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|Action Id: 3871||Crisis:||Participants: Preston, Ida, Teagan, Orazio, Sabella, Niklas, Raja, Alban, Lorenzo, Rysen, Tescelina(RIP), Katryn and Oili|
|Status: Resolved||Submitted: March 14, 2020, 8:03 p.m.||Public: True||GM: Apostate|
Economic Resources: 500
Military Resources: 6500
Action Points: 150
Action by Preston
Preston has announced the formation of the First Eurusi Crusade to fight to defend the east and to purge the Mourning Isles of the Eurusi threat, their allies and their heresy. He has ordered the Seraphs to levy their Templars and begin to muster - though given the threats that exist in the land, he is not asking them to strip the shrines bear of defenders, but to send those they can - around 1 in 3, which based on the Gyre levy is around 50,000.
Unfurling the crusade banners stored in the armoury - and repairing the moth damage, and no doubt uttering a curse about moths - Preston will lead a service at the Great Cathedral, with full orthodox rites and a nice massed choir singing the canticles. Here he will lead the faithful in a call for the Gods to give their blessing for the undertaking, to strengthen the sword arms of those who stand with the Faith, to harden the will of our troops to stand against the horrors they will see, and pledging a Crusade in the name of the Gods and in obedience to all their commands - to protect the innocent, to free the slaves. One fought with Gloria's honour and the Sentinel's justice, and in pursuit of Skald's choice for all. The banners in procession will be lowered to Orazio to bless, so each Templar company can march into battle with a banner touched by the Most Holy. Preston will spend the 24 hours after the service and before the march in the Great Cathedral in quiet prayer, kneeling in simple linens with Crusader, repeating Templar prayers to Gloria for guidance, swearing by her cause and forgoing food and drink.
Preston will also be impressing on the Templar and other commanders that prisoners are to be treated with honour. Those who are slaves are to be taken to special camps with the Liberators, where they can be shown how to be free, and hopefully released to go back to Eurus once we find a way, to share their hope and their freedom with their fellow people. A thousands sparks to light a thousand fires.
The Lycene and Thrax have confirmed that they can reach Sungreet before the Eurusi arrive, so Preston seizes this chance, Preston will load that first third of the order onto ships at various points along the Arvum shore so that an army can make it to land at Sungreet. Preston has agreement from the Lyceum, Isles, Grayson and Redrain as well as the Faith fleets to help get the Templars across. The Seraph having been recalled by the mission led by Ailith, Preston will invite Duke Ivan to meet with him. He will make clear that the Faith is no longer bound by Guest Right and the Templars are here to resist the Eurusi. If Duke Ivan has not re-conciled with the Faith during actions by Ailith, Preston will give him a final chance to recant and reject the Eurusi. If not, Preston will as Carnifex declare Ivan an Apostate and invoke the old rights of the Faith, where Templars have removed nobles from power who are no longer in communion with the Faith and so beyond the Compact. The formal succession is a matter for Victus, but Preston will make it clear to the heir that he will have Templar support in his claim if he rejects his father's path and will stand Helianthus against the Eurusi and revoke the offer of safe harbour his father made. Preston will be relying in these talks with Ivan and his heir on the diplomats they have brought with them. Unless Duke Ivan forces the matter, Preston will try to keep him alive and imprisoned to be returned for trial.
Regardless, the Templars will take Sungreet and hold it against attack - hopefully with help from the Isles. Preston will bring siege engines up just to counter fire at any siege weapons they employ, but largely he is dependent on the levies having come from across Arvum. When Eurus arrive, he will seek to make clear to them that those who offered them sanctuary no longer are in the position for that - but in the name of the Gods, they may depart back to Eurus in peace. Dame Ida is named Master of the Siege Train.
If they are defeated at Sungreet, they will try to fall back if they can to the eastern coast and the Grayson war camps, where hopefully the rest of the Templar and Crusade muster should have gathered.
Action by Katryn
Freshly minted as a Knight Marshal, Katryn has little time to grow into the role before having to muster a response to the Eurusi aggression. The wisdom of her betters in tactics leads her to believe that Preston's arrangement of coastal defense and holdfasts - and the swelling of defense and patrol forces - would be a valuable use of troops, provisions, and supplies.
