The plan is simple: three groups converge simultaneously on the keep and split the forces/attentions inside. One group, led by Rowan and including most of the earth-magic-wielding dragon hunters, will approach from the south and request to parley with the dragon. If they meet resistance, they will fight. But the goal is diplomacy so the hunters can treat with the dragon and get out AND to distract the forces and dragon while:
The second group includes Kamina and Taelyn who will again sneak into the tower, but go farther this time, and verify Gundren’s location. They will then report back to the third group using the Bracers of Far Speech that Tasi made not long ago.
The third group includes Khalil, Baat, and Tasi along with one of the stronger earthy magic users. They will go around from the north and wait for a signal to magically burrow through the stone and pluck Gundren out from under everyone’s noses.
Things… almost go according to plan.
Rowan and his group approach and the three groups lose sight of each other and the others can only hope they succeed.
Kamina and Taelyn go inside and overhead some sort of meeting or deal between two parties — and are discovered. A dark elf woman somehow detected them through Kamina’s stealthy magics, and with chilling poise, questions their intent. When their answers do not satisfy her, combat ensues. Kamina and Taelyn struggle to hold their own against the sword fighting dark elf woman and powerful kobold priest she’d been parleying with. Taelyn manages to send Sable out a window to show the north group their location, and calls for aid on the bracer. Baat picks up Tasi and they almost cartoonishly share an arrow slit to contribute to the fight. The tide of battle looks rough for our heroes, especially when the kobold priest casts a couple successive spells, and water begins pouring in quickly from below, filling the room, and the priest calmly walks away on top of the water. The dark elf woman acrobatically scales the wall of the room and escapes via some teleportation once she glances through the arrow slit; right past Tasi and Baat. Kamina and Taelyn try to break through the door they came in, but it’s too little too late: the water is rushing in too quickly and creating too much force holding the door shut. Just before the two wounded women begin to drown, Kamina transorms into a giant sea horse, and barrels through the door with a charge. The water rushes out of the room, carrying them with it. Rushing to regroup, Tasi briefly have chase to the dark elf woman and even learned her name. But, in the end, could not communicate with her and the two let each other go without violence.
The group recovers in the soggy entrance of the tower and then hurriedly goes seeking Khamul, who Baat had seen hesitate and then rush another way. Baat discovers the kobold priest and threatens him until he apparently pays the birdman off with a diamond. Baat drops him off on top of a nearby tree.
There is no sign of Khamul or the earthy caster when they return to the north side of the tower. They approach the hole that had been burrowed and water is dripping down as if the place had just been pulled from lake depths. They enter a small, roughed up room – the room they’d been expecting to find Gundren - and find the door was smashed inwards, and giant claw marks raked the ground. And no Gundren.
Baat and Taelyn peek over the threshold of the room, to find a 200 foot drop. The rest of the tower in this section has simply been broken away, and burrowed deep and further into the ground. And at the bottom, a large green dragon who is looking directly at them.
“Well, well, well,” its soft, lilting voice calls up to them in Draconic, “what a mess we’ve made.”