It was just after 5 am when Reynald climbed silently up the south eastern wall; attaching a knotted rope with a grapnel to the parapet, he was soon followed by Rasha. Looking westward toward the top of the gatehouse he could see that he guard had started to return, and he crept quietly into the intervening turret to silence the Corbie as it came past.
Rasha crouched in the shadow of the wall, noting that down below in the courtyard two hulking humanoid brutes were carrying out large tubs of water, and seemed to be about to swill out the yard.
Reynald waited silently and then struck. Unfortunately he struck nothing and his rapier slid along the edge of the Corbie’s torso, causing it to yelp in pain, but little actual damage. A secong thrust missed entirely, and the alarm was raised.
The creature yelled again and its fellow from the Gatehouse started to race along the wall. The two brutes looked up in incomprehension as Rasha popped up and missed with one of his arrows to clatter near their feet.
“This isn’t going well” he thought.
Reynald now stood in the turret doorway, and was losing steadily to the birdlike creature. As it raked him with its claws his thrusts continually went astray. The two brutes rushed out of Rasha’s view towards the lower gatehouse, and more corbies emerged up onto the wall from the lower gatehouse.
Reynald retreated backwards, and finally gave way to Ragnar who had finally climbed up onto the wall. The enemy were now somewhat crowded up, as the narrow wall only allowed one at a time to approach. Rasha retreated eastwards along the wall, looking to position for a longer range shot.
Ragnar however had a little more luck: cutting down the first badly wounded Corbie, he was able to rush onto the cloister bridge linking the wall with the main keep, while Ungo rushed behind him and careened into the next in line, cutting it down instantly. With two sets of blades now in play, supported by occasional arrows from Rasha or Reynald, half a dozen Corbies were cut down one by one, as well as the two large brutes which had managed to reach the wall-although Ragnar did suffer a crushing blow in the process.
As if this was not enough opponents, the door to the stables opened and a large spider rushed out, followed by a further brute- presumably its handler. It was too late however, and the creature was hacked in two by Ungo. Finally all went quiet on the wall.
Padding along the wall quietly to the gatehouse Ragnar could hear what was apparently blubbering coming from down below, along with references to a “Poor Mr. Legsy”. Pointing toward the turret on the far side of the gatehouse and nodding to Ungo, Ragnar moved into the most easterly turret, and tried to spy through the trapdoor leading down into a small guardroom. He could see nothing directly ,but the noises were more distinct. He called to one of the others, and made a few clattering noises, giving Ungo sufficient time to climb down into what he presumed was an opposite guardroom. After a short time he started to descend the ladder, keeping a wary eye out.
He was neither surprised nor quite quick enough when another of the brutes rushed in from the gate areas, and swung at him with a spiked club, winding him badly. Jumping off the ladder he turned to face the creature, and at that moment Ungo appeared behind it, cutting its leg away with a swing of his axe.
Ungo eyed him as he breathed heavily. “Yer gettin’ auld Man…reflexes like an auld biddy” was his only comment. The two climbed back up onto the battlements, and Ungo started to walk around the walls westwards.
Something whistled softly through the air, and then there was a loud crash and an explosion of stone and just near to Ungo; he dived flat onto the floor. “Whit the….?”
Realising that something had fired from the north side of the castle the group moved carefully from turret to turret around the perimeter, until Rasha espied the frantic figure of a Corbie hovering around some machine set on the battlements. Donald and Ungo rushed round while Rasha attracted his attention with a few arrows. As he inevitably fell they saw that the wall widened out into a weapon bay, on which was perched an antique and hazardous looking stone firing crossbow. Adjacent was a door which entered the western side of the main keep, but this was locked.
Reynald tried to pick the lock but failed. Then Rasha reached for the old key Dinald had given him after finding it in the ruined lighthouse, and, after some initial concern that it might snap, the door opend with a click.
“I don’t think this old key will last much longer” he said.
“Give to me”, said Ailukka, holding out her palm. Taking the ket she rubbed her other hand over the top of it muttering some enchantment. She handed it back. “Key stronger now” she remarked.
Peering inside Rasha could see a darkened corridor leading eastwards towards a junction leading south, and beyond that a wider open space. All seemed to be quiet. A torch was positioned somewhere near the junction, giving a little light. Padding along, he tried an unlocked door on the north, but it was dark and unoccupied. “Save that for later” he thought.
Looking down the southern corridor he moved quietly down it with Ragnar. Ragnar perked up his ears as he could hear muffled voices coming through one of the doors to the south.
“Duh… Wen shall wetree meet agen, in tunder lightnin’ or in rain?” the voice sounded like it was from a congenital idoit.
“When the horlllie burrlies dun, when the battles lost and wun”. This voice was horribly nasal, and reminded him of the way the natives spoke in an inbred village he had once passed through called Brumgen.
“Dat will be er Nest of…”
“Not Nest idiot!” a third voice interrupted, both sharper and much more precise. “Set! That will be ’ere SET of sun! Got it?”
“Duh, sure Ting boss. Where does the Nest come in den?”
“Gahh! I’m working with imbeciles. Imbeciles! Someone of my talent….just get on with it!”
