The party kept out of sight until the enemy troops started their next advance on the hill. A few archers held back under cover after firing a volley at the ruins. The leader of the enemy troops, an orc in ring mail, loosed two war dogs on the hill.
Ongewasgone advanced to within arrow range and began to fire. Sendaros moved up and blasted the enemy with lightning. Judah began his advance to cover the mage. Battle was joined.
The enemy archers’ short bows couldn’t match the elf’s range, so they moved closer. A portly man in a pink hat began chanting a spell, but Sendaros interrupted his casting with a blast of magic, staggering him back. Judah took an arrow to the leg, but he managed to close with them to prevent them from using their bows on him again.
The battle on the hill grew fierce as the Baron –seeing the foe’s attention split by his newly arrived friends– led his troops out to finish the foe on the slopes.
The orc called his dogs back and they bounded to his aid. One savaged Judah, but the other failed to penetrate his defenses. The bronze shield’s magic seemed to aid in protecting him.
Ongewasgone’s arrows continued to do their deadly work, and Judah’s mace struck home on several foes. Sendaros managed one more blast of arcane energy before his mana was spent.
Up on the hill, the Baron’s horse had been cut out from under him and he was rallying his men around him. The enemy’s ranks were thinned, but there were still plenty of blades to avoid.
The orc leader fell bleeding and the dogs were wounded badly enough that they fled. The archers lost heart and tried to flee, but one more fell to an arrow. Sendaros called out to the enemy on the hill that their leader and the mage were fallen, trying to break their morale. He then tied the dying orc’s wrists and bound his wounds to stabilize him.
Judah and Ongewasgone rushed the hill to help the Baron, but he had fallen beneath the onslaught of the desperate foes. Judah dropped one as Ongewasgone fired into another cluster of men near a different section of ruined wall. Soon, the enemy was either slain or fled.
Sendaros questioned the orc. His name was Dawl, and he was a captain in Sir Merrot’s service. Sir Merrot was a rival of Baron Raythun’s. Dawl gave his parole and offered a ransom of fifty silver for his safe return to Sir Merrot’s home. The party agreed but took his arms as prizes. Dawl seemed sanguine about it; being a professional soldier, he expected no less.
It turned out he was an escapee from the Old Empire’s orcish slave troops. He had found his way to the Splintered Princes and took service as a sellsword. His training helped his rise in the ranks.
Dawl also told the party that with the Baron dead, these lands would quickly become contested between Sir Merrot to the south and Lord Watley to the north. Judah instructed the Baron’s men to bury the dead in a cairn made from the ruin’s rubble. He also had the fallen foes interred at the base of the hill in a mass grave. The soldiers planted the Baron’s standard atop the cairn and prepared to return his body to his home. The group decided to take Dawl south to collect his ransom and take their measure of this Sir Merrot.