Chapter Sixty-One

July 21, 2012


3rd of Harvestmonth


                While Finn, Brianna and I are continuing to roll up the line, we see the archers atop our wall turn and begin to fire behind the line on our side.  The next thing I know, Ulric rides up behind me, grabs me up and throws me on the back of Alabaster.  We charge through the woods around our wall to face the foe on the other side.  As we begin to pivot back toward the other side, we hear a large roar unlike anything we've heard before.  It is similar to a large cat, but sounds much larger. 

When we burst back into the clearing, we see our infantry in complete disarray.  The enemy has brought their cavalry up behind them, and with them, they have a large black lion with red glowing eyes.  The beast easily stands twenty feet tall at the shoulder.  Aethelred is charging it and lands a solid blow, but the creature knocks him out.  I hop off of Alabaster and fire up at it while Briggette and Ulric charge.  Boian and Wren follow, and we trade blows for a moment before the armored woman with the horse-tail helm adornment charges into Ulric.  The lion attacks Briggette, and in abyssal, he tells her, "I will play with your body in the abyss."  Ulric buries his lance in the beast once more, and it falls, then fades away into nothingness.  Briggette turns to attack the woman, and I fire at her.  Wren and Boian are also in on the action, but she holds her own for a few moments against this onslaught.  In what almost appears a synchronized attack, Briggette brings Helga down on her shoulder, Wren smashes his mace into the side of her head, and Boian forces his rapier into her back.  As Wren and Briggette are just beginning the backswing of their blows, Boian pulls his rapier out of her back and thrusts it through the back of her skull until the tip comes out the eye hole on her visor.

Fighting rages on for roughly ten more minutes, but we emerge victorious.  For any survivors mistakenly under the impression that Hextor is a deity worthy of worship, Briggette makes a stirring speech to the glory of St. Cuthbert.  She brandishes the horse-tail helm and the symbol of Hextor that the cleric wore, and she rouses our troops while shaming the remainders of theirs.  Seven of the enemy combatants convert to the worship of St. Cuthbert on the spot.

Meanwhile, Sir Finn approaches Ulric to tell him of the tide of battle.  They have 100 wagons, but they have offered to leave if we let them have ten of their wagons (not including the supplies within).  They also tell us that they know where the treasury is, and in exchange for ten silver each, they will show us the way.  Ulric agrees to these terms, but informs them that if they ever set foot on Groznian land again, they will be sought out and destroyed.

All told, we lost about 50 horsemen and 200 infantry in the battle.  Our spoils, however, include horses, wheat, ale, rations for 15,000 men, and various other goods, as well as 119,000 silver pieces.


We remain encamped at the crossroads, and about five weeks later, our scouts return to tell us that there are 3,000 men riding in our direction from the south.  We send a few of our fastest riders to head out and assess the situation.  When they return, they have a rider with them who bears a red shield with a griffon on the bottom; he comes from House Rothschilde.  He tells is that he is Sir Stefan and that Count  Rothschilde is sending 3,000 men to join our cause, and he sends a few others who have come with him about the task of setting up his lord's pavilion.

The next day, around noon, we see banners coming on the horizon.  We dress and ride out to meet the count and his men.  He flies a plain red flag with no other insignia.  His armor is enameled in red.

"Your excellency," Ulric opens.

"Knight Captain," Count Rothschilde replies.

"Welcome to the crossroads."

"Your name is becoming quite well-known, Sir Ulric.  This is a very interesting place you've set up here."

"It suits us," Ulric shrugs.

"Well, I suppose I'd better meet with you and Baron Voda.  He's here somewhere?"     "I'd be pleased if we could meet in my tent," Ulric offers.

"You've made preparations for where I should place my men?" the count asks.

"Of course, Your Excellency."

"I will see that they set up tents and such.  We’ve been on the road some time.  Do you have food?"

"Yes, the Neverese have provided very generously for us," Ulric grins in reply.

"Well, I shall meet you in, say, two hours?  That should give me time to get presentable."

"Of course.  We shall see you then," Ulric replies.

The company parts ways and his men begin to settle.  Gustav prepares a delicious rabbit stew.

"Knight Captain," Rothschilde burps, "I intend to take this army south and attempt to raid the siege.  I'm not sure if we have enough men to do it directly.  I'm not sure if we have to since they haven't had supplies in six weeks.  We just need to apply pressure."

"I'm sure their men are upset; they haven't been paid and they haven't had any food come in," Ulric replies.

"The way I see it, we have a few options.  We can keep all our men together and ride down to squeeze them on one side of their camp.  We can split into several smaller groups and harry them on all sides.  If I had more men, I would simply ride north to Nevers and take my stand there."

Ulric agrees with the count, and they discuss plans in detail.  They decide to keep the men there for several days.  On the fourth day, we move out.