The group had the upper hand at the first part of this meeting as they didn't get the sheriff involved and instead went in on their own. It gave them the leg up and surprise - and allowed them to get the needed amulets they needed for the foray into the forest and face against the Lycos Suns at long last.
It also meant that the goodies found were not "lost" to them and gave them some books and other magical gear which would and will come in real handy in the days to come.
Write up follows:
We convened on the grounds outside of the Lycos Sun's Office after getting ourselves as ready as we were going to be. Zoltan met us in the shadows and told us that we had roughly 20 odd minutes before the watch would be returning to this street – and anything that was going to come up or be noticed from the road would need to be finished before then, or we'd risk legal problems with the militia and Sheriff.
Detheron took Deidra's keys and marched the party right through the main gates, up to the office and then inside. We fanned out and looked over the office/waiting room while Zoltan informed us that when he was in here earlier, there were 2 guard dogs. No such animals made their presence known now. In fact, Gwyn scented oil. Lots of oil.
Hasty whispered conversations followed about leaving, getting sheriff, sneaking around back, changing plans. Our bard/thief wandered his way around the receptionist's office and back towards the file room. The lamps in the hallway were lit, but turned down low. And the file room was trashed, numerous drawers pulled out and soaked with oil. In fact, a line of oil stretched from the file room and down the hall.
Detheron said he wasn't leaving unless he had the children or knowledge of where they were and began to search the adjoining hall. The group divided roughly into two, one set of Zoltan, Puck, and Gwyn checking out the back of the offices and hallway there, and the other of Detheron, Karis, Smokey, and Fodder on the front halls.
Gwyn checked out the file room, small window shuttered and closed. Zoltan cut a swath out of the rug to try to break the oil line should it be set. Detheron and Karis wandered slowly down the dim hall, passing a few doors and noticing ONE of them was opened, light coming from it…and noises. Noises like people wrecking the place. Showtime.
Without preamble, Karis looked inside the room, noted three people dousing cabinets with oil, and then drew his sword and cut down the first thug from behind. The half orc roared in agony and alerted the other two who took out weapons of their own, and moved to engage the knight. Smokey and Fodder entered the room and Detheron manned the hallway – especially when he heard MORE noises. Coming from upstairs.
Fuck, company was coming.
Zoltan, Gwyn, and Puck had been examining one of the back offices when they heard the fight break out and they ran towards the sound of battle; weapons and spells bristling. Fodder had stopped the wounded thug from escaping out the window while Karis was engaging the next two. The first two thugs came from the second floor and tried to take the stairs when Puck, after making sure that they didn't have a trail of oil leading up to them, set them ablaze with a burning hands. One got badly burned, other lightly. Then more came and Zoltan sling stoned one in the leg breaking it.
Smokey took down one of the two fighters in there and Karis and a half-orc stood off on one another. Meanwhile, Gwyn, being dwarvish and shorter, didn't make the fight, instead looking down ANOTHER corridor – the corridor where the oil trail was leading – the corridor that lead to teamster offices – the corridor where another 4 arsonist were dousing the place with oil. Crap.
More of the thugs were coming down the stairs and Puck fire handed them again – this time the back one with oil on his cloak screaming and howling as he went up like a torch. One of them dove down the stairs and tackled the mage – slamming 15" of sword blade into the mage's gut and backing him into the wall by the larder. Sling bullets went flying. Screaming and howling was rampant. Another one dove down the steps and jumped onto Detheron, stabbing the druid and driving him backwards into a frantic struggle. Smokey was called for and Karis was left to face the last fighter alone – the two mighty half breeds dealing punishing damage to one another.
Gwyn engaged the 4 unaware arsonists from the back, meeting the first guy in a head on charge. At the last moment he slid to one knee and hacked at the arsonist's legs, dropping him to the ground and booting him in the head. The other three came out and the man on the ground snarled, "Get him you damned fools!" as he struggled to stand. One of them dove at the dwarf but the fighter held his ground and blows were exchanged. His scimitar, "Elfsplitter" was coming alive with greenish light and dripping flames from the runes as one of the three coming into view was a half-elf. Oh yeah, Gwyn was looking forward to this.
