Arla

Session 20

The Beginning of the End

Vernaux began by pointing to the dam on the map. “This is where we first need to strike. By attacking here we can make a distraction that will then allow us to attack from here” His finger shifted from one spot to another. “The Dam Distraction Division, otherwise known as the DDD will serve to threaten the dam, long enough that we can get across the half-mile field to the mesa. The DDD will be led by John. We need the Discreet Support Division, led by Althrain and Zant, to clear out the inner wall for us by the time we get there, so our purple worms can smash through that wall. Then once we get there we can use the worms to tunnel up the mesa. Is everyone clear?”

The group nodded their heads. After listening to it for the third time, everyone finally understood the plan. The DSD was going to infiltrate the city first, and station themselves inside the inner wall. The DDD was then going to move in and cause a distraction at the dam. After this Purple worms with fly cast on them would destroy the bridges, eliminating support. Once the DDD has captured the dam, they would then wait for a counterattack to come from Silver Mesa. While everyone is focused on the dam the main group moves in to attack the inner walls. Vernaux stood up, and told them to organize the men. He was going to give a speech to the army before they left. Althrain took his group of assassins and the most stealthy men from Silverbird and left to go infiltrate the city.

There was a bustle of activity and soon the entire army was assembled. Vernaux stood atop a small bluff, overlooking the mass of armor and metal. Dressed in his iconic black armor, he had donned a new piece of clothing. A red cloak with a white symbol on the back of it.

“My brothers in arms,”

“I am the man and leader that stands before you today because of my experiences. I grew up in that very city that we stand before now, surrounded by a militaristic family and people that were cold, strict, and static in their attitudes towards the world. Living in such an orderly society caused me to believe that the world had a natural and definite modus operandi. That power and responsibility were to pass from generation to generation in that same orderly fashion that enforces the binding laws of the natural world; this was what kept the world from descending into chaos. That principle is obviously no longer in place as it might once have been, and the results of that severe deviation have shown themselves, all due to the actions of those who hold the power in Silver Mesa. Should it be allowed to continue on it’s present course? There will be un-foretold and horrific consequences for the inhabitants of not only the surrounding area, but possibly this entire continent.”

“Now, know that I do not plan on letting such events pass me by without making any action against them. So, today, I stand here at the gates of that great militocracy that has, and threatens to continue to disrupt this balance. Will you join me in my fight for that which is right?”

The army pounded their fists on their shields and shouted a deafening roar of agreement.

“As for all the men” Vernaux took a few steps towards the warforged and removed his helmet to show his face, “Do not think that you are limited by your mechanical and seemingly inhuman nature, because inside of all of you exists something that is dynamic and ardent. Courage; something that takes true heart to feel and and act upon.”

“Now, as for all you machines” Vernaux replaced his helmet and walked towards the dwarves and men, “Do not think that you are limited by your ever-changing and all-too-human nature, because, by putting aside the physical limitations that come with a body of flesh and blood, one can find something true and unwavering. That is also courage, something that needs to be set in stone to be effective.”

“So in the end, men” Vernaux’s finger pointed to the warforged “and machines” his finger shifted to those with flesh and blood, “will fight alongside one another to save the world from an unfavorable future. May you all be revered as heroes for years to come.”

“There’s one last thing to address: In the event that you should you fall in battle, be sure to tell those who oppose you at the gates of hell, that you stood here, the beginning of the end, did the unthinkable and did so with honor. I am honored to be able to have the opportunity to fight with you all in the name of this noble cause. May Lady Fate smile upon us all this day, and let us see each other on the other side.”

Vernaux turned with a sharp flick of his cape showing the white symbol on his back. The crowd roared in agreement and the pounding of spears on shields could be heard once again.

Soon after the speech, the crowd dispersed to go gather their things. War was upon them, and there was no sense in waiting any longer. They marched at night trying to get as close to the mesa as possible. The DDD soon broke off, and was headed towards the dam. Vernaux kept in touch with a sending stone gifted to him by Althrain.

The silence of the night was soon broken by the sound of war. Flashes of light could be seen from the mesa as the armies struggled against each other. The officer sent his first message to Vernaux. “Resistance is stronger than expected. Our boys are doing fine, but things could turn ugly. They have these weird suits made of metal. It’d be nice to have some backup”. Vernaux nodded, and had 4 purple worms sent to help the soldiers. They burrowed under the mesas, and soon came crashing through the top attacking soldiers. Men tumbled down the cliff as the purple worms tore through their ranks. Soldiers began surging across the bridge, coming to assist their comrades.

