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The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 69

 


"Hey, he does have a lot of troops"

- Argrath on marriage to
Mularik Iron-Eye

Sea Season/1632

In Sea Season, High King Manikisson made ready for his honeymoon in the Grazelands with his bride, the Feathered Horse Queen. Before he left his Talking Man, Minaryth Purple delivered this directive to Dragonfriend:

Directive for Sea Season, 1632
As dictated by Argrath Son of Maniski, High King of Dragon Pass, Prince of Sartar, Protector of the Grazelands, Champion of the Pol Joni, Liberator of Tarsh, Wolfslayer, Beastfriend and servant of Orlanth.

Our goals this year are numerous and require swift action. Foremost in our long term strategy is the strengthening of our alliance against the Empire and the creation of a wider manpower pool to guarantee our effectiveness and survivability during the course of the projected prolonged struggle.

To that end our first objective for the year is to take advantage of the clement conditions in the south and bring Esrolia, and if possible Caladraland, into our alliance. Queen Nerestina of Nochet and the East Earth Alliance have agreed to accept vassalage should we assist her in defeating the serious incursions of the various Ditali and Solanthi armies led by the traitorous Greymanesons. The westerners are allied with Esrolian rebels centred on the vassal state of the Autonomous Earth faction whose capital is Dizbos. Therefore we order the Free Army to make all possible haste for Nochet, details of transit to be determined by the Sword of Sartar. Once there, the Free Army will meet our allies, join forces with them, while maintaining sovereignty over command decisions, and force the westerners to battle. Once crushed generous terms should be offered and if possible an alliance with the warlords of the west must be made.

Our second simultaneous objective is the bolstering of the defences in the newly liberated Kingdom of Tarsh. To that end, the Sword of Sartar is given leave to raise more forces from indigenous sources to secure the Kingdom and the Argrath Council bases there from counteroffensives by the Empire or the false King of Tarsh and his provincial lackey, Harvar the Traitor. Therefore, the Luminous Stallion King will provide the Great Grazer Army to assist in these operations and the Pol Joni will send a host recruited from funds allocated by the Disthane of Sartar to the purchase of mercenaries. The Prince of Alda-Chur is also expected to fulfil his obligations and provide forces to defend Tarsh. Lastly, the Grand Company of Tanisor, under Mularik Ironeye, will be available for operations in the region within three weeks of the start of the year. The contract with the Grand Company gives land grants in Northern Tarsh and plunders rights on those lands. The Grand Company will be considered an ally rather than a subordinate formation.

The third objective of the season is the destabilisation of Imperial and Provincial forces in Holay, Aggar and beyond if possible. The Sword of Sartar is ordered to prepare a mission deep within enemy territory to that end, to spread the word of our liberation to the oppressed peoples of the Provinces and to harass the supply lines of the enemy army in Holay. Contact should be made with the local population and a detailed report on their fighting ability as well as their support for the Argrath Council should be made.

Finally should the Imperial forces strike while we are strategically off balance, then all efforts must be made to minimise any damage done and provide a strong platform for an immediate counteroffensive in Fire Season.

We trust that these directives will be carried out with the utmost haste and alacrity.

Argrath Maniskisson

Argrath Maniskisson
High King


Dragonfriend stoically accepted his instructions and set about accomplishing them. He called his Companions to his hall in Bagnot and assigned to each of them a task.

To Sigmund he spake thusly, "Thou art mine War Captain. Take thyself to Nochet and learn what you would about our allies and our foes." He told Garthael and Gettig to accompany him. Sigmund gird his byrnie about him and, seizing his weapons, leapt atop his skybull for the journey to Nochet. They fared through Grazerland, crossed the Dragonspine near Richpost, made their way over the Building Wall and rode down into Nochet.

