Situation Reports – Bristol
The glow of the sun can now be seen clearly in the east and as it strengthens the resolve of the allies, they press forwards with a spring in their step.
The Unliving are falling back, and Daric signals that the Stone in the centre of the circle is being carried back through the Gate. As it disappears, the Unliving retreat faster, then turn and rout. Stones and arrows fly with impunity now, crushing many as they scramble for the Gate, and the inner courtyard turns into a killing ground.
Soon, very soon, there is (for just a moment) silence. Nothing moves within the fortifications, and the troops on the outside stand, poised and ready. they know they have been tested today, in the dark hours before dawn.
They have been tested, and not found wanting.
Situation Report 2: Bristol
The light of the dawn intensifies, and the wyvern dips, swooping low to allow Hugo to shout orders and give directions. It lands, and with a nod of thanks to Daric, Hugo joins s’Kalion, fighting with the Shurburn army, his huge form looming over the troops around him.
“Ahhh … Hugo. Fighting has been good here, yes? We are not having any trouble.”
He ducks, and disembowels a zombie with his claws . “They are good fighters, but not as good as us. We cannot see any problems here.”
Along the walls, the rising sun glints off the dull sheen of blood, and for a second, it looks as if one troop is being destroyed. Then the fighting lulls, and the graceful form of the blood Elves can be seen, fighting silently but with discipline.
To the west, the sun can now be seen over the ramparts of the fortifications. The creatures fighting the Shadow Templars flinch, and the Templars take heart from this, pushing forwards with renewed ferocity. Healers rush in to save who they can, but many lie fallen.
Zacariah Blaze snaps orders, and the Unliving he and the other Dark Incantors command are driven towards the rear, for questioning later.
Situation Report 3: Bristol
In the west, a horde of ethereal shapes moves easily through the walls, heading for the wedges that have captured many of their kind.
The Dark Incantors have several of the Unliving now – some are being held to be interrogated, others being turned against their own forces.
As the mass of Unliving appear and stream towards the wedges, Guncha orders his Shadow Templars to attack, meeting the charge half way. They strike, and strike hard, holding the Unliving for a few seconds, but each second is bought with a fallen body. The Shadow Templar line dissolves into a confusion of melees and individual fights as the samurai strive to protect the Dark Incantors.
To the east, the first stone thrower crews return to their machines, and within moments, their deadly missiles begin to fill the sky again. The glow in the east intensifies, and the light of the false dawn can be seen, bringing hope.
Situation Report 4: Bristol
Hugo and Daric soar into the sky. As they swoop over the Circle, Daric gestures and Hugo leans over to see the glowing green stone in the centre. The Unliving skirt around it, and a wave of cold reaches up into the sky. Troops still pour out of the Gate, but slower now – the forces on the middle wall are holding – the fortifications giving them an advantage, and an easy place to attack from.
Figures move in regular patterns within the circle – six of them, almost in a Ritual pattern. they meet occasionally and pause, as if conversing, and then move on.
Suddenly, one of the figures stops, and gestures to the west. Dark shapes start moving in that direction … perhaps a hundred of them.
To the east, the Harts Incantors are almost to the outer walls, and the stonethrowers. Behind them, a glow in the sky.
Situation Report 5: Bristol
To the east, Elmwood stands, resolute. He leads a wedge of Incantors driving towards the stonethrowers, his eyes questing for Unliving.
“In the Name of Elias I destroy you!” he shouts, and a dark shadowy figure disappears. Beside him, Dionysis and Pelleas each lead their own wedges, seeking out Unlife with the same intensity as Elmwood. Slowly, the Albion forces move towards the wall.
In the west, diametrically opposed, once might say, the Dark Incantors form. Dark Papa Tic Toc leads one wedge, surrounded by Shadow Templars. He moves forward, grinning to himself, until he sees his target. With the power of the Dark flowing though him, he directs the wedge.
“Cum to TicToc. Cum to the Dark Papa. In the namze of the Dark, I commandz yu!”
The Creature stops, and then moves towards Tic Toc. He grinz.
Situation Report 6: Bristol
Spotting the command flag, a wyvern stoops out of the sky and lands. Daric dismounts and strides towards Hugo.
