Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ballad of the Pigeon God #70 The Return of the Kings

For a breakdown of what's transpired, check out the Ballad of the Pigeon God Page.  The "Apocalypse" starts with Episode #64.

The Morning of the 2nd of DecDec 1072
The Chateau d'Echleon, Outside the Village of Eding
After the third wave of gnolls, our heroes realized that they should have attacked the first scout wave much more vigorously than use General Norm Dingleberry inside a sphere of force like a giant hamster.  Gnolls weren't indigenous to Crosedes, so they had never fought one, let alone hordes of them, but they were far better organized than any of the other monsters.  The heroes resorted to standard slugfest tactics to beat them back to the main road, but they had alos brought some small, portable siege engines, hurling explosive balls of clay.  One landed beside Norm, sending him flying in one direction, and his battleaxe Overwhelm, in another.

Echelon, Sigard, Kane, Felix, and Brutus fell back, but quickly felt hands grabbing them by the shoulder.  It wasn't gnolls, but rather King William and his two friends, Rurik and Fiame.  All three looked worse for wear, but William still held the bright white glowing Blood-Brand.

"We've got this," the king stated as they waded into the gnolls.

Finally watching the Blood-Brand in action was a pleasure as it sliced through gnolls, broke weapons, and pushed back attacks.  Within a minute, the three rival adventurers had cleared the battlefield of the enemy.

Sheathing his weapon as he walked back to the group, William was met but a barely appreciative Echelon.

"Thanks," Echelon deadpanned, "How did you come up with the sword?"

William laughed and made a quick look towards his friends.  "We've been cleaning up your messes over the last two years, once I got word that someone seemed to heading the White Plume, I assembled my team.  You folks were long gone, but with the carnage inside it seemed like you got two weapons and left the third."

Norm awoke from the explosion and wandered over the the conversation, rubbing his head, and looking around for Overwhelm.

William continued, "I don't know why you skipped it, and I don't care.  But we obtained it without losing a soul, and now I wield it."

"And I don't know what you guys learned from legends, but those of royal Ferasean blood that wield the Blood-Brand become the Emporer of the ancient lands of Feraso. I let the sages and scribes do all the research, but I am a distant cousin of those kings.  Right now, I'm effectively ruler the whole world!"

"That's great your royal majesty-ness," the dim-witted Brutus exclaimed.  "Can you make those hobgoblins coming at us surrender with your shiny sword?"

Knowing that a portion of some prophecy might be coming true, everyone returned to the battle.  Norm hacked at a random hobgoblin with his hand axe, but without his ancient axed, fighting was becoming bleak.

Thorrin Slatebelt, dwarven blacksmith and ardent fan of the Norm, had scoured the fields for the missing weapon.  When he did come upon it, he ran back with it, throwing it to it's rightful owner.

It flew halfway to Norm, and turned back to Thorrin, landing right in his hand.  Throrin tried a few more times to toss it to Norm with the same result.  Eventually, the hobgoblins pushed forward, and Thorrin was forced to use the axe for his own defense.  Neither dwarf was pleased.

The hobgoblin advanced stopped, and fell back, to the surprise of the heroes.  But that left enough time to let their guard down.  Three ranks of hobgoblin archers burst out of the retreating units and unleashed a barrage of arrows take no shield could withstand.

With a second to react, Echelon looked around.  Felix and Brutus were down, and Kane and Thorrin were near deaths door.  And worst of all, William, King William, maybe even Emperor William, stood motionless on the battlefield, blood gushing from his mouth, the Blood-Brand fallen from his hand a mere second before his body collapsed.

Echelon put himself and Kane into a Cube of Force and charged the archers.   Thorrin starting hurling Overwhelm at the hobgoblin infantry, and Norm Dingleberry....?  William's friend, Fiame and Rurik followed suit.

He picked up The Blood-Brand

"I'm zee king of zee world...I'm zee king of zee world...I'm zee king of zee world..."

The counter-attacked worked for awhile.  The hobgoblin archers dropped their bows and fled, while the infantry had trouble following.   But as Ariel the Bard was firing as many arrows as she could from the safety of hayloft of the Chateau's barn, she could spy Echelon's faithful wolf companion Pathfinder, running from the eastern flank, closest to the village of Eding.

The hobgoblins were getting reinforcements... and they were pinning the heroes.

The "last stand" Echelon had set-up at the barn was in a horrible location.  The barn stood right next to a very sheer drop that led down to a small stream.  There was a switchback path down to the bottom, but in the midst of combat, some poor footing, and *whoosh* your in the stream.

The reinforced hobgoblins pushed back and our heroes were forced to fall back to that precarious drop.  It had been amazing enough that this small group fought for as long as they could, even more amazing that only one person (Echelon) was proficient in the legendary weapon he was wielding!

Norm finally succumbed to his wounds and Echelon was trying to get Pathfinder and Ariel to escape down the path, when everyone noticed an individual coming up the path.  He wore a glistening suit of full plate, a white cape, and held a longsword in one hand, and a shield with a strange shimmering pattern on the front.

He put a hand on Echelon's shoulder, and with a smug look on his face, he said, "Sorry I'm late..."

He knocked aside a few of the hobgoblins with a single blow of sword, then positioned himself behind the shield like he was preparing to take blow.  Instead, the shimmering surface of the shield shot on an energy bolt into the hobgoblin forces, vaporizing a ten foot swath of them from the barn, all the way to the main road, well over a quarter mile.

Could this be the true God of Goodness and Light?  The shiny armor and perfect demeanor supported the cause.  But as he turned back to give anther smug expression, multiple energy sources struck the man.  Fire, Arcane, and Divine magic, as well as a Disintegration spell hit the shining man, until he let out a yelp and turned into ash.

Past the smoke stood twelve men who, if they weren't wizards, made a great impression that they were.

A beaten Echelon could only sigh, "Evil Wizards???  C'mon...."

Next: #71 - The Stand

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