As told by Dabby
After I stopped bleeding from several places, the group, Inlé Efrafa, Royzig, Varis and Amber took a minute to take stock of what had just happened. We took a rifle through the mess. No flying snakes, but we did discover that these were Zhentarim agents, and the main guy, Xolkin had some sort of Zhentarim signet ring. That might come in very useful if we run across any other Zentarim. I also took a good last look at both Kella Darkhope and Xolkin, and can assume either visage easily— at the rate at which our group is making friends around here, this might come in handy.
All told we found some gold— Always Useful!— and then spent the next long while trying to round up their horses. I’m not sure why, but everyone thought that the horses were a big priority, and they managed to wrangle three of them (out of like seven).
With the horses, and on the way to the town’s little paddock, passed by the graveyard— actually there seems to be two little yards. The main Nandar crypt in the yard next to the temple was still sealed— we left it that way— they’ll have to open it soon enough though, so the late Lady can join her late husband.
It was late into the evening, so we decided to rest for the night. Royzig and Varis camped outside, everyone else inside. In the morning we learned that Inlé Efrafa had disappeared in the night. Other than a horse, we seemed to be missing nothing. No one seemed upset or surprised to find him absent— probably for the better, I don’t think anyone really trusted him anyway.
We resumed our casual search-about-town, not wanting to miss anything important, but also keeping in mind the townspeople and our quest to free them from that cave. In the smaller more remote graveyard we found a strange weathered granite obelisk, with the name marker rubbed off. Royzig brilliantly used a mending spell and we discovered that the marker belonged to the grave of E. Nandar. Why are E’s remains over here and not in that fancy family crypt— black sheep of the family maybe? Royzig contemplated that maybe E’s pages were the pages torn from the Nandar family book he read back at the castle.
Making a counterclockwise arc along the inside of the walls we checked guard tower #5, in which we found a dead goblin with a silver locket containing a picture of a rosy cheeked halfling. We put the locket into Amber’s bag with the rest of our findings. While we contemplated the mystery of this relationship, a far off sound. War Drums. Orcs.
We all took off running. Why are we running toward them? Going to the guard tower— well high ground and cover is good. Varis got to the city walls first, peeked around and saw Orcs. Lots of them, twenty or more. Orcs from the Ear Seeker tribe. Turns out Varis knows lots about orcs.
Meanwhile, Amber was off to climb the belltower, up there, a missing louvre, wasn’t like that before, but helpful for her to see out of now.
Varis insisted we draw the bridge. Maybe he forgot that cloud giants smashed up the city walls, and that the drawbridge isn’t going to keep the orcs out. Maybe they are just passing by, maybe we should have run the other way, away from the orcs, instead of toward them. Well, too late now, up the drawbridge went— Varis on the crank we seemed stuck.
I remember thinking, “maybe they’ll just run by, ruined town, nothing to see here, orc business elsewhere I’m sure”, as they stopped right in front of the bridge. Vairs (from the other tower) took the Orc commander, gesturing a couple of orcs over to the edge of the river/moat, as his cue to shoot. The big one. The commander. Turns out Varis knows lots about orcs, and really likes to kill them.
They must have been really surprised, because after trading a couple of salvos— the orcs threw javelins, we launched magic fire, and arrows— both the Orc commander and the Orc mage were dead. The remaining orcs were either bobbing downstream, or following close behind on the bank. It seemed like they were headed for the break in the wall. Varis grabbed the horses, and dropped the bridge, and we 4 made off on 2 horses.