*16th of Sunwane
The morning arrives much too early for their taste, and with it comes worry about the consequences of last nights actions. How will the bandits react? Will there be patrols, searches? Realizing they brought this on themselves, the Party resignedly returns to their duty, though, those not at the observation post make preparations to leave if necessary.
As the morning continues, they see that a few bandits are indeed moving up and down the Highway. As they feared, it seems that it would have been better to let the column pass. As they tensely watch, the figures soon return to the trees on the far side of the Highway, leaving the Party more worried than before. After some time, further south, a small group crosses the Highway and heads towards the tower path. A half-hour later two more do the same, then, shortly after, a few individuals, followed by another group appear almost directly across from the path. As each group appears, it heads down the path to the tower. During this time, there has been no activity from the direction of Opal House. After the latest group enters the tower, there is nothing more to be seen. The Highway is empty; no boats can be seen on the river, there is no movement from the tower, not a bird in the still air. The party continues watching as hour follows hour, ready to run or fight at any moment, their breathing loud in their own ears, aware that something important is in the offing. Despite, or perhaps because of their heightened alertness, the Party nearly jumps out of their skins when they hear footsteps to their right.
They had nearly forgotten the messenger. He has returned to relay important news. The City forces have (by now) nearly reached Opal House. A portion of the force will peal off to deal with the bandits there and secure the flank, while the rest continue on. The mayor does not want to begin a fight in the afternoon or evening, so the Force will halt just out of sight of the tower, then quickly approach and seal off the tower in the morning. Support from the river is also expected and on its way. With this news the lack of repercussions for their rashness is explained.
Continuing, the messenger tells them that after making a final report, they are free to join the army, or head back to town and report to Constable Harrick. The Party decides to remain and help with the coming siege. With this decided, and free of further responsibilities for the moment, they take the opportunity to simply sleep.
17th of Sunwane
As planned, the small “army” rises early an immediately begins to quick march towards the tower path. As they approach, shouting can be faintly heard, and a few individuals as well as a group of bandits can be seen running up the path away from the tower. They continue across the Highway and into the woods, never pausing in their flight. It appears that some of the rats are leaving the sinking ship.
Seeing this, the Party offers to hurry ahead and occupy the area on the far side of the tower and path, hopefully cutting off any further retreats. The Mayor agrees and off they go. Once on the hillsides the Party are afforded a partial view inside the toll towers walls. The walls are an octagonal ring, with a tower, also eight-sided rising in the center. The main gate lets out onto the pathway. A small pier and crane extend into and over the river; a single, small boat is tied to the pier. Clearly there is a second gate here. The approach to the tower is restricted. The pathway is bordered by a marsh to the north, and the wooded hills to the south. This will hamper the towns’ forces. They will be forced into a narrow front until shortly before reaching the walls. On the walls and atop the tower, can be seen several ballista-like weapons and many troops. It would seem the tower is heavily manned, no doubt partly due to the “refugees” bolstering the numbers.
The Party can’t see any details under the near side of the wall, but they can see some of the far side (those parts not obscured by the tower) there are stables and other buildings built against the inner side of the wall.
Meanwhile, as the town militia is approaching, a large vessel can be seen approaching down the river. The tower is now threatened by the river and land. The militia arrives and halts out of range. Preparations for a siege and/ or assault begin. Tents are set up on the dry land, defensive trenches are dug, and heavy weapons are assembled. The Party informs the Mayor of what they’ve seen.
Despite their advantages, an assault is going to prove costly, if this can be resolved without further fighting, so much the better. With this in mind, and embassy approaches the gate and hails the garrison commander. Silence is their only answer. After many minutes waiting, the embassy returns to the camp. It appears that only an assault is going to resolve this. The Mayor decides that the remainder of the day will be spent in preparation, then rest, tomorrow, one more chance to surrender will be given to the bandits. If they refuse, the assault will commence. The Party remains on the hill, watching.