Troops she does not have before entreating her uncle, Philippe Blanchard. By his leave, Katryn pledges and commands the Chevalle Legionairre east, speeding men to the aid of the softer coastal areas. In addition, she accepts Philippe's tithe to the Crusade: a sizeable chunk of military provisions - rations, hardtack, spare weapons and assorted materiel - and practical products for conducting a mobile defense. Katryn adds her own accumulated resources to the task of erecting fresh watch posts and relays, ensuring the coastal lands are shored up and ready to deflect raiding attacks that are expected.
Action by Alban
While he remains in the city -- before he heads off on his diplomatic mission -- Alban is going to be doing the work of preparing for the Crusade as best he can. Mustering the troops, speaking publicly on the Glory of fighting for the Faith, and organizing supplies from his own resources as he can provide. He has offered his services fully to Preston for the duration, and is entirely committed to helping prepare for war.
Action by Ida
As it is possible they will have to defend Sungreet, Ida has been tasked with preparing the parts of the siege engines so that they might be transported and bolted together quickly on site. Where they might go and who will be setting them up is not up to her; the Templars have very skilled and knowledgeable people who take care of that. She will simply make sure all of the parts are in order and prepare them to be packed efficiently should they need to be used. She will also be on hand to help put them together and lend her strength to moving them, if need be. Not all knights wear shining armor, after all; some wear a simple smith's hammer on their belt.
Action by Raja
Raja is not an up in your face combat jocky. However, she /is/ more of a slink around and stab in the back sort of gal. She will help with information gathering and keeping an ear to the streets so to speak. She will offer her body and blade and whatever resources she can spare to help with this endeavor.
Action by Tescelina(RIP)
Tescelina joins with the Grandmaster of the Templars as a Disciple of Gloria. A knight of the Oathlands, she's prepared to protect others and engage in any hard fighting. But she is not there as an oppressor, or a conqueror, the innocent lives of the people of Sungreet and any Eurusi they come across she will of course take prisoner before anything else. Armed with her alaricite sword and her knightly regalia, she's as ready to be the vision of chivalry as she is to be its instrument.
Action by Teagan
While Teagan is no combatant, she has served on war councils. She is a member of the Academy of War and a student of strategy. However, she is also a diplomat. She will join Preston in his Crusade -- having been a steady supporter of the Templars -- bringing along a number of the Blackram Stonegiants and the Direhorns they have trained. While she is present to serve as a tactical leader and the Cloudspine forces are present to help if it should turn to battle, she is also there to provide her presence and voice in any diplomatic proceedings.
Action by Oili
Oili pledges herself to the Crusade under Preston's banner. Prior to going, she runs around to have a diamondplate bow fashioned and gather as many medical supplies for the crusade and Saving Grace as she can.
On the night before they leave, she'll make a last farewell to her family, beseaching them to join her on the journey. Oili doesn't take much. Her robes, cloak, and as many medical supplies as she can stuff into a bag. She's not expecting to get into a fight. If she does, she's ready to join her ancestors. She'll sneak off to a secluded spot and spend some time dancing around a fire, singing traditional songs, and praying to her gods, the spirits of the world - of everything around her. She doesn't ask for a blessing for herself. Instead, she asks the world to watch after the templars and warriors going off to fight the Eurusians and their abyssals. She asks for their protection, not her own.
Engaged in battle, she'll setup a battlefield clinic where Preston or the chain of command tells her to. She's seen war, the chaos of battle is no stranger to her. Wherever she goes, she'll get to people that need healing and patch them up. Hopefully, she'll be able to give someone the chance to go home that might not have had it.
Action by Orazio
"Gloria guide us,
Steady our sword arms to strengthen them;
Fly above us to keep our heads held high;
Hold beneath us so we keep our feet planted;
Run before us to lead us and behind us to
Around us to shield us;
Within us that we strike true and with honor.
In your name we meet our enemy,
In your name we will defeat them,
Yours is the glory
Ours the victory."
