On teleporting back to the camp, Falkon, his skin even more translucent than normal turned to the rest of the party and said, “There is much work to be done if we are to survive the night. There is a storm coming of which the likes I have never seen. Yes, we have taken the enemy by surprise, puncturing a hole in their ranks and spreading chaos, but we would be fools to think we have the upper hand. How much more chaos can you spread in an army thats already dead? no, they will retaliate and with a far greater force than we could have imagined. I myself am going to do everything I can to make sure the dead don’t breach our walls without getting fried a little first.”
With that said, Falkon walked off towards his caravan. His caravan looked like a laboratory due to it being covered in weather reading equipment. Falkon opened the back and pulled out 5 shiny 10 feet long metal poles. As he let them fall to the ground sparks flew from his fingers as the metal seemed to drink the electricity. Falkon ignored the strange looks he received from a few onlookers and began to release hinges on the poles extending them each twice until each was 30 ft long. He then disappeared back into his caravan for a short time until 4 huge coils of wire rolled out the back followed. As Falkon came out carrying a handful of wire cutters and gloves he turned back to the small group of soldiers who had been watching with curiosity and said “You look like a scared bunch. Well you should be! but sitting their like a bunch of whimpering dogs isn’t going to save your asses. At least your not as stupid as the other deserters running of just as night falls. If you want to do something useful I could use your help. These 5 poles need to be hoisted up and spread evenly along the walls. I want them as high as you can get them! Once they are in place I need this wire hooked up and woven into a crude mesh along the outside of the walls. Those poles are pure copper, and when the heavens strike down they will drink their fill of lightning and spit it back at any of enemy who are foolish enough to climb our walls. So what say you, do I have the use of your extra hands?”
A few of the older vetrans seem interested in the sorcerers idea. Despite the sylphs appearance, several men put there hands up to help to place the rods around the forts walls. On the wall Falkon can see men placing markers to measure distances.
After a few hours of hard work and shouting commands the rig seems to be in place. On finishing, Falkon thanked all those who gave him a hand and said, “I will look for you in battle and smite down the enemies around you, good luck to you all and may we live the night.” with that said Falkon began to walk around he camp carefully taking note of which poles he could see and where. After being completely satisfied with his rig he decides to go take a bath in the mote of holly water to relax before the battle.
Horns blow that sound the return of a scouting party. A lone wounded rider arrives at the gates. “There comming… There comming”. The man rides all the way up to the wooden palisade. He triesd to catch his breath. “Water.., I need water”. A nearby man gives him a waterskin of water which he guzzles down. “The undead, there comming. In much larger numbers then we could have ever expected. From my count we will be out number 4 if not 5 to one. We cannot win against such a force. We need more men”. The fear in the mans voice is vivid to those around him. All of whom give each other disturbing looks. “The will be upon us within 6-8 hours. We need to run”. The man pulls off his cloak with the insignia of .pharasma and tosses it to the ground, showing his dissent for fighting a war he cannot possibly win. “The reports so far only indicate tge foward party of the undead horde. Sonething dark leads thrm”.
One of the nearby guards also tosses his cloak to the ground, saying “If they want Gallowspire let them have it. There ain’t no worth un us risking our luves here today. If the pale lafy once us to stop these cultists, let her fight her own dam war. A few hundred men dying here today ain’t gonna change any outcone. I got dam kids to look after”. The man relinquishes his sword to a nearby guardsman.
“Yeah, let Lastwall deal with’em” another guardsman replies. “They will never breach Arodens and Iomeades wards anyway, them seals were were personally created by the human god king himself” another says. “I don’t see any of the noble baron or baroness her to protect the lands so why should we”. “I ain’t fighting a war for sone gods I don’t even believe in”. The sound of crackling thunder can be heard in the distance. “If things couldn’t get any worse, they expect us to fight in the rain”.
Another man falls to his knee and whispers “Sarenrae, Iomedae, Pharasma and Desna, please do not forsake us”.
Moments later the sky begins to tremble. Although rhe storm brews in the distance, the clear blue sky teems with static electricity. Metallic objects are for a split second magnetically pulled upwards towards the sky. Even the nearby cannons slightly groan as the magnetic force moves them. Moments pass, before Red lightning strikes at the ground a few feet from the soldier prayonf. In a puff of smoldering smoke a figure unfolds it wings. “Do not fear child. Iomeade would never expect you to stand alone. My name is Lancel Dane. A friend of those whom you serve”.
