- 1 Guild Members Involved in the Breakout
- 2 The Battle of Carlson's Switch
- 3 The Fourth Pass
- 4 GM
Guild Members Involved in the Breakout
- Axis Dragonmage
- Borghoff, son of Praghurst
- Darius Jedburgh
- Engalton Redwood
- Flamis (Felicity de Valiante)
- GoK - Gokolan Neumenour
- Kilroy Arundel Tandar
- Lysander Treebourne
- Phaeton D'Tama
- Sir Wojer
- T'ana Starflower
The Battle of Carlson's Switch
The Assault on Carlson's Switch
Mid-afternoon, W'nsday 2nd Frost, 805
The volunteers assemble for inital discussions and briefing, a chance to go over battle plans and get a feel for the capabilities of the other volunteers.
The basics of the plan are laid out by Braegon: "Thank you for answering my call, I have been working with a couple of Mil Sci's to come up with an effective attack plan.
The basic plan is this, you will be divided into fighting units of 4 to 6 as that is the size group most of us are used to operating in. In 2 days time at midday we will be launching an assault on the Carlstons Switch pass through the Ildrisholm Hills. We will be supported by the Eltrandorian Algain Heavy Cavalry, Halph Heavy Cavalry, some Brastor Borderers and a few hand-picked men from other units.
Between now and late tomorrow morning we will be discussing everyones combat capabilities, organising the fighting units, and casting the longer duration magics. Then around midday we ride out in our finery with banners waving and head to Regars Keep. There we spend the night at the guild outpost, strip down to fighting gear, and cast the medium duration enhancement magics. In the morning we fly to the Eltrandorian forward position just this side of the pass.
At mid-day on the 4th we attack the pass with the goal of breaking their lines, destroying as many of their command staff as we can find, and generally causing chaos and death amongst their ranks. At the same time the Eltrandorians will push through and deal to the lesser troops of our opposition. If all goes well we may be able to clear the pass enough to get the trapped troops out.
It is not critical that we break through, there are back-up plans for getting people out. But it is essential that we cause them lots of damage and disrupt as much of their local command and co-ordination as we can.
If all goes to plan I expect to have all of you home by the evening of the 4th."
Plans and discussions continue throughout the afternoon, and those that do not have them are given Lesser Enchantments (Dur 1 Season), and Rk 19 Greater Enchantments (with a 5 day duration on Resistance and Stats/Skills - much recommended for going into the DC).
Between Braegon and the Duke's military advisors you have been organised into groups based on expected roles in the assault. Braegon has numbered these teams... the advisors seemed to think this was insufficently military and have added more "poetic" names. :-)
Group 1 "Hammer" - Mobile Strike Force (High Level and able to fight and fly in combat) Sabrina (Mil Sci), Lysander, Mary-Em, Kilroy
Group 2 "Sword" - Front Line Fighters Mordrin (Mil Sci), Darius Jedburgh, Sir Wojer, Gok, Starflower
Group "Shield" - Combat Support, Healing, , Anti-Troop / Blast Magics, and Bodyguards. Engalton (Mil Sci), Axis, Bleyze, Flamis, Shemin-ah, Phaeton, Valery, Wordsmith, Sooty
Braegon explains their roles: "Group 1 are expected to remain mobile, breach defences to create landing points, target enemy commanders, strike points of heavy resistance."
"Group 2 are expected to hold a stable front line between our mages and the enemy. And naturally to strike down all who come before them. They are expected to be the first to land in breaches created by group 1 and to hold them safe for group 3."
"Group 3 are expected to heal and support group 2, and unleash magical death and destruction on the enemy. Group 3 will be covered by a high rank Base Chance enhance."
[If you have an issue with the group you are in and the general role you have been assigned then now is the time to say so. If I've missed anyone please let me know, etc]
Just before noon on the 3rd, the group assembles and rides out of the guild gates. Led to the outskirts of Seagate by trumpeters and a detachment of the Duke's personal guard in full dress uniform, are some of the great heroes of the guild:
- Axis Dragonmage
- a tall male human, wearing the tabard and bearing the standard that mark him as the Herald of Xanadu, the Dragon-father.
- a tall male elf, with scarlet hair and dressed in bright red. A well known fire mage with a reputation for danger (often to himself).
- a large and heavyset human male with red hair and beard, wearing gold dragon scalemail, and with several gems orbiting around his head. Seems rather quieter than usual.
- Darius Jedburgh
- a male human wearing red dragon skin armour.
- a familiar looking handsome male human of around six feet in height and solid build in his late forties. At a glance you can tell (even if you have never met him) that this is Engalton "a hero from the adventurers guild of Seagate". He also always smells of lavender.
- a human female dressed in a red and gold over-skirt and blouse, revealing a silver chain mail bikini top, a long black cloak thrown about her shoulders. She wears bronze arm-bracers depicting comedy and tragedy, and leather boots, and carries a distinctive black staff with fiery markings, her "Rod of Fires".
- a male elf, wearing fine leather armor, a fine cloak, a highly etched Silver hand 1/2, and riding a black mustang.
- a paragon of manly beauty, riding a giant raven named Karreyhun.
- a female elf with great white feathered wings; charismatic and beautiful. Carrying a hand and a half sword.
- a female halfling with angelic wings, wearing gilded cuirbolli armour of unusual design with a breastplate, armoured kilt, greaves, vambraces, and helm with Queztal green feathered plume. Twin shortswords are belted at her waist.
- a female dwarf wearing well worn heavy plate, showing many years of hard use and "panel beating". She bears a hand and a half sword and kite shield, showing similar use.
- a short male human, with shoulder length blond hair, wearing white robes and a rainbow cloak with the symbol of Diancecht
- a feamale elf, winged helmet sitting upon long blonde hair, clad in blood red dragon skin, girded with many weapons. She sits astride a huge jet black pegasus named Ajax, who shimmers in his chainmail, and shows off his 30 ft wingspan.
- Sir Wojer
- a male elf clad in white silks, a yellow scarf, flowing blue cloak, with long blond hair streaming over his left shoulder. On an old palfrey emblassoned with a red hand on a white field; a big two handed sword in a scabard over his shoulder.
- a weather-worn human female plains barbarian.
- a short male elf, with heavy burn scars over most of his face, dressed in gold embroided black desert robes, carrying a six foot long ornatly carved quarterstaff, with a dragon's head at one end and a griffons at the other.
- a female elf, dressed in a shimmering silver cloak over translucent cloudy grey laen plate armour, with twin tulwars belted at her waist.
- a female human dressed in leather armour and carrying a silver glaive.
- a male dwarf, clad in well buffed hard leather armour and sturdy boots, with a gold cloak worn proudly. He is carrying a battle axe and shield, and accompanied by a floating chest, and a cyrstaline weasel.
