“Attack on Jik’Ton! All hands to battle stations! All militia members take up arms! Non-defenders shelter in place or make way to the nearest temples. All kin to report to temples, Gynari and mortal casters to report to Resistance of Manny HQ! … Repeat, attack on Jik’ton!…”
The sirens wailed and the bells rang. Every man and many women took up arms, spellbooks, and wands and took to the streets. The half-dragons took to the air to coordinate the draconic in clearing the streets. Overhead, an enormous sapphire dragon flew and bellowed a rallying cry. From around the city dragons and half-dragons of all colors flew to join him. The Pendragon, commander of the defense of Jik’ton, quickly took a position for himself high above the city, a little ways outside. From there he ordered the flying kin into battle formation. The flightless kin were assigned to valuable targets in the city: city hall, the harbor, and the temples. Not that the temples needed much defense, but they would need time to situate themselves. The citizens were to shelter in the temples of Savannah, Sarah, and Paijara while the followers of Caleb and Erick mobilized under Uther’s command. The remaining clerics either migrated to protect the civilians and set up field hospitals.
On the ground the Resistance of Manny divided the city into sections. Hirzon and Wilhelm had been quick to organize the mortals, as per their contract with the dragons, and now mobilized their forces and the people of the city to protect it. Attacks like these were either bombing runs or, especially recently, assaults. In the case of the latter, as now, Wilhelm took strategic command from the air. As a master of the air he was in as much danger as Uther. Hirzon, St. Amoss, Mother Lomasi, Father Arroway, Perilune Claire, and Sister Elone each led the defense of a section of the city, each contigent designed to fight off whatever Ur-Lord Sid summoned down, while Brother Thom was given defense of HQ. Team RYSN took a section neabry HQ and prepared for the creatures.
Ur-Lord Sid began his assault with a large number of Lifael and Warless to wreak havoc on the town, but the people were prepared. One does not attack the town over and over without the inhabitants learning to prepare additional fire and energy protection. The first wave was over in less than a minute and the defenders had hardly worked up a sweat, but then explosions lit the sky. All across the city the defenders stopped and watched as fireballs and lightning bolts flew at the dragons around Sid, driving them back and killing a few. The people watched in shock as the smoke cleared to reveal two new figures in the sky: an elf in robes with a grand staff, arcane energies swirling about him, and a woman in the vestments of a druid with bands of light about her wrists and holding a golden orb.
Together the two mages cast a powerful summoning spell, bringing forth meteors from the heavens upon the city. Where the fell opened portals to the Abyss and demons began to poor forth. But they were only the guards. From where the meteors had fallen rose a new foe. Armored humanoids wielding large weapons, all made of a black metal. Zorite steel. Take cold iron to it’s extreme and you obtain a substance that is anathema to magic. Somehow these creatures were animated by magic to the point of life, and yet were untouchable by all but the most powerful of spellcasters. The people and dragons of Jik’ton were not prepared. Many of the kin fled to the temples and many of the mortal spellcasters were struck down. Across the city the dragons fought defensively pulling back into the temples of Shiarn and Savannah as the armored creatures advanced. And then, as they drew closer to the temple of Sara and refuge of the citizens, one was struck from behind. It screamed in pain and imploded in a burst of dispel. Behind it was a bard and a thief from a nearby tavern. Together they outwitted the constructs, so that when Hirzon’s party arrived the battle was over and the bard was humming a merry little tune. Before Hirzon could ask, the gnome hopped to his feet and said, “Hail Manny, full of Smash.”
Team RYSN also faced one of these creatures, which the dragons later named Wolfrau (meaning unmelting, in reference to wolfram, a metal which cannot be melted by any fire of mortal or dragon). Their encounter was not that much different from the rest of the city as the demons they faced nearly incapacitated Rom. He narrowly avoided being encased in their webbing—there is no escaping the web of a Bebilith—was crushed and had his shield removed, though his armor survived. The single Wofrau they encountered was quickly dispatched by Niachi and Titus, just as the mysterious thief had done so earlier. Knowing the weakness of the Wolfrau, Team RYSN began to co-ordinate with Hirzon and Wilhelm, who quickly re-organized the defenders to make better use of their rogues and duelists. As the battle appeared to wind down, an amethyst dragon approached Team RYSN.