To Kamoar he said, "I think that thine duty shall rest easy upon thy shoulders for I would that you passed through the redman's lands and learn all that you can on their dispositions. I would also have you leave many a Moon's son dead in thy wake." Kamoar snarled his glee and gathered his band about him. Before he left, Kamoar and Gudny agreed to meet again in Dunstop in two weeks time so that they could raid together.

To Gudny he said, "It shall be thine duty to fare into Poljoniland and hire such of those riders that would fight for us." Gudny took up Thunderbolt, his spear, he gathered his warband about him and rode east. They fared through Dendrogi Pass, crossed Trader Valley, spoke with Prince Orgovalt in Aldachur and then passed down the road to Jaldon's Rest.

Now Argrath turned to Lothar and spake thusly, "Thou art mine Champion and Battle-thinker. To thee I leave the defence of Tarsh. Ward it well."

Argrath set his follower Tulmult to readying the Free Army to move.

With that, Argrath mounted his skybull and passed north into the Rockwood Mountains where he spoke with the Orms Fang assassins. Argrath spoke of wishing their help ravaging the Imperial lands between Furthest and Fillichet. He turned over a massive chest of gold and secured the services of the entire cult.

There was a man named Estarion, son of Prince Orgovalt and Coryina the Defender. Estarion had been born among the Tres and raised by his foster-father Dark-Vastyr the Ridge-Runner. Estarion was a fine man, strong of limb, fleet of foot and well spoken.

When Gudny came to Aldachur that season he bore Argrath's greetings and a request for warriors to help defend Tarsh while the Free Army was in Esrolia. Orgovalt agreed to summon his select muster to Aldachur and told Gudny how he would send one thousand Far Point warriors to Bagnot. Orgovalt then called his son over and named Estarion to Gudny. "Mine son will lead the muster." Gudny greeted the man well and praised his valour in past battles.

Now our tale needs turn to Nochet in Disorder Week where Sigmund had arrived among much awe atop his skybull. On all sides Sigmund espied preparations for war. Musters trained outside the great metropolis while teamsters hurried supplies into the ever-hungry army kitchens. Sigmund was greeted poorly by Harslina, one of the Queen's Axe Guard who reluctantly took him to see Queen Nerestina.

The Queen, however, greeted Sigmund properly and well. She praised his past heroics in the service of the Queendom and spoke well of his king, Argrath Dragonlord. To the dismay of her court, Queen Nerestina bade Sigmund sit by her while she called for food. The two of them spoke of this and that and Sigmund learned much that he had been sent to learn.

Sigmund learned that the varied factions that the Companions had previously known had settled down to two: the East Earth Alliance, led by Nerestina, and the Autonomous Earth, vassals of the Reaver-Ditali led by Queen Varandis the Treacheress. The Ditali were still led by the traitor Jord Greymanesson who had betrayed the Allied army to the Lunars at the Battle of Pennel Ford. His named his host the Army of Righteous Tribute and counted somewhere from five to fifteen thousands of Ditali and Solathi warriors among them. Greymanesson's host was encamped about the town of Dizbos and held sway over the Border Marches and much of south-western Esrolia.

Nerestina also spoke of the Warlords of Porthomeka. It seemed that they were undeclared in this war and sat on their side of the Gorphing River with two armies. The Queen then spoke of her host. This army included three regiments of Babeester Gor Axe Guards, the Esrolian select muster and a few magical units. All tallied, she had some nine thousands and five hundreds of warriors ready to campaign.

Sigmund also learned that Nerestina and Orthok Shieldbane, the chief Warlord of Porthomeka did not get on well with each other due to the radically different philosophies of life and faith they both espoused.

Over the next few days Sigmund rode into the west and scouted Dizbos. He found that the Ditali and Autonomous Earth host numbered closer to fifteen thousands and that the city was well provisioned for war.

