword that had wreaked such havoc upon the party. This turned out to be a bit more chancy than expected, but fortunately Kayoshin resisted the sword’s mind control. Perhaps the sword showing armies of goblins to lead was less effective on someone who wanted to stab all of those goblins. Kayoshin managed to keep control of the sword and used it to remove the blindness from Verdant, Kristek, and Xandros.
The party investigated the living quarters of both Theosius and Ilyana. Ilyana’s room had a bunch of fancy clothes. Some of which Brandr insisted that Sariah needed. Theosius’ room was revealed to have correspondence between himself and Truthkeeper Tangor. Which made us wonder how the Talon of Grexis tied into the Head, Heart, Body theocracy we’d run into with the mind controlled elves at the Temple of Grey Mountain.