Banners are unfurled and as the procession wends its way out of Seagate people gather at the sides of the road to watch, cheer, and sometimes just gape in awe. The braver amongst them shout out "Go the Guild!" "Bring back the Light!" "Destruction to the Dark Circle!"...
The crowds thin out as you get further from Seagate and it is a pleasant ride to Regars Keep (or flight for those that insist) on this clear winters day. The guild outpost near the Keep is simple and spartan even compared to guild lodgings. Those wearing parade finery get changed into their standard adventuring kit and settle in for the night.
Some of you will realise that certain other Guild Members who were rumoured to be involved appear to be missing: Dramus, Faith, Roke, and Seredipity.
Some sleep peacefully and awake early in the morning to find themselves magically armoured, protected, and enhanced. (Armour of Earth, Strength of Stone [EN], Strength of Darkness [PS], etc). Others are more aware of or an active part of the nights activities. Braegon appears to have left early on other business.
Many of the group appear much as they did the day before, although there are rather more weapons in view. Others have exchanged their civilian wear for very obvious combat gear: Sir Wojer now wears Kinlu style Plate mail, and sports a white sashi-mono battle banner bearing a red hand. Flamis on the other hand has dropped her red and gold over-skirt and blouse, to reveal the rest of her silver chain mail bikini, and Starflower has traded her plate armour for a chain shirt. Mary-M is carrying a pole (which looks a bit light for a quarterstaff) and a tightly wrapped suspicious package.
Just over two hours after sunrise the last of the medium term magics are cast and using their various means of flight (and with extras provided by some of the Duke's mages) the group sets off east for the 97 mile flight to Carlson's Switch.
Nearing noon the group approaches the pass. Below you the Eltrandorians have manoeuvred into support positions as arranged. Laid out before you in the mouth of the pass are the assembled forces of the Dark Circle defenders.
[Map and Key attached]
The Eltrandorians see you fly over and begin their advance.
Sabrina remixed Hammer, Sword, and Shield to get two groups for the initial assault.
- Group 1
- Engalton, Borghoff, Darius Jedburgh, Wordsmith, Kilroy, Shemin-ah, Gok, Starflower, and Axis.
- Orders: Arrive over the north-western hilltop just after Group 2 appears. Attack goblin archers on north side of pass in fly-by only, banish elementals, attack goblin archers on south side of pass in fly-by only. Attack ground forces in conjunction with Group 2; redeploy into Hammer, Sword, and Shield.
- Group 2
- Sabrina, Mary Em, Lysander, Bleyze, Flamis, Sooty, Phaeton, Sir Wojer, Mordrin, and Valery.
- Orders: Arrive from south-west a half minute before Group 1 appears. Attract the bat cloud and destroy it. Attack ground forces in conjunction with Group 1; redeploy into Hammer, Sword, and Shield.
To paraphrase Field Marshal Helmuth Von Moltke: "No plan survives contact with the enemy."
Frysday 4th Frost 805, midday
Group 2 approaches from the south-west and gets spotted first (per plan), and the bat cloud moves to intercept. The bats spread out a fair bit -- meaning that at this point "lotsa bats" is about what Group 2 can see. (Once the bats get into the air and spread out Group 2 won't be able to see what is happening with the command unit -- until the bats are fried and the smoke clears).
Getting closer the Group can see that the bat cloud consists of what appear to be live bats, undead bats, and some large -- but not giant -- bats (wingspan of 2 yards sort of thing). These head straight for Group 2 apparently intent on their standard tactics of envelop and pull down.
In the meantime Group 1 pops up over the north-west hill and swoops down past the northern gobbos (ignoring the irrelevant patrol of 6 gobbos + 1 zombie). These gobbos make a good TK target being on slightly steeper terrain than the more southern gobbos, meaning they are more clumped. TK grenado is dropped and gobbos are blown in every direction (some raining down to do damage to the hobgoblins below). The first visible earth elemental falls to one of the four namers in Group 1.
(Meanwhile on the ground, the Eltrandorian Hobliars have begun firing at the gobbos in the centre of the pass mouth).
[DC response: Seeing Group 1 blow up the gobbos and banish the elemental the DC commander figures that this group is the real threat and takes to the air heading north followed by his lackeys.]
Continuing across the Pass mouth the second elemental is banished by Group 1 and then more damage is inflicted, this time on the southern gobbo archers, where Starflower's "Mind Scream" has a suitable panic inducing effect, along with some RK20 Light to force redeployment.
Pulling their altitude back up (having had to get lower for some of the anti-gobbo effects), and with the bat cloud now gone westwards, this the first good look anyone in Group 1 has got at the commander and staff.
The command unit heading for Group 1 (presumably with the intent of finishing them off before turning back against Group 2 -- if the bats haven't already dealt with that "diversion"), consists of a score of dark figures on star wings, a half dozen figures mounted on giant bats, one ornate figure mounted on a big, black, flying horse with firey hooves, and a dragon (kinda reddish - but looking as though most of its colour has been drained away).
Away to the south-west, Mary-M has discarded the wrappings around the suspicious bundle she's been carrying, and brandishes forth (attached to a halfling scaled banner pole) the Holy Standard of Saint Jeremiah. The noonday sun flashes on its golden surface, and for most of you in Group 2 the oppressive feeling of the area lifts somewhat. Lysander and Phaeton (and Mary-M) in particular feel their spirits lifted. [Sooty: this is a "bad thing" and it makes your stomach queasy].
The bat cloud as a whole hesitates, but by then Group 2 has got into range and magical firey destruction (as well as Sunrays, and not a few arrows) swamps the bat cloud. In less than 30 seconds most of the bats have been incinerated, crisped, dessicated, shot, or otherwise dealt with. A small number of normal bats flee southwards (and show no signs of stopping anytime soon). The few bigger bats who make it through the firestorm and are still keen to attack are dealt with at closer range -- since everyone is wearing fire armour the fire mages need not worry about collateral team-mate damage -- and being larger they make fine targets for swords and other melee weapons too.
While Group 2 are dealing with the bats, the command unit has closed with Group 1, who do not have the massed magical firepower, but even so some energybolts, ice magics, and other attack spells strike the enemy, and are met by Whitefires (which are resisted) and Blackfires (which are mostly resisted, except Shemin-ah, and no-one succumbs to fear), Webs of light and dark, (which being insubstantial don't break wings but do tie their targets up for a while).
The dragon initially swoops in (appearing as though it will close with Kilroy), but pulls back (as though forewarned of the danger) before making contact. Some of the cloaked figures swoop in with swords drawn against Borghoff, Engalton, Wordsmith, Shemin-ah, and Jedburgh, and there are hideous shrieks as several of the undead turn to ash, while others recoil.
