The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 45
So Argrath rode out of the palace on Vigga-Holsten, his Sky Bull with the Companions riding with him. Outside the gate the band was caught up by Queen Varadis on her charger Thordils. A score of Axe Maidens awaited their queen on their mounts; it seemed that the queen rode through the Esrolian quarter daily.
“Hail Argrath,” she called. “I would have words with you.” When she was beside him she asked if he had a problem meeting with the Rokari. “We all wish to see the Empire defeated and driven from these lands,” he answered. He told how he would deal with anybody who would help. Varadis spoke of Argrath's relative anonymity in Nochet and that he may have trouble being taken seriously by some. She offered to hold a ball and introduce him to the Rokari lords in the city. “You would of course me a minor functionary,” she spake, “for none would meet you in any other capacity.” All she asked in return for the favour was that Argrath put in a good word with the Rokari for her. The Rokari are infamous for their misogynistic beliefs and these lords were particularly set in their ways.
Argrath agreed and thanked the Queen for her generosity. She announced that the ball would be in the morrow. She would send a castellan to Argrath to advise him on acceptable dress in Nochet. “Our menfolk do not make war,” she said, “and rarely carry more than duelling weapons.” Armour especially was unacceptable. She then reminded them all of the curfew in the Esrolian quarter on unaccompanied men and rode off with her warriors.
We need now describe more of the city of Nochet. The Esrolian Quarter was in the centre of the city. This section was meticulously landscaped with many flowers and carefully trimmed trees. Birds sang everywhere and most intersections were dominated by gaily carved fountains. All of the buildings were well maintained and spacious and the Queen's Way cut through the centre of the city, this boulevard could pass ten carts sideby side if any were permitted upon it.
The Companions now went their separate ways, each performing a task for Argrath.
Gudny fared south into the Old Town quarter where he sought the Orlanthi temple. After being convinced that the temple was indeed 10 miles from their inn in the northern Free Quarter, Gudny flew there with Borne Gudnysman and Viga-Vedda.
Now there was a man named Radan No-Wife who was born on Orlanth's Vantage, a large hill in Old Town where the Orlanth temple was. Radan was the son of Ceoil Halfhand who had slain an Axe Maiden and lived to tell the tale; he was also the ranking priest of Orlanth the Thunderous in Nochet.
The Temple on Orlanth's Vantage was one of the largest that Gudny had ever seen. It perched atop the hill with finely carved marble walls. As was normal there was no roof on the temple. The hill itself, where Orlanth was said to have stood and peered across the ocean had been carved into a spiral shape. Surrounding the temple was the complex that housed the priests, godi and acolytes. Most of the city's orlanthi lived within sight of the Vantage.
Now when Gudny and his companions alit before the temple's gates a large gathering awaited him for they had seen him coming and had come to see the Bull riders.
Radan greeted Gudny, “Greetings Sky Hero. I am Radan No-Wife,” he emphasised his state of bachelorhood. “What brings you to the Vantage of Orlanth the King of Gods?” Many of those on the steps stared in amazement at Brunjarl, Gudny's skybull. Gudny spake of the war against the Empire and of valiant King Argrath's need for men. Radan took him into the temple and they spoke of this and that. Gudny spoke to Radan of his newly formed warband that was to fight the Empire and how he sought recruits for it. Radan suggested that Gudny return to the temple in the morrow, Windsday, and participate in their ceremony. He would then be able to meet all of the major worshipers in the city and spread his message there. Gudny thanked Radan for his advice and returned to the inn.
Sigmund and Rolf passed into the Rokari quarter where he found an inn, the King and Hammer, by name where he hoped to find knights for hire. He was blocked at the door by a large man, Percecles the Bald, who was the innkeep. “You have come to the wrong place young man,” he growled. Sigmund squinted into the darkness of the place and looked over the many fighting men lounging in the corners. “I was seeking knights for hire, if there are none here then indeed I have come to the wrong place,” he replied. “You seek sellswords? Indeed, you may have come to the right place.” Percecles showed the two warriors to a table and waved over a serving wench before he moved deeper into the gloom.