That same week, Gudny met with Krise Skullbreaker of the Poljoni at the Ring of Stones on the edge of the great rise forming Jaldon's Rest. The horseman had with him two hundreds of his Krise Warband, all of them powerful Kolating warriors and shamans. Gudny greeted them well in Argrath's name and gifted them richly - but the nomads were unimpressed by the gifts. Gudny spoke with Krise about hiring troops to fight in Tarsh. The talks were difficult, but Gudny was a renowned negotiator and they agreed that one thousand riders and the entire Krise warband would serve the High King for the year. With that Gudny turned his band to the west and fared back to Dunstop to meet with Kamoar.

Early in Harmony Week, Argrath arrived in Nochet with the vanguard of the Free Army. He had marched the entire host over the Dragonspine at Wintertop and down to The River. They had taken barges there and been guided through the Upland Swamp by the Durulz. Once through the swamp the army sailed to Nochet. As there were not near enough barges to carry them all at once, the host was moving in several pieces and it would take some days for them all to arrive in Nochet.

At the city Argrath Dragonfriend was hailed by Queen Nerestina and gifted well. His soldiers were billeted in barracks within the city walls and spent several days preparing for a great triumph through the streets of the metropolis to celebrate their victories in the north. All the regiments of the Free Army marched through the central plaza of the Queens and were cheered on by the enthusiastic crowds. With such a morale boost to inspire his army, Dragonfriend settled down to plan his campaign in the west with Queen Nerestina.

Argrath learned that Mularik Iron-Eye and his Grand Company of Tanisor was waiting in Karse for instructions. He sent his Guardsman Stark-Manni to Karse and invited Mularik to hie his host to Bagnot where he would place himself under the command of Lothar. Argrath sent a chest of silver that would enable Mularik to purchase the food and fodder he needed to move his host through Sartar.

Next Argrath fared south to the lesser metropolis of Rhigos where he sought a meeting with the Warlords. He was greeted well and brought to Orthok Shieldbane's palace where he met with the Archwarlord and Gurdan the Brander, his western army commander. Argrath learned that Orthok commanded the main host which was kept in Solung. Gurdan commanded the western host that warded Porthomeka from the Ditali based in Jorsh. From Queen Nerestina Argrath learned that Gurdan's host numberd some one thousand Axe Guards, three thousands of Spear Guard - the select muster of the west - and some one thousand of Bow Guards, woman archers. The queen described Orthok's host as having five hundreds of Warbringers, Orthok's bodyguard, fifteen hundreds of Axe Guards, four thousands of Spear Guards, fifteen hundreds of Bow Guards and a further five hundreds of the Swift Razors, humakti warriors.

So Argrath greeted the warlords properly and gifted them well with gold and gems, gracious words and subtle displays of power. He told them that he had come to make peace between them and the Queen Nerestina. Orthok acknowledged the nobility of Argrath's efforts but wished to learn what he would gain from making peace with "those Women". When Argrath asked, Orthok spake of wanting more land for the Warlords. Argrath suggested some of the Border Marchers and land south of Dizbos that was close the Porthomeka's borders. Orthok agreed to that and Argrath returned to Nochet to convince Nerestina.

The Queen was unhappy with the prospect of losing the land. "If that is what it takes to gain peace then I would have it done," she said. "But, we canst defeat our foes without the Warlords' aid, why dost we need give them anything?" Argrath replied that if she didn't secure the Warlords' alliance then the Ditali probably would and such an addition to their strength would render any battle outcome uncertain. Nerestina reluctantly agreed then and Argrath arranged a meeting between both sides.

The Warlords insisted that Argrath personally guarantee to enforce the treaty, he agreed. Nerestina stated a concern for people in those lands that wished to remain subjects of hers. "They must be compensated for their lost lands when they move." Argrath suggested that as her subjects it was her responsibility to compensate them. "However," he wisely suggested, "there will be a great expense to you for this. It would be proper if the High King Maniskisson were to waive half of your tribute for the next two years." Nerestina agreed to that and all sides signed the treaty, called afterward the Donbry Pact.

