Araphor casts an Ice Slick, creating the ice just inside the unlocked front door. A hobbit is posted to be responsible for closing the door as necessary. Meanwhile, Nwalme-Anna establishes illusions covering the upper floor’s windows and the back door (which is also heavily bolted and secured). The party then gets into position: Thaliondor and Guthwyn opposite the door, crossbow and bow at the ready; Rene and Araphor to either side of the door, swords drawn; Nwalme just to one side of and behind the archers, fingers itching. Hobbit crossbowmen are posted at all upstairs windows.
Soon enough, the guardsmen with their two dread lieutenants arrive. One lieutenant pounds on the door, yelling, “Open in the name of the Empress!”. The party silently waits a moment or two, and the guardsmen burst in through the unlocked door. The first slides a bit on the ice, but keeps his feet, ending up just on the other side of the slick. The second is not so fortunate, and ends up on his back on the ice. The third to enter is one of the lieutenants. He manages to keep his feet and remains standing on the ice, over the fallen guardsman.
The party reacts swiftly. With two strokes each, Araphor fells the first guard, while Rene severs the lieutenant’s sword arm at the elbow. Thaliondor and Guthwyn place a pair of missiles solidly into the lieutenant’s chest as well, sending him falling back out the door. Nwalme takes a moment to charge up his wand with a Strike Blind curse, even as three guards in the street fall dead to the ground, quarrels through their foreheads courtesy of the hobbits on the upper floor.
The upper hand is short-lived, however, as Rene suddenly slumps to the ground, blood spurting from his side. Araphor and Guthwyn (now armed with sword rather than bow) rush to his side. Araphor escapes the grappling attempt of the downed guard and recovers the anti-Nazgul sword from the ground, taking a blow from the invisible attacker in the process. Meanwhile Guthwyn swings into air, managing to connect with something that parries her blow, and calling for Nwalme to “light him up” as they had done with the barrow-wight weeks ago. Nwalme proceeds to create an illusion around the invisible attacker, and Guthwyn has at him with a will. The assailant, however, is more interested in Araphor and strikes him a couple more times, sending the ranger reeling across the room, struggling to stay both conscious and alive. Thaliondor and the hobbit, meanwhile, dispatch the last guardsman inside, shutting the door and leaving no hostiles other than the invisible one in the room.
In the background, muffled shouts of “Open in the name of the Empress” are heard from the rear, and there are reports of the building being set ablaze back there, but the party is absorbed by the threat in their midst, paying it little attention.
Guthwyn and the mostly-invisible foe continue to square off as Nwalme moves to heal Araphor. More guards push the front door open, despite the hobbit’s efforts to jam it, but Thaliondor downs one and sends the rest scurrying with a well-placed blow and a loudly-voiced threat.
He does, in the process, note something odd about the other lieutenant… how he looks like the “dead” lieutenant, but not quite exactly… and [I think] this lieutenant somehow ends up falling over to the ground, without any help from Thaliondor…)
The mostly-invisible man leaps over Rene’s body to stand on the lower part of the staircase, continuing to battle Guthwyn. Behind her, Rene rises to his feet, somewhat restored by Nwalme’s healing magicks. A hobbit descends the stairs, announcing that there are no more targets visible outside. Then he notices Guthwyn fighting an odd smoky wisp, and she shouts to him that there’s a Nazgul in front of him.
Before the hobbit can do much more than gawk, the wraithlike foe realizes that the battle is no longer in his favor, and turns, fleeing toward the back of the building. Thaliondor and Guthwyn quickly pursue him, Rene pausing only to fetch the anti-Nazgul sword from Araphor on his way to join them. They reach him as he is halfway through unbolting the back (very warm) door. They lay into him, but he surprises them by voicing his surrender. Thaliondor demands he give up the Ring he is obviously wearing. The foe further surprises everyone by doing so, saying “You take it, brother” as he hands it over to Thaliondor. As he becomes fully visible, they recognize him as the “dead” lieutenant.
Guthwyn, caught up in battle, ignores his surrender, and he defends himself, having failed to give up his sword along with the Ring. Rene, shocked to see the dead lieutenant, but even more shocked to see the Ring put into Thaliondor’s hands, smacks at said hands with the flat of his blade. Thaliondor fades from view for a split second before the smack of the blade forces the Ring back off of his finger, but not out of his grasp…