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The Battle for Sayr Ulanposted by Glenn Butcher
The PCs IMC recently freed Sind from Hule. One of the players wrote a story about it, in conjunction with his normal diaries. This is the battle for Sayr Ulan, the critical point.
The page about the campaign is http://www.ucc.gu.uwa.edu.au/~knight/campaign/norse.html The diaries page (with zipped versions) is http://www.ucc.gu.uwa.edu.au/~knight/campaign/cu.html This contains the diaries as written by other characters as well, about 40 entries.
Kvana (aka Grey): Sindhi fighter/mage/"battle mage" Turia: Tiefling fighter/thief, his wife (no one except Grey knows she is a tiefling)
Lani: Faenare song mage/windsinger
Safranna: Centaur fighter/priestess of Freya Roland: Pegataur Paladin, her husband
Zim: Sky-gnome mage/thief/"engineer"
Gwen: Sky-gnome fighter/"engineer", his wife Guzurk: Dwarven fighter/thief/"diplomat" Melany: priestess of Hermes/"hippy"
Minora: Milenian priestess of Petra
Lord Garen: Karameikan landed lord/mercenary captain Jokana: Hinterlander priestess of Diulanna, his wife The Hound: Sindhi resistance member
Plus a cast of thousands.
*** Day 1, Sayr Ulan
Sunlight filters through a hazy window of a building looking much like any other in the Warriors Quarter of Sayr Ulan. A hushed silence of nervous anticipation fills the room.
"They should be arriving shortly," murmurs the Hound to a Sindhi warrior standing at his shoulder, red armband prominently displayed. "Are the preparations complete?"
"Yes Sir," replies the warrior, taut as a bowstring.
"Then we wait."
The house, like many buildings in Sayr Ulan, rests close up against neighbouring buildings, with often little or no gap between them. Thanks to the Freedom Warriors, many houses throughout the Warrior Quarter have recently had the walls broken, thus allowing the passage of people between buildings without being observed.
In the buildings so modified stand Sindhi men and women, with red, orange, yellow, green, and otherwise coloured armbands, standing patiently, waiting to provide directions.
In the city itself, most appears normal, the sun shining down through a cloudless sky. The labourers work hard, the craftsman sell their wares, and numerous others go about their daily business, all the while watched over by chain clad patrols of Hulean troops, eyes darting left, then right, with barely concealed edginess. But the Warrior Quarter itself is suspiciously quiet.
In the house, near the knocked out wall, a popping noise accompanies the sudden arrival of a platemail clad figure holding a tall mirror in both hands. A number of Sindhi in the room startle from the sudden appearance.
"Well met," Kvana comments to the Hound, as several heavily armed and armoured figures leap out of the mirror. Following them are a smaller number of men and women decked out in robes, arcane symbols subtly etched, fingers ready for the casting of destructive magics.
After a nod from Kvana, Ileana, a Karameikan mage Kvana recruited for the Sind campaign, steps back into the mirror, to be followed out by a steady stream of grim Sindhi warriors, hardened leather showing signs of recent use. Death in their eyes, the first out are those from Raneshwar. They silently follow the directions of the men standing by the new portals in the walls, dispersing into the buildings of the Warriors Quarter, and occasionally crossing the unusually empty streets.
Accompanying the first wave of troops is Lord Garen, accompanied by the heavy tread of an Iron Golem. "Stand behind and hold the mirror." The Iron Golem solidly moves to do so. Kvana moves aside.
"You've been busy, I see," Kvana says to The Hound, as several of Lord Garen's military advisers exit the mirror, shortly followed by generals from Gunjab, Kadesh, Jalawar, and Jhengal.
"Yes," responds The Hound casually, hand resting on the scimitar at his side, "we've had plenty of time to think of tactics. They'll notice something eventually, but not for a while yet."
An orc patrol from one of the Master's Divisions, from the Foe Shredders, rounds a corner in the Warrior Quarter, the sun shining down from it's zenith, bright to their sensitive eyes.
"Hey, boss," Gleb growls in guttural orcish to his patrol leader. "I'm sure I've been seein lotsa Sind warriors goin to that buildin over there. I just saw one goin in just now."
"Gleb, you'd better not have found no trouble for us. Our patrols almost up, and you're already responsible for getting us a patrol at this Bozdogan forsaken time. All right, lets check it out then."
The ten-orc patrol approaches the house Gleb saw a Sindhi enter, eyes squinting. The sound of sword against metal can be faintly heard in the distance, although the orcs remain ignorant.
"Up open it," the patrol leader calls in broken Sindhi, bashing his mailed fist against the door. "Under the arthritis of Hule, up open!"
After no response from within, the Patrol Leader tries the handle. The door swings open silently, revealing gleaming scimitars. Blinking in surprise, the Patrol Leader barely has a chance to speak before a scimitar slashes across his neck, dropping him in a single blow.
Sindhi silently pour out of the building. The orcs, caught completely unawares, don't stand a chance. Only two manage to draw their swords, but their fate is already decided. They're cut down in a flurry of blows, their death cries sounding like a thousand trumpets to the furiously working Sindhi.
Gleb, screaming "ATTACK, ATTACK!" is the only one to escape the Sindhi. He manages to get half way down the street before another door opens, and an arrow to the chest silences him forever.
"Well, I'd say the hiding is over," comments a Sindhi warrior, scimitar dripping orcish blood. "Let's get down to business."
As the Huleans raise the alarm, thousands of Sindhis burst out of packed buildings, flooding the streets of the Warriors Quarter. Numerous Hulean patrols are quickly despatched, the odds overwhelming, the surprise total.
"Alright, they're onto us," Lord Garen says. Then, to one of his men, "Tell the men to hustle. They know their objectives."
Troops start flooding out of the mirror, the concern for secrecy disregarded.
I hope this goes well, Kvana thinks to himself. It's pretty much out of our control now. Everyone knows what to do, but if any one group fails badly, all could be lost.
Sporadic fighting starts spreading throughout city. The sound of the alarm rings loud and clear across the city. On the walls, in the palace, and to the south of the city Hule forces rapidly scramble to make ready for battle, with soldiers donning helmets and reaching for weapons.
Simultaneously peasants and other non-combatants flee for cover, struggling to avoid the combatants.
Seven distinct groups of forces can be seen leaving the Warriors Quarter, one for each of the city gates, with Lord Garen's own troops and the steel clad dwarven mercenaries remaining to bottle up the Hulean forces within the palace.
The pristine city of Sayr Ulan is set to become a battlefield.
>From the housing near the west gate over five hundred red-skinned baronies warriors charge the wall. Ill prepared, the five score Hulean soldiers manning the gate scramble to make ready.
"An attack from within the walls? What?" The startled Hulean captain exclaims, hands shaking. "Well, hurry it up and..." he continues, just as a unarmoured red-skinned mage, near the base of the wall, gestures, letting loose a ball of flame. The ensuing fireball tears through the command structure at the gate.