The dragon shrieks, a terrible sound that starts in the sub-sonic and rises up beyond hearing. Several of the group look momentarily hesitant (even Engalton is seen to blanch), and Wordsmith cannot help but head away for (relative) safety. The dragon breathes out great gouts of fire, smoke and black ash that engulf Group 1, blinding, choking and burning away Fire Armour. [Side note: Axis, you are pretty sure that this used to be a red dragon, but it appears to be something rather more powerful, (frightening), and non-living now].
The Namers get off Dispel magics on some wings -- with their wings gone some of the cloaked figures fall, but others remain floating, becoming easy targets for Starflower, Kilroy and his giant raven Karreyhun, and for Gok's holy sword and other melee attacks. Some do damage before they disintegrate (or at least drain as they go).
The ornate figure on the Nightmare dives into close combat with Kilroy and his raven. The combat is inconclusive, the Skeletal Lord inflicts moderate injuries on both Kilroy and Karreyhun (and additional draining effects), while in turn taking a number of substantial blows. He seems immune to the effects of the anti-undead potion, and the undead-dusting effects of Kilroy's mace (though Kilroy will have noticed the glowing traceries on his bracelets and that his cloak appeared to be shedding rat skins). Finally he pulls back and fills the air around him with ash and smoke largely concealing himself and moves towards the edge of the combat, giving Kilroy time to recover.
To add to the confusion, the goblin archer unit that is almost directly below the fight fires arrows into the fray. Most miss wildly, but a few lucky shots inflict light injuries on Karreyhun and Starflower, more serious damage to Axis, and one particularly well aimed arrow sees Jedburgh's lower left leg transfixed. Starflower in turn strafes them with her "Mind Scream" sending many running in confusion and making them rather less interested in taking part.
With half of the cloaked figures down, the combat turns into a confused dog-fight with webbed adventurers struggling to break out, or having them dispelled, trading attacks spells, and trying to close with the cloaked figures (now identified as a mix of Wights and Wraiths) who are keeping their distance and throwing Webs, and more White and Blackfire, and the Skeletal Knights on the Giant bats, who appear to be doing little. (Though a half dozen phantasms also appear and disappear as they are counterspelled, and mental attacks are also being resisted -- save for Gok, whose wings begin to carry his unconcious form westwards). The dragon continues to twist away from close combat and fills the air with blasts of fire, burning off more and more Fire Armour but so far inflicting no injuries.
Group 2 having destroyed the bat swarm, and with the smoke now largely cleared, get a good look at what is going on with Group 1 and begin to head to their assistance.
Frysday 4th Frost 805, a couple of minutes later...
Group 1, (less Gok and Wordsmith), engaged in aerial dogfight
Borghoff, attempting to give the Skeleton Lord no time to recover readies his hand-and-a-half and kite shield and charges into him. Engalton follows Borghoff while throwing healing magics at drained and injured team-mates. The Skeleton Lord gains height and his Nightmare blows out more smoke and ash. Borghoff and the Skeleton Lord trade a flurry of blows in passing; the Lord's cloak sheds more rats and a moment later Borghoff's wings disappear, and he plummets; his feather fall also gone.
Engalton shouts to the Group to ensure they have low ranked spells upon them; something weaker than their flying.
Kilroy takes stock of his injuries as he quaffs a healing potion and realises that many of his protection magics are missing, seemingly removed during his melee with the Lord on the Nightmare. He beats his chest, crying "Kilroy!!!" and charges after the nearest bat-mounted Knight.
Starflower in drake form dives again at the archers below, her Mind Scream driving the goblins to panic and flee. All discipline gone the unit breaks and runs.
Jedburgh, still bleeding from his leg wound dispels a Phantasm attacking Shemin-ah, while she works to freeze another Wight with ray of cold. Axis manages to slow a couple of the Wraiths though all of the undead appear quite resistant to magic.
Falling, Borghoff triggers instill flight on his armour and heads back into combat with the Lord, looking for an opportunity to close, while Engalton places extra spells upon him.
Off to the west Gok recovers his senses and turns back to rejoin the aerial melee.
Group 2, a short way south
The smoke from their firestorm dissipating behind them Group 2 wheels north and heads for the fight.
Sabrina formulates a plan of battle, and sensing the desperation which the undead will likely feel in the presence of the Standard orders Sir Wojer and Mordrin stay close to Mary-M as she takes the artifact into the thick of the fight -- Valery following close behind.
Mordrin and Sabrina rally Wordsmith as he flies towards them, and he joins them as they plunge into the fray. All of Group 2, now including Wordsmith, head for their beleaguered colleagues.
As they charge Sabrina's voice rings out, crystal clear for hundreds of feet, even across the noise of battle: "Foul dragon, your doom approaches! Sabrina the Valkyrie is upon you! Come now and feel the full force of my wrath!"
The Big Furball
Sabrina couches her lance and she and Ajax leap ahead of the group to charge straight at the dragon. Dragonfire washes over the pair, and then her dragonbone lance slams through the dragon's chest. The lance is torn from her hand and she switches to her war axe while Ajax strikes at the dragon with his mighty shod hooves. As the dragon shrieks in pain and rage, several of the newcomers to the dogfight pause momentarily, but all fight down their panic and remain steadfast.
Several of the undead are in turn unnerved by Lysander's arrival and the one Wraith who halts in mid-cast before her is quickly dispatched. As the Holy Standard draws near those already in the fight can see the Wights and Wraiths lose some of their substance, and the bats of the Skeleton Knights begin to keen.
With the arrival of Bleyze, Flamis, Sooty and Phaeton, purifying flames and fiery sunlight join icy blasts in falling amongst the undead. More Wights and Wraiths are struck down as they desperately attempt to avoid the fires.
Seeing the combat going against them the Skeleton knights are spurred to attack directly while the Namers are kept busy dispelling phantasms as their victims get slammed around and signal the apparitions' positions. Phantasms the Namers have now identified as originating from the bats. [Namers: bats appear to be sentient, and possess at less some Mind magics]
Mages not immediately involved in combat are putting low ranked spells on themselves and their comrades in a partially successful attempt to foil the Knights' ability to remove magic
Several Knights converge on the Mary-M and the Standard, attempting to take out its bearer and remove its holy effects.
Sir Wojer moves to intercept the first, and deals it several viscous blows. In return the Knight's dark blade slices through Sir Wojer's left shoulder, and becomes jammed. Sir Wojer decapitates it, and it dissolves to ash, taking its blade with it. With his left shoulder mangled and bleeding Sir Wojer strikes at the bat, who fastens its teeth into his leg, but is a moment later turned to dust as he strikes it again.
The second Knight, attacking Mordrin, shrieks and turns to ash, but its bat fastens its teeth into Mordrin's neck, who with her wings dissipated by the Knight's blow is feather falling. Valery races to her rescue, and her silver glaive reduces the bat to ash. Trying to staunch the neck wound Mordrin gently drifts down to where the goblins have now fled their position.
