Nwalme healed all those needing healing, and once he had rested our intrepid heroes went into the woods looking for the entrance to the escape tunnel.
Just before heading into the woods, a bright light was seen through the windows of one of the tower rooms.
After finding the tunnel in a cave in the woods, Nwalme performed a History on the door. He discovered that the door was alarmed, but the alarm only went off when the door is opened from the outside.
Araphor* tried his Body of Water trick to get to the other side of the door, but the door was 99.99% water-tight. It would have taken him several hours to drip through the door.
Smial took a closer look at the door and figured out how the alarm mechanism worked. Armed with that knowledge and his prodigious strength, Thaliondor* was able to open the door without setting it off.
The party then carefully made its down the corridor. It ended at the bottom of a well, which they stealthily climbed, only to find that the keep was now empty.
Smial opened the gate to let in the squad of soldiers. Rene made sure that the scorpios were no longer pointed toward friendly soldiers.
Guthwyn then tried to unlock the door to the keep, unsuccessfully. Luckily Rene was nearby and was able to open it. Rene then repeated re-aiming the scorpios on the top of the keep, while the others explored. The only thing of interest they found was a circle of a red-brown material (clearly, blood) drawn on the floor, with several large candles around its edge.
Nwalme uses Mage Sight to see that the circle is still magical, and the magic has a vile feel to it.
Nwalme performed a History on this room and determined that the circle was used as a portal for the Usurper and his men to get away. Casting a Seeker with the some of the blood on the floor, Nwalme was able to determine that the Mouth of the Usurper (High King) was about 800 miles away.
Guthwyn and Thaliondor prepare to use to use the dread portal, but before they get too far along the Empress’ retinue arrives. Nwalme uses Telepathy to talk to her privately. She says to not do anything until she gets up into the keep.
She soon arrives with an additional squad of ten or so soldiers, including several women and a couple of hobbits. She then asks if everyone is ready to go with her to take care of the Usurper. Her aide is pleased when several of our heroes express displeasure at the thought of her putting herself into the reach of the Usurper once more.
She very firmly insists on taking care of the Usurper once and for all.
The party activates and passes through the gateway, and finds itself in the ruins of an ancient tower in Mordor. Those with magical abilities find that the mana levels are ultra high. The party spreads out, looking for the trail of the evil-doers.