The remainder of the battle is quick and bloody. With no casualties, the baronies men secure the wall against attack from the forces outside the city.
"Leader, the north-west gate is around the bend a couple of hundred yards up the road," murmurs an Yavdlom mercenary, fingering his spear.
The Yavdlom force, assigned the northwest gate by Lord Garen, number some 470 medium foot.
"Inform the men that we charge at the corner," replies the leader.
As quietly as leather and chain clad troops quick marching on cobble stoned roads can be, the Yavdlom force advances, until the signal is raised. Without fanfare or battle cries, they rush toward the wall.
The Huleans, having had some chance to prepare, let loose an irregular hail of arrows, cutting down some of the less lucky Yavdlom men.
Quickly closing the one hundred yard gap, the Yavdlom mercenaries let loose a volley of spears prior to engaging in melee.
The Huleans put up a good fight, killing over a score of Yavdlom mercenaries, and wounding an equal number. But the Huleans are outnumbered and out skilled, and in short order the Yavdlom mercenaries control the wall.
Near the north wall, in a small peasant building, the stomp of approaching feet starts is clearly heard.
"What's going on, honey?" asks the first wife of the owner of the premises.
"I'll take a look," responds an older Sindhi man.
Moving to the shutters, he opens them and pokes his head out, looking from side to side. Then, faster than an eye can blink, he pulls back and slams the shutters with a loud bang.
Looking shaken he turns to his first wife, and urgently says "Quick, get everyone together. We must get to the cellar quickly."
Looking worried, the first wife asks, "Why, what did you see?"
Shaking his head, he replies, "I know not what I saw. I saw white demons grasping weapons eagerly. Many of the white demons looked mad, starting to froth at the mouth! What's worse, they were lead by two impossible creatures, mixtures of men and horses. One had wings! Hurry, to the cellar!"
Making absolutely no secret of their presence, nearly 400 Jarldom mercenaries eagerly press forward to the north gate.
Those who aren't frothing chant loudly, screaming slogans promising death to all their foes.
Rounding a slight bend, their objective becomes visible. By now, the Huleans manning the gate are relatively prepared.
Safranna, shouting as loudly as she can, calls to her men, "There the bastards are. Go get em. Death and blood galore my friends!"
With a roar, the Norsemen charge, axes and broadswords and war hammers swinging. In broken Hulean some shout phrases such as "Die die," and "come get gutted."
Safranna, getting helped to her feet by Roland after just having tripped on a pebble, readies her bow and lets loose a constant stream of arrows at her foes. Roland, eager eyes glistening behind the slit in his helmet takes to the air with a whoosh, Maul of the Titans ready to collapse skulls.
"Ready for the attack," a Hulean cries to his men. "Fight hard, for they won't take prisoners."
The Huleans, seeing death charging them, ready their weapons even more firmly, determination seen in the set of their jaw.
With a crash, the battle is joined.
Sword meet sword, axe meets armour, and maul meets flesh. Blood litters the field, and increasing numbers of men drop, staring disbelievingly at horrendous wounds. Some Norsemen take shocking wounds, losing arms and legs, but they fight on, frothing at the mouth and unaware that they are already dead.
The Norsemen fight hard and valiantly, but the Huleans, although less skilled, are organised and fight as a unit, with the advantage of the wall. Moreover, the Norsemen, distrusting mages, are without magical assistance.
Although outnumbered, the Huleans hold their position. Unrepentant, the Norsemen continue the fight, regardless of the 40 casualties they have already suffered.
Accompanied by a cabal of priests, the Sindhi High Priest of the Pantheon leaves the main temple of Sayr Ulan. Seeing a patrol of Huleans, he slowly smiles. "Payback time."
Flame strikes blazing, the high priest and his cabal advance into the Priests Quarter, purging it of Huleans.
Near the northeast wall, half of the Darokinian force, 600 light foot, charge. Although taken by surprise, the Huleans react quickly, and under well-coordinated guidance from the captain, and the narrow confines of that part of the wall, they manage to hold off the Darokinians.
"This could be tricky, sir. We have a small advantage at the moment, but we can't bring the full weight of our men to bear, not in these confines," says an officer to the Darokinian captain in charge of this detachment.
The Darokinian captain, patting his pet mastiffs head, responds by saying, "Keep the men at it. In fact, have them press forward. By jove we'll show these Huleans how inferior they are compared to the wit of the Darokinians."
"Sir, some caution is to be advised..." the officer leaves the phrase hanging.
"Don't be daft, good man. We haven't even suffered a single casualty yet. Give the order."
Looking reluctant, the Darokinian officer moves to obey his superior.
At the same time, but at the east gate, the second half of the Darokinian force is far more successful. With quick wits and an eye for enemy weakness, the captain in charge directs his forces, managing to drive the Huleans from the wall without suffering any casualties.
"Sir, we are ready for the charge," states a Sindhi soldier to the Raneshwarian General. Arrayed throughout the streets and area behind him, and further to the west, are innumerable Sindhi troops, over four thousand in total. Theirs is the most critical battle, to take the two southern gates, and the entire southern wall, for camped south of the city are over five thousand Hulean troops.
"Speed is critical. If we fail to take the wall quickly, Hule will be able to get men within the city. Snap to it. We have the numbers, so charge."
"Yes sir!" responds the Sindhi. Rushing to another soldier, he states, "the order has been given. Raise the flag to charge."
Upon seeing the raised flag, the Sindhi seethe forward with a cry.
The Hulean commander of the southern wall watches in horror as out of the streets uncountable Sindhi soldiers charge forward. "Hold them off. Get your asses into gear, and hold them off," he calls to his men. "Hold fast! Anyone to retreat will be executed as deserters."
The Sindhi, rushing up stairs and climbing ladders, crash into the Hulean forces.
"Damn it, hold fast!" screams the Hulean commander. About to cry out again, he instead gurgles, collapsing to the ground, a Hulean with an officer's badge and bloody dagger standing behind him.
"The commander is dead. Retreat," cries the Hulean officer, cleaning and sheathing his dagger. "Retreat!"
Those that can abandon the walls for the safety of the forces camped to the south.
The Sindhi suffer no casualties.
The Raneshwarian General stands atop the wall, observing the Hulean hive of activity south of the city. "They are making ready to attack. Secure the gates, and get some archers up here. Bring some of the adventurers forth. They'll be needed to help with the giants and trolls." A soldier responds quickly to his generals bidding. The Sindhi make ready.
A runner rushes into the Sindhi temporary headquarters, where the mirror first appeared. Taking a drink of water, and wiping his brow of sweat, he says, "Lord Garen, we have secured most of the walls. The Huleans still hold off the barbarians and the first half of the Darokinian troops."
Another runner enters the room, kneeling before Lord Garen. In a rush, "The Huleans, sir, they've erected some sort of shimmering barrier about the palace, which we've just finished barricading. They've also launched ten flying ships. The Huleans in the priests quarter have been dealt with by local Sindhi priests, one of whom seems quite powerful."
