Characters Present: All.
After the journey across the sea, we arrived an Aulonian town a ways in-land from the coast, and found it abandoned.
Our army—now a few thousand strong—made camp in the forest to the North of the town. The town itself was situated in the centre of a small valley, and would be hard to defend with our relatively small force – the forest, on the other hand, provided cover and concealment. A river with a massive bridge running across it lay to the east, mountains to the west, and steep hills to the south. Richard informed us that Arthur would probably come in from the mountains, accompanied by his barbarian horde, and James and his brigadiers from the east.
Beak, Enna, Horacio, Jim, Stasi, Valindra made their way to the center of the town, ready to meet James and the Aulonian army, and Arthur with his Barbarians. We hoped that the two incoming forces might negotiate, and that bloodshed could be avoided. Stasi prepared a banquet table, complete with delicious drug-free sandwiches and other refreshments.
We sent word (Stasi constructed a sturdy couple of signs, and Horacio adorned them in lovely calligraphy) to arriving armies, letting them know that we wanted an entourage of people to meet us in town for negotiations.
There were three passes that led out of the mountains and into the valley. We decided to close off all but one of the mountain passes – if it came to a fight with Arthur and his forces, they would be much easier to face funneled through a narrow pass. We managed to collapse part of the mountain face onto one of the passages. As soon as we arrived at the second one, we were met by a scouting party of barbarians, hobgoblins, and other shady-looking characters, all led by an Orc riding a Hydra. We managed to bring down boulders to block their way before they could draw close.
Despite our attempt to cut off the barbarians, the Orc and his hydra climbed over the borders. Beak made an attempt to parley with the captain, but as it turned out the creature only appeared to speak Goblin. It attacked us. Valindra – who had climbed the nearest mountain face in an effort to bring down boulders to block off the pass – leaped at the creature from above, and went for one of its heads. The fight went on for some time, but we decided to make a tactical retreat before it escalated any further.
When we got back to the town, Richard and his scouts announced that James’ army had arrived at the bridge sooner than expected. We debated blowing the bridge to stop James’ advance, but decided it may be prudent to attempt to negotiate once again. Beak, Enna, and Jim went to the bridge to see whether or not the army would negotiate. In order to avoid being shot on sight, they disguised themselves as Primal spellcasters, and shielded their arcane abilites from the Aulonian army. If James refused to negotiate, the trio would attempt to blow the bridge, and delay the army.
Meanwhile, in the forest, Erik made plans to use Ravenshore’s socerers to manipulate the weather so that Varahallusk and our forces in the forest could move in quickly if need be. All the while, the Aulonian army set up camp on the far side of the bridge. Our scouts reported that they had brought artillery, cavalry, and scores of infantry. As this occurred, the Barbarians did little other than eat a bunch of raw meat and brawl amongst themselves. Their captains flew about the camp on Wyverns, shouting orders and keeping their men in check. Arthur appeared to be flying around the camp, as well, though his magical abilities made the Wyvern unnecessary.
A few small groups of commandos broke off from the Barbarian forces, and rushed off into the forest. Fortunately, Erik intercepted a small commando unit made up of orcs and one Goblin, who upon closer inspection seemed as though he was in charge. He questioned them, and found out that there are two factions in the army – one that used to be headed up by an orcish chieftain, and one under Arthur’s command. The Goblin jumped up unexpectedly, and began drawing a magic ward around the Orcs. They all disappeared, and the Goblin laughed maniacally – the “commandos” had been nothing more than a distraction.
Following their reuse, the Barbarian horde (most of it, at least) charged towards the town, and at the same time the Aulonian scouts signalled the rest of James’ army to advance. The ten people still in the town grabbed horses, and made a run for the forest. More goblin commandos poured into the forest, and a few hundred of them met our forces in battle. With a dragon, and an army of pissed-off spellcasters on our side, they didn’t prove to be much of a challenge.
The Barbarians and Aulonians met in battle in the center of the valley. The barbarian had numbers, but the Aulonians had superior training and weapons, and were the clear victors. One of the Brigadiers under James’ command held the line with his squad of riflemen. Unlike his soldiers – who used a blunderbuss-like weapon – he wielded a lethal repeating gun. James himself was present on the front line of the battle, and killed Orcs by the dozens with massive swings of his scythe.
It was clear almost immediately after the battle had begun that it would turn out badly for Arthur and his barbarians. As the battle progressed, things progressed from bad to worse for them: after they refused to follow his orders, Arthur murdered scores of his own men with lightning from the sky. Eventually, both armies come to a stand-still. It seemed as though they might negotiate. We decided to head towards the town with Richard to see if we might be able to negotiate.
TO BE CONTINUED