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  1. Vengeance at Knightsbridge (Challenge IV Prelude, Chapter 19) Chapters so far: Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 (ALSO: War of the Brothers Part II Chapter 1a HERE for more on that) Siegeofknightsbridge by skaforhire, on Flickr Vengeance at Knightsbridge Kaliphlin-north-east-0 by skaforhire, on Flickr Ulik’Boar, a Desert King scout, walked through the carnage at Knightsbridge. Severed heads, cauterized body parts, blood (but this build is PG because I am taking it to a show for kids this weekend. ), men with terror still frozen on their face. His fellow Kaliphlinites all of them, but many on this side of the bridge belonged to his side of the civil war. They had tried to take the town early in the morning, but their men had been repelled before even getting across the bridge into the heavier fortifications of Knightsbridge. aDSC_1943 by skaforhire, on Flickr The Desert King’s Mountain Eagle Division had a firm grip on another strategic town to the North, Needletop, this position was where the Peak Road broke off back towards Sultan’s Gate and also in the direction of the Sea. Knightsbridge was an important position because it controlled any movement to the south through the Rakath Mountain. It was for this reason that their commander, Ellan Boen, had decided to take the fortified mountain town. Knightbridge was mostly underground, it was an old dwarf stronghold, most people said. Upon realizing that the town and the fortifications were one in the same, Boen had made sure that the holdout High Councilor Lord Folston knew that they were coming. Ulik’Boar had personally counted the numbers of women and children that were sent down the mountain into Needletop for protection. The Desert King promised their safety, even if the men of the town chose to continue fighting. This would be the first full attack on the High Council, but the king did not want any negotiations hampered by an unnecessary slaughter of innocents. It was a hard fought battle from what the few Desert King survivors of the attack said, however, they were unsuccessful in dislodging Lord Folston. Two of the Desert King’s high guard had perished on the mountain, nad now Ulik’Boar could see one of their bodies. His hair on the back of his neck was still standing straight up. He couldn’t believe that he snuck into the town so easily, until he got to the first crest. All he heard was the rushing water of the river beneath the bridge, and all he could see were bodies. Desert King pledges, High Council troops, and Ulandians… He tried to piece together what had happened here. He covered Lord Folston’s body, after the high guard of course. aDSC_1944 by skaforhire, on Flickr As he moved across the bridge now, he was careful, just in case there were any survivors. aDSC_1947 by skaforhire, on Flickr The other side of the town was just as terrible. There was a siege ladder, up, but not one survivor. He made his way down the other side of the Peak Road now, about a mile, and found no signs of any living soul. He smiled for the first time that day. Looks like the Mountain Eagle Division had won Knightsbridge by default. +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- A few hours earlier. Lord Folston had dreaded Lord Petera’s letter. He touched the amulet that came with it – the amulet was supposed to give Folston renewed vigor during a fight, but right now, the icy cold pendent just made him more nervous. A Desert King Army had taken Needlepoint, and the Ulandians were spotted only a few miles down the other direction on the Peak Rode. Things could not be worse. There was no place to even go if they wanted to retreat. He could not surrender, as both the High Council and Petera had given him direct orders to hold the ground at all cost – hold the ground so the Desert King and the Ulandians could not fight one another! Rumors had already made it to him that they were fighting elsewhere! He wanted to just camp high in his four towers and let both sides use the bridge. Let them fight it out right on the blasted thing. He would do his duty though. aDSC_1850 by skaforhire, on Flickr He didn’t have much time to fret. As the early morning mountain air just started to warm up, a century saw the Desert King’s men making it up the West face of the mountain. He was shorthanded… very shorthanded. He had less than 25 men left, a squad of archers and crossbowmen, and a squad of swordsmen. Even his personal fool was given a weapon. Knightsbridge was a chokepoint; this gave them a slight advantage, forcing the enemy to come nearly single file up the long windy Peak Road, that at points was no wider than a horse. The only problem was, if the Ulandians arrived at the same time, no one would be able to be on the East side of the river to defend the town. aDSC_1862 by skaforhire, on Flickr The Desert King’s Mountain Eagle division charged up the road, past the unmanned murder holes within the underground and up to the first switchback at the top of the mountain. Folston commanded his men personally, lending his own sword. His sergeant of Arms Macbarker Swane, his loyal companion for many years, took the vanguard position. The fight was on. aDSC_1855 by skaforhire, on Flickr aDSC_1848 by skaforhire, on Flickr The Mountain Mummies pushed hard, but by the time they made it to the final switchback, the plateau as it was called, the forces of the Desert King were exhausted and surrounded. aDSC_1863 by skaforhire, on Flickr Folston’s men forced the remaining enemy back down the mountain. And Victory was