The Saga of the Gwandorlings
The Siege of
Furthest, Part 2
are over-rated. It must have been defective."
As Earth Season
came, the hosts of the Warlord Dragonfriend and King Fazzursson
finished building their camps and siege lines around Furthest and
the Warlord met with the King to finalise their plans for the siege.
that you could summon the Earth Shakers to aid us in this great
endeavour," spake the Dragonfriend. King Fazzursson replied
that they would not come for him as he was not the Sacred King.
The Dragonfriend noted that High King Maniskisson had renounced
that title so that there was no Sacred King. "Could they be
bought?" he asked.
be that they could, but gold and gems have little draw for them,"
replied King Fazzursson. "Myself, I will have naught to do
with them. They are madness and hatred incarnate. They decorate
their axes with men's jewels."
replied thusly: "I care little for their means and motivations.
I care only for their results. We are here to fight for your kingdom
and your city. I will speak with these great defenders of the earth
and gain their aid." The opinion within Dragonfriend's Companions
was that the Shakers would demand payment in sacrificial blood.
had taken his band of hurlers, The Breakers of Jelmir, across the
Oslir with the March Light Horse to trouble the city's shipping
and break the chain that warded the river. He found that there was
a keep, named Dervanax, that stood over the chain.
Dragonfriend spoke with King Fazzursson of his plans for Dervanax
Keep. "I have asked my Companion Gudny the Storm Lord to fare
across the river with his band and have sent the Axe Brothers to
accompany him. They will stop any vessel moving into or out of the
city and, when we are ready for our first assaults here, he will
seize the keep and break the chain." The King agreed that this
was a wise idea.
suggested that the Ernaldan magical bands should work at raising
earthen ramps against the walls of Furthest and the Phargentite
Keep. King Fazzursson agreed. Dragonfriend spoke further of mining
the city walls and of building boats down river to interdict the
city. Fazzursson agreed to it all.
Now King Dragonfriend
summoned his wife to him. To her he spake thusly: "I would
that the Earth Shakers of Maranaba were here to aid our cause. Brave
wife of mine, take thee those from my warbands suited for this task
 and busk thyself to the Shakelands. Bring me the Shakers. I
would offer them one from every ten of the thralls taken in the
"Thou hast given me a thankless task. Little do I wish to know
any more about the dark forces in the Shakeland. Were you any but
my great husband I would slit your throat for even suggesting this.
I will return when I am able." And with that she gathered a
score of Argrath's warrior-women and rode out for the Shakelands.
We needs now
describe the fortifications of Furthest. The city itself was warded
by stone walls 100 feet high without any battlements - the walls
were sheer, front and back - 2 thousands of meters to a side with
one major gate in each. 27 towers guarded the walls; each was 40
feet tall, 40 feet wide and 40 feet deep. Arrow slits speckled the
towers. A stone-faced ditch, 40 feet wide and 15 feet deep surrounded
the city. Two towers and curtain walls had recently been added to
ward the docks. They measured some 40 feet in height.
meters to the north and east of the city was the Phargentite Fort.
This keep was the home of the Red King's generals and their personal
forces. The stone walls here were 60 feet high with towers nye upon
80. There was one major gate opening into the fort and it faced
east. There was a postern gate that faced into the fortifications
between the city and the fort.
camps and Furthest-Beyond-the-Walls were warded by two earthen walls,
some 40 feet tall and faced with timber. There were two gates in
it, one to the east and another to the north. This area was open
to the river.
Across the river
was Dervanax Keep. This fort was the home shrine for an ancient
Tarshite hero of the same name. The stone walls were some 60 feet
high and surrounded by a ditch.
And so with
the siege camps and walls built, the engineers of the Grand Company
set to building catapults around the city. Soon the city was being
bombarded by stone and flame from four score of machines.
took this time to round up more support. He stepped onto Mastakos'
road and fared to Aldachur where he spoke with Prince Orgovalt.
