Our unnamed heroes decided that a direct approach was best, with Hoo providing most of the “direct.” Yarmilla summoned a pair of giant bats as steeds for those unable to magically fly, and the group split in two – Hoo moving straight toward the nearest set of giants, while the rest angled away from the giants, trying to weave their way through the gauntlet between our heroes and their destination.
Hoo wasted no time, hurling balls of fire at the siege engine carried by the giants. This one was a ballista, cocked and ready, and the ogres operating the weapon (following the giants as both crew and soldiery) returned fire as quickly as they could. Fortunately for Hoo, they were ill prepared for a single target, and their shots went wide as the fire consumed the ballista and scattered it’s crew.
Unfortunately for Hoo, the giants and ogres were accompanied by a black robed hunchback that rose into the air, hurling a pair of javelins at the Alaran. One struck home, and the other went wide. Hoo returned the favor with a bolt of lightning, which had little effect.
The second exchange proved worse for the Alaran, as the hunchback uncurled it’s hunch and revealed a by-now-familiar Xantli arm. It sent a javelin toward Hoo that struck home and turned immediately to dust, leaving Hoo’s arms, legs, and wings feeling like lead, as if he was suddenly carrying hundreds of extra pounds of weight. He had no choice but to glide to ground, something that took all his concentration to do without seriously injuring himself.
Meannwhile, the remainder of the group had run into trouble of their own, for while Hoo had successfully stopped the first ofthree siege engines, the second managed to lodge a huge bolt in one of Yarmilla’s bats, currently serving as a steed for Gnogom and Thoven. They crashed heavily to the ground, riding the dying bat headfirst into the dirt. Both of the half-sized heroes ended up bumped, bruised, but bustling, and running toward their destination.
Vecca let loose a bolt of lightning at the nearest giants, gaining their attention, and granting Yarmilla the time to land on her bat, take on two more riders, and move toward expected safety. They bolted through the air to the walls of the keep, outstripping the range of the ballista and maneuvering well out of range of the last set of giants.
Hoo, on the other hand, was still stuck on the ground, heavy of limb. He blasted the Xantli out of the sky with a pair of chill bolts as he moved slowly in the right direction, and then blasted the pair of ogres and the injured giant that remained of the first engine crew. Finally, as a dozen more ogres rushed his position, his limbs came free from their magical weight and he took to the air, easily distancing himself from his attackers. He made straight for the keep walls, unwilling to risk another Xantli’s javelins, after spotting a pair of the hunchbacks a little to close for comfort.When he landed in the courtyard of the keep, the others had already arrived. They were standing in the middle of a courtyard full of heavily armored soldiers who seemed to pay no mind to the adventurers in the midst. Instead, they manned the walls, firing catapults at the ogres and giants surrounding them while more appeared out of the barbican’s gates, two by two.