Having cleared out the kobolds and cultists guarding the rear entrance to the Temple of Chauntea, the party decided to approach the situation cautiously. Hearing voices inside, but unable to discern whether they were from villagers or bandits, Arya decided to don the guise of a cultist.
She entered the door, only to find the temple occupied by about a dozen villagers and the priest, Edyan Falconmoon. Arya’s skill at Disguise was so incredibly good that she impersonated a cultist exactly in the minds of the villagers, who reacted with terror.
“Caw caw!” Arya said, somewhat sheepishly.
After Nyx, Saccharinity, and Finellen managed to calm the folks down, the priest asked them to escort everyone back to the keep, if they could. Barely a moment had passed, however, before the sounds of a battering ram echoed from the barricaded front door.
After a few moments of tense deliberation, during which the structure of the door was severely tested, a plan was finally reached to usher the villagers out the back the way the party had come, back through the old tunnel and into the keep.
Just as the last of the villagers were through, and the party nearly gone, the kobolds broke the door enough to get a peek inside. Delorean conjured a ghostly sound to attempt to distract the kobolds, but only managed to confuse them slightly.
Heikki lead the group of villagers (mostly women and children) back through the tunnel, with Nyx bringing up the rear and covering the group’s tracks as best she could. Everyone arrived back at the keep safely, with the Fellowship of the Hawk welcomed as heroes.
Just after the party took a short rest to regroup, the keep’s sally port was attacked and overrun. The group ran to intervene, and with fighting raging all over the keep, they raced to the door of the sally port itself, where they encountered a drake, a few kobolds, and a magic-wielding cultist, who were all put down in short order. As Finellen was leading the repairs to the door, the fighting began to subside in the keep, and the remaining attacking force was chased back to the sally port by the keep’s guards. A quick-thinking Delorean put a sleep spell to great use, dropping most of the attackers, and causing the remaining two to surrender.
The keep’s guards took the human cultists prisoner, and killed the kobolds outright. Governor Nighthill promised he would share whatever information he could extract from his prisoners with the group, and reminded them that they still believed villagers were hold up in the Mill, near the stream.
With the sneakier characters leading the way, they found the Mill apparently besieged by…four kobolds, who were doing a terrible job of trying to light the stone structure on fire with torches. Arya put down one kobold with an arrow, Nyx summoned flame, taking another one, and Duath severely injured another with a dart. Clearly seeing they were outnumbered, the remaining two kobolds fled around the back side of the mill, and were quickly lost out of sight.
The group cautiously approached the Mill, peering through the windows into the darkened interior, and after a moment of study, were able to discern two shadowy figures who appeared to be waiting for something. Deciding that these were clearly not villagers in need of rescue, the group hatched a plan whereby Arya would again pretend to be a cultist, with Delorean as her prisoner, while the rest of the group got into position to ambush their would-be ambushers. They called this plan the “Roose Bolton.”
Arya and Delorean strode into the center of the mill, with Arya declaring she “had captured one of the villagers.”
After a moment, during which the rest of the party got into position, a cultist stood up and shone a light down on the pair. “You’re not who we expected to see,” he said.
Arya’s disguise was expertly crafted, and for the moment the cultists held their attack. Several more cultists stood up from their hiding spot on the balcony above the pair, and again shone lanterns down on them.
After a few more moments of tense banter, Arya realized the rest of her group hadn’t agreed to any signal to attack, and everyone stood at their posts waiting for somebody to do something.
Eventually, the cultists realized that Arya and Delorean were up to something, and decided to attack.
The resulting fight was a bloodbath on both sides. More guards and cultists were waiting in hiding, and the group quickly realized they were outnumbered two to one. Heikki and Duath were a flurry of rage and martial arts upstairs, having come in through an upstairs window. Heikki flew into a rage, shrugging off blows that would have easily decimated weaker beings, and Duath carefully applied life-ending force to sensitive portions of cultists’ anatomy.
Downstairs, the air was full of thrusting spears and bolts of fire and flame as Nyx, Saccharinity and Finellen came to the aid of Arya and Delorean. The battle was very close-fought, and for every two enemies the Fellowship downed, one of their own was knocked unconscious.
Soon the only members left standing were Heikki upstairs, Nyx, Saccharinity and Delorean downstairs, with the remainder of the party left to bleed out on the floor while they tried to mop up the remaining two cultists.
In a fit of rage, Heikki pounded the remaining upstairs guard to a pulp, then with a thundering cry and crash, leaped over the balcony directly onto a cultists, finishing him off with a draconic roar.
It was easily the closest the group had been yet to total death.