The morning saw a great snowstorm hit the mountain village of Highpeak, which lasted throughout most of the day. The group gathered their supplies within Q’s wagon, hitched it to a horse, and made their way down the rocky path in the fresh snow towards the fortress. Sergeant Pulcher and two of his men joined the group, fully willing to help set free their comrades.
The pass was getting the better of the storm, the high sides blocking the winds and snow from gathering too much or interfering with vision within.
Strategies were formed, and the wagon left behind. Finally the group charged the fortress. Q rode on Dirk’s horse up to the gate to begin stone shaping the ground under the portcullis and door, as Hatter and Soldier charged on to the main gate. The mind-controlled fortress soldiers rained bolts down upon them from the walls, but did not manage to stop anyone in their tracks.
Soon, thanks to the stone shape staff, Soldier was in the courtyard and Hatter in the portcullis control room. Soldier begin the grand fight with the controlled Captain Rex as the gates were opened and Dirk upon his horse strode in to help deal with the soldiers. Hatter and Q took out the soldiers of the gatehouse with fire and trickery, and the help of Pulcher and his men as they made it into the fortress gate.
The main balista fired, striking Dirk, but soon after Rex fell, and Soldier was able to rip the controlling shard from the bindings on his hand, and the soldiers all around them came out of their mental blindness, groggily throwing down their weapons and falling, confused, to the ground.
The group gathered around the new shard and gained new memories. Dirk remember the message that drew him to Highpeak, arriving via hawk. He also seemed to remember being the one to kill all of his men’s horses, though likely while under mind control. Q had more memories of hunting Vitellian. Soldier remembered hunting information on Vitellian, and the word Oracle coming up.
In the searching of the fortress, a map and journal were discovered and claimed by Hatter. Rex was awoken, given two new stones, and questioned.
Rex remembered an attack from the mines a few weeks ago, by Urum. Some got through the fortress and on to the village. He told them about the last two nights, his visits from the black smoke creature that controlled him. The creature came into the fortress and resisted their attacks, only seeming to care about Rex’s enchanted blade. It quickly managed to get the shard onto Rex’s hand, and Rex was his to command.
The creature needed a distraction, and Rex gave it Pulcher. The next night it returned, demanded that the fortress kill anyone that came near. It had come with a controlled man, and they went on to the mine.
Rex mentioned having the feeling that the creature was insane, fighting with itself. It seemed to try to resist its own actions at times.
The group began to make plans. Rex admitted being open to the possibility of he and his men leaving the fortress, and the group debated heading into the mine following the creature.
The only thing agreed to, at the mention from Hatter, was that they needed a good meeting among themselves to share memories and information.