The mansion where the rescued woman resides is eerily quiet from the outside. Some might say too quiet. Bob the gatekeeper isn't at his post and, once Wendel scales the perimeter wall, no lights can be seen in the mansion at all. This is most peculiar. Of course, we begin to investigate and Wendel jumps down the other side of the perimeter and opens the gate to let us in. It is at that point that Wendel is spotted by three demon dogs, who promptly come to lick him. With their teeth. At least we've probably found the gatekeeper, particularly as who we can only assume to be the keymaster stealthily starts to gnaw on Wendel too. Remembering the advice given in Tobin's Spirit Guide is to keep these two apart, we promptly kill them both. This was made much easier after Wendel threw a bag of flour over the stealthy, monstrous dog, guiding harmful spells and Metrius's new superior riding ram to its position.
Of course, we cannot be ambushed by demon dogs without having a further look around. We know the front door is trapped by a magical alarm, as the owner, and father of the woman we rescued but now seems to be in peril again, showed us around after hiring us to solve her fake-but-turned-real kidnapping. The woman tries to turn the alarm off, but it appears that the command word has been changed. This could be suspicious, but we reason that if the father believes his daughter was kidnapped from inside the home it only makes sense to 'change the locks'. Even so, we cannot get in through the front door. So we go around the side and break a window. We're working on expenses, so we don't really see this as a problem.
Inside it's dark and quiet too. The household has never been this dark and quiet whenever we've been around, with servants and household members always somewhere. Deciding to see if anyone was around, we start working our way through the mansion. On opening a door to the combined dining room and ballroom we see furniture piled up in a barricade of sorts, and just beyond the barricade are two dwarfs, a human, and a succubus—a demon with nasty whip attacks and the ability to charm humanoids.
Just as we're wondering whether the bad lighting in the room has muddled our senses, or if we just weren't introduced to the mother of the household before, a call to roll initiative alerts us that the situation is probably dangerous, and not as it should be. My Improved Initiative feat comes in handy once again, as I get to act first. Calling up all my courage and daring, I step forwards, ready to bring all my skills to bear.
'Oh, I'm sorry. I thought this was the toilet', I say, quickly closing the door. 'Cheese it!'
Metrius holds the line long enough for the rest of us to get back out through the broken window, and we all run back to town. We call it 'regrouping'. Never mind that we were all next to each other at the start of the encounter, it's an advanced strategy that is difficult to understand without training. And with luck Scintilla, who was strangely quiet this week, will now have some time to come up with a decent plan before we return to the mansion of inner demons.