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Storming of Arx: Lower Boroughs


May 6, 2017, 3:55 p.m.

Hosted By


GM'd By



Orazio(RIP) Leta Sparte Anze(RIP) Freja(RIP) Aureth Asher(RIP) Ferrando Tristan Gisele Calaudrin Torian Magpie Baalphrigor Avasyn Agnarr Serafine(RIP) Orathy Fortunato Merek



Arx - Lower Boroughs - Graveyard of Arx - The Pit

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Storming of Arx: Lower Boroughs has started at Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Ramparts.

Anze gives Asger a slug in the arm when he walks past the Crovaine duke. There is a nod to Kahlana as well. "Crovaine" he says in greeting. "Don't do anythin stupid." He says before continuing on, nodding to Darren and Morrighan and muttering something to Morri before saying to darren "lead us well little cousin."

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Orazio before departing.

4 Culler Hoodlums leaves, following Torian.

4 Culler Hoodlums, 2 Culler Brute arrive, following Torian.

Freja wields dual-wielded Northern broadaxes with opaline runes.

Ferrando wields Negotiation, a flanged alaricite mace.

Agnarr wields spiked greataxe with turned bloodwood haft.

There's no sound. The experienced at war are used to drum beats. Shouted orders. The clamor of those building their courage and seeking to gain some advantage of the enemy and test their nerve. There is none of that. The Silent Army has labored in the past weeks building the siege towers, and now as one they stand and turn towards Arx, the tens of thousands of shavs arrayed in a great line that stretches from the beaches of Arx to past the far western wall of the city. And they start to march.

Slowly, at first. Scores of siege towers leave the treeline, the dozens of the towers all slowly, steadily rolling towards different parts of the wall from the Ward of House Valardin to Redrain to Thrax, with a sizable body slowly marching along the narrow strand to come towards the Seawatch Gate. Not in range yet, but soon, and with them walk tens of thousands of archers, a promise of a volley to come. Minutes will creep by, in steadily building anticipation as the only sound greeting the defenders are the barely audible protests of the wood of the siege towers rolling forward.

Orazio stands, with members of the Faithful and the Knights of Solace, as well as a collection of healers and runners of bandages. The Legate is white-clad, and his expression is controlled, radiating a kind of serene confidence in their victory that no doubt took years of practice to create, much less maintain. "Let us pray," he says, to those collected, and lifts his voice in a prayer to Gloria, to the Queen, and to each member of the Pantheon that they might guide and guard those present. "Let our hands and hearts protect our people, as the gods protect our souls. Let the darkness be banished, and the enemy be brought to rout. Let courage be our guide, and wisdom our watchword, and we shall bring justice and truth to all that threaten!"

((Defenders on each wall manning a siege weapon can check dexterity + archery at 45 for those personally manning. The commander at each ward can pick up to 3 people (including themselves) to check command + war or leadership at 40 to encourage or direct fire))

Orathy has worked long hours with Lord Harald Grimhall to oversee the protection of the Lowers. He's come toward the pits, since that's where the Bringers had wanted in previous attempts at the Lowers, walking alongside with Torian, and their gang of thugs. Orathy's got a red steel axe at his side, free of it's belt, held in a firm grip with his right hand. He pauses at overhearing the prayers from the Faithful, looking over at Torain, "Reckon this be where them Bringers wanted ta get to befer. We can be standin with them... eh?"

Gisele's voice is a soft and sweet complement to the main rumble of the combined prayers. She's performing multiple duties today-- bandage-runner, desperation healer, assisting priest. Her complexion is near as white as the robes she wears but the hand which rolls a string of prayer beads through her fingers seems steady enough, and so too is her voice. Prayer: it does a spirit good.

Hours before the silent advance had begun, a small contingent of Redrain and Knights of Solace led by Freja and Fergus Redrain, accompanied by Agnarr, journey deep into the pits with Freja acting as guide. They vanish and aren't seen or heard from by those that gather as the armies advance. Whispers abound and word travels slowly in murmurs, something about the Point.

The army marches steadily forward. The siege towers finally roll within range of the defenders' trebuchets and catapults, stationed all along Arx's walls. The attackers have no such siege weapons, seemingly they'll be relying upon scaling the walls with ladder and tower, or forcing a break at the seawatch gate with rams. This does give a brief window of uninterrupted fire for the siege weapons of the defenders.

Torian marches, if you can call it that, with Orathy leading the 'troops' that they've gathered. Some other rough looking men in leather armed with knives and axes and other common weapons. He's usually rather verbose, his smile coming to his face easy and often. Now is another matter. He nods in agreement with his 'Champion' and looks around, eyes sharp and face set sternly.

Aureth, whose name may one day be written in the annals of history as a synonym for _hubris_, is armed and armored in a full kit of plate armor decorated by skull, spider and bat. He gleams with an inner fire of intensity and comes armed, Duke Cassius of the Knights of Solace at his side, with the dead: armed and armored skeletons, and of course, the groaning, grumbling hoard of the zombies. Beneath the helm, only Aureth's pale eyes are partly visible in his face with the golden fringe of his pale hair peeking from beneath the skull helm's set.

For all that he is not a native of the Lower Borroughs, Tristan has put in more than his share in guarding the Pits. He is here again, battle mastiff at his feet, simple sound in hand, looking grim.

Magpie just stands quietly, that cuff with mirrors on his arm. His lucky flask is hanging from his belt. He stands with Aureth and Fortunato, "Aureth... probably should have asked this sooner, but.. if you go down, what happens to all your new friends?" He asks with a wary glance towards the undead.

Griffin, a gray falcon arrives, delivering a message to Tristan before departing.

"Uhm," Aureth says, and he inches surreptitiously closer to the brilliantly armored figure of Cassius as he answers Magpie, "Let's not find out."

"Gods... that's not a happy thought," breathes Gisele. She redoubles her prayer beads fidgeting.

Board strapped to side, staff strapped to back, bag hung off other side, Fortunato is overladen and clumsy, but here in Aureth's shadow, prepped to document or poorly defend. During the prayers, he murmurs inaudibly, stringing graphite between his fingers.

"I'll do my very best to pretend to be you." Magpie answers softly, "Maybe they won't realize the difference." He can't help but glance over at the undead again, though, nervousness still in his eyes.

Serafine elbows Leta lightly, in the middle of tightening a strap on the blonde. "Look. Army of dead." We could probably use a boomstick.

"Bob," Aureth calls sharply, "remember what we talked about. /No nibbling/. Wait your turn!" This is reassuring to all, right?

"It is to be hoped that the Queen will not allow the gift she has given will not turn against the defenders of the city," Orazio says, and does his best to look as if he has no doubts in that front. He gives a LOOK to Aureth's sharp call, then sighs.

Gisele sidles a little closer to Orazio. Who is surely stern enough to intimidate even peckish zombies.

Thankfully, Agnarr is not on the surface world to be a dickhead or chop apart the army of the dead for fun.

Fire begins to come from Arx, from ballistae, catapults and trebuchets. In the Ward of House Valardin, Fiachra manning a catapult scores a solid hit on siege tower, and directed commands from Prince Edain and Valerion manage to land successive follow up blows that collapse it. Princess Katarina helps direct two teams who together shatter a second, the tower falling with the eerie silence and lack of expected screams. House Redrain fares less well, but still manages to land a hit through Tallius and the direction of Darren, not destroying a tower but damaging one enough where it might be stalled, and shavs pour of it to make repairs. House Thrax has mostly frustrating misses, until Duke Harald Grimhall, possibly from pure intimidation, inspires a catapult team whose boulder hits dead center of a siege tower, shattering it and almost certainly crushing ever shav inside.

The fire from the eastern gates is heaviest, with perhaps the greatest concentration of forces as the point attacked before. Calypso and Maude each directing teams that bring down a tower each, with Ywaine firing a ballista that damages another under Niccolo's direction.

But still, they come on. A number destroyed or damaged, but scores remain. Dozens, maybe hundreds of shavs killed, out of tens of thousands. And now they are walking into arrow range, and a storm is likely to follow.

Orathy and Torian stand with their rag tag group of Culler men at arms, each one bred and raised in the Lowers, likely to fight as quick and brutally as they appear. "Reckon we best stay in charge of our own men, but aye, tha one there, looks like the leader of them knights," he nods toward Orazio, readying his axe as his head turns toward the sounds of the battle rising in volume.

((This time, anyone can do the same checks, including for base archery. And -everyone- on the ramparts or at the seawatch gate might be pelted with arrows. Everyone check luck + dodge at 10))

Tristan glances over his shoulder and sighs. He shifts his weight from one foot to another. "I had meant to be in the Palace," he said. "But." But the world's in danger of ending and this is where he ended up. He tests the heft of his sword, as familiar as it is, and bows his head to breathe a quick prayer.

Orazio smiles at Gisele, reaching out to pat her shoulder gently. "We shall be well, Sister. Just keep a sharp eye out. This sort of chaos is likely to be a good time to try and slip past the defenders." He nods to Orathy and Torian, and his eyes turn to where the sounds of siege engines and cries of the dying ring out. "With any luck, we won't be needed here. But if we are, I know that we are equal to the task."

((For regular archery, difficulty at 15.))

Magpie just shifts uncomfortably, lacking any kind of military training. When he's not staring at those skeletons and zombies, he's looking at the Pit, or off towards the harbor. Then Orazio's words seem to remind him of something. "Oh yeah..." The sailor murmurs, and will look at that cuff of mirrors he's wearing, doing a quick check to make sure everyone around him still has reflections.

Torian nods to Orathy, "They're good boys. They'll follow your lead brother." He looks around at the assembled men, his men at least. "Drinks and a stout meal on me tonight boys." They are simple folk, and the promise of a free anything lifts their spirits. In the face of a potentially unspeakable enemy, free drinks are a decent motivator. Some of them might have already motivated themselves a little before arriving.

Gisele tilts a wan smile up at Orazio. "Gods willing," she murmurs before turning summer blue eyes back to the task of watching for sneaks. She dips at one point to fill one hand with soil. Not to fidget with, not to throw (at least not yet) but just a fistful of dirt. To hold, while her gaze runs over those collected here, and her courage triiies to steady up under the senior priest's patting reassurance.

Leta is just tagging along besides Serafine, pollaxe over one shoulder. And while she's locally bred and raised, she cuts a rather jovially colorful figure, jewelry and all, smiling from behind her bright shiny helmet. It's not easy to hold on to the smile as she looks around. "I hear the hammer end's good for skeletons." is her reply to Serafine's remark. Then she starts studying a nearby wall.

Fortunato unstraps the canvas-bound board. Angling himself for better detail work on the undead horde without getting too close, he starts sketching furiously. His way of muting apprehension.

"I actually think the skeletons look really dignified," Aureth says, possibly to Fortunato. He sounds pleased.

Orathy looks behind at their crew, canting his head, "Aye, reckon they be followin less they want get a fist to their noses, eh?" He jests, a sort of roll of his shoulders make to elevate the tension as the heightened cries of battle are ominous echoes. "Reckon we can be hopin fer that gate ta be holdin up there..." He turns back to look toward the plumes of smoke, "Aye, lets us drink all night iffin we get through this."