She named herself Mylanth and though young, had been chosen by Uther to bring a message to Team RYSN. The two people who had appeared in the sky were Ur-Lord Severus and Valorie, who now wielded the Orb of Brass Dragonkind. This item was an artifact of the greatest power: giving her the abilities of an ancient brass dragon doomed to eternal imprisonment within the orb. But it also gave her the unholy ability to dominate any brass dragon who approached. Such an Orb exists for each variety of dragon, though most are controlled and protected by the dragons, themselves. The Resistance had known for some time that the Brass Orb was missing, along with certain others. Because the dragons dared not use the orbs for themselves, Uther could not have seen Valorie’s possession of this one and didn’t know if Severus or Sid possessed any others. Thus he split his forces. Any dragons or kin that could be spared in the fight against Sid were sent back to protect the council and the vaults of the remaining Orbs. But all other dragons or kin who could still fight were being kept to hold off Sid. That left none for Valorie, who had taken up hold of a hill outside Jik’ton and was assaulting the city from the rear.
He commanded Team RYSN to dispatch Valorie. He had no other forces to spare and he could not risk her or Severus holding another of the Orbs. Already Mylanth reported that Valorie had captured a young adult brass dragon named Jura and one enslaved dragon was too many. Wilhelm and Hirzon agreed with Uther’s plan, especially since they were bound by contract, and so Team RYSN went out to face their old friend. Their objectives:
- Retake the Orb
- Rescue Jura, if possible. Kill her if not.
- Rescue Valorie if possible, and kill her if not.
The battle began with the now corrupted Valorie taunting them. She came with a slave of a dragon and three Wolfrau, but no companion. Instead twisted growths had burst forth from her body, her skin was twisted and gnarled into the hardest of bark, and her eyes were nothing more than pools of white noise. Titus could tell that she had prepared herself with plenty of abjurations to protect her. Jura opened with her breath weapon of sleeping, which failed on all but Sara’phiem. Valorie placed a large cloud of acid fog on the field to prevent any paladins from reckless charging and let Jura run interference on the werewolf while she dealt with the rogues. Titus was trapped in the fog and Niachi, though he narrowly avoided her disintegrate, was put to sleep by her awesome breath weapon, granted by the Orb she carried. Niachi’s sword refused to let it end like this and woke the cat with a great bolt of lightning. He and Titus closed in, but were once again stopped, this time by a field of black tentacles.
Despite her advantages and her plans for each of the party, they slowly overcame her obstacles. Rom beat down Jura to an inch of her life. She tried to break free of her dominate, but was unable and continued to attack. In his bloodlust, Rom killed her, not realizing she was only a pawn. Immediately divine lightning struck down some of his power, including his ability to shift form, but this only served to motivate him to finish the battle that much quicker. He blasted the Wolfrau away with a prismatic spray, and nearly caught Valorie in the blast. She resisted and attempted to retreat into the fog, but Raniy, after waking Sara’phiem, dispelled the fog. This allowed Titus and Rom to flank her. The ninja poisoned her and Rom knocked the Orb from her hand, taking it for his own. Raniy swooped in from the side to cast harm upon the former druid, but she found the last bit of strength in her to resist, and lunged for the Orb. She nearly grabbed it, but Titus’ poison and the toll of the battle had made her too weak and she fell to the ground as they knocked her unconscious.
With the defeat of their former ally, the party watched as Uther, Wilhelm, St. Amoss, and Hirzon routed Ur-Lord Sid from the sky. He escaped, of course, and in the aftermath it seemed Severus had as well, or at least no one had seen him since his initial arrival. Security was high for the rest of the night, but the battle was definitively won.
Back at Resistance HQ, Valorie now rests imprisoned in an anti-magic cell and warded with carinite. Twilight, Hirzon, and the clerics now ponder what to do with her and whether or not her soul can be saved…