The group took their time determining a safe plan by which to rescue the people trapped within the Temple to Chauntea. They watched from a safe distance, noting the movements of a large band of raiders circling the perimeter, flanked by Guard Drakes, the commander leading efforts to break down the temple doors, and the small group of mainly kobolds piling burning straw against the temple’s rear door.
Just the facts, man
Neesa aimed to use her alter-ego as a cult member to lure the commander away on an urgent errand. In support, Brant snuck through the streets to set a fire on the other side of the town, and when that took hold Neesa put her plan into action.
Running toward the temple from the street to the north, she called to the commander for aid, and he rushed towards her. Recognizing him, she addressed him by name, and told him that the dragon had requested that he and his retinue rush to the aid of another group of raiders, under attack to the north-west. The conversation went downhill rapidly though:
“The dragon you say? The big blue feller?”
“Yes, the dragon!”
“The one who’s here to help us?”
“The one who’s not in charge? That dragon? Or are you talking about someone else?”
“The dragon I tell you! The big dragon told me!”
“You’re really going to go with that? The dragon, who isn’t in charge, is giving orders?”
“Yes! I keep telling you!”
“Okay then. Fair enough.” — stabs Neesa
At this point, Valos decides that this has gone on long enough and throws a javelin at the commander. It strikes home in the commander’s shoulder, all the more impressively since Valos was rolling his eyes at the time.
The commander falls to the ground on the outside of the temple’s perimeter wall, where Neesa wrestles with him and knocks him out. She then shouts to his followers, persuading them that the attack came from the street to the north, and they drop their battering ram and head out into the town, searching for their mystery attackers.
Valos and Marcus take this opportunity to reach the temple doors, where they persuade the priest to let them in. Once inside, they take stock of the situation and ready a plan to hurry the trapped townsfolk out of the temple through the rear door.
Meanwhile Khardrash, relying on his draconic nature to help him blend in, grabs some hay and makes as if to help the kobolds working at the back door. Arandur then tosses some stones at one of the two cultists overseeing the work, causing him to cuff the nearest kobold, thinking that the small creature had attacked him.
The kobold doesn’t take kindly to this, and slashes at the cultist with a knife. The cultist responds by planting his sword deep into the kobold’s skull— at which point a certain Dragonborn calls to the remaining kobolds in draconic: “They’re trying to do away with us! Get ’em, lads!”
The ensuing melee proves quite amusing for the party, especially when—having aided the now-dwindling group of kobolds in picking off the two cultists—the temple’s back door erupts open, propelled outwards by Valos’ boot. As smoldering hay cascades all around his fearsome form, the surprised kobolds shriek and turn tail, leaving the route clear for the party to help the townsfolk flee.
Fool me once…
As the group of guards circling the temple reaches the main doors, they encounter the discarded battering ram and begin to investigate. Neesa again calls to them that the raiders are being attacked and that they should go to help. They go, but a single cultist stays behind, curious. Neesa distracts him, leading him toward the temple doors and away from the unconscious commander, but then (once again) fails to convince him of her honesty.
Seeing through her disguise, the guard attacks, but Neesa is saved by the timely arrival of Brant, who solves the problem with the swift application of a rapier to the base of the cultist’s skull.
The party makes their way back to the hidden entrance to the keep, bringing along the unconscious commander and another incapacitated cultist, ready for questioning.