The entreat to Gloria was spoken over and over, once the banners of the Templar Order were cleaned and repaired the Dominus took his time in ensuring each was blessed individually as a symbol of hope and reinforcement of morale amidst the Faith Militant. Orazio stands beside Preston during the service he holds at the Great Cathedral, standing as a staunch presence in the midst of traditional orthodox rites.
In addition, the Most Holy sets aside time to specifically spend with Templars here in the city preparing for the excursion to Sungreet. He speaks with them, eats with them, laughs with them and most importantly -- he listens to them. Their fears, their hopes, their faith. The weeks leading up to the deployment, the Dominus can be found in the Shrine of Gloria or the Templar Compound devoting his personal time getting to know the men and women risking their lives for this cause.
Action by Sabella
Princess Sabella is no Templar and she's certainly not skilled with a blade, but what she is very, very good at is seeing all sides of a situation and making impassioned arguments and pleas to try to get people to agree to at least some terms in order to avoid bloodshed. She's along on this little venture specifically to try to talk Duke Ivan down. Let him know that surely while he thinks what he's doing is right, he needs to take a step back and look at what's happening around him. That she too wants to see this end diplomatically and the first step has to be with him. That he can still be a hero of this story, reconcile with the Faith, and keep the duchy in his family should his heir agree to Preston's offer. That a united Compact is a stronger Compact. All the delightful propaganda that might appeal to a man that's clearly looking to have his name in the history books--on the right side. The Compact's side. She is earnest and very, very good at making even unsavory outcomes sound promising. Which is good, because should things come to blows, well. She's there to make sure they don't. Best not to think about it!
Action by Rysen
Rysen, along with several hundred Crovane warriors and a number of large ships, join Preston on crusade under the Templar banner. He is present for the service in the Great Cathedral, dressed in Northland leathers, and cloaked in the white mantle of the Gold Order. His vigil is held in the Shrine of Lagoma, where he beseeches the Lady of Change for protection and courage in battle, as well as regenerative growth in the lives of the people of Sungreet and the Eurusi slaves who are forced into war.
Skilled in diplomacy, Rysen will serve in that capacity at Preston's pleasure, but should Ivan be declared an apostate, the Eurusi arrive in Sungreet, or both, the Knight of the Northlands, wielding a runed sword of black alaracite, and a rubicund arming sword adorned with shamanic motifs, joins any combat mission the Grand Master may assign him. With Victus's confirmation of Helianthus' role in the death of Asger, Rysen pours all of his blood, sweat and skill onto the battlefield, to bring justice for the murdered Crovane duke and victory to the Templars.
Action by Niklas
Prince Niklas Grayson on a crusade? Whaaaaaa? Well, it's his home turf! And he has a personal stake in it! So he's coming along with his wife to work as part of the Templars' small core of diplomats, looking to convince the locals of Sungreet that they're only there for the Eurusi and if Duke Ivan stands down and rescinds his invitation to the Prince of Skal'dajan then there will be no reason for any violence. It's all up to Ivan.
Action by Lorenzo
Prince Lorenzo Redrain has been sent on behalf of House Redrain to provide the support of the Redrain Navy, assisting the Templars in transporting troops and otherwise assisting their crusade effort. Although his natural empathy and diplomatic charm make going to war a surprising choice, Lorenzo demonstrates clear skills in both leadership and sailing abilities, ensuring the ships are shepherded safely, no matter the challenges. Additionally, his heartfelt belief that Skald's ideas of freedom (which he speaks about frequently, to any who listen) should be brought everywhere, including Eurus, give a certain heart to the journey, inspiring those who travel on the Redrain ships.
Roll Result: 60
It takes precious time to muster the templars for a crusade, and time is in short supply. The forces of the Faith and the Compact are racing to reach Sungreet at Farmorn Point before the massive Eurusi fleet arrives, and templars as guardians of the Faith of the Pantheon are spread through every domain in the Compact of Arvum. But a crusade is called by the first Carnifex of the Faith in generations. Time they can barely afford is spent getting word to every seraph in every domain, who in turn organize their templars, who in turn march to rally points in ports. The logistics are challenging on a scale that few in the Compact can truly appreciate, involving tens of thousands of people and all of their own requirements, with hundreds of ships across hundreds of domains to carry soldiers, their armor, and even the potentially absolutely vital siege weapons overseen by Dame Ida Ferron, but in the end it all comes together with a frenetic haste.
