Thursday, 9 April 2015

To Win a War, You've Gotta Become War

With the orcs eliminated, the next step is to push back the gnolls. A chance encounter with one of the local farmers gave some useful intelligence: A nearby tower has been inhabited by a mage who has allied himself with the gnolls. Our first step will be to thin the gnolls' numbers as much as possible, and to infiltrate that tower and eliminate that mage.

Defeating the mage's bodyguard and claiming the key to the tower was easy. So was getting in and finding this Magus Doane. Just as I thought I had him defeated, though, he summoned an abomination, and while I was distracted with it, he teleported away with a parting threat that I would "learn to cower before Darkblaze".

I reported back to camp to pass the bad news on to Keeshan. The five of us retired to his command tent to discuss strategies, when suddenly a deafening crash erupted from outside. We snatched up our weapons and raced outside to see what was going on.

Colonel Troteman had just arrived, bearing bad news and an amazing gift. The final orc force had learned not just about our actions against them, but also our position, and they were mobilizing against us as we spoke. Troteman had managed to requisition a single siege tank, which he personally delivered for us to use in our defence. I didn't even have time to get inside it before Keeshan was in the gunner's seat, ready to kill some orcs.

By the time we broke through to Stonewatch Keep, we'd eliminated most of the orcish forces. Only the rearguard and the high command remained. We took stock of our equipment, and then made our final advance on the enemy.

As we were cleaning up the last of the orcs, the gnomecorder in my pack crackled to life. I'd forgotten I was even carrying that thing! Troteman was calling for an immediate retreat, claiming that the Blackrock Clan had the upper hand. We exchanged a confused look as Troteman's signal suddenly cut out.

With a flap of its enormous wings, a dragon landed amidst us, transforming as it landed into Magus Doane. He revealed that he, Darkblaze, had been behind the orcish invasion, and that he was tired with our meddling. He swore to cut us all down, and with a roaring "FOR DEATHWING!" he reverted to his draconic form and attacked us!

True to his word, Darkblaze quickly cut down most of Bravo Company. In a fit of rage, Keeshan lept into the beast's jaws, stabbing at its face and neck with his dagger. Great gouts of blood began streaming down the dragon's neck, and as it roared in pain, I heard it cough out "You will die with me, Keeshan. This world has enough heroes."

And with that, the monster thrust itself into the air, rising as far as it could before its wings couldn't lift it any more, and both plummeted to the lake below.

It was with a heavy heart that I returned to Lakeshire to tell them that their town was saved. I'll be glad to leave in the morning. I don't want to stay here. It reminds me too much of Bravo Company and their sacrifices.