Rolf fingered his battle-blade, “These people are very hostile,” he hissed. “Should I kill a few to teach them some manners?” Sigmund shook his head and said no.
After they had sat there for a while a towering warrior sauntered over and sat with them. In his harshly accented Heortling he asked if Sigmund was hiring and how many. Sigmund replied that he required ten-score knights and sergeants. “That many?” the knight asked. “You are seeking to hire a large army. How were you intending to do it? What with you being a barbarian and all.”
So Sir Lorik the Griffin, for that was his name, talked with Sigmund of mercenaries and the peculiar hiring practices of the Rokari. Lorik wore a black tabard with a golden griffin rampant. He told how he hailed from Tanisor. For the promise of a permanent home, Lorik pledged to serve Sigmund and help him recruit a Free Company. Lorik then gave an overview of the major groups in Nochet that were seeking a master.
Sir Pelonn the Black was an Aeolian knight from Heortland. He was a disciple of St. Taurox the Chaos Killer. His fifty men were all knights of St. Taurox and they each carried a two-handed great sword, which they swung with endless vigour in the face of chaos.
Sir Terrek the Fisher was a naval expert from Gilboch, also in Seshnela. His company boasted 30 marines and he was seeking a ship to hire on with.
Baron Jascelin Axeborn was an exile from Noyelle in Seshnela. He led a score of Rokari knights, three-score sergeants and two-score crossbowmen. His company also had 400 dependants.
The last large group in Nochet was Count Perrick the Brave and Bishop Foidan the Innocent. They were Hrestoli Idealists. The Count was accompanied by 50 knights and 100 sergeants. The Bishop led a party of Grand Knights, priest warriors of awesome prowess. They were also accompanied by 500 dependants but sailed upon 6 great cogs. They were here to find land to settle or a city to conquer, it seems that Foidan had had a vision from God and was told to crusade in the Barbarian lands.
On Windsday Argrath gathered his Companions and learned of their doings.
Once he was appraised of Sigmund's doings, Argrath sent word to Sir Pelonn and Baron Jascelin inviting them to meet with him and discuss employment. Sir Pelonn was available immediately but the Baron was out of the city and would return in the morrow.
Argrath and Sigmund went into the Ports Quarter where they found Sir Pelonn deep in his cups. Pelonn was a short but very stout warrior with a beard as thick as a bristle brush. Argrath introduced himself and told the knight that he wished to hire he and his men. Pelonn asked if Argrath wanted him to raid the Ditali again like last time .
Argrath said no, but that he was hiring knights to fight the Empire and then to fight chaos later. Pelonn perked up and asked “Chaos?” “Scorpion men,” Argrath replied. “I have not fought scorpion men since last I was in the Print . If you want me to fight chaos I'm your man!” he exclaimed and clasped hands with Argrath. “First, you can cover my tab. The innkeep is getting rude. More Beer! Beer for me and my master, Lord Argrath Richbastard!”
After speaking with the knight at length Argrath learned that he had been fighting the tribesmen in the western marches for three years, since the Pharaoh vanished. He told how the Marchers were having a hard time of it and getting no support from any of the factions in Esrolia.
Argrath asked Sir Pelonn what he knew of Baron Jascelin and learned that the Baron had been exiled from Seshnela for fighting a battle that his duke disapproved of. As he was related to the duke he was exiled rather than slain.
Argrath left Sigmund and Sir Lorik to hire more cavalry and he fared into the Old City to visit the Lhankor Mhy temple complex.
It is said that the Lhankor Mhy temple in Nochet was the largest in the world. The complex sprawled over ten city blocks and was home to some 900 sages and students. Argrath told the guards at the entrance that he wished to see the High Priests. The guards looked incredulous and – respectfully for he appeared to be a lord from some land - inquired after his business. They then recommended that Argrath seek the serving priest who could recommend further avenues of inquiry. Argrath agreed and was led into the entranceway. He was invited to leave his weapons with the attendant.