Vernaux saw the soldiers approaching and nodded. Then underneath every single bridge the ground tore apart as seven purple worms surged upward in unison. The worms kept going up and up until it was easy to see that gravity had no effect on them. Their sights were set on the bridges. Soldiers tripped over each other in their haste to escape the worm coming up after them. The bridges were torn in two as the worms ate their way through the supports. Men and metal came crashing to the ground all around the mesa. The worms then turned their attention to the cannons kept in the outer mesas. Tearing through the walls they obliterated the defenses, till their were little to no cannons left. The worms then moved on to the walls between the mesas destroying the defenses. Only one wall remained and the army was hidden behind the last wall.

The soldiers on the mesa were doing better now that the Gardway soldiers saw they were being attacked by worms larger than buildings. The Gardway soldiers still fought on however, with a grim determination of a man that knows he’s going to die doing something good for his country. Mech’s teamed up on purple worms tearing them to pieces, and soldiers could do nothing to stop the mechanical monstrosities tearing through their ranks. The officer sent a message back “We are getting destroyed out here! Their mech’s are too strong. We cannot hold the mesa at this rate, and our soldiers are getting pounded. They look like they are about to retreat.” Vernaux responded “We’ll send some more backup, just hold tight for a while longer.” The officer not knowing the line hadn’t ended said “I’m retiring after this.” and hung up. Vernaux told Alton to go get Fletchridge and he bolted off. Alton finding Fletchridge told him the trouble the soldiers were in, and he transformed and went to help them. By now Gamli had finished casting Control Weather and a deep fog came in filling the entire canyon. On top of the mesa, one could see lightning and hear claws on metal as Fletchridge came to the aid.

Soon the dam was under their control and it became a matter of waiting. The moments passed into minutes as they waited for an inevitable counter attack. Then they heard the sound of dozens of machines crossing the battlefield. The message was sent to Vernaux, and he told the DDD to retreat, and leave Fletchridge to handle the tanks. The DDD being in terrible condition after they struggled to capture the mesa, retreated and left Fletchridge alone on the dam.

Vernaux then turned and nodded to the rest of the worms. Eager to participate in the battle they surged forward. The guards unaware they were about to be attacked stood no chance against the approaching monstrosities. The wall came crashing down and the army surged through. The dwarves led the line with an impressive shield wall in wedge formation, with adamantine warforged behind them. Silverbird soldiers stayed in the middle, and the whole group was followed by the magic users to assist them.

Destroying the mesa defenses behind them proved to be extremely valuable as they were able to surge forward with no shots from behind them. The fog served to cloud their location, but was unable to mask the thundering sound of the army. Fletchridge soon notified Vernaux that half of the tanks had broken off to attack him. Vernaux turned and told the sorcerers to take care of it. Some of the Silverbird soldiers came as shield bearers.

The sorcerers brought themselves to the right side of the formation, where the rumbling sound of tanks originated from. The fog clouded their vision, and all they could do was wait until they knew where the tanks were. Then there were flashes of flame and metal went flying through the air crashing into members of the shield wall. The sorcerers counterattacked and a swarm of magic missiles filled the fog, and flew into the tanks killing the men inside. The tanks continued firing wave after wave of projectiles, and the sorcerers fired back. The shots slowed down to a standstill, and the sorcerers went out to investigate the tanks.

Looking inside the tanks they found a lot of curious contraptions. Their were two types of contraptions. The first was 2 metal rods that one would put their hands around. These rods could also be found in the mechs. The second was 2 holes attached to the back of the cannon. After doing some testing the sorcerers soon figured out that if you cast Shocking Grasp on the rods the tank would move and if you cast Firebolt in the holes you could launch the metal out of the tube. The tanks moved to follow the main army once they figured this out.

Meanwhile in an effort to help Fletchridge, Alton told one of Skullmon’s druids to cast Control Lightning where the other tanks were located. Fletchridge was immune to lightning so the lightning should be helpful.

Vernaux contacted the DSD and told them they were on their way. Althrain responded saying the wall was clean, and they could come in. The purple worms burst from the ground and tore the wall to the ground. Men on the top of the mesa blindly fired cannons down into the slums in an attempt to kill the army. They advanced taking minor casualties as they got to the mesa wall. The cannons stopped firing. Then they heard the sound of a thousand fluttering wings coming towards them. The men got in battle position, and Vernaux ordered the worms to tunnel up through the mesa.

