Words of Steel
Scenes of panic and chaos greet the heroes on their arrival in Albridge. Villagers run around like headless basilisks without plan or purpose, while others stand around with the look of defeat already etched on their faces before a sword is drawn in anger.
Although Dar Gremath is doing his best to impose some leadership it seems the brave words spoken by the factions before this point are in danger of proving as empty as ale casks after a hobgoblin wedding. The halflings are looking to get back to their boats, other villagers are threatening to return to defend their homes and even the clans of Tor’s Hold seem to be wavering.
Just as everything seems to be lost a leader emerges from the chaos – It is Glaudr, who stands on a table and begins to speak. Quiet at first, the changeling’s words seem to weave and twist around the crowd like golden chain, pulling them together, hardening their resolve, turning them from shaking spears to hardened veterans like a scene penned by the great bard of ancient Nerath himself, Millwam Haketear.
Before long the party are conferring with Dar Gremath and making plans for the battle ahead, reinforcing the bridge that invaders from Harken seem sure to cross, providing some last minute training and then setting up an ambush at a forward farmhouse designed to disrupt any assault.
Soon night falls and the dark is punctured by a swarm of torchlight in the distance. The defenders take up their positions and the heroes man their station in the farmhouse, waiting for the storm to break.
As dawn rises, so does the dust of a stampede in the distance, heading towards Albridge, but the heroes must rely on the defenders to hold as they are faced with their own problems, as the strongpoint is surrounded by a dozen Iron Circle mercenaries, a couple of ferocious drakes and a huge berserker who leads the charge swinging a massive and ugly looking flail before him.
But even this vicious brute can do little to dent the heroes, as the attackers are soon taken out by swift combinations of magical and martial power, the berserker falling last.
Then, surprisingly, there is silence.
Returning to the bridge expecting to see an assault in progress by the main body of Iron Circle soldiery the heroes see only a herd of cattle, all with torches attached. Realising they have witnessed some sort of feint attack, the heroes are quickly made aware by a panicked messenger that the real assault is taking place on the other side of the bridge. Somehow the enemy has crossed the river and is approaching Albridge from the East. And it is not only humans and drakes that are the enemy now – it seems the heroes must face foes dragged from the blazing pits of Hell!