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The Gwandor Campaign
Gwandor Saga

“Hell, I still haven’t figured it out
- and I’m in charge”

- Argrath

The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 49

So it came to pass that Fire Season gave way to Earth. Argrath gathered his host anew and spake of the new rebellion in Heortland. What small losses Argrath’s force had suffered at Pennel had been made good.

It was at this time that Argrath appointed Garthael his Champion. He made over to Sigmund the task of taking his host to Durenguard with Garthael’s aid and then bade Bronwyn and Gudny to accompany him there directly. Kamoar remained with Sigmund to scout the way for the knights and warriors.

We needs to tell of Durenguard. The city was home to nye eighteen thousands and had Aeol’s Grand Cathedral. For years uncounted Durenguard had been the capitol of Heortland and seat of her kings.

Now there was a man, named Gwydion who haled from Sklar and he was a leader in the Aeolian church and Baron of Duchamp. Gwydion was a giant among men, a renown resistance leader and close friend of Duke Gerard of Mt. Passant. With Broyan’s seizure of Durenguard and the ouster of the Rokari arch-bishop, the King had elevated Gwydion to the Arch-Bishopric of the Aeolian Church.

The Companions lit from the sky on their sky bulls and landed in the great keep’s main square. Consternation greeted them as priest scurried about and a phalanx of knights appeared on the cathedral’s steps. Mixed within the knights were many clergymen and all looked curiously, and nervously as these new arrivals.

A large clergyman came from the cathedral with a strong guard of knights. His vestments bore the sigil of St. Worlanth and his hat was that of a bishop in the church.

“Greetings Lord Argrath,” Bishop Gwydion intoned. “Your fame precedes you as do the tales of your doings.” The bishop offered the companions stabling for their fantastic steeds and hospitality in the keep. Argrath thanked him for his offer but that his stay would be short. When Gwydion inquired, Argrath explained that he was here to meet with King Broyan and then had to depart to meet his host as it came up from the south. Bishop Gwydion told how his king was at Backford [1] with Queen Kallyr readying their troops and would return that night for a feast.

So Argrath accepted the bishop’s offer of guesting and dinner and agreed to attend with Gwydion sought to speak privately with him.

Meanwhile, Bronwyn passed from the keep with narry a notice and made his way through the town like a shadow. He visited the markets and spoke with merchants, beggars and travellers. He learned many things in his discussions.

Bronwyn learned that the populace had acclaimed Broyan king, not the nobles and that many of them were unsettled by their changing fortune. He was happy to learn that most of the nobles who had been loyal to the empire had fled the city or had been lynched by the peasants. Bronwyn learned that much of the population was Rokari and that under the red-man’s occupation the Aeolian church had been banned. As a sop to the Rokari population, King Broyan had made Lord Palax, the chief surviving Rokari lord, into Duke of Durenguard.

Now it was widely known within Durenguard that Lord Palax was a wastrel. He was of the finest blood, had received the best training and exposure but had done nothing with his life. He was only now in power as his three elder brothers had been slain in the wars and riots.

Bronwyn also learned that the Rokari hated Gwydion, almost to a man.

Finally, Bronwyn learned that Duke Gerard had not declared himself for Heortland. He had announced that he would fare forth with his host to aid his fellow leader, King Broyan.

Our tale need now turn to the south where Sigmund had arrived at the borders of Mt. Passant with his array. Defying him was a visibly nervous young knight named Sir Bryce, who very apologetically informed the Warlord that the army could not pass Duke Gerard’s borders. “Lord Sigmund,” he began. “I recognise your mighty weapon and have heard much about it.” He swallowed compulsively. “We are a bit embarrassed by your arrival - begging your pardon - but I cannot let you pass. Sorry sir. Sir, I’m sorry.”

It seemed that no person had thought to inform Duke Gerard of Argrath’s intended aid to King Broyan and none had sought his permission to pass a host through his domain.

Sir Bryce sent a messenger to Duke Gerard asking for direction and Sigmund encamped his force before the bridge.

It was about this time that a nearly frantic messenger arrived from Knight Fort. “Demons!” he exclaimed. Once calmed down he told how a force of demons had arrived at Knight Fort and were asking for passage through the Marches. No further information was available from the boy and Sigmund resolved to ride back to the Fort to investigate.

