From the Journal of the Great Centaur Bard Strejer
The morning awakened like any other; a bright day full of hope and wonder. Unbeknownst to the members of the Six Splendid Swords, this sun would set on a bloody and historic scene.
It was early in the morning and the mercenary group was awakened by Sword Captain Kristen Crownsilver. Claiming official charter business, she, and Sampson of the Purple Dragons escorted the band to Tessaril Tower where they were addressed by Tessaril Winter. Lord Tessaril had received word of a pending attack on Arabel from the Zhentarimand the Cult of the Dragon and knew that the troops would be passing by their nearby city and wanted no part of this terror to encroach on her people. The group was needed to bolster defenses and protect the tiny town from the impending war. Rumor and information had given them little time to prepare. Sometime late in the evening, the Zhentarim were expected to be close enough to attack. There were reinforcements on the way from Arabel to Eveningstar, but they would not arrive in time. Lord Winter, was accompanied by her personal guard Bouclier, and five other capable warriors, mages and men of mischief. Shandril Shessair, Sampson, Dunman Kiriag, Deularla Ithruen and a man called Mirt had decided to take the opportunity of the attack from Thay to slip in, magically, past their defenses and lay waste to Zhentil Keep while it’s army, or at least some of it, was missing. With nary a word to the dangers they would encounter, nor with any show of hesitation, the powerful group vanished as their move would set in motion ripples of power, like that of a stone thrown into a clear, morning pond.
And, so it came that the Six Splendid Swords were to watch over this peaceful town of farmers and save every life possible.
The task was not an easy one and a good portion of the morning was spent in debate as to the best approach. Through prayer of the little one, Tobin, they had been made aware the best route of protection would be to protect the stone bridge on the northeast corner of town. With Arabel located to the east and Thay from the northeast, it seemed the most likely approach of the army. They would use the fast flowing river to protect against cavalry and funnel the troops in through the bridge, cutting down on the overwhelming numbers. Finally, after much discussion, a plan had been laid forth that the band agreed to. The next part was going to prove to be the hardest – they had to convince a group of farmers to pick up arms and fight an army. The band had received a writ of conscript from Lord Tessaril, but Kali and Aroland were loathe to use it unless necessary; they wanted willing fighters, not enslaved farmers. Gathered in the square of the city, they addressed and pleaded with the farmers, most of whom had never touched a weapon to begin with. First Kali, then Aroland, then Tobin. They made arguments of the need to protect their city. They made pleads of desire to raise up and overcome. The crowd was restless and only a few stood up to begin with; the blacksmith, the huntsmen, those who had experience in fighting. The farmers grew frightened and wanted only to protect their families. They wanted the children to flee, but Aroland reminded them that predators, when hunting a gazelle, will not pick of the strongest, but will go for the weakest, the ones furthest away from their protectors. And they knew that having the children would only lead to death. Finally, Strejer the bard, stood in front of the crowd and began to speak:
“We know this is a difficult decision. We know this is not easy. But we are out of options. Those who wish to do your family harm are sitting on our doorstep and we can neither run nor hide. Never before has there been a time, for this city, where we must pull together and do the unthinkable. We have reinforcements on the way, but who are we to need be saved by another? Can we not protect our own homes? Our own families? Are we ones to lie down as the wolf approaches and accept our fate? You want to protect your family? Do it here! Cowards run and hide and are we cowards? Nothing waits for us but death if we fail to pull together. Fate has dealt us a cruel hand, but this is our town, our home, our family. This… is our chance. Together we can withstand the harshness of winter; together we can withstand the thirst of drought. Together, we can withstand these beasts!”
The crowd erupted in cheers and yells, able men moved to the front of the line, fire in their eyes. Finally, they had been convinced to fight. The whole town had come together to assist in the preparations for the upcoming fight. A lone horseman was sent to the south bridge to monitor for any spies. The northeast bridge was barricaded by large pieces of debris and covered in pitch. Archers were set on the top of a nearby building, but there were only 10 of them. Jars of pitch and prepared arrows lay next to them. The children were sent to hide in cellars, with their families to protect their house. A large number of citizens were set to put out any blazes that would erupt. Then, the rest were scattered to vulnerable points in the city.
The preparations were completed and as the sun began to sink, all they could do was wait.
Aroland used his druid powers to communicate with the birds above them. Through them, they were alerted of a band of five or six enemies coming from the northwest, through the woods, but the remaining bulk of the forces still came from the northeast. Through the hazy glow of dusk, two figures appeared. It was difficult to make out what they were, long, rectangular objects appeared to be floating towards them. As they approached, Kali whispered a single word. “Barricades.” And that’s what they were. 8 feet wide and 5 feet tall, the two barricades, each concealing two members of the Zhentarim were set down on either side of the bridge. They appeared wooden in structure and not too thick. One of the archers laughed at the apparently ramshackle defenses and let loose an arrow of fire intent on burning the wood to the ground. To their horror, as the arrow struck the barricade, an audible CLINK was heard and the arrow bounced off of the barricade, the unmistakable sound of metal on metal contact reverberated across the river.
NOT FINISHED YET
-We pelted them with arrows from across the river. The zhents tried to use horses to clear the barricades but Strejer used sleep on them, one rider was put to sleep as well. both the horses and the riders were put down with arrows, effectively blocking the bridge from debris removal. The fighters from behind nearly killed some of the farmers but we reinforced and healed them. A lucky shot from the enemy instantly killed one of the rooftop archers. At some point, the roof they were hiding on caved in. Strejar made an illusion of throwing alchemists fire to one group, causing them to dive out of cover. They were pelted with arrows. Then he ran inside the fallen building to look for actual pots of pitch, and fashioned a makeshift grenade out of that, throwing it at the other group. One failed to dodge and was lit alight. He dove into the water to put it out…wearing steel armor, and drowned. Delotha knight of Mor Cam watched from across the bridge, smiled at us, and withdrew her army. All told only one person from Eveningstar lost his life that night.