The party approach Kniryk from the south, continuing their escort of the supply caravan. Soldiers and workers bustle about setting up fortifications. The Lord Marius of Oretia and of Ankh seek out King Themarodes.
The King is found at his command post overlooking the landscape to the Northwest. At his side are the King of Knyrik, the new Guard Captain, and the General of the Army. From this position much of the surrounding landcscape can be seen. The most prominent features aside from the city of Knyrik are a hill to the northwest, a copse of trees to the west, and a creek which can be easily forded in two places, the western-most of which is of strategic consequence. Themarodes is inviting Balthius and company into his command tent when there is a commotion at the western ford.
All present turn to watch as a unit of Heavy Carrudhi assaults the company of heavy infantry on guard there. Just as the infantry begin to recovery from the shock of the initial assault, the attack is followed up by incredibly fast moving and seemingly fearless light infantry. These are unable however, to overwhelm the company before they are reinforced by a unit of Shields and the attackers are repulsed. The onlookers move into the command tent.
A map is laid out and updated to reflect the morning’s skirmish. Balthius is given the staff of his predecessor as promised. Themarodes then asks Balthius if he thinks he could gather some more detailed intelligence. Balthius asks a moments pardon and leaves the tent. He sends his falcon high into the air and closes his eyes for a minute. When he reenters the tent he informs the king that the enemy has allied forces from Hixos as well as Ardani mercenaries. Nesios has not yet marshaled a large enough force to seriously threaten Knyrik, but Blathius cannot be sure how long this will last. The General of the Army believes the Nessians will be forced to attack before the onset of Winter. Themarodes then asks Balthius if he can divine the timing of the enemy attack. Balthius replies that he believes he can, but that we will require one week to be certain.
After researching and casting a specific arcane variant, Balthius learns that the main enemy assault will not be made for at least a month, but that it is not more that six weeks away. Themarodes is pleased with this information and believes he will be able to prepare appropriately. He tells Balthius that his services will not be needed for a month, and that he has earned a break.
The party begins planning how to used their free time best. Librarium of Knodhi and loot some important books he had stashed away there. Voxis isn’t very interested. Linn then barters to teach Linguistics in exchange for the Broach of the Wolf. Linn holds the Broach before out before voxis, tauntingly. Voxis snatches the broach and puts it on before Linn can protest. Linn quickly informs Voxis that by doing so he has agreed to perform the task. Perhaps under the influence of diminished willpower, Voxis agrees. They set off for Knodhi, accompanied by Balthius who is trying to learn some simplified Elvish writing from Linn.tries to convince to sneak into the
Meanwhile Pello begins a search for useful Philtrological components, and Lith is dwindling. finds and purchases a recurved shortbow.joins the search since his supply of
Arriving in Knodhi, Linn and Voxis scope out the Librarium. It isn’t very vigilantly guarded and Voxis comes up with a plan to sneak in as a servant delivering supplies to the kitchen. With a disguise kit acquired from some of Voxis shady friends, getting inside proves easy. However, upon reaching the location of Linn’s secret stash of books, Voxis finds it empty. Not certain of how long his disguise will hold up, he makes a graceful exit.
Frustrated at the failure of Voxis’ mission, Linnaeus decides they’ll just have to go into the lower levels of the Librarium and filch them. The only problem is, only Sages are allowed down there. Voxis says he has a plan and will try it the next day.
The next morning Voxis goes to market and purchases a barrel of Ale. He then disguises himself as a servant and enters the Librarium. He then deposits the barrel in the kitchen and picks up the empty one. He asks on of the kitchen staff where the servants lavatory is. Upon receiving instructions he takes his barrel to down the corridor, enters a small smelly room, and emerges disguised as a Sage. Voxis passes through the lower levels and is approaching the Library proper when he is confronted by a Sage, “Are you new here, I don’t recognize you…”.
Voxis, “I’ve been here for years. You must be going daft you crusty old fart!”
Sage, “Well, you seem to be getting the hang of things, perhaps in a decade or so I’ll recognize you.”
Voxis filsches the requested tomes without further incident. He then enters the lavatory once more, and exits disguised as a servant. Another servant rushes past as he leaves griping about the wait. Voxis deposits the books into the empty barrel and heads the main entrance. The same Sage he spoke with before does a double-take as he passes and then mumbles and goes on his way, more confused than ever. Voxis waves to the guards as he leaves. Linn has acquired rare information on Channeling, Conjuration, and Conveyance.
The party spends the remainder of the month training their melee skills, studying books, and searching for herbs respectively. Kanza applies his Lith.
The party returns to Knyrik on the last day before Balthius foretold that Nesios might attack. The western defensive network is nearly completed and both of the opposing forces have grown in numbers. In the darkness of night, a skirmish around the northwestern hill reveals itself to be a determined assault. Lord Marius rouses the party and leads them to the command post.
There, assembled before the King are a full company of Allied Oretian Heavy Infantry. Marius is to lead these men to reinforce or retake the hill, and the party will provide specialist support. The relief force sets out immediately.
Crossing the eastern ford, the company encounters light infantry who have been routed or are deserting their posts. There is no time to sort them out in the confusion and some of them are trampled or cut down. As detailed terrain features become more visible in the torchlight Marius begins to consider his options. Two squads of infantry from the Second Company of the Shields of Thasos approach from the west. They have been sent from the western ford to help retake the hill, since their position would be compromised if it should fall to the enemy.