A third Knight goes after Lysander, opening a wicked gash along her left arm. Lysander slams her hand-and-a-half down through its right shoulder in an attack that reduces it to ash. A further flurry to attacks see its bat spiraling earthwards. Tingling with energy after destroying the Knight, Lysander charges and cuts down another Wraith, and engages a Wight.
Kilroy, still in combat with his Knight, and with most of his protections dissipated, has his right leg slashed to the bone and bleeding badly, followed by a slashing wound to his scalp. Kilroy in turn smashes his mace through the Knight's antique helmet and then through its skull, while Karreyhun bits off the head of its bat.
Another bat mounted Knight engages Axis and his cloud of larks. They trade blows, the Knight opening a gash on Axis's left thigh, and the bat biting. With the battle getting personal Axis, to the considerable surprise of the Skeleton Knight, changes into a silver dragon and scours him with flames of Anor, along with viscous clawing and biting. The bat turns to dust and Skeleton plunges to the ground below, hotly followed by Axis, who bites down on its head and gets a mouthful of ashes for his efforts.
The final Knight also charges towards Mary-M and the Standard, and is intercepted by Wordsmith and the badly injured Sir Wojer. On the first pass the Knight's bat manages to grasp Wordsmith, interfering with his wings, and fasten vampiric teeth into his left knee. The now heavily encumbered bat manoeuvres slowly and makes an easier target for Sir Wojer who deals the Knight a savage blow.
Meanwhile, below the fight a couple of Wights who has fallen earlier when their wings were dispelled (and unharmed by falling) attempt falling stars against Mary-M and the standard. Targeted as they are against moving targets, one falling star misses completely, but the second star manages to squarely strike the last Knight, along with Sir Wojer and Wordsmith. Sir Wojer, who does not bear the full brunt of the attack, is sent reeling away in need of (but probably refusing) medical assistance while the already injured Knight and bat dissipate in a cloud of noxious vapours, releasing the badly injured Wordsmith.
Borghoff, having flown back into combat with the Skeleton Lord, trades blows with him. The Lord turns and circles his Nightmare (still billowing forth clouds of obscuring smoke and ash), to face Borghoff (and avoid his attempts to close), as Borghoff passes, attacks and circles back. On the fourth pass Borghoff's sword evades the Lord's defences and slams down on his left shoulder, the sound of bones breaking quite audible. On the next pass however one of the Nightmare's hooves smashes into Borghoff's chest and he feels a rib break. The Lord's cloak continues to shed rat skins, now in mere tatters as they continue to battle and Engalton heals Borghoff of damage and renews low ranked spells. [Rib still broken though].
Sabrina and the dragon go at it hard. The dragon delivers a bruising blow to Sabrina's back with its tail, and opens a ragged wound down Ajax's left flank; his left front leg is lamed. Sabrina hacks great gashes in the dragon, deep wounds which spurt black blood that has a corrosive and necrotic effect, burning without fire, and causing both Sabrina and Ajax considerable pain.
Gok arrives back at the outskirts of the fight just as, in the midst of the melee, and in the presence of so many unholy beings, the Standard of Saint Jeremiah begins to glow, shining and sparkling, a glorious radiance, and then there is only light; a moment of brilliance and calm, gone as quickly as it appeared.
Most of the group are momentarily blinded, those unlucky enough to have been looking towards the banner can see only the fading afterimage of the sun. Only Mary-M, Lysander, Engalton and Phaeton can see clearly for those first moments after the flash, but as general vision returns...
The party appear unharmed by the Banner's blast, save for Sooty who has terrific sunburn over almost all of his (slightly unholy) body and is in excruciating pain until he manages to focus long enough to soothe pain.
Against the undead however the Standard has had a dramatic effect. Where the remaining Wraiths were only dissipating oily smoke remains in the air. The few remaining Wights appear to be on fire, and are quickly cleaned up by the melee fighters. (All of the Knights and their bats have already been dispatched). The great dragon appears scorched and blackened, and Borghoff, still engaged with the apparently unharmed Skeleton Lord notes a ring of jet crumble and fall from his hand.
With the dragon badly burnt and blackened, and with far fewer targets for their spells, the fire mages, Phaeton, and Shemin-ah concentrate their magical attacks against it. Twisting in a vain attempt to evade the spells the dragon offers Sabrina a momentary opening and she slams her Vodagh war axe through the side of its neck. A moment later the great body becomes a vast falling ash cloud, and a dragonbone spear, which she recovers with a quick dive.
As Borghoff trades yet another blow with the now obviously weakening Skeleton Lord, a heavy necklace with a large glowing ruby suddenly appears upon his breast. Spurring his nightmare, the Lord's tombstone voice reaches the ears of Borghoff and Engalton: "Another time, mortals!". The Lord and his mount turn translucent, transparent, and then disappear, leaving only a dissipating cloud of fumes.
[Borghoff & Engalton: Namers will be Namers; in the moment before they disappear, DA on the ruby reveals it to be a soul jar / spirit container of some sort... and its got a draconic flavour to it].
Looking around; all of the command unit are destroyed or otherwise gone. Many of the party are suffering injuries, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to deep bleeding wounds. Mordrin is still wafting gently towards the ground.
Away to the east and south-east, above the other two command units, there are now wings in the air...
The party lands and regroups about where the Command Unit had been initially.
Engalton places healing area counters upon the ground, various draughts and restoratives are drunk, and the Healers busy themselves wth stabilising the wounded; halting bleeding, quickly cleaning wounds and applying bandages, while the (now) unwounded stand guard.
Jedburgh has the arrow removed from his leg, Wordsmith's knee is tightly bound, as are Axis and Kilroy's legs. Mordrin's neck is cleaned and dressed, Lysander tends the nasty gash in her arm, Mary-M tends to Sir Wojer's shoulder, and Sabrina sees to Ajax. Starflower uses Cleansing Flame to heal Sooty's sunburn.
Ignoring the injury to his ribs, Borghoff, accompanied by Gok and Bleyze, approaches the tattered tents that, such as they are, appear to be the commander's encampment -- undead seemingly having little use for housing or possessions. Walls of fire and light prevent any of the lesser undead from approaching the camp, and being still close to the Standard the draining effects of lesser undead in the DC seems negated. Bleyze also notices that the undead's numbers appear to have been somewhat depleted despite them having not been engaged.
