Nwalme leveraged the power of ritual magic to cast a couple of healing spells on himself to recover from the horrific damage that he took fighting the Blue Wizard one-on-one. It was strange to see him do that with thirty-two willing helpers over ten minutes or so, but the results speak for themselves.
He also studied the new magical staff that he now controls.
- Scuttle the boats to block the mouth of the river
- March the prisoners and ex-slaves to the main encampment to see who can be trusted and incorporated into the Empire’s forces
- Leave a squad at this location to control the area
After deciding that the enemy’s camp north of the eastern-most castle is probably where the invisible boats are going, our heroes head in that direction with a small rag-tag crew: the party, two Rohirrim, and a pair of hobbits. They set off over untamed lands, two and a half days of travel across rough and hilly terrain.
Also during this trip, Bo practiced with his new bow and new short sword as often as he could to become as proficient as possible in the short time that they had traveling.
At the end of the second day, the party was ten miles away from the castle and they made the decision to ride through the night. Around midnight, runes on the staff began to glow. The party prepared for the worst. StrongWülf was sure that the wizard was approaching and planned to kill them all. Nwalme cast History on the staff to try to understand what the glowing runes meant, and realized that unfortunately a spell was being cast from the staff. As he wasn’t doing it, that only left the wizard. Using Identity, he realized that the spell was a Seeker and assumed that the maia was trying to find them.
At this point, the party got close enough to see that the castle’s moat was now quickly moving around it, even flowing uphill at points. They surmised that that much water moving that unnaturally must mean that the wizard and his elves were behind it. Nwalme cast Seeker and found that the Empress was on top of the castle’s tower.
As the party watched, it was clear that the number of people atop the wall was dwindling, soldiers disappearing back into the castle. We rode closer, so that Nwalme could Teleport inside to get the staff to the Empress. He failed initially, but only partially so. He didn’t teleport to the Empress, but he did appear a half a mile away from the castle, deeper into the forest, within fifty yards of some dark elves performing a magic ritual. He used spells inherent in the staff to disrupt things briefly until he could Teleport to the Empress, completely draining the staff’s powerstone in the process.
While he was gone, the party met up with some of the elvish forces from the Greenwood that were camped at the castle. Guthwyn had the brilliant (actually brilliant — not just clever for Guthwyn) idea of using the bridge stones to cross the newly created moat. She set up one stone and had Araphor throw the other across the moat. When the bridge went up, the party found that the mystic bridges only worked over slowly moving water. The moat was moving too quickly. But soon, Nwalme’s disruption of the ritual slowed the water enough that a mystic bridge was enough to get Guthwyn, Bo, StrongWülf, and Araphor across, as well as a small patrol of six elves. Arod was the only horse able to cross with them.
The party’s old friend, Thaliondor* was there with the Empress’ guard. Behind them, the moat began to speed up again, leaving elves on both sides to try to build a normal bridge to cross in a more mundane way.