Coming out of the fog was thousands of devils attacking the soldiers and causing all sorts of chaos. These devils looked familiar however as the party moved to attack them. The Silverbird soldiers recognized them as well. These were the same devils who had been embarrassed months ago. They were ready to settle a debt with the soldiers of Silverbird.

Alton channeled his inner ki, and shimmered until he turned invisible. Then he went into the horde of devils bouncing off of devils by smacking one, and using it as a springboard for the next.

Vernaux tore through the devils protecting soldiers who were being overwhelmed by the massive amount of devils. The soldiers inspired by Vernaux, went and attacked the devils cutting them up as they came near. Vernaux then heard the sound of something landing on the ground behind him. He turned, his dancing sword poised above his head, to meet the Erineye who had almost killed one of his dear friends. The Erineye smiled and went to attack. Before it could do anything though it became paralyzed and dropped to the floor in front of Vernaux. He turned to the side and saw Ander smiling and waving to him. He then turned his attention back to the devil and systematically killed her piece by piece. Her cries pierced the battlefield as she was cut into pieces.

Gamli Zirak fought with his fellow dwarves cutting through the ranks of devils. They were doing well, until something broke Gamli’s battle fever. The sound of rattling chains. Gamli’s vision became blurry as he remembered his time in the devil’s cell. Disregarding everything around him, he turns to see his old captor standing there. The chain devil looked over to see a dwarf in magnificent armor. A knowing smirk creeped onto the devil’s face, and he threw his chains out to grab his old captive. But Gamli was ready this time, and his spirit guardians jumped to the rescue throwing the chains out of the way. Gamli then ran up to face his old fear, with a roar on his lips that shook the battlefield. The devil pulled another chain out and pierced Gamli’s armor making a big gash on his chest. Gamli hardly noticed the wound and came to bear with his axe. The devil freed his chains from the spirt guardians, and pulled them back to grab Gamli. Chains whipped through the air as Gamli was getting worn down by the devil. Gamli knowing that now was the time, made a small prayer to his diety. A bolt of lightning broke the clouds and struck Gamli’s axe, making it glow with a blinding light. The devil shied away from the light, and Gamli taking this opprotunity, rushed the devil and struck him in the chest. The devil feeling the divine energy course through him, wails in pain as light began to break through his skin. The devil was slowly destroyed until all that was left was a pile of ashes.

The dwarven company that Gamli had been traveling with looked on with awe as Gamli pulled his axe out of the ashes. The light from the axe slowly faded out, but Gamli could still feel some of the power inside of it. Gamli turned to his men, and together they challenged the devils once more.

Alton flew through the air hitting devil after devil. He saw the back of a bigger devil to him, and jumped at it fist outstretched before him. His fist smacked against the back of the devil, and it turned out to be much bigger than he had thought it would be. It turned to reveal himself as the Pit Fiend who had led the defenses in the devil’s lair. Alton, still invisible backed away from the massive devil. It turned ready to attack whatever had attacked him. Vernaux standing from a small distance away saw the Pit Fiend. Drawing his dancing sword to him, he moved in to attack the devil. The Pit Fiend accepted the challenge and flew towards him. Vernaux exchanged the first set of blows knocking the mace away several times as he went in for attacks, his dancing sword cutting in when it had the chance. The devil not expecting this, took lots of cuts from his magical blades. Alton helped from behind and punched the devil some more.

The Pit Fiend steeled his eyes, and went in attacking Vernaux in a black blur. Vernaux doing his best to stave off the pit fiend’s attacks was pushed back again and again, until finally the Pit Fiend managed to land a flaming mace in the soldiers chest. Vernaux went flying back dazed by the blow. Gamli seeing this rushed over to help. Alton seeing his friend get hit, went into a frenzy attacking the fiend. The fiend unable to see Alton turn and fought doing his best to fight the speeding monk, but it was too much for him and he soon collapsed from the ki enhanced punches. Gamli healed Vernaux, and he walked back over to the unconscious pit fiend and decapitated him.

As soon as they had finished this, a purple worm came crashing through the side of the mesa. It had gash marks and blue slime all along it’s body. It was dead before it hit the ground. This caused the few remaining devils to flee, leaving the army victorious. The soldiers cried a cheer, while the party looked at the dead corpse of the worm.

The party along with Zant, Althrain, and John were the first to crawl into the tunnels inside of the mesa.

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