Raven's Tears

Besieged
Brigadier Walston Journal: Day 37

The lines hold for now, but our forces are weakening.

The northern most sections are particularly hard hit. Bombardment from fresh siege has taken its toll and forced us to give up what ground we had retaken. Until we take back the bridge, or if need be destroy it, Bael Turath forces will continue to resupply their foothold on this side of the Krin.

They have already completed a fresh fortification on the bluff an hours ride south of the bridge. Scouts report that this fort spews forth the fresh siege works they are using to hammer our lines. Sacking this fort would cost us too much I fear. The land is easily defensible, and if forced can be supplied by the river it backs into. I fear they placed it somewhat far from the front in hopes of not only sheltering their shops, but also to bait us into overextending ourselves.

Regardless the loss, an effort to at least slow their production must be made. A team of sappers was sent a week past to dig what I feared would become their graves. They did lose a pair to an early cave-in but what remained of that group returned saying the tunnel had been completed. Granted the next day the lines were routed and we had to leave the tunnels unused. The crew was wise enough to have hidden the entrance at least. From the words of the scouts the Bael Turath have not disturbed the concealed entrance. I fear it is only a matter of time before they do if we do not act soon.

Along with Denc I have selected a team that has worked well in the past to make the strike. I regret sending so few, but should I send an entire division into the tunnels they would be cut off as soon as the alarm was raised. I hope instead that this group might slip in unnoticed. I’ll send a skirmish line in ahead of them to the north in hopes of drawing their eyes away from the fort. The cost will be high, but we cannot afford to let this opportunity go to waste.

I’ll inform the Lieutenant tomorrow of team’s task until then, I’ll see if my conscience will let me rest.

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35 Feet of Rope
Day1

Assessed of the situation by Brigadier Walston the party agreed to the assault plans. Given the rest of the day off most of the party saught solace in their normal routines. Upon the dawn the party marched forward towards the hidden tunnels beneath the keep. Upon arriving they left the ranger to guard the tunnel while they moved into the fort.

With the utmost stealth the valiant dwarf could muster the party burst up through the weakened tunnel ceiling into the livery. By some miracle the party made its way inside without alerting the one sleeping member of the Bael Turath forces. With care Ash crept forward and prepared to teleport the sleeping elf back to the party. In a flash of light the sleeping elf was transported from her bed among the stacks of hay into the waiting hands of the party. The party quickly realized that the smiting travel through space had managed to kill the lone guard.

Daring to move outside the party quickly noted the four sentinels upon the fort walls. Obviously the sentinels were not very concerned with the interior of the keep and made no notice of the party initially. The party snuck across the courtyard stopping to listen at the doors of what they would later discover to be the barracks. Hearing voices inside they moved on to a larger two story building. Becoming more fearful of discovery the Bard instructed Alek and Ash to help Morgran’s move with a bit more stealth than his norm. Upon approaching the door into the larger building the party managed to gain the attention of the western sentinel. As he turned and opened his mouth to raise the alarm, Alek blasted him with a phantasmal bolt that sent his dead body plummeting over the wall.

Moving to the door the party heard the sounds of smiths inside and quickly determined that this was the siegeworks they had been sent to destroy. With a degree of stealth surprising even themselves most of the party made it inside before one of the Duegar enchanters noticed Rhogar. With some still hidden Morgran and others moved forward to attempt to buy some time for the party to get into better position. Morgran’s story was challenged by the master smith and tensions quickly rose until combat broke out.

Alek and Rhogar made their way upstairs to dispatch the duegar casters. Ash swore oaths of death upon the first caster just moments before Rhogar’s mighty axe knocked the duegar downstairs. The plummet left the duegar dazed, and his ritual interrupted. The master smith outraged at the loss of components blindly charged after Rhogar, cursing Morgan’s mother to rot in sandstone for the eons to come. Undaunted Morgan was quickly swarmed by a mass of dwarfs as he tried to find a way to get to the master smith. Dwarven bolters began to belt the party until Alek’s arcane barraged laid low many on the field. The bard dashed quickly about the field trying to keep his party standing from the onslaught of hammers and bolts.

In time the party managed to overcome the dwarves and to dismantle the siege engines they had assembled and enchanted. Gathering up what enchanting supplies were left the party prepared to leave the siege shop with the intent to burn the place down before leaving. With a new found courage the party arrived back at the frost door of the barracks. They burst inside and slaughtered the ill prepared solidiers still inside, except for the one that broke away in the chaos and ran upstairs. Leaving the downstairs rooms unexplored the party quickly gave chase upstairs. Without rest the party stumbled upon a trio of warforge and a pack of iron defender hounds that sought to defend the rooftop. The party found themselves quickly losing advantage until a blast of arcane energy disabled many of the constructs. From the corner of his eye, the bard noted that many humans from down stairs had crept up behind the party, but upon seeing the state of the battle retreated downstairs. Seeing his inevitable defeat the warforged leader attempted to flee the battle. Jumping down and running for the front gate, the leader made it half way before being brought down by a final barrage of range attacks. The final two hounds stood by the fallen warforged guarding his remains. The party quickly dismantled the remaining opponents, but not before noticing a rush of humans riding off from the livery with saddle bags full.

