Chapter 9. The Siege of Dragonhold
The first week of Spring, the elves of Larethion arrive and bolster the keep’s meager forces. A few days into Spring the ground begins to rumble and the guards on the wall report a massive horde moving towards Dragonhold.
The party and the elite cadre of units at their disposal leave the keep and take up front line positions in the field. Before the battle, a cultist steps forward and provides the party with an ultimatum. “Throw down your weapons and surrender. We will take your strongest and let them live on in a Gredixian body. The rest will be killed or enslaved.” The cultist is answered with a deadly fireball roasting him to a crisp and causing the Gredixian lines to begin their advance. The party uses catapults and ranged weaponry to pummel the approaching horde, made up of Minotaurs, Gnolls, Goblins, Harpies and rock throwing Giants! The giants destroy the catapults using their extended range and the horde charges the party who retreat behind the walls. To cover their escape, Davy summons a wall of fire which proceeds to exterminate the goblin forces of the army.
The forces of Dragonhold then proceed to unleash ballista fire into the enemy army. The Dragonholders looked like they had the advantage. The battering ram teams led by the Gredixians couldn’t get close enough to the gate to destroy it. The giants were taking their time in destroying the ballista and killing almost everyone stationed on the walls, but by that time the horde would have been fully thinned out.
Suddenly a roar from the sky turns everyone’s faces upwards. What remained of the once majestic ancient blue dragon Antonius flew over the keep’s walls and blasted the ballista on the wall with a destructive lightning bolt. Antonius’s corpse had been ressurected through a dark ritual to Nozlordu employed by the cultists, and his now fiend possessed body ravaged the walls of the keep. Demoralized, the Dragonhold defenders on the wall fled and the Gredixian battering team and wall climbers proceeded to begin penetrating the walls of Dragonhold.
The party then fall to their strategy of a mix of defense and assault. The civilians are ordered to evacuate and Alexi Moonlock begins leading them through the mines. The Wardens form their trademark shield wall in front of the keep’s gate. The Knights of Peros conclude their battle prayers and an elite unit of cavalry prepare a charge. The party meanwhile mobilize. Brakov mounts Dragona and takes to the sky to face Antonius. He is accompanied by Chuugo riding Ardee and Mecha Dragona, sent by Cliff Edge.
Once in the air, Chuugo is ambushed by a vengeful Cassius. The flying Gredixian accompanied by two other elite airborne attack Chuugo mercilessly. Dragona and Brakov meanwhile face off against Antonius while Mecha Dragona is harassed by two other flying Minotaurs. On the ground the Gredixians manage to break through the first gate only to find themselves in front of the second gate. The keep was constructed so even if the enemy penetrated the gate, they would find themselves in front of a second gate at the end of a “death trench” surrounded by walls. (Inspired by old Babylonian defenses)
Antonius takes the time to swoop down and provide a shattering bolt of lightning that decimates the second gate, but finds himself too preoccupied with the air battle to provide further support. The Gredixians cheer their champion on and charge the Warden’s line of shields. The Warden’s respond by holding their ground and pelting the charging line with destructive fireballs and burning hands devastating those stuck in the death trench. When the Gredixians clash with the Warden shields the Knights of Peros charge their flanks smashing deep into the horde and causing mass chaos as planned.
In the air, Chuugo and Cassius trade blows. Ultimately it seems Cassius will win out when Chuugo critically hits Cassius killing him instantly in the air. Cassius’ torn body falls to the ground and is consumed by the battle beneath. Demoralized, the flying Gredixians retreat and Brakov is able to land the finishing blow on Antonius reducing the dragon to dust. Antonius’ great form crashes into the ground smothering a portion of the horde and rallying the forces of Dragonhold.
