After the full frontal attack on the settlement by The Bloody Hand is defeated, the group’s leader comes over the rear wall flanked on either side by a half dozen floating undead heads.
As the party rush back to engage, the mounted & caged demon child approaches the wall. The settlement’s archers let rip with a volley of arrows but as he dies he screams “Kill each other” & half the battlement’s guards start attacking everyone else.
Doran subdues one but the chaos is distracting from the enemy swarming into the camp from the rear so he rushes to engage them instead.
The ranger Tarbin engages a pair of floating heads, his blows failing to connect again & again so that he can only ward them off for so long until one of them bites a chunk out of his arm.
Saul swings a beautifully accurate blow against a floating head, cutting it cleanly in two, only for the Bloody hand Leader to pin him with an arrow.
Nathaniel throws Magic Missiles ™at the Bloody hand leader before firing his longbow to greatly effect. The Bloody Hand leader aims true & tears a chunk out of one of Nathaniel’s lovely elf ears.
Doran smashes floating heads, one after another, in to gory pizza with his new warhammer.
The Bloody Hand leader & Saul clash in melee, Saul delivering a mighty blow but is cut down but the savagery of his foe.
Doran finds himself face to face with Saul’s foe almost immediately after his compatriot hits the ground but Nathaniel puts an arrow in the Bloody Hand leader’s ear (and out the other) before the dwarf can be bested.
Nathaniel comes to Tarbin’s aid while Doran tries to heal Saul but his clerical magic falls short and Saul remains unconscious.
The battlement soldiers who remained sane finally subdue their frenzied comrades but not before four of their fellows lay dead on the ground. Bound & mad, kicking & screaming they are brought to the Temple Of Repose & given a sleeping broth to calm them down.
Tarbin’s wound is cleaned but he worries about infection & requests he is kept an eye on, just in case…..
The dead are taken care of, the settlement soldiers beheaded and buried, the Bloody Hand beheaded and burned. The demon child’s copse burns for a full day leaving behind blackened bones.
Days pass, wounds are healed & the party find themselves advising a more sombre but more confident settlement.
Everyone is training with weapons while plans are made to take better control of the surrounding plain and forests.
Tarbin supervises the digging of trenches around the walls as Nathaniel explains the manufacture of ballistae.
EVERYONE LEVELS UP!
Finally taking their leave, the party mount up and head in the direction of the city of Ironhold, travelling for days through forests both thick and sparse, coming across the occasional atrocities of war, a burnt out wagon by the side of the road, a hung corpse from a tree….
Tarbin insists on scouting ahead and on the fourth day encounters a scene of evil industry, a group of men cut down trees & load them onto wagons.
Their blue hair & cloaks mark them as agents of the Corrupting Claw, antagonistic allies of the Bloody Hand, but it is the jagged rods & cogs & metal plates inserted into their bodies, that allow them to work with awkward efficiency, that mark them as men to fear…..