Shavs start to fall, likewise soldiers begin to fall from the walls from shav arrows, though losses are particularly light in Redrain's walls under the direction of Anze's infantry acting as shieldmen. The fire from House Valardin's ward is a bit poor, not properly accounting for the sudden high wins, and the siege towers draw ever closer. House Thrax's fire directed by Harald is effective, and another tower goes down, though oddly it seems as if most of the towers are now avoiding the Ward of House Thrax- they seem to be splitting their forces to mass towards the western towards in Redrain and Valardin, possibly on account of the poorer fire, and towards the seawatch gate. Perhaps a thousand are still coming towards Thrax, which looks intimidating to defenders, but to those further in the rear and watching the flow of the battle, Donella Thrax notes the disposition against the Thrax Ward is unusually light.

Towards the Seawatch gate, the fire is the heaviest, and wordlessly the Silent Army is marching over hundreds of dead, and dozens of siege towers continue to roll towards the gate even as two more collapse, one pitching off the cliff and into the sea. The shavs go to a knee for another volley.

((Same rolls gang for this round, still luck and dodge to see about arrows, and archery or command/war. And then we'll be into melee)).

Magpie glances over to Aureth, "Should have brought them some nice hats to wear. Maybe some cloaks or jackets. They're probably feeling exposed..." He says with another look at the undead. Do they mill? Do they stand perfectly still?

Mostly? The skeletons stand with stillness like troopers, waiting with the grim patience of a standing army. Occasionally one of their heads will turn. The zombies are restive, restless, groaning, and occasionally start wandering off until Aureth says things like, "Hey, I saw that."

Magpie looks at the newest Godsworn, commenting after the latest zombie correctional command, "You have no idea how much I'm freaking out on the inside right now, Aureth. I just want you to know that."

Zombies are such divas. If Gisele knew the word divas, she'd probably be thinking it very very loudly right now. Instead, she remains in the lee of Orazio and keeps up her watch, while murmuring prayers. Surely the truly pious are a less tempting snack to the bored undead.

"I'd tell you to picture them naked but a lot of them don't have skin," Aureth tells Magpie, sympathetically.

Serafine looks at Aureth. Twitches.

Orazio glances over at Magpie. "It's...a little unsettling, I have to agree. But at least...they're on our side." Yes, DEFINITELY on our side.

"This part's fine," Fortunato informs everyone as he sketches. It's in a pure informative tone, in fact, not even trying to be reassuring. "Also like the skeleton aesthetic best, but I respect active decay as well." Okay, then.

Songbird, a mastiff have been dismissed.

Orathy glances over toawrd Orazio, "Oy, since when ya summonin demons ta help with ya eh?" He points his finger toward the standing dead looking skeletons, because that is kind of freaky.

The first confirmed bringer falls from an arrow shot by Merek at the Seawatch Gate, the thing seeming to dissolve shortly after its shot. First, but certainly not the last, as the arrow fire tapers off and finally the siege towers are approaching the walls of Arx- save strangely the Ward of House Thrax, where it seems no attack comes yet. At the Ward of House Valardin and Redrain, and particularly at the Sewatch Gate, towers roll up to the walls and ladders begin to go up, and by the thousands shavs begin to try to climb.

Along the coast, Admiral Alrec reports that hundreds of rafts and canoes and other ricky vessels are hugging the coast towards the Gray River. Cheap, expendable craft with no more than a handful of shavs each, but obviously intending to storm the Lower Boroughs. The Pravus, Thrax and Argento vessels in the bay under the command of the Admiral turn to rake them with archery fire and capsize them, but some are certain to get through.

Leta is mildly perturbed by the undead army, and makes faces, though they are thankfully concealed at least in part by her helmet. "We could just go see to the Boroughs and keep an eye out in case there's anything climbing over any walls or hiding behind them, things like that. Or cave dragons. Though they make walls fall down, too." she suggests, elbow nudging the Velenosa in the side.

"They're not demons and they're here to help," Aureth says. He clanks as he shifts his weight from foot to foot. "Honestly, piss in the face of a miracle, why don't you."

Magpie just gives Orazio a weak smile, "I know.. I know. I've had weeks to get used to the idea, but..." He shakes his head all the same, then eyes Orathy. "They're-... What Aureth said." He just rolls his eyes, but at least it helps him with some of his tension.

((Now anyone can try to stop the scaling ladders- boiling oil, throwing rocks, shooting arrows, et cetera. Even with no archery skill, everyone can roll dexterity + archery at 10 in a mass attritional attack. Still can up to 3 people that roll command. Lower Boroughs, you can also pick 3 people to check command + war or leadership at 15 to start to organize a Lower Boroughs defense))

There's a quick motion, a kind of blur, and in from the streets of the Lowers bursts a man in leather armor, holding a dagger. It's not made of anything great, but it's well-sharpened. But he stops when he realizes the undead

Torian elbows his champion, Orathy, on the sly. Whispering a little. "Just don't piss in our faces and call it rain." He fills his hand with his ax, jumping up and down to get the blood flowiing for battle. "Any monster that falls instead of me is a miracle I'll drink to." He whips his axe through the air and it whistles from the holes in the head.

((For clarification, everyone on the walls can check dex + archery, up to 3 people can check war/command))

"Fuckin abyss, ya call them a fuckin miracle?" Orathy snorts a little, "Aye well, they look fuckin dead to me... ain't fuckin godly nuthin bout that..." Orathy shrugs his shoulders, resting his free hand on his belt, spitting to the side. The elbow he gets from Torian has him grunt, "Aye, fuck it eh, miracle it tis then boys..."

Something very much like an uncharacteristic ire flashes in Gisele's eyes, as they settled briefly on Orathy. The mild-mannered priestess says nothing, of course. She's just not that person. So back she goes to scanning the crowds and the grounds, on the lookout for enemies.

"Damned hot in here," Agnarr complains, holding a big fat candle in his left as he waits within the pits themselves, his only company a few knights, a shaman, and the pit's darkness.

There's a quick motion, a kind of blur, and in from the streets of the Lowers bursts a man in leather armor, holding a dagger. It's not made of anything great, but it's well-sharpened. But he stops when he realizes the undead 'army' there is on Aureth's side. Good enough. His hood is pulled down. It's Asher! "Oh. Not late. Well that's good." A glance to Aureth. "Not lying, huh? Death knows how to bring the show of force for Good."

Orathy checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Asher wields a plain dagger of excellent make.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.

"Death's a goddess," Fortunato milds as he sketches. "So the dead are godly." He's easing through the last of this preliminary sketch. "Maybe not light and lovely, but still godly." There's a faint tension to his shoulders building. As time passes.

Serafine shrugs. "Goddesses like pretty things too. I bet you can put some bulbs and seeds in these guys after they fall and they'd make right good fertilizer. Pretties petunias you've ever seen, aye?"

As the sounds of battle grow closer, Orazio's expression settles into a grimly determined mask. He takes up a position where he can be clearly seen in his white and gold armor, and shouts to the Knights, "Defenders in the name of Gild, brave Knights of the Silver Order. Here we make our stand, by the side of our comrades, and a miracle of the Pantheon itself. Form up, and stand tall. NO ONE breaks through this line!"

"Please do not garden inside my army," Aureth says sharply.

Magpie eyes Serafine, "Maybe... not.. you know, talk about things like that right in front of them? In case they can hear you?" He suggests, for more edgy than the sailor usually is.

Serafine stops trying to feed one of them a tulip bulb. "Aye, sorry 'bout that."

Tristan snorts. "Such is the circle of life. Endings and beginnings. But let's accept their help in their current form for now, no?" He edges toward the perimeter, and, starts calling to various people to mount some sort of organized show of force.

A voice asks from a corpse literally hanging on the side of the pit as Bob the Rotting asks, "So... about the ones coming in, we can eat those, right?"

Orathy snorts, "What ever ya gotta tell yourselves ta sleep at night! Aint my fuckin concern eh?! Dead or livin, looks like we be havin werk to do..." He hears the calls from the lowers, where he's worked steady hours with Grimhall to set up warning systems and ambushes, "OY. Looks like we'll be seein some company." He signals to the Cullers to stay together, "Jist be duckin' 'n dodging... Aint no reason ta get yourselves killed aye. We be workin better as a unit, as we be training!" He nods to Orazio and the others, "We be flanking as we can...!"

Leta elbows Serafine. She's still looking slightly put off by the whole undead situation, and shifts uneasily, adjusting her grip on her pollaxe, but still tries to moderate the Knight's impulses. "Hm. Right." she tilts her head at the sounds of war and glances about, "Form a line, is it? A line's fine."

"Yes! Eat those ones!-- I guess." Aureth doesn't pause longer than a heartbeat to look uncomfortable. He points, rocking forward onto the toes of his heavy, spider-decorated boots. "Kill the ones who are coming in! The ones who are attacking us! Especially if they're Bringers!" That'll help. Eating Bringers. Zombie indigestion.

Serafine grabs Leta and bangs her helmeted brow to hers, as kissing would be awkward. There's the clang of metal hitting metal and she moves into position.

Gisele tags along behind Orazio, ready to dash at a moment's notice but mostly just remaining near the Legate, close at hand and /likely/ taking more security from his presence than he from hers. But under her breath, murmured prayers have become murmured numbers, with overheard orders from the commanders in the area being relayed sotto voce to the Father and Aureth.

"Thaaaat's not creepy at all." Magpie mutters under his breath at the conversation between Aureth and Bob. He'll reach to draw his dagger, holding it calmly at his side.

Asher gets up to Magpie and stands beside him, looking to where he expects the Shavs and Bringers to come from, dagger being held tight. "So... Aside from the army being literally raised, what did I miss? And uh. I get the feeling that this dagger isn't going to do much. Unless I had a second one." The zombie speaking just makes Asher shudder, and try to ignore it. He'll deal with that later, assuming he lives, via large amounts of drink. Assuming the drinks survive.

Fortunato eases back near Aureth, removing filled canvas to bind fresh canvas on now, now, before things inevitably get crazed and chaotic and bloody. Right! He says to his brother, "Hoping you don't need me to defend you at any point, because I am /provenly shitty/ at it."

Smoke bombs fall from the wall of House Redrain, a concotion created by Vallery which seem to be causing havoc among the shavs attempting to scale the walls. It becomes obvious quickly that most of the forces that were attempting to attack the walls around the Ward of House Thrax have turned towards Redrain, and the heaviest hammer blows are falling upon Redrain and the Seawatch gate. The defenders are fighting furiously, and they have all the advantages as shavs try to scale. Boiling oil, arrows, even simple rocks are thrown down, as well as more exotic poisons perpared by Eleyna, Blacktongue and Valery. The defenders take full advantage of the vulnerability of the attackers, and the shavs die in the thousands. Near ten thousand shavs are dead in minutes, as hundreds upon hundreds of the Silent Army run right into the heart of the defenses... but it gradually is being overwhelmed. Near ten thousand are dead, but the the trickle of shavs getting over the walls on ladders threatens to become a deluge. Now is the time for swords.

The apothecary rushes in, cheeks flushed as she looks nervous. Joining Torian she stops beside the man, looking up at him with wide panicked eyes. In her hands she holds vials of strange concoctions, glass tinkling in shaking hands. But she holds a resolute face none the less. "I'm here to help."

Ryder the falcon arrives, delivering a message to Freja before departing.

The sounds of battle begin to draw near. There is fighting in the lower boroughs, but by the hundreds shavs are starting to approach the Pit.

Magpie gives Asher a light clap on the back. "We're here for Aureth. He controls the undead, so... we're going to make sure he stays protected. Just use whatever weapon you're best with." The Grayhope says quietly, a worried gaze going towards the approaching sounds of battle. He draws in a deep breath and slowly lets it out, then does a quick check with the mirrors again, just to be safe and make sure the newcomers check out.