There was a man named Hibbog the Shrewd who hailed from Karse. Since childhood he was taken with the quest for knowledge and had devoted his life to the Knowing God. Hibbog and had travelled to Nochet after the Empire seized Karse and joined the temple there. It was Hibbog who was summoned to deal with the barbarian lord that day.
After a short wait a tall, hawk-nosed sage stepped through the doors and looked at Argrath. “Yeessss?” he asked. Argrath explained that he was seeking to hire sages from the temple to conduct some research for him. Hibbog peered closely at Argrath and asked if his father was from Karse. “Aye,” replied Argrath, “he was for a while.” “I remember you now,” Hibbog said. “You were an aggressive young man. Now you have a price on your head.” He asked Argrath what he wished researched. Argrath told of his need for further dragon lore and information on the Empire. He told that he had a source of such information and needed more sages then he currently had to fully exploit it.
Hibbog replied that there was little interest in the temple for researching the Empire but that there was some considerable interest in dragon lore. “In fact,” he said, “you would have a flood of eager respondents if your source is useful.” He then asked what kind of sources Argrath had. “You've heard of Cragspider's library?” Hibbog dropped his mug and gaped at Argrath. “How restricted is your access?” he gasped. “Unrestricted.” The sage turned a delightful shade of pale and gasped inarticulately. He wheezed weakly, “Only seven of our sages have even seen her library in the last two centuries,” he finally managed.
Once he had recovered, Hibbog told how they would “of course” establish a full research mission onsite, his eyes glazed over as he mumbled about “cataloguing” and “indexing” the library; he concluded that they needed to hold a conclave of the Temple Elders. Argrath reminded him that he had specific research priorities. Hibbog agreed that in return for access to the library they would try to help Argrath with his efforts.
Our tale now turns to the ball that Queen Varadis had announced.
Gudny and Kamoar laughed long and hard at the outlandish clothing that Queen Varadis' man had dressed Argrath in. It only made it more amusing when Voydag bit the man while he struggled to get her into her court dress. “On'y me man c'n touch me there,” she snarled at the puzzled castellan.
Gudny and Kamoar could laugh because they were the only ones of Argrath's companions that were not attending the ball.
So it was as true Esrolian nobles that Argrath, Voydag, Bronwyn and Sigmund passed through the city to the Queen's palace. With them were Von and Rolf and Tulmult with ten warriors. They were all dressed in gaily-coloured cloth with frills and long shoes with pointed toes. Argrath bore a large floppy hat on his head that nearly covered one eye. His sword had been left behind and replaced with an Esrolian rapier. About his shoulders was a fine green cape that billowed as he walked and threatened to trip he and his body-thanes.
They passed the Humakt temple on the way and Von grumbled about the effeminate warriors there. “All oiled muscles and ponsy pointy swords. Not a decent battle-blade among the lot.”
They were ushered into a large ballroom by a huge, pretentious chamberlain. “Voydag, Lady of the Marches, and her husband.” The room boasted the largest feasting table any of them had seen and was fully set with foodstuffs from across Esrolia and beyond. Rolf mentioned that one could ride several horses along the table with no fear of falling off.
Around the room were various Esrolian nobles, few of which deigned to notice Argrath's arrival. As they awaited some sign of how to proceed, Furlomon, the Maitre-de, approached. Furloman related how many of the Rokari refused t meet with barbarians and that Queen Varadis was in negotiations with them now to resolve the difficulty.
The Companions passed through the room and listened to the many conversations going on around them. After some time Queen Varadis arrived and drew Argrath aside. It appeared that Lord Fengot was the only lord who was interested in meeting with him that he was under intense pressure from his bishops not to pollute himself. She said that this evening Argrath would only be able to speak with the various merchant factors and not the knights. But the talk should prove profitable and enrich them both. Lord Fengot, she said, may arrive after dinner and join them in drinks, unofficially, in a private room.
