The party was set up at the base of the cliffs of Ravenscraeg, waiting on Spivey to return from reconnaissance. The little azata did come back, but with an escort: a large flock of ravens that were chasing her in a cloud of feathers and talons.
The party drew their weapons and went on defense. Grigori tried talking to the ravens, but was only answered with screams that “the master” had demanded the intruders be driven out.
The birds pecked and scratched wildly at everything, going for the party’s eyes. Weapons were only somewhat effective against the cloud of birds. Spivey drove off some of them with a burst of holy light from her body, but even that wasn’t very effective. Elsa summoned a swarm of bats for backup, which worked a little too well: she was unable to control the swarm after summoning it, so after the bats overwhelmed the ravens, the party found itself fighting bats.
The bats dispersed shortly after Elsa stopped concentrating on the spell, thankfully. Nursing raven scratches and bat bites, the party healed up and listened to Spivey’s story: she had gotten a look around, but the cloud of ravens that flew around Ravenscraeg had attacked her, led by a large raven with a red feather in its breast. She was able to outrun most of the ravens, but the last flock had been more stubborn.
With the ravens driving her off, Spivey hadn’t been able to find any sort of back entrance to the hall. Which left the rickety staircase as the only known way into Ravenscraeg. The party waited for daybreak, and started up the stairs. The party tied Ulf up with a fake knot he could slip out of, to keep up their ruse of bringing him in as the prisoner with the party as his escorts. Spivey rode in Elsa’s backpack, while Marcel volunteered to stay behind and cover the horses, at least until the rest of the group had seen what the stairs were like.
The stairs proved quite perilous. Not only were they rickety and loose, they weren’t empty. The party ran into a vicious, poisonous creature called a Spider Eater, which beat them around quite a bit. The party wasn’t able to kill the creature, merely drive it off.
Near the top of the stairs, the party found Ravenscraeg’s first real defenders: a small group of tengu, trained as ninjas. The tengu struck quickly and viciously, using poisoned weapons and ninja tricks to evade and sneak attack the party. One of the tengu managed to throw Grigori off the stairs, but a Feather Fall spell saved his life. The party won when the tengu ran out of ninja trickery and Rehoofa and Elsa were finally able to nail them down. Two of the ninjas were sent flying off the stairs, while another was left dead on a landing.
The party took a moment to loot the dead and then moved on. They got to the top of the stairs, where they found the door into the hall barred from the inside. Elsa used a Spider Climb spell to investigate other ways to get inside. She found that the windows were narrow arrow slits, too small for the party to squeeze through. She also found the hall had a tower in the back, extending up towards the sky and its flocks of ravens. There were some smoke holes in the roof of the hall, letting out the smoke of cookfires. Those were big enough for Elsa to fit through.
Elsa investigated the holes, but she had already been found: swarms of ravens were descending on her and the party. She tried to escape into the hall, but the ravens just followed her in. Meanwhile, more ravens were attacking the party outside the hall’s doors.
Grigori tried to force the doors open, but just succeeded in bruising his shoulder. Elsa managed to get to the door and un-bar it, letting the party push their way inside. Together, they managed to fight off the ravens, but Ulf was injured. His eyes scratched up by ravens, he was blinded.
It was about then that Elsa realized she could have just sent Spivey to look around, instead of splitting up the party. Spivey, for her part, was happy to not have been sent out alone again.
The party didn’t have time to second-guess itself, or even help Ulf, as a door opened and thugs came out, investigating what had brought in all the ravens. The party’s attempted ruse, of escorting a prisoner, quickly fell apart when one of the thugs asked them for the secret sign.
The party fought, a Web spell from Grigori tying up many of the thugs and burning them when the web caught a cookfire. It also slowed down the party, leaving Elsa randomly opening doors while she waited for the web to burn away. She found some empty guard rooms, now being used to hold rubble.
Many arrows from Rehoofa, a lot of slashing from Elsa, and a lucky hit from the blind Ulf wore down the thugs, sending most of them running. One of them managed to escape, dashing to an upper level of the hall and vanishing.
Now the party is left in Ravenscraeg, having gained a foothold in the hall, but wondering what is waiting for them further inside.