((Again, 3 individuals in each ward -except- Thrax can roll command + leadership or war at 15, and everyone engaging in melee can check dexterity + medium wpn at 30. For anyone failing a roll, check luck + dodge at 10 + however much you failed by. Lower Boroughs can now be involved as well.))

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 70 higher.

Torian seems to just now realize that there's a guy here documenting the scene with art, and just then another Culler arrives to help. "Good." He says, pointing to some of the men, "No one and no thing touches her." He says with his resonate voice. "Orathy, brother..." he says, tilting his head at Avasyn, "Tell her how she can best assist." It seems he's put Orathy in charge of the men in the field, as it were.

((Can still use archery if primary weapons skill, yeah))

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 30 higher.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 48 higher.

Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.

Asher checked luck + dodge at difficulty 12, rolling 24 higher.

Orathy checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 30 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 20 higher.

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

Agnarr checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Ferrando sees a few Shavs start to leak into his operational area on the approach to the Pit and gets to work. Time to spring some ambushes!

Avasyn checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

Orazio does not know much about higher strategy, but his voice cracks and rolls across the field with authority and confidence. And they're guarding a hole in the ground, which at least removes some of the tactical ambiguity. Orazio calls out orders for squads to block off points of approach to the Pit, alternated with prayers to encourage and bolster courage.

"Ready?" Aureth calls to the zombies. "You ready? Dead, rise and fight! They're coming now--"

Tristan is an animal trainer, damnit. The denizens of the Lower Borroughs are different forms of beasts. Still, he calls out commands as he tries to form people to defend the Pit.

Gisele has no real weapons beyond her senses and her faith. She wields the latter now, her prayers used to bolster Orazio's, her sweeter voice an entreaty to the living and the gods all to stay strong and carry through this danger.

Fortunato has his board re-bound and his graphite ready, but as the enemy begins to trickle in and in numbers, he seems to lose much interest in depicting plain old wetwork. He does scribble out initial clashes, but is quickly enough binding the board back to himself and unstrapping the metal-headed staff at his back. Defense it is after all.

Serafine is moving, her diamondplate blade singing through the air and aided by her steel sword. With Leta at her side wielding her huge ass weapon, Serafine remembers to duck because Leta is an artist with that thing. Goodness.

Fortunato checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.

Fortunato checked luck + dodge at difficulty 12, rolling 4 higher.

Avasyn checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 15, rolling 9 lower.

Orathy glances toward Avasyn when Torian nudges him about her, "Aye, iffin she has anything useful ta throw at the enemy, now would be a good time to prepare it eh?! Iffin not, then aye, staying back ta help with the injured..." He claps the axe half against his free palm, looking toward those coming up the way to meet them, "Aye fuckin abyss... there be hundreds of 'em..." He looks back to the other lines, "Draw back to cover, jist like training boys... attack 'n retreat!"

Avasyn checked luck + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Magpie wields Leeward, a high quality steel dagger.

In the fighting, Avasyn takes a slight wound.

Avasyn takes moderate damage.

Magpie stays back from engaging, maintaining his stance by Aureth's side. His eyes are on the mirrors he has more and more, trying to determine if any of these forces trickling in are Bringers.

In the Ward of House Valardin, Ward of House Redrain, the Seawatch Gate and in the Lower Boroughs the battle intensifies. Shavs continue to pour over the walls using ladders and siege towers. A cheer goes up from the Seawatch Gate as Princess Peregrine Grayson cuts down a Bringer of Silence, and strangely is circled by crows overhead for a moment. The forces attacking House Thrax seem to have deserted it, as House Redrain is coming over even heavier assault. While thousands of shavs are dead, more are pouring in, and the defenders rush to meet them.

Orathy Culler has taken the Culler crew by the reins, with Torian and Avasyn hopefully somewhere in behind, although he cannot watch out for everyone. "Stand together! Fight as a unit!" Although Orathy may have received training from one former Lord Commander Rymarr, only some of the commoner lads with him had picked any of it up, despite the routines of trying. His axe starts swinging, when the shavs get near to, cleaving a few dead shavs away left and right. "Stand together!" he repeats, surprisingly, leadershipy for a thug.

((Each round will get harder. This time, anyone can check dexterity + yourweaponskill at 35, except redrain who are facing higher forces, at roll against difficulty 40. Checks for command + leadership or war now are against difficulty 20, again picking 3 for that or anything unusual. Thrax, you can continue trying your bamboozle, same difficulty, or opt to reinforce Redrain))

There was a painter. Right. Leta wasn't posing or anything. Well, she is, but that's just part of combat, adopting a fancy looking guard as she braces herself to catch the first attackers, pollaxe held high to start with. The sellsword stands alongside Serafine, and waits. But for all her fancy attire, the sellsword's not a fancy fighter. She strides forward and uses the length of her weapon to poke and slash and bash at any incoming enemies. It's either that, or she actually hooks them with the axe end and tugs them closer so Serafine can stab them in the face.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 28 higher.

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.

Orathy checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 5 lower.

((For anyone failing a check, be sure to roll luck + dodge at 10+whatyoufailed by))

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 34 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 8 higher.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 10 higher.

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 22 higher.

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 7 higher.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 8 higher.

Avasyn takes up a bow, attempting to fire at the approaching horde. She fails dismally, her shot missing, and when a return arrow flies true she gives a low cry as it grazes her leg, moving too slow to dodge. She patches up her graze by rinsing it out with alcohol before trying again.

Serafine is heard cackling as she and Leta work in tandem, the system an efficient one with Leta's reach and Serafine's flexibility.

Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 15 lower.

Tristan has gathered up the fighters that aren't under the formal command of anyone else, still trying to keep facing the threat pouring in some semblance of order. "Stand together!" he calls, echoing Orathy from earlier. "We fight together," he calls, as he parries a shav sword with a sweep of his long sword. Beside him, the mastiff growls, bearing her teeth.

Orazio is staying out of the direct fighting as best he can, his guards nearby to provide an extra shield, although he is armed. Instead, his focus remains on watching the battlefield, and encouraging those who begin to flag. "Knights, stay strong! Men and women of the Burroughs, this is your home. Do not allow the shavs nor their master to take it from you. Fight, with the grace of the gods behind you! For Gloria!"

Asher has rolled a critical success!
Asher checked luck + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 17 higher.

Fortunato checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 14 lower.

Fortunato checked luck + dodge at difficulty 24, rolling 10 lower.

Ferrando keeps rolling with Operation Skirmirsher, following a few Shavs through an alley. He pops out the other side, nobody else does.

Aureth keeps shouting orders, assisted in his directions by Duke Cassius, although mostly even he can figure out that 'kill the bad guys' is an approrpiate order to give to the skeletons and zombies.

Commoners... are ... not really trained for war are they? Some of the Culler's men break from whatever semblence of formation they had, in the fight, becoming lost in the overwhelming numbers, as if swallowed by the hoard. Orathy continues to try and muster the men, but his voice is lost when he has to concentrate on taking out a few of the shavs that take him on several at a time.

The first small wave, Asher barely missed. He's got a dagger, though, so it's not like he had reach. The second try, well, he failed pretty bad. Too far off. But it's getting harder to hit them, like they're getting more coordinated. The return for his failure is avoided, with a quick step back - or rather, a jump. A full meter or so backwards, making what would have grazed, into something that catches only air.

Torian wades into it with Orathy, his face tight with a ferocity he doesn't show in his shop or in his cups. His small axe, a hatchet really, whistles as it cuts through the air and the enemy. He can hold his own with the larger Culler Orathy it seems, but their boys do not fair as well.

Fortunato treads forward, swiping about with his staff in an attempt to keep the space between undead vanguard and pit safe, but he's not doing much of a job keeping anyone, /anyone/ back. And in the process, he stays exposed longer than is strictly safe or sane.

"Watch that wall there, think there might be some of those bastards hiding behind it!" Leta elbows Serafine, nodding to one of the walls by the graveyard's edge. But other than this momentary distraction, she's focused on the bloody work at hand, using her polearm to knock aside the weapons of any assailants. Whether they are coming for her or Serafine or whoever's fighting at Leta's other side, it matters little. There's a whole arc in front of the sellsword, and Leta hands out red steel to anyone who comes within it.

Few things are capable of distracting Gisele from prayers. The staff-wielding artist succeeds== she cries out a sharp, fearful, "Fortunato!" from her place near Orazio.

Magpie's eyes follow Asher and Fortunato, and as he sees the latter struggling, he finally moves from Aureth's side to rush over to the painter. "Fort!" He calls on his way to join his cousin.

A bringer picked up Fortunato, and seemed about to tear his head off, and Asher literally stumbles into it, knocking it over, and it's then eaten by Bob the Rotting. The ciiiiiiiiiiiircle of life.

"Thanks, Bob!" Aureth shouts. "That is /exactly/ who you should eat!"

"Healers! Get over to help the wounded," Orazio barks out, "and get them out of the line of combat!" And then he just kinda...stares a bit at the zombie eating the bringer. "Queen's mercy."

As more and more shavs flood over the walls, the battle continues to intensify, with mounting casualties all around and more and more dragged to safety and the waiting aid tents set up by Eirene, Benjamine and Sophie. At the Seawatch Gate, a shot by Estaban fells a bringer, causing a cheer to go up from the defenders. At the Ward of House Valardin, it looks like the lines were buckling for a moment, and then Prince Valerion managed to rally them once more.

At the Ward of House Thrax, the defenders hide for precious minutes, making it seem that the defenders withdrew to help reinforce House Redrain, and then robed figures hidden in an abandoned siege tower slip out and approach the wall of House Thrax. House Thrax's defenders rise and scream to loose a volley at the figures, and two of the three robed figures immediately fall. Arrows fired towards the third robed figure seem to disintegrate in mid air, as Prince Dominic Thrax throws a harpoon that seems to hit a wall in the air and turn to dust. The figure lifts a hand and flicks it dismissively towards Dominic, "Cease". With an ear-shattering explosion that deafens all in House Thrax and sends shockwaves through the city, the wall of House Thrax explodes outwards in a shower of rock, boulders flying into the air that disintegrate and turn to dust as they fly.

Behind the wall, all the thralls in the Thrall's Lament are killed instantly, reduced to dust, and the Gate of House Thrax is evaporated. The ramparts of House Thrax begin to collapse.

Gisele drags herself away from the spectacle of Asher and Fortunato providing Bob with a well-earned snack by the crack of Orazio's voice. She startles, gives him a look /most/ apologetic, and then she darts towards those who have been dragged nearer the Pit for tending.

Seized by certain death, Fortunato does his level best to stare the Bringer in the face and then-- well, Asher saves his life by tipping right into it and tipping both monster and artist over, close to the Pit's edge. Then Bob, well, Bob does the work. Fortunato scrambles himself back, eyes wide, eyes /observing/, and while he looks tempted to stay for a long moment, that next moment, he's scrambling back to the back, to his proper non-combatant position. (Once there, he unstraps his canvas and records observations. How can he help it.)

((The battle continues to intensify, new round with difficulty again going up by 5, so every ward will be checking dexterity + weaponskill at 40 with redrain at 45, with same checks for damage after, and same command checks. If any leader is altering the disposition of their forces, can page me about it))

Deep under the city and in the catacombs beyond to the Point, the shockwave is even heard. Freja and Fergus turn to it, their grips tightening on their weapons as the pair silenty raise a fist each to signal their men to ready themselves.

