Stopping outside the city to plan their next course of action, the group decided that it was time to test the legitimacy of Gwendon’s claim to the throne. As such, they returned to cloud form and made their way to the abandoned keep. After returning to physical form, Gwendon walked up the gates and commanded it to open, which it did. Upon entering, she requested that the others stay near her, thinking that the presence Kobort felt might be a problem for the others. Her request fell on deaf ears, however, and the group splintered into everyone going their own way – be it food, baths, exploration, resting, or whatever. During this time, Misha, who was still kicking herself for allowing their companions to remain captive so long, used her “bracelet of friends” to summon Lady Arlinde and Balin. Lady Arlinde was in fine spirits, but Balin looked like he had been poorly kept and was once again quite insane.
After a grand round of exploration and investigation of the castle, the group settled down to sort and split their spoils and to get everything ready to sell the next day. Jakkara noted that the goblet sculpted from a sapphire that had been found was identical to one owned by a woman who owned a tavern in the city called “A different peak”. The group decided that they would keep the one that they had and investigate the woman in the near future. The next day was a day of buying and selling, with most of the group getting a tattoo at various times of the day. Eventually, everything was sold and many purchases made, with several notable exceptions.
Gwendon went to speak with the half-ogre captain of the guard, and received his blessings on hunting down the group known as the Red Hoods. He did note that the only reason he has not done anything about it is because there are other nasty things in the night that might be worse. Meanwhile Toll, Lusipher, and Kobort visited the Luck of the Leprechaun Pub and gave the wee fellow his pot o’ gold back. As per their agreement, the leprechaun granted the three a wish. Kobort wished for the restoration of “The Tome of Day and Night”, the tome of the Order of Brialyn. Lusipher wished for a magical sword that would live up to his status as a legendary warrior. Toll, the most selfless of the bunch, wished for all of the un-owned baltus’ in the world for the now abandoned Arcane University. The Leprechaun gathered his pot, the gold he had earned as a pub owner, and set the keys and a bill of sale for the store on counter. He and his pot o’ gold began to glow with a golden light, before disappearing in a magical flash, granting the wishes in the process. What was left behind was a huge pile of belts and a magical sword. Kobort checked his book to discover that it was in perfect shape. Lusipher took possession of the key and bill of sale, which was in the three of their names, and the trio headed out to find their companions to return to the castle.
While the rest of the group was out during the day, Gallandro and Sirrathi examined all of the parties’ magical treasures to see if they had any hidden magics. What they discovered was that the rods of immovability that they had gotten along with the eye of Khargus was in addition a pair of magical door handles that when place in the position of door handles in the air or on a wall, will magically open up a pathway to a planar pocket – a movable chamber. This chamber was full of gold, silver, platinum, some potions, and a magical chain shirt and war hammer. Apparently, the cache that they had found was one of the hidden stashes of the Draggeth Bahn. The group was elated to find out this when they arrived back at the castle. Since the bars in the hoard were fashioned as dragon talons, they decided that they would melt them down and fashion bars that would be less identifiable. The group then began to pour over the scribbling of the mad scribe, Balin. Most seemed to have something to do with the city and the factions that worked within, providing clues about the nature of some of their enemies. They learned enough about the Draggeth Bahn that they now had a plan of action to eventually retrieve the egg of Bahamut…
During supper, Ralph came in to join the group – even though everyone thought him dead and that the resurrection spell that Toll cast did not work – and scared the group silly. He shrugged and informed the group that he remembered nothing in the caverns, but had decided to change his name (as requested by the dwarves) to Asgrim Underdark. After settling back down, the group discussed what they would do from now on, with so many people wanting them dead. They decided that since Toll had the ability to grant everyone the ability to turn to air for 13 hours, that the group would use this to come and go from the castle unnoticed. They would also pair up if possible, so that none of them would be out alone.