Puck was taking some serious damage while he tried to force the arsonist away and Smokey ripped the one off Detheron and tore him to shreds. More fighting went on and another at the bottom of the stairs crowded the hallway. It was getting tight. Fodder pulled one of the badly wounded arsonists into the room and proceeded to tear his throat out – the war wolf holding his own. Karis took down the half orc finally. Zoltan ran past the fighting and took to the stairs, hoping to see who else was up there.
Gwyn dropped another one to the ground, leg sweeping the arsonist and hacking at his booted foot. The 1st one he dropped stood back up, identified as Forgan, the leader of the bunch, and took out a hand crossbow and fired it. The dart stabbed Gwyn in the forearm and the dwarf ripped the small quarrel free, his superior dwarven constitution staving off the soporific poison on the head. He tried to engage the half-elf who was nervous from the enchanted scimitar but couldn't land a blow hard enough.
Detheron and Smokey tried to get the thug off Puck who was bleeding real bad, forcing the criminal to give way but not able to take him down. Zoltan saw one dead thug up here still burning, lots of old records, and stored hay. There was a loft and lift and he went to go investigate it. Gwyn was struggling against the half elf and disarmed the fighter while another one stepped forward to take his place. Hearing the combat in the back of the building and Gwyn's roaring, Puck left the one arsonist to the druid and his animals, took out his crossbow, and ran/staggered bleedingly to help his beleaguered friend. Karis checked out the hall and Detheron said that they "had this one!" and the half-ogre ran to help Gwyn too.
The thug fighting Smokey and Fodder and Detheron suddenly booked for the side door, forcing the druid and his companions to give chase. Tables and chairs went flying and the arsonist burst out the back door JUST ahead of the druid and the bear – emerging into the night air.
And then from the hay loft 15' above, Zoltan took a flying leap and landed bodily on the fleeing thug, smashing him into the unyielding metal railing and breaking his neck in the process. Hoping the watch was STILL not nearby, they hastily dragged the thug inside and shut the side door again.
Puck emerged and shot one of the fighters against Gwyn in the chest but the dwarf was struck by another poisoned xbow bolt and this time he went down passed out. Forgan was loading up again to shoot Puck when Karis arrived and jumped over the dwarf – trying to push the two fighters down the hall and away from the unconscious dwarf. Forgan shot again, this time fumbling and hitting the half elf and knocking HIM out. Puck shot off a magic missile spell to slam Forgan twice. The arsonist leader was REAL pissed. One poisoned bolt left.
He shot and Karis went down, but not before he ripped into one of the last fighters still standing. Another magic missile resounded and one of them took down the mortally wounded fighter, the last hitting Forgan who grabbed the fallen man's sword and tried to step forward to take out the sleeping Karis. Gwyn woke up at this point and ran to defend his friend and the battle ensued back and forth until Forgan was laid low and Karis was awakened.
They dragged the half elf to the 1st office and trussed him up a bit, setting the animals to watch his unconscious form. Then they looked over the others and checked them out. Each man was divested of his money pouch and at least 5 of them were wearing…bronze wolf headed medallions. Jackpot. Some of the rooms still had not been checked and the party fanned out. Where were the kids?
Some doors were locked, others opened, but they checked what they could. Teamster offices and equipment room, broom closets and company kitchens, accountant's office, manager's office, and it seemed the FIRST office was Vanir's and Detheron had taken some folders with some poignant paperwork in it as well as a wand marked as "Sabrefrost's Wand of Ice". There was one door that was not openable and even with the keys, failed to budge.
Zoltan stepped forward and it took some time, but the lock was picked and we beheld another office. Description read:
"This large room looks like it hasn't been used much lately. A sumptuous desk of hand carved cherry and covered with whorling scrollwork and dragon clawed legs has a plush and padded leather chair tucked in behind it. A bureau with similar artisan care is to the left of the desk. A thick and comfortable beige leather couch takes up part of the area in front of the desk.