At this time the dinner bell was rung and they gathering sat to eat. With the room left by the missing Rokari lords the bodyguards were all invited to feast as well. The Companions drew some odd looks as they drew daggers and began eating with their fingers, the Esrolians were using some metal implements to lift their food, in small pieces, to their mouths, most strange.
After the meal the Queen took Argrath into a side room. “Lord Fengot is unavailable this evening,” she said. She then presented Argrath with a sealed document. “Here is the proposed trade arrangement with the merchant factors here.” Argrath passed it to Filian Finebrow, his steward, to review it. Filian was impressed and said so. The agreement included lower port rates and tax concessions in exchange for access to Argrath's markets.
Queen Varadis told him that his next step was to meet with Lord Fengot. “He has told me that he will be available tomorrow. The Queen offered Argrath guesting in the palace that night, Argrath accepted and they parted for the evening.
So Kamoar took this occasion to explore the Spirit World of Nochet. Many were the tales of the Shadowed Beast that wandered the streets of Nochet that night as Kamoar wandered the alleys and backways seeking locations of spiritual power. He also noted several of the street children who had unawakened fetches. With a silent chant and a soft touch the Shadow marked the children as his and tied their fetch to his so that he could find them again.
Finally finding a small park, Kamoar sat and created a summoning circle. He then passed through into the spirit realm and spoke with the spirits of the city.
On this night Gudny returned to Orlanth's Vantage with his band of companions and participated in their ceremonies there. There were 300 worshipers in the temple that night. After the worship he was invited to speak to the congregation and he did. Gudny called upon all of his abilities and preached war on the Empire. He told them tales of King Argrath and his braver deeds. He told them of the mustering armies and the dancing priests. He told them of the battles in Heortland and Sun County. Finally he told them of his magic warband and his need for warriors and godis, strong in the wyrd of Orlanth, to join him and serve King Argrath. It was a rousing telling and brought Argrath much honour in its telling.
Thorheilf Hallside, a mighty godi, declared that Gudny was the Finest of Men and that Argrath was truly a noble lord. He immediately swore to follow Gudny and his king. With Thorheilf were seven of his family including his son, Thord Hallside, Garan Goodson, his foster son, Mardis Redcrest, Garan's wife and Sigurd Waterman a cousin.
Athol the Greedy, another gody, said that he did not care how fine Gudny was but that Argrath sounded to be a man of substance and that serving him would bring wealth to his family. Athol and six of his men swore to join the band and study magic from Gudny.
Korela Stormdaughter, a godi of Leilas Orlanthsdottir, spoke of the evils that the Empire had brought to the land and joined Gudny's band. She brought four other Stormdaughters with her.
Corven the Mac, a priest of the temple told of a dream he had had where a Sky Warrior flew from the clouds and summoned him to the service of a Storm Dragon. He then told how the Storm Dragon was first shackled and then freed and then bathed in a river of blood. He told Gudny that he had no wish to leave the city and his people but he felt that the dream was a message from Orlanth and he must follow it. He and seven of his acolytes left with Gudny to join his service.
So now Gudny returned to the inn to find it occupied by a large band of warriors. None of the servants were in sight. As he entered the inn a large man with heavy armour stood and removed his helm, it was Lord Fengot. The Lord told how King Argrath and his men were in grave danger, in fact he had been seized by Queen Varadis and was to be given to the Empire. The Empire planed to drag him through the dirt of Boldhome by his heels in a triumphant procession led by Prince Tatius the Bright.
It seemed that the entire banquet had been a sham and that the Companions had all been drugged. When they awoke they were chained to the walls of a dungeon. Argrath peered through slitted eyes and say Jorad Sideburn, the Imperial General gloating over him.
