Having just met the enemy in the crypts of the Old Deadeye Temple, the gang decides to clear the top level of the church first so that no enemies get in behind them. Crimson once again Portals his hand through the door and quietly opens it. Pierce once again avows all pretense of stealth and stomps of the stairs to yell ultimatums of surrender. Three fake devilkin and the old mangy dog, Scabby are very impressed with Pierce’s suggestion, but one of the devilkin who had means and opportunity decided to fire a crossbow bolt at Rustscale. Rustscale is good about following Pierce’s lead and letting folks surrender without bloodshed, that is, until someone shoots at him with pointy things. With a whoosh of wings, Rustscale covers the distance across the open church, lands on the table and completely shreds the thug with teeth and claws. The other two thugs are completely demoralized and this time heed Pierce’s second entreaty to submit. He tells them to come over and kneel before him. One has to pass the dead body and snarling Rustscale and is completely reduced to tears, complaining of his blood-soaked fake devil tail. Scabby is whimpering and hiding under the table.
They are tied up and questioned and Pierce sends Rustscale to check out the bell tower, as they had been told of guards posted up there. There was, in fact, a guard at the bottom of the stairs who comes out to investigate the noise. Rustscale is right there by the door and when the guy raises his mace to attack, bites him. He goes down also. Rustscale slinks up the winding staircase to the bell tower and finds it empty.
The gang goes back down into the dark tunnels of the Bastards and begins a thorough search. They find each of the other tunnels made to connect the guard houses. They hear banging in the distance. As they approach an open, crude earthen room, they see a giant man in leathers punching away at the wall and the wall is giving way! There is also the feet of a rogue trying to sleep in a far corner. Some preliminary spells are cast by the mages. Crawl begins to Spider Step up the walls onto the high sixteen foot ceiling to try to get behind the Digger. Vacant concentrates and his skin turns translucent, slimy and foul-smelling, giving him increased protection against physical attacks by simply reforming and healing surface wounds. Pierce steps forward and shouts “Digger, your time is up!”
Digger turns and steps forward and unleashes a might roar. It would strike fear in the hearts of lesser men, but the party is bolstered by their superior numbers and magic. The rogues come slinking out of the corner to join the fight. Two engage with maces and another pulls a crossbow. Pierce waits patiently for the Digger to approach while he tries to block a bolt with his shield. Rustscale is far more impatient and with the added height of the ceilings is able to fly up over the fray and land next to a rogue. The rogue is shredded in a flurry of fangs and talons. Vacant’s long pseudopod arms snap an acid-sizzling attack off the second rogue. Crimson attempts to cast his Spatial Distortion attack that disrupts the space around a foe, but fails in the heat of battle, unused to the tension of the melee. Digger bull rushes Pierce, trying to tackle him and push him back into Crimson. Pierce’s patience pays off as he blocks the brute with his shield and sends him flying on past him into the wall. This lands him unfortunately next to Rustscale who does not take kindly to people attacking his master. Both Rustscale and Pierce dispatch the foe with a barrage of blows.
His attempted targets already gone, Crawl is finding it hard to get down off the ceiling without hurting himself. So he casts a Web spell at the remaining crossbowman, pinning him to the ground. Vacant decides this is a good strategy and casts his mental Binding spell on the remaining rogue and paralyzes him. Captured, Crawl can now tie them up. Pierce questions them quickly and finds that through the last remaining door is the boss known as Long Horns.
Crawl inspects the door and finds that it’s not trapped but it does have one of the new sophisticated locks that has given his trusty lock picks so much trouble. So deciding that the element of surprise is probably long gone, Crimson Portals the bar off the door and it opens…
To reveal two more zombie dogs, two giant beetles and the tiefling Long Horns in the back with a crossbow and a nasty morning star. Pierce steps up into the door. He engages the zombie dogs and one of the beetles jumps at him and escapes the room. It menaces the mages in the back while Rustscale and Pierce dispatch the remaining beetle and zombie dogs. Meanwhile, Long Horns has been attempting to cast a spell and is having difficulty. Magic seems easy in theories written in parchments, but on the battlefield, is a much more fragile art. As proof of that fact, Vacant fails his Summon Lesser Demon Spell and Crimson fails his Spatial Distortion attack again. As Pierce steps further in the room made by the dead minions, he finds that linen wraps come out from above him and wrap him up. Above another Mummy hangs from the corner ceiling by more wraps. Pierce is not strong enough to break free immediately, but once he has a chance to summon his strength – and use the magic of the Beetle Necklace of the other Mummy that he’s been wearing – he’s able to break free of the bonds. The Mummy is trying to cast a spell but is being harried now by both Pierce and Rustscale. Rustscale tears him apart and he is stunned. All of his spells turn off and he falls to the ground. By this point Long Horns has finally calmed himself enough to complete his spell and he winks out complete from sight – a spell of Invisibility! With no other foes in sight and the door blocked, there’s not much that can be done. Crawl has used his knack with insects to convince the other beetle to go away and tries firing an arrow into the room, but it seems futile. So everyone has the same idea, they begin casting their own versions of spells to sense the supernatural. Pierce casts Dragon Senses, in this case the Dragon’s natural affinity and sensitivity to magic. Vacant casts his wizardly Magic Sight that’s used to analyze cryptic spells and artifacts. Crawl cast Detect Spirits that reveals powerful anomalies in the Dream World, including spells. Crimson casts Sense Distortions that does much the same for the physical world.
Pierce is not quite the accomplished mage that his comrades are and needs extra time and Rustscale’s help to complete his spell. Before being able to do so, he see Long Horn reappear behind Vacant in the Digger’s room ready to stab Vacant in the back. He’s about to quit his spell and try to squeeze past his fellows to stop Long Horn when the image flickers and waivers and Pierce realizes that it’s fake! It was another of Long Horn’s tricks. He completes the spell when Long Horn decides finally to come out of hiding and attack Rustscale. Rustscale is still concentrating on helping Pierce with his spell and is easily hit. Pierce hits him back but Long Horn’s leather is magical and affords much better protection than that of his followers. Vacant finally completes his summoning ritual and a lesser demon appears with a nasty spiked club and is commanded to kill Long Horns, but it appears disoriented and needs time to figure out what’s going on. Long Horn pounds Rustscale again with the morning star and this time stuns Rustscale. Pierce starts to see red, but manages to control his emotions and continues to batter at Long Horn’s defenses. He also notices that the Mummy at his feet is starting to come to. His sense of strategy tells him that he should probably make sure that there isn’t one more foe added to the fight when they are so close to winning, but he’s too afraid that his dragon will not be able to take another blow. He hits Long Horn one more time. Long Horn is teetering from the repeated blows. He strikes Rustscale one more time but weakly and Rustscale finally recovers from the repeated blows and goes into a defensive posture, finally cowed by a foe whose fangs are as sharp as his own. Vacant saves the day as his psuedopodish hand slips between the fray and acid burns Long Horns which pushes him over the edge of unconsciousness. Rustscale then turns and bites the Mummy one more time, finishing him off.
Long Horns is not dead, so Crawl wraps his wounds to make sure that he doesn’t bleed out and then wraps his arms and legs to make sure that he doesn’t escape.