We needs now relate a tale that happened in Death Week. It seems that several of Mularik's men had their way with a cottar's wife while passing through Locaemland. Mularik immediately went to the local chief and asked him to name the weregeld for the woman. The chief refused weregeld and demanded that the men be turned over for justice. Mularik replied that, "I deliver justice to my men. I would respect thine customs and I know that you take blood-money to settle things like this. Rest thy mind, these criminals will not survive mine justice." With that the chief named the ridiculously high price of 20 cows and Mularik paid it over on the spot and then gifted the chief as well. He then hung the rapists beside the road and marched his entire host past the twitching corpses. After this there were no acts of indiscipline in Mularik's host.

Kamoar did not return to Dunstop in Harmony Week like he was to have done. Nor did he return in Death Week. The shaman finally returned in Fertility Week. And this is the tale that he told:

I loped north along the Oslir. On the west bank near Furthest I came across a band of Harvar's horsemen. Three-and-ten I slew before the rest fled - would you see their love-shafts? I have them here in my pouch. Near Talfort I found a redman drover and his herd. The slaughter was delicious - would you like to see his tongue? His liver was tasty. Outside Dolsosin I caught a file of University Guards with two of their meldecks. Look at this, I kept one's skull. He fought well. The wizards took three days to die. It was orgasmic. I kept their thumbs. I bound their spirits into them and torment them every night now.

I saw the flying mountain at Bangorn. It was some four hundred ells across the bottom and five hundred ells high. I caught a couple of pickets near there. I found seventy and six veins in one's hand. Is that normal? Well that mountain was sitting there taking on supplies and more of their murderous warriors. I can't kill them fast enough. They are like fleas, they are everywhere. What? Oh yes, the mountain - Shepelkirt's festering spawn call it the 'Moonberg'. I took a champion one night to learn what I could. It was difficult, after I slit his shaft four ways he wouldn't say much more than "mother" but I did learn that they expected this mountain to fly into Tarsh and defeat us. There is a huge crystal atop the mountain and a glaring beam of corrupt energy coming from the moon … the moon … I'LL KILL THEM ALL! KILL THEM! KILL THEM! Ah, well I followed that mountain as he flew south. It fared about a league every hour. I wouldst say that it will reach Dunstop within the week, maybe next.

Lothar thanked Kamoar for his tale and praised his valour. He then sent word to the Exiles, to King Fazzursson and to Prince Orgovalt seeking more troops. "We are faced by a most dire foe," he told them all.

Gudny sent an umbroli to Argrath and Venharlsson with the news. The Dragonlord briefly pondered his options and then instructed that the draconic bands in the Free Army were to hie themselves to Bagnot. Then Argrath turned over the mustering of the hosts to Garthael, stepped onto Mastakos' road and fared to Cragspider's realm. The Firewitch agreed to see him without delay and he spoke to her of the Moonberg and sought her aid in defeating it. Cragspider told him that she would consider his request and dismissed him. With a great reluctance, Argrath returned to Esrolia to lead the armies against the Ditali.

That week, Fazzursson sent word to Lothar. "We hast seen the 'Moonberg." It appeared that the Moonberg had reached the edge of the Glowline and paused, settling heavily to the ground - it was Dark Moon Day. On Crescent-Come, the Moonberg again lumbered into the air, leaving a deep pit of crushed earth behind it, and fared south and east. Fazzursson told how it was aimed at Bagnot. The King of Tarsh also related tales of lunar boasting brought to him by his spies in Furthest. "They claim that the Moonberg was built by the Satrap of Sylila a symbol of his power and that it nearly impoverished him doing so."

Bronwyn brought word to Lothar of the Moonberg's capabilities. The Moonberg could apparently create a glowspot about it and had an entropic engine that allowed it to move without energy from the moon, though not for long. Bronwyn spake of there being nye upon five thousands of troops within the flying mountain. He named the Moonrock Phalanx, the Silvershields, Urimaz Star Marines, Moonberg Missileers and the Grim Soldiers among them. He also noted that the great hawk flying Paradisal Aviators and the Wyvren Riders were aboard. "The rock dost bristle with catapults, magic and vecors," he reported.

