Knowing immediately that they were in danger, the group, led by Bronn and Freyja stepped into the house’s entry and drew their weapons. Calling upon the Lord for protection, Bronn’s flail began to crackle with electricity. Freyja’s silver axe gleamed in the lights in the entry. A quick count revealed two men coming down the stairs and side doors opening to reveal two more to each side. While retreat was an option, neither hero really considered it, each itching for a fight if that’s what it took to rescue Cotton.
A quick glance to each other confirmed that both Thurg and Cyrmwd realized they wouldn’t be able to force their way in unless their companions quickly cleared the entry (an unlikely proposition given the odds), so each took off in opposite directions around the house, hoping to find an alternate entry – ideally one which would give them access to a flank of those attacking their friends. Thurg found his way unimpeded as he made his way around, finding a back door. But as Cyrmwd rounded his corner, a random glance inside a window revealed a threat his friends could not defend themselves against. As he watched, from inside the room, the man’s hands glowed with energy and two bolts of greenish energy launched from them. Even from this distance, Cyrmwd could hear Freyja’s grunt of surprise and pain as they pounded into her.
Inside, Freyja and Bronn found their enemies to be persistent if not particularly skilled. They realized that while they were probably in little danger, the men were tying them down, preventing them from gaining further entry into the room. Knowing that with each passing second Cotton would be in even greater danger (assuming he was not already dead), the pair tried to cut through the men, no longer trying to subdue their foes as they had when fighting Vagger earlier that night. Then the flares of magical force slammed into the dwarf, catching her off guard. Seconds later, a second set of the green magical bolts struck into Bronn.
Cyrmwd gathered his own magical energies, drawing power as he whispered his incantation. The wizard, no sorcerer – he was relying on raw power drawn from within, not manipulating the forces around him –had apparently not seen him as he projected a second set of missiles, this time at Father Bronn. Finally, pulling a pinch of sand from within one of his many hidden pocket, Cyrmwd released the magic. It must have been in that instant that the sorcerer realized he was not alone because he whipped around. He seemed to waver slightly as Cyrmwd’s energies coaxed him to relax, to give into slumber. But in the last instant he shook it off, stealing the energies to add to his own, throwing the gnome’s own magic against him. Caught off guard by the sorcerer’s spell, Cyrmwd fell into a magical sleep.
Meanwhile, Thurg had broken his way through the back door. Proceeding cautiously, he readied his musket. Through the kitchen and past the pantry as well as an open staircase leading up, he soon found himself at the entryway of one of the larger, side rooms. Seeing the men fighting Bronn, he lined up his shot. With a powerful “Boom” his musket unleashed its power, instantly dropping one of the men, just before he could deliver a blow to Bronn. So powerful was the shot, so loud in such a confined space, that the room seemed to reverberate. Even Cyrmwd was wakened from his magical sleep. Seconds later, no longer having to face enemies on either side, Bronn dropped the last of his foes. Freyja was about to deliver her final strike as well, but the combat was interrupted by a loud bellow coming from the top of the stairs.
“Enough! Stand Down,” shouted the creature from above. It was powerfully built, standing easily six feet tall with broad shoulders covered by grimy chain mail. Its clean shaven head only highlighted its pointed ears; its broad, flat nose; and its dark leathery skin. “What do you want, orc?” Freyja nearly spit out the words. Just seeing the creature caused bile to rise in her stomach. The only thing keeping her from launching herself up the stairs at him was the fact that he held an unconscious Cotton by the neck.
Tense minutes passed as the orc used Cotton as leverage – demanding that the group leave the house without any further violence. Finally, much to Freyja’s displeasure, it was agreed that if the group left quietly, the orc (calling himself Toridan, although the former city guardsmen all knew the real Toridan was human) would return Cotton, alive, in the morning. When the sound of another gunshot went off somewhere else in the house, it seemed to be the final straw for Bronn and Thurg and they knew that they could either accept the deal and everyone would live (albeit in varying stages of health) or fight and die. Nearly physically removing Freyja, they backed out of the house. As they left, they saw Cyrmwd limping out from around the back of the house. In an effort to gain tactical advantage, the gnome had tried to move inside and up the side stairs. Unfortunately, he reported, there were guards armed with muskets of their own waiting for him. The second gunshot explained, the group (except Freyja) agreed they made the right choice to leave. Returning home, tails between their legs, they sought healing and rest. And hoped that “Toridan” would keep his word and return their friend.