After the party prevented the summoning of the Demon Lord and defeated the combined forces of evil; the three surviving Parthian soldiers were taken captive. These men quickly laid down their arms and began to help the castle staff pile the fallen bodies on a pyre in the central courtyard. During this time, Warrick announced that he wished to claim the castle and surrounding lands. Varanis responded with a concern that Falling Water and the Crystal Lake regions were in growing peril and he needed to return soon to provide aid in their defense. Next, the party decided to free the slaves in the iron mines below the castle, and Varanis saw to that task. One of the captive Parthians mentioned that there was a “master’s vault” in those mines that was protected by a magically enchanted door. Meanwhile, Warrick entered the castle’s gatehouse to speak with the trapped fire breathing dragon. He tried speaking several languages but got no response. As clean up finished for the night, Varanis lead Narthairian and the three Partians through the mines to the vault’s door before they escorted the prisoners out of the mines and granted them freedom to return to Parthia. The whole process took hours and afterward the party members collapsed in Castle d’Montfort’s comfortable beds to rest for the night.
Townsfolk had arrived outside the raised drawbridge, plus the dragon in the gatehouse was making quite a commotion. The party, minus Narthairian, who was putting on armor, and Childris, who was sleeping like a baby, went to the top of the gatehouse and Warrick addressed the half-dozen townsfolk. He declared that LeMoges, the former ruler of the castle was slain and that he would be assuming leadership of the castle. Warrick then told them to return to the town for now and he would visit them later in the day. As the short conversation with the townsfolk completed, sounds of chains being tested could be heard below where the dragon was kept. Then the distinctive sound of a chain snapping was heard and the party prepared for the inevitable battle with the beast. The ensuing conflict went relatively quickly. The dragon was able to deliver a few breath weapon attacks and then an enlarged, strengthened Narthairian smote to the beast and the battle ended. As Narthairian dragged the lizard out of its prison; it was almost twelve feet long with a tail equally long. A set of small wings was attached to the red scaled monster believed by the party to be a dragon, though actually a drake. Following the battle, the castle portcullis was raised and the drawbridge lowered. The large “dragon” was placed on display outside the castle’s entrance for all to see. The next part of the morning was taken up with Warrick reviewing the castle’s staff. The steward of the castle was a man named Albert and there were a dozen other servants. As this was not sufficient to protect the castle, Warrick asked Childris to head down the town and recruit a score of capable men to be trained by Childris to become the castle’s guards.
As the sun rose to mid-day, the party descended into the mines to explore the vault. As the party examined the door, Warrick announced that eight magical traps were permanently placed on the door. Additionally, Varanis used his Sift spell to examine the “mouths” of the demon faces carved into the door. He deduced which demon face contained the latch to open the door, though it was guarded by a sharp needle-like trap. Grom worked on disabling a spear or metal rod trap that surrounded the entrance to the door. Next the party worked together to suppress the magical traps, bypass the needle trap and open the door. Everything went well, except the metal rod trap triggered when the door was opened and created a web-like mesh of metal, trapping Grom in the vault’s entrance. Since time was critical, Warrick cast Ice Storm to damage and weaken the iron rods, and then Narthairian stepped up and bashed the frozen metal creating a squeezable entrance for the party. Grom used one of his non-magical short swords to jam in the door’s hinge to slow its closing, but the metal sword was giving way. The party was able to join Grom in the hallway beyond the door just as the short sword snapped and the door closed. Unfortunately for the party, the magical suppression ended at that moment and the magical traps discharged, leaving everyone except Grom in the dark. The party worked their way through the magical darkness to the vault’s chamber at the end of the hallway while an earthen creature attacked them from within the walls. The earth elemental was defeated and the party investigated the room. They were surprised to find all the furniture from the manor house down by the river and near Warrick’s mother’s crypt carefully stored in one corner. They also found a d’Montfort family banner. As the party waited for the trapped spells to end, they pillaged the vault, leaving only the furniture and an alchemist’s workstation. Once the darkness in the hall subsided, the party ventured out learning that opening the door from the inside does not trigger the traps on the outside. They returned to the main keep and Warrick raised the d’Montfort banner over the castle. A distant sound of cheering could be heard from the village nearby. That evening, Warrick purchased food and drink for a feast at the village and the townsfolk partied in honor of their release from Parthian cruelty and the return of the d’Montfort family. When Warrick spotted the old couple who had been tending to the manor house near his mother’s crypt, he asked if they would be willing to move in to the house and continue its care. The wife fainted when hearing the offer and when she recovered, they both readily agreed. Next on Warrick’s list was to investigate where Childris’ mother was buried and ask Childris where he would like her remains moved to, if at all. Finally, Warrick asked Narthairian to return to the Crusader’s chapel and see that is met the standards of the Crusaders. Then Warrick would open the chapel to the townsfolk to visit and pray.