Lord Garen nods. "Does anyone know of this barrier?"
The Darokinian Legionate, VII division, Darokinian 2nd army, nods. "It looks like war magic. Most likely it prevents the passage of any spells into the barrier, but not out. Any spell effects are dispelled upon entering it, is my understanding."
"Great," mutters Kvana. "How long can they keep it up for?"
"Indefinitely, if they've got as many mages as you say, assuming they're all war mages. Especially since it's only a small area. The barrier will be a complete sphere, encompassing underground as well."
"It's not an immediate concern," says Lord Garen, smiling reassuringly. The men in the moon relax a little, nodding. "It seems all is going better than expected. Our flying forces should take care of theirs."
Kvana nods, saying, "That they are invisible will prove useful."
Lord Garen issues some instructions to one of the runners, indicating reinforcements to be sent to aid the Norsemen.
At the south wall, masses of Hulean troops arrange themselves, preparing for the assault. A horn is blown, and the Master's Divisions seethe forward, arrows from the wall cutting into their charge.
Hill giant Reavers lumber forward, troll Devourers by their feet, orc and bugbear Foe Shredders at their side, weapons drawn. Leading the charge are human cavalry, the Faris, and goblin cavalry, the Fangriders.
Taking innumerable casualties, the Hulean forces begin scaling the walls, and attempt to smash down the gates.
"Smash those gates down," cries a Hulean officer, urging the giants on in their efforts. One of the giants collapses to the ground, too many arrows having affected their toll. Thump! Thump! More hill giants take the place of their fallen comrade, and continue to smash into the gate. In the un-pleasantries of an assault against well- manned walls, Huleans are mown down left, right, and centre. Some are thrown back after scaling the walls, Sindhi quickly despatching them.
With a great crack, the gate collapses in rubble. The hill giants stand aside, letting Faris gallop into the breach.
"Look a priest. Get her," one shouts, seeing a garishly dressed priest incanting the words to a spell. Faris charge forth, attempting to reach her before she finishes calling upon the power of her faith.
Almost reaching her, their charge is halted. A teeming mass of arachnids, insects, and myriapods appear, and attack the Huleans unlucky enough to be in the area in which they appear. The Huleans die. The Huleans that charge into the mass die. The Huleans pushed forward by their colleagues pressing forth from behind die.
The mass of insects seethe forward, slaying all in their path.
The Hulean charge is stopped, and cries go up to send the trolls first. Any enthusiasm on the Hulean part is destroyed.
Clapping her hands together, Melany says, "Well, that aught to do them," and the Most Favoured of Hermes heads off for the other south gate.
A Hulean Doomflyer gains altitude, skeletons pulling oars in time with the beat set by a Hulean soldier.
"We'll manoeuvre around, and assist the troops assaulting the walls," the Captain states. "Also, ..." he begins, before looking in shock at the galley that has just appeared a short distance ahead. The galley, packed with ballistae and catapults, looses a broadside. Flaming pitch and large bolts carve their way through the Hulean airboat. The Hulean captain looks down in shock as a bolt creates a hole the size of fist in his chest. The Hulean airboat, having suffered much damage, loses altitude, and smashes into the ground just shy of the east gate.
"I'm firing up the engines. Gwen, put a potion of speed in the vase," Zim says, oily hand pushing the ignition switch. With a hum, the engines purr into life. Gwen, concentrating on flying the ship via the vase, pulls out a small coloured vial, and empties its contents. The skyship Falcon gains a sudden jolt of speed.
"Let's show them what Gnomish tech can do," Zim says eagerly, hand adjusting his goggles, smearing a little engine oil on his nose in the process. Hunching over the Falcon's joystick, he brings the Falcon in for a strafe on a Hulean airboat, 12 o'clock low. The Falcon steadily approaches, Hulean ship in her crosshairs.
Zim flicks the gun safety cap back, and moves his thumb in place, ready to fire.
"And... about... Now!" The Falcon jerks back as bolts rip forth, firing faster than normally possible, sending metal chunks ripping through the unsuspecting Hulean ship. From the back Turia lets out a cry of elation as she scores two direct hits against the enemy using the Falcon's turret mounted cannon.
The now visible falcon roars past the Hulean ship with a vroom!
With skilful piloting, Gwen's use of the vase, and the extra speed afforded by the potion of speed, the Falcon spins about in mid-air ready for another strafe before the Huleans can even prepare themselves.
Again roaring past, the Falcon looses bolt after bolt on the wooden airboat, raining debris on those below. Attempting to manoeuvre into place, the airboat begins to change direction, but the structural damage inflicted by the Falcon is too great; with a crack of splintering wood, the Hulean airboat breaks apart in mid-air, and crashes to the ground amidst the Hulean forces assaulting the city.
"Yeah! The superiority of Gnomish invention," cries Zim, high-fiving Gwen.
Zim moves the Falcon about, ready to take on the next airboat. But now the Huleans are ready.
"Sir, they have flying vessels of their own, but only two," cries a shipman to his Captain.
"Move to engage, and signal the other ships to do so as well. We deal with them before engaging the ground forces," replies the lead ships Captain.
"I THINK NOT," murmurs a great voice.
Then, without any further warning, the massive bulk of Xenith appears towards the tail of the airboat. With great gout of flame, Xenith breathes on the airboat, incinerating the entirety of the rear end.
Half an airboat does not fly well. It falls to the ground, trailing smoke.
With a flap of his wings, the great ruby dragon soars towards his next victim.
The Sindhi ground forces cheer wildly, whilst the Hule forces are further demoralised.
"We have an agreement," says Legion Commander Vladsovic to the gaunt figure before him, handing forth a large sack of gems.
The gaunt figure smiles. "You will not regret this." He whispers. Putting on an air of concentration, he continues, "Come, my pretty. Come, and show them your might."
"Raaar," cries a Norsemen, "RAAR!" The Norsemen moves to chop at an orc, not realising he's lost his hand. "RAAAAR!!" he cries, and then collapses to the ground, finally realising he's dead. The orc, somewhat shocked, scrambles away.
The fight at the north wall continues, the Norsemen taking some casualties, until infantry from the Company of the White Wolf charges into the fray. The skill of the Company of the White Wolf makes the difference, and the Huleans are driven from the north gate.
A little while later, the berserkers stop chopping the dead Huleans into little bits, and collapse on the ground, tired.
Roland and Safranna hug, enjoying the afterglow of a small but hard- won victory.
To the south of the city, beyond the Hulean forces assaulting the walls, the ground tremors and sand shifts, as something moves to escape the confines of the earth. Something large.
At the northeast wall, the Darokinians, following orders, recklessly charge the now prepared Huleans. Their charge is met by steely resolve, their commander demanding complete loyalty from his troops.
The fighting ensues, and the Darokinians suffer significant casualties.
"Sir, we must hold back. Our casualties are untenable!" cries an officer to his Darokinian commander.
"Impossible. We outnumber them six to one. We cannot lose. Maintain the attack I say."
