That night, while Talon was on watch, manning the ballista of the empty fort, everyone woke up to hear him screaming for help -- a rapidly retreating scream, never a good sign. Hef and Hadriel rushed outside in time to get blasted with fire from a hovering flame drake, but that wasn't the source of the screams. So while Hef rushed up the tower stairs to get to the ballista, and Hadriel got under cover to avoid being flamed again, and the rest of the party cast various buff spells, Max (Sam's flying cat) flew up into the air trying to find whatever was carrying off Talon.
Max spotted two blurry figures trying to hide in midair (and, more effectively, hovering out of range of darkvision from the ground), but before he could throw a dancing lights as a target designator, one of them swooped down to attack him!
Its sword didn't penetrate the cat's magical hide, however, and swooping down brought it into range of Hef's darkvision and got it ballistad. THEN Max threw up a designator and Sam acid-balled the other one, which broke his concentration on his illusion spell, making the drake (and the damage it hadn't really done) instantly vanish. Then a very very fast hasted Hobbes joined the battle, and the two blurry figures cast mirror image spells and positioned themselves on either side of him, preparing for melee. Sam decided that was close enough to fireball formation, and cast another one, finishing both of them off. He also almost killed Hobbes, but hey, summoned creatures are expendable, right?
Neither of THEM had Talon either. Max was already flying in pursuit of a third blurry figure who *did* have Talon -- whose cries were getting weaker, as if he was drugged, and eventually trailed off entirely. Hef and Hobbes tried to follow (Liliana cast a fly spell on the half ogre) but Hobbes was stopped by his metaphysical 'leash' (he would have died, given his existing wounds, if he'd travelled any further) and Hef didn't know where he was going and ended up lost on the side of a random mountain when his fly spell expired.
So it was Max alone that saw Talon being dropped in a barred pit, in a camp full of several dozen crow-headed (and winged) humanoids, with a single kobold present and overseeing the capture. He flew back to report, then flew around searching for Hef (who was easy to find because he'd decided to start a bonfire for some reason) then flew back and forth and back and forth coordinating the party's attempts to regroup all in one place for a rescue. After a half hour or so, they ended up on the side of a mountain overlooking the Tengu camp, about a quarter mile away.
Max turned invisible and did some detailed scouting, and since no one seemed to be able to see him, they came up with a plan to rescue Talon. Hadriel and Max turned invisible (and in Hadriel's case, also silent) and flew into camp, then while Max tried to find Talon's equipment (which the kobold had stripped from him), Hadriel... realized that the grating that Max had slipped through without thinking to get to Talon was far too tight for him to get through. So he had to risk opening the grate when it didn't look like anyone was looking, and slipping inside.
He managed to get in and force-feed the sleeping Talon a potion of invisibility, but on the way out one of the Tengu on watch thought he saw the grating move, and remarked on it. The kobold popped his head out of the tent to see what the ruckus was, and *he* could see invisible. "Escape! Someone's flying off with the prisoner! They're invisible!"
Hadriel got out of range of the kobold before he could toss a bomb, though, and flew off not in the direction of the rest of the party (who was hidden nearby, out of range of darkvision and in some rocks and brush at the base of a cliff near the camp). But the Tengu sent out scouts in all directions, and one pair overflew the party and was able to spot the less stealthy members. They flew down to see what was hiding in the bush, and the party decided to abandon stealth and kick some butt.
In camp, Max quickly retrieved Talon's weapons and was able to see the Tengu leaders order some of their followers to stay behind and keep watch ('in case this is a distraction') while they (and about half their underlings) went to deal with the intruders. Invisibly.
So, as the party was smashing any Tengu minions who got too close into goo, and Hobbes was flying around playing with the ones trying to do the flying archer thing, and Liliana was bewitching them to turn against each other (although her confuse spell was mostly resisted, and her geas to 'remove the weapons from all your allies' was evaded by the target deciding to start with the dead ones), they suddenly found themselves paralyzed. Liliana managed to shake off the paralysis, and got stabbed by two invisible Tengu as a reward, and fell to the ground, bleeding. Hadriel, who'd stashed Talon under a rock and had been just about to try waking him up, dropped his silence and charged -- still invisible -- into battle to protect her.
He should have been protecting Hef. Paralyzed, Hef had no defense against the invisible Coup de Grace -- well, except for his insane fortitude (and luck), which meant that getting his throat slit just made him ANGRY. He broke out of his paralysis, and -- was paralyzed again by another mass hold person. But in the meantime, Liliana had been healed to consciousness and glitterdusted the invisible enemies, so they were too distracted for more coup de grace attempts.
Oh, and Sam -- the other one who'd been paralyzed -- was fine. His mirror image spell had absorbed the first invisible attack, and then Max (with a strength spell originally intended to let him carry Talon's weapons) was able to drag him out of range of the second paralysis spell. He cast a resilient sphere to imprison one of the glitterdusted leaders, and another took a nasty blow from Hef with a scattering of damage from other sources, and had to plane shift away to save himself (in a brief moment of lucidity from his confusion -- the spell had only been *mostly* resisted). The third called for the surviving Tengu (which, admittedly, was most of them) to fall back to the camp and regroup, and the birds withdrew.
Except for the one in the resilient sphere, who decided not to plane-shift right away. Sam dismissed the sphere to let Hef charge in and try to finish him off in one fell swoop, but while the bird-man's Sanctuary spell was useless, Hef failed to kill him in one hit, and he was able to tumble out of melee and fly back to the camp to rejoin his allies.
Another illusionary drake also stayed to fight, but the only one it fooled was Hobbes.
The party had the opportunity to disengage at that point, having achieved their primary objective of rescuing Talon, but they were also there to make the pass safe, and maybe this was their best chance at taking out what looked like it might be one of the main reported threats in the area ('invisible attackers and flame drakes').
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