The Blood Of The Lion

Day 42 - The Last Lion

Orik drinks like it is his last night on earth at the Rusted Clam as Falx keeps him company. Overhearing some men talk about whether they should leave the city with their families before the upcoming battle, Orik saunters over and openly calls the men cowards for considering running. One of the men stands up and yells back, asking what Orik would do if everyone he knew was subject to slaughter should the walls be breached. Orik stands his ground, citing that he would fight to his dying breath. He them pulled out his hammer and smashed it down into the table, shattering the wood and all of the glasses upon it. The men go silent, as does the entire bar. Orik grabs a drink from a nearby table and drinks it without saying a word before leaving the bar. No one attempts to stop him. He returns to the room with Falx and they head to sleep.

The next morning, the group heads out and sees the townsfolk going about their business as if everything is normal, though a few can be seen loading up wagons with their possessions to leave the city. Most people seem calm and confident, considering that war has been declared by their leader. Falx decides to head to a library to try to look up information on beasts of war, to prepare for the battle, so he heads to the castle. He asks Merideth for access to the hidden plane and is sent there to study. Approaching a man that appears to be the head trainer, he asks for any information or guidance, and the man agrees to teach him in whatever spare time he has. Falx asks for confirmation of whether someone, with the right training, could possibly control one of the beasts, and the man confirms that yes, anyone can be taught and the beasts can be acclimated to anyone with enough time. Having trained mid-sized beasts in his past, Falx considers the chance that he could become properly trained to be worth the time, and starts studying.

Orik and Lelouche head to a shop to find some items, since their gold is starting to weigh them down. Lelouche heads to Pelagius at the Mage’s Guild first and asks for any information he can offer about the golden gauntlets he took from the Last Lions, and Pelagius explains the power they contain but can’t recall anything about the group itself. Pelagius asks them both what place they plan to take in the battle, if any. He offers the idea that adventurers can turn the tide in war, but it is up to them to determine their path. No one can decide it for them.

Lelouche suggests that he will try to keep his eyes open for an opportunity to use the Jester’s Mask if it could help in the war effort. Pelagius offers the idea that he should ensure he understands the limits of the power, since his explanation of the ring did not clarify whether it would work with the essence of someone who is no longer living. Lelouche makes a mental note to find out when possible. Pelagius adds that if he sees the two in battle, they are welcome to ride to his side, as he feels comfortable with their powers, though the average soldier would most likely find their volatility off-putting as potential allies in war. Lelouche and Orik decide to head to Merideth and consult her war council about where they would be most useful during the battle. Pelagius wishes them good fortune and safety on the battlefield.

Orik and Lelouche meet with Merideth in the war council room and watch over as the battle plans are explained. They decide to head north to meet with the commander tasked with committing a pincer attack on Leonne’s main force. Beforehand, they agree to join the citizen volunteers that are setting traps in the forest, since Leonne is expected to send a small contingent through the forest and they want to prevent the bulk of that group from getting through. Lelouche offers that he might have some information about the coming force, and excuses himself to go and check for a raven from Dimitri. He returns with a letter detailing that Lord Leonne has become aware of the small force in the forest, and is planning to come through the forest with a much larger force, steamrolling the citizens and not taking any prisoners. Dimitri also indicates in the letter that there is “another force, heading somewhere other than Warren Tower” but he isn’t sure where it’s heading exactly.

Orik suggests that men be sent to the southern mountains to cave in the tunnels through the mountains so that they can’t be used to send men through. Merideth sends a contingent to handle it, citing that it won’t take many men there and it’s worth it to cover their bases. Orik suggests burning the forest, but a war council member explains that fire moves slow enough for an army to avoid it if they see it from far off, and that it would be unwieldy and the smoke might cause problems for them on the primary battlefield. Merideth cuts the older man off, “No… Orik is right. We should alter all of our traps to fire traps. We’ll eave the eastern coalition a welcoming gift that will shake them to the core”. She then jokes, “The forest has been growing too quickly anyway…”

Orik and Lelouche are sent to help aid spreading of fire traps all along the forest, with the triggers only existing on the western-most traps, so that when they are triggered, the hidden traps will go off, surrounding the forces and taking out whatever army heads through the forest. They head off to do this, preparing the forest until the horns blow signalling the eastern army is approaching. As the battle begins, they head north to meet with the forces for the pincer attack. Falx is notified in the hidden plane and heads out to meet with Orik and Lelouche, having learned quite a bit about dealing with the west’s trained beasts.