“They’re still coming, and now hold the innermost of the walls. They’re being easily held on the middle wall though, and the reserves haven’t needed to be committed at all.”
Another Wyvern swoops down, and the rider shouts something in an alien tongue. Daric, replies, then turns to Hugo.
“They’re bringing something into the centre of the circle. “
Situation Report 7: Bristol
The Wyverns are in the air, swooping as low as they can to provide information for the allied forces. Below, they can still see troops pouring out of the Gate, perhaps 2 thousand of them are there now. From their vantage point they can almost track the creatures causing fear as waves of soldiers leave their positions, running back to escape the clammy grip upon their minds. Others take their positions, discipline holding, trying to reload the stonethrowers until they too are driven back.
The forces on the middle wall are holding, bolstered by the arrival of the Albion troops. The Tarantulas who bore the brunt of the initial assault are relieved and allowed to retreat back to the outer wall, where healers and armourers circulate, checking that all is well. Losses are light, and spirits high. Bards begin to sing a melodious hymn to Llolth, and the Tarantula forces join in.
Hearing the song in the distance, Hugo grins, and soon the strains of “Albion forver” and “Over the Hills …” issue from the troops in reserve. The forces on the middle wall fight on, the competing tunes a counterpoint to the ring of steel and thud of flesh.
The last of the stone throwers ceases its deliveries.
Situation Report 8: Bristol
Hugo is awake now, and barking orders whilst strapping on armour.
“First Londinium to reinforce the south outer wall. Second Londinium to the south inner. Shurburn to the same positions on the east. A message to Hellbron. Hold on the middle wall, keep your troops out of the way of the stone throwers. Lets not lose any to being shot by their own side if we can.”
An aide d’camp rushes up and delivers a ley message. Hugo scans it, then drops it to the ground. “There may be 50 beastmen coming, but they’re not here now. Get me the force commanders of Bristol, Londinium and Sherburn. I’ll be with Hellbron and his boys.”
Another alarm sounds from the outer wall. Dark, shadowy creatures have risen up out of the ground, a cold wave of fear emanating from them as they stalk towards the stonethrower crews. Arrows arch out of the skys at them, passing through to strike the ground below. Shouts of “Incantors, form on me!” and “Dark incantors, to me, to me!” split the air as wedges begin to form to deal with this threat.
Shots from the stone throwers beging to falter as the cold grip of fear begins to assault the hapless crews.
Situation Report 9: Bristol.
Unliving forces pour out of the Gate; a column of zombies and skeletons scattering through the fences and wires that festoon the inner courtyard. Arrows fly down from the walls as the Drow archers find their mark, but the forces continue to pour out.
The first clash, on the northern wall. Zombies had thrown themselves up onto the 6 foot high walls, scabbling for a handhold as the Tarantula’s calmly struck at hands and heads appearing over the ramparts. A push, and suddenly Unliving were on the walls, but a barked order from a Drow officer and the Tarantula’s held, and then pushed back, driving them back into the inner courtyard.
Orders are given, and the braziers are lit, casting orange light onto the seething maelstrom within the courtyard. At this, the stonethrowers begin their assault. Large rocks start raining down on the forces within, crushing flesh and splintering bone.
Still they fight on, more and more of the Unliving reaching the walls, stretching up and attacking those on guard. The first of the allies begin to fall, before being grabbed by their comrades and tended to by healers.
Hellbron looks down and stoically orders the withdrawal from the inner walls. “Let the stone-throwers deal with them. We will prepare our positions on the next wall.”
*Clang, Clang, Clang*
The sound of a deep bell rings out over the Bristol night, its booming tones issuing from the Void Gate at the centre of the fortifications. Hands tighten on weapons as faces on the inner walls turn to the Gate. They have heard this sound before, at other Gates, in other places, and they know what it preceeds.
Alarm horns sound, their rude blast loud in the dark, as the Tarantula forces on patrol start moving towards the inner wall.
For a moment, silence.
Then, issuing from the gate, a mist – cold, white, stark against the trampled earth of the Circle. The first forces downwind of it begin to cough, then panic as the mist entwines them, stinking of the crypt. Suddenly, an alchemist shouts loudly in Drow, his cry being taken up and translated by those near him.
“Poison, it’s poison! Don’t breathe it in!”
And the attack begins.