Borghoff and Gok check out the camp while Bleyze provides cover. The one large tent proves to be the commander's pavillion. Upon seeing the adventurers enter two small (goblin sized) dark robed figures attempt to open an ornate wooden box. Borghoff and Gok quickly dispatch the two, who turn to oily smoke and dissipate. The chest proves to have an Ignite Flammables trap attached, the magic of which is easily Expelled. The disarmed box contains a number of maps and several documents that appear to be in cipher, all of which are taken for later examination. [Borghoff: dark figures, Aura: magic, GTN: "Minion", magical servants of some kind]
The other two tents prove to be more corrals with roofs. Each contains about a dozen unhealthy looking humans. All appear docile (Dark Circle veterans will recognise this a result of undead WP drainings), and suffering from malnutrition and bite marks.
While party members revitalise and heal, Axis takes the opportunity to have a quick scry down into the valley and up to the SE hilltop.
Looking into the valley the winged figures continue to circle near the command unit's original position. They seem to number some dozen or so robed figures (which based on the previous fight are most likely Wights and/or Wraiths). Trying to get a better view of the command unit fails; the crystal will for some reason not focus closer, but Axis can just make out that still on the ground are a half dozen bat-riders. Looking instead at the hundreds of shambling troops they appear unarmed and unarmoured, and dressed in torn and filthy clothing -- something like zombies, but rather less decayed. They stand quietly and shuffle slowly. Some of the clothing is recognisable as being that of troops formerly fighting against the Dark Circle, others appears to have been Brastor peasants and townsfolk.
Truning to the SE hilltop scrying reveals a dozen more robed figures in the air and a few figures still on the ground. The grounded figures are difficult to scry clearly, the vision blurs around them, worst around one who appears to be carrying something. What Axis can make out shows tall and gaunt figures in baroque armour, much like "spectral warriors". The area on the hilltop shows the signs of a ritual -- symbols and odd glyphs mark the ground -- but it appears that the ritual has been abandoned, and as Axis watches the figures on the ground trigger or cast shadow wings and joining the figures in the air the entire group quickly heads for the valley command post.
Healed and recharged as best as can be achieved in a short time the party plans their next move...
[Cut scene] Just before out intrepid adventurers begin their run down into the valley and its hordes of undead we will turn our attention briefly to events unfolding off to the north, where an agitated Ogre chieftain is berating his two shamans. (dialogue translated liberally from the Ogrish). Chief Grundark Skullcrusher: Where are those new Earth Elementals, you scabby useless sons of goblins?! Shaman Grog: They're gone! I've called two now and they've both bogged off an' vanished. Shaman Borag: Yeah, me too Chief. Chief Grundark: [untranslatable], well, are the collapsing areas in front of those spineless hobgoblins ready? Shaman Borag: Yeah, they've been ready for hours. *slurrp* Hey, where'd Grog go?
- sucking sound as Shaman Borag also vanishes into the ground*
Right, on with the main event...
The party heals, recharges, and plans as much as possible in a short time. Some quick reorganization of groups is done: Axis, still in dragon form, and Starflower as a drake will accompany the flyers of Hammer, while Mary-M and the Standard will join Sword, where Sir Wojer and Mordrin can continue their invaluable bodyguarding.
Protections and spells are renewed, and Shemin-ah throws up some walls of ice to provide temporary shelter for the corralled captives until they can be evacuated upon the group's return. Ready to renew the attack the group summons up their resolve and lifts off from the hill-top prepared to charge the single, combined command unit in the valley.
Airborne once more the Guild party heads north-east, planning to hook around strafe the command unit with all of their available offensive magics before creating a landing zone slightly to the east of the command unit's position. The flight in takes a quarter of a minute as mages go over spell preparations and everyone readies again for battle. Beneath you on the ground Flamis's fire elemental keeps pace, blazing a fiery trail down from the hill top.
Flying over the shambling hordes everyone can now see what Axis reported, hundreds of dead but only slightly decayed figures, unarmed and unarmoured, and dressed in the torn and filthy clothing of peasants, townsfolk and soldiers. They look up with hungry expressions as you fly over. The Fire Elemental races into the nearest group and begins to immolate them on its way through. [Aura: Non-sentient undead, GTN: Plague Ghoul].
Approaching the command unit there are clearly a dozen dark robed figures on a mix of Star and Shadow wings circling, who are joined in the air by four Skeletal Knights on giant bats. A similar number of robed figures are on the ground, accompanied by a couple of Vampires and the three tall figures in the ornate armour. One of the Vampires is mounted on a dark horse and bears a red banner attached to a lance; a banner the colour of blood and bearing dark glyphs, the other, on foot, carries an enormous two handed sword with a pitted blade and unpleasant greenish tinge. [Ornate figures, aura: Sentient Undead, GTN: Liche]
As the Holy Standard nears the unit the Wights and Wraiths lose some of their substance, and then the Fire mages, Phaeton and Axis engulf the command unit in flame and cleansing light -- destroying three wraiths and a wight. Kilroy unleashes an enormous Solar Flare that vapourises another wraith and wight and Starflower's mind scream renders a wraith senseless. Firebolts and coldrays also stab at the unit, while blackfire, whitefire, and necrosis flash back at the party.
Swinging around just to the east of the command unit and into the open, Engalton and other namers prepare landing sites for Sword and Shield with counterspells and healing areas dropped on the ground. Shield lands while Sword and Hammer wheel back into the commanders. Hammer slams into the undead in the air and Sword lands on their pre-prepared site and engages targets on the ground.
In the air, several of the undead lose their composure in the face of Lysander's fear effect, one Knight shies away and engages Axis while a wight and wraith both flee the battle. Lysander engages another Knight and smashes through his helmet and jaw as his bat fastens teeth into her right thigh. Another blow renders the Knight to dust. The bat meanwhile opens a serious wound in Lysander's leg from which arterial blood flows. Lysander smashes the bat's head with her sword and it drops groundwards as she begins to staunch the serious bleeding.
Axis claws and bites, and breathes the flames of Arnor at the Knight who attacked him while the Knight hacks at Axis. Another mind scream from Starflower renders the Knight's bat insensible and falling, and Axis fastens claws in the falling Knight, tearing its chest open before it turns to dust and ash.
Two Knights charge at Kilroy and Karreyhun. Killroy bellows his war cry and smashes his mace into one Knight's chest, crushing it, while Karreyhun claws and bites at its bat, tearing off a wing. The other Knight lands a deadly slashing blow to Karreyhun's throat, causing the great raven and its rider to plunge to the ground. A moment later Sabrina's couched lance catches the Knight from behind, smashing through its armour to emerge from its chest. The Knight disintegrates as a blow from Ajax's hoof breaks its bat's wing.
On the ground the Namers are again kept busy countering phantasms created by the bats (though these do not last long as the conclusive air battle reduces their numbers), and Spectral Warriors from the apparently necromantic Liches. Necrosis and Streams of Corruption also fly towards Sword from the Liches, but the counterspelled area and the healing effects keep the fighters standing.