In the end, after suffering 230 casualties, the Darokinians finally pull back, the position unassailable.
The local Sindhi forces, still not having shown their hand, move forth from various buildings, all three thousand five hundred of them, ready to lend the Darokinians assistance, before the Huleans outside the wall capitalise on the weakness. The powerful Sindhi priest and his cabal of priests move forth, also prepared to lend assistance.
The sands continue to shift, and a massive bulk lifts itself from the ground. First the head, snaking its way to look at those in the sky, followed by the body.
The massive body, reeking with the smell of death, made from a patchwork of dead chromatic and metallic dragons, raises itself to its full height, larger even than Xenith.
The creation, the abomination, the Undead Dragon, is whole but for an incomplete wing. But this deficiency does not stop it from taking to the air clumsily, lazily rising to meet any foe that dare challenge it.
Xenith, seeing the monstrosity made of dead dragons seethes with righteous anger, and with the advantage of height, plummets toward the Undead Dragon.
Soldiers throughout the battlefield hold their breath in anticipation. Combatants slowly become spectators, and the fighting grinds to a halt.
Except at the palace, where the Huleans sally forth to attack the Company of the White Wolf.
In the command building, Kvana looks at the Hound. The Hound says, "This is not good."
The mood is grim.
Consuming a potion of speed, Xenith rockets toward the Undead Dragon.
A monstrosity, Xenith thinks, one that will be destroyed.
Glittering in the afternoon light, Xenith reaches the creature, which has been steadily rising, flapping its only good wing.
Xenith opens his great maw wide, razor sharp teeth displayed in anger, and breathes. Great gouts of flame hot enough to incinerate stone sere forth, blistering the air. The flames scorch across the length of the Undead Dragon... which flies on, untouched and unharmed.
In return, the Undead Dragon breathes at Xenith, and a small cloud of greyish looking vapour engulfs the noble dragon's head... and Xenith's great ruby heart stops.
Momentum carrying him forth, Xenith's body loses altitude, and smashes into the ground, scattering Hulean forces.
Xenith breathes no more. The Master's Divisions roar a great cheer.
With some reluctance, the Falcon banks about, moving to engage the dragon. Garen's flying galley is left to deal as best it can with the Doomfliers.
The comparatively small Falcon dives toward the undead creature. Loosing a volley of blasts, the Falcon causes but minor damage.
Lani, seeing the Undead Dragon, and thinking "We can take it," moves to assist.
The dragon swings a claw at the Falcon as it flies past, but misses the fast, smaller target.
The Falcon banks about for another fly-by.
Melany, winged boots flapping furiously, arrives at the carcass of Xenith.
Dancing about the carcass are various Hulean troops, all looking very happy. Some of them, seeing the ruby sparkle, start chopping into Xenith's scales, seeking to gain riches from Xenith's misfortune.
Damn, thinks Melany, where's Thora when you need her.
"Shoot her," cries a bugbear, gesturing at Melany.
"No!" exclaims a Hulean officer. "You'll get our own troops. Scale the dragon and attack her."
Some of the Huleans start climbing Xenith's body, using the scales as hand holds.
Melany invokes a spell, a thought wave, to get Thora's attention.
Scanning the sky, and observing the Falcon, she sees no-one coming to her aid.
Realising if she stays much longer she'll be captured, Melany leaves the body of Xenith to the Huleans.
Lani, now close enough to the Undead Dragon, sings a song of dispelling, and gestures at the dragon.
The dragon falls, unmoving.
But before it reaches the ground, it starts flapping its wing again.
Damn, thinks Lani. Well, may as well do it again!
Lani sings another song of dispelling.
The Falcon banks about, and ineffectually strafes the dragon.
"Damn," Zim swears.
Thora, having just failed in her attempt to turn the creature, startles as she receives Melany's thought wave. "I've got to go, cast fly on me," she says, reaching for a potion of invisibility and her rune stick.
After receiving the fly spell, Thora leaps out of the Falcon, and heads toward Xenith's corpse.
Grabbing a messenger, Kvana shoves a potion into his hands and shouts, "Go find Safranna, give her this, and tell her to get up there and fight that thing with her sword. Hurry!"
The messenger leaves in a rush, headed toward the north wall.
"Can you give me a fly spell, Grey?" Gurzurk asks.
"Yes, of course," Kvana responds. Holding up a feather, Kvana invokes his arcane power. The feather disappears, and Gurzurk flies toward the Undead Dragon, beard trailing in the wind.
A few more times, people observe the dragon stop flying, sinking toward the ground, defenceless, before moving again, the frail figure of Lani a little distance below it.
The Falcon, trying its utmost to destroy the dragon, is finding it just too tough. The Undead Dragon has caused some damage to the Falcon.
Lani flies towards the allied HQ.
At the north wall, the messenger rushes toward Safranna, and hands her the potion, repeating Kvana's instructions.
Gesturing into the air, Safranna says "My husband has already left with my sword. It's up to him now."
With a crash, the Huleans from the palace crash against Lord Garen's well-trained lines. Lord Garen's defensive position is strong, and the Huleans cannot sally many troops. Lord Garen's men hold the line with the help of the dwarves.
Back at Lord Garen's headquarters, Lani steps into the room. Unlike other times, people are too preoccupied to notice her unearthly beauty.
"Dispel magic stops it temporarily," she says.
"Really? Well, who can cast dispel magic? Minora, drink this, you're going up there," Kvana says, almost forcing a potion into Minora, who then leaves. "I'm going too."
"No, you're not," says one of Kvana's bodyguards. Various other people in the room nod in agreement. "You're too important to the cause."
Anguish in his eyes, Kvana says "Damn it, I've got to do something! By the pantheon, can't someone else cast dispel magic?"
At this point, with an air of power about him, the Sindhi high priest steps into the room.
"Can you cast dispels?" Kvana questions the priest.
"Yes..." replies the Sindhi priest.
"Right, drink this, get up there, and cast dispels against that thing!!" Kvana snaps at him impatiently, shoving a potion of flying in the priests face.
"Okay..." responds the priest, leaving.
Kvana then looks about, and asks the Hound, "Who was that guy anyway?"
The Hound responds, "Chandra ul-Nervi."
The Rajahdhirajah, the King of Kings, the rightful ruler of Sind. Kvana's superior.
Kvana's hands move to cover his face.
On Xenith's body, chanting is heard. Then, robes waving in the breeze, Thora appears, looking a little tired. Xenith begins breathing once again, if erratically.
Thora begins another spell.
In shock, nearby Huleans stop celebrating, and start hacking at Xenith, desperately attempting to kill it once again. Some arrows fly toward Thora, but miss.
Upon completing her spell, Thora places her hands upon Xenith's back. All of Xenith's wounds close up. Opening angry eyes, Xenith swats at nearby Hulean troops, and raises himself to his full majestic height.
The approach of Roland does not go unnoticed by the Undead Dragon. Ignoring the Falcon, the Undead Dragon turns and directs its attention at Roland.
