February 26th

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February 26th

Post by Archengeia on Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:13 am

Overnight, Zeiss had linked up with Kolson and Rakarg back in Holtburg and the two exchanged information.  Zeiss didn't learn too much of note, except that Rakarg had dubbed the incident a Mana Storm by name, though Kolson did not know the significance thereof.  Two letters had also arrived the previous evening, one for Kolson from his sister which went on about several things but mentioned, oddly, that she could not find the Skyclaw despite knowing exactly where it was (having been given a short tour by the party when she was left in Marblebush) and one for Snarg, penned by Slivina of Dragonflayer detailing the fact that despite Snarg's entreaties they had reached a consensus to not abandon the defenseless they had so recently sworn to protect in exchange for their own safety and convenience, as they could not take such action on moral grounds. 

By about 5 in the morning, most of the party had awoken and Zeiss, Kolson, and Rakarg had made their way back to the ruins of Janwall.  The group learned, to their surprise, that Gwydo's offer had spread to virtually every refugee in the greater Janwall area, and almost five hundred now stood ready in an enthusiastic, if makeshift, army.  Fierneceal quickly took the officer's mantle and began coordinating it into platoons and squads, the details of which the GM actually bothered doing but doesn't feel like recounting here.  It was fun though.

Their army as ready as they felt it would get without considerable more time, the party marched west towards Irondell.  Snarg, Zeiss, and Higaide were taking vanguard scouting positions and Snarg managed to spot something.  After some caution, and finding an incredibly crude trap (which Zeiss gave to Higaide as a souvenir), Snarg and Higaide went chasing after a Dwarf scout.  Snarg managed to leap attack her, though he had some difficulties, and she was equipped with a Granite longsword, which left him rather injured.  Snarg beheaded her, killing a scout.  This troubled Fierneceal greatly, and she began to watch her friend with even more caution than before, and ordered him to link up with the Gnoll platoon instead of remaining on scout duty.  The incident led to an argument, which ultimately resulted in no one being particularly happy about the situation, and the group marched on.

It was about mid day when the army arrived at the southeast section of Irondell, in a plain leading up to the outskirts of the city.  Fierneceal, Higaide, and Javan decided to go forward as a treatise party, hoping to bluster their way into a bloodless victory.  The Slates sent out a very heavily armored Dwarf that the party assumed was their Fel Knight, as well as two robed individuals who appeared unarmed.  The negotiations went very poorly, with both sides insulting the other before finally the Dwarf flat turned his back on the group and turned to leave.  This, apparently, was actually a sign as seconds later they attacked.

The Battle of Irondell started badly for the Exchange.  The two escorts both were wielding unusual looking blades that left some sort of debilitating attack on anyone they struck, and were far more dextrous then simple aids should have been.  The knight himself, Paxton of Shadowforge, wielded a massive granite claymore with brutal efficiency, and managed to bring Fierneceal to Downed in a single blow.  Similarly, with only 3 troops on the field, the Slates had no problem loosing volleys of arrows upon the entire attacking force, which were devastatingly effective.  Fortunately, at great effort the party was able to down and then slay the two aids and the knight, whom they assume was the Fel Knight rumored though he never used any Fel Knight powers, but he was clearly stronger then a mere soldier.  Fierneceal revealed another of her new powers, kneeling to the ground and channeling for 4 rounds, encasing all present in spikes of ice that immediately melted, restoring wounds and even returning those Downed back up to standing.  This left her effectively out of the fight for some time, but negated a great deal of the damage dealt by the opposing side.

With the elite troops down, the party joined up with their 3 main attack platoons and charged the town.  However the party were not coordinating or leading their men, and as a result the skirmish started to go badly very quickly.  It quickly became apparent to a large part of the group that another Dwarf, visible some distance behind the battle lines and further into the town itself, was the one coordinating, and so made it a priority to take him out.  This left Kolson, Snarg, and Fierneceal at the battle proper.

The Slates outnumbered the Exchange troops almost three to one, and with the front lines breached actually brought in even more reinforcements to bare upon them, and the three party members quickly realized they needed to start coordinating and leading or this would fall quickly and badly.  Fierneceal herself, to her own disgust and regret, ended up bringing up a large portion of the 'civilian' troops they had (those with no arms or fighting experience) to help provide backing numbers to support Snarg and his Gnoll platoon's fighting withdrawal.  Kolson rushed back to begin snapping out orders to the two archery platoons, trying to maximize effectiveness while laying down cover.  Snarg, realizing the true strength of his Gnoll platoon, began using them as a form of light cavalry and skirmishing in and out against the superior Dwarven numbers which were trying to surround and flank them, which proved highly effective.  And the entire time, Rakarg was midway back under orders from Fierneceal, casting a near continuous stream of buffs on as many Exchange soldiers as he could to support.  Between their efforts, the battle was finally turning their way. 