The insubstantial wraiths hang back and cast blackfire across Sword without much effect, save that Sir Wojer berserkly charges amongst them slashing wildly with his two-handed sword. The unfortunate wraith who feared him is turned to dust, and another wraith hewed apart. Despite a slashing blow from a wight that reopens his shoulder wound Sir Wojer continues to slash his way through the undead. A couple of the Wights target falling stars on Sword. Jedburgh manages to move out from under one, but the other lands directly on Mary-M who though saved from its full effect by her counterspell looks decidedly the worse for wear.
Both vampires and three wights engage Sword. The Vampire with sword strikes at Borghoff, while the Vampire with lance charges at Mary-M and the Standard. Mordrin intercepts the mounted vampire, smashing her hand and a half across its mounts front legs. The undead mount turns to dust tumbling the vampire to the ground. The vampire stands, still holding the lance/banner and draws a wicked, jagged sword. Borghoff and the other vampire trade blows, each looking for openings in the others defence, while Gok vapourises a wight with his holy sword, and goes to the aid of the limping Jedburgh. The final wight attacks Mary-M with a jarring blow that cracks her right wing. Dropping her short-sword Mary-M brings the Standard down hard on the wight who shrieks and vanishes in a brief burst of white light.
With people on the ground the demeanour of the ghoul mobs changes. Hundreds of ghouls swing their hungry gaze towards Sword and Shield and then begin running towards them. No shambling mob or orderly charge this, but a headlong rush; rapid and eerily silent. As they near Sword the ghouls halt or flow around the group -- the presence of the Standard preventing their close approach -- and concentrate their attention on Shield.
[Cut scene] Away to the west, at the mouth of the Pass, the Eltrandorians heavy cavalry has begun to gain speed, moving from a walk, to a canter, to a gallop. The remaining goblin archers in the enemy's centre scramble aside and the hobgoblins steady their lines. The cavalry lower lances and select their targets. The hobgoblins in the centre appear smug and sly, as though they expect any moment a calamity to befall the cavalry. On the knights charge and the hobgoblins begin to lose their composure as the ground steadfastly refuses to swallow the horsemen. The Eltrandorians strike the goblinoids lines with a crash that can be heard by the Guild over the noise of their own battles; a great resounding boom that echoes through the mouth of the pass.
The Shield group erects walls of fire and light, attempts Forbiddings against "ghouls", and begins blanketing the incoming undead with enhanced dragonflames, hellfire, Sunrays, and freezing cold. Flamis's fire elemental joins the group, seizing and incinerating the undead. Burning ghouls charge out of the fire, charring as they leap into close quarters, clawing and biting, heedless of their terrible injuries. Shield's "bodyguard" fighters attempt to keep the ghouls away from the casting mages with varying degrees of success, Valery's silver glaive manages to keep an area open around her and Phaeton, but filthy fingernails and teeth open wounds on Bleyze and Sooty, as ghouls drag them down, greedily stuffing torn flesh into their ravenous maws. Trusting to their Fire Armour, Flamis and her elemental create a firestorm over the two mages, broiling the undead.
Suddenly siege munitions come catapulted out of the west, fired from the backs of undead mammoths and passing over the hordes of undead; targeted beyond the valley command unit on the area where Shield is making its stand. Dozens of grapefruit sized globes fall among Shield and the ghouls, shattering to splash alchemical fire indiscriminately. Enchanted skulls also land in the melee, skulls that explode as they strike the ground, sending razor sharp bone shrapnel lancing through living and undead alike.
One shard punctures an artery in Flamis's right arm releasing a spray of blood, while another tears through Shemin-ah's left ankle embedding itself in the joint. A third impales Phaeton's left elbow, while a glancing blow opens a shallow but bloody scalp wound on Wordsmith. Fire drenched ghouls attempt to pile on top of fighters and mages alike; continuing to attack even with limbs hewed off, dragging themselves up blades that impale them until they suddenly disappear into ash from the undead protections.
Slightly ahead of the confused melee, the Standard of Saint Jeremiah begins to glow, shining and sparkling with an eye burning radiance. Ready this time Mary-M is able to call a warning and then there is only light; a moment of nothing but the utmost brilliance, which is then gone, leaving the noon-day sun seeming dimmed.
Warned as they were blindness is at worst momentary, and almost immediately the effects can be seen. The ghouls have been devastated, many of those nearby reduced to no more than drifting dust and ash, others charred and blackened. Many still remain however, too distant to have been effected, but now still racing towards the party. The unfortunate Sooty has once again been badly burned (though not, he thinks, quite as badly as the first time).
Another hail of fire globes falls onto Shield, and then the siege artillery stops and does not fire again. Those on the ground will feel a slight shudder underfoot, while those in the air can see, glancing westwards, that where the mammoths were there are now gaping pits, and within the pits black armoured warriors are destroying the beasts.
Amongst the command unit though the effect of the Standard has been far less. In the moment of the Standard's flash the light seemed to bend around the commanders; a hemi-sphere of darkness that appeared centred on one of the Liches and protected most of the other undead. Observing the centre of the effect Sabrina steadies her lance and charges into a Liche, impaling it though the chest, while Kilroy picks himself up off the ground and yelling "Kilroy!" charges another of the ornate trio. Axis and Starflower bear down upon the third.
Still engaged with a vampire Borgoff hammers his sword into its abdomen. The vampire brings its greatsword smashing down across Borghoff's chest (and previously broken ribs) staggering him. Jedburgh and Gok having destroyed their wight attack the vampire turning its attention from the incapacitated Borghoff. Gok's holy sword catches the vampire on the side of its neck, above its gorget, and the creature dissolves into misty vapours. The vampire with the lance points its sword at Mordrin and speaking an unholy word releases a chain of lighting bolts from its banner at both her and Mary-M. The bolts strike the two, damaging and stunning. Mordrin reels back clutching her sword and the vampire stalks towards Mary-M who is dazedly clinging to the Standard.
With her lance jammed in the Liche Sabrina switches to her axe, and the creature disappears under a flurry of axe blows and a storm of hooves. Kilroy's mace jars his target's shoulder, while its black scepter in turn shatters Kilroy's left collarbone. Kilroy begins to back away defensively. The Liche that Axis and Starflower have attacked carries a black chalice filled with smoking red liquid. Axis breathes flames over him, while Starflower claws at him. Her attack smashes the bones in his left arm and the black chalice falls to the ground and overturns, smoking blood spilling out onto the earth.
A moment later the remaining vampire is on fire, the noon sun's rays igniting his flesh as the unholy artifact's powers are dissipated and the Standard of Saint Jeremiah suppresses the Dark Circle effects fully for the first time.
For the third time today the Standard of Saint Jeremiah begins to glow, shine and sparkle and then light blankets everything in a moment of calm. Mary-M feels the Standard become quiescent, its power temporarily drained.