Lord Fengot asked Gudny what he knew of Esrolian politics. “I know nothing more than that the land is ruled by a much of women who defy Orlanth's laws and treat their men like thralls.” Fengot nodded and spoke of the Warm Earth Alliance and the Old Earth Alliance. Gudny was reminded that it was Queen Joirada of the Warm Earth who was at the conclave Refuge. Fegot told Gudny that the Old Earth Alliance was opposed to the Warm Earth and the alliance of Caladraland nobles. With the rebel leaders joining the Caladraland alliance the Old Earth had made a pact with the Empire. They would deliver Nochet to the Empire and the Empire would crush the Calandraland nobles, returning the region to Esrolian control as a province of the Empire. The price of the bargain was an Argrath.
Gudny demanded to be told where Argrath was as he would free his king at all costs. Lord Fengot told of his mustering army. He said that his knights could control all the gates into the city except those in the Grain Quarter. He beseeched Gudny to seize the Processional Gate, leading from the Grain Quarter to the Esrolian inner city. “If the Empire takes that gate then all is lost,” he said. He then told Gudny that the Companions were chained in the Watch Keep. He then left to continue gathering his knights. It seemed that every Rokari faction in the city had joined to battle the Empire.
When Kamoar returned Gudny told him the news and they flew to the Orlanthi temple to gain aid in their fight. As they flew over the city they spied columns of Imperial troops marching through the Grain Gate and into that quarter of the city. They saw fighting in every quarter of the city as partisans battled Esrolians and prevented other gates being thrown open. They watched a column of Rokari knights force their way along the Queen's Way scattering militia and Axe Maidens. In the free port they saw galleys landing more troops into the city, Rokari from their banners. They saw the Earth temple teeming with people handing weapons to the militia and with Axe Maidens preparing for battle.
They found the congregation of Orlanth's Vantage arming for war. Gudny told them what was occurring and called on them to aid him and defend their city from the minions of Shepelkirt. When all of the priests there combined their magic they lifted the entire warband, five-score warriors, into the air and flew to the Watch Keep. Everywhere they looked the city was burning and people were beginning to loot the stores and richer buildings.
As daylight began to creep through Theya's gate the band swooped upon the keep. Kamoar suggested that they use the Sky-Bulls to force the doors. When Thunderhooves and Brunjarl leaned into the doors they collapsed with shattering crash. Kamoar invoked his spirits and sprouted savage claws as he leapt through the doorway with Gudny in his wake.
A wild-eyed axe maiden led a charge against the Companions. Gudny summoned the weapons of Orlanth and smote at her with Thunder but she spun on her heal avoiding the blast. The warrioress shifted her axe from hand-to-hand and made to cleave Gudny in twain. Gudny again stuck with Thunder and her axe briefly glowed a brilliant blue before her arm burst open from the blow and the Maiden fell down dead right then.
Kamoar lunged at the other Axe Maiden. He slashed at her with his claws and they passed through her shield and her byrnie tearing into her torso and emerging through her back. He ripped at her with his other hand and tore her arm from her shoulder before tossing the mangled body aside.
Behind the Axe Maidens was a squad of watchmen, all splattered in steaming crimson. They took one look at the advancing Companions and fled into the depths of the keep throwing their spears and shields from them in their terror.
The Orlanthi burst upon and through the keep like a surging tide and slew all in their paths. The Companions passed downward into the bowels of the fortress until they found Argrath and the other Friends. An Esrolian eunuch was found who knew the command words to release the slave shackles and the King was free. Bronwyn immediately drew upon his Draconic powers and grew claws, scales and wings. Both he and Argrath were hard pressed to retain their serenity against their mounting rage. Gudny passed over their weapons and armour that he had brought and the Companions passed back through the keep and into the courtyard.
Djarn the Voice, Gudny's Hornsman sounded his great ram's horn to signal the cessation of the attack. The newly freed Companions were told of the night's happenings and they lofted into the early morning air to seize the Processional Gate once four-score of the warriors had returned to the courtyard.
It happened that when they arrived at the Gate the Empire's soldiers were already passing through it. Argrath named the men as the Gemline Watch from Aggar. They were highlanders with a reputation for ferocity and over two-hundreds of them were already forming into a shield wall on the inside of the wall.