Marius orders the party to join with the Shields. This group will follow the creek and begin an attack from the east, while Marius’ Oretian make a major attack from the South. If things go well, they should catch the enemy in a vice. If things go badly, the party could be cut-off and surrounded.
The two squads of Shields split up in order to decrease their profiles. The party sticks with one squad, while the other heads further north before beginning their assault. As the party approaches, a few javelins clatter off the shields of the well organized infantry. Some enemy scouts have been encountered.
The small squad advanced up the uneven ground.
Kanza falls into step with the squad, seeking to protect their exposed right flank.
Linnaeus brings forth howling wind which puts out the nearby torches.
Bleddyn is frustrated at the darkness, and further confounded by the unnatural wind. He waits for a good target.
Balthius casts an aura of warding on Kanza.
Pello bravely keeps pace, uncertain of his place in a fight this big, but prepared to help in any way he can.
Voxis silently shadows the squad’s left flank, gracefully shifting in and out of the darkness.
As the group moves forward, more enemies become visible. Strong men bearing javelins and bucklers, and wearing little else. The Shields move inexorably forward, unfazed. The first of them sink their spears into the nearest three enemy. Their precise coordination makes it look easy. Kanza readies his axe.
Linnaeus releases a deadly bolt of dark energy, dropping an enemy which had survived his initial encounter with the Shields.
Balthius uses his ability to see the halls of life. It becomes clear to him that there are about two dozen enemy on the hill before them. He realizes this will not be an easy fight.
Bleddyn falls asleep on his mount.
Pello keeps up.
Voxis disappears from view.
Blood curdling screams are heard from the darkness above. A series of chants and yells follow.
The Shields receive the brunt of a swift counterattack, no less than eight strong men emerge from the darkness, bearing down on them. Only one Shield is injured while three of the enemy are brought low.
Kanza takes a swing and misses. He cleanly dodges an attack, but isn’t quite fast enough to evade a second. He receives a glancing javelin blow to his rib, but his tough scarring protects him from any serious harm.
Linnaeus brings forth more dark energy, wounding the nearest standing attacker.
Balthius makes a few quick motions and the entire area becomes illuminated by hundreds of tiny candles. However, do to Linnaeus’ wind those immediately surrounding the party are almost instantly snuffed out.
Bleddyn is awoken by a small bite from his loyal horse, which has become accustomed to its master’s condition. He quickly takes stock of the developing situation and moves carefully to the north, into the darkness and out of the wind.
Pello holds his ground.
Voxis appears behind a dead man, the one Linn weakened moments before. He slips back into the shadows.
More howling and chanting can be heard, this time louder and more frenzied. The Shields no longer advance but hold their ground. Two move up beside Kanza, seeking to protect him. In the light of Balthius’ candles, a knot of large men emerge. In their midst is a huge man wearing a wolf-pelt, shouting and pointing out targets. They throw their javelins at the shields and draw short swords. One of the Shields is killed by a javelin. Meanwhile, the Shields kill two more of those with which they are already engaged.
Kanza takes a mighty swing and clips the man who stabbed him, knocking him off balance. Meanwhile, another enemy slips an attack past a shield and into Kanza’s thigh. The attack strikes a nerve causing him to go into shock.
Linnaeus unleashes a deadly stream of dark energy and leaves Kanza’s first attacker collapsed in a twitching heap on the ground.
Balthius places an aura of warding on voxis.
Bleddyn lines up a careful shot and fires at the enemy leader. The arrow from his re curved bow penetrates the man’s throat. Inexplicably, he does not go down, but looks stunned for a moment. He then begins moving forward with a grim determination.
Pello runs up to help Kanza. He drags him back from the fighting to tend to his wounds. Kanza is in no shape to protest.
Another enemy on the left flank falls beneath Voxis skillful blade.
The Shields manage to reform and fill their gaps just in time to meet a ferocious attack. The enemy fight wildly, flailing with limbs as well as weapons. Their leader throws himself on a spear, bringing its wielder to the ground beneath him.
Linneus releases yet another bolt of energy expecting it to bring down one of the new assailants. When it does not he decides it is time to make a graceful exit. He begins riding back toward Knyrik with all possible haste.
Balthius places an Aura of Warding upon himself.
Bleddyn fires once again from the darkness, severing the spine of an oblivious enemy.
Pello draws his dagger, expecting the worst.
Voxis strikes once more from the darkness, and his attack which would leave most men instantly lifeless, causes his victim to thrash about even more violently if possible. He carefully parries and evades the unexpected maelstrom, slipping once more into the darkness.
The efforts of the party and the Shields begin to show signs of success. Many of the attackers are no longer threats, despite their continued violent thrashing. Three more Shields are out of commission, either dead or severely wounded, but the remaining enemy are showing signs of weakness.
Balthius uses his ability to see the halls of the living once more. He can tell that another knot of men is approaching. This is grave news which he prudently keeps to himself.
Bleddyn fires another missile, badly damaging yet another of the hulking attackers.
Eight Oretian infantry led by Marius himself emerge from the shadows.The remaining enemy are dispatched with professional efficiency between them and the Shields. A messenger arrives informing Marius that the hill is clear of enemy forces and a cheer goes up from his men.
Pello begins tending the wounded while Balthius works with Marius to reorganize the defense of the hill. No one expects the morning to bring a respite.