Argrath greeted his follower well. Orgovalt replied properly and
they spoke of matters in the Far Point. "There is dissent and
grumbling from the clans," spake the Prince. "They feel
that the tribute to support the war is too high, nearly as bad as
under the Empire some have said." Dragonfriend agreed that
these were hard times for the Kingdom and expressed his hope that
they would soon be over. Orgovalt then spoke of what the traders
were saying. "There is no trade to be had from Heortland with
the King Sharpsword being bankrupt. There is only expensive trade
to be had within Sartar due to the tolls on the roads charged by
High King Maniskisson. And there is no trade to have from Tarsh
with the fields plundered and the cities besieged." Argrath
expressed his sympathy for the troubles of the traders and told
Orgovalt to do his best.
King Dragonfriend rode to Dwarf Mine to speak with Isildirian. He
passed through the 'In-processing' area quite quickly with the pass
that the dwarf had given him and was taken directly to see Isildirian.
"Greetings Isildirian," spake Argrath. He asked the dwarf
if he could hire the Cannon Cult and field test the newest version
of the Alchemical Transformer. Isildirian turned from some contraption
that he was tinkering with and replied thusly: "Argrath! How
do you like being Emperor?" Argrath stared back at the dwarf
and asked if he was on the correct page of The Schedule. Isildirian
looked embarrassed and quickly grabbed a book off of his desk. He
flipped through a few pages and replied, "Ah, yes, you want
to hire the Cannon Cult." He slipped through more pages in
the book and spake that they were available. "How much,"
replied Argrath. "Owe me," said Isildirian. He read a
few more pages in the book and look up furtively, "How about
a Jolanti?" Argrath looked startled. "A jolanti?"
he asked. "What would that cost along with the Transformer?"
The dwarf replied that he wanted all of the iron in Furthest. Dragonfriend
smiled, "Surely that is a very high price. How about one part
in three?" Isildirian referred back to his book and replied,
"That would be fine, as long as it totalled 26 metric tonnes."
Now, it should
be said that Argrath had no idea what a metric or a tonne was. "Your
schedule there wouldn't happen to mention that all of the iron in
Furthest weights 26 of those tonnes would it?" Isildirian replied
that it did. Argrath agreed to the terms. Isildirian said that the
forces would be at Furthest in three weeks.
his leave of the dwarf and fared into the Rockwood Mountains. He
journeyed to Ormsfang Mtn. and passed within to visit the Ormsfang
Assassins. He briefly discussed his desire for the assassins to
aid in the siege and for the price of 27 ox-carts of Kralori silk
they agreed to send 100 warriors for the duration of the siege.
They would arrive in two weeks.
Furthest, Argrath found disease in his camps. Black Boils and Blood
Lung had broken out. Voydag lead the counter attack. Kamoar and
his shamans reported that the diseases were born by mighty spirits,
dread spirits of Malia the Chaos Shaman. His band battled valiantly
against the spirits. Argrath put out word through the lands of the
disease outbreak and healers came from all over to battle the spirits.
By the end of the week the spirits had been defeated but one in
every ten of the army's warriors lay dead.
the diseased corpses hurled into Furthest.
Now Gudny the
Storm Lord came to the Warlord in his pavilion and greeted the king
well. We needs speak of the change that was easily noticeable in
the disciple. His very touch was electric and sent sparks dancing
along metal. Ribbons tied in his hair fluttered on invisible breezes.
His eyes were a roiling mass of grey clouds. There was no mistaking
the immanence of the Thunderer when Gudny entered the tent.
As this was
the first time Argrath had seen his Companion since his ascent he
was taken aback by the changes. "Greetings Storm Lord,"
he said. "Greetings Lord Dragonfriend," was the rumbling
reply. Gudny continued thusly: "I received thy kindly worded
invitation to participate in this siege. Though the Righteous Wind
has not yet gathered I did bring some seven hundreds my host to
aid this effort to destroy this last great bastion of the Poison
Moon in Dragon Pass. Orlanth will be freed of this corruption!"
of the bands that had accompanied him. He named the Wild Storm,
lead by the disciple Elmalandti Bluespruce - five score flying thunderous
warriors. He spoke of the Cloudstriders, led by Argrath's ally among
the Stormwalkes, the disciple Utguard Cloudstrider - a further five
score flying warriors. Gudny spoke of the Brekuni Shieldfighters,
four score weaponthanes from the Dundealos. He spoke of Ingard Wyrmbreaker
and his four score Dragonslayers. He spoke of the Brooding Rain,
four score Ereltharoli Helerings; the Red Bears, two score Odaylings
who worshipped Horrast Ironclaw the fighting hunter; he spoke of
the Battle Daughters, a band of four-score and ten Vingans and finally
he told of the Night Watch, six score Rigsdali from across the Pass.
