We spend the next two days in various preparatory endeavors with some of us using the time to assist the city in its recovery.
We will head to Umbria by way of Achau and then through Pola.
We have reached Achau, the city is badly damaged but many of the enemy have moved on. Orcs guard the villages outside of town and the few workers in the fields that were not overrun by the battle. We regret the need to move on without assisting those left under the tender mercies of these orcs, but our duties call and we must pass on by.
We cut through the mountains, briefly losing our way in a swamp outside of Celke, I am plagued by insect bites and am unhelpful in watching our surroundings.
We are hailed by dwarves, Cilka is called by name surprising us, we did not expect to be called by name in the middle of a swamp. We are led clear by our old friends, and invited to join them for refreshment and to stay as long as we need, we are pleased to see Kalisto there to greets us with wine a meat. We tell the tale of our travel through the tunnels and some of our adventures that followed.
Cilka speaks privately with with Kalisto, returning in short order saying she thought this was a conversation that should be had by all.
Kalisto speaks of foreign visitors from the time when she was a visitor in the court at Umbria. The blind lady tells of a tragic expedition to Umbria that she believes was the cause of the split 300 years ago. She believes the emperor was seeking the central cathedral in Umbria as a start to his crusade. The foreigners came from Auvergne west of the Allemannic kingdoms. She says they were members of the conclave and this is the only reason she is still alive.
Cilka asks if they were going to move the stone, or claim it for their own.
The emperor’s purpose was dual, to both claim the stone and take it for his own to aide him in re-uniting the empire.
Coy asks if the emperor has a god or goddess that he served.
To some degree they were dedicated to the service of the trinity. The empress was a good woman married to a good man who was driven mad by misdirection and lies that led him to ultimately kill his wife and his son.
Coy asks if he was the one that insisted the gods treat them as equals, was he the cause of the forsaking? Kallisto doesn’t know, but the foreigners (Conclave members) were not seeking the threshold, they were looking specifically for arcane power, not a bridge to another world.
Coy suggests the motivation for the emperor’s journey may have been a ruse to get others in the party close to the threshold. Coy speaks to the dwarves of the state of Laibach, where things stand currently; who occupies it and how badly damaged it is.
Prebold has sworn fealty to the new duke, we discuss our options- do we try to liberate Laibach and if we succeed, will it hold? Are there those worthy and up to the task of keeping it free?
We plan the attack of Laibach, we’ll leave the horses in a secluded grove outside the town and make our way to the 20 foot high walls from the back. I will spider climb the wall, and secure a rope to aid the others up. That’s the plan, we’ll see how it plays out.
Turns out climbing the wall and setting the rope was the easy part. The guards on the far tower have spotted our companions that remain on the ground waiting to make the climb. I run toward them, trying to draw their fire and protect the climbers. Coy has jumped to the top of the closer tower and is dealing with the monsters there.
I handily scale the tower wall and dispatch the two crossbowmen with some pointy assistance from Kuni. Hearing movement and voices from below, I step through the trap door onto the ceiling, hanging upside down I attack. I could get used to this spider climb thing. They seem a tad disconcerted by being attacked by someone standing on the ceiling, I take full advantage, swinging at one of them as he reaches for his shield. Kuni joins me from the parapet and we take them out side by upside down side.
I burst through the door just in time to see it slam shut. An elvish blur streaks past me, not quite fast enough to stop them from securing the newly closed door to the keep. Coy decides to vault onto the roof, and immediately downs one of their archers. I am torn, window or roof? The quandary is answered when more appear in front of Coy, I go for the roof. Walking up the wall I position myself to lunge, unfortunately I miss, though not horribly so.
The others have moved up behind us below on the parapet, Dom leaps to the balcony and opens the shuttered door. Kuni and Cilka are not far behind.
Gertie comes soaring over around behind the unfortunate beast I am facing. She and I make short work of him. Gertie immediately flies off over the edge of the roof, suddenly my walking up walls does not seem as cool as I thought a minute ago. Coy’s got the last guy on the roof, I step off the edge again and swing around through the door pulling the ceiling move again, now I am cleverly positioned to avoid the pit, and get the guy at the edge of the pit, assuming he does not tumble in. Kuni peppers him with arrows and he tumbles down.
I maneuver toward the door, still on the ceiling, but can’t quite make it close enough to do anything. Fire is flying around, arrows aare shooting by, I hear clashes and crashes from inside the room, finally I get through after Alaric considerately clears the way, I am just in time to take the last swing at the last man standing.