theirs. aDSC_1871 by skaforhire, on Flickr aDSC_1868 by skaforhire, on Flickr Until a shout came from the east side of the river. “The Ulandians are here!” Folston shouted to his men, the ones who had survived. “Quick, we must cross and hold the Calling Grounds!” His men, led again by Macbarker, ran across the bridge and down into the Calling Grounds, the open space between the road and the fortifications on the east side of town. aDSC_1876 by skaforhire, on Flickr To their dismay, the Ulandians had brought siege ladders up the mountain side. He could see the first few blue-clad Sand Wolves (the 3rd Legion he had learned) climbing the first ladder. “Knock’em down boys!” Growled Macbarker. SandWolves by skaforhire, on Flickr Folston had actually met with this company’s one armed leader, a grizzly old veteran named Shan’Feng. He had offered terms of surrender last week, but said that they would not offer again. Folston didn’t like the terms, which included a trip for his men to an Ulandus prisoner camp. Folston thought it odd that this was the company sent against his town. From what he had learned, the 3rd legion was mostly a reconnaissance organization. He had asked Shan’Feng about this, and the one-armed man laughed. He replied “Even the Third Legion has teeth, we are part wolf after all.” aDSC_1890 by skaforhire, on Flickr As this point, more and more Ulandians were pouring into the Calling Grounds. The Sand Wolves pushed Folston’s Men back, while getting into the small tower. Folston knew that if just one tower fell, they would use the secret passages between all of the towers to quickly kill his archers. Things were not looking good, and he fell back across the bridge. aDSC_1893 by skaforhire, on Flickr The bridge was wooden for this very reason. As he crossed he looked for a torch to light the bridge. It was a last ditch effort, but it should preserve half of his city. He turned to find his last guard fell by a Ulandian Drow warrior. Folston had always found it odd that the Ulandians had somehow broken their drow and made them normal citizens… His mind came back to the problem at hand. He looked up at his towers. aDSC_1899 by skaforhire, on Flickr aDSC_1911 by skaforhire, on Flickr It was only a matter of minutes before they would all fall. Folston made the decision to take out as many of these Ulandian scum as possible. “FOR EASTGATE, AND A WHOLE KALIPHLIN FOREVER!” He cried as he stepped into a pile of pursuers. aDSC_1906 by skaforhire, on Flickr As he fought, he felt the renewed energy… and the only other thought he had besides stab, parry, thrust, was that of his dear old friend. He hoped Macbarker found as honorable a death as he was about to have. aDSC_1908 by skaforhire, on Flickr +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- Petera’s body went cold. He turned to Avona, his fiancé, and Wind-mistress of Historica, “Hold the Protective Shield. Keep Eastgate Safe. My good friend Folston is dead.” Before she could reply, he had teleported away. The necklace he had sent Folston was enchanted to give the wearer strength, but it was also attuned to Petera so that he could track the wearer. If a wearer was injured it would send a signal to Petera, but if the wearer was killed, Petera would feel it in the core of his being. Folston had been a good friend, a true friend. And when Petera blinked into existence at Knightsbridge, the carnage he saw near Folston’s body confirmed that the man was loyal and courageous to the end. Petera’s emotion raged, but he turned his anger into a hand in his mind, and the hand swept away his emotion and reached into to the magical void where all his energy came from. In a instant, he let the raw power take him into the depths of destruction and he was leviathan. aDSC_1916 by skaforhire, on Flickr He had ported onto the bridge, and immediately opened up fire on a Drow Ulandian. Executing him with a firebeam. Simultaneously he constructed a wall of power behind him to cut off the east side of the river, and a lightening shield crackled into existence on his left arm. aDSC_1917 by skaforhire, on Flickr He saw a rush of Ulandians coming from the West, and blinked into the middle of them. They raised their weapons to attack, but he was already dealing killing blows all around him. peterasveng by skaforhire, on Flickr They fell and he teleported to the top of the tallest tower, and executed three more. aDSC_1923 by skaforhire, on Flickr He could see their commander, and that would have been his next stop, but the commander’s mage teleported the two of them far away when they saw who exactly had shown up to finish this battle. Instead he teleported down to the Calling Grounds. This time using his wall of power to keep Ulandians from running away from him. aDSC_1931 by skaforhire, on Flickr Archers attacked him from the rear, and he could hear more soldiers running at him. He leapt up a wall and incinerated the closet Ulandian in midair. aDSC_1927 by skaforhire, on Flickr aDSC_1934 by skaforhire, on Flickr He threw his lightening shield and took out an archer. ADSC_1935 by skaforhire, on Flickr He landed and finished off another guard above him with a fireblast. takingcare by skaforhire, on Flickr Minutes went by… there were no more left. No more. For a moment he thought about going to Needletop and destroy the other enemy army, but as his rage began to subside, grief began to wash over him. He was tired. He had used too much of his power too quickly. He was vulnerable. He had just enough to get back home to Avona, where he spent the night in her arms, aching for lost friends