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 40 higher.

Magpie checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 0 higher.

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 18 higher.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 13 higher.

Leta has rolled a critical success!
Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 18 higher.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 5 higher.

Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 8 lower.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 25, rolling 53 higher.

"Fuck," Agnarr curses under the earth, gripping his pollaxe tightly to look down a tunnel - the one that he guesses was closest to the entrance. Then he looks over at Freja and Fergus, falling silent afterwards.

Asher checked luck + dodge at difficulty 18, rolling 7 higher.

Orathy checked command + leadership at difficulty 25, rolling 9 lower.

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 25, rolling 7 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 2 lower.

Tristan has rolled a critical success!
Tristan checked luck + dodge at difficulty 12, rolling 84 higher.

Magpie takes Fortunato's place, his breath too caught in his throat at the sight of what just happened to do more than just wave his cousin back towards Aureth. He slashes at the nearest shav, eventually finding his voice to grumble, "I could have been *sailing*! ... But nooo... Fighting your .. ugly.. asses!"

Aureth stares around the chaos with a gathering shadow in his pale eyes behind the gleaming metal of his skull helm. His breath huffs and he says, "Keep at it. Skeletons, form up and take down that Bringer-- they're getting closer..." He shudders as the shockwave seems to raise every hair on his body, and goes, "That didn't sound good..."

Organized chaos, that's what the Cullers look like. The boys are fighting as individuals rather than as a unit. That's to be expected, as Orathy bellows toward them, but over all the noise, as he gets ran into by one of the shavs, his voice once again isn't far reaching. The Culler group doesn't build itself back together, but he's standing alongside Torian, steadying his brother with a hand, "We got this aye?" The shockwave blast has him glance around toward the city heights, only to step in and hack down another shav that gets near.

The shockwave reverberates through the city, and even Orazio pauses to look up and towards the Thrax Ward. "...may the gods cast their light and truth on us all," he says, quietly. But then, as more shavs pour in, his voice booms, "Stay together! Don't let a single one through - we are the heart of the defense; if we fail, then the walls won't matter. Fight, for the Compact!"

Serafine feels a shudder through the ground that ripples up her legs, taking the moment to look at Leta, eyes meeting eyes for a moment before she's back at it again, working in tandem with her beloved.

"Hold!" calls out Tristan as the shockwave reverberates through the graveyard, a rumbling one can feel in the pit of the stomach. His voice is gruff and hoarse, and, possibly to his surprise, his motley crew holds, clenching their teeth for a moment but turned toward the attackers, fighting as an unit to keep them from the Pit. The dog's hair stands on end, but she growls, throwing herself at an attacking shav. However, just for a moment, between the shockwave and his fighters, Tristan is distracted, leaving his guard open.

Ferrando starts to pull back towards the Pit, picking his spots to step in and backsmash a few unwary invaders but now it's looking more like the time to start going into regular fighting mode, especially with the sharp roar of some tremendous explosion from up near the Thrax ward. Weaving between the friendly undead with a bit of a disbelieving grin, he starts to look around for some Bringers rising above the crowds to go after.

Torian is no artist, but his blade paints red just as well as the next. When the concussion reaches down into the lowers, he curses with the foulest of oathes and can't help but be paused in his labors from the force of it. It's like nothing he's even seen or heard. He re-grips his ax and starts swinging again. There's nothing he can do for whatever that was, but he can dam sure defend his people down here. No artist? The fear and anger that blast boiled in his blood has him carving up the enemy like a proper master now. Bodies, and limbs, start to pile as he fights at Orathy's side. We got this was the question. "So far so good!" he shouts, the punchline of an old joke about a doomed man.

"Lagoma preserve us, Gloria shield us!" Gisele yelps as she hunkers down and begins to wind bandages around the arm of a knight dragged to safety by his brethren. Further prayers are pitched more softly-- no threat at all to the cacophany of battle, the distant rumble of an entire ward threatened by oblivion-- but no less heartfelt. She's even able to give the injured knight a watery smile, an unfelt squeeze on the shoulder, once the bandage is secured and before she moves to the next.

Fortunato crouches near his brother, his sketches again furious, even as the direction of his gaze strays and strays, up over toward the terrible source of the reverberation, toward Asher, toward Magpie, not far, not shielded. He grits his teeth, his attempt at prayers half-choked by frustration. He can draw. He does that.

Asher would have done well, truly, with that attack. But the shockwave throws him completely off, and misses. Thankfully he has presence of mind to get the heck away from the front line, as it were, and back to Aureth, breathing hard. "By the Gods... That wasn't normal." There's a bit of fear in his eyes, but that just steels his determination, and he stands up.

The shaking earth gives Leta pause, but it's a moment's pause only before she's bringing the hammer down on the nearest Shav, pushing him off and readying herself. She turns to Serafine, "Wasn't me, I swear!" she promises and forces a grin behind her helmet. "Could be the cave dragon." she suggests with a shrug, and goes back to work, eyes hard as they focus on the enemies rushing their way. She's a professional, after all.

Serafine snorts with laughter.

At the Seawatch Gate, the archers on the walls concentrate fire on the ram smashing at the gate itself, though shavs are still pouring over on ladders in an unending tide. House Valardin and Redrain continue to hold, if bitterly, as does the Lower Boroughs with knights of solace and questionable allies fighting shoulder to shoulder. The Ward of House Thrax appear breached, but strangely the shavs don't seem to be turning towards it yet. Even at the walls of House Redrain, they continue to race up ladders instead of turning towards it, but how long that foolishness continues is anyone's guess. Prince Remi Thrax goes to bring his marines to rally at the city proper, and Prince Talen and his mirrorguard reserves move towards the breached Ward of House Thrax waiting for when the shavs smarten up and redirect forces. The combats around the city continue to intensify as more of the thousands pour in, the shavs seeking to use their superior numbers at specific points and overwhelm the defenders.

((Same as before, the difficulties continue to increase by 5, and mind characters can withdraw if they choose. The reinforcements to house redrain have removed it's increased difficulty, so it's dexterity + weaponskill at 45 for everyone this round))

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 33 higher.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 2 lower.

Magpie checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 1 lower.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.

Orathy checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 7 lower.

Serafine has rolled a critical success!
Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 83 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 5 lower.

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 8 higher.

Tristan checked luck + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 8 lower.

Orathy checked luck + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 14 higher.

Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 1 lower.

Asher checked luck + dodge at difficulty 11, rolling 26 higher.

Magpie checked luck + dodge at difficulty 11, rolling 14 higher.

Magpie looks around briefly with a new look of alarm on his face for that rumbling. "What the fuck was that??" He asks of.. well, Bob. Bob's still right over there. He stays with the fighting, not making much progress, but hopefully at least keeping some of the shav at bay. "Could have been sailing to a place with beautiful women... *friendly* women." He mutters. "But nooo... had to get all sentimental and shit..."

Orathy Culler forgets to order the men around, which is because he's being overrun himself. Every turn he makes there's a shav there with a weapon poised at him. He hacks and cleaves, but he gets leveled into the dirt by someone charging through, tackling him to the ground. The pair roll underneath the masses still charging through, and his loud bellow can be heard as he flings the shav off himself and scrambles back up, ... straggling behind, getting more and more overwhelmed by the shavs continuing to surge forward. He's lost any hope of command of the group he came with and somehow, he finds Torian in the thick of it... wading his way back toward his brother. "Fuckin abyss! We all gonna fuckin die!" He laughs, as his own leathers show how many close calls he took, slashed here and there.

"Imagine how friendly the women will be when we save the fucking Compact," Aureth says with a solid clap on Magpie's back. "Yeah, zombies! You -- smash that ... screaming shav guy!" Half of his role here is cheerleader. Metallic, spider-covered, skull-helmed cheerleader. He backs up hastily in a scuff of steel as he moves to Cassius's side. "Don't fall back! Keep killing them!"

Ferrando rolls in to intercept a Bringer inbound towards Aureth and company. "Not so fast, ugly!" he chirps, parrying a few swings from the big creepy pale and gaunt monster with a few sizzles of alaricite against abyssal flesh. Moving more fluidly with his lighter armor, he manages to cave in the Bringer's knee sideways and spin out of the way of its claws before wheeling around and bashing its face in with a fierce looping swing. "Hey Aureth! How we doing? Please say well!" he calls over his shoulder quickly before turning back to pay more attention to the actual combat around him.

"Everything is fine!" Aureth calls back. "Just don't hit the skeletons or the zombies!"

Fortunato keeps sketching in longer, calmer strokes, finding his center, finding his calm without quite so much of blunting his senses. Observe, let his hands report, observe, let his hands support.

Tristan has held together his squad this far--but the tide of the battle is changing. As his position is stormed by a sudden flood of shavs, his defenders begin to break. Tristan calls on them, voice hoarse, "Hold," he insists, but he misses a stroke in his distraction, and is suddenly on the wrong end of a blade.

"We shall not die. We will survive and we will triumph. We are warriors of the righteous, we are the defenders of the Compact. Men and women, do not allow an horde of shavs to pretend to be our equals. They are locusts, and we are Lagoma's purifying flame. Burn them from the ground and scatter their ashes." Orazio's hit his 'fire and brimstone preacher' phase, and the Legate's voice rings out even above the shouts and the clash of weapons, as steady and unwavering as war drums. The Legate, although not fighting, stands without fear on a low stone bier, making himself visible to the troops as he urges them to hold and to fight.

Gisele is there at Tristan's side in a twinkling. Huffing and puffing, yes, no fit warrior, she. But she is there and has a herb-stippled pad of gauze to press to the slash of red left decorating the stablemaster's armour. "Hold still," she advises the man and a cautioning, "This might sting," before it's pressed in place and bandages applied to keep it there. As she works, worried glances are skimmed towards the nearby melee-- a bad habit which leaves her shuddering because of those damn nibbly zombies.

Leta's holding her ground, and her ground's at Serafine's side. "I've too much coin in the bank to die today! Be a stupid bloody waste, that!" she yells out, as an enemy's blade glances off her shoulder, and she returns the attention with an axe to the face. It's a simple job, this, making room around herself, prodding some foes away and shepherding others closer so Serafine's fancy sword can tear into them. She's a rather more energetic fighter than Leta, she needs room to move, and the sellsword is happy to provide.

A bringer slams a fist into Tristan, sending the stablemaster sprawling and almost certainly shattering a rib.

Tristan takes serious damage.

Again, Asher's blade doesn't find his mark - but he's at least being a distraction while not taking damage. He's far too jumpy and bendy for him to be hit, apparently; even though he misses, he's doing something helpful! Kind of. By stalling, he makes sure that people have more time to do their own thing.

"FUCK," is Tristan's articulate reaction as he is thrown violently against a gravestone. He keeps tight hold of his sword, however; that's lesson one of swordfighting. The dog races back toward him. He grits his teeth as Gisele binds his wounds. "I've had worse," he says. "I've been thrown off a lot of horses." His face is pale, beneath a layer of mud and blood. Other people's blood, for the most case.

Serafine launches herself at the enemy Leta is so considerate to line up for her. The Knight charges in, slashing with a roar at several foes at once, or maybe just one big foe. It's hard to tell in the madness, but she definitely makes an impact. She watches Tristan go sprawling with a wince, before her attention is once again honed and focused on the fight at hand. She cackles to hear Leta's warcry. "You've more coin than me! I'm still waiting-!" She grunts, takes a moment to headbutt a taller foe in the solar plexus. "-for that fancy dress you owe me!"

