The next day saw the triumphant return of the long absent Yhendorn, and, abetted by a full complement of adventurers, including a Pelorian paladin of freedom by the name of Malric, the party returned with steely intent to the site of their bedevilment.
They were met by a ineptly set-up ambush by a small forward party of beastmen upon the banks of the River Briskly. The adventurers made short work of them.
Opting to attack during daylight this time, after discreetly dispatching the bell tower sentry, the party stormed the collapsed battlements at the rear of the keep and were surprised to find several of the previously slain orcs reanimated as undead guards. Spark managed to turn the majority of them whilst Drudhal single-handedly stormed the tower barracks and slew a number of the enemy where they slept.
Peppered by archers upon the forward battlements, the rest of the party assaulted the ruined chapel wherein they encountered the twain spellcasters and their four orc guards. Upon the altar, lighting the scene in an eerie glow, a black candle flickered within the party’s object of desire: The Crucible of Freya.
Yhendorn was sent running in fear while Atos recognized one of the casters as Vortigern, an old arcane rival. The other was of a more Orcish cast and clad in chainmail. Taron shot an arrow with pinpoint precision at Vortigern only to see it sorcerously turned aside. After dispatching the lower level minions, the tide of battle seemed to be turning in the heroes’ favor when Marcus was able to trip the mailed foe but no sooner had he done so when the room was plunged into abysmal darkness.
Meanwhile, Drudhal was in a death-match with the berserk, dual axe wielding orc chieftain. Although Drudhal prevailed he was severely weakened and not fit to withstand the ogre that joined the fray. Timely healing from Spark pulled Drudhal from death’s door but not before Spark, too was felled by the ogre’s fury.
Cal’ren rushed to his side and poured a healing draught down his gullet. The ogre, not deigning to fray with such diminutive foes turned his attention to the ruined chapel where combat had, by now, adjourned outside. Charging forth, the brute slew Yhendorn with a mighty swing of his great club.
In the ensuing tumult, Vortigern disappeared, Drudhul recovered enough to fell the ogre from behind, and the mailed orcish spell caster, now joined by a half orc fighter, seeing the tide of battle turning against him, employed some sort of device to to disappear as well.
The battle was won, but at great cost.