Ragnar was about to head toward the southern door when he heard a squawk behind him, and turned to see that Dinald had oped an eastern door into a room comtaining a couple of semi awake Corbies. Sighing he drew his blade; battle was joined.
The corridor confined the participants, so Ungo opened a western door revealing more corbies. Dinaled an Ailukka moved round to the open space revealed to the north, dicovering a somewhat rancid and foul smelling dining room, dimly lit only partially from a few torches in adjacent corridors. One of these looped round south ,and then east back towards the rooms Ragnar and Ungo were engaged in.
Having disposed of both corbies Ragnar jerked open to the door to the south, while Ungo still battled behind him. This room was lit, and revealed two further Corbies, both wearing pointy hats. Beyond these was a very strange person indeed: a man (or somethign very like it), wearing a fine silk tunic and trousers which he later recognised as Tien. Most prominent however were a large pair of black raven- like wings and a sort of bright red painted mask, with a prominent nose.
“You idiots- you’ve ruined my rehearsal. Witches one and two-get him!” The two corbies lumbered to obey.
Ragnar sidestepped one of these and took a swing at the figure, who easily sidestepped aside. He then produced a sickle and chain weapon from his belt and swung it round, cracking Ragnar hard on the side of the shoulder. He staggered back, badly hurt. An arrow fired through the door from Reynald skewered one of the corbies and allowed him to retreat.
Meanwhile Rasha had opened up another door along the corridor further to the east, and then wished he hadn’t. Inside was a shrine-probably the shrine to Desna Spivey has told them about- but it was a shrine to Desna no longer.
Daubed on the walls were dozens of paintings of a towering humanoid figure with four wings, a bird’s head, and a scorpion’s tail, seemingly painted in blood. Old pews sat in a line facing the eastern wall, where a hideously defaced statue of Desna stood: its head had been severed and replaced with a crude rock roughly fashioned into the shape of a bird, and a tail constructed of braided nettles had been attached. The two stone wings had been split and pinioned to give the impression of four wings. The whole stank badly, and a robed corbie holding a longsword stalked toward him. It cast a spell of some sort, fortunately with no effect; Rasha managed to cut the creature with Shrike before retreating backwards.
As Rasha retreated a badly wounded Ragnar rushed past him, taking refuge further up the corridor near Ailukka, and preparing his crossbow. Ailukka gestured, and the sir froze between her and the creature, and it snarled before plunging the corridor in front of it into darkness. A brief panic ensued.
Ungo finally disposed of his opponents in the westerly room,and rushed into the room containing the winged man- but it was completely empty. He started to swing round randomly with his axe, suspecting some invisibility or trick.
Meanwhile Ailukka headed toward the chapel with her lit staff, forcing the darkness to retreat. It was empty, and a southern set of double doors out onto the battlements was wide open. “Run away” she commented.
Ungo was calmed down, and some of the groups few healing potions were redistributed. Rasha started to bind Ragnar’s wounds, as Reynald explored one of the doors near the eastern side of the dining room.
In the old chapel there was a rush of air; something large flew in, Swooped at Rasha, turned and flew back out the doors. Ragnar, Rasha and Ailukka rushed out through the doors, and only the cloister walkway joining the main keep and the southern wall. As they did so ragnar could see a large bat -like shape turning back towards them, while from beyond the turret adjacent to their rope and grappling hook, the Hooded Corbie flung some missile which rattled nearby. As Rasha and Ragnar turned their missile weapons on the large bat -thing, Ailukka raced forward into the turret with her battleaxe.
A two pronged melee ensued, with the bat creature swooping and diving at Ragnar and Rasha, while they tried to fire at it as it dived or rushed past. Ailukka swung at the robed figure repeatedly yelling barbaric northern oaths, and surprisingly the sorceress seemed to be getting the best of it, receiving only one slight wound, while her battleaxe hacked down repeatedly on the priest.
Reynald had opened his door revealing an upper balcony surrounding a round room below. On the far side stood the red masked figure.
“You imbeciles again! Stop wasting my time!” it cried, expertly swinging its sickle weapon and chain.
“Ungo I need help!” yelled Reynald, and rushed towards the figure with his rapier. Ungo raced in afterwards and both swung at the over dramatic figure. He snarled and gestured, and the outline of a rectangle appeared next to him. He walked into it- and vanished. Ungo howled in frustration.
Outside Ailukka had split open the robed priest’s head. The bat creature, though peppered with arrows, continued to swoop and claw Ragnar, Rasha and Dinald: none were in good shape. Hearing their cries for help Ungo too rushed out and unlimbered his bow, but he too fell foul of one the creatures attacks and retreated back inside. The target was difficult to hit: it was going to be a near run thing.
With only Rasha and Reynald still firing, and Ailukka casting one of her freezing magicks from the safety of a turret, a telling blow finally had the desired effect, and the beast crashed down into the woodland outside of the castle.
Inside Ungo, Ragnar and Dinald sat down; Rasha and Reynald limped in. All were badly wounded.
“I suggest we leave for now” suggested Dinald. " We’re in no fit state to do anything."