Roland and the Undead Dragon fly toward each other. The Undead Dragon breathes its breath weapon, engulfing Roland. Roland staggers, heart skipping a beat, but then smiles. "Ha, you didn't get me. My turn."
Roland hacks into the belly of the Undead Dragon with the artefact broadsword, at which it visibly flinches, but is otherwise mostly unharmed.
Roland and the Dragon bank about for another pass at each other.
Gurzurk arrives at the scene, tugging his beard thoughtfully. Calling upon the favour of his deity, Gurzurk sends forth a thin green ray that misses the dragon by mere inches. "Bugger."
Gurzurk begins incanting once again.
By which time, Roland and the Undead Dragon pass each other again, Roland hacking ineffectually at the tough hide of the Undead Dragon, the Undead Dragon biting back with sharp if irregular teeth.
Whereupon once again a thin green ray lances forth from Gurzurk, striking the Undead Dragon in its complete wing, which is immediately turned to fine dust. "Yes!"
The Undead Dragon, incomplete wing unable to support it, falls to the earth. Roland, Gurzurk, and now Minora and Chandra ul-Nervi, as well as Melany, follow its descent.
All five of them lay spell upon spell, blow upon blow into the enormous body. Chandra calls forth a sunray, severely scorching its patchwork hide.
Just as the Undead Dragon is about to breath once again, it is stopped by a dispel thrown by Minora.
Using his mighty strength, Roland lunges forth with the enchanted broadsword, striking deep and true. Having suffered much, the Undead Dragon finally succumbs to the anti-undead power of the sword, and crumples in upon itself.
A priest of Bozdogan desperately casts a spell at Xenith's massive bulk, to no effect.
Xenith lazily reaches forth with a massive claw, picking the terrified priest up. Raising the priest to his face, Xenith comments, "YOU WOULD TRY TO HURT ME, HULE MAN? NOT AGAIN, YOU WON'T." Xenith casually plucks the Huleans head from his body, and discards it amongst the other dead Hulean troops.
Seeing nearby Hulean troops starting to organise, Xenith takes to the air.
For Xenith, this fight has become personal.
The Falcon, together with Lord Garen's Galley, manage to drive two more of Hule's airboats from the sky, before the remaining five, one of which is damaged, retreat back to the palace where they are housed.
The Legion of Doom, having made no ground against the combined force of the Company of the White Wolf and the dwarven mercenaries, retreat back to the Palace.
At the northeast gate, where the Darokinians fled in disarray, the Hulean forces, completely demoralised from the loss of the Undead Dragon, despondently give up the gate without any further fighting.
Likewise demoralised, and having suffered heavy casualties, the forces assaulting the southern wall fall back.
A Sindhi messenger steps into the mobile HQ, and kneels before the Rajahdhirajah. "Rajahdhirajah, we have completely secured the city. The Huleans occupy the palace with an estimated 2000 troops, and they control the terrain outside the city, with another estimated 5000 troops."
Chandra nods. "We have much to discuss this night my friends. I would hear your advice. Perhaps some refreshments before we begin?"
Zim steps forward, an item in hand. "I have just the thing. It's called an endless decanter of coffee..."
*** Day 2
In the resistance headquarters, a breeze gusts through an open window, bringing fresh air in the early morning heat, and disturbing some of the maps of Sayr Ulan arranged on the main table. Lord Garen absently places a few more improvised paperweights on the maps.
"The problem, gentleman, is their position is very strong. An assault from the ground is difficult, since there is but one bridge, and the use of boats leaves much to be desired," speaks Lord Garen, talking of the palace. "Moreover, we cannot tunnel effectively given the sandy conditions, and we cannot just fly in with the mirror so long as their war mages maintain that barrier."
Cramped into the room are a number of powerful personages. Paying close attention to Lord Garen's words, as past experience has taught them to, are generals from five of Sind's mumlykets, the King of Kings Chandra ul-Nervi, Chandra's advisers, Lord Garen's advisers, Rani Priya, the Darokinian commander, and a number of powerful adventurers, including the group known as The Seekers.
"In addition," adds the Jalawarian general, "we cannot use our full might in an assault on the palace, lest those forces outside the wall choose to attack." The others nod in agreement.
For the past hour or so, this miniature council has been discussing what to do next. In the end it has been agreed that time is critical, and dealing taking the palace would bring a speedy resolution to the conflict. However, none are clear on how best to do so.
Turia steps forward. "Hey, I have an idea. Now, Roland, you probably won't like this, but hear me out anyway, okay?"
"Okay," Roland replies slowly.
"Basically, we want them out of there, right?" Various figures nod in agreement. "And they've got plenty of food, right?"
"Enough to last a very long siege," Chandra agrees.
"So why don't we do something that'll make them want to leave?"
Roland, looking sceptical, asks, "And just what do you propose?"
Turia continues, "Now, this is the bit your not gonna like. But think about it, okay?" Turia pauses momentarily. "We could gather up all of their dead, fly over the palace, and drop them on them." Various people look horrified. "It's great. They'll start stinking real bad, so anyone in their right mind'll want to leave, and we're like returning their own dead to them. What do you think?"
Kvana nods thoughtfully. "Well I think it's an okay plan," he says.
"No, simply no," Roland firmly says, shaking his head. Most in the room agree with Roland.
"Well, the principle has merit, surely?" Kvana says. "If we could somehow make them want to leave?"
"How are we going to do that, drop rotten vegetables on them?" says the Darokinian.
For several minutes the group discusses the possibility of how to make the Huleans want out. The discussion is finally ended as Thora and Melany leave, discussing the possibility of smoking them out using plants with unusual properties.
A short while later, Kvana, looking thoughtful, says, "We should also figure out how their flying ships work. I believe there is some wreckage near the east gate?"
"Yes, I'd like to know as well," says Zim curiously.
"I'll get some men onto it," Chandra ul-Nervi says.
In a relatively quiet part of the command building, with his two bodyguards standing near him, Kvana completes the incantation to a spell. Two connected tiny cylinders in the palm of his hand disappear.
"Ah," Kvana says. Finding a messenger, he tells the man, "Find the Rajahdhirajah and Lord Garen. Inform them both that Hule has dispatched reinforcements from the border with Darokin, consisting of cavalry and infantry totalling perhaps three and a half thousand men, mostly Hulean."
The messenger carefully repeats the message before leaving.
Kvana sighs, then pulls out another pair of tiny cylinders, and begins making arcane gestures.
Archers on the wall scanning for Huleans, the east gate rumbles open, allowing a small force of Sindhi to sally forth, accompanied by some adventurers, and horse and carts. They quickly descend upon the nearby wreckage of a Hulean airboat.
"Quick smart," shouts the Sindhi sergeant in charge.
"Get the oars, they're magical," calls out Zim, after calling forth the arcane power to observing magical auras.
Rummaging through the wreckage, a Sindhi calls out, "Hey, there's still some skeletons sir. They aren't doing anything though."
