After finding out that Druma had been sold into slavery to pay off her father’s debts, we were fairly motivated to find her and return her to her mother. We set off toward Longthuse’s keep, which we knew was just outside the city limits. As we approached, it appeared to be surrounded by some type of magical fence. Of course, I have no idea what it was, but Xiri seemed to think the posts marking the barrier were some kind of Conjuring Spell, so we weren’t too keen to attempt to sneak through the fence.
I suggested we pretend to be a wandering band of musicians come to entertain the master of the keep, to convince the guards to let us in, but unfortunately I only have two lutes, so we’d make a pretty poor showing of a traveling band of musicians.. Bemnar suggested that we pretend to be seeking sponsorship for his King’s Cup winning ale (of course he did) from the gladiator trainer, and everyone seemed to think this was a good plan. AJ managed to impress the idiotic guards enough to send one for his master; he seemed to say a word to get through the magical barrier before he left.
While we waited (and Bemnar small-talked the remaining guard), I searched out a local prairie dog family and communed with them; they were able to tell me that the magical ward summoned large monsters, the password to get through was a long list of Longthuse’s titles (which we had no hope of knowing), and that there were scary scaly creatures inside the keep that kept the woodland creatures from venturing too far into the yard.
As luck would have it, our falsehood convinced Longthuse, and the guard returned to invite us in. We entered one of the gaudiest homes I have ever seen to see Longthuse, his wife (my, she had some pretty creatures aside her seat!), and a variety of fighters making merry. As luck would have it, the girl we sought was right in the mead hall, next to the master’s wife. Shortly after we entered, though, she disappeared into a side room, much to our dismay.
Bemnar sweet-talked the master and offered him some ale, and the master responded pleasantly and invited us to stay. While Bemnar pulled up a chair aside Longthuse, I drew nearer the mistress of the house and inquired about the creatures she had tethered; it turns out they were guard drakes, of which I was previously unaware. She taught me much about the creatures; I’ll have to study them further when I get the chance.
Jalana and Xiri spoke to some of the fighters, to varying degrees of success. AJ wandered off on his own for a while but returned after a short while. As luck would have it, Druma ran into the room and brought a flask of brandy to the mistress while I spoke to her. After a moment, I asked if we might stay the evening, and the mistress sent Druma to make up rooms for us. I thought I saw her pause for a moment in the middle of the room before she disappeared into another door.
The party took our opportunity to follow the girl (while Bemnar remained to ply the master with more ale). Once in our room, we isolated Druma (Xiri pretended to have a problem with the pillows, which I thought was clever). After explaining that we were there to save her, we sent her to wait for our signal to leave. She left, and we began plotting how to get her out of the castle.
I remembered something the mistress had said about the keep being raided by Dragonborn, and I suggested we make the escape look like another Dragonborn raid. AJ sent a message to the girl asking her to bring us a large amount of meat, and miraculously she was able to slip away and do so. The others escaped after I turned Druma invisible so she could ride on Jalana’s back, and I gave Jalana some extra speed so she could get back as fast as possible. I tossed the meat to the drakes, who were now guarding the courtyard in front of the keep. Unsurprisingly, they went after the meat and were sufficiently distracted. AJ lit a few of the buildings on fire and Xiri fired arrows into and at the door of the keep. Bemnar placed kir-gothi armor around the outside of the keep to make it appear as though the Dragonborn had been the cause of the damage.
As AJ slipped out of the keep, I watched the fire spread to the barracks of the fighters, who ran out in their sleeping clothes. The drakes, unsurprisingly, turned on the vulnerable men. Not wanting an entire slaughter, I went to alert the master of the house. He rushed out to the balcony. I suddenly got the idea to deflect suspicion; I told the woman of the house we couldn’t afford to be in an attack because Bemnar had a brewery competition coming up; I think she believed me, but I didn’t stick around to find out; I bolted out the door and made for the hotel.
Once we all arrived safely, AJ went to retrieve Druma’s mother, and we sent the two of them off with some gold and a horse. Hopefully they’ll make it to Redbridge safely where they can start a new life safe from Druma’s father. Now…to find the materials to create a guard drake….