In the morrow, Duke Gerard arrived at the bridge with a host of knights, all dressed in white and all fully encased in plate armour. Garthael recognised them as the White Lancers, there were two hundreds of them and they were Gerard’s body guards.

Gerard himself rode up to Garthael and lightly leapt from his horse. He alit on the ground and sauntered over to the Champion, all while wearing full plate himself.

“Where is he?” he boomed. “Who,” asked Garthael. “Argrath. That old reprobate.” Declared Gerard.

Garthael smiled and spake thusly, “My lord is in the north looking for somebody important - or else conducting some debauchery.” Gerard roared his mirth across the plain and agreed that that sounded like Argrath. He then asked Garthael whither he was bound with such a large host. Garthael replied that they were bound for Durenguard to fight the Empire.

“I recognise you,” declared Gerard. Garthael admitted that he was Argrath’s Champion. “You’re a bladesman. How about a test of blades, to first mud?” All of his knights broke into loud cheers at this and shouted Gerard’s name at the sky. Garthael peered at the duke appraisingly, “aye, but I’m not responsible for any damage to yon fancy tabard.” Gerard laughed and drew his sword.

Garthael’s battle blade leapt from his shoulder sheath and flashed in the sun. Both combatants fell into fighting crouches and circled the other like a wary alynx.

Garthael launched a silent assault, his blade flying as quick as a rapier, defying its 5-feet of iron. That blade flashed this way and that and Gerard leapt back with a shout parrying as he went. Gerard made to smote Garthael but his blow fell upon the cross-piece and Garthael turned it with ease. He then struck once, twice and then a mighty third blow that fell upon Gerard’s breast and passed through tabard and plate and on into the duke’s torso. The force of the blow flung Gerard a full 4 ell across the field and laid him out on the red-stained grass. The duke’s breastplate was cloven and his life’s blood flowed freely from the wound.

The flow quickly stopped and Gerard sat up with a grin. “Again!” he cried and was still exclaiming his willingness to continue as his anxious knights quickly carried him from the field.

Later Garthael was invited to Gerard’s pavilion and found the duke swathed in heavy bandages. “That was great!” he exclaimed. “I liked your subtlety. I can see why you are Dragonfriend’s Champion.”

We needs now tell what Sigmund found at Knight Fort. It appeared that Whitebull had dispatched a force of Agimori spearmen, led by Bavoos Black-spears, to aid Broyan in his desperate fight. Agimori, as we all know, were seven feet tall and had skin as black as charcoal - they were children of Fire and nearly immune to its power. The Companions had met them in the Wastes but none in Knight Fort had seen such as them before. Bavoos was the leader of the Twin-Spears regiment.

Sigmund quickly gave them permission to pass through the Marches and all were astonished to watch the entire force run down the road to Mt. Passant.

When Sigmund rejoined Garthael, Duke Gerard was back on his feet. The duke was also heading to Durenguard and his host marched with Sigmund’s and the Agimori.

Our tale now returns to Durenguard where Argrath and Gudny were meeting with Bishop Gwydion. After exchanging pleasantries and breaking bread, the Companions questioned the bishop on Broyan’s plans and the forces available to him.

Gwydion spake of the location the coming battle, Backford, and the forces arrayed with Broyan. The Orshanti fyrd, led by Baron Korlaman from the Stone Wood’s March and the Hendriki fyrd would be there. It appeared that the baron had ambushed and destroyed a large force of scorpionmen from the Print including the queen’s chief warlord. As a result they were certain that the Print formed no danger to them for the immediate future and the baron stripped the forts there to bring more men to Broyan.

Argrath asked after the loyalty of Broyan’s army and learned that it was totally loyal to him. He asked about the cities and learned that “those who are loyal are loyal. Those who are not, are dead.”

Argrath then asked after the imperial commander. Jorad Side-Burn, the commander at Pennel Ford had been dismissed in disgrace and sent back to Tarsh. Rumour said that he was a Fazzurite and had been immediately posted to a position on Fazzur’s staff in the Tarsh army. Of Artamesh, Gwydion knew little more than Argrath already did; that he was a deadly swordsman and was probably a political appointee.