While this had been happening, Higaide, Gwydo, Rory, Zeiss, and Javan had charged whom they believed to be the Dwarven leader (militarily or otherwise) in an attempt to chop off the head and force a quick surrender.  This was a good idea, truthfully, but the fact that he was completely by himself without even a single guard struck them as a bit odd and Higaide realized, a bit too late, that this was a trap.  Sure enough the Dwarf cast a massive flame spell of a like they didn't even recognize, and managed to level the entire group in a single blow.

The Slates sounded out a general stand-down battlehorn, and their forces quickly disengaged from the Exchange forces.  Fierneceal, Kolson, and Snarg quickly convened to discuss their options and wonder where in the world their comrades were.  The Slates had sent out support personnel, who were primarily gathering wounded and dead in the field (theirs and the Exchange's both) to be treated, while a platoon of Dwarves and one very well-dressed Dwarf with shockingly white hair and finery that bespoke wealth, as well as a very unusual skin condition that seemed similar to what Paxton earlier had, approached the trio with a wagon.  Inside the wagon were the unconscious bodies of the rest of the party.

Leery, Fierneceal and Kolson decided to approach, asking Snarg to take command if this was a trap and get out should she die in this parlay.  The Dwarf, who never named himself, attempted pleasantries but Kolson was having none of it, so he demanded flatly that they leave and forfeit their victory or he would kill their comrades.  

That came as a blow, but to Fierneceal there was really no choice on the matter.  She waited, in a mental mind link with the other two, for consensus but in the end all three agreed that they could not do something so callous as to try to claim provincial aims at the cost of their friends' lives.  This answer apparently satisfied the Dwarf, who cast a spell Kolson did not recognize that healed the party members up to 1 health, just barely enough to hobble out of the wagon.  Dejected and defeated, the party began preparations to withdrawal from the battlefield, when a familiar Dwarven woman approached the group with several bodyguards at her side, Gretta of Firebeard herself.

She loudly proclaimed that she was grateful the Exchange was accepting their surrender, and her hope that the transition would be a smooth one.  She said a few other things that confused the party greatly, and offered for the 'victorious' Exchange forces to rest and recoup within Irondell, which the party immediately took for a trap and declined.  She also offered to speak privately with the Exchange leaders, which Fierneceal, Gwydo, and Kolson took her up on, traveling back with her into the city along with the unnamed Dwarf and a small group of guards.  They maintained a mental link with Snarg continuously, wary.

Once within a private house, Gretta revealed her relief that the situation had turned out as well as it did, and that the Exchange had upheld its end of the bargain and she would now honor hers; she would fold the Slates into the Exchange in terms of territory, forces, and resources, and she would remain a provincial leader of some significance in the growing criminal empire.  Gwydo asked what she was talking about, and she was suspicious briefly, but he quickly allayed her concerns by stating that he specifically had been left out of the loop, and so spilled that she had been in contact with Bonebreaker for some time now, and that he had arranged with her this entire affair.  The offer had been simple; Slates join under the Exchange, and Gretta herself would retain position within the now larger Exchange.  Her one concern had been if the Exchange was capable of taking the Slates through force, a feat the group had just proved true despite her added precautions, and so she was more then happy to join, as she put it, the winning side.  She also mentioned, in passing, that apparently this type of consolidation was happening across the continent fairly rapidly, as town-sided Blocs were quickly negotiating or conquering other Blocs to garner larger pieces of what was once the Undermarket for their own.  She also mentioned the Naverre Raiders by name, a massive Bloc that claimed nearly the entire Yaraq State in Naverre for its own.

Gwydo also made certain to ensure that Gretta intended to uphold his bargain with the refugees; service in exchange for citizenship, which she was all too happy to agree to.  She felt the idea made sense, as it would give her more people and give them home and hearth, so was good business all around.  She will also likely extend this deal to other refugees nearby, before others claim them.

The relative safety of the town established, the forces of the Exchange entered to the hospitality extended by the Dwarves, and many mugs of ale and chunks of mutton were shared and enjoyed as Dwarves, Gnolls, Kobolds, Elves, Mosswarts, and Goblins alike all sat together despite having been enemies hours prior and shared in company and comfort.

The party was going to need to decide what their next move was.

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Re: February 26th

Post by Archengeia on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:51 am

The party, bruised and battered, desperately took a day's rest at the inn.  Zeiss got injured by an uncautious Snarg who was trying to see if anyone had sent out messengers.   Snarg ended up leaving the party prior to sleeping to head to Janwall to see about things, but didn't learn much and ended up spending his day helping with the relief efforts.

The party woke up later that evening and questioned Gretta of Firebeard about the unusually skinned Dwarves, about which she was unable to really grant any information, and about when she made the deals with Bonebreaker, to which she replied it had been at least a week.

Thusly informed the party made their way towards Janwall to link up with Snarg, traveling through the night.

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Rule 1: GM's word is law.
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