Come Stasis Week Mularik Iron-Eye marched his host into Bagnot. Lothar greeted him well and asked what the westerner's engineers could do to protect the city from the Moonberg. "There is naught that any man could do to stop that flying mountain," was the curt reply.

Venharlsson arrived shortly after that with his Storm Rams.

It was about then that Kamoar brought more news to Lothar. He spoke of seeing the Moonberg passing Furthest and being joined in its advance by Harvar Ironfist and his host. Lothar pondered his options. He had three thousands of Grazers in at Dunstop along with Fazzursson's Army of Tarsh, another six thousands of warriors. He had five thousands of Mularik's Grand Company and one thousand of the Far Point Select muster under Estarion. He had a further thousand of the Poljoni on hand.

Lothar gathered his commanders about him and spoke thusly, "Hear me. We have no hope at stopping this flying mountain ourselves and we canst not face Harvar's host in battle. I would that King Fazzursson harried northern Tarsh and Harvar's supplies. I would have the forces here in Bagnot withdraw into the Bushrange and await a better time to strike." All there agreed that this was wise. Lothar further commanded that Mularik and the Poljoni would storm Too Far to throw Harvar off. Both companies looked forward to the plunder they would accrue. The war ravaged residents of Bagnot were ushered form the city and up into the mountains. Kamoar and his shamans spent the rest of the day summoning spirits and ghosts to infest the abandoned city.

Mularik led his host over Dendrogi Pass, through Dwarf Valley and then up the Tarsh Road to Too Far. The Poljoni ranged ahead and surrounded the town before any messengers could escape. Mularik's veteran engineers quickly built assault towers and his Grand Company of Tanisor stormed the thirty-foot walls the next day with minimal casualties. It was clear to all observers from the Free Army that Mularik's host were well experienced in siege warfare and could carry out an escalade with singular speed and professionalism. While the Grand Company carried out its assault, the Koffer hills were guarded by the Far Point Muster for probes from Harvar's forces in Bagnot.

Kamoar brought more rumours to Lothar. It seemed that Harvar was less than pleased with having to support the Moonberg in Bagnot. He believed that the specie that had gone into it could have better served by raising more troops. He was only in Bagnot because his king had commanded it yet when he saw how the Moonberg slowed his mobility he ignored those commands. With the capture of Too Far, Harvar reinforced Slavewall and then withdrew from Bagnot. He moved his entire host back to Goldedge. Spies within the Tarsh Army brought news of the dispute between Harvar and the Moonberg commander, Half-general Eranthus Moonsent, over its deployment and the overall strategy. Harvar, ever his own man, like Lokomayadon, would not bend to the greater good and sought his own path regardless of the potential for defeat his withdrawal exposed the Imperial forces to.

Our tale needs now turn to Esrolia where Dragonfriend's campaign played itself out. When Argrath marched from Nochet in Stasis Week, he led twenty-and-four thousands in the allied host. The Free Army numbered over twelve thousands, Queen Nerestina's host was over nine thousands and Lord Fengot, leader of the Rokari Derfidian League, led some twenty-five hundreds of knights and Derfidian marines. The Derfidians were an alliance of Rokari traders along the coast and islands of Maniria who wielded considerable power and military strength in the region and sought an end to the damaging civil war in Esrolia for the benefit of trade and shipping revenues.

Marching from the south came the Warlords of Porthomeka. Their western army marched up the Gorphing River far behind Jord's host and sacked Kithma and Staton. The Warlord's main host marched for Dizbos under the pretence of awaiting the outcome of the battle before choosing sides. Orthok advanced with some twelve thousands of his own troops.