Finally Argrath learned that Artamesh’s force was growing every day and that he was expected to march in the next 2 weeks.

And so the afternoon passed and King Broyan returned to the castle. With him were Kallyr, Lord Korlaman, Lord Ergald of the Knights of St. Ehilm and Baron Tuag Slime-Bane, Marshal of the Knights of St. Taurox.

Broyan looked grim and tired, but he greeted Argrath well. He thanked the Dragonlord for coming and told how their saviour from the last battle, Harrek, would be arriving within the hour. To that end he had an extra 12 barrels of ale broached for the feast.

At the feast, Broyan appeared looking better, washed and more awake. Harrek arrived and greeted Broyan, Kallyr and Argrath - he ignored the Aeolians. Throwing himself into a seat he roared “BEER!” None of the servants would approach him so Bronwyn finally carried him a tankard.

Harrek spake of a gift for Broyan and threw a score-and-ten heads on the feasting table. He told how they belonged to 30 of the Emperor’s sun priests and were a partial recompense for the damage he had taken. For indeed, little over half of Harrek’s boon companions had survived the sun spear at Pennel. They had been replaced but looked young and fragile compared to the hardened champions they were replacing.

Argrath gifted Broyan with a small chest of gold and silver, a small prince’s ransom. “When my Champion arrives in the morrow he brings three more chests filled in a like manner and a chest of swords,” Argrath announced. The King earned great renown for his generosity and wealth with that giving; and left Broyan deeply in his debt [2].

Over dinner Broyan discussed his plans for the coming engagement and for the forces that he would deploy.

Committed to the battle would be King Broyan’s Guard, 300 stout Heortling weaponthanes; the Backford fyrd, 1,000 militiamen and clan spearmen with spears and shields; Kallyr’s bodyguard, 100 fell-handed red-women of Vinga; Korlaman’s Hearthanes, 100 Heortling warriors hardened from years on the Chaos March; the Orshanti tribal fyrd, 600 spearmen, 300 Knights of St. Ehilm, 200 St. Tauroxi Chaos Breakers, Gwydion’s Priest Guard, 100 wizards of the Aeolian Church; the Durenguard Muster, 2,000 militia and clan spearmen; 300 Aeolian knights, 300 Rokari knights, 400 Rokari crossbows and 800 Rokari spear. Harrek had 300 Wolf Pirates with him and Mularik Ironeye had 100 in his boats. There were the 100 Agamori, 200 White Lancers with Duke Gerard, 800 spears of the Mt Passant Iron Foot. Finally there were Argrath’s 250 weaponthanes, 50 St. Tauroxi mercenaries, 10 great trolls and the 500 knights of the Knight Fort Cavalry.

When the roster was counted there were nye nine thousands in Broyan’s army. Broyan’s scouts reported nye 8,000 in Artamesh’s host; including two troops of the Black Horse Troop [3].

Broyan’s plan was to confront the empire before Backford. The allied knights would smash the imperial flanks while Harrek dealt with the Black Horse Troop.

At this point Harrek laughed and declared that, while he could attack the Black Horse, he wouldn’t.

Silence rang loudly from the hall, even the dog’s seemed to hold their breath as everyone looked to each other. Broyan broke the deafening silence with two words, “Why not?”

Harrek explained how he needed payment for his services. He had drank away the loot from Pennel Ford and there was nothing in the area to raid. “Me lads are getting ansy,” he said. Harrek demanded the right to sack the City of Wonders as his payment.

Now the City of Wonders was the capital of the Holy Country, the seat of the Pharaoh and a city of legendary wealth. The city sat on a island in the centre of the bay. The only access to the city was along mythical bridges that would grow to a capital of a sub-kingdom at the command of the Pharaoh - now dead - or a sub-king. With Broyan being king of Heortland he knew how to summon that magical bridge.

All present knew that without Harrek there would be no stopping the Empire and Broyan nodded tightly at Harrek in bitter assent. “Right!” Harrek declared. “I wonder what demon horse tastes like,” he mused.

Broyan then shared a new rumour with the company. He told how they suspected that Artamesh had been sent an advisor, a man named Yeremzash the Upright from Tatius the Bright’s household. Yeremzash was said to be a devotee of the Dara Happan god Polaris, the Celestial General and he was accompanied by five-score warriors from Tatius’ household troop - hardened veterans all.

