The party found themselves in the bowels of Brinewall castle with Guillaume unconscious and Rehoofa exhausted from carrying him out. Though they had closed the door to the crypt, hopefully sealing Nindinzego inside, the demon-octopus-thing was not sitting quietly. It screamed at the party to come back and die, and then shouted for someone (or something) called Nevkali, screaming that “your god calls you”.
The party decided it was time to get out. Kelda came running up to find them, wondering what all the noise was. Seeing Guillaume on the floor in a puddle of blood and his armor ripped to shreds, she agreed that it was time to get to safety. Using her Rage for the extra strength, she picked up Guillaume while the party picked up their discarded belongings and quickly made their way to the secret passageway they had come in by. They managed to get in and close the door just as a search party came down. While the party hid and stayed quiet, they heard scuffling outside the door, along with a strange, whiny voice saying that there were apparently parts of this castle he hadn’t yet discovered.
The searchers were apparently unable to open the secret door, because no one came in after the party. The party spent a rough night sleeping on the ground of the secret passage, after Rehoofa did a check of Guillaume to confirm he was alive by some miracle, even though his injuries would have killed most men. Kelda, hearing what happened, said that Guillaume must have succumbed to the “blood rage”, a common problem of the men of the Linnorm Kingdoms, where she is from. Her people believe that the blood rage means the gods have chosen you to meet your fate that day. However, where she is from it is common to leave such a man behind during a retreat; after all, the gods only chose those that man to meet his fate, not him and the 3 men it would take to drag him away from the fight. Kelda seemed to approve that the party dragged Guillaume away, however. Perhaps his fate was to live, at least for that day.
Guillaume was first to awaken the next morning, and had a (possibly concussion-related) glimpse of Marcel brushing a long, foxlike tail. Marcel quickly hid his tail and changed the subject. After the rest of the party awoke, Kelda offered a few words of encouragement to Guillaume and the rest of the party. She also gave a rough description of the ogrekin (otherwise known as half-ogres) who had taken her: 2 stupid brothers who had captured her, and their smarter sister, Multildah. Kelda also warned the party about Kikonu, the leader of the Corbies. She said that he was smarter than the rest, and also seemed like something just wasn’t quite right about him. She doesn’t know why Kikonu kept her prisoner instead of killing her, but she had some ideas involving her ogre jailer: new ogrekin have to come from somewhere, after all.
The group discussed their next move, whether to risk going back in through the secret passage or back out the way they’d come in and finding another way in. Plans ranged from scaling the wall to tunneling through it, until Kelda suggested the classic Ulfen tactic: bash down the front door and kill anything that gets in your way. Going with this plan, the party snuck back out the passage and around the castle wall (with a hair-rasing moment when a guard almost spotted them), they got to the front gate. Elsa used a Warp Wood spell to bend the gate off its hinges, opening up the gatehouse, and the breach was on.
Inside the gatehouse were the 2 Ogrekin brothers. Though they were dumb, they were also dangerous: powerful, misshapen muscular creatures wielding spears. On the castle wall, the Corbies were now armed with heavy crossbows, and peppered the party from above. An Unnatural Lust spell from Marcel made one Corby jump off the wall to cuddle up with Elsa for a disturbing few seconds. While that was happening, the party dealt with the ogrekin, Guillaume and Kelda leading the charge. Once the two ogrekin were down, Kelda stayed behind to decapitate them and break open the door to the courtyard, while the rest of the party ran up some stairs to the wall and fight the Corbies. They all took some hits from crossbows and claws. Marcel got slashed up when he had a moment of bravado and tried to take on a Corby on his own. The party also learned that Corbies are unnaturally tough: even when they’ve suffered injuries that should have them bleeding out on the ground, they keep fighting.
With the Corbies down, the party had a few seconds to breathe, but only a few seconds. Rehoofa jumped down off the wall and twisted his ankle when he landed wrong. He caught a brief glimpse of a strange, doll-like creature that looked at him, laughed, and then dashed off almost too quickly to follow. Then he had other problems: a giant spider ran out of the nearby stables, charging him. The party rallied and fought this beast off, but then its master, a human-spider thing no one could identify, ran out to extort some angry justice. This creature was far more dangerous, poisoning both Elsa and Marcel. Guillaume, slowed down both by his heavy armor and from starting up on the wall, arrived halfway through this fight. They finally put the creature down, and it died sobbing that it couldn’t save its pet spider.