Humming, Zim thumps a drum he's found. Several Sindhi leap back in surprise as some skeletons move their arms in a rowing motion. Zim starts beating the drums as fast as he can. Thump thump thump thump. "Hey, this is fun." The few surviving skeletons tirelessly keep up with the beat.
Rolling his eyes, and muttering "adventurers" under his breath, the sergeant calls, "Get a move on lads. I can see some of them Huleans getting more interested in us than they have a right to be. Get to and load them carts!"
The Sindhi efficiently remove that which seems valuable from the crash site, and return to the safety of the city.
After some investigation, it is determined that rowing a sufficient number of oars in a boat causes it to fly. It occurs to some later that a permanently magical oar is probably the reason that the Hulean flying ships can pass through the barrier around the palace, since it wouldn't be dispelled.
*** Day 3
"We've had a little brainstorm," Kvana says to the resistance command structure.
Lani steps forth, her exotic beauty distracting the men in the room, "Yes," she says suggestively, the men are sure, "here's what we could try..."
A plan is made.
Xenith, ruby scales dazzling, dives out of the sky, through the barrier, and breathes a great gush of flame, incinerating man, troll, and stone alike. The Hulean alarm sounds, and men rush to the roof to combat the new danger.
Xenith roars! Dozens of Huleans feel dragon fear grasp their heart. Urged on by superiors, they hold their ground, and raise puny bows. "Loose." A volley of arrows flies towards Xenith, some striking true.
Xenith homes in on the archers, sealing their fate.
In an inflated bladder, Lani swims past the barrier surrounding the palace, becoming temporarily visible before she re-activates Turia's ring of invisibility.
Pausing momentarily, Lani waits to see if anyone has observed her.
A few Huleans, dislodged from the roof by a gust of wind from Xenith's mighty wings, crash into the moat. They surface, unmoving.
Well, I guess they didn't notice, thinks Lani.
Lani quietly begins the motions and gestures required to bring forth a being from the elemental plane of air.
Xenith returns temporarily to the city proper. "Melany..." he rumbles.
"Yes dear?" Melany comments, walking up to Xenith. "Here you are," Melany says, as she cures Xenith of his wounds.
Murmuring thanks, Xenith returns to distract the Huleans.
Lani ceases chanting, and an almost unnoticeable swirling of wind unsettles the water nearby.
"Hi," Lani says, "I'd like you to go in there," she continues, gesturing at the palace, "and find where a group of mages are. Then come back and tell me what you find. Try not to be noticed."
The disturbance in the water moves toward the palace, and disappears.
Lani sits back to wait.
A pair of Hulean guards nervously stand watch over a door, beyond which lie a number of war mages, chanting in unison to maintain the barrier. The occasionally boom on the roof can be heard even in this isolated part of the palace. "I wonder how long that's going to keep up for," the guard comments to his companion.
"No idea," his mate replies, adjusting his uniform as a cool breeze wafts past.
Xenith swoops low over the palace, scattering the dwindling numbers of men on the roof. A fireball from a Hulean mage rises to meet him, engulfing his wing with a whoosh. Xenith roars with disdain.
Lani listens to the report from the air elemental.
"Okay, go in there, and when you get to the mages, raise a storm!" Lani says enthusiastically, raising invisible hands in the air, "Whirlwinds, you name it, the lot. Break their concentration."
The air elemental leaves.
Lani begins summoning a second air elemental.
In unison, the mages chant the arcane words required to maintain the barrier. Their concentration perfect, their training complete, they continue to maintain the barrier, ignoring the sounds emanating from the roof.
Several soldiers stand nearby, guarding the mages.
Crack! The door bursts inwards, and a whirlwind suddenly brews within the room.
Soldiers scatter, futilely attempting to find the source. The mages, well trained, manage to maintain concentration.
Until, that is, some of them are picked up by the winds and thrown bodily against the walls, leaving them crumpled on the ground.
Outside the barrier flickers, and then fades.
Seeing the barrier fade, the captain of Lord Garen's invisible galley orders, "To the palaces roof, now." The invisible galley sinks toward the roof.
Packed with men who quickly leap out, they secure the immediate area.
Some Marids, Legion of Doom light infantry, raise the alarm.
Then, on the galley, the mirror disgorges a constant stream of men, with over four thousand troops ready to storm the palace.
500 dwarves chanting battle songs march onto the bridge, a hail of arrows greeting their advance
Gurzurk, leading the dwarves, eyes the stone blocking the entrance.
"Phagh." Ain't no stone going to block Gurzurk. With a few words of prayer, whilst shaping some clay, Gurzurk casually makes a second entrance in the wall.
With a great cry, the dwarves clank forward. The disciplined steel of the Marids meets their assault.
The battle is joined.
Four Hulean airboats take to the air, and are met by Xenith and the Falcon.
With a smile, Xenith lets forth a massive wave of flame. The flying ship continues, unscathed. Xenith frowns, and prepares his claws instead.
The Rajadhiraja's forces move quickly, securing the roof with relative ease. Red-skinned baronies men employ their legacies, some growing scales, others wings, some employing magic missiles, and some even miniature fireballs. Others grow body weapons.
Accompanying the baronies men are the steadfast Yavdlom troops, Lord Garen's soldiers, Sindhi light foot, and Jarldom mercenaries.
The battle moves into the palace proper.
One force advances, running into a solidly locked door. "No problem," a red-skinned warrior says, gesturing, and disintegrating the locking mechanism. The door swings forth, revealing prepared Hulean troops, warriors of the Legion of Doom. The two groups meet with a clash.
Across the roof, troops move into the uppermost levels of the palace, and the fighting begins in earnest, the Huleans outnumbered two to one, but with the defensive advantage.
Opening a door, and seeing Hulean infantry ready, the Karameikan adventurer Ileana cries "Fire in the hull", and throws forth a fireball into the corridor, stepping aside as she does so. Flame gushes forth, and the reek of burnt flesh permeates the area.
Ileana gestures, and her Karameikan adventuring companions step forth, accompanied by a contingent of Sindhi infantry.
"Lord Garen, we are making headway into the palace, although there doesn't seem to be as much Hulean resistance as we'd have first thought," says an aid.
Lord Garen hmm's.
In the skies above the palace, the Hulean airboats are the worse for wear. Plummeting out of the sky into the city proper crashes one, dragon claws and Gnomish bolts having wrought their toll.
Another flying ship looks set to follow.
The Falcon, looking severely damaged, suddenly appears mostly repaired.
The advantage of Alphatian magic.
Rarg, Denagothian barbarian and companion to the Karameikan adventuring party, roars, "Rarg!" Maul in hand, hide armour showing wear and tear, he charges into a group of horseless Janissaries, Hulean elite cavalry. Heaving his maul to and fro, his mighty strength downs men in single blows.
His fellow Karameikan adventurers, Ileana included, assist in smashing the small group. Sindhi wade in, hacking too and fro, though none as effectively as the skilled adventurers, who cleave paths in ways that thoroughly impress the Sindhi.
