Enfys lets out a small chuckle and says “sorry, that was rude. I forgot you come from old Orthalyn. Arkali naval assaults are nothing new. Every now and then, they’ll load up an army onto ships and send it on an invasion. Those armies never reach the shore. The Bastion navy always sinks the ships and any Arkali that manage to swim ashore are hunted down by the Inquisition. Sometimes they do damage, but the invasions always fail by that route. Although I hate to think about what would happen if they were to land that kind of force.”
Myran chimes in: “Either way, our objectives won’t change unless they’re at our doorstep. We should keep moving back to Caer’Dagh.”
Retanna packs you some nuts and jerky and hands each of you a loaf of bread for the trail.
Harxen puts on his long-coat and leads you down a game-trail to a rudimentary rope bridge across the elvenblood river (dc 15 balance check to cross, dc 15 reflex save to regain balance, swim check in case of fall).
After the river, the trail is uneventful. By day’s end, you reach Caer’Dagh. Harxen thanks you for the pleasure of your company and parts ways back into the woods. Walking the streets of the market district, you notice the city is more lively than it was when you left. More people are out in the markets shopping and betting on fistfights outside the taverns. Workers are loading crates off and on horse-drawn carts. Children are playing hide and seek in the alleyways. Enfys takes a deep breath of air, lights a cigarette and says “Ornaia’s bow, I love this city. Anyway, I think we should go to the Hawk’s Talon to plan our next move. We’ve got a lot to prepare.”
You continue walking and you come to the familiar smell of hot mutton roast and freshly poured ale. Enfys opens the door with a slight creak of the hinges. Milo is standing behind the bar, drying a pitcher with a cream-colored rag and talking to a man seated on a stool eating a roasted potato. He flings the rag over his shoulder and says to the man “They’re back with all limbs intact. You owe me 150 plat.”
The man gives Milo a gold pouch and grumbles on his way out the door. Enfys slips him a rude gesture involving two fingers and her tongue. Myran fails miserably to suppress a snicker.
Enfys orders a round of beers and says: “Idiot should have known it was bad odds to bet against us.”
Milo grins: “Actually, he gave 25 to one after he found out you were going up against a fask incursion regiment. I guess I forgot to tell him you had explosives. Anyway, I take it you want to use the back room again?” Enfys nods and Milo hands her a key and gestures to the door behind the bar. Enfys opens it and leads you inside.
Inside the room is what looks like a war-table. It has a map of Irythan and several smaller grid sheets for planning attacks. A set of strategist’s figures is scattered on the table and the walls are lined with more detailed maps. A bulletin board on the far wall has various posts on goings-on throughout the six nations.
Declan hobbles into the room on a crutch behind you. He props himself up against the wall, pops the cork of a whiskey bottle and takes a large swig. Myran looks at him with disapproval. Declan shrugs and says: “What, my leg hurts. I’d be clumsy and stupid with the pain anyway. At least being clumsy and stupid with alcohol is more fun. Now, lets get down to business.”
Myran rolls her eyes and puts a few marks on the map. She turns to you and says: “Remember what I said before we left Caer’Dagh about you being from old Orthalyn? It had to do with newfound hope for the future and bringing empires crashing down? Good. Because we need to set about using that power. I’ve seen you in action. You’re natural leaders and damn good tacticians. But here’s what I have to know: How the hell do you coordinate like that? When you fight, you seem to know each-other’s moves before you even draw weapons. I’ve only seen arkali fight like that and there is a distinct lack of crimson on your scalps. Do you have any idea?”
Myran shrugs and is about to respond, but a bell begins to ring from outside. Milo barges in and says: “I hate to interrupt your planning session, but the whole god damn city is under attack. No idea who yet, but I got 50 plat that says Fask.”
Enfys draws her bow and says: “I’ll take that bet, Milo.” She nocks an arrow, turns to you and says: “Fight or Flight, we need to get out there and find out what we’re up against.”
Outside the Hawk’s Talon is a mob scene, panicking crowds are running back and forth trying to find loved ones. Some people are rushing around with pails of water or arming themselves. You can hear fires raging nearby and smell a pungent combination of blood and smoke.
Myran points south and says: “The attack is coming from there. My guess is it’s big. I’ll stay here with the rest of our crew and try to rally an evacuation of civilians. Enfys, you take our new friends and try to help with the defense.”
You start hustling down the street toward the sound of clashing steel and the light of a raging inferno of a city on fire. You come around a bend in the street to see a line of city guards with tower shields attempting to hold off an Arkali horde. A half-elf guard captain on a nearby platform is loosing orders and arrows with equal frequency. He takes a pause and says: “I need every man, woman and child able to wield arms to report to me and assist in the defense.” Enfys suggests going to him to help.
The guard captain looks you over briefly and says “Soveliss Anders, captain of the south gate. Damn good to see you. You’re shockingly well armed for this city. Are you mercenaries? If so, we can work out payment later.”
Enfys looks at you and says: “This is our chance to prove ourselves. I say tell him who we are.”
Soveliss looses another arrow and says: “Shit, all I care about is whether you can kill Arkali. We need to relieve pressure from that shield line. Get up here and help me put arrows in these blood-caps!”
1 round of combat, no map
Your projectiles thud into the Arkali forces, knocking several of them flat. As you nock and re-load, you hear a screaming roar from over the battlements. Looking up you see a large, blood-red dragon whose scales gradient-fade to an ashen-gray at the extremities and fins. A gout of crimson fire spews from it’s maw and hits Captain Soveliss head on, mortally wounding him. With a last breath, he says: “Listen to me. You can’t let this city fall. Don’t let my soldiers give up hope. Rally the forces of the guard and push back the Arkali. And for Correlon’s sake, kill that fucking dragon before it burns this city to a cinder.”
The dragon flies off toward the hilltop citadel, spitting fire and fanning the flames of the burning buildings with it’s wingbeats. The guards hear the roar of the dragon and see their commander slumped dead and hanging off the pedastel and begin to panic. Their line collapses and they scatter away while hundreds of Arkali rush past them and begin to flood the streets.