Our debriefing of the engineers resulted in useful intelligence: the royal family of elves had created a tunnel to the palace to permit escape in case of unrest and the engineers were of the opinion that the opening of the tunnel was lightly guarded.
We and the leaders of the rebellion talked late into the night before setting upon a plan. We would lead a small group of revolutionaries into the city, where they would assist us in taking over the tower that held the elves’ magical ballista. We would then use the ballista to break open the city gates before disabling the weapon and attempting to free our comrades in the palace.
The plan went without a hitch. We left the revolutionaries on the ground floor of the tower while we reached the control room. Along the way, we were able to win to our side one of the tower engineers, who assisted us in first using the weapon and then disabling it. We left our fellows in control of the tower while we used Zap’s magic to descend into the palace from above.
Initially, I felt a twinge of regret about leaving our comrades to defend the tower without reinforcements or possibility of retreat, as the enemy elves were certain to mount a ferocious attack in an attempt to recover their weapon. However, upon reflection, I have concluded that their situation was not as dire as I believed: the tower’s defenders benefit from a stout door and cover, and the destruction of the city gate ensured that they would not have to hold the tower long before reinforcements could arrive.
To return to our rescue attempt, we stalked through the palace before locating the apartments where the captain and our crew was held. It appears that the captain had undergone torture in an attempt to extract intelligence about us. The elven noble whom we had seen associated with General Tael’Veranus blocked our escape, and revealed herself as a succubus flanked by two hellhounds. After a vicious battle, we were victorious, only to be confronted by the General himself, who exposed himself to us under his true colours, a fallen paladin.
That fight was exceeding difficult, but through teamwork, we got the better of him. It was then we learned that the revolution had been successful, and the leader of the Alliance installed himself as leader of the elves. We were surprised to find out that the leader of the Alliance was none other than the illegitimate son of the king, and therefore had some (tenuous) right to the throne.
I interrupt this narrative to add a personal reflection: more than anything, this interlude has convinced me to adopt a lighter hand in our interference with the nations we encounter. Though, as I increasingly believe, our primary mission may be necessary to safeguard the world (and consequently is of paramount importance), I have misgivings of having backed one side in a civil war in complete ignorance of whom the leader was. It seems to have been resolved satisfactorily in this instance, this may not be the case in the future.
A final note. Before our departure, the elven hosts were rather insistent on Del returning the gem that had been powering the weapon prior to our disabling it. Though he stood firm at first, he gave in and returned the gem in the interest of relations between our countries. I have to admit that I was rather disgusted by the cheapness of our hosts, who outsource their revolution to foreign dignitaries and they attempt to lay claim to duly earned plunder!