The group meets up with a small army over the hills just south of Port Giles. A scout sits atop the hill and keeps an eye out to signal for when they should ride south. After a long wait, the scout indicates that forces are coming, but heading directly toward them. It would appear that Leonne was sending a contingent force to Port Giles to cut off escaping citizens, and their goal shifts into stopping this force before it reaches the town. Their army heads to the top of the hill, breaching it as the approaching force reaches the foot of the hill. They have the high ground, but a smaller army. A bloody battle ensues, but the group manages to barely squeak out a win against the eastern army. As their few remaining men (including the general that was leading the army here) gather together, Lelouche uses some dying enemy soldiers to test his questions pertaining to the use of the ring. He discovers that if a person dies, their essence is taken from the ring, and if he is masquerading as a man who dies, his disguise immediately drops and it actually causes him physical pain.

When the army is set to move, they breach the hill once more and survey the primary battlefield. What they find is a bit more chaotic and brutal than the expected, as Leonne has pushed back the beasts with a fortunate application of spearmen. A large chunk of the forest, possibly representing a quarter of it’s full space, has become nothing but a black smudge on the landscape as smoke rises over the land and the treeline continues to recede from the fire.

As they ride south, Falx manages to pinpoint Merideth’s position and sees her leading a charge toward the center of the battle. He also manages to spot Lord Leonne, who is staying in the back and taking out any injured men on the field while his men fight and die in front of him. Falx leads the group toward the back, seeing Aliandra rushing north to the area Merideth is in and heading to meet her. Lelouche recognizes that Leonne is about to overtake the western forces, so he uses Invisibility and Fey-Steps to Aliandra’s horse, alerting her of his presence and asking her to do a full retreat. He suggests that if Merideth falls, her child will be the rightful heir and that is more important than this battle or any other.

Aliandra considers his request, and yells out to Merideth asking her to pull back. Merideth orders Aliandra to pull back and lead her men back inside the castle. Aliandra reluctantly agrees, heading back inside with her men and Lelouche. Falx and Orik ride out to Merideth, and Falx urges her to consider a retreat as well, but she remains on the field, saying that if Eros falls, she falls with it. Falx recognizes that Merideth is acting as a Martyr for her city, and that this may be the best move. Knowing he couldn’t convince her otherwise, he heads into the castle with Orik.

Aliandra is sent to the war council as the group is led up to the wall to watch the battle in the distance. From the wall, they watch as Merideth’s forces are routed and surrounded. Leonne makes a demand for her men to throw down their weapons, and for her to kneel to him and accept her defeat if she wants her men to live. Her men throw down their weapons at her command, and she delivers herself over to Leonne’s forces. Leonne brings her to a hilltop and announces that if she bends the knee to him, he will be lenient on the western soldiers. Merideth kneels before him to great applause from the eastern forces. Leonne raises his sword in victory, then sends it down upon Merideth’s head, cutting it from her neck.

The men atop the wall cry out in anguish, though their resolve seems to have hardened against Leonne. If he thought that having Merideth kneel to him would weaken their morale against him, he was apparently wrong. Lelouche suggests the idea of sending his demon over the wall in a catapult, and after some discussion with a nearby captain, the man agrees.

Lelouche heads to the nearby catapult, pulls the demon squid from his earring, and drops it on the catapult bowl, yelling for them to release the ropes. The catapult is launched, and there is a moment of hushed silence as it floats over the battlefield toward Leonne and his men. As it fades far into the distance, the group squint to watch, seeing the small dot in the sky morph into a slightly larger dot before it lands, right in the dead center of Leonne’s army and next to the man himself.

The next few moments in the distance can only be seen as a flurry of blood, bones, and parts of siege machinery being thrown through the air. Dust rises and screams can be heard from the horizon. Men on the wall seem to be holding back a mixture of horror and glee as they watch Leonne’s army be torn apart. After a few moments, the dust clears and what is left of the army is scattered among the bodies in what can only have been called a massacre. The last of Leonne’s men commit a full retreat back north of the forest.

As the group watches the men leaving over the horizon, Falx calls out that he sees another army over a hill in the distance, wearing the colors of the Eros Alliance, and he manages to spot a man in the front in similar armor to Virgil’s famous gold equipment, though this armor is pure black. The man raises a hand in the distance and his army turns around. Falx deduces that this was Virgil attempting to make a move and defeat whoever survived the battle between Leonne and Merideth, but the demon’s interference may have convinced him it wasn’t the best plan at the moment.

Falx looks out and confirms after some searching that Leonne is most definitely dead on the battlefield. His body is left among the rest, not even carried away by his men. Lelouche looks to a general to his left, worried that his use of a demon might be considered unacceptable, as it was most definitely a war crime of some sort. After a long moment of silence as the man looks out across the wall, Lelouche hears him whisper under his breath, “Fuck yes.”

300 EXP from role-playing + 300 EXP from fighting = 600 EXP total (27400 EXP total)

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Korberos

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