Gloriana

Escape from Dunlan Keep

Dunlan blood flowed throughout the highest room of the Great Tower. On the walls below, mercenaries of Wolf Company surged towards the doors, battering them with mailed fists. The house guard promised to hold them off while our heroes made their escape. News of Cedric’s death began to spread—hope flickered and died. It was time to leave Dunlan Keep, through the childhood escape route Jurian had told his adopted brother, Tavion.

Our heroes lowered ropes and squeezed through a poorly crafted arrow slit. They would have to move swiftly, lest mercenary archers sight them. Bromin took the first leap. Sighting an outbuilding attached to the keep far below, he plunged from the tower. Something went wrong on the way down and he botched the landing—instead of lighting on his feet, he smashed straight through the roof and into the latrine below.

A dull, booming voice echoed from around the corner. “Boss? Izzat you boss? You want i should still be keeping him in the box?” Puzzled, our heroes wove an illusion to conceal their presence from the stranger—a lone house guard with a dull expression in an ill-fitting uniform. The floor of the keep shook with his each step. Something was not right with the man.

One by one our heroes descended from the tower into the lowest floor of the keep. They could hear the fighting on the walls above them, but wanted to investigate this matter first. Aided by Morel’s trickster magic, they impersonated Sheevra’s voice. Sure enough, the guard was placed there by her command, watching something in a box. When they asked him to bring them the box, he walked into the castle dungeon, seized the walls and strove to rip them from the keep. Not the cleverest of individuals, and almost certainly under a spell of some sort.

The voice of “Sheevra” asked the guard to come out and assist. He emerged around the corner, straight into the waiting blades and bolts of Tavion and Morel. As he plunged to the ground, the spell enshrouding his true form withered away. His face bulged and his arms swelled until he filled the entire hallway—an ogre, concealed by magic.

In the chamber beyond, they found Jurian Dunlan, Heir of Dunlan Fief, locked in the dungeon. The ogre had the key, and so they loosed him. Jurian embraced his brother and shared his story—shortly after Tyrandriel freed his father Cedric from cursed sleep, Sheevra entered the castle and placed an enchantment on father and son alike. Jurian was entranced and locked in the dungeon, and the witch plucked a hair from his head to use as a component in a spell to steal his guise. Then she left the ogre to guard him while she set about staging a rebellion.

There was no time to learn more—doors splintered above them. Soon Dunlan Keep would be lost. Wielding magic once again to hide their presence, the companions gathered together for a last burst of speed. They broke from the castle and fled straight east, but an enemy encampment lay in their path. Bromin strode forth to convince them that they were fellow mercenaries—but a bruised and hungover sellsword stood up. He remembered the dwarf from the night that their payroll went missing. Swords scraped in their scabbards and arrows clung to bowstrings. The only way out was through blood and steel.

Desperate battle rang out. The companions put warrior after warrior to the sword, but more kept coming, and soon our heroes were covered in wounds of their own. As they finally emerged triumphant, trumpets and cries emanated from behind them—reinforcements from Wolf Company. Arrows rained down around them as they fled the field of battle, barely evading the vengeful spears of their enemies with Jurian and Sheevra in tow.

Gaemund crept through the streets of Dunlan Fief to the inn where they’d left the cart and faithful Eklos. Hooded and moving between patrols, they snuck through town and reunited with the rest of the companions. Now that Dunlan Fief was lost, the party had to make two important decisions—where to go next, and what to do with the murderous witch, Sheevra!

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