Our heroes leap into action in dispatching the smattering of troops still stationed in the Keep. After managing to get the full party up into the keep, they don’t have too hard of a time managing the forces by carefully using line of sight and the height granted them by the balustrade. The only casualties suffered on the friendly side are the rangers that rescued Morgoth from his entrapment.
They aren’t given time to rest though as the secretary to Nazrim Redthorn appears up the ramp with collection of well-geared Iron Circle troops. A quick and brutal fight ensues in which our already primed party quickly gets the advantage through some deft focused fire. Sensing the possibility of defeat, the Secretary positions himself in front of one central building and sends two soldiers down into the building with the hurried commands “Secure the door! Make sure he’s safe!” Fighting valiantly he’s able to keep our party away from the inner area and is rejoined with the soldiers. They spend their last moments defending the area.
Upon dying, the guise of the secretary recedes revealing pale purple skin turning fallow in death and extended talon-like fingers. Disproportionately large and tall jet black eyes and forward-set into the face now frozen into a rictus snarl. The party is taken aback by this reveal and cautiously proceeds to check the building and surrounding upper level. They find an armory with some gear in various stages of ill-repair and get a better sense of the layout. Collectively, the party decides it prudent to not delve into the lower level that the since-secretary was defending.
But after several moments’ respite, the ground opens up beneath them and a terrible slavering mawbeast breaks through the dirt floor of the courtyard. The beast is at least ten feet long including the two prominent front clawed obsidian-black and obsidian-sharp feet. The writhing armored worm-like front section attaches to a pair of disproportionately large human haunches, a set of now vestigial and wither human arm and a disheveled head frozen in some expression between pain and ecstacy.
In the next episode the battle with the mawbeast commences. Luckily for the party, Marek returns during the engagement to lend support with his disembodied hand and also land attacks from above. The fight is long and involved with sharp blows landed on both sides. Benwen mid battle lands a clean strike to the beast and severs the human head from the haunches. The fight for the mawbeast goes quickly downhill from there and Rollie lands the final blow under the chin of the creature and wedges free a pair of teeth fashionable as daggers.
Not soon after the fight finishes, the surrounding forestry is filled with terrible keening calls. Waves upon waves of half-feral hound half-scaled reptilian beast pour out of the forest and rage through the town. Not knowing initially the source of the noise, our party hides in the already explored wings of the keep. A contingent of reavers comes into the keep and inspects the fallen mawbeast and human soldiers. At seeing the beast, most of the reavers let out a terrible cry into the air which is answered in the distance by others. Most of the reavers leave the keep, but some stay to feast of the bodies strewn about the courtyard.
Our heroes leap out and dispatch the reavers quickly and secure the gate against any more reavers. Feeling secure in the keep now, our party looks at the chaos of the surrounding town. Reavers are ravaging the town relatively unchecked. Townspeople are holing up into their houses when possible but too many are being caught unawares and taken.
The Iron Circle army assembled to the north of the town returns and tries to fight back in some urban warfare, but doesn’t maintain discipline. From the keep, our heroes see the troops in the distance swarmed on all sides and suffering heavy losses. They concoct a plan to rappel down the way they entered the keep and rescue whoever they can near the base of the keep (especially the elderly brewer couple).
When they go into town, they recognize Grunch in the distance and amazed as in his battelfury levels several swaths of reavers. The townspeople he was rescuing join up with the party and together they manage to make it to the home of the brewers and rescue the couple.
At this point it’s obvious that the fight isn’t going well for the Iron Circle troops. The party calls out to the troops and gestures for them to make for the keep. Providing covering fire, the party pushes back the swarms of reavers and lofts the townsfolk and the Iron Circle troops into the Keep.
And that’s where we begin our next chapter.