A bringer at the Seawatch Gate threatens to throttle the life from Tikva, but is cutdown by Baroness Kima, as triumphant cheers rise from the defenders for the Lioness of Saikland Greens. Ywaine directing fire towards the battering ram sees the shavs temporarily flee and abandon the ram entirely as scores drop from the withering fire, and at the Ward of House Valardin, the Greenmarch archer known as Qaali shoots down a Bringer threatening Marian, the Sword of Sanctum. House Redrain holds, though Lady Khanne takes a grievous wound, and House Thrax sends Lord Edward Redreef to defend the breached wall and position the archers along what remains of the shattered ramparts. The Lower Boroughs continue to hold, holding the line of the Pit with (and against) the Dead. The battle rages on, and the numbers of shavs entering the city and fighting the defenders only continues to increase.

Prince Abbas Thrax, the Butcher's Bastard, had ships hugging the coast and waiting for an opportune moment. His reavers land and immediately advance upon the rear of the shavs at the seawatch gate, cutting into them and making the attack on the seawatch gate buckles before he is forced to withdraw and turn towards the broken remnants of the Ward of House Thrax, falling to the breach. Further in the north, perhaps taking Abbas' attack as a signal, there's horns sounding from the Gray Forest.

"I've heard a horse's kick can kill a man," Gisele says. It is a clear diversionary ploy on her behalf, intended to distract him while she pulls the bandaging in a tight strap around his ribs. Effective? She has no idea. This is all book-learning on display, not practical experience. "There. Be careful. Broken ribs can puncture lungs."

((Difficulties to increase, dexterity + weaponskill at 50 this round. Ward of House Thrax is not attacked yet this round, but the shavs around the Ward of House Redrain are starting to notice the opening, and will next round.))

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 8 lower.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 35, rolling 43 higher.

Ferrando checked luck + dodge at difficulty 18, rolling 7 higher.

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 14 higher.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 24 higher.

Magpie checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 22 lower.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 10 lower.

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 18 lower.

Magpie checked luck + dodge at difficulty 32, rolling 21 lower.

Orathy checked luck + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 5 lower.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 7 higher.

Torian checked luck + dodge at difficulty 28, rolling 0 higher.

Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 50, rolling 25 lower.

Asher checked luck + dodge at difficulty 35, rolling 16 higher.

Magpie's ears catch Leta's yell, "How much coin?!" He calls back, because the people of the Lowers are the sort that like to hear about that sort of thing. Oh right. Fighting. He should not be getting distracted. He whips his attention back to the shav, sucking in a breath as he barely avoids a spiked club to the face, staggering back clumsily and tripping over another corpse.

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 35, rolling 16 lower.

Aureth GM Roll checked command(4) + leadership(3) at difficulty 35, rolling 2 higher.

Ferrando is finding the press of enemies a lot tougher to deal with. They just -keep- coming! For now, he's on the back foot, doing everything he can to play defense, parrying and dodging but unable to push back against the Bringers as he'd like to. At least he's keeping some enemies occupied. "Still holding it down over here!" he yells to whoever needs to know these things. "Mostly," he mutters under his breath as he barely ducks out of the way of a Bringer claw intent on taking his head off. "Gah!"

In his role advising Aureth, Duke Cassius has been present and now he steps forward to add his exhortation to, "Stand strong! Hold against the enemy!" and lends his voice and presence to the other leaders putting their weight behind the /human/ fighters.

Aureth keeps exhorting the Queen's troops to continue the fight. "Come on, Bob! Eat another Bringer for me!"

Orazio casts his gaze around, and focuses on specific troops and citizens who seem to be wavering. Those he knows the name of, he calls out to by name, and those who he doesn't still receive personal attention, and he uses every bit of his force of personality to revive flagging spirits and send people back into the fight.

"A lot of ways a horse can kill a man," says Tristan shortly. "Need a horse," he growls as he struggles to his feet, wincing as the motion jostles the broken rib. "Always fought better with a partner." He leans on his sword a moment, face still pale, and calls again to his fighters, words that fall on deaf ears. "Don't give up!" he pleads. And, with a deep breath, he straightens up with an effort, squares his shoulders, and screams, a loud wordless cry that breaks upon the air. He lifts his sword and sprints into the horde, cavalry charge without a horse, the mastiff springing beside him, teeth bared for shav's thrat. Tristan's blood-stained sword traces an arc in the air.

Fortunato replaces a filled canvas with a new one, bound, his eyes and expression gone distant. Graphite hits the pages and rapids on. He's sitting now, without remembering actually sitting. His legs are folded under him. Ground's gotten soggy, even here. What's to notice but milieu, what's to notice but wild eddies of conflict that you can't effectively participate in. Observe, report, report and observe. He coldn't draw faster.

Torian is an experienced fighter it turns out, a street fighter but a fighter none the less. Still, this is no back alley brawl and while he's felled many a foe and taken no cuts in return, he does tire. Seeing his brother fall and roll about on the ground pulls his focus and he's soon caught off guard by a pair of enemies working as one. His choice of lighter armor proves to be a good one though, as he deftly ducks and rolls away from them as if on instict, losing a few hairs but no blood.

Gisele stares after Tristan, his scream ringing in her ears. Now, /now/, her hands tremble and maybe there is a diamond-bright wash sweeping across her eyes. She banishes that effect by scrubbing knuckles over them and then turning to seek out the other injured, more bandages produced from the seemingly endless supply of her apron pockets. "Vellichor, open my eyes, let me see," she's whispering as she paces the muddy periphery of the free zone around the pit's entrance.

A bringer grabs Magpie and slams him to the ground with backbreaking force, looming over and about to slay him before Orazio manages to direct knights of Solace to stop the final blow, giving Magpie a thin chance.

Magpie takes critical damage.Magpie rolls stamina+willpower+survival against difficulty 5, getting 33.Magpie remains capable of fighting despite their wounds.

While not as bad as Magpie the showoff when it comes to bodily harm, Orathy takes a significant wound from a shav.

Orathy takes moderate damage.

Leta steps in and rams the long spike at the end of her pollaxe into the throat of the enemy Serafine headbutts, before drawing back again. The mercenary paces herself, tilting her head to get a good look at the rest of the fighting nearby, though her helmet limits her peripheral vision. She's no leader, she's a fighter, and she keeps doing her bloody work, though her colorful attire's all running to darker reds, even the blues and the yellows, none of it hers.

The attack on the Bringers and Shavs continues to get harder and harder; and when Magpie is slammed, Asher jumps back from his fight - just in time! - and starts over to try and drag Magpie back. "No sense in letting you drop just to get back up under Aureth's command! Get back here! Plus I still like working for you and that doesn't work if we're dead!"

Maybe it's the rubicund red steel axe that's being hurled around? Maybe it was the sheer size of him? Maybe he's just left out in an island of shavs and can't completely cut through them all. Orathy does get hit, as he roars out in pain for it, pivoting around to angrily cleave and hack at the shavs around him. "FUCK'INCOCKLICKINABYSSALTWATS..." And the mangling of cursing continues as Orathy puts a hand above where his kidney would be, arching forward on his toes as he soaks up the pain of it. "COMEBACK 'ERE!" He grouses at the shav, axe raised in vengence.

"Knights, shield that man! Get the wounded to the healers, and let no one send them to the Queen before their time!" Orazio's voice rings out, and then he glances at Gisele. "Any of the veiled bastards, Sister?"

Aureth checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Magpie's trying to get back to his feet from his trip when he feels a hand of unnatural strength grabbing him. Before he can even figure out what's happening, the air is wooshing by his ears and the sailor is hitting the ground again. There's not even a yell, the smuggler is so stunned by the impact. He lays there motionless as the Bringer moves to finish him off, just starting to struggle to push himself back up when the blessed knights are there, pushing the creature back. As Asher reaches his side, Magpie just groans and partially crawls, but is mostly dragged back by his associate.

"Son of a fucking--" Aureth starts to charge towards Magpie only to see one of the Knights of Solace taking care of that particular Bringer. He lets his breath huff out past his teeth, Cassius's arm steadying at his shoulder as he looks back towards his troops. "Damn," he says. Nodding to something Cassius murmurs to him, he says, "Skeletons, don't let them break past--" and points.

Losses continue to mount, and for a moment it seems as if the different wards might be overwhelmed, but they keep holding. Thousands of soldiers from each of the great houses are dead, and the painful brutal battle against the superior numbers grinds on. Princess Donella from her high vantage point sees it first- thousands of men and women wearing the colors of House Deepwood and Riven riding out of the Gray Forest from the north, and directly at the shav rear. A few thousand attack tens of thousands shouldn't amount to much- except with the advantage of surprise, the better ground, and against tired forces. The attack makes the Silent Army's line buckle, and the constant ferocity ebbs ever so slightly in the wards. House Thrax's moment of calm unfortunately comes to an end, as shavs waiting to scale the ladders to attack Redrain divert to storm towards the breach in Thrax. A hard fight is ahead, without defenses.

((Difficulty -drops- to 30 for Seawatch Gate, Lower Boroughs, Redrain and Valardin. Difficulty -stays- at 50 in Thrax due to the shattered defenses and depleted forces.))

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

"I don't see anything, Father! Nothing yet!" Gisele cries. She sounds distracted and small wonder, given what she's presented with when Asher drags Magpie in for treatment. "Gods preserve us. Magpie!" The little priestess leaps in to assist Asher in the dragging, then drops to her knees-- poor stained robe-- to begin fumbling out fresh herb-treated bandages. "You're going to be fine," she up and lies to him as she the patching up begins.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 20 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Fortunato pulls out of his near-trance with a sharp, "Magpie!", snapping to his feet, his board lax in his hand. He starts forward, toward him and Asher, free hand twitching, his eyes fixed on his fallen cousin. Magpie's breathing? Gisele's here? He steps past them to cover, binding board back to his side, unbinding staff. Look, it might not be totally ineffectual this time.

Fortunato checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 8 lower.

Asher has rolled a critical success!
Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.

Orazio checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 6 lower.

Fortunato checked luck + dodge at difficulty 18, rolling 6 lower.

Orazio checked luck + dodge at difficulty 14, rolling 5 higher.

Aureth GM Roll checked command(4) + leadership(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.

"Hear the fighting?" Agnarr asks Freja after a beat, taking a few paces down one of the tunnels to the entrance, as if that'll do him any good to get a glimpse.

Orazio begins directing the Knights to bolster flagging ranks, encouraging them to use the friendly dead as mobile cover and tries to shape the defense to provide extra cover for the wounded. In the course of this, his orders expose him to attack, and he finds himself engaged with a shav. The Legate scrambles and dodges out of the way, his blade clashing to no effect on his foe. "Keep fighting, ladies and gents! They're faltering! Push them back!"

"Rally!" calls Cassius, sword held high.

"To the fucking last," calls Aureth a little breathlessly, appending-like, even as he more or less hides behind the Duke in his armor.

Ferrando is still holding down his position, keeping some enemies occupied and neither giving nor gaining ground overall. Fatigue from the constant effort is starting to wear at him, but not so much that he can't spare a moment to backhand and put down a Shav'arvani that attempts to rush past him towards Orazio... wait, Orazio? "What are--!" is all he's able to exclaim a bit incredulously.

Deep in the tunnels the stirs above are heard below; Freja speaks softly with Fergus, the pair's eyes darting this way and that to keep close count on their men and the tunnels ever-shifting. Every now and again the scout look downs to her arm with a furrowed brow. To Agnarr she nods, "I trust in them, to the Last." she says, echoing her House's words.