As people's vision clears they can see that the party stands in an area devastated and cleared of unlife. To the west the mammoths have been destroyed, black armoured dwarves have emerged from their pits and are firing upon the orges, and the hobgoblins finding themselves caught between charging cavalry and pits to their rear have broken and are fleeing.
Once again the party rests and heals. Starflower heads west to panic more goblinoids and ogres, most of whom are already fleeing into the hills.
Most of the damage is repaired with potions, healing counters and the like, but very few people do not bear some injuries that will require the attention of the Healers for full recovery.
[By my reckoning only Engalton, Gok, Starflower, and Valery escaped without "named" injuries. Everyone else has something slashed, broken, or embedded, and a number of the wounds quickly patched from the first fight will be bleeding again from the exertions of this one.]
In the pass mouth the Eltrandorian cavalry have come to a halt before the gaping pits; the surviving hobgoblins and goblins all fleeing. The ogres are retreating (in good order, so far) before the black armoured dwarves who came out of the pits. The dwarves number perhaps 200 and seem to be armed with odd crossbows; sharp cracks and reports can be heard as they shoot at the ogres.
As the party recovers a delegation of dwarves approaches, a commander type and a few bodyguards, along with a banner bearer carrying an all black standard. They all have strange and twisted bodies: one had goat legs, another a tentacle arm, a third large curving horns, etc. The leader of the group appears normal to the waist, but his lower body is scorpionoid; six legs and a sting-tipped tail.
They seek out your military leaders and address them. (Their centauroid leader seems to take a bit of a shine to Mordrin). :-) He introduces himself as Captain Turok of the Black Regiment, and compliments the party on their fighting abiliites. He explains that his spies report DC relief forces approaching this end of the pass (light forces initially, but much heavier ones by nightfall) and wishes to know the party's mission from this point and requirements for assistance; if any.
Sabrina offers some further explanation:
Braegon had some additional information which he gave to the military leaders on the night of the 3rd (the night before the attack). Braegon explained that this information was very sensitive and that he didn't want it spread around for fear of Dark Circle spies.
That information is now repeated here verbatim:
Braegon and the other "missing" guild members are involved in building a new (fourth) pass through the Ildrisholm hills, some 15 miles to the south-west of Carlson's Switch. The have contacted the encircled troops inside Brastor and arranged to get the refugees moving in the right direction. They hope to break through a bit before noon, and for the the Guild Assault to the north to keep Dark Circle eyes busy elsewhere.
Should the Guild be able to punch through Carlson's Switch all the better, but the most important goals are to smack the Dark Circle command in the area hard, cause maximum chaos and confusion, and keep the DC forces busy for as long as possible.
The remaining goblins have dispersed into the hills, the hobgoblins have thrown away weapons and shields and scrabbled up steep banks to break contact with the Eltrandorian cavalry, the orges have fled in the face of the Black Regiment's strange weapons(and not a few earth elementals) and the Guild stands in a strange wasteland of ash and dust.
Wounds are bound and damage healed, the few nasty looking and evil items lying around are checked, bagged and taken.
After considerable discussion between the Party's military leaders, Captain Turok, and Eltrandorian Officers it is decided to withdraw from the pass in good order, keeping together as a "force in being" to continue the threat to the DC in this area, and force them to commit their reserves and fresh troops here rather than elsewhere in Brastor. This is felt to minimize risk to the troops here, while giving the evacuation plan currently in swing NW of Tobintown the best chance of success.
The Eltrandorians will pull back to their camp, and the Guild are asked to pick up the captives in the ex-DC command area and get them to the Eltrandorian camp, where they can be looked after (and also looked over to ensue no untoward DC influences). First though, a number of walls will be thrown up to delay the fast moving reinforcements.
Meanwhile the Black Regiment are going to dismantle the DC fortifications in the pass to make it harder for them to hold, and are planning to lurk around the area for a while in their preferred underground locations. They will also use elementals to fortify the Eltrandorian camp.
This will create a strong sally point for the Alliance forces, and should mean the DC have to put a strong defence force in the pass.
The plan settled, the groups head off. For the Guild's part walls are created to block the pass, and the few remaining skeletons up to prove no great danger (even with the full DC effects) and can be flamed from range. The other camps are quickly surveyed but appear as goblin and hobgoblin tents and no more captives are located.
By the time the Guild reaches the Eltrandorian camp the first o their soldiers are arriving back, and the first walls are going up, built by strangely dark coloured elementals under the supervision of more black armoured dwarves.
[Back in the pass 50 or so strangely glowy "Wight Wolves" have arrived and are foiled for quite some time by the walls... over time heavier troops move up to reinforce them].
Over the next few hours the elementals and mechanicians of the Black Regiment turn the camp into a considerable redoubt with long range attack -- seems the dwarves managed to scavenge some nasty siege engines from somewhere. :-)
When dusk comes, the Eltrandorian commander thanks the Guild for their efforts today, saying that it was a pleasure to operate with such professional troops and that he hopes they might work together in future.
After nightfall the party heads back to Regar's Keep (by flight or other means), and by late evening all are back at the Guild (or their homes nearby).
The Guild healers are kept quite busy for the next few days tending to the wide variety of injuries suffered. (The Duke is standing the costs, btw). :-)
The Fourth Pass
First light - Faith leaves and heads into hills.
Around 10am - Stick 1 broken: "in safely".
Around noon - Stick 2 broken: "in contact with troops and safe".
Afternoon - no further contacts. Occasional light patrols spotted in hills. (Generally no more than half a dozen gobbos with a zombie in tow).
Around 9pm - Stick 3 broken: "scry me now". (Message as discussed).
pre-dawn of the 4th - Pass building begins... (H-hour minus 6)
Building the Pass
Braegon summons up 4 Earth Elementals, from 6am onwards you begin pushing a new road through some very rugged terrain, levelling, flattening, carvng cliff faces, smashing boulders, relocating trees, and in a few places carving tunnels straight through solid stone. The road is about 12 feet at the narrowest and considerably wider in some places. The night and early morning are cold (-6 C or so), and the going is moderately hard.
In the meantime Roke finds patrols and a dire spiked and bladed shape of utter darkness (and Seren's elemental) strikes fear (followed by several feet of blade) into the hearts of goblins. Zonbies, momentarily noting that the dark shapes approaching aren't wraiths are hacked apart. The patrols have little chance to warn anyone, though you suspect they must have some form of long distance communication.
Rangers follow up your advance, and infantry patrols detached from the Carzalan "Duke's Own" infantry begin moving into the area.
Off to the north (not that you can see this, engaged as you all are in rambling and patrol trouncing) elements of the Halph infantry and hobilars begin threatening Harden's Pass, Orgon's Saddle, and Carlson's Switch.
