Gustavus and Friends

S20 - To Claim a Throne

Blood, Guts, and Glory

[Last adventure the heroes had just resurrected Gronk. This session they ventured back to Sharn, where Gustavus was ushered into a mysterious operation. He came out, and so did Harun… separately. Gustavus called a big meeting back at the Compound where the party decided to undertake as their personal mission the quest to uncover the secret of the Mourning.

Shortly thereafter Harun showed up again, seeking to hire the party for one last big mission: crush the Kech Sharaat army marching on Rhukan Draal and seat him on his father’s throne!]

This is Glindy here, and my oh my, my dear readers do I have a story to tell you. As many of you know I was promoted last week to reporter at large, and given Darguun as my beat. In the future this column will appear on page seven instead of two, but will be a full two inches longer! Luckily for you my first week was incredible.

No sooner had I arrived at Rhukan Draal than none other than the original Pantzers arrived! Gustavus, Glint, Gronk… all those wonderful guys. Seems they were recruited by the long-lost heir to Lhesh Haruuc to do a spot of fighting. There I was, a gnome in a city of goblins, with a massive Horde descending on us from the West, and the bravest heroes this side of Sharn to defend me! We only had three days to prepare the city for battle.

As quick as that the heroes were off, each doing his part to defend the reign of the closest thing to a peaceful hobgoblin anyone has ever met. The first day Glint rounded up his tribe, Imperio hired a whole troop of Deneith contracted-gobbos, Konrad secured a huge mess of healing supplies from Jorasco, Gronk negotiated mercenaries from Droaam, and Gustavus brokered a treaty bringing the Wordbearer tribe under the umbrella of the Shara’kor dynasty.

Gee, that was mighty impressive for day one, all but doubling the defenses of Rhukan Draal! On day two Glint had a little chat with the enemy officers (left them smiling from ear to ear), Imperio scouted the enemy’s strength, [Konrad spread rumors that the Emerald Claw was in cahoots with the Kech Sharaat], Gronk harried the enemy supply lines, [and Gustavus secretly arranged a little moral boosting flyer-delivery by the Trust.] Gee goly, everyone was all fired up and ready to stomp them rebels!

The final day arrived, but the Pantzers weren’t done preparing a warm welcome. Working themselves to the bone they cleared the local forests to deny their enemy supplies, laid magical landmines to the rear, organized a flaming pig brigade, and freed the enemy’s captives. Reliable reports from the enemy camp sure put those no-good rebels in a state of shock. The rank-and-file were certain they were doomed, while the remaining officers laid about with their whips, in crazed fear of a revolt.

Well I wasn’t about to be left out. No sir. I hoped aboard the Pantzer’s war-balloon with Imperio (someone had to watch his back!) Gave me an un-matched view of the whole battle.

Somehow, I sure don’t know how, the Kech Sharat slave-drivers managed to force their poor draftees towards Rhukan Draal where to meet their warm welcome. They came at the walls in three masses with siege-towers, catapults, rams, and a crazed battle-lust only those doomed to die rely on. Or perhaps an overdeveloped fear of lashings. Crazy either way. Three groups assembled and made for the three Westernmost gates of the city.

In the North the battle was over before it had started. Poor planning and equipping left this group without archers, while that area of wall was plentifully defended by the like. As the army attempted to circle towards the gate while staying away from the deadly hail of arrows it was slowly chewed apart, until Gustavus arrived leading a detachment of goblin wolf-riders and smashed it to smithereens in concert with a well-timed sally of war-machine defenders. My, what a sight. Dhakaani style goblin cavalry; deadly, gorgeous, and thank-the-gods rare.

The Southern attack fared almost as poorly. While they did have some ranged support, the Southern defenders were resolute. The enemy no sooner latched their siege-tower to the walls than Glint poured the troops on ’em. Hand-to-hand, no quarter given nor asked, the fighting ranged about the wall until there was a bare handful of the enemy left. Seizing the opportunity, Glint rode in with his tribemates and made quick and final work of the enemy commander. A devious and fierce marsh-hag, she was still no match for a hero like Glint.

But the best, the grandest, the bravest sight was at the central prong of attack. Here the Kech Sharat stationed their finest troops, siege-weapons, and even their general with his fancy ancient sword. Even with the stout defenders ranked along the walls things looked poorly. At the very last moment before fear set in horn sounded, drums rolled, and a fierce and terrible sight rode out of the gates to meet the Swordbearers head-on. An apparition of death, flame, and fury burst from the city gates and charged headlong into the enemy. Attacking only with a brave handful of hobgoblins and a few dozen flaming pigs at his side, Gronk carved a bloody path straight through the enemy formation, buying enough time for reinforcements to move up and engage.

It was here that the real battle was fought. Scores of men died on each side, the fields littered with the honorable dead, the sound of so many weapons pounding on armor making a continuous buzz. Phalanxes ground, archers loosed, mechanical warbeasts tore, and spears jabbed. For the enemy none of it was enough, for despite their martial valor, the enemy was missing the most important quality: a righteous and true cause. Gronk had no such weakness, and pushing himself to super-human exhaustion, he managed to sweep his warblade in a terrible blow against the enemy general. The ring of his sword as it clove the gorget of the Kech Sharat General rang out across the battlefield, demoralizing the remaining rebels and winning the day decisively.

That evening a grand celebration was ordered. A more splendid martial sight has not been seen since the Last War ended. Terrible warbeasts, triumphant heroes, and the spoils of war lined the thoroughfare as the victorious defenders marched to the Red Keep to be recognized by Lesh Haruuc and the new Lesh Harun. The laurels of victory, hard-won, were placed upon weary but proud brows, and the champions of the battle recognized and rewarded as befit their heroic efforts.

For his role in bringing honor and glory to his people, Glint was nominated and appointed as Lord of Zarrthek, responsible evermore for the well-being of its inhabitants and his people.

Cunning Imperio received a boon unheard of in the annals of history, access to the fabled and fantastical Vaults of the Kech Volar, the Wordbearers. You can be certain I’ll be talking to him more often.

Cautious careful Konrad received the mark of royal favor in the form of a request by Lesh Harun that he be instated as Royal Ambassador to Darguun, representing Karrnath in a grand embassy to be built by his grateful ally.

For Gustavus, Lesh Harun presented a mighty blade of worthy name, to protect him in all the dark and wondrous places he may visit. The wonders of the world yet untouched are guarded by fell darkness, and Lesh Harun would have his friend well equipped to delve ever deeper.

Finally, and with great solemnity, Gronk was granted the title of Master Adherent, and the right to be inducted into the secret mysteries of the ancient and honorable Dhakhaani fighting traditions.

Oh my readers. What events! This grand victory forever breaks the rebel elements fighting Lesh Haruuc for mastery of Darguun. I am sure that prosperity and peace-at-home will help Darguun blossom, and you can read all about it here, on page seven, with your intrepid reporter Glindy.

“Dear Glindy,

I heard you’ve been promoted to reporter-at-large. Congratulations! I was wondering if before you went you heard about Deena’s date! It seems that she’s finally given in to one of her suitor’s requests for an evening out. I bet you can’t guess who it was!

—Mindy Maxclerk"

Well Mindy, I certainly had heard that juicy piece of news. It seems that Deena, the Empress of the Sharn Aerial Ballet has set her sights on our very own Gustavus, dashing founder of the Pantzer Guild. Keep me informed while I’m away!

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