Durakh-al and Blake shore up the defenses while Cazara licks her wounds.
The fireworks finally sputter out after ten minutes. Soldiers are scrambling to man the defenses on the inner wall of the keep and the other harbor wall. The sound of thunder rolls across the water, followed by a barrage of cannon balls landing violently in the harbor. The fort returns fire into the darkness. The fleet is here; it will only be a few minutes before they can enter the harbor gate… if its defenders can hold it long enough.
The Duchess’s forces are approaching the lighthouse once again. The group can see twelve patrolmen, five soldiers, and a wizard approaching.
The Duchess’s forces close the distance quickly as Cazara climbs the lighthouse stairs, preparing to pour oil on the traitors.
With practiced, methodical movements Blake moves forward, discharges her firearm to bloody effect and slips back with a grin.
Durakh-al whistles while he works.
The wizard scurries up the ramp.
The patrolmen move up and start in on the seemingly-insurmountable barrier.
Cazara waits for an opportunity while the soldiers move up.
Blake creeps forward again and the wizard’s head explodes at the bark of her gun.
Durakh-al rebuilds the barrier
Durakh-al laughs menacingly while he works on the barrier.
The tiny drake — which has been invisibly approaching Blake since leaping from the Wizard’s shoulder on the ramp — finally reveals itself, intent on revenge. It reveals itself by sinking its teeth into Blake’s wrist while she’s reloading, nearly causing her to drop her gun. Blake can feel her arm going numb almost immediately.
Cazara peeks over the side of the building and sees Blake wrestling with one of those damn lizards. Her first impulse is to jump down and get the bastard, but then she remembers her extensive wounds, and the damage she took last time she went up against a drake. She digs a crossbow bolt out of her pack and throws it. The shot goes wide. Cazara grunts in frustration.
The soldiers do their part in tearing down the barricade.
Blake grimaces in pain and drives her sword into the drake’s flank. She cuts short it’s scream of pain by squeezing the trigger.
Durakh-al pulls out his throwing hammer and flings it at the lizard.
The hammer flies true, braining the drake with an audible crack.
Durakh-al rebuilds the barricade.
The patrolmen and soldiers tear it down much faster than he can reinforce it.
Blake doubles over and vomits. She considers resting a little to heal her wounds but realizes that if the soldiers get through it won’t matter. She grits her teeth and moves forward again. She drops another soldier and laughs at her enemies, intending to taunt them again but her taunts turn to thick coughs and she slips back into the shadows.
Durakh-al continues to work hard at rebuilding the rapidly dissolving barrier.
Tick, tock. That’s the sound pieces of barricade make as they’re tossed over the edge to fall on the ramp and the rocks.
Durakh-al does his thing.
As do the rebels.
Blake fires and misses for once.
Cazara jumps in with a “shuriken” at a Patrolman, in an effort to slow down the nonsense.
The rebels tear down the wall
Blake slinks back and reloads.
Cazara hurls another crossbow bolt.
Durakh-al builds the barricade
The patrolmen clear some of the barricade, and the soldiers finish the work. The barricade is down, but the Goliath waiting behind it has the initiative…
Blake finds her rhythm and strikes the next officer with a round to the chest, just barely off the mark of his heart.
Cazara wings a bolt at the same guy, felling him.
At last, his work of building done, Durakh-al draws forth his great axe to hew with. The bright and flaming blade thumps hard into the leg of the nearby soldier, hooking him behind the knee and sending him tumbling off the side of the ramp.
One Patrolman picks up the final piece of debris while the rest become familiar with Durakh-al’s invulnerability on a first-hand basis. Five crossbow bolts bounce off the Goliath’s stone-like skin and a murmur arises amongst the rebels.
The remaining soldiers try to break through the Goliath’s impenetrable shell. They manage to herd Durakh-al out of the way, forcing him up against the seawall. “We’ve got him contained,” one of them shouts to the patrolmen. “Go on through!”
Blake steadies her hand trying to stay calm as the barricade comes down too soon for her liking.
Cazara follows Blake’s lead once again, but is unable to hit her target.
Durakh-al has a go at the injured soldier. He swings his huge axe twice, cutting the hapless man in half and flinging his flaming corpse aside.
Also, a wall shows up.
There is a great rushing noise as the water of the harbor forms up into a humanoid shape about fifteen feet tall, facing the gate to the sea. Lightning crackles through the air from the direction of the sea gate, striking the water elemental and scattering it. A cannon fires, and then three more. Four shells strike the interior harbor wall, sending bits of stonework flying. Thusly does the RHS Impossible enter the harbor, at the head of the Risur fleet. The Duchess’s forces abandon their posts around the harbor, fleeing southward into the keep as fast as possible.
