Upon hearing that Prince Rinvolin is under attack, the hooded stranger doesn’t give Tsaba even a moment’s time to hesitate.
Mystery Man: Well what are you waiting for, man! If anything happens to your employer you can’t be paid! Up! Up, all of you! We must have winged speed! Gather the prisoners and get moving toward Miffin. As for you, holy mother, I’m sorry for the trouble we’ve caused and the damage to your great church and that we must go with no further explanation. My prince is a very good and pious man, no doubt he will repay you handsomely for your cooperation, you have my word.
While not exactly pleased with this turn of events, nor yet come to grips with what happened to her temple, Mother Indriv is at least glad to have his word.
Mother Indriv: Then farewell to thee, strangers, and may you grow ever more like Sekeriah in word and deed.
The mysterious man is the last to leave as he hurries you all out into the brilliant afternoon sun of the snowy pass. Stopping at the threshold he turns.
Mystery Man: Pray tell, what whole thing was in that grand reliquary of yours that the creature stole?
Mother Indriv: Why the holiest thing of all: the sacred blood of Sekeriah himself.
If this gives the mystery man any particular concern he does not show it, instead turning to continue shepherding you all quickly toward the north side of the pass. Even at a good clip it will be some time before you reach the switchbacks and can find out for yourselves what’s going on.
The hooded man is surprisingly spry for an old man and keeps pace with even the quickest of you with long, swift strides and dragging the obese Duke Grenfeld forward whenever he slows to catch his breath. He seems to have no shortage of mockery for the captured noble.
Mystery Man: Guess you should have let your peasants keep more of their piglets this year, huh Grenfeld? Oh if only they could see you now. Is this the first time you ever worked up a sweat or are we talking second or third here?
Then you’ve at last reached the steep, switchbacking path down the mountain. From this vantage point, obstructed by only the barest wisps of extremely low cloud and the vast glare of the great sea and lingering snow, you have a better view of the battlefield than probably its participants.
The city of Miffin is a great battlefield, chaotic and disordered. House by house and street by street the prince’s ragtag mercenaries are besting the city’s crumbling militia. The fighting is not smooth or clean though, it is not clear where one side’s territory ends and another begins and the militia is by far the more coordinated of the two sides. Smoke rises from many homes and buildings, though there is no widespread fire as yet, obscuring your view of the nearby bay and the many ships fleeing out into it.
But there is another force in this conflict now arriving on the scene. From the battlefield a day to the south stream a great host of warriors, disordered and scattered but numerous and doubtless very dangerous if the ferocity of northern warriors is as great as legend holds.
The narrow strip of farmland between the mountains and the sea is rough and rocky and streaked with at least two sizable streams and a pond or perhaps estuary, difficult terrain to say the least. But the new warriors, scattered or in bands, are coming to the defense of the city and beset the few men guarding the ruined gates. You’ll just have to hope they can hold out till you can descend the mountain and reach them.
Mystery Man: Organize yourselves as you will, but a large party needs to stay with the prisoners and make sure especially that the duke does not escape. There is strength in numbers; that creature may still be around and we don’t know what it was up to.
As you hurry back and forth down the snow slopes, you see there are but three men holding the broken city gates against all comers. The prince is in the middle, resplendent on his white steed and shining armor. To his right is the most famous and dangerous and newest of the Ospreys, Johannes Ehrlant of Ivla on his pegasus. And on his left is one only Sir Ellidan recognizes: Dame Andrine of Deruvr. These 3 dispatch all comers, but for how much longer?
Johannes: More of zem come! Let me at zem, my prince, I shall lay zem all flat like sheafs of grain in ze harvest in your name!
Dame Andrine: Nay my lord, we cannot risk them reaching the city!
Prince Rinvolin: Your courage is admirable as always, Johannes, but she is right. The Shining Path decrees I must put aside personal glory to safeguard my men. Otherwise I too would ride out and fight them as should a knight.
Johannes: I vill do as you command, lord. Let zese barbarians learn from my lance zat it is death to attack Yeoria!
Prince Rinvolin: Let us hope we have to teach it to few others. Sekeriah’s glory there are a lot of them! Hopefully reinforcements will be here soon.