Sigmund hurled Little Weighty at the regiment's leading officer and staggered him with the blow. Recovering his feet, the soldier flicked a fiery dart at Sigmund, Stormblade turned the missile on his shield and, running five steps first, flung Little Weighty with all of his might. The Thunderstone screamed through the air, the echoes of its passage striking several songbirds dead. The officer threw his shield before him but Little Weighty smashed it back into, and through, the man exploding him where he stood.
Kamoar's eyes glowed the red haze of his soul-deep hate and he frothed like one possessed as he flung himself at the Lunar soldiers. He punched through one's shield and delivered him his death then. He tore another's throat with his other hand, bit a third unto death and then tore the eyes from two more before the echoes from Sigmund's blow had settled.
Gudny led a score of warriors to the northeastern tower in the barbican. As he came down he noticed that the soldiers of the Imperial bodyguard regiment, the Grim Soldiers, were formed up in outside the walls awaiting their turn to pass through the gate.
With Humakt the sword in his right hand and his shield in his left Gudny chopped his way down the stairs into the tower and seized the winch room for the portcullis. His warriors immediately dropped the barrier and sealed the gate.
Argrath used Mastakos' magics to wreak havoc among the Aggari on the inside of the gate.
Bronwyn led a charge onto the southeastern tower in his full draconic glory. With his immense thews he tore the first trapdoor from its settings and filled the room below with billowing clouds of dragon-fire. Leaping into the room with a roar he found the next door sealed and tore at it.
Gudny released Black Cloud into the barbican's courtyard where a hundred highlanders were trying to lift the portcullis. The great sylph poured into the opening and raged about the courtyard. Thunder crashed, hailstones caromed around the enclosure and tornadoes tossed men to their deaths over the walls.
Sigmund passed onto the northwestern tower and grinned as the Grim Soldiers stepped forth as one. Their front rank composed of the regimental priests, ten of them swinging their swords around in the ritual strokes that focused their magic. Sigmund hurled Little Weighty at the company. Before the regiment a black dome appeared from which the Thunderstone rebounded with a scream of rage. The priests staggered but quickly regained their step. With a unified shout - that caused every rodent in three blocks to scream in pain – the priests sent a howling blast of death at Sigmund, the regiment's banner fluttered in the magical wind. Sigmund stood firm before the onslaught and it struck his golden shield and passed above him. Sigmund stepped upon the battlements, hurled insults and waved his privates at the regiment before again flinging his thunderstone. This time Little Weighty struck the black dome and shattered it. The banner's pole burst into splinters, the priests fell as their heads exploded and half of the regiment fell thrashing to the ground as blood flowed from their ears and a great wail arose from 1,000 throats. The aura of menace broke along with the Regiment's Spirit.
Bronwyn tore the door from its frame and found a frantically made pile of barrels barricading the passage. He set his bulging muscles and shouldered his way through them ignoring the spears that pushed through the gaps.
The four-score orlanthi warriors fought with the surviving highlanders on the inside of the wall; Kamoar continued to tear his maddened way through their ranks and left over a score of them broken in his path. The remaining 80 threw themselves unto the ground and begged for their lives.
Gudny led his band onto the northwestern tower and secured it, releasing the outer portcullis as well.
Argrath led a charge onto the southwestern tower. As he landed upon the roof a highlander made to strike at him with a sword but Argrath caught the blow on the rim of his shield and gave a sharp twist throwing the man's blade to the ground. He then smote the warrior with Vingkot's spear and it passed through his shield and the arm behind before lodging in his spine and dealing the man his death. Argrath then threw his shield through the trapdoor and with a shout leapt atop it sliding down the stairs cleaving several warriors in his passing. Argrath's warriors followed him and the quickly secured the tower.
The highlanders in the barbican surrendered and Gudny returned a happy Black Cloud to his bag.
