- Search the Town (700xp, Skill Challenge)
- Rescue from the Garrison (2778xp, Moving Assault)
- The Guantlet (2850xp, Street Fight)
- 6328xp Total (1266xp Each)
Having gained a much clearer idea of where they would need to go to find the Abbess and recover her relic, the party returned to their base of operations. From the Residuum they acquired at the ruins of Ord, Mara crafted enchanted bridles for the group, capable of summoning mounts from the aether, and so mounted the they returned to their stronghold in good time, and without incident.
At the cave, they found that Bael had gathered in a dozen or more resistance members from the surrounding area, whom he’d dared not contact before securing a hideout. Besides lending their blades to the fight against the Athar, these rebels brought with them news of the world at large, and renewed contact with resistance cells throughout Nenoria, which the party would find useful.
The party began to form a plan for entering Fort Dust, and determining which of the three candidate locations was their target, but quickly realized they needed local knowledge. To get this – they learned from their new resistance allies – they would have to rescue the leader of the Fort Dust resistance cell, who’d recently been captured and was being held in one of the city’s outlying towns.
Taking to horse once again, the group traveled south by day, and sought shelter by night. The trip was not a short one – at least a week on horseback – but passed uneventfully, and found them in the town of Barrowsford, a merchant town of perhaps five thousand people, on the road to Caer Bane, no more than a day’s ride north of Fort Dust itself.
Moving quietly through the town, the party gathered what information they could. They learned little, but it was enough: the Sanction had been especially active of late, rounding up religious die-hards and suspected resistance members, and in cooperation with the local town guards and militia, taking them to holding in the cells beneath the local garrison.
Employing a classic ruse, the more passably human party members disguised themselves as city militia members, and infiltrated the lightly guarded garrison with their more exotic members as supposed prisoners. In the small hours of the morning, with the watchmen inattentive, the plan came off without a hitch, and they reached the prison block undetected.
Disabling the warden and taking his keys, the party searched the prison. They found their man – a middle aged human called Willem – and he explained to them how all the other resistance members had been carted off to Fort Dust itself two days previous. A fate he’d narrowly avoided by convincing his captors he was simply an old man, stuck in his religious ways, and not a resistance member at all.
Improvising a distraction, the party took Willem from the dungeon, and made for the exit, but the morning watch change caught them unawares. The bludgeoned jailer and the unlocked doors led to a raised alarm, and the party found themselves required to fight their way clear of the fortress through its main gates and the combination of Sanction soldiers and local militia there.
Getting clear of the gates was not the end of hit however. Rallying to the alarm bells signal, local guardsmen lined the party’s best path of escape. Bowmen in the rooftops and soldiers on the ground made for a harrowing gauntlet that the group was hard pressed to push through – especially while protecting the unarmed and unarmored man they’d come to rescue – but push through they did, and made good their escape.