A continuation of the Battle of the Three Bridges from the previous session, a pivotal battle of the Horde War
Having assasinated the Foulspawn leaders of the Hordes and wreaked havoc throughout the enemy camp, our heroes withdrew to the safe side of the Mabinog River to report to Commander Ike Rison. Ike paid them for their services and for the information they recovered and provided them with a tent to stay for the rest of the night, as both sides finally settled down a few hours before dawn.
As the sun rose the Desians were pleasantly surprised to see that the Orcs had left the western bank, having fallen for the mercenary team’s subterfuge and deserted their Undead allies. Lookouts reported that it seemed as if the orcs had fought their way out, losing another 1,000 soldiers.
But as the seventh hour of the second day of the battle drew near, the undead began to cross in force via makeshift rafts. Despite the use of siege equipment and archery to attack the undead as they crossed, the battle wights of the enemy force began landing on the Eastern bank and marching towards the Desians. Laesath, Mary-Lou, Akarn, Bigg, and Cole were all mustering with the rest of Ike’s mercenary teams when the undead launched a sudden assault with horde ghouls, tearing a gap in the Desian line of defense. With great haste Ike ordered the men and women under his command to charge into the gap.
Our heroes quickly engaged the horde ghouls, who were still covered in the blood of the company they had killed. The five mercenaries were outnumbered by more than 2 to 1. However, unlike the Desian troopers the mercenaries were not surprised, and quickly slaughtered the first wave to come at them. But right behind the horde ghouls was a squad of foulspawn, the survivors of the Desian attempt to kill them: a hulk, two berzerkers, two manglers, and two grues. The foulspawn were unablet, however, to bypass the mercenaries and were quickly felled.
No sooner had the last aberrant creature slumped to the ground then more ghouls and the first of the battle wights engage the group. The ghouls lasted just as long as their fellows in the first wave, but the ability of the wights to drain life force to sustain themselves proved vexing to the group. However, skilled fighting and healthy doses of radiant light from Laesath proved invaluable in slaying them. But at last a recognizably intelligent undead, a minotaur death knight, led more battle wights and several minotaur skeletons in the next attempt to punch throught the defense.
The skeletons proved little more than distractions, although the wights continued to be dangerous foes. But the death knight’s Unholy Flames proved devestatingly powerful, and it was not long before Akarn was laid low by the black fire. Laesath and Bigg promptly targeted the death knight and slew it, and Akarn was healed and pressed back into the fight.
Reforming themselves, the team heard horns blowing, and not Desian ones. The mercenaries who had been assisting the Hordes made their appearance, charging for the team. The hostile mercenaries were finally flying their colors, allowing the team to identify them as the Steel Souls Company. Leading the charge were several battle-hardened soldiers, some archers, and pikemen riding large lizards. Bigg promptly charged the middle of the enemy line, prompting the entire attack to stall as the line folded up to encircle the threatening dragonborn. Bigg was soon down, but he gravely wounded many of his opponents and drew the Steel Souls into a position to be shredded by Mary-Lou’s and Cole’s long ranged spells. With some quick healing the dragonborn was back on his feet and fighting again. Ike, now promoted to High Commander, managed to fight his way over to the team and joined them, as they were in the hottest spot of the Desian line.
The next wave of the mercenaries was clearly meant to charge through a gap made by the first wave, but the first wave had not gained a single inch of ground for the invaders. The Steel Souls were clearly intimidated, backed up by the fact that the team was outnumbered 3 to 1 by this second wave and began slaughtering them with impunity. Several veterans serving with the hostile mercenary, and a gunslinger and a drow sergeant did their fair share of damage, but most of the second wave were not even allowed to swing their weapons. Seeing their companions slaughtered, the Steel Souls withdrew from the battlefield through a combination of swift feet and teleportation spells, although the presence of bladelings among the ranks of the Company was confirmed before the withdrawal was complete.
All six combatants were shocked when they were next hit by Lizardfolk. The Lizardfolk had been smashed in the first day’s fighting and had fled West as fast as their legs could carry them, but these lizardfolk continued to have some fight in them, and brought support in the shape of venom-eye basilisks. Among the group was also a greenscale mystic, the first normal lizardfolk spotted since the War began. Despite the presence of the mystic and the basilisks, the team made short work of the lizardfolk. Interrogating the mystic before he was finished revealed the name of the lizardfolk – the Dragonblood Tribe – and that their lord would finish them.
Without a warning, Megdar, an adult black dragon, swooped down on the battlefield. Killing a platoon of Desians in passing, he promptly turned around and landed to attack the men and woman that had killed his followers. The Desian army, finally breaking and running after this latest development, were stopped in their tracks as the five mercenaries and their commander charged the dragon. Using a cloud of sheer darkness to shield himself and tossing acid breath every way he could Megdar proved a dangerous challenge. However, Akarn was able to maintain himself in an advantageous position during the entire fight, either standing on the dragon himself of sneaking around beneath him. Cole also spent some time leaping atop the dragon, although the use of glimmer blade technique also allowed him to pelt the dragon with spells. Mary-Lou rained down magical destruction, while Laesath kept his companions alive. Bigg, as was his wont, settled for simply hitting the dragon with his axe.
To the Desians on the outside, the fight appeared as a roiling cloud of darkness into which the dragon, Ike, Akarn, Cole, and Big finished, with flashes of fire and other magic searing the darkness now and then. Laesath, Mary-Lou, and what seemed to observers as another Cole stood outside the cloud, flinging magical attacks within. Finally, however, Megdar was finished with a broken neck courtesy of Bigby’s Icy Grasp, and the cloud of darkness faded away.
Even as Megdar died, the last of the Undead and the few score Lizardfolk who had returned to the fighting were crushed by the regular troopers. Roughly 21,000 corpses now lay on the ground and in the river after the two days of fighting, although only a quarter of them were Desians. After five hours of fighting, as the sun was at its highest point in the sky, the cries of victory sounded out across the battlefield.