The party frustrated with the failed attempt at mining the city wall, ruminated on their troubles near the farmhouse mine entrance. Tempters were rather hot, and Ulthar got into a fight with Qualis, the chief engineer (who landed a few solid blows on the Gnome before things were broken up and turned really nasty). The party gave a good deal of thought to the aftermath – would they be blamed for the failure, was it just a diversion and did not matter (they were still seeing activity to the south, though it was to far to make out). In the end, they turned back to how they were to get into the city. Most of the discussion was on using the flooded tunnel, and magical means to penetrate it. They also considered running very long ropes into the flooded area to pull out what supports were already emplaced (Qualis did not think there was enough of a mine dug out for that to work). Other ideas began to drift to the highly improbable, and the party settled down to rest the night.
The next morning they were summoned to Baron Brandoch for an interview. To their relief, he was unconcerned with the mine failure and instead had orders for the party – a message had arrived ordering the party (by name) to travel to the village of Warrel, a few miles east, where they were to be given an assignment of a sensitive nature. The town was reportedly deserted, the villagers having fled when the siege army arrived. The party considered taking a contingent of the medium cavalry with them, but in the end decided to go alone. However, both Ulthar and Jimmy would be invisible and, with their horses retrieved from their handlers, they rode off to the west to Warrel.
The small town did indeed appear deserted, so the party rode around to the north, at which point Jimmy and Ulthar began to make sweeps through the deserted streets, where they saw nothing at first. However, when Perudo and Lune began to ride in (with the other two horses in tow), a man stepped out of a small building in the middle of town and hailed them. Jimmy now slipped in close to peer from whence he came and saw two men lurking inside, which he recognized from the fight at the Temple of Maladominus in Adurant a few days previous. A quick shout to the others warned of the ambush just as it was about to spring.
One of the men in the house was a magic-user and had apparently cast detect invisibility, as he was pointing to Jimmy and cast magic missile at him. Jimmy, being already in poor condition from the mine fight, fled rather than stand. Meanwhile, Lune set his spear and charged the first man, wounding him sorely but not killing him. The wizard, however, followed up with a lightning bolt, that killed two horses and nearly killed Perudo (his second blast of lightning in a mere few days) and the other two horses. Ulthar cast first alter self (to an insect) followed by wraithform to ensure he could escape, and he raced after Lune and the horses. Perudo, meantime, had dismounted to cast hold person, freezing the lead fighter in place, before he mounted his wounded horse once more. Around this time, the howls of werewolves erupted, and more humans began to erupt from various buildings — but at a short distance. The ambush had clearly gone awry for the enemy.
Jimmy knew that the magic-user was a threat and, with only two horses and those a ways away from him, he needed to get clear on his own. Thus, he took a potion of levitation and simply went straight up and he was hors d’combat, albeit with an outstanding view of the proceedings. Perudo and Lune, with flea Ulthar attached, now turned and fled away from the werewolves, using their superior speed to clear the village and swing north and then west, around the town. The second fighter from the building, in the meantime, had taken a potion of flying and began to pursue the party, albeit at a goodly distance and clearly more to watch their progress than attack. Fortunately, the light horses of the party were much faster than the werewolves, and soon they lost he pursuit, and even the flier fell away.
The party now raced back to Baron Brandoch to report in. He seemed incredulous as to what had happened, but authorized the cavalry to sweep east to Warrel to investigate. meanwhile, Jimmy had observed the enemy regroup in Warrel, then head out rapidly to the northeast, in plenty of time to avoid the incoming friendly cavalry; he himself landed and fled west on foot prior to their arrival, still invisible.
The party now questioned Brandoch on their orders, and he showed them a written directive signed by what he believed was the hand of Count Juss. A detect magic revealed nothing, but the suspicions of the party and even the baron were high. It was not long before Sir Owain, commander of the cavalry, returned. he reported that there were signs the town had been recently occupied and vacated, though he had no sign of the attackers. He’d ordered the village burned to the ground to be safe. Brandoch stated that Juss would not be happy with word of these sorts of strange doings on the periphery of his siege, but he nonetheless penned a quick report and dispatched it to him.
It was not long at all before the party was summoned to the Count, who informed them in an angry voice that he’d issues no such order. he was clearly shaken by this strange turn and, though he was none too pleased with the party for bringing in their own troubles, he was clearly more angry that there were unknown things occurring around him, and that someone could issue such an order in his name. He dismissed the party, his face quite troubled.
The party now was feeling that they were not safe in the camp, and that perhaps even some of the Count’s staff were enemies, given that the message apparently came from there. They returned across the pontoon bridge to their own area, and decided to look up Selwin, the mercenary commander. He was pleased to see them again, he said, in his somewhat weaselly way. They talked to him about getting into the city — mines were not for him, he claimed; he preferred going over walls, not under them. Still, he continued to emphasize that he was here to make money, whether it be by plunder or some other means. Despite their misgivings, the party accepted his offer to let them camp amongst his mercenaries for protection, and he promised them significant protection from any sorts of trouble.
That night, the mercenaries got louder and louder as it got later, clearly drinking heavily and carousing in the camp. The party ignored the noise to rest (much needed). It finally died down after midnight until, during Lune’s late watch, there was a sudden commotion of battle when the mercenary camp was apparently attacked. The party, however, ignored the fray except to watch for any trouble their way. The fighting subsided though, after a time, and never swept to their own tent in the midst of the mercenaries. In the morning, the party learned that a good deal of alcohol had appeared from no one knew where, and that the drunken ribaldry was followed by a heavy raid from the city or perhaps the countryside beyond. None seemed to know exactly what happened, but the party had managed to rest peacefully enough through it all.
– Experience: not much – carried over.