On 17JUL00, the Party entered their second engagement with the Orc Band in Brightstone Keep, with disastrous results.
On 16JUL00, Farhad headed to Reeton to hire some troops for the final push and eventual occupation of the keep. While there, he secured the services of eleven assorted Medium Infantry, their service negotiated to start on the morning of 18JUL00 with the assault on the keep.
Upon returning to Marikest, Farhad learned that Einarr had been successful at sneaking close to the keep during the day, and applying Ruff’s Percussive Tome of Identification to the outer wall, thus gathering valuable intelligence which included a break down of the creatures currently inhabiting the keep. This included a Winter Wolf, a number of Orcs, a dozen Goblins, three Skeletons, four Zombies, and two Trolls.
It was decided that the party would attempt to sneak onto the battlements of the keep during the day, and observe the interior as an additional preparation for the next day’s assault. The insertion went well, however the fecal matter forcefully encountered the rotary air impeller soon after.
Just as with General Heth on the first day at Gettysburg, the party’s intention to conduct a brief reconnaissance was compromised when they believed they saw an opportunity to engage and destroy an enemy (i.e. the Winter Wolf and the Skeletons) with relative impunity, and then to withdraw. Choosing to seize this opportunity and drop their original plans, they engaged and found their targets harder to destroy than expected.
Seemingly intending to flank the Enemy, Farhad entered the Gate Tower, only to find a Zombie on the other side of the door, thus adding yet another target to the unintended engagement.
Regrouping and intending to finish off the Tangos, they found they faced even stiffer resistance when the alarm was raised, and the Skeletons called for reinforcements in the way of a team of Goblins. Judging the reinforced enemy to still be an easily defeated target (again, similar to Heth), rather than break contact, the party elected to continue the attack.
This further delay allowed the Enemy to bring in additional reinforcements, with another Zombie joining the Goblins approaching the Gate Tower along the battlements from Tower No. 2, thus stiffening resistance further. Fully engaged, the Party was unconcerned, as first Einarr, and then Roland gained the high ground via the fighting top of the Gate Tower, with Cregga and Farhad easily holding the door through which the Goblins and Zombie were attacking, and Sharwyn finishing the Skeletons and watching both their rear flank and the courtyard, where the severely injured Winter Wolf sought cover behind the well house.
At this point, the Enemy’s forces were stiffened yet again (just as at Gettysburg, Buford’s forces continued to come on line against Heth) with the addition of a Troll at the door onto the wall at the Party’s rear from Building 5, thus restricting the Party’s movement to the Gate Tower and the wall. At this point, Cregga charged the Troll, and Sharwyn made her way to the top of the Gate Tower, leaving Farhad to guard the door to the interior of the Tower.
Ultimately, although able to seriously injure the Troll, Cregga was injured to the point of unconsciousness, and would have been killed were it not for Einarr attacking and subduing the Troll. By this time, the Enemy had mobilized even more reinforcements, in the way of more Goblins on the walls, three Orcs who briefly took positions on the fighting top of Building 6, and a number of Orcs and a Troll who exited Building 4 into the Courtyard, and made for the Gate.
At this point, Farhad abandoned his defense of the door into the Gate Tower, and proceeded to administer a coup de grace to the Troll in the door of Building 5, and stabilized the unconscious Cregga. One by one, Sharwyn and the rest of the Party abandoned the top of the Gate Tower, descending into the interior and briefly facing a Zombie, then heading out to the wall in an attempt to break contact.
Farhad managed to carry Cregga to the rope, but fell while attempting to climb down, injuring himself but managing to prevent further damage to her. Sharwyn was the next down the rope, while Einarr and Roland followed. Farhad Managed to run down the main approach to the Keep carrying Cregga, but upon attempting to follow, Sharwyn was caught by a Hold Person spell cast by one of the Orcs, which allowed the other Orces to catch and ultimately slay her. Einarr and Roland attempted to save her, but were faced with the advance of the Troll and the spell-casting Orc, and were unable to do so. Roland managed to safely descend the rope from the plateau, however Einarr was still on the rope, and fell 40 feet taking a serious injury, when the Orc managed to cut the rope as he descended.
The Orcs and Troll pursued the remainder of the Party towards Marikest for some time, but ultimately turned back to the Keep when the remaining Party Members gained their mounts and split up in order to evade and distract the Enemy from the town. Upon returning to the Keep, the Enemy dragged Sharwyn’s corpse into the Keep.
Farhad took Cregga to Reeton and left her at the Temple of Moradin to be healed; and met with Alard Hucrele to inform him of Sharwyn’s death, and inquire as to the possibility of her resurrection. It is possible to bring her back, but in order to do so, the Party must recover her body for the Cleric within approximately 24 hours of her death.
Farhad then returned to Marikest to join the rest of the Party ( Einarr and Roland), who had scouted the Keep from a distance, and intended to conduct a hit and run attack on the other side of the Keep, in an attempt to finish off the Winter Wolf. Upon reaching the outside wall of the Keep, Einarr aborted the attempt, as it seemed unlikely to succeed due to the heightened alert of the Enemy.
The remaining Party then returned to Reeton in order to heal up, and to hire four Archers and link up with the eleven Infantry, and conduct the full assault as originally planned on the morning of 18JUL00.
Marching with the full force into Marikest at 0800 on 18JUL00, the Party discovered that during the night, the Enemy had conducted a punitive raid, burning down approximately 1/4 of the town.