In the next days the allies made their preparations for the coming engagement. Kamoar fared north from Durenguard, past Backford and espied the imperial camp around Jansholm. Drawing his spirits about him, Kamoar stole past the pickets and crossed the river. He then made his way closer to the city and crept close to the docks.

Around the docks, Kamoar spotted many pontoons stacked and awaiting use. It was obvious that Yeremzash was going to attempt a river crossing somewhere and attempt to catch Broyan unawares. Kamoar stole away and fared back to Durenguard where he shared his findings with Argrath and the other allied commanders.

Tumult Fire-Eater, Argrath’s man, spake to his king of what he had learned from interrogating several prisoners. It seemed that Artamesh was a popular commander but that the new man was not. Yeremzash, it was reported, was a hard, autocratic master who marched the army across the fields striving for perfect co-ordination and obedience.

Gudny gathered Argrath’s warband and all of the Companions and led them in a North Faring ritual. They strode the same path that Vingkot, Kodig and Hengall had taken when they led their armies into the north to battle the Evil Empire. When they were finished they all felt more confident and charged with King Vingkot’s blessings.

It was late in the week when Rolf Skullsplicer, Argrath’s Bodythane, approached with news of a visitor. Rolf insisted that Argrath see the visitor covertly and with a heavy guard. “’E’s a nasty’un,” Rolf reported.

Rolf gathered five of Argrath’s guard and led the king to a secluded grove outside the city walls. Within, surrounded by a further score of guards, was a tall, forbidding man. Gertharus Smiling-Death he named himself.

“My Lord desireth words with you Kingling; and you will want to hear them,” the warrior grated. The guards shifted at the iron in that voice and the grove fairly stank with the odour of death. Argrath asked who his lord was and where he wanted to meet. “You are familiar with mine master, Lord Artamesh of Spol and he bids you select the time and place of your convey.” Argrath revealed naught of his shock and agreed to meet. “Yon thegn will show your lord where to find me,” Argrath said. “Tomorrow night.” Gertharus nodded curtly and departed.

The following night Artamesh arrived, alone, on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Argrath’s guard confirmed that there were no other imperials about and the Companions strode forth to greet their guest.

Artamesh nodded at Argrath and demanded a Test of Truth - “I swear before Humakt that I will speak the truth”. He drew his massive blade, the same blade that had hewn the Gwandor those many years ago, and waited. Argrath nodded at his Champion and Garthael drew his glittering blade.

Artamesh attacked with the ferocity of a wolf and the power of a bear. Garthael wove his mighty blade about him like a sheath and the clangor of their blades echoed across the waves. Sparks flew from those dancing blades and none could count the blows exchanged and turned.

The combatants broke apart and paused. They nodded to each other in acknowledgement of their mutual skill and then the dark lord attacked again. Again they battled, immobile as statues within a hurricane of razor-edged death.

Again the sparks stopped and the killers broke. All about the grove were astonished at the show of swordsmanship, especially when one considered that they were both wielding great swords as though they were rapiers.

Artamesh attacked again. He made to strike Garthael in the knees and the Champion leap high and landed awkwardly. With a great shout that flashing blade smote at Artamesh and fell upon the guard on his blade. Garthael turned the blow and lunged but Artamesh turned on his heel and spun away. He returned with his blade flashing at Garthael’s head but the humakti squatted on his heels and the blade whistled by. Thrusting up from the ground with a mighty blow, Garthael turned Artamesh’s blade and forced the Spolite back, tripping him over a root and bringing him to his knees. [4]

Artamesh yielded to Garthael and awaited his pronouncement.

Now it needs to be said that Humakti can often measure a man’s soul, and especially his oath, through his sword. When two of these fell warriors battle, before Humakt, they know if there is any deceit in their foe’s heart.

Garthael turned to Argrath and made this pronouncement, “Humakt, Lord of Truth and Warden of Honour, hath judged this man true. There art great shadows within and he wilt commit terrible crimes - but on this day he has the Truth.”