The party’s relief quickly faltered as the guards at the front gate began firing upon the party. The party in a moment of panic split up. Many fled the rooftop while Morgran went to inspect the interior of the rooftop building. Upon kicking open the door, Morgran discovered a Cambion Hellblade and duegar discussing some transaction. Seeing that the party had abandoned him, he quickly followed the party back into the livery to make their escape.

Having had a moment to rest the party’s courage returned. With hopes of using Morgran as bait, the party sent him out to draw the fire of the archers so that they could safely fire back. Worried only about the archer’s on the walls the party was shocked at the barrage of arrows that came from the rooftop they had just vacated. Turning quickly they saw the commander, atop the viewing tower, bow in hand. Seeing the obvious danger he posed the party quickly changed tactics and made a rush back to the rooftop. Carefully working their way around the rooftop, Ash broke off to investigate the building while the party moved towards the tower. Halfway up the tower the party realized commander had moved as again arrows began to fill up Morgran’s backside. Ash also found the commander’s companion as an imp drove his poisoned barb into his back as Ash attempted to deal with the Duegar inside.

The combat quickly turned against the commander as curses and inflections quickly tore through his defenses. Rhogar’s axe laid telling blow after blow onto him until the commander having enough attempted to flee. The party quickly split up to cover all of the possible exits below. Ash managed to use the fifteen feet of rope incredibly placed by the tactical genius of a bard the party was blessed to be led by, to cut off the commander’s escape and finish the fight.

The party quickly returned upstairs to find the duegar steps outside the building with a wound on his back covered in the black ichor of an imp’s poison. Taking a moment to catch their breath the party turned to see the two remaining sentinels fleeing out the front gate. The party gathered up what they could from the commander’s room and took time to sort out their next step….

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Day2
Father, Son, and in the hole he goes.

After a short respite to gather their wits and the head of the Cambion commander, the party pushed forward to explore the one remaining building. Prepared for combat the party kicked in the door to find three casters on the far side of an alchemy lab. The party charged in only to be met by a humanoid creature of stone placed near the door. The opening volley of spells blasted into the clustered up party knocking many of their feet.

After the arcane barrage a swarm of gnomes rose up from their hiding spots and tossed handfuls of reagents at the party to mixed effect. The party quickly moved about to remove the obvious threats. A brilliant display of swirling lights appeared to vaporize a handful of the gnomes. The casters quickly fell before the party’s concentrated efforts. Even the gnomes that reappeared after there apparent demise offered up little threat. One of the Tiefling casters in near final dying act blasted the large barrel behind the party disrupting the arcane warding on it. Moving to investigate the party found the the barrel was quickly frosting over as the warding had protected the barrel from cold. The barrel began to ice over and crack in many places dripping out a thick blue gel. In its final seconds the outside shell of the barrel broke away releasing a slime that quickly moved towards the party and away from the iced over barrel. The party having eliminated the other threats quickly focused on the slime, but not before noticing that the block of ice around the barrels remnants was melting at a rapid pace. Working fast the party finished of the slime in time to see the barrel explode taking out most of the walls in its area.

Knowing the keep was mostly vacated the party took their time and set about burning the fort to the ground. Much to their frustrations the siege pieces they were sent after seemed to have been warded against fire. Not losing hope the party returned to the lab to gather barrels and other components from the alchemy lab. While moving one barrel, Ash heard some faint noises from the drain in the back of the room. Moving closer he could see the blood of the casters and gnomes had slowly run to the drain and had begun dripping down to the ground. With a light cantrip from Alek the party watched as they dropped a light down the drain. The coin fell down the showing an old stonework tunnel leading fifty feet down. Upon the stone landing the party saw the outlined form of four humanoids who had been feasting on the dripping remains. Having seen the light though the humanoids quickly fled.

Deciding to leave the unknown for another day, the party hastily returned to setting fires and leaving. Using the various reagents the party managed to get the siege pieces and buildings to burn. Returning to camp the party met with Brigadier Walston and handed over the encoded messages and maps they had gathered. Surprised by their claim, Walston gave the beleaguered party the next day off to recuperate. As they made their way to their tents the party noticed the large plumes of multicolored smoke raising on the horizon.

Not content to take the day off, the party set out in the morning to return to the keep. As they approached they found no sign of the Bael Turath forces, and as they got closer they discovered why as the stench of from the fort became obvious. Girding themselves as best they could the party returned to the burned out remains of the lab. After an extensive issue of solving how to get down the hole the party managed to rig up a method using the iron piping from the lab. Tossing light down, the party lowered Ash down the hole. As he reached the bottom Ash quickly realized that he didn’t have enough slack in the rope to move. At the same time, the sunrod the party had tossed on the ground began to slide on the floor out of the room. Alek quickly enchanted another light source and tossed it down as Ash panicked and quickly climbed back up with Morgran and Rhogar’s aid.

Reconsidering their methods the party opted to send two down at a time. After some close calls the party made it down with only a few worse for the trip. Moving forward the party found glowing red runes decorating parts of the floor. As they moved into further into the old stone-worked room they found them beset by a range of undead and damaged flesh golem. Though attempts to nullify the runes were made the party managed to trigger the traps three times during the fight as they regrouped. Burst of necrotic energy both damaged those triggering it and sapping their resolve. Having overcome the initial rush of undead the party stepped back towards their path out and debated the value of spending their day off actually relaxing.

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