The breach of the wall successful, the party took a moment to patch up its wounds, and looked to the main door of the keep. From inside came an odd, terrible singing, like a chorus of crows. They decided to investigate, though Kelda stayed behind: she’d had her blood vengeance, and had no interest in dealing with Kikonu or any of his minions. Leaving Kelda behind as a rear guard, the party entered the keep. That’s when things got weird.
Inside the main door was a large hall, probably used by the castle’s lord for public appearances back before Brinewall fell off the map. The party found it was now some kind of rehearsal room, with 4 Corbies practicing for some kind of musical, headed by a large raven-man, Kikonu, sitting on the small throne at the back. Far from upset that the party was breaking in, Kikonu welcomed the party and asked them to watch rehearsal and give their opinions. Speaking in Varisian (even though the Corbies didn’t understand it), he set the scene: they were crows whose wings had been taken away by humans, and now found the human thieves, the PCs. At Kikonu’s direction, the Corbies attacked. The battle was a tough one, Guilluame and Rehoofa dealing with 3 Corbies at once while a fourth hassled Elsa and Marcel. In the back of the room, Kikonu did not participate in the battle, but continued acting like this was a rehearsal. Apparently acting as the lead singer as well as director, he started singing 2 parts, male and female, with a decent level of skill. He only broke when a troglodyte peeked out of a side room, and ordered the creature away, saying it was not an actor or a singer in this scene.
When the party finally struck down the Corbies, Kikonu became very upset that the party didn’t know how the scene was supposed to go. Saying he was so close to finding “the right sound”, he stomped out, stepping behind the throne. When the party tried to follow, they found nothing: he had disappeared, possibly through another secret passage. The party’s investigations found no passage however.
The party tried to figure out where Kikonu had gone. Finding a heavy iron door in the north part of the chamber, Rehoofa did a search, finding nothing significant. Guillaume did find something though, when he tried to open the door and got a load of bricks dumped on his head from a deadfall cleverly hidden above the door. After Rehoofa picked the lock (requiring several minutes of work), the party progressed onwards, finding shortly that the “haunted” rumors were true: they found a haunted chamber, in which soldiers made of blood appeared, fighting opponents the party couldn’t see. The effects terrified most of the party, sending both Rehoofa and Guillaume running away, while Elsa and Marcel ran in the other direction, further down the passage. They found out why that was a bad idea a moment later, when an undead warrior stepped out of a door, attacking them. Marcel was hit by the creature’s sword, having some of his life-force drained away, and then he succumbed to the fear effect of the haunted room. With Marcel running away and Elsa cornered in a room with no visible exit, things were looking bleak.
The party managed to pull through, however: Guillaume came back, using his tactical training to quickly switch places with Marcel. Meanwhile, Elsa tried out a new spell, Flaming Sphere, on the undead. The creature was very resilient, walking out of the fire and attacking her, but it ultimately fell to the flames.
The party pulled out of the haunted space and investigated the area. The undead creature, identified by Rehoofa as a wight, wore an ornate dragon-decorated helmet that Marcel recognized as the classic headgear of the captain of the Brinewall guards. The wight also had a magic sword that Guillaume was quick to claim. The rooms turned out to be the guard captain’s office and bedroom, which had a few notes giving hints on what had happened in Brinewall decades ago, and an odd key the party found in the ruin of his desk. Guillaume, watching the blood-soldiers fight, could tell that whatever they had been fighting, it was creatures about their own size, using slashing weapons of some sort.
Drained of spells and still fighting the effects of spider venom, the party decided to pull back for the day. They got out without too much trouble, recovering Kelda and going back to the graveyard, finding Spivey and their horses unmolested. Spivey stayed behind, wanting to stay there in case Megus came back. The rest of the group, Kelda included, headed back to the caravan to check on Maia and unload some of their spoils.
We shall see what awaits them there.