Rosaline and Aiden hack too and fro into a group of Marids.
"Gosh, they're like butter almost, aren't they Rosaline," Aiden comments.
Rosaline nods in agreement as she slices through the throat of a Hulean before it takes the life of one of Lord Garen's wounded.
"Lord Garen, we're getting reports that the Huleans are fighting back in full strength."
The dwarves, never too tired for battle song, chant as they crush skulls and lop off limbs.
Sweating hard, a plate mail clad dwarf mutters to Gurzurk, "Damn, there're just so many of them." The sentiment is felt elsewhere along the dwarven line. "By Clangeddin! We're just not making headway."
Gurzurk nods. "Assume a defensive posture," he calls to his comrades in arms.
Hulean Janissaries move to assist the Marids fighting the dwarves.
A fifty strong group of Northern reaches warriors, promising blood and death and an eternity in Hell to their foes, run screaming into gloomy stone corridor, tall stone statues lining the walls.
"I saw it running down here, aye. A giant, and kill it we shall. If it's anythin' like them hill giants, 'twill be easy." The warriors, seeing movement towards the end of the corridor, charge gleefully.
The stone giant Bone Smashers begin moving as the barbarians pass.
The slaughter begins.
A hundred strong force of Lord Garen's infantry move into a long corridor, mostly empty but for a dozen priests of Bozdogan visible at the end. The priests make as if to begin chanting.
"Quick, charge them before they get off their spells," cries an officer.
The force bears down on the priests, who, standing close together, begin casting in earnest, and in unison.
The light infantry, fleet of foot, have almost made it to the priests when the chanting ceases, and a single, dissonant chord is voiced. The sound from the choir of priests rips through the light infantry. Men desperately clutch at their ears as blood streams forth. For some it is too much, as heads explode from the unearthly noise. Even the walls themselves shake and suffer damage.
Of the one hundred, only a handful return.
"Har!" cries Lani, bringing forth yet another air elemental.
It is met by three Hulean air elementals.
Vernados, recruited with his fellow Darokinian adventurers in the previous year by Kvana, assists Yavdlom troops in steadily fighting back Marid and Janissaries alike.
"Time for a well placed fireball, methinks," cries Vernados to his Darokinian companions, also helping the Yavdlom mercenaries. Flying up to gain a better view, he begins incanting the words to evoke a fireball.
Before he can finish, a Zafiry, forty elite Hulean combat mages, loose their spells, tearing through the Yavdlom ranks. Vernados crumples to the ground, a lifeless heap.
And elsewhere is another Zafiry.
"Lord Garen, the tide of the battle has changed completely. They have far too much magical power. We are suffering heavy casualties!"
Lord Garen, knowing the wounded cannot be recovered, reluctantly says, "Then give the signal to retreat."
The better part of valour.
A tired, beaten force, makes way to the mirror, and escapes the area of the palace, which is left firmly under the control of the Huleans.
At the end, the Sindhi and mercenaries have lost 800 fighting men, and the Huleans one hundred. The Huleans have lost an additional two airboats.
The barrier about the palace reappears.
*** Day 4
"What are our options?" asks Chandra of his advisers.
"I don't think we'll be attacking the palace anytime soon," answers Kvana. "We should probably see where the Hulean reinforcements are. Zim," Kvana says, turning to Zim, "would you be able to take the Falcon and scout the area?"
Zim answers, "Er, yeah, I suppose." Zim gathers some of the Seekers, to help pilot the Falcon, and leaves.
Kvana continues, saying, "I've spoken a bit with Minora, and I think we can probably safely hire some Lizardmen which we've come across in Davania. I should be able to get a couple of thousand, if that's acceptable, Rajahdhirajah?"
After some further preparation, Kvana teleports away, taking Melany with him.
In the southeast part of Sayr Ulan, a unit of a dozen Sindhi patrol the streets, ensuring all is well.
"All appears well, sergeant," one Sindhi comments to the patrol leader. "Mind you, it does seem pretty quiet."
"A bit too quiet, maybe," the Sergeant replies. Acting on intuition, the Sergeant moves over to a nearby house, his patrol following him.
Before he can knock on the door, it opens, and dozens of orc and bugbear Foe Shredders spill out. With a few thrusts of sword, and but a couple of screams, the Sindhi patrol is cut down.
Sayr Ulan is attacked from within.
Throughout the southeast part of the city, Hule forces spill out upon the unsuspecting defenders.
Standing guard on the wall, an Yavdlom warrior hears sounds of battle emanating from below, inside the city. "What?" he asks the air. Looking outside the walls, the illusion of the Master's Divisions fades, revealing but a few personnel. "Not good."
The Yavdlom warrior picks up his spear, and is joined by many of his dark-skinned fellows, also stationed on this part of the southeast wall. Looking below, they see Hule forces swarming out of the buildings, some less than a short stones throw away.
"We're cut off," says an Yavdlom warrior, stating the obvious.
"They're sending giants at us," says another, gesturing. "Best prepare." They hunch down, prepared for the inevitable as a unit of Reavers, forty hill giants, make way to the wall.
Battle can be heard breaking out throughout the streets.
Elsewhere, Fangriders and Faris rush toward the palace, where if the bridge is secured, then the Legion of Doom can be used, and Sayr Ulan will once again become under the control of Hule.
"Rajahdhirajah, Lord Garen, we are attacked!" a messenger calls as he disturbs a high-ups discussion. "Hule has moved their forces from outside the city to the southeast part of the city without our knowing."
"What?!" exclaims Lord Garen. "Quickly, we must form a defensive line immediately." Lord Garen hurriedly issues a number of instructions, messengers rushing to obey.
An ill-prepared force of Baronies men meet the crushing charge of Faris, Hulean light cavalry.
With the weight of horses behind them, the unit of Faris brushes aside the Baronies men, leaving a disorganised mess of red-skinned warriors behind them. "Forward," one cries, directing his men on.
Troll devourers move forward to finish this group of Baronies mercenaries.
The Dwarven mercenaries, as one, stand fast against the charge of two units of Fangriders. The wolf-mounted goblins lope forward, and engage the dwarves.
The dwarves meet the onrush bravely, inflicting casualties on the enemy. But the goblin cavalry is soon joined by orcs and bugbears. The dwarves, skilled warriors that they are, cannot hold against the weight of numbers.
"Where are the reinforcements??" screams one dwarf, before taking a sword blow to the chest.
"Slowly fall back, slowly fall back," cries another dwarf.
The dwarven line, taking significant casualties, slowly falls back, their wounded left bleeding.
Several hundred yards behind the crumbling front line, some dwarven engineers get to work, assisted by Sindhi soldiers.
"Here's a good spot," says one. "The Lord Garen said hurry, so hurry we shall. Tear that house down," the dwarf says, gesturing at a well-groomed building.
"Aye, sir," the dwarven engineers say, and get to work.
The noble owner of the house is silenced after he protests too much.