On the wide farmlands outside of Dizbos, Argrath found himself facing nineteen thousands of Ditali, Solanthi and Esrolian troops. Argrath arrayed his host with the King's Own Foot and the Sundome Phalanx in the centre. Queen Nerestina's host held the left and the rest of the Free Army stood on the right. The Rokari knights sat their horses impatiently on the left while the Free Army's horse ranged on the right. Argrath noted that the Ditali had little in the way of cavalry and of what they had none was heavy.

Argrath stood before his host and his voiced rolled over then all. He spoke of their courage and valour in past battles and the glory that they would earn in this one. He roused them all to a high level of eagerness and could barely restrain them with he was finished. It was about then that Orthok's host marched into sight on the allied left and paused watching the other two hosts. Argrath correctly assumed that the Warlord would await the probably outcome before choosing which side to join.

With a feral howl the Wolf Runners surged across the battlefield. The March Light Horse close beside them and they swarmed over the hapless Solanthi skirmishers. Within moments the Jord ordered his line forward for he had no skirmishers left.

Argrath replied by advancing his line at a steady pace. With a shouted word he sent his cavalry crashing into the enemy flanks, driving back their own meagre horsemen and sweeping around to seize the supply wagons. The Ditali centre refused flanks and held their ranks in the face of the cavalry charge, Jord and his warlords rallied their men, who were hard-bitten warriors with no fear in them. They gave ground slowly but refused to break. In the centre the Ditali line began to sag under the relentless advance of the phalanx.

Orthok's battle horns sounded, his flags unfurled the alliance banners and the Porthomekan's advanced to complete the encirclement of the embattled Ditali horde.

Jord the Traitor pushed his way into the troops with his warband about him and set about rallying his warriors with some significant success, for he was a great hero of his people. Argrath smiled a cold smile, tapped Garthael on the shoulder pointing out Jord, and then summoned Mastakos' chariot to carry the Sword to Jord's side. Garthael appeared in the midst of Jord's Hill Runners, his own bodythanes, and struck at Greymanesson. His great blade struck the warlord full upon his shield bursting it into pieces. The blade passed through Jord's torse and on through the bodyguard beside him as well. Both men fell down dead on the spot. Garthael turned and began hewing his way through the best warriors that the Ditali could muster and no spear could touch him, nor any sword, nor any axe.

With his foe surrounded and without any chance of escape, Argrath called for the Ditali to surrender.

Forljorni Creekside was a captain in Jord's warband and was now the commander of the hosts. Forljonri stepped forth and asked what terms Argrath would demand. Nerestina pushed her way to Argrath's side and demanded that Queen Verandis of the Autonomous Earth be turned over to her to be tried for treason. Argrath told Forljorni that he would insist upon weregeld being paid to Esrolia for the harm done by Jord but that he had little else to ask to save the lives of the remaining Ditali. Forljorni agreed to surrender on those terms.

And so Verandis was taken back to Nochet to be tried and Argrath negotiated a weregeld of five thousand cows to be paid to Nerestina and a one thousand-man regiment to be supplied to fight with the Free Army. "They would have full plunder rights and all the honour that any regiment under my command would have," he told Forljorni. He further praised the valour and skill that the Ditali showed in the battle and said that he would be honoured to have men such as that in his host. Forljorni agreed and they swore oaths to it all.

Argrath stepped on the Mastakos Road again and joined the other Companions in Wintertop.

Now the Moonberg reached Bagnot and settled to earth in the fields before the city. The redmen within stormed the now empty city and were assailed by the spirits within, some five-score lunars died that day and it took the imperial magicians some days to clear the remaining spirits from the city.

Gudny and Venharlsson cloaked the valley in clouds and storms but nothing broke that crimson beam from the moon.

High King Maniskisson sent a message to Dragonfriend telling him, quite curtly, to retake Bagnot and destroy the Moonberg.

The draconic warbands arrived in Wintertop about then and immediately joined with Bronwyn in preparing to summon a dream dragon. Cragspider sent word that she was personally faring to Bagnot with her bodyguards and priests to "strike this flying monstrosity that has bedevilled my sky and disturbed my meditation." Gudny and Venharlsson gathered their bands and began to pour their power into Black Cloud the Umbroli.

