Having found the prisoners they sought, the party now needed a plan to help them escape. During the extended deliberations, the choice was somewhat taken from them as guards entered the room full of women and began filing them out. No other information was provided, and apparently the makeshift disguises were good enough to allow the party members to pass as females. Telia hid under the cloak of invisibility. Fass, being the typical mischievous kender, couldn’t help but knockout the one guard in the room as he passed by with a flurry of blows. Luckily, due to the rest of the ongoings, the other guards failed to notice.
After being led out to the main courtyard north of the keep and surrounded by a large platoon of hobgoblins and dragonmen, the women saw the men across the way, and eventually the children emerged along with their ancient dragon-keeper, Flamestrike. The Highlord was also there supervising the activity, along with the menacing younger red dragon, Pyre to enforce any unruliness. Each of the adult groups was divided, the weak and infirm in one group and the able-bodied in another. Thirty or so hobgoblins and Flamestrike led the able-bodied and the children to a path through the woods, not mentioning where they were headed. After a short distance, a plume of smoke followed by a foul stench wafted up the path from the courtyard. The party knew they had left the rest of the slaves to a terrible death, but could now only focus on those nearby. Telia and Sin were able to pick off a couple of the guards unnoticed, but soon, they all found themselves in a clearing. Fass, dressed as a small child, approached Flamestrike to see if he could get some answers. One of the hobgoblins began to man-handle little Fass, and Kyriel took the opportunity to provoke Flamestrike’s maternal instincts by demanding that the guards “DON’T HURT THE CHILDREN!”
Flamestrike took the bait and bite the hobgoblin in two. The party took this as their signal and struck down the captors while the now-former slaves escaped into the woods. The heroes wanted to return and see if there were more survivors, and convinced Flamestrike to accompany them by hiding three of the kids under the cloak of invisibility and telling her they should go look for the three back at the fort. When the seniel motherdragon saw the charred bodies, she became enraged, charged through the fortress devouring scores of dragonmen along the way. The adventurers followed in her wake until finally catching up to her… but still too late. She had come upon the Highlord and Pyre in the throne room, and while she had apparently injured both. But between the two of them, they overpowered, with Pyre snapping her neck with his own vicious bite.
The party jumped right in anyway, and the short but heated battle ended with the Highlord’s soul pulled from his body and Sin slicing the head off of the mighty red dragon. Telia claimed the Highlord’s armor, finding it to be enchanted with some sort of enhancing magic. Fass, unfortunately, found the Highlord’s mace to be cursed and was struck blind upon grasping it. The party seems to have won a great victory, setting free the slaves they were tracking, and delivering a blow to the evil armies that are amassing. Now they must cure Fass and figure out where to go next. The war plans found among the Highlord’s things showed the army encircling the Elven forest… do they head north to assist? Or another direction to lay low? And what to do with the former slaves, if anything? Could Elistan be of any assistance, assuming they are able to find him?