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The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 74

 


The Siege of Furthest, Part 4

Truth Week, Earth Season

With the failure of siege tower, the allies set about making another attempt on the city's defences. Warlord Dragonfriend spoke with his Companions and with Lord Mularik's siege engineers. He set the engineers to building 4 massive rams to be used against the city's gates. He asked the dwarves to forge him iron heads for the rams and to send him more engineers. Then the Warlord directed that towers be built that would overlook the gatekeeps, but would be protected by the taller city wall from any emanations from the Temple of Lunar Resonance. These towers would dominate the gatekeeps and keep the defenders from putting men on their roofs. Finally, King Dragonfriend directed his forces in the northern siege camp to begin tunnelling into the city.

Lord Mularik sent word that he had fought a series of running skirmishes with the Northern Tarsh Army but had been unable to bring them to battle. He also noted that there was an Imperial fleet sailing up the river with a relief army.

Gudny the Stormchaser let King Dragonfriend know that the Righteous Wind had finally gathered and was eager to join battle against the empire.

It was about then that King Fazzursson and Queen Nerestina came to Warlord Dragonfriend again.

King Fazzursson expressed his worries over the relief army, "Mayhap we should hold off launching any further assaults on the city until the Imperials have been dealt with." King Dragonfriend replied that the preparations for the next assault would take three or four weeks. King Fazzursson was satisfied by that.

Queen Nerestina asked that her host be replaced in the southern camp and allowed to return home, "Mine regiments are shattered and their morale is non-existent." The Warlord suggested that her host could be moved to a quiet portion of the siege and rested. He suggested that they take over the northern camp and the tunnelling effort while the Sartar regiments there would take over the southern camp. The Queen agreed.

Then Tilth Soulscribe, one of King Dragonfriend's followers who had been placed in charge of the campaign's logistics, came to speak with the Warlord. He spoke of magical attacks on the supply depots, hordes of rats and other troubles. Then he dismissed them with a wave of his hand, "We dealt with it." King Argrath congratulated him on having handled the problems. "However," continued Tilth, "there is little that we can do about the current problem." He went on to explain that the amount of supply coming from Sartar had been reduced by the High King. "At the current levels we will have to begin rationing the armies in three weeks." King Argrath thanked Tilth for his efforts and said that he would look into the supply rate.

Then Argrath summoned his Companions again. He appointed his War-Captain, Lothar commander of the siege in his absence. He asked Gudny Alakoringsson to lead a portion of the Free Army north to join Mularik. "Destroy the relief force," he told the Stormlord. He asked Kamoar to accompany Gudny. Then he turned to the Hurler-hero, Sigmund, and asked him to widen the Dwarf breach in the city wall.

In the morn, Gudny rode north with some 7,000 men. With him were four hundreds of his own warband; eight-score of Kamoar's warband; four thousands of the Righteous Wind; six hundreds of the Wolf Runners; two thousands of the Antler Chase, Headhunters, March Light Horse, Sword Brothers and Bullocks cavalry regiments; and one hundred magicians in Sir Nandaras' Company.

King Dragonfriend stepped onto Mastakos' Path. He jumped to the top of Grizzly Hill, stepped over the Dragonspine to the Brass Hills with his left foot and then stepped into his palace in Boldhome with his right.

Dragonfriend greeted his startled servants and then made his way directly to High King Maniskisson's Palace.

The Sword of Sartar was stopped at the gates to the palace and refused access by the guards. They claimed not to recognise him. It took some time before the Warlord was allowed into the hall where a tired-looking High King awaited him.

High King Maniskisson greeted King Dragonfriend well and bade him welcome. He praised Dragonfriend for the progress of the siege and asked after his business in Boldhome. Dragonfriend spoke of the reduced shipments of supplies in Tarsh. "Our host faces lean times if the Kingdom cannot supply more rations and fodder."

The High King spake of fiscal difficulties in the kingdom. He noted that many tribes were refusing to pay their tributes and that there were no royal troops in Sartar to enforce them. "We are doing the best that we are able to and negotiating with King Sharpsword to get increased support from him. It is likely that you will have to forage off the land for a while."

In the north, Gudny and Kamoar met with Mularik and King Jandetin a few miles west of Big Orvon.

Lord Mularik's host had some nine hundred knights and three thousands of foot. King Jandetin had some three thousands of Grazer horsemen with him. Combined with Gudny's host, there were some 14,000 men in the army.

The leaders greeted each other well and sat themselves in Lord Mularik's tent. The westerner spoke of the inconclusive skirmishes he had fought with the Northern Tarsh army and how they had been whittled down to some 5,500 troops. "They have marched in to Talfort and will not come out," Mularik said.

Then he spoke of the relieving army. It seemed that he knew through prisoner interrogation that it was led by a Polemarch Daveresh Oarbreaker - an expert on river and infantry tactics. Daveresh was aided by Uranestos the Kossak. Lord Mularik told of some 100 ships, including several triremes unloading troops at Dolsosin. He had learned of at least 4,000 heavy infantry, good magical support and around 4,000 mercenary cavalry, "Pentans," Mularik said.

"They have crossed the Oslir and are marching on Talfort. We march to meet them."

Gudny asked Kamoar to take his warband, the Wolf Runners, the Antler Chase, Headhunters and the March Light Horse to the west. They were to block the forces in Talfort and keep them from striking the main host in the flank.

Gudny sent scouts ahead of the marching host and mapped out the enemy's line for they had deployed and were offering battle some twelve miles north of Talfort.


Mularik suggested that the storm-priests shroud the battle-field in Orlanth's mists to obscure his deployements. He wanted to go straight from the march into the charge and hurl their heavy horse at the Pentans on the left. "We will break them and then roll up their host."

Gudny concurred and took 1,300 of the Righteous Wind to assail the village on the far right. Some 1,800 of them would deploy in line on the centre-right while his magic-heavy bands would summon the mist and then battle the enemy magicians.

 


 


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October 5, 2002

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