One of his friends getting hurt so much... Asher had dragged back Magpie from the fight, but surveying the field lets him see others getting hurt, too. He grips his dagger tighter, and roars as he jumps forward to the nearest large enemy; a Bringer, an overweight Shav... Something to make an impression on the others, both enemy and friend alike. That dagger goes straight for the face, trying to plunge in. "FUCK RIGHT OFF FROM ARX YOU MONSTERS!"

"To me!" calls Tristan, loudly, to the remains of his earlier squad, but no one hears him. Or at least no one responds, leaving the stablemaster an island in the middle of an oncoming horde, thinning a little as some move to respond to another threat, but still thick with swords. Oddly enough, his wounding seems to have given him a second wind; despite his isolation he fights with renewed heart, blood spraying and heads falling with the wide sweeps of his sword.

Orathy chases down the shav that took a swing at him, pushing other shavs out of the way or simply just knocking them aside with a cleaving swing. Catching up to his man, he hoists the axe up like he was going to chop wood and comes down heavy on the shav's back. "Fuckin said, come back 'ere ya fuck..." He rips the axe free and pushes his boot at it's back, sending it sprawling to the ground, only to round house hammer into another shav. "Come on... I ain't done yet!"

Magpie just lays on the ground in a crumpled heap where Asher's pulled him, a stricken expression of pain on his face while Gisele hovers over him. "Don't waste time on me." He finally says through the fog of agony, "Watch for Bringers and demons. Not gonna matter if they get through." He says through gritted teeth.

With her diamondplate sword, Serafine starts to look to the Bringers now, to launch herself at them and cut and slash, dodging with her efficient grace, pushing at the enemy with blade and speed.

"To the Last," Agnarr echoes, reflexively reaching for his flask, but he shuts down the gesture before he starts drinking like a fish. Hopefully Magpie's words remind everybody.

Ferrando checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

A bringer grabs Fortunato from behind, starting to just squeeze him and breaking his spine, but a dagger goes flashing through the air thrown by Asher and buries itself in the forehead of the bringer, who politely releases Fortunato in accordance to accepted dagger in forehead conventions.

Fortunato takes serious damage.

Torian recovers from his roll and comes up fighting, handling the pair that got the drop on him with ease as the enemy takes their turn at faultering troops. "Shards!" He curses, chasing after Orathy and calling what men the Cullers have left standing to follow him, to keep the group together fighting as one. The shift in their formation brings them closer to fighting side by side with the dead then, but at this point beggars (litterally for some of them) can't be choosers.

"Fortunato for fuck's sake stay back and paint!" Aureth yells. He lifts his crossbow for the first time this fight. "You /said/ you were coming to /paint/-- all right, zombies!, I'm shooting this one, you take his head off when I hit!" Maybe this will make up for Aureth being a terrible shot??

As the enemy forces seem to dwindle, Leta takes a breather. This does not mean she stops fighting, just that she sticks to keeping the enemy at the length of her weapon. There's too much blood and the ground feels soggy and slippery. As Serafine launches herself at -anything- the sellsword grunts, sighs, and marches alongside the Velenosa swordswoman, grinning in spite of herself. She lets the knight with the fancy sword go at the Bringers, while she keeps any of their Shav servants at a respectful distance. Poke. Poke.

"You're not in charge of me," Gisele informs Magpie, just a /little/ on the edge of hysterical. Of course, now that he's reminded her, she alternates bandaging with glancing up and around. Just in case. It seems the wise thing to do after all. So she looks, and she pulls gauze tight, and she gives Magpie a little pat to the cheek. "Stay alive and I'll get you something nice. Here. Throw dirt. You can do that, and it uncovers them if they're nearby and invisible." Time is taken to scrape up a little pile of the material in question. Then she rises, just in time to startle and take off running towards Fortunato.

Fortunato feels the grip on his back and does his best to thrust the staff behind him, the metal making, well, ineffectual little nudges against Bringer skin for all the (minimal) strength Fortunato lends to it. But Asher saves Fortunato's life /again/ with a flicker of flung blade. He collapses, spine-aching, unsteady. He doesn't dare crane his neck, but does shout a, "/Whatever/ you want after this, Asher Grayhope, it's /yours/." He pointedly, unfairly ignores Aureth for this moment. Unfortunately, the pressure of the Bringer's squeeze has quite snapped his board, ripping a line through his current canvas.

The Deepwood forces cannot turn the tide, of course. The weight of numbers is too much, but it does give new life to the defenders. Princess Reese, fighting in the Ward of House Redrain, rallies the troops who all scream "TO THE LAST!" around the Grayson. House Thrax looked near breaking, until Count Maximilian directed archers in a withering fire on the shavs attempting to storm in to the breach, and Darrow tore a bringer's head off with his flail, making the enemy forces storming the ward pause. In the Ward of House Valardin, Fiachra drops a hulking bringer that was smashing Valardin knights left and right, eliciting a cheer from the defenders. Still, the battle rages on, and it's by no means decided. As the deepwood forces attack from the rear, it seems that the Silent Army attacks intensify.

Magpie doesn't argue with Gisele. He really isn't doing much of anything other than grunting and gasping in pain as she tightens each bandage. He has one hand still tightly wrapped around his dagger, because so help him he is not losing another. The other hand doesn't even close as Gisele fills it with dirt. "Think my arm is broken..." He murmurs, but she's already rushing off so he'll just slowly roll onto his side, weakly getting to his knees and blinking against the grit in his eyes as he peers around -- disoriented now.

((Things have evened out between the wards, somewhat. It's difficulty 35 this round for all wards, -including- Thrax, and for the Lower Boroughs.))

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 5 higher.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 35, rolling 5 higher.

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 10 higher.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 33 higher.

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 26 higher.

Aureth GM Roll checked command(4) + leadership(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 35, rolling 14 lower.

Aureth checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 35, rolling 11 lower.

Aureth checked luck + dodge at difficulty 21, rolling 7 lower.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 24 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 57 higher.

Gisele checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Orazio steps back from the fighting as quickly as he can, since he's clearly not doing all that well at it. Instead, he goes back to letting his voice be his weapon. He directs the knights to shelter those of the commoners who are faltering, being their sword and shield against the attacking horde. He calls out prayers and reminders of what every man and woman is fighting for: nothing less than the survival of the world.

Gisele skids in beside Fortunato, /already/ a blubbering mess. No exaggeration: tears are tracking bright through blood and dirt, and her hands-- so unsteady!-- manage to spill bandages rather than apply them in any effective fashion. Just as well, the artist isn't /bleeding/, Gis. "Stop dying," she makes nonsensical command while patting the fellow down. "Can you walk? You can lean on me, you can sit with Magpie, hold on, please... come on, Aureth is going to /kill/ me..."

Orathy looks behind at Torian, "Brotha, this is how I be wantin ta spend the last days eh? Fightin 'long side ya... Yer doin' better than I be thinkin, fer a leather werker..." He has time now to taunt Torian, moping up the shavs around them with a heave ho swing and cleave. It's busy work, brutal work, and the axe continues to sheer body parts off of enemy shavs. "So many fuckin dirty blighted fuckin shavs!" He jabs one in the gut, then hooks the axe upward, rips open the shav from belly to sternum, with a laugh, "Smells like death tho!" He inhales, rinses, and repeats the killing brutality.

Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 5 lower.

Asher checked luck + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Ferrando has had a few rounds to recover from his defending-for-his-life and starts to push back against the Bringers he's been tangling with. Either that or seeing old Orazio wading into things has given him a motivational boost. At any rate, he spots an opening to move against one of the foes that's been plaguing him and with a quick strike, parry, and strike combination caves in the Bringer's chest and steps back to keep his guard up. "Come on, is that all you've got!" he bellows fiercely. "I could do this all day!"

"Fine, fine! I've had hours of training. /Hours/," Fortunato complains as he worthlessly tries to gather the shards of his board back together. He at least extricates the wounded canvas, folds it up to tuck it away. Priorities. All this while Gisele's patting him down. "Just bruised, I think. Terribly fucking bruised all over. Can walk." He reaches up to squeeze Gisele's shoulder, then uses that plus the plant of his staff to lever himself raggedly standing. "He won't kill you," he drifts reassuring. "He /will/ kill me. Just paint, he says." He's just squeezing Gisele's shoulder more than is strictly necessary.

"Morrlin! The name is Asher Morrlin!" Asher goes and grabs his dagger from the Bringer's face - making him look more ugly in the process because that dagger is classy or something - and goes back to Fortunato to check to see if he'll be alright, after taking a quick swipe at an enemy passerby. While wiping the Bringer essence - ew - on his own leather armor. "So when you get me something, remind yourself I only work for the Grayhopes. And wish I was one." A small smirk, mid-battle, can do wonders! Maybe. "...But honestly free drinks for a while would be good because I'm going to need them if I survive." He doesn't yet realize that when he ran back to Fortunato - and Magpie, one assumes, to make sure he's still okay - someone took a swing at him. And missed.

Tristan has given up for the moment trying to rally others to him, but he keeps on fighting. He is cutting a wide swathe through the attackers now, blade slicing through Bringer and shav alike. Blood--some normal red, some black--marks his leather and the coat of the dog at his side both. The sun glints on his rumpled auburn hair (helmets are for wimps) as he darts through the battle, face begrimed with sweat and blood. "Fuck you," he says eloquently. "I refuse to not exist."

Songbird, a mastiff have been dismissed.

Fortunato appends a quick, "How's about free drinks for life! And I call you Grayhope 'cause right now you might as well /be/ one, all right?" to Asher. There's a bit of 'and all that implies' to Fortunato's voice there.

Serafine continues to slash and strike, duck and swing, never straying far from Leta, letting her take the shavs as the dark, inked Knight defends them both from larger foes.

A shav stabs Aureth, before being tackled by an alarming amount of skeletons yelling, "SAVE HER FAVORITE, OR ELSE THE NEXT TEN THOUSAND YEARS WILL BE REALLY MISERABLE!" This makes Bob the Rotting quip, "You all worry too much, we just need to have puns ready."

Aureth takes very serious damage.

"Me, if I let you wander back into that. Magpie's really hurt. Did you see Orazio dodge that sword?" Gisele is babbling. /Babbling/. But she's steady and sturdy enough to brace off of when needing to rise and hobble towards safety. "...I might have to go get him too. Magpie, here's Fortunato! What are you doing up? You're not supposed to be up."

Ferrando glances over at Leta not too far off to his right after the skeletons mildly freak out. It's a terrible idea to divide his concentration, but he apparently can't help it. "How DO they yell, anyway!" he sount-asks blankly.

Aureth gives a really undignified choking sound as the blade of the Shav warrior slips through the plating of his armor to bite through muscle and flesh. (Not that much muscle, though. Not that much.) "Sshhhhhit," he says, watching wide-eyed as the skeletons pile on.

"Aureth!" Orazio shouts, and waves a hand to direct the Knights to support the skeletons. "Abyss and reflections, man, try not to die!"

Torian has a strong stomache but a disembowlment like that might just water his eyes a little. He laughs though, his smile back on his face for the first time since the fight began, "I had a real job once." He replies to Orathy, because leatherworking isn't a real job and fighting is apparently. His close call with death has his spirits higher, and he works to cut down the Shavs around the little circle of death Orathy carves out.