Massive military troop movements are almost always a matter of 'hurry up and wait' and tradeoffs and sacrifices, with trying to make as good use of the time they have available as possible. During the time spent waiting on additional troops to arrive so they set sail, it's a time of moving speeches and solemn prayer. The Dominus Orazio speaks movingly of what is at stake, not just for the Compact but the world. Rysen leads prayers, with his Crovane troops giving homage to spirits of the wind and waves for safe travels, and prayers to the Gods of the Pantheon for much the same. Preston is leading his templars, and sees a glimmers of a fervor that has long been absent in the Compact. Blanchard, Blackram, Crovane, Farsaw along with thousands of templars come together, overseen by Katryn, Teagan, Rysen, Alban and Preston. And always weighing the risks of the Eurusi arriving faster than expected versus moving with too few, they sail.
As speed is critical in trying to reach Sungreet before the Eurusi arrive, there are some sacrifices made in organization. The Lycene fleet meets with the forces of House Thrax, and elements of the Grayson navy and Redrain and Crovane forces help with the shipping, but unless they are willing to risk arriving well after the Eurusi, there's simply not enough time to condense the forces or to instill the level of organization that would create a cohesive order of battle if it came to a massive fleet engagement with the Skal'dajans. Drills happen as they sail to Sungreet, and Lorenzo, Rysen, Preston, Teagan, Alban and Katryn do their best to keep the forces ready by the time they arrive, but anything requiring speed is going to be a matter of trade offs. But fortune is with them as the first signs of Farmorn Point are seen on the horizon- there are no Eurusi yet at Sungreet. The ships of House Helianthus and its vassals after tense moments do not contest the waters but the docks of Sungreet itself have been sealed with a mighty moving seawall, and so his forces make landfall on the beaches a short distance outside of the city. Speed, as always, is a decisive factor.
Thousands of Helianthus troops are there to meet them along with a voice, rather than Duke Ivan Helianthus himself, as the templars arrive on the beaches of Farmorn Point. Far more soldiers than to be expected, and the identity of the voice explains why. In a shockingly crass depature from Mourning Islander tradition, the Voice is the 'honorable' Sir Piotr Grimkin, a leader of the ill-reputed mercenary group the Undrowned Sons. A man of dark reputation even among sellswords, the newest Voice of House Helianthus was disowned by his family for having those who slighted him brutalized and murdered another noble in an honor duel. The companies of Undrowned Sons and House Helianthus are obviously arrayed for battle in a show of force, even if there is still a hope it can be resolved diplomatically. Preston and others waste little time seeing to his own order of battle, and the hope for peace shines brighter as the sellswords and Helianthus make no effort to contest this, without the bloody engagement that might be expected from a force trying to take advantage of the vulnerability of arriving on shore. Talks begin. Preston's demands are given, with the announcement of Duke Ivan Helianthus' formal excommunication reaching his immediate subjects and bannermen, and obvious surprise going through the ranks of some of his soldiers. The Faith's instructions for Duke Ivan's atonement is given, allowing him the chance to recant his views and deny the Eurusi harbor. Sir Piotr and his fellows speak about this at length, giving unacceptable counter offers, and how Duke Ivan needs time to consider the matter. Sabella is instrumental in trying to plead for peace and a diplomatic resolution, but House Helianthus keeps asking for more time to consider it. It becomes increasingly obvious to Sabella that they are trying to buy time for the Eurusi to arrive, and there's word reaching the Templar camps through informants like Raja that the Eurusi are close, and indeed some Arvani have even sailed ahead to meet with them. Sabella can tell they aren't attempting to negotiate in good Faith, and the decision falls upon Preston, who has been declared Carnifex, the supreme enforcer of the Faith.
So Sir Preston, Grandmaster of the Templars and Carnifex of the Faith, declares Duke Ivan Helianthus an apostate. For a long, tense moment it is dead silent on the beaches of Farmorn Point. Just for a moment.