Johannes: Do you tire? If you are veary vid the sorrow of recent days and ze vork of commanding zen let me take point! Not a vone shall reach you or Dame Andrine!
Prince Rinvolin: No, it’s neither fear nor exhaustion that gives me pause. I worry only that our weapons will break before their will to die upon them.
Johannes: Vorry not, my lord. Tollidarius is no soldier but he is dutiful and svift as vone who is not can be. He may even bring us new veapons before zese mercenaries seize ze city.
Retries: 1, Mathus the Hadranic the casualty.
Retry Summary: The party takes massive casualties trying to escape the first area due to reckless tactics. It is decided that a retry is in order to save Sir Ellidan and Shanba.
Characters Allowed: 8 + 3 allies
Characters Participating (MVP in Bold): Dame Andrine of Deruvr, Iaeis, Ilyana, Johannes, Kiga (Kigathudia) Giltonwyrd, Koldrin Lystar of Koran FC, Prince Rinvolin of Yeoria, Shanba, Sir Ellidan Whitestar of Yeor, Tsaba, Vendrik
Characters Slain: Mathus (Retry casualty), Koldrin Lystar (Cut down by a militia fighter he attacked).
Victory Conditions: Speak to Prince Rinvolin and secure both river bridgehouses.
Loss Conditions: Prince Rinvolin dies or outside enemies reach the interior of Miffin.
Belligerents: Prince Rinvolin’s Personal Forces (Red Claws roughly level 4, Ospreys roughly level 7, Prince Rinvolin roughly level 5) vs. Army of the Northern Principalities (Retreating Northerners roughly level 3, Miffin City Militia roughly level 1, Sir Igrahar Ironheart of Ikrir roughly level 10)
Outcome: The enemies were annihilated, the prince’s men had time to capture many of his enemies in Miffin, and the prince’s army escaped back to safety. This gives a victorious conclusion to his daring attack and should be beginning of the end of the war. Prince Rinvolin impressed by Tsaba and the Red Claws.
Treasure Acquired: 3000 Silver North-Ring (payment from Rinvolin for accomplishing the previous mission), Shadow Wave (received from a village), Steel Greatlance (dropped by Sir Igrahar Ironheart).
Treasure Missed: Guiding Ring (received from a village)
Location: Farmlands near Miffin. Red Marker just south of Miffin
Battle Summary: The Red Claws act with decisive speed, their flyers quickly traveled north of the river taking Sir Ellidan with them. Meanwhile the others used the terrain and their foes’ stupidity to their advantage, slowly besting the great numbers of northerners flinging themselves upon them and moving toward the center of the map. The northern contingent comes to the aid of Prince Rinvolin and his men.
It seems that Prince Rinvolin actually requested merely that new weapons be brought rather than reinforcements, but that the messenger decided himself reinforcements were necessary and asked for those instead. The prince was pleased to hear they had captured Duke Grenfeld and gladly paid them for their services. Asking them to take his place guarding the city, he and Johannes and Andrine charged into the enemy recklessly.
At this stage the battle took a turn for the worse. Brigands were able to pillage the southeastern village, the southern party ended up in a very tough fight without a decisive terrain advantage, the northern party was defeated and forced to flee by Miffin militia who appeared from the city (Koldrin dying in the process), Prince Rinvolin and Johannes became badly injured, and Sir Igrahar Ironheart of Ikrir appeared to the south (sent to rescue Duke Grenfeld).
The Prince’s forces persevered however and managed to scrape together a nearly flawless victory despite these setbacks, helped a bit by the mystery man who revealed a mysterious ability to inspire others to act again very quickly. Prince Rinvolin and Johannes bested Sir Igrahar, a very powerful enemy.
Top Left Villagers greeting the Red Claws with hostility and pitchforks: We don’t want no trouble, but we ain’t letting no looters in here. Get out before I run ya through! And take your damn unholy books with you, southerner! (Received Shadow Wave).
Prince Rinvolin to his rescuers: Ah the mercenaries from the pass. But what are you doing here? I only requested more weapons, not reinforcements. Well that’s Lindr, always looking out for me. If you’ll take my place guarding the city, I will take the fight to the enemy as should a knight!