Standing behind the Grim Soldiers were 50 sorcerers carrying long staves with a red stone on the tip. They were guarded by several files of heavy cavalry and began to cast magic over the Soldiers. The Grim's banner reformed itself and the warriors reformed their ranks. They then wheeled and marched back through the city. The Companions cheered their victory.
Their joy was short lived as a great river of men passed down the road towards them. Marching four across and 250 deep came the Jasper Phalanx. They moved in perfect accord and could not be distinguished from one another. Their spears were all sloped at the same angle and their shields all carried in the same grip.
Beside the phalanx were 500 warriors with light arms and armour carrying ropes and ladders. Argrath called them a forlorn hope, those who would storm the walls to make a path for the phalanx to follow.
Behind the phalanx were 800 slingers that Argrath identified as being from the far north. “Thunder Delta Slingers they are called,” he spake. He told how they hurled thunderstones with their slings and could devastate an enemy in one volley.
The magicians remained where they had stood, chanting softly.
Behind the barbican in the houses and buildings looking onto the courtyard, the Friends spied a thousand Esrolians taking up positions there. They estimated the presence of 100 Axe Maidens.
As the Companions watched, the slingers ran forward and passed to either side of the phalanx. As they did, Argrath gathered the warriors in the keep and performed a quick ritual. They funnelled their power into Argrath who then summoned Vingkot's Curse of Fear on the Dara Happan soldiers.
It should be mentioned that Vingkot had been an ancient enemy of the Dara Happans and won many victories against them. With so few of his worshippers still around the priests and warriors of the phalanx had no protection against, and in fact did not recognise the curse.
The Phalanx ground to a halt with its ranks staggering. A muttering broke from the ranks about the height of the walls, the lack of ladders and the ferocity of the defenders. No matter the imprecations of its commanders the regiment would not move.
The Thunder Delta Slingers unleashed a volley of stones at the keep and another and another and continued to send exploding stones through the air pummelling the towers and their defenders.
It was at this time that the Esrolian forces unleashed their attack on the barbican. They sent a gigantic earth spirit at the keep. The spirit raced through the ground and left a furrow, a man's height tall, in its path. The spirit stuck the southeastern tower and the fortification began to slide into the ground. Kamoar's spirit sight clearly showed him the spirit and he leapt to the attack. With his flashing claws and spiritual might he slashed at the spirit as it engulfed him and tried to squeeze the life from the Alynx-man. The earth exploded from Kamoar and a great cry arose from the Esrolian priests as their spirit was slain.
The sling-stone barrage continued and the towers began to crumble under the pounding. A score of Argrath's rescuers lay slain and a score more cowered under the falling destruction. The Companions began to despair at holding their position when Sigmund suggested using the winds of Orlanth to fend the stones off. With Bronwyn's aid to organise the support from the defenders and funnel it to the godi, Gudny performed a ritual calling of the winds. A tornado reached from the sky and settled before the tower sucking all of the flying stones into its core.
The company of sorcerers had stepped forth and began a summoning of their own when Lord Fengot and his knights burst into the courtyard inside the barbican with a blare of horns and a crash of iron. The knights struck left and right with their crimson blades as they rode down the Esrolian militia smote the Axe Sisters with their lances. When the knights appeared on the walls alongside the Companions, the magicians turned without a word and led the red-soldiers back into the Grain Quarter. The assault was over.
Argrath greeted Lord Fengot well and chastised him for missing the battle. Fengot expressed his dismay at missing the enjoyment but stated his satisfaction with the exercise he had received getting there. He then told how the Old Earth Alliance was besieged in their temple and how the knights were restoring order in the city. Later the lords were to find that the Empire still held the Grain Quarter.
 Tanisor is a city in Seshnela. Sigmund
has no idea where it is.
 We suspect that Argrath Maniskisson has previously hired Sir
Pelonn to raid the western tribesmen.
 Larst's Footrpint. Also called the Stone Wood. It seems that
Sir Pelonn had been there before.
<< Previous | Part 45 | Next