“Iomeadae sends one planar ally to help us against thousands. Big help that’el be”. Metallic objects a pulled towards the sky once more. 80 or so red lanterns descend to the ground called from planar pockets created above in the sky, by Iomeades own will.
Lancel stands. In a soothing calm voice he says “You were saying”….
Ostarian is impressed with the level of craft needed to summon that many creatures to a battlefield. I wonder which school this summoner studied at and if I know them from my last two centuries of travels. Looking across at the frightened soldiers Ostarian agrees with them, they are useless and many will die without ever killing one enemy. Well it looks like war has started and I better collect all my gear and pack my books. This war will not be won here that is sure and I must go find Ecthelion, as he is the hammer to my anvil, and bane of Vrood. No matter how the way ends Vrood’s blood will feed the dirt very soon. No trial or fine for that noble necromancer, quick messy death is his reward for betraying the academy we studied at.
A guard whom seems barely able to catch his breath runs into the command tent. “Huuurrrh…. hurrrh” he says trying to catch his breath. “We found him. The necromancer behind this. Huuurh… hes in Feldgrau, currently being besidge by several werewolf tribes. A guardsman spotted a umbral dragon known as Merrowgrath fly over the small town. A man that match Vroods description was seen briefly conversing with the dragon before he returned to the small town”. The man gives an unformal salute while he backs off.
“Hmmm does this change our strategy” Oswald the dwarf adds to the guardsmans words.
“Well it will be up to the heroes. Do we send a small contingent to attack Vrood at Feldgrau or do we defend here, and hope Vrood comes to us”, Benjan speaks.
Cross with the sheriff response Kendra puts her hands on her hips and yells at Benjan. “So you would see my fathers killer escape. You read the journal Adivion gave me, Vrood killed my father and he must be brought to pay for his crimes, lest all of Ustalav fall into a war with Gallowspire which would see our country fall under the shadow of war and darkness of the spire once more, like tshat of 600 years ago”.
“Well Ostarion did study with him. Is this Vrood a predictable person, or will he have tricks up his sleeve dwarf”. It appears Elmore Dane is not pleased with the news Ostarian studied at a school dedicated to necromancy with the cultist.
“I do not think it matters. This encampment must be ready to defend itself despite what our friends here decide”. Lancel points out.
Srbastian Traft unravels a large map of the Furrows and begins to study the area around the town of Feldgrau. “Repots suggest both Silverhide and Demon werewolves were spotted in Boskgrove”. Traft points at a decrepit old grove on the map. “The grove once once home to kellid druids and attracted various different fey creaures. Old folk tales tell stories of sleeping werewolf tribes that once plagued Ardeal. In paricular a creature called the Devil in Gray”.
Rogerif Yharloc fulls back his wolf skin cloak to reveal a large bitemark scar on his back. “Aye, I am the only person alive to have fought the devil and still live to tell the tale. He gave me this scar, but I took one of the monsters teeth” Yharloc shows a tooth twice as big as any hand. “The devil in Gray is the most dangerous creatures I have ever fought. It has killed more than 50 people, and they are the only recorded ones. If the Devil is running with the demon wolves you sure are gonna have one hell of a fight on yea hands”. Yharloc turned his attention back to Traft. “I know this lot is competent, but sending them into Feldgrau with both Vrood, Jazeldans, the Demon in Gray , Forest fires and a host of werewolves and undead is suicidal”.
“At this point what choice is there” Kendra further added.
Pursuant to Kendras statement Traft with open palms adds “So do you eant to stay and defend the fort, or do you head to Feldgrau and hopegully end this”. Traft eyes Ecthelion, the Raven knight, Murete, Unit 1, Ostarian, the Doctor, the rowdy rogue and the sylph sorcerer in the eye.
Staring at Elmore, Ostarion says “I care not what you think about the study of the arcane arts, is not the weapon you hold also an instrument of death and you all studied that. Vrood is predictable, but that is not the question is it. It seems that this command has not intelligence among them. He is the leader and driving force behind the army and it is his head we need to seperate from his neck to win this war.” Turning to Ecthelion, “I am willing to go with any to strike at Vrood and leave the peasant army here to die or live by their own skill at arms.”
