Having been on the caravan for a few weeks, the group arrived at Greenest. As they crested the final hill, they could look across the fields to see the town in flames, with a blue dragon flying above breathing lightning onto the houses below. The party had weapons and spells, and so there was nothing to do but abandon the cowardly merchant and help the townsfolk.
The party reached the outskirts of town after covering that final mile as quickly as possible, and were met with the grizzly murder of a father of family of 6 fleeing from a group of kobolds out of a building. One of the pursuers leaped upon him and tore his throat out before the eyes of his children and the party. Charging forward, Gwendolyn Greenleaf blinded some with a spray of colour from her hands, and the rest of the party took advantage of this to kill six of the reptilian beasts, felling the remainder as they fled, but not before the mother, TODO: name, was stabbed in the chest as she cowered over her children. Fortunately, Saltar Dhal had his Goodberries to hand, amusing the oldest boy Kenneth and giving succor to his injured mother.
Despite the awesome power of the dragon, it was clear after even a short time watching that it was avoiding the keep and its defenders, and MOTHER (TODO: replace with first name) desperately begged the group to accompany her and her children to its safety. It took her words, the entreaties of Gwendolyn Greenleaf and Kino Miana-ai and finally the innocence of Kenneth and the other children to convince Wesley and Saltar to not flee the town and its monsters, but instead help the other three bring the family to safety. It was lucky they did, with Wesley’s careful scouting critical to getting them through the winding back-streets alive, but not entirely without harm.
Wesley noticed a group of six men, cultists, starting to loot a shop, dragging out anything that looked valuable into a cart. They were clearly organised, all wearing similar green-and-brown leathers, and clearly distracted as Wesley creeped up behind one of the two outside to slit his throat. The other barely had time to react before he fell to Saltar’s sling as Tett Eomarrsson charged up to the shop to confront the other four inside. As they drew their scimitars, a hail of projectiles came through the door, bloodying one and felling another, and the brief battle between the curved blades of the cultists and the whirling weapons of Tett left him nursing a nasty cut, but all three of the enemy either unconscious or dead.
One of the unconscious ones was roused for Kino to interrogate. His “charms” quickly discovered that the men were part of the Cult of the Dragon, humans worshipping the goddess of evil dragons, Tiamat. He was also quick to spill that the cult had a temporary camp on the east side of town and a permanent one far from town and any roads further to the east. The temporary camp was the staging post for the looting: foot-soldiers like the prisoner were to bring carts full of valuables back to it. He also let slip that he was under the command of Ralum(TODO: Correct name) who could be recognized by the purple sash he wore. Kino had given his word to the prisoner that he will be spared if he proved pliable, but Wesley was intent upon killing them. Gwendolyn and Kino tried as hard as they could to stop him, but it was in vain: two quick shots from his crossbow was enough. Meanwhile, Saltar Dhal was calmly collecting all the scimitars he could lay his hands on, piling six into his backpack.
After some deliberation, the group decided to head to the keep posing as mercenaries carrying loot, using the wagon to hide the family. This they did with great success, with only the diminutive halfling arousing any suspicion, and soon were near the entrance, where there was an intense skirmish. The soldiers guarding the keep looked outnumbered, and were actually making a fighting retreat, obeying the shouts to shut the gates. Gwendolyn , quick-witted as ever, summoned a dazzling spray of colour, temporarily blinding the mercenary fighters. In the ensuing confusion the party and the rescued family dashed through the line of guards into the keep as the gates closed.
They were met by Mayor Nighthill. He was suspicious of the party who had rushed in uninvited, but when they explained all that had happened and (TODO: name insert mother) chimed in to confirm the truth of their words, his expression turned to respect and gratitude. He expressed his warm gratitude and begged them to help rescue the town-folk still still stuck outside the keep. He also told them that the evil forces that were attacking the town were led by a woman dressed in purple and that she was aided by several lieutenants all marked out by purple sashes. His commander, a surly dwarf, was not ready to let any soldiers go with the party on the rescue mission, since the keep needed all of them there to defend it. But the mayor offered them all weapons and armour of their choice. Gwendolyn chose a quarterstaff, Tett 4 javelins, Saltar Dhal and Wesley studded leather armour and Kino studded leather armour and a light cross bow. Gwendolyn asked the mayor if he had heard of a monk called Leosin Erlanthar, taking Kino by surprise, as this was the name of the monk he had also been searching. It became clear that he was last known to have been staying at the temple of Chauntea.
