Yep. I got my axes back. I'm really glad that I don't have to fight to get them back. Traveling through the town, I notice that the folk here are rather disturbed by the sight of us. I'm able to pick up snippets of their conversations, and none of it is reassuring – none of them are very happy about what's going on. I would even consider them to be restless.
Three of our number are still in chains and the guards split them off to the dungeons, I hope.. The rest of us are taken to the throne room. There he is. The King. The greatest Mystic Theurge in the lands.
Except… He… doesn't look so good.
I'll admit, I'm not paying much attention, but there's something bothering me on a fundamental level here. I'll have to pay more attention when we return, as we've been granted a brief respite.
In the room we're given, there's all manner of interesting things. Archimonde is particularly interested in a teapot that serves tea. Our rogue lass befriends an animated footstool. I ignore all these things and listen carefully to make sure we're alone. Convinced that we are, I consult Archimonde about the lass that was demanded in exchange for our companions. He does confirm that she's with Hana, but we're intelligent enough to use a code – I confirmed with him that the lass is with my most recent trophy, a trophy that Hana is turning into a bed for us.
Back in the throne room, some hours later, Archimonde is trying to negotiate with this woman. I'm willing to go with Archimonde on just about any occasion, but I've spotted something that the others have missed – there's a guy in the corner that's trying to be inconspicuous… and failing.
Seeing where this is all going, I point out this anomaly in the corner and demand an answer from the woman. Yeah. She wasn't expecting that. Illy rages into her bear-form and charges the woman. That's when it all hits the fan, so to speak.
The woman casts some spell, holding Illy. Archimonde counter-casts. I move into position behind the woman, flanking with Illy. I don't know that she needed me. This woman is just ravaged by the bear. The woman casts a spell, and a spirit appears. I can't make it out from my angle, but it hugs the bear, which shifts back into Illy. Mid must've done something to the specter, as it vanishes into ash. That's when I slash my way into the woman's back, connecting the wounds made by Illy.
I knew I had done a savage amount of damage, but I didn't expect… wait… this happened before… with the cultists! Her corpse exploded leaving behind only her robes and a mist of blood.
Next thing I know, Archimonde is atop Takeo and charging past me. He's probably going off to kill that rogue. I'll have to see if there's anything left for me to kill…. nope. Looks like the rogue fell to a pair of arrows.
With the death of the cultists, Archimonde and Mid heal up the king. He spends some time chatting with Archimonde, then starts blessing/enchanting the rogue lass' footstool… I guess… okay… maybe she could ride it like a mount? Maybe? I'm thinking it's just a pet.
There's discussion all around. Archimonde pulls his last two flowers out and sings with them. Vertanion – that's the king's name. He takes Archimonde off to get him some enchanted and blessed water.
At the end of all the discussion, Vertanion approaches me and asks for a favor. He wants me to watch over him as he attempts to purge himself of all external influence. If he should become a danger to others, I am to end his life.
Archimonde and I both accompany him to his chambers. Archimonde plays one of his tunes, and I take a stance on his other side. Very thankfully, he is successful and we aren't needed to perform the tasks handed to us.
We rest for the night, and tomorrow we set out do destroy the wall.
In the morning, Vertanion summons a Hero's Feast. It's somehow better than my Ultimate Sandwich!
Afterwards, we teleport to our clearing in the forest. I meet up with Hana, and after a vigorous round of "welcoming back" I talk to her about being my companion. Apparently, she's just been waiting for me to ask!
It takes the day to rally our forces, and in the morning we partake of another Hero's Feast before teleporting to the wall. Vertanion consecrates the ground and builds a shrine to Corelon Lorethion. Archimonde travels to his grove, and prays, granting us a major morale bonus. Even I take a knee and pray to Moradin. All that is left is to start our assault.
Tactics are discussed, spells are cast, positions are taken. Then it begins.