A bar with a half dozen crystal goblets and twice as many carafes of colorful liquors is near the barred and shuttered window. On the walls are some strange pole devices with curved "C" flanges and spiked bars. There are also some slave manacles on display for some reason. Lastly, hanging over the back of the desk is a 6' wide tapestry depicting a monstrous grey and green dragon clawing out the ground, it's tail flattening a number of thatched homes and its burning breath setting fleeing people ablaze.
A double door closet is in the back corner but someone has strung a chain through the handles and locked it."
Puck used his magic sight and was able to tell us the desk was magical, the closet front was magical (and most likely fire related), and there was something magical in the bureau. Zoltan went to the closet and checked out the lock on it carefully when the air in front of it was split open and a large disembodied mouth appeared and intoned "DEATH AWAITS ANY WHO DARE TO OPEN THIS CLOSET. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED."
Oh yeah, the thief was intrigued.
But he decided that it would not be a good idea and instead went to the desk, looking it over. As he was checking the locked drawers, another magical mouth appeared and roared, "VANIR! STAY OUT OF MY OFFICE AND AWAY FROM MY SCROLLS!" Zoltan was beaming. He took out the picks and went to town on the desk drawers until he popped it open and saw three leather scroll cases and a large gem, a green spinel. I mean…3 leather scroll cases! Nope, no spinel in there. Rubbing the lump in his wrist pouch he flipped the scrolls to Puck who gave then a looksee and read them and then realized he wasn't feeling so good and…damn! Contact poison!
Puck went from "bright young sorcerer" to "mentally challenged barely capable of handling a spoon without injuring himself" in 10 seconds. Yep, this wasn't good. However, the scrolls were arcane and read Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt, and Melf's Minute Meteor – and they were penned by someone with some decent magical acumen. Nice.
Then it was time to open the bureau and Zoltan had some real difficulty in getting the lock to open. So Gwyn took a shot and it and dagger jamming the tumbler and twisting it didn't work it either (the thief was cringing!). So it was Karis's turn with the war axe and a press shove effective roll of a 20 on a Str check and the door was burst opened. We saw half a dozen silvered steel daggers shaped like dragons with the tails as blades, the wings as crossguards, and the bodies and heads as hilts and pommels. There was a leather cap with a flayed wolf's head on it and there was silver charm necklace with three charms hanging from it – each charm looking like a rainbow with a set of crossed shields in front of it.
So what to do now? Closet? Party said yes, but not through the front door if we could help it. Then Gwyn had a great idea. He still had the auger with him and was willing to go BEHIND the wall in Vanir's office and get through to the closet's interior that way! This was we could see if there was a problem on the inside and whatnot. Good idea dwarf.
While he was drilling, party was questioning the half elf. Karis did most of the talking and it was revealed that Iohanas was in the Wolverton Estate in the trees. Then went on about no way goody two shoes can get to him or Vanir. Vanir too? Nice! Enough men to stop us. They have the wolf spirit. Some ritual is going on. Get Fenris on our candy asses. Karis was getting nasty with the half elf but he had some pangs about his knightly code and had to stop his attempts at torture to get information as he knew Tyr would frown on his actions.
But they continued to question and learned the kids were there as well. When the ritual they are doing is done, then Vanir and Iohanas will be gone, gone like ghosts. As the argument got more heated, Karis drew Deathknell and plunged the blade into the snarling half elf, ending his life. The group talked about what they had learned and Gwyn got through the wall. Dehteron called on Frey to slow the poison affecting Puck who got his mental skills back. Puck looked with detect magic into the hole and saw there was magic inside the closet – but the fire elemental thingies was on the front of the closet.