It's not entirely clear who attacks first. Sir Piotr yells "UNDROWNED SONS!" and at the sound of a yell, templars and Helianthus soldiers alike draw steel. There's shouts from the city, and a slightly too pious Oathlands templar near Preston shouts, "DEATH TO APOSTATES!" Even as Preston turns to speak, the first arrows are flying in both directions as Sir Piotr Grimkin withdraws behind a raising wall of shield and spears. Shouts of "KNOCK, LOOSE!" are heard near ranks of archers, and no sooner do the first arrows begin to fall that Rysen is leading his Crovane warriors in a charge, in a desperate bid to stop the shield wall from fully forming up on advantageous ground. Undrowned Sons spearmen on an incline with archers behind them would be punishing if left uncontested, and there's hardly any time to think, as Rysen leads a desperate charge to cover the ground before the enemy can fully prepare themselves. With a valor that draws a roar of battlecries from his Crovane, Lord Rysen leaps into the wall of shield and spears, battering aside spears with deft skill and his dark alaricite sword cutting through shield and platemail as if it was parchment. A break in their line of spearmen form as his Crovane warriors pour through, routing one unit of archers on the closest hill as the battle truly begins.
Teagan on the rear lines is carefully studying the order of battle of House Helianthus and their sellswords, and patterns begin to emerge to her in their strategies. She is able to accurately predict several coordinated movements, and identify the meaning of trumpet calls. She's silent for a moment in intense calculation, and then issues quick orders to her Blackram troops. Blackram pike and archers form up on the far flank of the templars, which had been unthreatened and seems like a poor deployment and draws objections from some templars, which cut off as the thunderous sound of heavy cavalry round a hillside in a surprise bid to hammer the templar flank and try to roll up their lines. There's shout and screams as the cavalry impact brutally with hundreds of disciplined Blackram pikemen, who repulse the cavalry and inflict brutally heavy losses.
Preston leads the templar main advance and steady march towards the city gates of Sungreet, fighting inch by inch for ground as he steadily pushes back the main line of Helianthus and sellsword troops. With Crusader in hand, he cuts his way through Helianthus lines, the templars screaming 'GLORIA' around him. Several arrows hit Preston's rubicund armor, as he's taking fire as the commander, which doesn't seem particularly fair if anyone was to ask him, but is probably expected. His brief thanks they were still outside range of archers positioned on the walls of Sungreet gives way to consternation as scores of ballista on the walls start to fire, with tree-limb sized spears cutting through the templar ranks as they steadily push forward. And then the top of the western wall of Sungreet explodes in rock and smashed ballistae as the first of Ida's catapults and trebuchets fire, drawing a roar of cheers from the templars.
Dozens of Helianthus ships are moving to ram the Fleet of the Faith as Lorenzo briskly gives orders, his longships answering arrowfire with kind and siege weapons on the dromonds smashing each others decks. Lorenzo manages to deftly sail his ships to avoid the worst of the ramming, but at least two fire ships impact setting ships ablaze, and battle on the decks of the vessels is joined in mass boarding actions.
As the templars draw ever closer to the gates of the City, there's another thunderous rumble as a second wave of cavalry tries to crash along the templar lines. This time, Tescalina leads the cavalary of the templars in a counter charge to meet them, lances lowering and glittering the bright of the noon day sun moments before the two lines smash against one another. The Knight of Sunflowers keeps her horse, fighting a desperate sword duel with an Undrowned Captain before cutting him down, and the Templar cavalry breaks the ranks of the Sons before riding hard against remaining Helianthus archer lines outside the city and putting them to flight. Blanchard troops push back a counter attack by pike, and part of the Helianthus flank outside the city is crumbling.
Arrows start to rain down from the walls of Sungreet as Preston's main lines finally begin to get into range, though Ida's siege weapons are steadily demolishing the western wall and making it difficult for archers to keep their positions. The fight on the main line is intense, with Helianthus' troops giving ground and Sir Piotr Grimkin pulling them steadily into a smaller wedge that will use the gate of the city as a choke point. As the city gates open, there's glimpses past the Helianthus lines of fighting behind them. A figure with a glaive standing in the opened gate fighting Helianthus soldiers, and fighting in the streets between what looks like thralls and Helianthus bannermen. Smoke begins to rise from the city of Sungreet. Raja brings word- a thrall rebellion is underway.
