The companions find themselves deep within the no-man’s land of the grounds around the Tower of Solastarum. They hide among the rubble left from the charnel monstrosity. The Tower activates with the grinding of gigantic gears and the front door lifts into the mechanical structure. From which, hundreds of clockwork soldier automatons march in perfect harmony.
They take notice of the group and send a small contingent to investigate, but with the quick thinking of the Hand are soon distracted. The companions escape across the field, quickly scaling the Central Curtain and taking cover among the fortifications.
Eager to gain more information on the automatons, On’ogg tosses his shiny Crystal Heart from the gatehouse heights into the latter end of the line of automaton. There is a few moments of chaos as the clockwork soldiers are set upon by the stone elemental. The smaller contingent of soldiers are cleared away, but at great cost to the elemental. The stone creature bends open the gates to allow the companions to escape and is then sent towards the tower.
Elbanor takes possession of some of the scrap from the machines and is able to open some of the security doors with it’s remains. The Hand ponders the nature of such odd constructions and finds herself able to mimic the simpler routines of their communications.
The companions trudge wearily into Shacklefield, finding the whole area to be engulfed in flame. The further they press inward, the more intense the inferno became. The find little among the destruction before coming to a large pub of sorts. Eager to salvage what he can,
Sayer investigates a trap door behind the bar. Happy with the found resources, he presses deeper into the underchamber, finding a door to the alley above.
Outside he encounters a death knight, and attempts to lay an attack on the foe before backtracking to his friends. Not only does the attack fall short, but the lumbering knight whispers a word of magic and holds Sayer fast, frozen in his step.
Taking his time, the mysterious knight closes the distance to the helpless swashbuckler. With a great heft, he swings his huge sword in a vicious arc in what must surely be a killing blow. At the last moment, a circle of arcane runes shield Sayer, shattering like a heavy glass plane. Elbanor had protected his friend from assured death.
The sword deflects slightly and strikes to tremendous effect. Still relatively intact, Sayer collapses on the ground, barely conscious. With the last of his energy, he struggles to stay awake as he feels himself lifted by his collar. Up he rises until his feet nigh even touch the ground. Opening his eyes, he looks down on his assailant; glowing blue eyes are lit with a frozen cold energy deep within the helm of the knight. In a surge of violence, Sayer is slammed headlong into the wall and he falls immediately into a pool of black.
The rest of the companions come to investigate after Sayer fails to rejoin the group. The find the alleyway bereft of any life. Indeed, not much shows the passing of the moments prior besides Sayer’s sword laying in the middle of the passageway. Overwhelmed by ill omens, the group chases signs only minutely picked up by the Hand. Signs of a dark creature’s passing through the area.
The group is temporarily separated by falling debris from the fires. Ogg continues on alone. He comes to the edge of a large open marketplace, with what seems like a huge, frozen portal of sorts in the center. Dozens of icebound pillars surround the portal. The figure of the death knight is seen on the far side, holding an unconscious Sayer aloft. With some motions of his free hand, the death knight bounds the cavalier in a frozen block of standing ice, not unlike the other pillars in the area. The death knight turns to On’Ogg at the paladin’s approach.
With Ogg beckoning the unholy knight of darkness, the two meet in combat. Swords clash, and though Ogg lashes out with radiant power to great effect, he finds himself at a disadvantage to the hulking knight’s sheer size. Ogg uses the environment to shield his movements, diving out of the way of the death knight’s world cleaving blows.
After a few moments, Elbanor and the Hand catch up. With some quick thinking, they see that the portal seems to be important to whatever this creature is plotting. Noticing it’s made entirely from a form of glass-like ice, Elbanor casts a shatter spell on the structure. Ogg experiences a small respite from the onslaught of the death knight’s attacks as the foe turns it’s attention on the portal.
The Hand hears the scream of what seems to be a young girl. With her keen eyes, she spots the ghostly outline of a young human female being pulled in an uncanny fashion toward the vortex of magic that seemed to now be circling the crumbling ruin of the portal.
The death knight breaks of his attack completely from the orcish paladin, moving in a full run toward the girl. It seemed to try and prevent the slide of the ghostly figure into the vortex, but could not grasp her outstretched hands. With the last seconds of the collapsing energy, the girl and the knight both fall into the energy and disappear from the area.
The companions are thoroughly stunned, finding themselves among the open marketplace alone. The icy pillars seem to be melting quickly without the magic of the portal to sustain them within the area, for the flames still burn heartily in the surrounding buildings.
They quickly recover Sayer, who though clearly in a state of serious injury, seems capable of a recovery over time. They also notice that the rest of the figures frozen in the ice seem to wear the armor and trappings of Minutemen.
They set up a quick triage area and the Hand begins stabilizing the survivors when suddenly they hear the iron march of clockwork soldiers from the streets beyond. The companions stand ready to defend their fallen friends against another wave of danger in the city of Khalsbrad.