Brigand Five: An Unflankable Story
Chapter 8: The Battle Of Mossington, Part 1
The next morning, the heroes are accompanied to city hall where a huge host of archers are gathered, standing in parade rest. They spot Pilau with her bodyguards, speaking with a young woman. After spotting the heroes, the mayor introduces the woman as her daughter, Faryan, captain of the archers. She also introduces Balas, an impatient-looking man and the second-in-command. The plan is to send two divisions of thirty archers each to take back Mossington. They will be led by Balas.
As soon as the company leaves the city, however, Balas tells the heroes that they are not necessary and to stay back once the battle begins. The heroes just kinda shrug and continue with the archers through the Sphinxwood. They spend the day walking and soon enough they are making camp for the night. Arradon scouts ahead against the orders of Balas, but besides that the night is uneventful.
The next morning is filled with more hiking, until the company is brought to a halt by a strange sight. Dozens of structures have been prepared, propped between trees. The men stand around wondering what they mean or if they are traps. Othfir marches up to take a look before Balas can tell him otherwise. He discovers that the structure is some sort of makeshift trap. When Balas angrily confronts Othfir, the dwarf explains that knocking over the structure would scatter small metal shards into the air. To demonstrate, he very carefully removes one of the branches from the structure. The twigs and branches tumble apart and several shards of metal roll out feebly. However, two of the shards collide and a surprisingly loud chime is echoes through the trees. Othfir relays that the trap is more of an alarm than an actual trap and picks up two of the shards.
Balas is peeved, but Othfir has a plan. Knowing the commanding archer is full of himself, the dwarf tells him how great it was that he came up with the plan to use the shards as a distraction. Seraphina, Geandur, and Morningstar join in, telling Balas how great a military mind he has, and what a wonderful leader he is, and how great he looks today. This seems to work as Balas steals Othfir's plan and explains it to his skeptical archers. Just glad to be involved, Othfir asks a tall muscular archer with a limp about Balas' attitude. The archer, Willander, tells him that Balas has a huge ego, but in the end he knows how to shoot, so they all put up with him.
The heroes and archers skirt the traps and eventually reach the treeline around Mossington. Balas, using the heroes' idea, tells the two divisions of archers to split up in flanking formation, to be led by Willander and a well-groomed, mustachioed fellow named Orpec. Othfir makes a deal with Geandur to see who can kill more orcs, then steps out from the trees, clanging together the amplified metal shards. Moments later orcish shouts are heard and the orcs themselves begin making their way out of the town to fight. Othfir taunts the first orc he sees and the two engage in combat. Arradon runs towards a moss-covered house and attempts to climb it. Unsuccessful, he attempts to shoot an arrow instead, but his bowstring breaks.
Morningstar turns the tide quickly by firing one of his force arrows at a house. On impact, the force spell is triggered and two orcs are thrown into another nearby building and hold their heads, stunned. Othfir and his angry orc friend are both unable to land a blow, and the dwarf loses his temper. Mere seconds later, the orc's neck snaps as Othfir's maul collides heartily with it. Seraphina releases a sleep spell and the two stunned orcs find themselves suddenly very groggy. One collapses in slumber and the other props itself against a building. Its yawn proves to be its last as Geandur rushes out from the trees and cuts down the sleeping and sleepy orcs, greatsword flying.
By this time, orcs are beginning to flow from the town. Arrows rain from the trees, keeping the horde under control, but the battle remains fierce. Arradon successfully climbs to the top of a building and restrings his bow, while Othfir removes an orc's arm from its shoulder. Morningstar fires a net arrow, but misses and a net bursts out and lands harmlessly on the ground. Seraphina hurls several magic missiles at an orc, who then sets its sights on the young sorcerer. Several orcs charge Geandur, but one trips on Morningstar's net and accidentally slices his falchion-wielding comrade.
With a screech, a new foe appears on the battlefield. A massive scorpion, ridden by two orcs, scuttles into the fray. The two orcs appear to be controlling the scorpion's claws and tail respectively. Arradon fires two arrows in quick succession, hitting both scorpion-riders. Morningstar follows up with a glowing bolt to the scorpion. Othfir beheads an orc, knocking the body into the orc behind it. The orc fumbles with his comrade's head before tossing it aside and giving Othfir a slash of his own. Seraphina shocks the angry orc in front of her, who retaliates with his sword.
Another arrow from Arradon finishes the orc controlling the scorpion's claws. The tail orc struggles to maintain control of its mount, but is suddenly slammed in the face with a giant spectral morningstar, conjured by the cleric of the same name. Othfir finds himself flanked by two enemies, but gives his maul a mighty swing. The impact obliterates the orc's spine and all of its organs are suddenly expelled from its mouth. The dwarven barbarian spins around and roars in the other orc's horrified face. Seraphina gives her attacker one last shock, sending another orc into the great beyond. Meanwhile, the orc by Othfir is too freaked out to hit the dwarf. The scorpion, free from its riders, snaps its claws at Geandur and another orc. Geandur dodges, but the orc loses its arm. Acting quickly, Geandur snatches up the disembodied arm and beats its owner to death with it.
Through fear, desperation, or maybe even adrenaline, Seraphina is suddenly soaring through the air, propelled by a pair of golden wings. She lands on the roof with Arradon as a pair of worgs burst onto the scene. One of the beasts bites Geandur and the scorpion stabs an orc with its venomous tail. Geandur ignores his bite and puts the orc out of his misery. From further into the town, the sound of worgs clashing with boars is heard. Reinforcements have apparently arrived, but the battle appears to still be raging. The heroes brace themselves for the next wave as the worgs snap at the massive scorpion.