The Terrible Night


Characters: Pierre[4], Remo[5], Ginger[4], Ailon[5], Simon[4], Vicar Horace[4], Tol[4], Jortan[4], Candara[4]

As the battle looms, Horace recalls a vision he received from Nani showing him officiating at a giant wedding service. Determined to make the vision come true (in case he does not survive the upcoming battle), Horace decides to hold a pre-battle wedding ceremony for all who wish to attend. The word is spread far and wide by Tara and others in Horace's growing band of disciples.

On the day of the wedding, over 500 couples show up to get married along with their families. Horace gives a moving speech to the assembled crowd and there isn't a single dry eye left after Tara and Horace complete the wedding liturgy and rituals. When Horace passes the collection baskets, they come back overflowing with about 62000 GP.

Later that night, Mina calls her troops together for a final speech before the battle.

"This is the eve of the battle that will likely determine the future of all free peoples. We are charged with a great and honorable task by Dwalin. We are asked to put our lives between the terror and the helpless. We are called to uphold our honor and our vows to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Many of us may fall in this battle. The enemy is strong but Dwalin is stronger. He has sent us aids in our struggle and the prophecies foretell our victory. We will vanquish this enemy with his help. We will bring honor to the name of Dwalin! We will protect!"

Early the next morning, Luna wakes and enters the mine to begin work while Pablo sends out riders to bring back an early warning when the metal men are seen. As the first rays of the sun break over the eastern mountains, the sound of hammer and anvil are felt throughout Jasper. Even far from the mines, people feel the steady "thump, thump" of the anvil. As warriors begin to emerge from the mine with their newly enhanced weapons, the thump is complemented with a flicker of light in time with the hammer strikes. Everyone know that it is just a matter of time till the first enemy responds to the hammer's call. The heartbeat of thumps is a constant reminder of what is coming.

There is no sign of the ememy all that day. About half way through the night, the first group of metal men arrive in town. As the wave of 50 or so approach, archers manage to kill several before they reach melee range. The battle is fierce with heavy losses on both sides. In the end, all the metal men are destroyed and about 10 warriors fall. Given the suspected number of enemy, a new tactic is needed or the town will fall. Since the metal men are not very quick but are quite deadly in close combat, Simon suggests that the archers should advance as far as possible and fire while retreating till they reach the city wall. This tactic will allow the maximum damage to the enemy while minimizing losses on the town's part.

About an hour later, they put the tactic to the test with great success. The second wave is destroyed with only minor wounds which are quickly healed by Remo and his team of clerics. The warriors also begin working in shifts, giving rest to the men and keeping the warriors fresh. Throughout the night and the next day, wave after wave of metal man continue to attack. The town manages to defeat each wave with only minor losses.

As the sun sets with fiery red streak across the sky, Simon estimates that about 8000 of the metal men have been destroyed at the loss of several hundred defenders. However, each wave is coming sooner than the last and the waves are getting larger. Also, medical supplies and healing spells are beginning to run short. He has already ordered the use of the fallen metal bodies to construct barriers to slow down the advance of the incoming waves giving more time to the archers. Remo has been directing his "army" of healers to maximize the healing power and to use it on those who need healing most. Everyone feels the strain of the battle.

Then, about midnight, the event that all have been waiting and dreading comes. K'tala rides forth toward the main battle line. An answer, Priestess Mina and her lieutenants Meth and Gorm ride forth. As they ride toward K'tala, he lowers his staff and sends a blast of light which strikes Gorm in the chest, knocking him from his horse. Mina raises the dragon sword and swings, breaking K'tala's staff, slicing his chest, and knocking him to the ground. In answer, K'tala flings a blast from his open palm which strikes Mina, throwing her from her horse and sending the dragon sword flying.

Meth, leaps from her horse, picks up the dragon sword and swings it at K'tala in a single action. The swing is true and it slices K'tala's chest wide open and he falls back knocking over a metal man. As his last act, K'tala sends a ball of fire which detonate around Meth. After the flash, the two of them lay lifeless on the ground.

Remo leaps over the rubble and dodges the metal warriors to reach Meth and call upon Impol's power to bring Meth back from the brink. The divine power flows through Remo's shaking hands and Meth opens her eyes. They both remember that once before Remo and brought Meth back, right after she killed the dragon. Remo, with a twinkle of friendship and humor in his eyes says, "We've got to stop meeting this way!"

Not trusting that the gaping chest wound is enough, Simon severs K'tala's head from his body to make sure he is dead. He then notices the glowing jewel in his turban. Removing the jewel and finding a large rock, he crushes the stone. At that moment, all the remaining metal men go limp and fall to the ground.

Candara, who has been avoiding looking at the sky at night, glances up to see the star of great evil fade. However, she now notices that the comet seems to be growing and is heading straight for Jasper! When she tells the party this, Darmek, who has arrived a few days ago, agrees that the hammer and anvil must have drawn the comet toward Jasper again.

As the party discusses their options, Kez walks up to the party, his eyes roll back in his head and he begins to speak in a strange voice:

With magical fire and the Maul of Dwalin

The white dust of Tia will shine forth again

With hammer on anvil, she forges all night

To arm a great army with weapons of might

First arrows and axes, then maces and blade

The Hammer of Dwalin has carefully made

The peel of the anvil rings forth with each blow

The sound flowing outward will summon the foe

Away from their mission, their master ignore

The army of lifeless, to Jasper will pour.

Now life against lifeless, the battle they wage

now flesh against iron, blind will against rage

Their master will follow his army of mail

All those who confront him, will die, run, or quail

But she who was chosen by Dwalin to lead

Shall ride forth to battle with shield, sward and steed.

The master of darkness, the priestess of light

Will meet on the field on that terrible night

Now seven times seven times seven in all

Her valiant warrior knights there will fall

And long will the morning and weeping go on

For those lost in battle, once buried and gone.

For she will be taken, the priestess of light

As she who was called for will fall on that night

But hope against hope in the hour of need

The slayer of dragons no danger will heed

She takes up the weapon and wields it so true,

And 'ere long the master of darkness she slew.

How great is the loss but then great is the gain,

For without their master, the army is slain.

The darkness Then only the danger that comes from on high

Will threatening to fall down from the sky.

 

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