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The onrushing guards encounter a sleep spell followed by a volley of arrow fire. The survivors are bound and offered a choice – death with the old regime or an opportunity to be part of something new, and remain breathing. The sergeant is a wise man and accepts his promotion. He tries to negotiate with the captain and the rest of the guards, but the captain is not as wise as his sergenat and within moments he is no longer among the living.
The party rushes the Duke’s bedroom, surprising his wife – who faints at the sight of a bloody band holding the severed head of the Duke. They bind her and toss the bedroom, then venture downstairs to confront the rest of the guards – Goldpiece (disguised as Miles) holds the duke’s head in one hand and the captain’s head in the other. Resistance in the Duke’s compound melts away.
Next, the intrepid regimistas take on the quartet of towers that guard the bridge by which Miles’ troops plan to enter the city.
Parely is attempted, then a fireball is used to punctuate the proceedings. Once the cries of the flaming troops are heard echoing across the water, the rest of the Duke’s forces capitulate.

Miles and his forces enter the city and take control of the gates. The city guard helps out and the members of the wool merchant’s guild try to help identify members of the cabal that was attempting to control the city. It becomes increasingly clear that this is all part of an elaborate plot to return the entire region tot he control of the Horned One.

A journey to Botkinburg and consultation with the mage allows the group to glean information about the axe carried by the Duke. It is clearly a tool of evil, and the group learns that it originated in a place called Festung Akt, a fortress somewhere in the blighted landscape that lies beyond Ludensheim. Equally alarming is the prospect of further raids from the Blacktooth Ridge. The group is concerned that Mile’s grasp on the region may be dislodged by an attack from the ridge while the group is away, so they decide to investigate and lead a punitive expedition.

The journey is largely uneventful and eventually the party enters a complex of tunnels and begins to investigate…

Drawing on the information made available to the group by Miles and the gnomes, the group knows that there are people inside Ludensheim that are ready to see the end of the Duke’s reign. They journey through the town and see the sights, few that they are. They make note of the upgraded silk merchant’s guildhall and eventually make contact with both the leader of the civil guard and the head of the wool merchant’s guild. They manage to convince each one of the veracity of the charges laid against the Duke and his legs.
Alas, though the group has a wide range of popular support, they lack a fighting force upon which they can depend. A plan is concocted and a few days of information gathering are undertaken. Eventually, while allies in the city set fire to a silk warehouse and create a diversion, the group scales the walls of the central keep and gains entrance to the central tower. Shielded by invisibility, all goes well until there is a chance contact between party member and a guardsman.
Moving rapidly away from the scene of the confrontation, party members quickly explore a few rooms and decide they need to double back. Abandoning caution, they charge the main guardroom and smash through a door to gain access to a central staircase. As the alarm rings out all around them, they swiftly climb and manage to surprise the Duke and an assistant in a study.
The still-invisible group charges the assistant and hacks him to bits – everyone knows old men with staves are far more dangerous than they would appear. They then turn to do battle with the duke and despite some ferocious blows delivered by the Duke’s axe, the group is triumphant,
A quick debate ensues about the possible courses of action that may be taken – it has to be quick because there are indications that reinforcements are on the way to the ducal chambers.

The group departs the region and journeys back to Impiltur to settle accounts with the church and dispose of some items collected. Papers and scrolls are read and analyzed, and it becomes clear that the spider silk operation is being used to generate money to fund the infiltration of the region by the forces of the Horned One.

The cleric gets advice from the church: “get back out there and uproot the evil, root and branch”, so the group saddles up and travels back to the region. Along the way they make contact with Miles and his band, as well as the gnomes of the region. Both agree to help the group with securing the pyramid and establishing a base of operations. Eventually the goal is to restore Miles to his rightful position as the ruler of Ludensheim.

The journey is mostly uneventful, but upon arrival they are attacked by a huge spider. The beast is defeated and the group goes to explore the ziggurat, They find it and the nearby buildings are largely abandoned, and there is little left to plunder. Additional papers are found that further implicate the silk merchant’s guild in the overall trouble in the region.