At the time of the attack, Clara Swift, Acolyte of Chauntea, was fortunately “visiting someone” in the keep (a statement that made the Mayor uncomfortable). Our heroes were taken to her and she asked them to rescue the priest of Chauntea who she believed to trapped in the temple. As aid for their rescue mission, she offered them 8 potions of healing and blessed Gwendolyn with the protection of Chauntea. She even offered to come with them, but Saltar Dhal would not hear of her taking such a risk when the injured people in the keep clearly needed her aid. He also refused to take more than one potion of healing per person, and the rest of the party agreed. They left their heavy luggage in the keep and followed the governor to the mouth of a secret tunnel that led out of the keep and to the south of the river that flowed through Greenest, because the temple was located close to the exit of the tunnel.
The party bid farewell to the mayor and set out into the darkness, where soon they could hear unsettling noises down the tunnel, unsettling noises quickly revealed to be a large swarm of rats. An epic battle followed, where the fire bolts thrown by Gwendolyn laid waste to the huge swathes of the rat army and saved the party from being gnawed to death. The rest of the rats dispersed and the rescue team moved on, shaken but safe.
They reached the end of the tunnel and Saltar peered out to take in the surroundings. There was a small group of mercenaries, revelling a short way off, but the way to the temple looked deserted and safe. Having scouted the area, they tried to exit, but found the gate rusted shut, but quick-thinking Gwendolyn used mending magic to ease the rusty hinges and the door slid open noiselessly. They cautiously headed down toward the template until they came across some mercenaries banging at the door of a house. Distracted by this sight, Gwendolyn accidentally stepped on a frog, squashing the unfortunate creature. The frog let out a dying croak and the group at the house, the four men turned around at the noise. The group held a quick discussion in whispers and decided to avoid a fight by bluffing. Leaving poor Gwendolyn (who was still weeping quietly at the frog’s untimely demise) behind, the rest of the group headed boldly towards the house. Wesley called out to them to hurry and get back to the camp where the cultists were regrouping. The mercenaries luckily fell for the bluff. Gwendolyn somewhat recovered from her woe rejoined the rest and they stole down to the temple.
About 120 feet from the temple they stopped, seeing a bunch of kobolds and humans at the entrance of the temple. They had a battering ram with them and seemed about to knock in the door that was bolted from inside. The could also hear the noise of other cultists hidden from their view by the temple walls. The man in charge of the charge of storming the temple wore a purple sash. The party held another quick discussion, Saltar was all for another bluff and the others agreed.
Kino bestowed bardic inspiration on Tett and received guidance from Saltar and detaching himself from the group, approached the folks in front of the Temple from a different direction. He ran up to the lieutenant and told him that “she” had ordered the fighters to return with the battering ram to the keep. The lieutenant was very skeptical but Kino was so convincing (roll with guidance 29) that the lieutenant succumbed and even divulged the name of their leader, Frulam. He was under orders to loot the temple and was reluctant to leave it, but in the end he summoned all the other cultists nearby and was soon on his way to the keep. Once the coast was clear, the rest of the team joined Kino in front of the temple and soon convinced the people inside that they weren’t cultists and it was safe to open the doors.
Time was short, so the people grabbed the few things they could, like the body of the priest, and followed the party back to the tunnel and safety. The group of cultists that was attacking the temple seemed to have called everyone they could find to go with them as they left, and so the coast was clear the whole way back, and the rats stayed hidden as the group made its way back up to the keep.
Tett was in the lead, and so it was him that opened the door of the tunnel leading into the keep courtyard, a courtyard full of a battle. There was a group of cultists engaged with the guards, but from ground-level it was not clear what was going or how they got in: the only obvious route, the main gate, was still firmly closed. Escobert somehow managed to notice the new arrivals and point them at the entrance: the cultists had breached the sally port, and the door needed barricading! Even as the group dashed passed the ongoing battle, more cultists came in through the side entrance.
Tett and Saltar ran into the sally port’s room, with Kino close behind. As they entered, it was clear that the keep was not prepared or expecting an attack: it was just a storage room, a storage room with a now-damaged exterior door, through which cultist and 4 kobolds were coming. It didn’t take long for the three to dispatch them, and use the various crates and barrels to keep the door more securely closed.
Meanwhile, Wesley and Gwendolyn were mounting the steps up to the keep wall as quickly as they could, planning to keep any cultists away from the door while the others forced it closed. Of course, the three managing the door were too fast, leaving the other two to help the guards deal with the remaining foes in the courtyard.
With that, the party finally had their first chance to sit down and breath, since they came over the hill and saw the town in flames.