Losses are heavy, with Preston taking one arrow wound in the shoulder that managed to ever so slightly penetrate his armor, and several more that fortunately do not manage to penetrate. Oili is franatically working with the Mercies and other physicians seeing to the huge number of desperately wounded, keeping a triage station as she saves life after life, and eases the comfort of all too many beyond her help. The Helianthus and Undrowned Son forces outside of their main wedge are beginning to be surrounded by Crovane and Blackram troops, fighting in desperate, brutal packets with a fortunate number heeding Sabella's calls to throw down their arms and surrender.
On the sea, Lorenzo's flagship is hit by a catapult which smashes the deck and taking water, and the mighty dromond begins to sink. Lorenzo shifts the flag and boards the closest galley, taking the fight still to the Helianthus fleet which begins to limp away towards Sungreet's seawall.
Step by step, the Templars get closer to the city, and through the gate they can now see Helianthus troops fighting other Helianthus troops. Raja brings word that Lord Trevor Helianthus, the Sword of Sungreet and the Duke's son and heir, has turned against his father which could well be because of the propaganda campaign by Niklas. The rebelling thralls are gaining ground in the city, and Preston sees some freed Eurusi thralls fighting the rear of Helianthus' wedge, screaming the words in Arvani, "FREE! FREE! FREE!" It may be the only words of Arvani they know. With a defeaning crash, the west wall of Sungreet collapses under Ida's siege weapons, and templars and Blackram troops are able to pour around to enter the city. Rysen and the Crovane have rejoined the front lines of the templars, and in a shockingly brutal swordfight in which Rysen takes an ugly sword wound in his side and a scar against his cheek, he manages to run through Sir Piotr Grimkin and some of the Undrowned Sons drop their weapons and run. The front lines of Duke Ivan Helianthus' loyalists are buckling outside the city, and cheers and screams are heard all throughout the templar lines. Hours and hours of brutal fighting, and the sun starting to set, but victory is at hand.
And then there is the sound of war drums.
Marching from down the coast, banners flying the Golden Manacles of the Dune Kingdom of Skal'daja crest the near hill as their drums beat steadily. Disciplined Eurusi spearmen march in tight formation followed by thousands of soldiers armed with scimitars, and in the far rear are men in golden armor. Those soldiers wear surcoats with the symbol of a golden whip and three rubies underneath to represent blood, and carry leashes attached to thirteen collars of soldiers in front of them. At the sight of them, there's screams from several rebelling Eurusi thralls, and the words, "The Anointed Masters!" can be heard. The remaining Helianthus loyalists holding the gates of the city rally, and it's clear to Teagan that the Eurusi mean to pin the templar forces against the city and remaining defenders, envelope and completely annihilate them. And to that, there is a clear answer as the templar and Blackram lines wheel to meet the Eurusi charge. Shouts of Gloria and Eurusi battle cries echo at the same time before the lines meet. And then they clash.
The Arvani lines begin to buckle almost immediately under the onslaught. The Helianthus troops were experienced and dangerous, but the sheer ferocity of the Eurusi infantry is unexpected. To make matters worse, they are obviously extremely skilled- the Dune Kingdoms have been fighting a constant war for over a decade, and these troops are very obviously veterans as they smash against the desperate Arvani lines. Preston, Alban, Rysen, Teagan, Katryn- they are all repositioning their troops against the greater threat as the templar lines need reinforced time and again, and the dead begin to pile as Preston, Tescelina and Rysen fight their way to the Eurusi front.
As the lines buckle, Eurusi and templars devolve into a brutal melee. Arvani and Eurusi are falling by the score, and then the Anointed Masters gradually come into arrow range. They see men with leashed collars around their necks drop down and pull out war slings, which truthfully is somewhat of a relief as slingers are not much threat to heavily armored templars. Most Abandoned in Arvum eschew slings as weapons since they are relatively ineffective against castle forged steel, but the Eurusi seem to be paying that no heed as their taskmasters bark orders. Preston has a moment to notice that Crusader is suddenly extremely hot in his hand as the first slingers start to fire.