"As you suggested, we have encamped with Sigmund and his Breakers
across the river from the city. Sir Hulborn and his Axe Brothers
joined us there." He then spoke of seeing the warbanner for
the Crimson Rams, a band of Yanafal the Ram worshippers, within
the bastion. "The bastion is a shrine and their magic is strong,
but it is not strong enough to stop us."
Gudny for his assistance and turned to Voydag. "Speak thee
on thy journey to Shakeland." Voydag refused to tell anything
of her journey except that the Shakers had agreed to come with some
five score priestesses and their bodyguards for 1 out of every 5
of the thralls. They would take close to two weeks to arrive. "They
would not negotiate." Argrath thanked his wife for her efforts
and commended the bravery of his warriors for accompanying her.
Bare-Foot was the daughter of Aesthra the Udder and the grand-daughter
of Aesthra Too-Many. Wynorthrida and her sister, Reathra No-Voice,
were born among the Creek-Side Clan in the Dinacoli Tribe to a long
string of powerful Ernaldan godyr. The sisters were twins and were
acknowledged as the senior priestesses and leaders of the Earth
Twins magical band.
It was about
now that Wynorthrida came to see the Dragonfriend and spoke of their
efforts to raise ramps against the walls of the city and the fort.
Argrath greeted the tired woman well and bade her sit at his side
while his dishthane brought food and drink for her. She came directly
to the point, "Their magic is as great, or even greater than
ours. They throw down our ramps as fast as we can raise them."
Argrath thanked her for her efforts and when she was ready, bade
her good day.
There came a
time during the preparations when word came that King Pharandros
wished to speak with Argrath. The Dragonfriend agreed to parley
before the main gates. The Red-King, Pharandros strode from the
city warded about in rich, finely etched plate-armour from Carmania.
Each king came with ten of their body guards - King Pharandros with
ten of his Kingslayers and King Dragonfriend with ten of his Storm
The kings greeted
each other civilly and Dragonfriend asked if Pharandros had come
to surrender. Pharandros shook his head, "I come to bid thee
gone from my lands. We seek only peace. Return to your lands and
we can have peace and trade once again. Remain, and you will lose
more of your people to the Underworld."
thusly: "Lord Pharandros, if thou dost truly seek peace you
need only swear allegiance and loyalty to the King of Tarsh, King
Fazzursson. Then there will be peace in your lands and in mine."
The lunar replied
that his people would fight to the death. As a token of their resolve
he gifted Argrath with a small box. Within, Argrath found a man's
finger bearing Bronwyn Fallenstead's EWF ring. "Know this rebel-king,"
growled Argrath. "Release my man now or I will kill every living
thing within the city walls."
"You would have done that either way." Then he strode
back into the city.
And so it came
to pass that a host of dwarves busked into the siege camps with
a score of heavy cannon, one of Isildirian's 200-foot tall jolanti
and the Alchemical Transformer. Soon after their arrival the Earth
Shakers rumbled in with their thunder beasts.
To the Cannon
Cult, Argrath pointed out a tower on the eastern wall of Furthest.
I would that you battered a way into the city through there. The
dwarves nodded curtly and set to work building what they called
a 'battery'. He looked at the jolanti and commanded a platform to
be built that would hold some 200 warriors. The jolanti would lift
it over the city walls when the time came.
spoke with Ubmaran-Shaker, the high priestess of the Maran Gori.
He pointed out the wall between the city and the fort and asked
if the Shakers could flatten it. The priestess replied that they
could. Argrath asked the dwarves running the Transformer to aid
an Aramite slipped unseen into Argrath's tent. He awoke the king
with a soft touch and greeted him politely. "I am Adept-Seven.
You have a task for me and my brethren." Argrath thanked the
adept for his presence and asked that he and his brothers pass into
random towers around the city and the fort slaying the defenders.
"I do not ask that you seize and hold anything, just that you
kill them. Incite terror within the walls. I am particularly interested
in dead officers." Adept-Seven acknowledged the instructions
and slipped from the tent as secretly as he had come in.
again with Fazzursson and suggested that the host storm the area
between city and fort. "Much of the city's spare food is kept
there in the cattle pens and the horse pens. The village and the
refugee camps hold many people who would be an additional hardship
on the city were they forced within the walls. Fazzursson agreed
and was quite pleased when Dragonfriend suggested that the Tarsh
Army have the honour of the initial assault.