The next morning, the group split up to do several things: Gwendon began to meditate on her new role in life, trying to decide what she wanted to do in life. Misha went out with Sirrathi to the gnome tinkerer to purchase armor, discovering that the gnome was working on creating a lighter than air ship that did not rely on the floatstones. Toll spent the day in the library investigating Gwendon’s family line. Lady Arlinde spent the day in the castle, and Jakkara was nowhere to be seen. Asgrim searched the building and discovered several armories. Lusipher and Gallandro (Team Troublemakers) spent the day getting tattoo’s, and then visited “A different peak” – the bar where the owner had an identical goblet to the one the group possessed – and asked about the owner’s goblet, while bragging about the groups exploits in the giant caves.
That night, after getting back together, the group decided to hunt Red Hoods. Toll suggested that they simply follow the Red Hoods till morning and discover who they were during the daytime. His plan was quickly nixed. They finally decided to go out and test the Hoods, to see what they would do if attacked – whether they would blow the horn or not. After finding and tracking the Red Hoods for a short time, the group decided to ambush the Red Hoods as they were collecting “insurance”. Gwen and Asgrim cut down the collector, but not before he could call out a warning. Immediately, three of the hoods on the outside cut and ran. Before the majority of the rest could react however, the rest of the group cut them down with furious vengeance. The Red Hood mages tried to throw a fireball into the building, but Asgrim intercepted the balls of flame in the door – allowing Gwen to dodge out of the way into safety as he once again grew in size and assumed his god-like visage.
Roughly fifteen seconds after the first blow was struck, the Red Hoods were utterly defeated, with the group having taken minimum to no damage. The group began to loot the bodies, with the dwarf-become-avatar of slaughter trying in vain to summon more Red Hoods to do battle with. Toll flew high above the area to scout for reinforcements, the artifact he carried silently keeping track of the time passing, and its minute nearly done. Suddenly, a large group of people appeared below, surrounding each party member – hacking them down. In an instant, all were killed on the street save Gallandro – who was bound in a spiked chain – and Asgrim, who was bleeding but still up. From the rooftop where Misha stood, he saw her leap away from a single person; firing a red streak the enveloped the entire building in a wash of flame as 12 fireballs went off in quick succession. Reeling in horror, Toll had the presence to let things play out and study his enemy before turning the hands of time back to the movement the last Red Hood fell.
As the group prepared to begin looting the bodies, Toll jumped down from the rooftop and yelled out to everyone that they were in a trap and to turn to mist and get out now! All but Gwendon and Jakkara returned to the keep, noticing as they were arriving that a group of people moving in the dark were heading into the cavern network beside the keep. Toll waited for 20 minutes, then headed back out to make sure that Gwendon was OK. In that time, Gwen saw a single person lie what looked like a picnic cloth on the ground, and then start dumping bodies in it. The burning building was ignored and allowed to burn more. As soon as all the bodies were dumped in the cloth, the Red Hood rolled the cloth back up and tucked it in his robe – then disappeared in a flash. Gwendon waited a few more minutes then flew up with the smoke from the burning building and returned to the keep. Gwen then picked Asgrim off the floor, where he had fell unconscious after returning to his dwarven form, and took him to his room. Toll arrived shortly thereafter, after having failed to find any sign of Gwendon in the city (two clouds passing in the night). One by one, the group turned in for the night.
The next morning, everyone discussed what happened, with Toll filling everyone in on what he saw in the time that did not happen. Jakkara informed the group that she followed the three runners, who ran a short distance from the main force and used what appeared to be many bracelets to summon a large force of invisible foes. Those foes searched around through the area, but did not find any sign of the group besides the struggle. Apparently, the Red Hoods learned of the existence of the Bracelet of Friends after the group used it to snatch Balin and Arlinde from the Red Hoods grasp and are now using it in lieu of the horn that they had before. The stakes had risen and the game was more deadly than before. The group finally decided on not deciding what to do about the Red Hoods. The little bit of loot that they did get from the combat the night before was discovered by Gallandro to be arcane marked so that the Red Hoods could scry the group. Sirrathi did not think that the keep would be easily scryed, but they agreed that the stuff needed to be disposed of.