Argrath acknowledged the pronouncement and bid Artamesh to share his words. “I need your help,” the death-man responded. “I need to lose the battle. I am tired of this piss-ant battling; we want a real war, a civil-war within the Empire with many cities burnt and many bodies to serve to my master.” At Argrath’s astonishment Artamesh continued, “I serve Woe-Bringer, a spirit of darkness that has haunted the Empire in the past and will haunt it again.”

Artamesh went on to share Yeremzash’s plans for the coming battle with Argrath. He explained how it was a monumental trap and the allies were already in it. He told how the pontoons at Jansholm were a diversion and how the imperial troops would make a feigned attempt to cross the river with them. When Broyan marched to pin the army against the river a horde of chaos would erupt from the Stone Woods.

“But the scorpion-queen has lost most of her army and her best captain to Lord Korlaman,” Argrath protested.

“She but sacrificed a phalanx to capture your king,” was the steely reply [5]. “All I required now in thine aid in making my escape. I need to make a good fight but to be allowed to withdraw off of the field, or taken and offered ransom. The Overseer will discard me, in disgrace, and send me back to the Heartlands where I can work to prepare the land for Woe-Bringer’s return.”

With that Argrath thanked Artamesh - “Don’t thank me. You are doing me a favour,” he replied - and the parties returned to their camps.

That night Argrath held secret council with Broyan and spoke of his meeting and what he learned. The commanders decided to step into the Sun-man’s trap but to surprise him in turn, “we will walk up to the anvil and trap the hammer” Broyan quoth.

The allies decided to sent the Orshanti fyrd and the Tauroxi knights to block the chaos horde at a ridge east of town; with them would be the Knight Fort Cavalry and the Companions. All knew that the chaos horde would break if the scorpion queen were felled and the Companions swore themselves to that task.

Garthael would lead Argrath’s warband with the rest of Broyan’s army and Kamoar elected to accompany him. None were surprised at that as Kamoar’s hatred of the red-men grew every day and he tended to rage about and rend the furniture when Shepelkirt’s minions were discussed.

The day finally arrived when the allies got news of the Empire’s advance. Yeremzash had stolen a march on Broyan and his army was at the coastal town of Milran throwing a pontoon bridge across the river. Broyan led his army onto the field to confront the foe while Argrath led his detachment to block the chaos horde.

Lunar Army
Allied Army

The Rokari crossbows rushed forth to skirmish with the red-men and the heavy bolts and longer range of their weapons pushed the imperial archers back.

The sun-man seemed content to take his time in the battle and stretched the skirmish battle further than it should have gone. Growing weary of watching, Harrek charged the Black Horse Troop. He leapt 40 feet into the air and landed on the Troops’ leader. With one mighty slash of his claws the pirate tore the man apart and then hacked his way through the demon steed below him. He reached out and snatched the Troop’s standard from its bearer and broke it over his head before rushing into the middle of the demons. The rest of the wolf pirates raced to catch up to their leader as the rest of the allied line charged the imperials.

The lines met with a crash and the Hendriki fyrd reeled back from those professional ranks as once gain, the imperial infantry fell into their centuries-old drill that had taken them from triumph to triumph across Genertela.

The Mt. Passant Iron Foot stepped forth and shored up the line stopping the retreat. The Empire’s Whiteleg Foot crashed into Broyan’s centre and fought a bloody battle with his and Kally’s warbands. On the right centre the Backford fyrd held their ground among heavy fighting.

On the right, the knights sang their songs of power and death and the ground rumbled as they charged the red-horse. The imperial cavalry scattered before that sledge-blow and the knights turned into the flank of the leftmost imperial regiment. Baron Sanuel led his horse at the flank of the allied knights but Garthael led Argrath’s warband around the knights and took the Baron in the side bursting upon his horse like a pack of hungry wolves.

Suddenly, a bright beam of light lanced the sky above and played across the glowering cloudbanks. It remained for a moment and then snapped off.

It was then that the Chaos horde was to break upon the ally’s rear, swarming over Esman’s Ridge, which would have hidden their advance.

Unfortunately for the Empire, the Orshanti fyrd and the Tauroxi knights were arrayed on the back side of Easman’s Ridge and the Knight Ford Cavalry were hidden in a nearby copse of trees.