It was known
that the eastern wall between the city and the fort was defended
by the 3rd Furthest Foot. The northern wall between the fort and
the river was defended by the 2nd Furthest Foot. Within the enclosure
was camped the Furthest Horse. Some three hundreds of the Female
Green Bows stood on each wall as well.
And so it came
to pass that, on the night of the Dying Moon King, Fazzursson gathered
his entire Tarsh Army, some five thousands of foot and five hundred
of horse, supported by Wolfe's Heavy Cavalry and prepared to assail
the camps. The Earth Twins and the Warm Sisters prepared to raise
an earthen berm before the main gate of the Phargentite's Fort.
Queen Nerestina and her Esrolian host prepared to assail a bastion
on the southern wall of Furthest as a diversion. Garthael Flashing-Blade
was to lead the Goldgotti Foot against a neighbouring tower with
ten of Argrath's Vangath Brothers. The jolanti would strive to break
an opening for the Esrolians. Across the river, Gudny would lead
his host against the Dervanax Keep and take it by storm.
night, the Maran Thunderdrums rolled. Come the dawn, the priestesses
unleashed their horrible magic. The earth under the gate erupted
and sent boulders flying a hundred feet through the air. Ripples
raced through the earth like a rock had been dropped into a pond.
Everything within two hundred meters was destroyed utterly. Within
a thousand meters all buildings were smashed. The cattle and the
horses in the pens were knocked from their feet and buried. The
Furthest Horse's camp was destroyed and most of their men slain.
The nearer refugee camp was smashed. The further took serious damage.
King Fazzursson's host, arrayed before the gate, were smashed from
their feet and several hundreds were slain by flying stones or buried
in the earth. His horsemen were scattered by panicked beasts. Dragonfriend's
main siege camp was flattened and many of his siege towers toppled.
Foragers as far as six miles away felt the shaking.
At the Phargentite
Fort, the priestesses were too stunned by the tearing of Ernalda's
body. They could not muster their magic to raise the berm. But it
mattered little. The ripples moving through the earth had piled
drifts of soil against all sides of the keep.
There were also
drifts, twenty feet high, against the northern walls of Furthest,
the ditches there were completely filled.
the Shakers died when their hearts burst from the surge of magic
through the Alchemical Transformer. The survivors were quite angered
but were too stunned to do much about it.
To the south,
the jolanti hurled a dozen giant boulders over the walls and smashed
several buildings. It then lumbered forth and struck a great blow
with it axe. The mighty blade struck a bastion on the wall and clove
it in twain. When it lifted the axe again there was a twenty foot
wide slash in the stone. The jolanti struck again and again at the
tower tearing it to pieces. Then there was a blast of sickly crimson
light from the centre of the city and the jolanti's head exploded.
The giant body toppled forward and fell upon the smashed tower.
The beam had come from the Temple of Lunar Resonance.
led her Axe Maidens in an assault across the giant body and into
the rubble of the tower. Catapults within the city hurled jars of
noxious gasses as the attacking warriors and drove them off with
The siege tower
that Garthael intended to use sank up to its axles into the earth
after the earthquake. He quickly took over the one that the Queen
had abandoned and had it pushed up to his bastion. When the bridge
dropped he was the first besieger onto the city's walls. Glowing
in his full hero light he struck at the Tower Captain and cut him
two. He swung left and right and set three more men on the Raven
road. The Goldgotti soldiers poured onto the tower at his back easily
pushing the defenders back. Again, that crimson beam lanced out
and bathed the tower in a blinding light. When it vanished, three
score of Shepilkirt's heroes stood atop the tower. Dressed from
head to foot in silver and iron, they hacked their way through the
Goldgotti. Garthael slew two and leapt to the attack. The Goldgotti
withdrew from the tower. The Vangath Brothers began falling. After
watching three more of their confederates slaughtered by Garthael,
the lunars paused, stepped back and formed a shield wall. As they
readied javelins the siege tower behind Garthael bust in to flames.
The champion turned and strode from the wall.
