So much for storming the castle.
These guys are really quite annoying, and perhaps even a bit out of our league. Which is fine, as long as we don't insist on tangling with them directly on their own terms.
Here we are camped some distance outside of the castle, minding our own business, making plans for some over-the-wall direct raid complete with misdirection and obfuscation geared towards maximizing the dismemberment and punishment that could be inflicted BY us ON them when the inhabitants have the gall to call for reinforcements. Which wouldn't be nearly so troubling if it weren't for the fact that they were able to get their reinforcements via teleportation.
Decent high-level magic teleportation. Something akin to the 30th level Essence spell from Lofty Bridges called Mass Teleport. Not necessarily that one, could have been something else.
So here we're getting ready to attack when WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP magic alert, can't miss this one, someone whipping up a huge pile of Essence power and some 30 minutes later the gates start opening and out pour 3 boatloads of bad guys.
So we could have tried to meet them at the beaches. Except that we know that the beaches are still within spell and bow range of the walls, so unless we're willing to let them drop off a boat load and then send the boat back for more while we ambush some folks in the woods we're out of luck. And we're too cautious for that.
So we run like heck.
Actually its more of a case of Reuben pointing in a direction and saying "you go that way, don't stop, I'll find you later" and me taking off on foot with Elise and Master Dwarf for company. He has a name. Does anyone know the Dwarf's name?
Eventually he catches up with me, us, whatever, and I can fill in some backstory and make some approximations. Big spell cast, and then a bunch of guys come flooding out of the castle. They must have called for reinforcements, it smells like teleportation. Headcount is 24 guys chasing after us in two groups, but still full ranks of defenders at the castle (8 before, still 8 now), so presumably around 24 people summoned/teleported in. The 3 wizardly types are part of the chase party, but they were never really part of the castle wall defenders anyways, so a low end of 20-21 helpers summoned/teleported. They're broken into two packs, the big one goes east and the small one goes west. Pursuing the westerly group also has us heading closer to home, so we pursue and chase down the westerly group.
After a brief skirmish, Demeyo managed to drop the small group's wizardly-type with arrows after keeping him occupied for a while. Good job. Perfect timing. Just when the poor boy dropped, I was right there to light a little Shock Bolt through his central nervous system and ensure that he'd be down for the count for a while.
It felt just like playing Pikachu in Super Smash Brothers: just when Link gets finished plinking someone at range, I show up with Pikachu and unleash THUNDERBOLT! Pika-Pika-Pika-CHU!
Enough about that. Just as the main body of our group managed to engage this little knot of baddies, they broke and fled. Pansies. Left for dead their wizzzard and one of their archers. Who turned out to really be dead. Or at least unsalvagable. Unlike the wizzzard, who was salvagable by Reuben's standards and therefore we (meaning "everyone but me") had to help drag this comatose body through the woods for what seemed like a few hundred leagues of day-and-night forced marching to get back to the lake and the signal tower.
At which point it became obvious that we'd been pursued.
That left us with a brief skirmish on the beach as we waited for our pickup to get close enough to shore that I could shuttle everyone to safety with Flight spells. Meanwhile Demeyo discovered that the wizzzard had regained consciousness, could still cast Ice Bolt, was still a threat, and needed desperately to be bludgeoned back into a coma. Which he obliged.
So, back to Laketown and a report to the Margrave and his officers. We're now confirmed to be dealing with the Dread Lords, who are apparantly somewhat scarier than the Dread Pirate Roberts.