Healing the wounds inflicted upon them by the mercenary knights of the Steel Souls Company, the party continued their rush through Castle Desia, aiming to reach the top floor where the King resided. Upon reaching the 8th floor, however, the came upon a frantic Lord Deimos. The nobleman pleaded for protection, telling the group that the last of his personal guard were holding off a group of undead. Rushing to aid them, the party came up upon the last surviving guardsman holding his own against a zombie myrmidon – only for a vampire spawn to suddenly tackle the guardsman and send them both plummeting to their deaths out a window. The party faced down the two zombie myrmidons, only to be ambushed – more vampire spawn dropping from the ceiling, and a vampire assassin phasing through the floor. The spawn were, for the most part, easily dealt with, although several proved very tenacious. It took some time for the party to realize that the myrmidons could only be permanently slain by fire or radiant light – Bigg ‘killed’ the same myrmidon at least twice within twelve seconds. The vampire assassin proved the most dangerous, nimbly moving among the group and slashing at them with his kukris to great effect before being finally brought down by Laesath. Only after the assassin fell did the group note that each undead had born the same bronze chains – either as a tatoo or as some part of their dress – as the Shadar-Kai which had ambushed them at the beginning of the fight.
Adam Oakgrove, leading his men and a scattering of other Desian soldiers, came up behind the party, securing Lord Deimos along the way. The Knight Lieutenants led Adam’s force on a final mad dash to the top floor. Along the way they witnessed an attempt by a mercenary to teleport onto the ninth floor, only to be anihilated by the Castle’s wards. The wards, stronger towards the top floor, had at least been focusing most of the attackers to enter the Castle in the lower levels, protecting the King and his family but causing the running battle the heroes had faced.
Upon entering the throne room the group discovered a massive brawl. On one side were the undead and the mercenaries. On the other were Desian soldiers and the King’s Own, led by Ike Rison, General Krueger, and Lord Rison. Upon seeing his team, Ike quickly took command of Adam’s force and sent the party ahead to the King’s chambers.
Upon entering the chambers the group discovered three dead members of the King’s own and more than thirty slain vampire spawn and mercenaries. They arrived just in time to see the final mercenary be slain by Queen Alexandra, who was defending King Lloyd and her two children. However, shortly after informing the Royal Family that they would be protected, a transportation spell made of pure shadow entered the room, seemingly bypassing the wards with ease. When the shadows seeped back into the floor The Baelnorn was revealed, along with a vampire troll and a battle wight. The foul creature expressed equal glee at the prospect of killing the Royal Family and the Knight Lieutenants, gladly forgoing the chance to strike the nobles when the party challenged him. Alexandra and Lloyd rushed to get their children to another room; Alexandra’s intent to assist the group was thwarted when they were ambushed by more vampire assassins, leaving the party on their own.
The fight was a long and difficult one. The party as a whole was seared and dazed by radiant energy, Mary-Lou was mentally dominated and forced to fire upon her comrades, and Laesath was laid low, his mind assaulted by visions of his childhood friend being slaughtered. The wight and the troll moved in, draining the life from the group with their swords and their teeth. Cole, firing with the Spellthrower built for him by Corrigan Firesteel, managed to buy the group time enough to get back on their feet. Akarn managed to pick up the slack from Laesath, keeping the group from being wiped out with his healing abilities. Laesath struggled back from the brink of defeat to strike back at the Baelnorn and boosted his comrades’ abilities with divine power. Mary-Lou shook off the domination and resumed her usual ‘scorched enemy’ policy. And Bigg, as always, was there to make the final and devestating strike. The troll and the wight fell, and despite a long showing the Baelnorn too was defeated. But he did not carry his phylactery with him, and faded into nothingness with a mocking laugh and a warning: “I and my Emperor will destroy you yet! You have won nothing!”
With the Battle at Castle Desia all but finished, an impropmtu meeting of the heroes, military officers, nobles, and the King was held in the blood-soaked throne room. Observing the piles of dead within his own home, even an invader lying dead on his throne, the King made a declaration that he was tired of being on the defensive. The LongArm Division was to be given its first mission: hunt down and destroy the enemy leaders.