Five thousands of the Exiles and beastmen had mustered in Shakeland to join the assault on Bagnot.

On Dark Moon Day they struck. The draconic bands, focussed through Bronwyn's Cosmotic Sceptre, manifested a dream dragon that was six hundred feet long. The storm dragon rolled through the air with lighting flashing from its claws and hail crashing down under its wings. Black Cloud expanded and filled the air over the Moonberg. Everything turned dark as the black clouds cut off the light. The Moonberg shuddered and lifted into the air. Black Cloud struck like the tornado that he was. He surrounded the base of the Moonberg and blasted the rock with lightning and tornadoes. Hawk riders and wyverns were torn to pieces when they tried to fly out to fight. The Moonberg rocked under the assault and was actually pushed sideways by the Vadrudi daimon. The storm dragon landed on the mountain's flank and began tearing chunks of rock off of it. It lifted again and landed atop the now glowing crystal and tore at it with its claws.

And then disaster struck. A beam of crimson power burst from the crystal twenty ells thick and punched through the dragon's torso. The dragon's corpse flew through the air and eight in ten of Argrath's draconic priests exploded into gore. The dream dragon dissipated into nothing before it could hit the ground and crush Bagnot beneath its bulk.

The beam reached out again and carved through Black Cloud. The Vadrudi screamed and fled, his essence shrivelling and steaming at the touch of the Shepelkirt light.

As the Orlanthi hosts stood stunned the clouds rapidly cleared as if swept aside by a mighty stroke of an arm. A fiery net formed in the sky, a web of flaming strands over a mile across. The net grew tighter and tighter, the strands merged in the centre and formed a pillar of flame five hundred ells across that engulfed the Moonberg. The pillar vanished with a brilliant snap and all who had stared at it were blinded for a time.

The Moonberg was smaller now; it appeared to have had nearly twenty feet of rock melted off of every side. The outside was molten and smoking. The Moonberg staggered in the air. The crystal pinnacle was no longer glowing with its previous puissance.

Dragonfriend led a heroic assault on the Moonberg. Fifty thanes, Von, Rolf, Lothar, Mularik and his guards, Kamoar and Gudny flew with him. They landed on the still glowing rock and knew that they had entered the hero planes. The immediate manifestation of potent vecors on all sides convinced them that they had passed into a lunar hero realm. The crimson warriors were clad in armour of gleaming moon metals and bore swords that glittered with the hellish light of the lune. Sigmund undertook the task of destroying the empowering crystal and brought forth a thunderstone blessed by Hedkoranth and sang the Chaos Breaking song over it. As Sigmund stood summoning his magics, the Companions of Argrath stood around him in a ring of iron and magic while the Vecors assailed them in a frenzy. Lothar laid about him with his iron blades slaying vecors so that his weapons hissed and spat with their dying essences. Mularik stood bravely against a hero of the moon but was felled by one negligent blow to be rescued from certain death by his iron guard. Gudny smashed a daimon under crushing noise and blistering winds and held others at bay with his tornado of power. Sigmund placed the roaring stone upon the crystal and smashed it with the mountain breaking strength of his god. The evil crystal cracked and fissured all around it's towering bulk and the rouge glow it exuded faded and died to the weary cheers of the embattled freedom fighters.

As more vecor's appeared Dragonfriend gathered his band and flew back to the earth and they watched the Moonberg stagger north and pass from view. Mularik was healed of his injuries and the army easily occupied Bagnot once more. Though victory had been achieved the Dragonlord bitterly regretted the loss of strength his Draconic magical regiments had suffered in the battle. Bronwyn swore that he could rebuild the units in a few years into an even more fearsome force but they would have to be withdrawn from the order of battle for the time being.


 


 



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March 31, 2002

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