Adv 9.3 – Fastormel.
Entry 1 – As Skalmad pulled his forces back, he stepped forth and issued an ultimatum. The cauldron along with the heads of Fang & Steel are to be delivered to him by morning or the assault will resume. This of course started a buzz amongst the soldiers and townsfolk. We put and end to it by organizing work gangs to begin repairing damage to the walls and defenses, they should be too busy to stir up any trouble. After taking inventory of our siege weapons I ordered the construction of a few trebuchets. We don’t have enough oil to lay another fire trap as before. That shouldn’t stop us from launching a few flaming casks over the walls though.
Entry 2 – As we were issuing orders, King Faren came through the portal to inspect the situation. He seemed satisfied with the way the situation was being handled. The King’s only reservation was whether to begin evacuating the non-combatants out via the portal. Azzark and Gor felt this was a good idea, I however did not agree. By keeping the women and children in Fastormel, their husbands and fathers, who were manning the walls would fight that much harder to ensure their safety, whereas if they were removed to Fallcrest, they might be more inclined to break and run should the situation reverse itself. Be it unpopular and cold, King Faren agreed with my assessment. We did both agree to move everyone behind the inner wall and set up an evacuation plan though. Before he left, King Faren advised us that the reinforcements would be here the day after tomorrow. This also gave me another idea. I contacted Estevan to see if he had any help or magically inclined mercenaries that he could send. Regrettably he had no one that could move right away, but he promised to do what he could. We will just have to hold until then.
Entry 3 – Talk amongst us then turned toward strategy. We were all in agreement that the most effective way to end this siege would be the death of Skalmad. Arranging that death is the sticking point. Azz and Gor were in favor of staging a raid on his encampment, possibly by employing Ragnar and his clan as a diversionary force. Other plans such as an amphibious assault via river or attempting to lead him into a trap were also fielded. I was unsettled by any idea of leaving the fortifications. They had been all that was saving us and I believe that any attack that takes us beyond them would be tantamount to suicide. Fortunately, Fist Arawn also seemed uncomfortable with the idea of trying to draw off the army and striking Skalmad, too many variables that could go wrong, and with our deaths, all resistance would collapse, Skalmad would tear the town apart looking for his damned cauldron and when he didn’t find it where would he turn next? Fallcrest? Nenlast? Some have already succumbed to fatalism, believing that we cannot hold. I do not share that thought. This ultimatum only bolsters my notion. If Skalmad could defeat us through sheer force of arms we would be dead and he would be standing amongst the ruins of Fastormel. The fact that he is attempting to frighten us into surrendering says to me that he is not certain of his victory. If he has doubts about his own ability to defeat us, then that is our hope.
Entry 4 – At the suggestion of Azzark, I sent a message to Skalmad. I’d hoped that giving him the location of his cauldron and suggesting that he attempt to locate it via scrying might buy us some more time at the least. Whether he even made the effort is unknown, his reply demanded us delivered to him, bound, so that he could verify the truth. I have no intention of delivering myself, nor any other member of Fang and Steel to this savage. I wonder if he thinks us so foolish to even consider such madness. Any idea of trying to meet also seems inadvisable as well. Both sides are aware that any suggestion of parley will be nothing but an attempt to lead the other into a trap, and at this point I don’t believe that we’ve seen all of Skalmad’s tricks yet. The risk is simply too high and the chances of success too low. It is better to wait. Let Skalmad’s attacks break upon our walls like water on rocks. Let him grow more and more angry. Then one of 2 things will happen. He will have to come forth himself eventually or risk appearing as weak, then we will destroy him, or the reinforcements will arrive and we can launch a combined attack from 2 side and crush Skalmad in between us. We simply must hold! But now I must rest, we all must rest.
Entry 5 – Daybreak! We were all up well before dawn. At the appointed hour, Skalmad stepped forth and demanded an answer. For a moment, silence! Then a chant began, “Fang & Steel”, “Fang & Steel”, “Fang & Steel”. From the voice it sounded like Smedley started it. Soon it raced up and down the wall, everyone chanting, banging sword against shield, spear upon stone. Skalmad turned in a rage and ordered the next attack.
Entry 6 – The formian shaman from the day before came forward with 3 cyclops guards and half a dozen trolls and troglodytes each. He cut 2 of the cyclops’s and preformed a ritual that shielded him somehow. He then began a new ritual, chanting whilst stamping his staff into the ground. The earth under our feet seemed to reverberate with each pulse. Azzark recognized this effect. He told us of having witnessed a similar ritual at a dwarven mining camp. The shamen there used a similar ritual to summon and control purple worms which they used to dig mine shafts. It became clear, they were trying to summon a worm to bring down the walls! We had to stop him. I ordered the trebuchet to begin firing. The fire team did excellent on the first shot, a direct hit! Unfortunately, the shaman’s shield protected him, his guard was not so lucky though, maybe the trolls will be more vulnerable. I called out a closer position and order a steady fire rate.
Entry 7 – Gor was the first of us to act, leaping over the wall and charging the lines. Azzark followed soon after. Before going myself I called up a trooper to continue relaying positions and (hopefully) drop us arope upon our return, then over the wall I went with Arawn on my heels. I’m happy to report that everyone else landed better than I did, which is good, we will probably take enough punishment out here without dealing to ourselves.
Entry 8 – We engaged. The trolls and troglodytes fell quickly, having been softened up by the trebuchet barrage and finished off by Gor. Azzark used some power and tunneled under ground, coming up inside the formian’s shield perimeter, his attacks disrupted the summoning ritual and bought us valuable time, though he did seem to take one hell of a beating in the process. The rest of us engaged the cyclops guards and after some intense combat, we brought them down. With their deaths, the shield collapsed and we were able to go after the formian. That shaman had some brutal attacks, the added fact that he had obscured himself with some sort of darkness cloud hampered our efforts. Then Gor somehow managed to pull him out of the zone! Once fully visible we were able to dispatch him and hopefully end the threat of a summoned purple worm. We began to make our way back to the wall lest Skalmad take advantage of our exposed position and attempt to overwhelm us with his numbers.