When last we left off, our band of merry adventurers was fighting a pitched battle against a ferocious horde of Riphariel enemies. They had just been left to die by another party of adventurers who were previously battling said Riphariel enemies. Outnumbered and overpowered, they fought on against the odds, rising to the seemingly insurmountable challenge. With Maurice and Offda dug in and occupying scores of enemies, the rest of the group was able to chip away at the enemies oppressive numbers. Maurice was nearly surrounded and being battered from all sides, while Offda was holding his own against a throng of rotters and statues. Unfortunately Maurice, fearing he might not be able to hold his position much longer, made the brave but fateful decision to challenge all nearby enemies to focus solely on himself. The gamble paid off for the group, in that Maurice held the enemy focus which ultimately cost him his life.
The group barely had time to gasp when Maurice fell, and there was no time to mourn with the battle seemingly getting out of hand without Maurice’s stout shield to offer in protection of his allies. Zero gave his new allies a brief respite by allowing them to change positions on the battlefield, and Clerical called upon the holy might of Athiesmo to scatter his undead foes. Zwikt and Ahkse zipped about slashing and gouging away as usual. Crit scratched, bit, and created zones of immobility about the melee, helping to gain critical ground.
Victory would not come as easily as usual for this strong band of heroes. Battered and bruised, and beset on all sides by seemingly endless waves of enemies, our group found itself dodging death by a whisker seemingly at every turn. Ahkse was dominated and turned against the party, and Clerical went down, felled by the great club of one of the enormous obsidian statues. More spiders dropped from the ceiling to reinforce the already powerful enemy host. Just when death seemed the only respite from the madness, our weary group was surprised to see the gleaming silver bastard swords of Ossyrimon flashing through the room as he led his group back into battle.
Scattering enemy corpses in their wake, the new group methodically pushed their way into the room, giving a boost to our heroes flagging morale. With the enemies outnumbered, victory would surely be won this day, but what cost would this new party extract on our group? Were they to be true allies, or just until the common Riphariel threat was dispatched? They were exhibiting great prowess on the battlefield, and our crippled party was not keen on the idea of having to deal with them next, should it come to that.
With Zwikt, Clerical, and Ahkse fallen and dying, Zero, Crit, and Offda had all they could handle in several wights in a corner of the room. Ahkse was being wrapped in a web of spider silk, seemingly to be drug off and consumed later by the hideous arachnids. The new group was briskly pushing through enemy lines, coming to the aid of Ahkse and stabilizing his wounds. Not able to even take the time to stabilize Clerical, but now buoyed by Zwikt’s resurgence, the group pressed on against the wights. The other group, seeing Clerical’s life blood seeping away, decided to stabilize him as well, before aiding in dispatching the remaining foes.
Before the group could even catch their breath, their wariness was piqued by the way the group of mercenaries were seemingly protecting Ahkse from friend and foe alike. After a brief squabble over both sides intentions, Ossyrimon decided the best course of action was to return to town to settle things in safety and with cooler heads. The party had little choice, and was forced to let the mercenaries help carry Ahkse’ stabilized but unconscious body back with them.
Approaching town, the large group now attracted a throng of curious onlookers who helped escort the silent adventurers through the thoroughfare. Soon most of the town was present and listening to the unfolding tales and accusations bandied about by both sides. Martell and Harrington were tossing epithet and accusation alike, but in the end, the party could not deny that they had been looting outside of their claim, both in natural caverns and in Martell’s claims alike. Especially damning was the items from Martell’s hidden cache in the slime tunnels.
The party was jailed, and executions were scheduled for dawn. Maurice’s corpse was the only one who could confidently claim indifference. With the conscious group of Clerical, Crit, Offda, Zero, and Zwikt in a cell together, Maurice’s body and the unconscious Ahkse were taken away out of sight. Interrogations began. Each member of the group that could answer questions was handled roughly during any interrogations by Martell and his men. Harrington was irate, but less punchy. In the end, Zero’s offer to kill Martell left Harrington with an interesting decision. The group was told they would know by dawn whether they were to be hung or sprung.
With the sky brightening to a blood red sunrise, the weary group, who had still not rested from the last battle, heard a ruckus from outside their cell. The guards were slumped on the floor and their cell was open. Rummaging around for their equipment unsuccessfully, the group decided there was no time to waste and began to sneak through the town’s back allies to the Lozian Grand Saloon. Peering through the back door, they realized the mistresses quarters were going to be far busier than the barroom, so they made their way to just outside the front door. Making a rather large gamble, they walked defiantly into the din of the dimly lit, drowsy drinking and gambling hall. Several passed out patrons failed to notice the party’s entrance. The bartender, Dillam, was busy scraping the lees out of several dingy ale mugs, while a burly man sat in the corner disinterestedly watched for anything that would require him to leave his comfy perch on the bench.
The groups actions at this point could only be described as approximately as agile as a chunk of granite. But every once in a while, that lump of rock can gain some speed toppling down a hill once it sets its mind to it. Even so, this would not be how any onlookers would have described the group’s next move. After assembling about as suspiciously as possible in the center of the barroom, the group began to whisper and cast furtive glances about. This was even enough to rouse the lazy bouncer who was as keen to fight right now as a honey badger is not to.
Mumbling a lame excuse about needing to see Martell, the group moved aggressively enough towards the hired muscle to cause him great uneasiness, but not enough to block his escape or keep him from shouting an alarm. After dropping his weapon and fleeing through the “Champagne Room” in the back, his fevered shouts rang out in loud echoes through the back hallways. With the element of surprise completely wasted, the group sprang to action and raced up the stairway to where Martell’s office is. Hearing the unmistakable sounds of weapons unsheathing, shields being battered together in anticipation of battle, taunts verbalized, and doorknobs turning, the group knew they would now have to make good on their promise to Harrington, albeit without any of their gear. Clerical, tired from hefting his mighty girth up the climb of a dozen or so stairs, tripped and crashed through the locked door at the top of said stairs.
Just as the mercenaries from earlier started pouring out of the closest door, Clerical noticed his beloved symbol of Athiesmo atop the pile of the groups gear. At least they might have a chance to grab a weapon before they faced what could be their final battle…
[Dun-DunDuuuuuuuuun! sound effect]