Rory jumps clear of the grasping hands of the shamblers. At the top of the ladder, Tristan prepares to jump by unsheathing sword and prepping his shield. As Rory swings his sword in defensive patterns, Tristan jumps down, hitting the floor with enough force to fall partially through, finding himself now at a distinct disadvantage as the shamblers find a new target. And to top it all off, the candle Tristan was holding goes out in the fall.
Thankfully, Rory and the others are ready. From his bandolier Rory pulls a dagger, which soon springs forth with magical light, before being thrown into the ceiling. Tristan pulls himself free of the flooring and lashes out at the nearest shambler as gruff sends shadowy tendrils toward one of the other undead.
Ewald chooses to forego the ladder altogether, using instead his lighter than air tread to simply move into position above the shamblers and start swinging away. By the light of Rory's dagger everyone can see that this tower level is made up of one giant storage area. As Tristan already found out, the floor is in poor shape. Besides the hole he made, a wide swath of floor has fallen away in the center of the room.
Even though a new shambler joins the fray from the far side of the room, and Tristan nearly gets hugged more than he wishes by unclean, dead things, between Gruff's shadows, Tristan’s magic sword and Durin that float like butterflies, the shamblers are soon taken care of. Wiping bits of goo off of their swords and clothes, they thoroughly explore the level, discovering a trapdoor on the far side of the room that apparently leads to the rough basement of the tower. Seeing that there are a couple more shamblers below, they decide they've seen enough and head back up.
The others notice with some curiosity, that Gruff has acquired a new shadowy sword by somehow enchanting one of the Daggar's own weapons with his new shadowy magic.
Faced with the certainty of having to use the parapet door, Rory decides to see what he can see and carefully peeks out. While no enemies are currently visible, mornings light is not far off. Shortly thereafter, a new set of Daggar appear at the far tower and start making their way towards the group. Even though Gruff rushes the ambush, soon two more Daggar join the pile of dead. Torn between proceeding at once, even though the spell casters are weakened, or resting and chancing discovery, the party decides that resting is the better option.
After disposing of the bodies down the shambler hole, Tristan keeps watch on the main door, while the others take a rest. Though Tristan hopes for the best, he's not really surprised when he sees the latch on the door begin to move. Quickly nudging his sleeping companions he pulls the side door mostly closed as weapons are silently drawn. They watch first one, then another skeleton warrior begin searching the halls. When the skeletons open their door, they are quickly brought down by Tristan and Gruff. Gruff is in turn, nearly brought down by the heavy crossbow bolts fired by the Daggar at the tower door.
As return fire, Rory lets loose with a fireball that while not subtle, takes all but one of the five Daggar out of the battle. As Gruff and Ewald engage the remaining enemy, a horn resounds from the main keep, signaling the end of the stealth portion of the mission. Tristan and Rory race down the outer tower stairs, taking fire from more Daggar on the main keep roof, until another fireball from Rory puts an end to that nonsense.
Not wanting to be left behind, Ewald takes the quick way down off the wall, jumping onto, and through the rotting roof of one of the inner courtyard buildings. Perhaps it's luck, or divine grace that keeps him from injuring himself, but whatever the cause. It means that he gets to the main keep stairs at the same time as everyone else. As they all scramble up the steep stairs, they are urged on by the sound of the drawbridge chains raising.
The main keeps drawbridge is more than a quarter of the way up when they reach it. Gruff Tristan and Rory make hurdling the obstacle seem easy. Ewald makes it look heroic. Still, results are all that matter at this point and time is of the utmost importance. As three heavily armored skeletons move forward to intercept the heroes, gruff once more calls on his shadow Magic to ensnare them.
Taking the initiative, Tristan moves past the entangled skeletons and straight into the keep. More crossbow bolts lodge themselves in his shield (which is of course better than his flesh). Rory sends a third fireball past Tristan to help clear the way, then Tristan is facing a well armored Daagar captain that appears to be Ewald’s dark opposite, with field plate and a greataxe.
While Gruff deals with the skeletons and Tristan dances with the Daagar captain, Rory and Ewald rush to help. With an acrobatic leap, Rory comes over the defensive platform and spits the heavily armored captain on the length of his bastard sword – a move that doesn’t fail to impress. The soul remaining Daagar warrior puts up a valiant fight, but soon falls to the combined might of the four heroes.
The next obstacle appears to be an inner portcullis that blocks their way. While there are no enemies present for the moment, sounds can be heard in the keep above. From his small store of dark energy, Gruff summons extra strength and moves toward the portcullis. The others move to help.
With the element of surprise now gone, speed becomes of paramount importance. Will the heroes find and defeat Kadagar? Stay tuned...