The soldiers and patrolmen at the lighthouse scatter. They have failed to get past the invincible Goliath in time to close the harbor. Gangplanks are deployed and Risuri marines disembark from the Impossible. The lighthouse defenses have held up. Blake’s team has — at last — earned a rest.
Cazara collapses. She wonders if lamp oil is good for frying fish. She would like some fish.
Blake collapses on her back. She stares up at the night sky and starts laughing. She is still giggling to herself as she begins to tend to her wounds.
Durakh-al looks for more enemies.
The duchess has several hundred rebels under her command inside the keep to the south, but it will take time to surmount the walls.
Risuri warships sail into the harbor, firing cannons, arrows, and spells at the Duchess’s forces who dare to break from cover. The Duchess’s forces fall back to the walls of the Outer Fort while ships line up out the mouth of the harbor. Crews lash gangplanks from prow to stern so a thousand soldiers can march to shore.
Captain Rutger Smith approaches the group at the lighthouse. He wears a roguish grin on his face. He reaches into the breast pocket of his jacket and pulls out a bundle of ten cigars. “Nice work!” he says to the three constables he can see. “Tell the others to come out and celebrate while we wait for these boys to get over the wall!”
Axis Fortress still has damage from the last time it was sacked, by the Duchess’s forces less than a week ago, and so the Risuri loyalist forces have several options for breaching the defenses. They outnumber the Duchess’s forces five to one, and plans are already in motion to quickly climb over the walls with the aid of siege engines they are unloading from the lead ships.
The fort is designed to be defended by people with muskets and cannons, weapons the duchess’s forces aren’t well-trained with, so the outer wall should be overcome within an hour. The inner wall will be a tougher nut to crack, however, and so the plan is basically to surround it and assault different sides in turn, then fall back, forcing the defenders to rush from battle to battle. This should eventually cause them to leave an opening that can be exploited, while minimizing casualties to loyalist forces.
Once the Duchess is captured, Smith explains, it will be up to the RHC to deal with her…
Blake nods to Captain Smith, her butchered and poisoned arm now lashed to her chest in a tight sling.
“I gather that after today we can handle just about anything,” Blake states matter-of-factly, “What ain’t useful or strong is dead or gone. All the same, Captain Smith, you have superb timing.”
Blake doesn’t smoke but she takes a cigar nevertheless.
Cazara emerges, limping, from the lighthouse proper. She makes her way to the Captain and the Boss.
“Nice shooting,” she says, smiling weakly at Blake. “Captain, will we be needed for whatever comes next? If so, I’ll need to see a medic. Or sleep for a week. One of the two.”
She winces, rocking from one leg to the other to find some way of standing that isn’t excruciating.
Captain Smith nods with grim understanding at Blake’s revelation. Eying the injuries to Blake and Cazara, he turns toward his ship. Placing two fingers in his mouth, he lets out a ridiculously loud whistle. About half the crew on the Impossible look up. Smith points at one of them and waves the person over.
The robed woman ascends the ramp. “Isolde, can you please see to these folks?” says Smith.
“Right away, Captain.” Her hands begin to glow and Blake and Cazara can feel themselves healing.
“Sergeant,” says Smith, “I can spare a few of my crew if you want backup…”
Blake loosens her sling a little as the Druid’s power begins to mend her wounds. She smiles at the captain and jams the cigar into the corner of her mouth.
“Backup and a light if you could.”
Smith’s grin returns as he pulls out his lighter.
“Isolde, when you’re done here, could you tell Glassman, Waterhouse, and Lackey that I need them up here?”
Isolde finishes her spell, makes sure everyone is feeling better, and then nods. “Right away, Captain.”
Three marines ascend the ramp next. Smith waves his hand toward them. “Allow me to introduce Sergeant Glassman, Private Waterhouse, and Private Lackey. Glassman, these are Sergeant Blake, Constable Cazara, and Constable Durakh-al of the RHC. You’ll be with them until further notice, under Blake’s command.”
“Sir!” responds Glassman.
Durakh-al offers to act as a target for their pistols, extolling the virtues of Urim.
Awkwardly Blake shakes the Captain’s hand with her unwounded left.
“Thank you, Captain. We’re going to gather ourselves over here – let us know when we need to go forward again.”
Blake will rest and burn two surges. She details the n00bs on guard duty, but is nicer to them than is her custom – victory agrees with her.
“Will do,” says Smith. With a nod, he turns and heads back to his ship, still chewing on his cigar.
Cazara wanders off, looking intently at the ground beneath her as she does. She stops next to the wall about the ramp, toeing a small pile of ash before her.
“Idiot,” she says.
She stoops, opens a small bag that once held healing potions, and sweeps the ash up. She pockets the bag of ash, and takes a deep breath.