Castle Whiterock—Chapter 6: Assault Under the Tower

Characters

  • Emmeline Forthwrought, eccentric human wizard, with Jonathan, cat familiar.
  • Frevia Arden, self-sufficient human druid, with Roberta, snake animal companion.
  • Imra Shadowmantle, disciplined elven rogue.
  • Melanie Shadowmantle, aristocratic human fighter, with Angelina, recovered toad.

Ambush!

Halfway through her watch patrol, Melanie heard the sound of several humanoids sneaking up on the tents in which her party slept. Calling out a loud greeting, she approached and saw a pair of orcs with crossbows loaded. The orcs fired on the fighter and then closed into melee with her. Meanwhile, two more orcs appeared from behind a tent and fired on her as well.

Frevia and Imra awoke to the sounds of battle, but Emmeline remained asleep for a bit longer. Together, Melanie, Imra, and Frevia dispatched three orcs. The fourth, gravely wounded, tried to run. At that moment, though, a bleary-eyed Emmeline stumbled out of her tent and cast daze on him. Melanie then calmly walked up and cut him down.

After relieving the dead orcs of their spare coins, Melanie commended the hirelings, Lissa and Gryffidd, for staying out of the way and looking after the horses. She gave each a small bonus of gold for good service.

Back Into the Hole

In the morning, the party descended again into the mines below the castle. They made their way to the third level (second below ground) and explored the northern hall they hadn't plumbed before. They found barracks for the bugbears and two such rooms for orcs, all empty.

In what may have been an ancient temple, the party encountered three orcs using dummies for target practice. They battle there was short after Emmeline cast grease under two orcs and Melanie marched up with Treeheart drawn.

At the end of the main corridor, Imra found a locked door that stymied her talents. Emmeline offered to use a scroll of knock she'd found, opening the door to reveal a burial chamber. Melanie lead the way, and a good thing, as seven undead orcs shambled forth from niches around the room. Emmeline enlarged Melanie, and she waded through the zombies, Treeheart cleaving great swaths through them.

With the proper halls cleared, the party delved back into the mine tunnels. Almost immediately, they heard the sounds of a great number of Orcish voices echoing through the tunnels that led to the fallen tower they'd discovered the day before. Rather than investigate the sounds, the party turned the other way.

At an intersection, someone had scratched the word "Danger" in Orcish on the ground, with an area pointing left down a sloping tunnel. The group turned right. Not far in that direction, Imra, Melanie and Emmeline had to dodge falling rocks, only to discover the cave in was an ambush attack by a pair of crab-like creatures covered in venomous crystalline spines. Imra and Melanie quickly slew one of the creatures, while Emmeline cast blindness on the other, driving it off.

At the Base of the Tower

Down the sloping tunnel, the way was blocked off by a large boulder. With no other way to go, the party decided to return to the tower and find the source of the voices. When they arrived there, they discovered the opening cloaked in a sphere of darkness. Bravely, Melanie strode into the darkness, ready for anything.

That anything turned out to be seven orc warriors arrayed in the circle, revealed as the darkness dropped. In addition, a very large, bluish-skinned orc woman floated above. Four of the orcs rushed past Melanie to attack the rest of the party, while the others converged on the fighter. Emmeline quickly fell under the assault, and Melanie struggled to hold her own. The floating woman fired a scorching ray down at her.

As Imra pulled Emmeline's body away from the orcs, Frevia cast obscuring mist to give them cover and then moved to heal her companions. The cloud covered Melanie and her assailants, so the orc spellcaster called for her soldiers to spread out and then cooked a bit of the fog away around Melanie with burning hands. Despite the incredible punishment, Melanie struggled on against the orcs.

Roused from near death by Frevia, Emmeline looked up at the wall of orcs before her. With few other options, she cast color spray and rendered three of the attackers unconscious. The last then faced the combined attacks of Imra and Roberta the viper, and he was not long for the fight.

A second burning hands from the orc woman cleared more of the obscuring mist away. Unfortunately, this revealed her to both Frevia's produce flame and the earth elemental she had summoned. These combined to take her down as Melanie killed the final warriors. As her adrenaline faded, though, the fighter passed out among the dead.

Having barely survived the encounter, the party took only a few moments to loot their foes and cure their wounds before retreating to the surface and heading back to the safety of Cillamar.


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