The dwarves rush the building of temporary breastworks. As the sounds of battle near, their work reaches a frenzied pace.
"What a ridiculous price," Kvana mutters to Melany, "nine gold per lizardman per week, since we want them as early as tomorrow evening."
Melany smiles inanely.
"Hold on," Kvana says, grasping Melany's hand, and holding a platinum casting of a portal in the other. "Teleport." The platinum portal slowly crumbles, and then Kvana and Melany are in Sayr Ulan once again.
The roar of battle not too distant is unmistakable.
"Great," Kvana mutters. Kvana moves to join the battle, while Melany heads to the makeshift hospital.
"Lord Garen, our losses are heavy, amounting to 20% of our manpower. We continue to fall back," a runner tells Lord Garen. He continues, "and the temporary breastworks are almost complete. And they have created some new forces..."
The Company of the White Wolf, quick to react to the surprise attack, have suffered the fewest casualties. Nonetheless, they are forced to withdraw at the same rate as the other troops, lest they be left behind.
Fifty of Lord Garen's heavy foot once again stand fast against Hulean forces. With a clash, they hold against a bugbear charge. The clang of sword on sword, and the sound of sword through flesh, is clearly heard. "What is this," cries a footman, "they have Zombies!"
Before the footman stands the rotting corpse of what used to be a Sindhi soldier. Moaning, the zombie reaches, grasping fearlessly for the footman's throat. Not having any of this, the footman swipes at the Zombie, removing its hands.
The Zombie continues to attack.
Throughout the city, thousands of men fight and die. Houses are torn down, for the making of barricades. Wounded are trampled on by men desperately concentrating on staying alive.
Quickly at first, but slower as the battle continues, the Master's Divisions advance, gaining ground.
"We continue to lose ground, Lord Garen. Another 20% in casualties."
"Withdraw to the barricades. Cover the retreat," is Lord Garen's response.
Shortly a horn is heard across the battlefield, sounding a pre- specified pattern.
"You heard it boys," cries a dwarf, "withdraw!"
The dwarves, sorely pressed by humanoid foes, make good their retreat.
The humanoids, seeing the opportunity to attack, make to do so. But a flight of crossbow bolts, and a few fireballs makes them reconsider.
Xenith flies through the air, looking for likely targets. From his vantage point, the city is a strange sprawl, with figures moving back and forth, some falling and not getting back up again.
He sees some Jarldom mercenaries attempting to make good their escape from an almost full strength group of Reavers, but the hill giants can run faster than the small humans.
Safranna pulls forth her last arrow from the Quiver of Ehlonna. Knocking it, she looses the arrow. She misses her target, a hill giant, and watches helpless as it clubs a brave Norsemen senseless.
Around them the chaos of battle rages, hill giants making a speedy retreat difficult.
Damn damn damn, thinks Safranna.
Then, with a whoosh, Xenith arrives, and fills the street with fire. Suddenly, there are no hill giants pressing them.
"Run, run now!" cries Safranna.
As one, the Norsemen unhesitatingly bolt for it, their fallen comrades left groaning piteously for help.
Xenith lazily flies past, looking for new targets.
By the end of the battle, half of the capital is lost to Hule, although not the entrance to the palace.
Both sides, too tired to continue fighting, rest, prepared for further battle on the morrow.
The Falcon flies lazily over two and a half thousand Fangriders and Faris.
Gurzurk and the Falcon have some fun with the cavalry, slowing their advance, before deciding to return to the capital.
*** (early evening)
Looking tired, Kvana says, "I should get the lizardmen now. To not do so could prove disastrous. Does anyone have a good negotiator? They're likely to be expensive."
Lord Garen nods, "One of my men is a priest of Hermes. He's right for the task."
Nodding, Kvana begins incanting a spell of communication. Nemon is required to do the teleports this time.
In the end, the lizardmen agree to twenty gold per lizardman for the first week, payable in advance, and ten gold per week per lizardman thereafter.
*** Day 5
The dawn breaks, revealing another clear sky above the somewhat gutted city of Sayr Ulan. Clear but for the return of the Falcon.
A guard, assigned the relatively safe duty of guarding his Colonel, commander of one of the Master's Divisions, listens as orders are given for the renewed assault against the somewhat reduced Sindhi force.
Although assassination is always possible, little trouble is expected this far behind the front line.
The guard collapses, a dripping spear through his throat.
The lizardman leader, accompanied by 2000 of his friends, swims to the edge of the moat, behind enemy lines, easily holding his breath.
Slowly he rises, slitted eyes breaking the surface. Unseen, he creeps forth, followed by some of his lizardmen, others of his lizardmen heading to other parts of the enemy lines. The lizardmen leader sees a group of humans milling around, some of them listening to and obeying the other humans.
Gesturing to fellow lizardmen, they creep around, gaining an advantageous position from which to throw their spears.
Hissing, the lizardmen heft their spears. The lizardmen leader catches one weak human in the throat, instantly dropping it.
Drawing their blades, the lizardmen charge.
The surprise of the lizardmen is complete.
Weak humanssss, thinks the lizardman leader, trying to protect thisss one, but too late now. The lizardman shoves his broadsword through a Hulean.
"Charge!" cries the Raneshwarian general. From out of the breastworks leap Sindhi soldiers, ready to wreak revenge against the Huleans. Joining them are red-skinned warriors, dark skinned Yavdlom mercenaries, and the Company of the White Wolf.
The Huleans, taken by surprise by the sudden confidence of the Sindhi, scramble to retaliate. Trolls, giants, humanoids, and humans, all fight the advance, inflicting heavy casualties on the Sindhi and their allies.
But word filters through of a new enemy to the rear, and the Huleans waver.
A hill giant swings hist fist, and breaks a knuckle against the tough Iron Golem.
Emotionlessly, the Iron Golem breaks the hill giants neck.
The gates to the palace open, and stone giant Bone Smashers move forth, followed tightly by the elite Janissaries, Hulean light cavalry.
Sallying forth, their advance is halted suddenly by the appearance of Xenith.
"YOU JUST DON'T LEARN, DO YOU," Xenith rumbles loudly, and breathes...
Turia darts away from the blow of a hill giant. The ground heaves as the hill giant's club smashes into it.
"Oi. Stop moving," the hill giant says slowly.
Not likely, thinks Turia.
The hill giant raises its club once more, giving Turia the opportunity to leap in, slashing it with claw and short-sword alike.
The hill giant smiles crudely, "Flesh wound." The hill giants' eyes then glaze over, and it collapses, frothing at the mouth.
Smiling, Turia moves on to the next victim.
Working quickly and efficiently, the lizardmen cut through the enemy ranks like a hot knife through butter, showing no mercy to the weak. >From the rear, the enemy are routed.
>From the front, Lord Garen personally leads a charge, destroying the Hulean front lines' will to fight.
In short order, the Huleans are routed, leaving behind 40% dead or wounded.
A messenger under a flag of truce leaves the palace, and approaches the Sindhi forces.
The battle for Sayr Ulan is over.