Across the river,
the assault went much better. Sigmund and his Breakers burst the
bastion's gate. The Axe Brothers pushed a siege tower to the walls
over a ditch filled with fascines. When the bridge dropped Lothar
Twin-Blades stood there glowing with Hu's blessings. Before him
stood Cherek Dead-Fast, the leader of the Crimson Rams. He also
glowed a ruddy red from his corrupt god's magic.
Cherek was a
mighty warrior, a full head taller than the Dragonfriend who was
accounted among the tallest of men. His arms were as thick as tree
trunks and his heft a silver scimitar that most lesser men could
not have lifted. In his left hand was a heavy shield, studded with
moon-rock, that he was said to have taken from Shepelkirt herself.
On his head was an iron helm with enchanted ram's horns jutting
from the temples. Cherek was called Dead-Fast for what happened
to most of his foes.
appearance Cherek's warriors stepped back and the Ram called out
to Lothar: "Have ye come to die grim-one?" Lothar stepped
onto the wall and said: "I will die when it is mine time. For
now, I bring thee Death and Severance."
With that the
two heroes launched themselves at each other. Lothar made to strike
Cherek upon the shoulder and his blade struck sparks from his foe's
shield. His other blade passed under Cherek's guard and struck upon
his leg dealing him a horrible wound. Cherek staggered back and
swung his blade with deadly accuracy. Lothar caught the blow on
his, squatted onto his heels and hewed Cherek's left leg at the
knee. He stood and spun on his right foot, both blades flashing
in the sunlight, and struck Cherek across the neck and hips. The
Tarnils-man fell down dead on the wall. The lunar tried to defy
Death and leap back to life but Lothar severed the ghost's connection
to this plane and sent it onto the Halls of the Dead.
At the now smashed
gates, death in a different form came to the bastion. Kamoar Shadowstalker
named his spirits and stroked his fetishes. He invoked his talents
and released his hatred. Claws burst from his hands; his eyes slitted
and glowed yellow; his cloak bayed in anticipation and the froth
of madness burst from his mouth. The berserk cat-man tore his way
into the keep slaughtering all before him. Gudny, garbed in naught
but the storm strode through the air behind him with lightning and
thunder lancing from his hands.
A sturdy axeman
stepped into Kamoar's path. He named himself Kallar and made to
issue some challenge to Kamoar but the beserker rage was upon the
shaman and the high priest of Dervanax never had a chance to finish
his sentence. Kamoar snatched the sacred axe from his hands, bit
through golden shaft and punched Kallar. His left hand passed through
the man's iron cuirass, burst his ribs and closed into a fist around
the priest's heart. Kamoar was already seeking his next victim as
he flung the corpse from his path.
carving his way along the walls, Kamoar slaughtering his way through
the courtyard and Gudny rolling balled lightning into the shrine
the defenders threw down their axes and begged for their lives.
came on to the keep's wall and broke the chain barring the river.
refugees fled into Furthest and the besiegers let them go. With
the extra food stockpiles from the camps destroyed, every extra
mouth within the walls shortened the siege. Warlord Dragonfriend
extended his siege lines to encircle the Phargentite Keep.
Come the next
morning, High King Maniskisson rode into the camp with five-score
of his bodythanes. He greeted Dragonfriend well and asked after
Voydag. Dragonfriend replied properly and bade the High King join
him on the ramparts. "How does the attack," King Manikisson
asked. "Have you taken the city yet?" Dragonfriend replied
that they had the city still resisted. "Why?" came the
imperious reply. Dragonfriend explained that it took time to establish
the siege lines, probe the defences and gather the forces required
to exploit them. Maniskisson nodded his acceptance. "I heard
that you had a mighty jolanit here. Where is it?"
frowned, "It seems that jolanti are over rated. King Fazzursson
and I believe that we were provided with a defective one."
The High King
listened quietly and said nothing more about the jolanti. He spoke
of trouble within Sartar. "The Malani refuse to pay my tribute."
He spoke of his impending meeting with King Sharpsword regarding
the finances of the alliance and then he bade Dragonfriend continue
his good work and departed.
 He means
for her to take the woman warriors from his bands. Most men would
refuse to go and they are banned from the temple either way.
 It took us some time before we could wipe the tears of laughter
from our eyes after this
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