I had prepared the proper identification spell, but there will be no time for divination today it appears. Early in the morning, a messenger rode in, almost out of breath informing Prince Elwynn of a wounded dwarf rider approaching the city. We quickly set out to meet with this rider. Apparently my friends know this dwarf. Umber was his name, and from the hammer and anvil holy symbol hanging from his neck, he appears to be a cleric of Moradin. I channeled healing and closed his wounds, however the man is completely exhausted, something which my magic does not heal. We quickly brought him back to the manor.
Lieutenant Umber serves Prince Jaster at Oldkeep, and he brought tales of a drow and ogre attack. A warband have apparently attacked the keep, and he had rode out to Ulthalamel for aid when he saw that they were being overwhelmed. Telemnar wanted the party to attack Oldkeep immediately. Perhaps, due to his height, his head had gotten lost in the clouds. Five of us versus a warband of drow and ogres? Perhaps he was expecting to fight them in bite-sized chunks? (OOC: DM scripted encounters lol) I agree with the barbarian on this one – even the battle-loving dwarf did not think it prudent to march to our deaths.
Despite this thought, I supported the tall elf, even if just to spite my father. Telemyn was immediately in his usual commanding mode, ordering everyone to stay put and follow his orders. “You will do no such thing!” Bah. Who does he think he is. Just because we’re in an elven city. We are not enlisted in neither the Imperial army, nor the city guard! We are free agents! I could barely contain my anger. In the exchange, he called me an unfaithful son, and I called him some unflattering name. I saw a look of understanding dawning over my companions’ faces.
Daquj and Prince Elwynn however, spoke to our better judgement, reminding us that we are but six. When Prince Elwynn finally said that he would not commit his forces without the support of the Greenblade, it was settled once and for all. We cannot move on a keep without at least a small force. I was ready to let it go at that point, but Telemyn began to demand that Oldkeep and the surrounding lands be transferred from the Kingdom of Dorn to the Eloran Empire, for his assistance in retaking the keep and ensuring the safety of Prince Norrick. Before I could retort however, Prince Jaster agreed. It was not difficult to see the hard position he was being put in. His brother’s life was at stake! As I was to understand it later, he himself owned that land. I am ashamed to be related to an elven nobility that displays such greed!
Telemyn being the control freak that he is, refused to allow us to even scout the location on everyone’s behalf. We were to end up sitting around fidgeting while we wait for his scouts to return. Thankfully, the scouts returned by nightfall, bringing excellent information on the situation at Oldkeep. Apparently Oldkeep have been completely taken over and has been reinforced by the enemy. One can only hope that they have only taken the local residents captive and not done something more drastic, but the tales of the drow and their prisoners… They described several magical catapults enhanced by drow spellcasters, confirmed the presence of ogres, and the positioning of the watchtowers and their lookouts.
I kept generally quiet in the initial discussion, growing more and more puzzled at my father’s suggested tactics. Attacking the drow at night? That alone came as a shock to me. Sneaking into the keep from a secret side door is fine, but expecting us to have enough time to make our way through the battlements to destroy four catapults and the gate mechanism, without alerting the entire keep and having them pour out on us… Is he trying to send us to our deaths! But even he must know that his Greenblades will fare better in the day time against the drow, which appears to be the main foe we are fighting. I may not be sophisticated in the ways of military tactics, but even I can see how this will not work. (OOC: High Int ftw)
I spoke up then. Pointing out that it is obviously better to attack the drow in the day, I proceeded to suggest that myself and Pazzik cast fly, followed by invisibility, and to throw fireballs onto the artillery from the sky. My old man appeared to be stunned. He had completely disregarded the availability of magic to aid in the situation! As everyone else begin to resoundingly agree with my plan, he had no choice but to agree as well. He seemed to avoid my eyes for a few moments. Is he beginning to see that the path I now walk isn’t as weak as he made it out to be? Perhaps… I caught myself – I have given up on seeking his approval, years ago!