Having finished his casting of Arcane Eye to scout the enemy positions and types Ostarian passes this information to the council as well. “You should care less where I studied Elmore and more about how you will save your soldiers lives today. Vrood is predictable, he wants power over death and life, and he is willing to make deals with devils to do it.” Walking to the battle plan table Ostarian holds a few pieces up “If I was here fighting with your soldiers my study from the school of necromancy would kill hundreds of undead abominations and end this war in a single day. However, I am not a paid soldier or even here to save their miserable lives. My oath is to kill Vrood and I will be going with any that want to cut the heart out of this enemy.” If we kill some necromancers and undead on the way you would bonus from this I expect. How much would you pay for me to stay and destroy the undead army for you?
Falkon steps forward, "I say we stay, not for honor or glory but to bring Vrood to us. If go go looking for him, who’s to say we wil find him anyway. For all we Know he might be trying to draw us out with the plan of teleporting back here to slaughter our men with us out of the way. If we crush his army against our walls he will have no choice but to come, and when he does, it will be on our own ground and we will be ready! Let our army busy itself with the masses while we take out the leaders. War is like chess, every game relies on it’s pawns, we should not be so quick to abandon our own.
Dr. Slanimirc thinks to himself about the Ghoul Fever Epidemic that lurks within the walls and the time he needs to quell it. Hmph perhaps its not for the best if I bring it up, as the troops are already suffering from banecrophobia, (Fear of the living dead) I’d hate to see the panic it would create if they knew what creeps inside these walls, the false hope of believing this place is a sanctuary is all the moral they have got going for them at the moment and I intend to keep that placebo effect. Nervously, he twiddles his thumbs before speaking to the group. “I am staying as I am far more needed here then you could possibly imagine. By tending to the wounded and sick as i fear and dread that we need every possible soldier we can get, If we want any chance to succeed in the up-coming battle.” Turning to Ostarian, Dr. Slanimirc asks “Ostarian may I have a few words with you alone, I need your expertise in some distressing matter I have stumbled across.”
Kendra steps foward into a position of power near Traft. “So you would see this murder escape with his life. Ecthelion has been on his trail for months now. He is cornered, stuck. The werewolves have him trapped and we are going to simply turn our back on the atrocities he has committed. The murder of my father. The destruction of Ravensgro and Lepidstadt his actions caused. The uprising of the werewolves. If you will not go, I will not go after him I will go myself”, her voice seems etched with sorrow.
“Now now lassy, don’t be getting hasty. We have a war to win and that take precedence over any personal quarrel. To many lives hang in the balance to put personal feelings ahead of an army that would ruin this land”. Oswald the dwarf gets several nods from other aristocrats around the room.
“I don’t see Ardeal here to protect is backyard. Let the army pass on by to Gallowspire. It has remained unmolested for over 1000 years. The knights of Ozem have protected the spire from armies greater then this before. They will so again. Why risk all these mens lives for a war that will not make a difference. Even I have heard of the seals placed upon Gallowspire from my father. The wards upon the spire prevent its destruction and protections that are placed upon the structure prevent any creature living or dead from entering the bowls of the spire. Magic said to be created by the god king himself Aroden. I see no point in staging a fight here when we are so horribly outnumbered”. Kendra replies.
“And what of the hundred or so farms that lie in between. Who is going to protect them from this hoard” Landel says to Kendra with a scowl on his face.
“We send riders to warn them to flee immeadiately and return once it is safe. This is not the War of the Rivals. The undead horde have no quarrel with farmers. Sure livestock will be lost, but they can be replaced. You cannot sacrifice a thousand or so people for livestock”. Kendra replies.
“I did not assemble this army to turn tail and run. Kendy surely you can see the folk here have assembled to make a statement, that they will protect the land”. Adivion adds.
Picking up a nearby rose Kendra squeezes it until blood begins to trickle down her arm. “You do not know what you ask these people to do. This is no longer a battle but the sacrifice of many innocent lives. This…” but before Kendra could finish she was silenced by Adivion. “SILENCE. You wallow in a pit of hatred for the person whom murdered your father. You must consider logic in your reasoning”. This is the first time you have seen Adivion get angry about something. It felt as though there was more to Adivions words then you heard. For a long time the room remains silent.