All goes reasonably well and a little after 10am you emerge from the last cutting into a small valley running towards Tobintown. The area ahead of you is littered with refugee tents and other temporary shelters, around which there is considerable movement and activity. Small groups of soldiers can be seen marshalling the tired, cold and frightened people who are packing up a motely variety of carts, travois, packs, flocks, gaggles, etc.
Taking to the air you get a better view of the military situation. Alliance forces just south of Tobintown have clashed with DC forces heading north, and a large DC force is threatening Emmit's Ford. (Attached map details known enemy positions around 11am).
Heading towards the Ford you can make out a long way to the north what must be the troops Faith warned you of; they do not seem to be on the move.
Arriving near the Ford around 10:30am, you find Fulham's Foot (the Lavender company) on the main road north preparing ditches in front of their positions, screened by elements of Dubresky's Light Cavalry.
At the ford proper, the remnants of Col. Lyndon-Smyth's pike regiment is dug in, prepared to repel forces attempting to cross the ford, and backed up by a reasonable quantity of Church forces... and Faith.
From this position you can see the DC forces approaching the ford appear to be of the heavy cavalry variety and flying an assortment of rather tattered Aquilan banners.
H hour minus one...
Colonel Lyndon-Smyth, commander of the 1st Brastor Pike Regiment appears tired and a bit thinner than when he and his regiment marched to liberate Brastor back in late summer. He remains however relentlessly jovial:
"Oh, good form! Well, I must say you Guild laddies... and lass <nodding to Seren> are a sight for sore eyes -- I didn't think we were likely to get any reinforcement chappies before the whole shebang started".
"I must say that young Faith here has been an absolute marvel, nosing round 'Dodgy Charlies' positions and bringing us some first rate observations, eh wot".
"Did she tell you how she scootled back in there after dark and put the kibosh on their plans by slipping their beeves some rum conconction? No? Hiding her light under a bushel, eh? If she hadn't gone back we wouldn't have known those 'zombie' wolves are actually Wights... or Wraiths, or some other undead rubbish".
"Well, you're here now, so what say we roll these no-good Aquilan's up and push on into Brastor. Should be able to round up the rest of the motely crew and have the lads home for Yule and a bit of egg-nog, eh?"
Braegon: Colonel, I appreciate your desire to destroy the enemy but that is not our current objective.
Your position is surrounded and was cut-off. That you are still alive, your unit intact, and that you have protected so many people is a testament to you and your men. With all the damage you have inflicted in the recent seasons I expect that our enemy was counting on those trapped here to be her new recruits for her next big push.
But now your orders are to fall back in good order.
Lyndon-Smyth: "Well I never, <splutter>".
Braegon: We have organised a distraction up north which should disrupt their plans and organisation but we can't count on that lasting long.
We can remove the ford and add some other suprises for the undead Aquilans which should gain you time to fall back to defensive positions at the new pass without them nipping at your heels. If my companions are willing to risk it we can probably thin their numbers a bit too.
Colonel, could you answer a couple of questions for me... When will Tobintown be clear so that you and you men can move back? How many of your men are unable to march 10 miles west to the pass? We may be able to arrange something for them.
I would appreciate it if you could despatch a couple of engineers back to the pass to mark out where you want to establish the defensive lines this side of the pass and where you want the earthworks raised. And the troops on the road south of Tobintown are engaged with the enemy, if they are to have any chance to fall back they will presumably need some support. I would appreciate your advice on the best way to assist them.
Faith: <sotto voce> "And I thought that Sir Gaius sounded self-important and stiff necked."
Roke: Colonel, your Valiant defence of Brastor thus far and the many lives of the remaining civilians and troops are a testament to your skill.
We are preparing a renewed offense come summer and would appreciate your skill, expertise and local knowledge to be utilised in forming future plans.
We'd like to evacuate the wounded expeditiously from Tobintown through the new pass/tunnel using wagons and assisted by able bodied troops.
We can plan the lines for defence of the new pass and establish defensive earthworks to protect the last lines before the pass.
Following Braegons suggestion we should change the ford from being a nice crossing point to a decent pond with depth!
The ford is deepened and the exit ramp is removed making the ford no easier to cross than any other part of the river.
4th Frost, a bit after Midday, near (what was) Emmit's Ford.
Scouts for the undead Aquilans have approached within a few hundred feet of the now un-forded river, and then come to a halt.
A rider from Dubresky's Light Cavalry arrives with a message for Col. Lyndon-Smyth (which it takes little skill to contrive to overhear.
It appears that some elements of the DC unit to the north (wolves and goblins and/or undead wolves) has moved off west, into Carlson's Switch. It doesn't appear to be the whole unit on the move, and there seems to be some confusion / chaos in the camp (of the remaining elements).
A patrol of half a dozen winged figures approaches the river and bgins to circle several hundred feet overhead (outside the range of most weapons and spells).
Lyndon-Smyth's pike regiment, and Fulham's Foot have begun getting organised into march order to head back towards Tobintown.
Dubresky's Light Cavalry and the Church Cavalry will screen the withdrawl.
While waiting to see if the undead will attempt to cross, the party covers themselves and the rivers edge with darkness hoping the aerial scouts might become curious and drop within spell range to investigate.
4th Frost 12:30-ish
The troops are all withdrawing in good order back towards Tobintown and the 4th pass. The dead knights stay halted; in the distance the advance troops of their reinforcements can be seen, moving slowly, probably here in a couple of hours.
The scouts circle, but don't approach. Two break off north, and then return after 15 minutes, looking bigger (carrying something). From hundreds of feet up they begin dropping skulls into the darkness; skulls that explode on impact sending bone shards lancing through the air...
The party gives up their watch and flies out, scouting the enemy lines, and harassing the enemy to give the alliance troops opportunity to break contact and withdraw.
Closing the Pass
By late afternoon the refugees will be (at least) in the pass, as will the Brastor troops (Fulham's, Lyndon-Smyth's, Dubresky's, etc), with the Church troops holding a collapsing pocket around the end of the pass.
As dusk falls, and the very last of the troops enter the pass, Sir Gaius de Malvallet and his personal guard (from his chapter, the "Knights of the Wrath of Michael"), make a furious counter-charge into the enemy's command area.
Just before they leave Gaius briefly thanks Braegon and his companions for what has been wrought here today, commands that the pass be collapsed behind them, and states that he frees them from any responsibility to assist or rescue him or his men.
He says that he regrets being unable to fulfill his charge of destruction of the Dark Circle, but that he shall to the last be true to his Lord. With that, and cries from the knights of "Fire and Iron!", and "Michael!", they thunder away...
The walls are collapsed behind them preventing the Dark Circle hordes from following the Alliance forces and a futile watch is kept for any survivors of the last heroic charge.
Our thanks and appreciation to Martin for running this great event.