Marching through the night have left many of us somewhat tired, but the promise of battle soon to be joined seems to perk up the barbarian. It did not take long to refresh ourselves. We had left late afternoon from Ulthalamel, and marched through the night so that we would arrive when the sun is well in the sky. We would not be caught in the dark near Oldkeep.
My party and I are in position, and we know that the Ulthalamel city forces and the Greenblades must be ready as well. I neglected to mention to everyone that this would be the first time I would be casting the fly spell. I have only experimented with it in the past, once almost falling disastrously from one of the great trees of the Emerald Citadel. I quickly learned that unlike birds who may learn to flap better under pressure of falling, mages don’t learn to cast better. I remembered how the resident eagle of the citadel, the Brown Watcher – as the Speaker liked to call him, watched, almost amused, as Aramus had to rescue me.
I closed my eyes, grasping the feather that the Brown Watcher had gifted me for when I will one day master this spell again. Despite the fact that this is an arcane spell, I placed my hands on the ground. “Don’t mess this up.” I told myself. I chanted the final words of the spell quietly to myself. “Do not let yourself go until the spell has lifted every part of you, or the rest of you will hang from the few limbs which have been lifted,” Aramus’ reminder comes into my mind. I let the uplifting feeling around me drift into the ground, into the old leaves on the forest floor. I could feel them lift up around me. I formed a mental image into my mind, allowing the leaves to take the shape of wings upon my back. A completely unnecessary display of course, but they didn’t know that. Heh – my High Tower masters who never believed in overly complimenting their students weren’t lying when they whispered behind my back that I had a true talent for the arcane. I felt the spell complete, and let go of the ground, and I was floating. As the leaves gently flapped once at my coaxing and fell back to the ground, I felt a suddenly urge to take off into the sky and zip around. This liberating feeling!
The gnome was also floating by now. We bid our group a temporary farewell, and disappeared into thin air as we cast our invisibility spell. I soared into the sky, flying towards the keep silently, carefully measuring a safe distance from which to let loose with my fireball. I waited. Oldkeep was too far below me for me to see if Pazzik had successfully placed that explosive charged we acquired from Ulthalamel on the gate mechanism. But soon enough, an explosion released the chains and the gates came crashing down. Pazzik then appeared in mid air, a bead of fire hurtling downwards towards the two northern catapults. I too cast my own spell at the southern pair.
Our enemies in the keep first rushed to the door, but started looking up as our fireballs set the catapults on fire. I flew in a long arc towards the north, slowly descending as I went, and making a circle amongst the trees back to my companions to hide the true direction of our attack. The elven army had engaged the dark forces of Oldkeep. We made our move.
The secret side door was there as Prince Jaster promised. We slipped in through the battlements, dispatched a small squad of drow, and entered the courtyard. The catapults were quite destroyed but the fires had been put out. Four spellcasters were working at each catapult weaving spells that could only be some means of repairing them. Four ogres stood guard over them, even as the majority of drow forces did battle at the open gates.
We joined the battle, felling most of the drow in our way, three of the ogres and three of the spellcasters. Then an elite force of drow appeared from within the barracks, flanking a female drow wearing ornate armor. I have heard of the matriarchal society of the drow. This must be the leader of the warband. Before they could act however, the wily gnome at my side summoned a stinking cloud over them, nauseating most of her guards. A vastly useful spell. I must check out Pazzik’s arsenal when the opportunity presents itself. As they ran from it retching, we managed to get nearly uninterrupted attacks at the female drow.
I watched as Ashyra gathered power around herself and brought forth a fire elemental that bowled through our enemies. Alas, I have not mastered druidic spells as quickly, and cannot yet do the same. However, I have other tricks available to me. I ensorcelled Hawkin’s arrows to burn our enemies as he fired them, and he proceeded to hit his targets right on the mark with nearly every arrow. The usually frowning archer started smiling quite… humanly. (OOC: The ranged fighter got happier with his class choices suddenly heh.) We quickly downed the female drow, and finished off the rest of her guards.
As swords are sheathed and panting breaths steady, we suddenly realized that we had seen no sign of the prisoners, and our eyes turn to the severed heads impaled against the battlements…