_Although there remains fighting to be done, the hardest part of the battle is over at last and the field has been secured long enough for the Prince’s ragtag army of mercenaries to re-emerge and regroup. Miffin has fallen and its leading citizens have been captured. There have been fewer casualties than could have been expected and spirits seem high. Best of all, the influx of enemy warriors has ceased. According to some of the prisoners, they were but fleeing the battle to the south which turns in Yeoria’s favor by the hour and hoped perhaps to plunder Miffin a bit on their way back home. All are further heartened by this news, though the prince realizes it means you will be in the way of a full rout sooner or later. His Ospreys and the mercenary leaders he tells this news quickly rally everyone who looks like they’re getting comfortable and hustle the army to the southeast as fast as possible. It is a tiring journey after fighting all day but you make camp that night in the shade of the Minalin Mountains scarcely a mile from the Yeorian border. _
The camp is quite merry in the firelight, Prince Rinvolin has distributed everyone’s pay and they are excitedly talking about what they will spend it on or gambling it against one another by the light of many campfires. The flap to the prince’s pavilion is kept open for any to speak to him who will, but he spends much of the evening wandering to and fro with silent Johannes getting to know many of the mercenaries in his employ, including Tsaba of the Redclaws.
Prince Rinvolin: Well met, honored Tsaba. You are truly extraordinary to have found such fine and true warriors among mercenaries. I would the other bands I’ve had to hire were as brave. Many thanks for capturing Duke Grenfeld without harming him, you’ve helped me save many lives in so doing whether you care or not.
Prince Rinvolin: By this time tomorrow I hope to have rejoined my countrymen under the command of the honorable Duke Gardnelle and we shall hold a council on how to spring as speedy and bloodless an end to this war as we may. I ask that you and as many as two of your followers who you would like in attendance meet in my tent at sundown. We may speak among other things of revising or extending your contract if you wish.
Tsaba accepts the invitation and he and the prince strike up a conversation about the prince’s Hexenhammer. The prince explains that it was a gift from his sister and that he keeps it around in memory of her as well as because it is a phenomenal weapon against the Magic users who are otherwise a danger to him.
Mounting his alabaster horse again he turns and leaves for his own quarters. Along the way something gives him pause however. A drunken mercenary thug is boasting loudly to his companions of taking the jewelry and fine dress he now offers for an ante from a silversmith’s wife during the attack. Prince Rinvolin and Artax stop short immediately, Johannes reaching for his spear.
Prince Rinvolin: Where did you get that finery?
Mercenary: Uhm, well, ah, it was a gift it. In Miffin. Yeah a pretty little maid gave them to me as a memento of our-ah- time together, your highness.
The others chuckle nervously at his very poor attempt at a bawdy joke and the Prince’s icy stare. He dismounts heavily but smoothly, even Artax seeming to glare at the drunkard.
Prince Rinvolin: You think it wiser now to lie to your employer? Are you truly so ale-addled as that or are you normally as short of wits as decency?
As the armored prince advances on him in long strides the thug scrambles clumsily to his feet and tries to draw his shortsword. Rinvolin does not go for his spear, indeed you see he is not even armed. Instead he advances with remarkable speed and seizing the other man under his arms, hoists him roughly up to face level so that they are nearly nose to nose.
Prince Rinvolin: You are the worst sort of man, using your strength and weapons to take what you will from the weak instead of to defend them. My father and all true walkers of the shining path are ashamed of me for hiring such as you. Sekeriah’s wrath that such as you still walk the earth three thousand years after he thought he slew the last of the monsters stirs him in his mountain tomb. Do not let me see your sniveling face in my camp again if you value your life.
With that he hurls the man away, then turns to the silent onlookers.
Prince Rinvolin: My orders were clear. No looting and no harm to the people of Miffin, you are paid better than you deserve already. I do not kill men lightly but I will not hesitate to put down beasts who would do such things and who lack even the discipline to fulfill the contracts they agree to.
Turning away he stalks back to his own pavilion. “Mercenaries.” He mutters as he closes the door.