“The bandits killed all the prisoners?!” Nelly gasps.
Darcarus nods gravely as he plucks away the feathered hat of a slain bandit and places it on top of his own head. “Yeah, but I bet there’s a chance Lord Gilford is still alive! He’s too valuable to not ransom.”
“I scouted the area,” Lodge informs. “The wall is being patrolled by guards—we can’t sneak in.”
“Well then,” Darcarus says, stroking his all-too-fake beard. “I have a plan! All of you, come here.”
Darcarus proceeds to reveal his brilliant plan to his companions: He, still in the convincing disguise of the enemy guard Lucas, will escort the party as “prisoners” into the midst of the enemies where they will then subtly glean information and rescue Lord Gilford.
“And if you’re discovered?” Nelly asks dubiously.
“My plans never fail,” Darcarus laughingly replies.
Entirely reassured, the trio of captives allow themselves to be bound and dragged away by their scheming bard. Upon reaching the mansion’s front doors, they find them strangely unguarded and cautiously enter. Inside, they can hear the sound of men talking and laughing from rooms beyond, but the entryway is deserted, the only item of interest being a large metal crank in the corner.
Darcarus’ eyes light up when he sees the crank and he abandons his prisoners, rushing to the crank.
“Ah,” Mavrus says knowledgeably. “That crank raises and lowers the chandelier in the great ha—”
But before he can say another word, Darcarus unsheathes his sword and swings it through the air, slicing clean through the rope of the crank. They hear the groaning of chains, shouts of alarm, and a deafening CRASH! Then, silence.
“What about SNEAKING?!” Mavrus demands. “What about the PLAN?!”
Darcarus grins proudly. “I’m sure I crushed at LEAST a dozen men under there.”
“And brought the rest of the bandits here!” Mavrus hisses. The party can now hear the alarmed voices resume once more, and footsteps are pounding down the steps to the grand hall.
“I can still infiltrate them!” Darcarus insists. With a flourish of his appropriated hat, he flings open the doors to the great hall, leaving his companions to stare in astonishment after him.
“Help!!” Darcarus cries, racing into the midst of the bandits. “Intruders! Intruders!”
The bandits inside the great hall whirl to face the heroes, and the largest of the lot stirs from his post beside a shattered chandelier. “Kill them!” he orders.
Mavrus steps forward with a casual grin. “I’ve been waiting for this,” he says. “We just have to not hit Darcarus. Wait… which one is Darcarus?”
Lodge and Nelly peer into the great hall as well, but Darcarus appears to have vanished into the throng of enemies. And the three companions, none of whom are particularly wise, all find that the enemies look so extremely similar in their feathered hats that it is impossible to distinguish Darcarus.
“BURN THEM ALL!” Nelly roars.
Mavrus twists his hands through the air and utters a malevolent whisper: “Hunger of Hadar.” Instantly, the light inside the great hall vanishes, leaving an utterly black void. Hideous whispers and slurping sounds emanate from the darkness, and the guards within can feel the horrifying brush of tentacles against their skin. “Now, Nelly!” Mavrus shouts.
Nelly roars once more and breathes into the air, unleashing a fireball from her fingertips that engulfs the otherworldly chasm.
The trio hear shouts and screams, and one familiar voice: “Whoa, whoa, whoa guys!! I’m in here! OUCH!”
In which Darcarus realizes he's made a terrible mistake
Mavrus gives a flick of his hand and the darkness dissipates; light floods the room to reveal the scene of a triumphant battle and one severely scorched bard.
“Right. Infiltrating,” Lodge grunts. “That’s the last time YOU make plans.”