The chaos horde broke from the trees and flowed up the front of the ridge. In the centre were the Scorpion Elite, 400 massive scorpion warriors guarding their queen , Gagix Two-Barb. On the left was the Left Battle with thirteen hundreds of scorpionmen, many armed with naught but clubs. On the right was a similar number. Bringing up the rear were two-score hundreds of mixed chaos things. There were broo, dragonsnails, and even giant frogs with acidic bile dripping from their lolling tongues.

It now need be told how a scorpion queen gains her place. There can only be on queen in a tribe and when a new one is born the old will attempt to slay her. Gagix had defeated three queens and united the tribes of the Stone Wood. When a scorpion queen defeats another, she eats her and devours her spirit gaining her powers for herself. Gagix was a truly monstrous creature, 15 feet long and 12 high at the shoulder. She was born on 12 legs and two massive tails bobbed about over her back.

When the chaos horde reached the midway point on the ridge, the Orshanti and the St. Tauroxi stood with a shout and stepped over the ridge-line suddenly appearing in the chaos-thing’s vision. The horde checked, for a moment, and with a shout surged forth to assail the line.

As the two hosts met with a crunch, the knights from Knight Fort charged from their vale and struck the horde in the left flank, running over it and smashing it into nothing. The knights annihilated the monsters before it and charged hard into the Elites. Argrath led his Companions, shrouded in their magics, along Vangath’s path [6] and struck at the heart of the Elites aiming to assail the queen herself.

The St. Tauroxi advanced into the horde before them and the Orshanti followed driving the chaos host back.

The Knight Fort cavalry crashed into the Elites and were stopped while the mixed host of chaos in the rear charged forth to catch the knights.

Gudny strode on Orlanth’s Breath [7] and struck at a heavily scarred scorpion shaman, his magical blow left yet another scar but did naught to halt the shaman. The scorpion hurled a gout of green fire at the Storm Voice and it struck upon the Shield of Arran and stopped. Gudny smote upon the shaman with Orlanth’s Spear and it struck through his defences and on into his carapace dealing him his death then.

Argrath summoned Mastakos’ Chariot to carry the head off of a mighty warrior who stood before him and the headless corpse fell down dead on the spot.

Bronwyn showed the world that day why the Battle Mages of the EWF were feared across the land. With his dragon wings spread wide he set upon a hapless scorpion captain. His scales turned the creature’s pitiful weapons and a great convulsion of draconic muscles drove his adamantine claws through the monster’s chest and severed his spine in four places, as neat as a stead-wife might slice butter, before he burned the corpse into slag with his breath [8].

Stepping in the gap in the Elites, Sigmund lined up Gagix herself and let go a shout that could be heard in Durenguard as he hurled Little Weighty at the queen. The thunderstone struck the queen like a meteor and the force of the blow exploder her carapace like a dwarven boom-bottle [9].

With the death of their queen, the chaos horde staggered and broke. There was a ripple in the sky, nye 150 ells up and a moon boat appeared in its full martial splendor. A metal assembly on the rear played a beam across the chaos horde and that multitude screamed as their spirits were sucked into the machine. A similar machine on the bow tore through the Tauroxi and the Orshanti.

Now our tale returns to the main battle. Baron Sanuel’s knights turned on Garthael’s warband and held them off. Kamoar let slip his rage and leapt into the golden line tearing his way through three of the baron’s bodyguards. Garthael hewed about him with his great blade and felled three more guards on his way to the baron himself.

With a heave of his shoulder the Baron’s horse topple and the Humakti attacked before the noble could gain his feet. Sanuel yielded and Garthael stilled that murderous stroke.

Kamoar tore through the rest of the regiment in his ecstatic fury.

On the left, a growing red mist and a scrum of Black Horsemen marked Harreks’ place on the field. When he caught the second troops’ banner the horsemen broke and fled the field.

Behind the imperial line, on a hill, a group of magicians - their hair and hands afire - danced around a bonfire. A horn sounded and the Empire’s cavalry turn and rode from the battle. A great pillar of flame burst from the bonfire and scorched the sky. Ball of flame fell from the pillar and rolled down the hill. The balls turned and rolled into the allied knights and broke their pursuit. Horses screamed and knights fell; it looked like the entire flank would collapse.