"I'm trying!" Aureth calls back. He lowers the crossbow again and kind of moves at an awkward, favoring limp, his hand covering his bloody wound as he flinches, to hide behind Cassius's flank while the bigger man shouts more orders. "The Queen would be /really mad/ at me if I die today!"

Magpie has tried to get back to his feet, but he's in rough shape, even with the bandaging. He tucks the dagger into it's sheathe and then uses his good arm (the one he didn't land on with the force of a ton of bricks) to try and get up. "Fort!" He calls in alarm when he sees Gisele bringing him over, all battered. Then as Aureth is hit and dogpiled by skeletons the smuggler panics. "Aureth!!" He starts to make his way towards the priest, his left arm clearly dislocated or broken or something uncomfortable, but his right arm is still good and he has his dagger back out.

"I bet it's like a flute in there!" Leta replies after a brief pause for thought. She can pause for thought while hammering away at a Shav that threatens to flank her and Serafine, pivoting so she's fighting back to back with the Velenosa knight. This way she can look in Ferrando's direction and carry on a conversation.

The Battle in the Ward of House Redrain hits a fever pitch, and as the Northlanders see their highlord -singing-, they suddenly all start screaming, "TO THE LAST!" A moment later, Shadow laughs off a seemingly brutal wound, and Tallius lands a near impossible shot- a shot that sends a bringer sprawling, using its inhuman strength to knock over one of their own siege towers, and collapse another. The defenders roar, and are suddenly swarming over the attacking shavs. Moments of vicious fighting later, the Ward of House Redrain is clear of attackers, having defended to the last and held, and the shavs yet to scale up re-route to attack the Ward of House Thrax rather than funnel into the grinder of House Redrain.

House Thrax continues to hold, but at great cost, without defenses. The additional attackers is almost certain to overwhelm them. House Valardin, the Seawatch Gate and the Lower Boroughs buckle, as the dead piles on, but those battles are not near completion.

"We can't stay down," Fortunato informs Gisele as he finishes hobbling back to the back line. "It's the quite potential end of the world. If we don't all, as one, hold against the forces of the Abyss--" His lecture sounds lame, and he's back just in time to get Aureth get stabbed-- and in time to see him lower his crossbow. "Hey! Hypocrite! You of everyone gotta stay standing, right? Directing, no fighting." He's trying to disengage with Gisele, then, trying to follow the brutally wounded Magpie over. His staff's still clutched and ready in his hand, his graphite lost.

((Attackers have given up on the Ward of House Redrain, the first battle site to be a victory. Defenders there can lick their wounds or move to support one of the other wards, and Thrax particularly needs it badly right now, even as the Deepwood reserves are moving forward to help the breach. Difficulty at 35 for all battlesites, with no rolls for Redrain- finished there.))

"Feels louder," Agnarr comments offhandedly, bumping the butt of his pollaxe into a wall to make an echo. "How deep in are we?" he asks Freja.

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 32 higher.

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 9 higher.

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 11 higher.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 28 higher.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 25 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 5 higher.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 35, rolling 19 higher.

Aureth GM Roll checked command(4) + leadership(3) at difficulty 35, rolling 25 higher.

Magpie checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 7 lower.

Almost immediately, Asher stands to go for Aureth, and stand between him and anything that comes near; aside from someone with healing abilities. Salve would be nice. Any other Shav coming for Aureth will have to go through Asher. It might be a paper wall, but it's a wall all the same. "I don't have anything to help you, but I have my blade. If I die first, I'll ask Death to send reinforcements!"

Magpie checked luck + dodge at difficulty 17, rolling 0 higher.

Orazio calls out to Aureth. "Aureth! Can you raise the bodies of the shavs under our command? We could use some reinforcements, I believe!" He has returned to a place where he can see the battle taking place, and call out brief commands to one group or the other to hold or surge.

"I'm not just going to watch you fucking die!" Aureth bites back. "Damn it-- /how many/-- just fucking fight, man, we're losing ground. Cassius has got my back, I just have to not be stupid--"

Cassius, meanwhile, continues to exhort the men, reapportioning the skeletons -- through Aureth -- as best he can to man the defenses.

Orathy checked command + leadership at difficulty 35, rolling 3 lower.

With everyone peeling off to go pal around with sassy zombies and their dungeon master, Gisele sways a little on her feet before reeling in Orazio's direction. There's a flask of water to be handed up to the man who's been yelling nonstop from the beginning-- and many more prayers to say, even as she tries to make a sneak effort to wipe the tears from her cheek.

Orathy chuffs loudly, "HAH. Had be the werd!" A little of his own blood makes the difference as he starts reaving through the shavs, relying on brute strength more than anything. He sticks with the rag tag group from the lowers, whatever is left of them. They're rebounding now, at least. "Yer leather be holdin up tho, Tor! Aint that somethin?" Jostling his brother again, he battles back against the force of the shavs, "COME ON BOYS, We're almost through this mess!" Some of them might very well hear him, though it's more being toe to toe with Torian that bolsters any of the Lowers men and women on.

Tristan cuts his way through the edge of the active battle and takes a brief breather, checking on his bandages. Only brief. The dog keeps guard, growling.

Ferrando is a teeny bit distracted by carrying on a conversation with Leta while fighting to be quite as effective as earlier, but that weird skeleton thing was REALLY WEIRD and all. "If it was like a flute, then shouldn't they be like 'FLOO LEE LOO LAA LEE' instead of 'Oh shit save the favorite!'" he yell-complains, parrying away a Bringer trying to pound him into the ground.

Ferrando checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

It was a decent enough flute impression for being in the middle of deadly melee combat, though.

Magpie's head is spinning and he's really only focusing on what's in front of him... which is Aureth, and Fortunato limping in as well. "He's right, Aureth..." The smuggler says, stabbing at another shav weakly, but stubbornly.

Torian had a real job once, and he's been proving it by holding his own today. "I retired because I had people." He laughs, falling into the joy of living through the battle thus far. He's splashed with blood but yet none of it is his so far. Had is the word again, as many if not nealy all of the street level cullers seem to have fallen. There may be a pocket of them somewhere, fighting for their lives, but they're seperated from their leaders for now. "If we survive, repairs are free." He jokes, pausing as his ax whistles through the air again, "If you fall, the charge is double."

Leta's weary, but her very fighting style is meant to conserve energy, and she seems to have plenty of the stuff, and only a few likely bruises to show for it. The pollaxe moves up and down, the axe embedded in an enemy's shoulder. As the Shav goes down, it takes Leta a moment to tug and yank her weapon free, and that gives her time to yell out in Ferrando's direction. "Maybe it's more like a - one of them things with the bellows - look, I'm the one who's had singing lessons here!"

Serafine snorts as Leta turns and chatters at Ferrando, for some reason unsurprised. Her strength and speed remain efficiently channeled. She laughs. "Ridiculous creatures!"

The slaughter continues. Bodies are starting to be stacked deep in the wards, with shav and defenders alike scrambling over them. Suddenly the Silent Army seems to pause, and far-too-tall men take their frontlines- the cry goes up that the formorians are taking the field. At the Seawatch Gate, a hulking figure at least 9 feet tall and covered in black armor strides through the gate, carrying a morning star larger than most men's chests. It smashes defenders, crushing dozens of Crimson Blades and Iron Guardsmen alike before finally Artorius comes face to face with the beast, his rubicund greatsword Requiem managing to barely deflect the titanic blows that would have shattered him before Artorius cleaves his greatsword through the beast's visor, felling it.

At the Ward of House Valardin, the former champion the Niamh Greenmarch, and new leader of the Gold Order, engages in a duel with a lumbering eight foot tall man in iron plate, managing to dance around the club wielding adversary as it knocks chunks of stone out of the rampart until she lands enough pinprick attacks to bring it low.

At the ward of House Thrax, a cheer goes up as Northlanders rush in to bolster the ranks of the defenders, and just in time- at least two entirely-too-massive men are smashing the front lines before being driven back by their combined forces. Suspiciously, none have yet shown in the Lower Boroughs, possibly because they couldn't have fit on the little boats they used to attack the Boroughs, but they are more than making up for it in the sheer number of bringers tearing apart Knights of Solace. The battle rages on.

((The formorians are a complication. It's going to be harder fighting for this round only as they attack brutally- difficulty 50 for valardin and seawatch, thrax is at 40 with the reinforcements, Lower Boroughs is suspiciously at 35))

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 21 higher.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 35, rolling 20 higher.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 6 lower.

Ferrando checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 8 lower.

Fortunato checked perception + artwork at difficulty 35, rolling 41 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 4 higher.

Magpie checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 8 higher.

Serafine checked luck + dodge at difficulty 6, rolling 25 higher.

Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 11 higher.

Torian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 6 lower.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 8 higher.

Aureth GM Roll has rolled a critical success!
Aureth GM Roll checked command(4) + leadership(3) at difficulty 35, rolling 61 higher.

Torian checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 16, rolling 13 higher.

Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 8 lower.

Asher checked luck + dodge at difficulty 18, rolling 1 higher.

Fortunato draws up by Aureth, human shield if nothing else. He hooks staff under his arm and fishes in his bag for -- ink and scrap. He draws to draw, not watching his own motions. Keeps his eyes on the chaos instead. He keeps twitching.

Magpie rallies, likely through desperation. What choice do they have? Maybe the shav think he's an easy target? One rushes at him and the sailor gets his knife up in time to bury it into it's neck. He stumbles back from another attacker, ducking behind a knight that finishes it off. "Wish I had some haze right now..." He gasps, each deep breath aching.

Cassius rallies the Knights of Solace and Aureth more or less monkey-see monkey-do echoing him rallies his own troops, exhorting them in the name of the Queen of Endings and Mother of Beginnings. It helps that Gisele helps him deal with the pain from his gouting wound so that it doesn't splutter blood inconveniently all over his spidery armor anymore.

Ferrando grunts and takes a few moments to take out some residual confusion on his Bringer opponent, staggering it with a few blows. "Was it singing lessons from a SKELETON then, because if not-- rrraaagh!" He smashes the Bringer, knocking it over with a final swipe. "--then I don't see how that entirely applies here!" He takes a few deep breaths as another Bringer heads for him. He gets a here-we-go-again expression, raising his weapon again to parry the new inbound attacker.

Orazio continues to call out orders, but seeing the wounded and the dying - both Solace Knights and (not so) honest citizens has the Legate's expression drawn tight and sad. "Keep fighting. They only have so many, and blades will cut them down as much as we need!"

While Asher can't slice his blade into an enemy worth a damn, he's a good distraction, as before. And he's slippery as all get out, dancing into and out of the fray, making sure he doesn't get cut. And it works!

Something seems to strike Fortunato mid-sketch. He turns around, lowering paper, and loops around his brother to check the fresh, if quickly soaking, bandage.

Tristan tugs at his bandages. The dog growls louder, as a shav approaches. Tristan leaps suddenly to attention, sword up and slices into a new attacker.

Gisele's last salved bandage is used for Aureth's sake. She opts not to tell those in her charge this and after seeing to the undead general's wounds, she retreats to the center to fill her pockets with plain bandages. Those that remain, at least, and when those run out, well... robes have a lot of fabric to them.

They keep coming, and Leta stands. There's a line to hold, and she'd hold it, if only Serafine wasn't moving around to meet bringers and shavs. The sellsword stays at her side, shoulder or back to back, tilting her head to glance in Ferrando's direction a moment. "It's all just air! Singing and flutes and skeletons, that's air, same thing!" she yells back, expending some air of her own, leaving her panting.