It's not entirely clear if they are throwing stones. The projectiles move so fast that it is hard for the eye to track them, but they were probably black stones. Indifferent to the fact that Eurusi and Arvani are tied in a confused great melee, the stones hit and punch clean through heavily armored templars, through the people behind them, and perhaps a dozen people deep before they stop. Tescelina takes a hit in her left arm, brutally wounding her as she keeps fighting. Scores of Crovane and Blackram troops fall and hundreds of templars start to drop in a moment as archers frantically return fire at the Anointed Masters' slingers. The slingers seem completely indifferent to being targeted, as they keep slinging more black stones even as arrows fall among them and several begin to die, while others just keep slinging through their wounds.
One Anointed Master steps forward in his golden armor and unshoulders an extremely ornate black runed bow, shooting an arrow in a high arc above the battlefield. As the arrow arcs and starts to come downward, it splits, and hundreds of arrows rain down over the templar ranks and burst into flame as they land the ground, with smoke and flame spreading throughout the templar ranks. The Master starts to knock another arrow and pulls to fire, but then he has to swing and parry Tescelina's sword with his bow, and drops it to draw a wickedly long dagger pulses with a dark light. Even through the intense, brutal melee and the screams of the dying, the sound of the Master's chanting echoes as he duels with Tescelina. In a whirl of blades, they parry each others blows with the Master finally slipping his dagger deep into Tescelina's chest. As her blood stains the trampled sunflowers underfeet, Tescelina suddenly bursts into flame and the Eurusi screams in horror as the flames surround him, turning him and his belongings to ash as Tescelina crumbles to the ground and lays still forevermore.
Scores more templars are dying by the moment under the constant barrage of the slingers, though the stones falter as a single armored figure is among the Eurusi's rear, a crowned woman fighting with a glaive as robed Eurusi and golden armored Anointed Masters rush her with arcs of fire flying through the air. Even without the stones, the Eurusi infantry is gradually cutting through the templar lines, and Preston frantically is rallying his troops and keeping them from breaking entirely, though even at a quick glance as much of half of his forces are now out of action, and the Eurusi show no signs of breaking as they try to prevent a fighting withdrawal. Friendly Helianthus forces and rebelling thralls are keeping the forces of Duke Ivan at bay, but some Eurusi are in the city, and it is steadily looking like a slaughter.
And that was before a second Eurusi force arrives on the beach. As the second Eurusi charge with another few thousand soldiers, there doesn't appear to be much option but to go for a fighting withdrawal and try to save what forces Preston can. His troops start to shift so they can cover a retreat to the boats, and at least the new Eurusi forces seem to be moving not to cut him off, but to reinforce the other Eurusi lines- which is a small mercy and might well save his command. It looks particularly grim for the forces in the city, as some might be able to slip through the Helianthus loyalists, but the majority will be trapped, including those who organized the thrall rebellion. But perhaps after the rest of the templar forces rally with the rest of the Compact, they'll be able to stage a rescue. If Preston's able to successfully withdraw at all.
The second Eurusi force promptly attacks the first one.
Almost immediately, the tide of the fight turns, as the Eurusi begin to fight a withdrawal themselves and the newly arriving Eurusi put them to flight. The Anointed Taskmasters stop their slaves firing at the Arvani and turn towards the other Eurusi, and Eurusi within the brutal melee fight themselves free and in some cases rout. Inside the city, the Helianthus loyalists fight a withdrawal to the docks, and almost in moments the hostile Eurusi force is withdrawing to their ships while under assault by Arvani archers and the other Eurusi. Leading the friendly Eurusi is the Crown Prince of Skal'daja, Prince Damik'uhl'daja who is accompanied by Lady Monique Greenmarch, Anisha Whisper, Delia Whisper, Prince Sebastian Pravus, Ras, Lady Alessia Mazetti and several Eurusi carrying the body of Swift Grayhope. Prince Damik'uhl'daja asks in heavily accented Arvani, "How does one join the Compact?"