“I am afraid I must side with Lady Kendra” Elmore words cut through the silence like razor blades. “My men already have been persecuted for there beliefs. I myself torn from my tent and harassed by Pharasman so called justice. Cassielt has made it very clear to me this is not an army that has the right virtues to take the field and stand as one against such an enemy”.
Lancel immediately turns to face his father “How can you say such things father. All the years of discipline and justice you imposed on me. Yet you would turn your back on such a blight, and leave the Pharasmans to stand alone. What of your faith. What of Iomedae. Is this what she telks you to do?” Lancels words fell on deaf ears.
“You speak of blind faith son. Although it pleases me to see you once more. You are no longer apart of this world. You no longer have a stake in the affairs of men. Iomedaes creed espouse the ideas of honor and righteousness in the defense of good and the battle against evil. But there is no justice to be found in sacrficing a few hundred men. No honour. No courage. No valour. Those that fall will only add to the enemies ranks and march on Gallowspire. So do as you will. I once told you, you were not ready for adventuringl yet you did it anyway. And look how your life ended. Dying for something meaningless”.
“The inheritor would weep tears of blood at your words father. Evil prevails when good men do nothing”, Lancel replies.
The war tent erupts into arguments, about what to do.
When pulled to the side tne Doctor says “Forgive my Brothers friend, as they were bound to the duties I had sworn upon them. I actually would appreciate a favor in a matter of ergance, as I seek large amounts of materials that you hold most dearly…… Fresh supplies of blood and garlic.”
Amongst the yelling you hear “Foolish boy. Even the heavens cannot change your rash behaviour. I will fight in Lastwall alongside men of real virtue. Not under the banner of men only out to make a name for themselves”.
“Ladies and gentlemen please stop. NOBLEMEN and NOBLEWOMEN stop this now.” Traft yells in an attempt to regain order. Benjan cocks his gun and fires a round into the air. The shouting slowly ceases.
“Well this ain’t getting us nowhere. Every second we spend here bickering, the closer the enemy gets” Riff the halfling advocates to the rest of the room.
“If no one here can convinvce me otherwise, I will be leading my men to Lastwall” Elmore says addressing the council before storming off and leaving the main war room heading into an adjacent private attached room.
“Teyrn, this is what happens when yea try en do business with self serving, self righteous men. En this is why yea never do business with clerics or paladins”. Teyrn gives his brother Maric a puzzeling look, trying to make sense of his brothers words.
Ostarian moves to oneside of the war tent, avoiding the gazes of nobles and leaders by puffing his pipe harder to avoid his anger being directed at them. Stupid folk, an army led by a vampire lord is never a wise thing to leave unchecked in your lands. The corruption and domination will unseat all in only a few years. There is no leadership here and this army will break like sandstone, all have no grit worth knowing, and so I will focus on the stronger undead and its leaders to help sift out the difficult foes and enable the guardsman to fight only skeletons if possible. I will need Ecthelions sword to take on the vampire lord, i should be able to clear a path in for him and enchant him with granite skin to ward of most blows.
When the nervous Doctor moves closer Ostarian listens while watching Elmore walk out. Hmm I could make him stay. No, my energies need to stay focused on the blood drinkers. Ostarian pales when the Doc speaks of needing garlic and blurts "Do they have bite marks, or look pale in the flesh doc? Tell me more of this situation in your tent, maybe my knowledge in human anatomy and arcane arts could help.
Seeing Kendra getting emotional, Ostarian clears his throat and calls out simply but strong “Stupid girl, typical of one who has lived so short a life. Your pa is dead and still will be regardless of what you do now, so honor your family and act proper. Vrood is a threat we will chase to the dirt, but he is only a living creature. This vampire lord and wights though are a different problem. The undead they will spawn in this battle will crush entire towns and cities in the darkest of nights until no one is safe.” Standing to his full height and girth, eyes sparkling with amber power, and sulphur wafting stronger from his bracers “If we don’t destroy this army now while it is under the sun, all our cities will die within the month. There I said it. Time to firm up nobles and earn your place in your families blood roll for future generations to feel proud. Or, if i become a nightwalker, be sure I will visit those who did not stay and die with me.”