With a low roll, the Agimori drums sounded and the spearmen hurled themselves at the fire elementals. The Praxians slew the elementals and fell upon the magicians like a vadrudi twister; none escaped them.

Now the entire imperial force broke and fled the field. Yeremzash was surrounded on his hilltop vantage but their shieldwall held and all magic directed at them seemed to turn aside from Yeremzash.

Garthael led a charge with Kamoar behind him. The Champion made to strike one of the sun-warriors but his blow fell upon a mighty shield and turned. Garthael spun on his heel to avoid the man’s mace and struck again. His blow fell upon the man’s shield and clove it in twain driving the warrior back. He struck again and his glowing blade hewed through the mace haft and fell upon the man’s breast passing through his iron tunic, through his chest and stuck him his death.

With an incoherent scream Kamoar leapt through the gap in the shields and struck at Yeremzash. The general made no move to defend himself from the cat-man’s fury. “Polaris will take mine soul,” he cried, and then he died.

On the ridge, the moon boat was causing terrible casualties among both the horde and the allied line. Chaos fled in all directions and the allies broke and ran to escape that dread beam.

Argrath called his Companions and they attacked the ship.

Bronwyn flexed his wings and passed under the bow of the ship and alit aside the forward gunners. With a contemptuous swipe he beheaded both soldiers and tore at the machine. The energies emanating from the rod felt strange and the entire contraption was hot to the touch.

Argrath leapt onto the ship's gunwale and struck at a magician with Vingkot’s spear. The magician unleashed a howling bolt of green fire at the king but Argrath leapt high into the air with a shout. When he landed he flung the man over the side a pull on Mastakos’ rein [10].

Gudny unleashed a whirlwind onto the ship’s quarterdeck but it died with a snap when the ship’s wytr squelched it.

Sigmund rode next to the boat on his skybull. He hurled Little Weighty at the rear machine and smashed it, with its crew.

With the loss of its rear weapon, the moon boat turned and made to flee.

Bronwyn wrenched the forward weapon from its mounts with his mighty dragon muscles and leapt from the boat before a file of Star Marines could assail him. Sigmund smote the moon boat with his thunderstone holing it twice before it dwindled into the distance.

And so the Battle of Milran came to an end. The Empire had suffered another defeat at the hands of the allies and casualties were again light. If the elementals had not broken the allied horse, none of the Empire’s soldiers would have escaped the battle.

That night the allies feasted and boasted of their deeds on the field of battle. Gudny stood in Broyan's pavilion and recited these words:

Heortlings came and brazenly battled;
Red-men, Sun-man and Chaos;
Great-Bear ferociously feasted his cubs;
Heort’s Charioteer conquered the Bent-Wind;
Dragonlord’s weaponthanes wacked Wakboth;
Hurler smote and hammer a hull;
Shepelkirt’s sled scurried away;
The Cat chased the Pole-Star played with his prey;
Gold-Ring’s Bane held no sway,
There was plenty for all.

[1] AKA Bullford
[2] Heortling society believes that gifts need to be returned in equal, or greater, measure. If you cannot afford to return a gift then owe a favour.
[3] The Black Horse Troop are a group of mercenaries who ride demon horses - though some say that the horse is the master of the rider.
[4] In the first two exchanges both Garthael and Artamesh scored simultaneous criticals.
[5] Referral to Hertzulaas, a game of strategy in the Empire. Would be like saying “sacrificed a rook to take your queen”
[6] Vangath is the god of flight.
[7] metaphor for flight.
[8] Bronwyn has moderate combat skills but a high Draconic magic. With his magic he augmented his combat with the strength of the dragon, the dragon’s scales, the dragon’s reflexes, the dragon’s breath and the dragon’s claws. He gained a +60 to his combat (+6 = 10w difficulty against his 9w2 magic, 5 critical successs against 5 failures = 5x(6x2) augment).
[9] Sigmund spent a plot point and ended up with an effective skill of 3w5. Gagix was at 5w5. Sigmund criticalled his roll and Gagix fumbled hers. Sigmund bid 64AP and Gagix transferred 192AP leaving her at -87!
[10] Teleportation affect.

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March 27, 2001

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