Warrick sent a runner to Moravia’s ruler, the Margrave in Ohmsford Castle, asking for permission to be granted the title and position to rule over his family’s castle.
Draymont 25 to 26.
Warrick began having nightmares that left him with the sensation of searing heat, the sound of cackling laughter, and the horrible smell of brimstone. Varanis examined the horn he acquired in the battle in the castle’s great hall.
Around mid-day; a well-dressed man in dark clothes giving his name as “Sir Kabik”, along with a well outfitted lieutenant and four men-at-arms arrived at Castle Montford to speak with Warrick. The man in the dark clothes came across as very condescending and informed Warrick that the Margrave commanded his audience at Ohmsford Castle within a forte night. Varanis brought up the pressing need to return to Crystal Lake again, but was willing to travel with the party since Ohmsford Castle was not a major detour from his route home.
The party headed out, leaving Childris to continue training the castle’s defenders. Four soldiers were selected to join the party as guards for Warrick. Mid-afternoon, the party followed the main road to Ohmsford Castle and encountered three men trying to repair a broken wheel on a covered wagon. Suspicion arose, and Varanis rode ahead to investigate while the remainder of the party held back. It turned out to be a trap. Bandits rode into the open and tried to align their horses for a charge, but Warrick unleashed a ball of fire that engulfed and incinerated five of the six riders and their mounts thereby breaking the morale of the remaining ambushers. Grom and Narthairian chased off some archers that were trying to position themselves in the nearby tree line while Varanis rode down the last mounted attacker. Warrick ordered the four d’Montfort soldiers to ride forward and capture one of the “peasants” that were working on the wagon. Varanis’ foe turned and attacked and in the fight, Varanis landed a powerful blow that knocked the man off his horse. The man’s neck snapped when he fell under the horse’s hooves, killing him outright. The four guards captured the man who led the wheel repair on the wagon. Narthairian, on Thunder, looked down at the man and firmly demanded that he identify who was behind this attack. The prisoner collapsed to his knees and began begging for mercy and pleading innocence. Not buying the act, Varanis stepped forth and began to interrogate the suspected bandit. But, the man only continued to cry and cower. Frustrated, Varanis returned to his mount to get some rope to tie up the man. Seeing an opportunity, Grom moved in close to the man and tried to intimidate him with threats. It was then that Grom noticed the sobbing captive reaching for Grom’s short sword. Reacting quickly, Grom drew his magical blade and placed it at the man’s throat. This must have been the straw that broke the bandit’s resolve, because he began sputtering how he was hired to help ambush a traveler on this road. And that their leader was immolated in the fiery burst from Warrick’s magic. Answers began to flow from this bandit and he identified a citizen who frequents the court of Castle Ohmsford, named Monchak, as the one who hired the bandits. He went on to say that the twenty bandits had a camp near the next village, a few miles down the road.
With this information the party set out for the bandit camp with haste. The bandit was tied up and draped him over the extra horse that Varanis brought back. As the party approached the campsite, two archers were spotted climbing down from the trees; several wagons were in the camp with women and children about. The archers made their way to the horses, but began arguing with each other about who should ride. Narthairian rode swiftly into the center of the camp and demanded everyone stop what they were doing. Varanis, circled around to where the two archers were and made sure neither escaped. After some dialog with the bandit leader’s companion and then another woman, the story from the first bandit was confirmed. Additionally it was learned that one of the archer bandit witnessed the exchange of orders and coin between Monchak and the deceased bandit leader. The party made a bargain with the bandits; that none shall be put to justice, but that the archer bandit would be taken in to custody while the captured bandit shall be freed. Narthairian closed with offering the faith in the Church of the Trinity to help straighten their lives from the ways of crime.