Dr. Slanimirc places his hand on Ostarian shoulder to whisper so that others cannot hear. “No, no dear friend the years of training I have condemned and tampered my body with. By injecting myself with various antitoxins and antioxidants it has caused a chain reaction within my body in which has made it impervious to disease related illnesses. Argh you speak of vampirism, the rare disorder in which the sufferer feels a compulsion to consume blood, I do not understand why people slay the sufferers that are affected by this as I find it rather barbaric. Especially when a cure is in the development at this very moment by my Brotherhood.”
“Sorry, I tend to get off topic, time to time. What I tell you now only remains between us, OK. The reason why I ask for these reagents is I am in the crisis of developing a cure in preventing a Epidemic of what appears to be Ghoul Fever. The fever has taken effect on a dozen or so soldiers from various ranks, however I am not entirely sure how many more in the encampment are infected. The only common denominator I have found is that they have all woken up with strange bite or injections marks on their bodies. Putting two together I presume those cultists weren’t here for just a friendly gathering, rather they were quite clever in trying to spread a plague within the walls to turn men against one another. However there downfall to the plan is you and I, because mixing a fresh unaltered blood sample with garlic and various other herbs, it creates an effective remedy and barrier for killing parasites while soothing coughs and detoxifying blood conditions. I only fear that the weaker immune systems are the ones showing clear signs of Ghoul Fever, hence that there are still others that lurk within this encampment.”
Before Elmore walks out the door Dr. Slanimirc yells out. “Someone stop that man from leaving, as we need every armed soldier if we wish to combat against the hordes that lays beyond these walls.” Knowing quite well half of his troop could possibly be infected, since the cultists were compromised in Elmore Danes unit.
Ostarion replies to the Doctor, "While I am glad that you call me friend, dont assume that I like to be touched by even my friends. In this case I will allow it as I respect your study of the body and show a desire to stop the walking dead. It is unfortunate that your body is diseased, but as you can see I have my share of injuries gained over a purposeful career. [Tapping his brass leg straps] I will help you after the battle if possible but now our efforts should go towards purging the undead creators out there (pointing to the fields). Do you have any more of that banana tasting potion to ward of death? I feel we may have need of it as I will share a secret will you. Vrood was a powerful necromancer in my guild, able to cast 5th level spells easily. When he started down the dark path of studying spells that stopped life he made a pact with a demonic werewolf along the way I fear, to become something even stronger. We will need to strike him suddenly when we do or any single spell of his may cause our souls to die horribly.
“My sincere apologies, It will not happen again.” (Removing his hand away from Ostarian shoulder once he speaks ill of it.) “My body is far from diseased, it possesses a unique formula combinations that will cure all ailments in due time.” while quickly assessing Ostarian leg “Argh, about this leg of yours I have been meaning to ask how this burden was inflicted upon you. Perhaps I could assess it later and return you to full health in return for the favor I ask of before.”
Walking back to tge dwarf with a potion in hand, the Doctor gives a confused look. “Banana flavored potion, what potion is this you speak of?” Dr. Slanimirc looks confused for a second before jarring his memory . “Ohhhhhh! You mean my infamous brew Undead Hazel. Hmmm I spouse where you can get that odd connection taste between troll fat and banana.” while pulling out of his bag of holding a test tube rack with 5 remaining vials. My stock is rather limited at the moment, however considering you are willing to help me I will give you two."
“A powerful necromancer you say, my potion should be resilient against most of his effects. I am rather curios if this man is beyond redemption, as I see some form of insanity possessing his mind.”
Standing next to the large canons facing toward the undead hordes, Ostarian muses that these soldiers will do little to change the battle and probably die horrendously. Watching the gunners it becomes clear that it will not be possible to use these in the raid. Turning his gaze about the collection of small gunpowder kegs Ostarian smiles coldly. Yes, they will do nicely. Walking over and taking a wooden barrow away from some people nearby, Ostarian tips the goods off the side “Its for the greater good people!” and starts loading up some kegs. Pushing the barrow slowly he heads outside the the palisade and summons his stone cottage for some serious work.