The battle continues and Scree faces off against the leader of the rock giants. He is bewildered to find that the leader is actually Jarl Wolfsbane, deformed and mutated because of an unwilling run through the Labyrinth Engine. Scree fights the turned frost giant and manages to kill him. He then retreats to the inner keep only to find the citizenry of Dragonhold huddled and lost. Scree learns that his plan to take the people through the mines has failed. Alexi Moonlock led the people into the mines only to find it filled with enemy forces led by a mind flayer. Alexi covered the escape of the people and sealed the mine behind her, deigning to face down the enemy unit herself.
Despite the deaths of Cassius, Antonius and Jarl the Gredixian army is bolstered by its numbers and the battle eventually turns to support the Gredixians. Cliff Edge retreats to the keep in desperate search of Corn. He plans to escape with his adopted daughter but he cannot find her anywhere in the keep. Cliff Edge is pointed to his tower by a guard and he quickly makes his way there.
Meanwhile, Chuugo and Brakov heavily wounded return to the keep for a status report. There they find that the Wolfhound Knights who were positioned on top of the keep’s walls were heavily injured by Antonius. Brakov learns that his Dragonhold Knights have also taken casualties. He learns that Corporal Johnathan Ross died in battle rescuing his son who had been captured by the Gredixians while providing medical care to the wounded. Corporal Goat Shepard was killed in combat by a minotaur after a rigorous duel. Sergeant Vleshnar lost an eye to a harpy arrow, despite this though the Sergeant continued fighting after taking minutes to adjust his aim. Lieutenant Grimes suffered a heavy wound that crippled his leg after a rock giant he slew fell on him.
The Gredixian army breaks into the inner keep and push the defenders back farther and farther. Brakov continues the fight in the midst of the horde cutting a swath of corpses about him. Meanwhile, Cliff Edge climbs through his tower and reaches the top to find to his horror, Corn held captive by Fhelen. a knife to the girl’s throat, Fhelen gloats over Cliff Edge. His body deformed into a rare male harpy, Fhelen demands Cliff Edge take his own life to save Corn. Cliff Edge responds by using his bardic magic to trick Fhelen into releasing Corn and flying in to the middle of the battle on the ground forgetting all about Cliff Edge. Cliff Edge embraces Corn who suddenly in his arms, morphs into a succubus, the same one that took Minoki’s form. The succubus attempts to take Cliff Edge’s mind but he escapes. Cornered though between the succubus and her shadow minions, Cliff Edge finds himself in trouble.
Suddenly Cliff Edge’s bag of holding begins rustling and shaking. Throwing it open Cliff Edge pulls from the bag Weston. Staff in hand Weston whisks the Succubus away to a different plane and proceeds to lightning bolt the shadows into nothing. Cliff Edge fills Weston in on the situation before somersaulting off the top of his tower. Weston proceeds to rain fire from the top of the tower down upon the Gredixian army. Meanwhile, Cliff Edge finds Corn standing on a rooftop in Dragonhold using her newly discovered magical power to harass the enemy.
The Dragonholders seem beaten as the Gredixians are mere footsteps away from taking the keep. The Dragonhold defenders have formed a final defensive line to try and stop the Gredixian charge. Suddenly in the distance a horn blows.
The combined forces of the Baronies marches towards Dragonhold. Five banners are raised above the heads of the soldiers one for each of the Baronies and the largest, a banner of the old kingdom of Savel when the Baronies was united. The Barony army slams into the back of the Gredixian army pulling the horde back. Suddenly a roar from the sky catches everyone’s attention. Two dragons, one a mighty green and another an adult white blast the Gredixian army. Indra had returned along with another dragon and together the two proceed to rout the Gredixian army. The reinforcements of the baronies and the dragons end the battle scattering the remaining Gredixian forces.
Indra decrees that she is the new herald of Larethion, having consumed her mother, and introduces the white dragon as Zephyr who calls himself the Wind of the North. Krade approaches the party and apologizes for taking so long. He had taken the time to unite the Baronies so he could provide full military support. He then states that he plans to march onwards with the Barony army to Gredixia to finish off the Gredixians once and for all. The party thank the Baronies for their support and sit back glad that they survived the siege.