They took down the wall with axes and crowbars and knocked stuff off the shelved in there – but when they got in they found three books and a sword. Two books were labeled "Dargan's Folley – The Dungeons of Sir Dargan" – Volumes I, and II of IV. One was labeled "Perton's Cannon on Thanatelix – The Scourge of The Vermillion Guard". The sword was a beautiful piece: Molybdenum Damascus Steel blade, wire wrapped hilt, greenish hue to blade. Written plainly on the blade were the words "Wyrmsteel Discordia". Group grabbed the treasures and talked on the options.
Do we go to the Sheriff now and rouse the guards? Not enough time it seemed and there was a ritual going on. Sounded like it was going to be worked on and then they were all going to leave. Also we had 5 amulets, enough for us – not for the mustered militia we would get. How would they get through the wards? Detheron was very serious about going NOW and it was agreed on that it was the better choice. It was about 10:50 now and we all began downing our healing potions and draughts, getting back some much needed HP and strength. Puck took his potion of rejuvenation getting his spells back and the party left the Lycos Suns and went off towards Wolverton.
Karis detoured BACK to the house we had been staying at to get his steed and lance, knowing he would catch up. We went onto the Wolverton lands and past the serfs homes – the serfs there closing shutters and locking doors as we grimly passed. Around the back we went through acre after acre of tilled lands until we made it to the trees and made our way in at last.
As we went into the densening woods the medallions we were wearing suddenly grew warm and our ears popped and then they cooled down. Neat! We were in! And then someone nearby snarled "Sweet Fenris" and fell out of the tree! Holy crap a sentry! Surprised at our appearance. Party attacked him quickly and as they took him down, another one jumped out of the trees and attacked Karis (both of them had been half orcs so far) and then a THIRD one started firing arrows at the group and a fourth one was blowing a horn.
Damn it – so much for surprise!
In the darkness, the two still in the trees were impossible to find and they fired arrow after arrow at the party. The two on the floor were taken out and with horns blasted, group decided to leave the two behind and press on. Gwyn and Zoltan stayed rear guard and the two of them shook the two from the trees with sling bullets and crossbows while the rest followed Karis along.
As they were getting deeper there was a roar of "charge" from ahead and about a dozen came out of the gloom and ran at the party. About a third were half orcs with spears and swords, most of the others had torches. All had swords. One was a female half orc with a pair of sickles. Battle ensued. Spears were tossed and Karis was struck a few times but ran down one of them with a charge, horse trampling another. Puck tried to charm person the female orc but the spell broke against her will. Detheron called on Frey and summoned an ally – and a Hippogriff appeared in a flash of light and began tearing into the enemy.
Karis was surrounded and fought against being torn from his horse. Meanwhile the half orc with the sickles leapt on the horse's back and stabbed Karis in the face before sliding free. Charm Person was called for again, and again it bounced off her will. She screamed "Kill the mage!" and spears were thrown, but not many, and she charged towards Puck and Detheron. Smokey and Fodder were working on the left flank with the hippogriff as they were ripping the half-orcs and thugs to shreds. The girl with the sickles was real close at this point when Zoltan and Gwyn finally arrived and slings and scimitars and crossbows flared.
The enemy were being taken down one by one and the party took some hurts, and the hippogriff was then ordered to attack the orc girl and mowed her to pieces and then ANOTHER 5 thugs ran into view from ahead with swords and spears drawn while Karis was struggling to take down the remaining two around him.
And we called it a night here. It is Workmonth the 2nd between 11:30 and 11:45 at night. We are in the Wolverton Estate and racing as fast as we could towards the heart of the forest. We know we are going in the right direction as they enemy is piling ahead of us. We have little if any healing left except for the odd potion or two and we've been up and on the go for 15 odd hours – the last couple of them rather stressful and exciting!
But our course is clear and heroic work is afoot. There is an enemy ahead of us and foes to strike out at and at the end of it is not only the noble deed of saving Gregor and Hani, two innocents caught in this deceitful web of rituals and betrayal - but also members of the Lycos Suns; specifically Iohanas and the leader of the organization Vanir. And it's times like this that heroics and adventuring parties do what needs to be done.