The group sets up a small defensive force and sends runners to Miles to move the bulk of his ‘troops’ into position so they can secure Ludensheim, should the party be successful in their attempt to overthrow the usurper.

On the morrow, they will ride to Ludensheim and start the process of regime change.

The priest of Torm assembles a new group, drawing on his contacts in the church and with the assistance of Malchor, they are returned to full strength. The long journey to the Barony of Botkinburg is accomplished with a minimum of fuss, and the group manages to obtain a couple of potions they hope will aid in the defeat of the Witch Queen. Which queen? Witch Queen!

All made invisible by Malchor, they manage to find the secret entrance to the lower levels, after narrowly avoiding an encounter with some robe-clad humans that have some sort of discussion in the courtyard before heading off in the direction of Ludensheim. The entrance is opened and the trap is disarmed.

Once inside they seek out the lower level of the place and (after suitable magical preparations) quickly make their way to the throne room, where it appears that the queen has been expecting them. The ogres have been upgraded to trols and there is a squad of 20 uber-orc warriors standing by as the cleric and company roll in.

The cleric gains the initiative and promptly hurls one potion at the throne where it incinerates two of the trolls and the concussive blast sets much of the contents of the room to smoldering, As the first fireball is lifting towards the roof, he follows up with a blast of fiery breath courtesy of the second potion – and manages to take out the remaining trolls and damage the now airborne witch. Malchor’s magic missiles ends her ascent and the sight of the falling queen and the roasting trolls breaks the orcish morale and the squad flees in panic.

The group takes advantage of the confusion to quickly exit the complex and hide in the woods. The ranger is left behind to spy invisibly upon the area while the rest of the group recovers. They wait a few hours and regain spells. The group assembles near the pyramid of death and the wily elf dons a hat of disguises. Based on the description provided by the only person to have seen the Witch Queen and lived, the elf mimics her and the group boldly approaches the main avenue. This causes much consternation, but there is enough uncertainty that they manage to ascend the step pyramid and bypass the guards.

They seek the lower levels and spend time investigating and plundering and killing the few things they encounter, though there aren’t many minions willing to directly challenge the Witch Queen no matter if she isn’t quite like herself, They haul their loot stash to the top of the pyramid and post guards while they rest and sort out what they have plundered. The ranger tells them of the exodus of bolts of silk from the weaver’s quarters and how they were carried towards the city of Ludensheim. When the dawn comes, the question is raised again…now what?

The group rallies and enlists one of Miles’ men and retraces their steps to the lair of the ‘witch queen’. They are all invisible thanks to the efforts of The Malformed and manage to navigate the steps to the 5th level of the zighurat. They begin searching for the concealed door that they know is present, but are unable to find it until the changing guard shift alerts them to it by exiting in the midst of the party. This begins a running battle that carries into the zighurat, and attracts the attention of the crowd in the town square. Eventually, the guards are slain, but the alarm has been raised.
The group swiftly returns to the area where the crystal vial of fire claimed the life of Kruss and explores further. A guardpost is explored and a grand meeting hall, and a curious sheet of darkness. Dudley and Thunderbear investigate, carrying the last firevial. Inside is a large audience hall, dominated by a large cauldron and a throne, flanked bya pair of large ogres, or perhaps small giants. As Dudley prepares for battle, the witch speaks a word of evil and sprouts demon wings. Thunderbear steps up to hurl the globe and promptly drops it at his feet. The ensuing explosion slays Dudley and severely wounds the barbarian, who falls victim to a command spell and is slain.
The scene that confronts the Torm cleric is grim indeed. He assesses the scene and decides a retreatbis prudent. The group escapes despite an organized pursuit and returns to Botkinsburg. They debrief the Baron, then obtain an escort to the coast road. The journey north is uneventful, and they sell the barbarian’s horses and book passage back to Impiltur.
The next few months are full of travel and settling of debts. They obtain the services of another Tormite paladin at the request of the cleric, and pick up an elf fighter through one of Malchor’s contacts.
The group plots another foray against the witch queen, and perhaps this one won’t be marred by such horrific luck.

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