Serafine is too busy laughing, the distraction enough for her swing to miss and the Bringer to get past her defenses. She shouts, "LETA!" and drops to the ground, leaving enough clearance for her lover to swing that huge, intimidating two-hander she calls a pole-axe. And so Leta does, twisting at the sound of her voice, her weapon brought around in a wide arc that ends with the axe end buried deep in Bringer flesh, and her full weight behind it. That won't finish it, but it'll give the Velenosa the time to get back up.

Torian is again surrounded, his cavalier attitude leaving him more open to approach than he should be allowing. Still, as if protected by luck or one of the gods (or maybe more than one) Every time a blade swings close to him, he manages to spin or roll to safety, returning better than he gives by far. Torian the Unscratched some may say, or Torian the Thickskinned, as long as his luck holds!

Orathy was still in the thick of it, fighting side by side with Torian. Shavs fall around them, in battle glory, the Culler brothers work together to stand and fight.

The formorian attack is brutal. The defenders at the Seawatch Gate buckle under the ferocity of the hulking attackers, with Lord Estaban Saik and Lady Tikva Riven succumbing to their wounds and being on the edge of death. Ywaine of the Crimson Blade roars for siege weapon fire, and several of the formorians fall under ballistae fire, while another charges right at the command tends, smashing defenders like insects until it comes face to face with Costas Voducce. The sailor manages to dance away from its blows, and somehow manages to land a perfect cut with his sword under the beast's chin, driving the blade up into its brain and killing it.

In the Lower Boroughs, Duke Cassius Pravus duels with two bringers at once and then lets out a battle cry that finds all the knights of solace rallying and swarming forward on the bringers, cutting into them in a ferocious attack that as the dust settles leaves the attackers fighting a retreat.

Suddenly, all across the battlefield, something very odd happens. Every shav, every shard, every bringer of silence, every formorian... they all stop moving. As if pausing to listen to something only they can hear, and ignoring the fact they are in a life or death struggle.

((For this round, -everyone- can roll against difficulty -1-. That's right, 1. Go nuts. They aren't trying to resist at all for a minute.))

Ferrando has rolled a critical success!
Ferrando checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 109 higher.

Serafine checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 39 higher.

Fortunato checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 22 higher.

Magpie checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 37 higher.

Leta checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 62 higher.

"Did it go quiet?" Agnarr wonders after a beat.

Orathy checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 32 higher.

Aureth checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 1, rolling 19 higher.

Orathy GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 1, rolling 51 higher.

Tristan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 48 higher.

Orazio checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 20 higher.

Orazio checked command + leadership at difficulty 1, rolling 51 higher.

Asher checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 33 higher.

Tristan checked command + leadership at difficulty 1, rolling 18 higher.

Gisele checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 1, rolling 8 higher.

Aureth GM Roll checked command(4) + leadership(3) at difficulty 1, rolling 29 higher.

The sudden pause gives Orazio a chance to look around. He does not seem entirely enthused by the quiet. "Kill as many as you can, as quickly as you can," he calls out, and then suits action to words, his sword coming out as he just hacks at throats until the shavs near him fall, and his retainers do likewise.

Gisele checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

There's a moment of curiousity while the enemies stop and 'listen' to the silence, but Asher isn't about to let that go to waste. He's darting forward to try and drive his dagger up, through a Bringer's jaw and into his brain, before jumping back and looking around, towards the Pit. Did one of them get inside? There has to be a reason they've given up for the moment...

With the enemies suddenly frozen around them, the Culler brothers look at eachother. There's a little bro fist bump that happens, before the two delve into the madness of cleaving up the yard! Orathy is whooping and hollaring, as Torian takes the lead and shows his brother how it's done. Between them, the mess of shav blood and guts, is a wide swathing path.

Aureth is actually more or less taking his cue from the skeletons and the zombies at this point. The foe may be still, but his troops still seem to be in the fight. "Take them down! Focus on the Bringers!"

Ferrando has a moment of pause himself as the enemies come to a halt. With a little raised flick of his eyebrow, he abruptly breaks out into a bright cackle and begins just running around bashing every Bringer he can find in the head with his alaricite mace with hardly a step to pause. Shavs? Meh. It's Abyssal-smashing time!

Gisele is a nice person. She's an obedient person. A follower. So when the Legate of Concepts calls out that command, even she draws the hairpins from her hair. It tumbles free and she goes, quaking, to stab at the bad thing nearest. A... messy process. There are tears.

Magpie stares around in shock, blinking. "What.. the .. fuck?" He breathes, then hurries to start plunging the dagger into a shav's throat, and then another. He doesn't hesitate. Blood is running down over his hand and wrist, but the sailor is going to keep moving, stumbling weakly over the bodies around him.

Tristan leaps enthusiatically back into the fray, not stopping to question the sudden pause. "Follow me!" he calls to his former squad, and this time they actually respond, following the stablemaster and his dog. The dog bays, in sudden joy.

Fortunato takes a deep breath. He stops. He takes a deeper breath. Then he launches himself at the nearest passive Bringer, bringing his staff down again and again on that thick skull. What power will not do, repetition will.

The carnage in the midst of battle with a force that simply stops defending itself is unbelievable. Most of the veteran battle commanders know that losses are typically light until one side routs, and then it leads to a massacre. This is something far worse, as they are right there, surrounded by enemies, and making no effort to avoid it. A couple of slugging formorians seemed to be snapping out of it, but Fiora and Ferrando respectively managed to cut them down before they could fully recovered. The Silent Army is destroyed, with still the shavs not reacting, and theoretically leaders can take prisoners from the unresponsible shavs if they desire at the yet undecimated rear lines.

Leta's just ramming her pollaxe away at the Bringer that nearly struck Serafine, when everything pauses, and she pauses too for a moment, skewer buried inside the enemy. "That's either good news or bad news!" the sellsword declares with a squinty eye at the scene around her, ensuring that she is almost assuredly correct in her assessment of the situation. Then she pulls back, and goes about putting enemies in the ground, ruthlessly felling any Shavs in passing while aiming at choice, delicate locations on the Bringers, treating limbs like so much kindling for her axe.

When the shavs stop resisting, Orazio orders the terrible but swift and (relatively) painless execution of all but three of the invaders, and these he puts Knights of Solace to guard and incarcerate...wherever the Faith has place for incarceration, for further interrogation. "I suspect that we have seen the work of our Paladins here," he says, with satisfaction.

It's not clear, largely, why at that exact moment the remaining Bringers of Silence in the fight, in the streets, and in the fields sieging Arx all suddenly stop, and then collapse in on themselves. But they do. Seeing such unnatural things just..cease to be is heartening, even if the experience is surreal, bloody, and terrifying. As having your city stormed tends to be.

Serafine barks a laugh at Leta's observation, scrambling to her feet with both blades free, steel and diamondplate swinging at the paused, defenseless Shavs and Bringers.

4 Culler Hoodlums have been dismissed.

2 Culler Brute have been dismissed.

Aureth very, very slowly lowers the crossbow, staring through the skull helm at the imploded Bringers.

Tristan cuts a swathe through the motionless army and then pauses, stopping and turning to stare at them. How still they stand. "Something about this is very wrong," he says. "Even if it's a wrong for our benefit."

Asher stands ready to kill, but the army of foes drops like a wet noodle, and even the monstrous Bringers cease to be. So Asher, seeing that as a good thing, drops to his rear and takes a well-deserved breath of relief. "By the Gods that's... Please tell me it's over." He looks about, over to Tristan, and chuckles. "You're probably right. We should be ready for anything. Those things aren't natural." He looks towards the Ward of House Thrax. "...Wonder what's happening there? There was this loud boom but now... Nothing so far."

Magpie finally runs out of things in his immediate vicinity to butcher. The sailor wipes at his face, smearing more blood across it without even realizing it. He looks over at Aureth, because he's one of the more recognizable people at this point. "Do you think.. Aleksei?..." He asks, words a little clipped from pained breathing.

Ferrando is getting actually physically fatigued at the non-stop searching for Bringers to hit, but his efforts are forestalled when the remaning Abyssals abruptly, well, implode into nothingness. "Uh," he observes eloquently, carefully prodding the spot where the Bringer he -was- going to smash ceased to be. "Haha. Hahaha. Fuckin' YEAH, whoever you are wherever you are that got Tolamar fucking Brand! Ahahaha!"

"Gods preserve them," Gisele mumbles thickly, holding the bloody hairpins loose in one hand. When they finally slip free of that unwilling grip, she turns away from them and goes to get a bucket of water. A dipper. To be splashed on faces or chugged as people care to, given that she's now lugging it towards the nearest recent combatant.

"It is a terrible thing," Orazio agrees, his expression grim. "There is no glory in this, but it must be done." He glances over at Magpie. "Aleksei is fine." He says it so firmly and resolutely that it MUST be true, right? There surely isn't fear or worry lurking in the back of the Legate's eyes.

Fortunato is systematic to the point of exhaustion, going from Bringer to Bringer and-- and avoiding shavs at this point, much good as it does anyone. Then, either sapped by the effort, or sapped by the growing spread of blood and death, he lowers his red-coated staff. Yeah, staff finally red. He's coated, hand to elbow, foot to knee.

Orathy continues to clean up the shavs, because what if they unfreeze all of a sudden and continue to fight? It's pretty easy to cleave through them, not much effort is needed to slice a throat here and there, plunge a dagger into a heart, take a head from a body. Only when Torian puts a hand on Orathy, do the pair stop, and take a look around at what's happening.

1 Iron Guard, 1 Iron Guardsmen, Meeka, Beauty arrive, following Merek.

3 Iron Guardsmen, Ned arrive, following Calaudrin.

Merek, Calaudrin arrive, following Sparte.

"Yeah," Aureth says. He is breathless and adrenaline drunk, looking a little glazed as he looks around amongst his skeletal troops, his zombie masses. "Holy shit," he says. "They did it. They got it done. He did it, that stupid beautiful bastard."

Arx has over ten thousand dead soldiers from all the great houses that stood in the defense of Arx, and died on its walls, streets, or in the defense of the Lower Boroughs. Thousands more civilians perished, particularly inside the Ward of House Thrax. But the city still stands. The Silence has been broken, the Silent Army shattered, Tolamar Brand has been destroyed, even if the stories for all of it might never be known.

The King's War has ended. King Alaric Grayson IV is awake if unwell, and the people of the Compact are hopeful. Now, surely peace will come. Surely.

When the Bringers start collapsing in on themselves, Leta finally stops, lowering the spike at the base of her shaft to some gruesome puddle. She stops then, and leans on it, panting slightly for breath, her face flushed behind her helm. "That's that, then?" she wonders out loud, still uneasily contemplating the carnage all about, as if expecting more foes to come out from behind the walls. Particularly that wall over there, which she points out to Serafine.

Looking up to Aureth, Asher's eyes are a bit glazed over with exhaustion. "...What? Who did what? They killed Brand, maybe?" Hopeful, perhaps overly optimistic. "Who do I thank for that, huh?"

Magpie cracks a weak smile at both Orazio's reassurance and Aureth's words. He limps over to the Death Priest's side and just sinks down to his knees, grimacing from pain and crumpling over to pass out.

Breathing hard, Serafine looks to the wall Leta points, looking back to the blonde and giving her a funny look. "...should we get you some of those spectacles I see on the scholars?" she teases as she pants, wiping her blades on a random enemy body before standing at Leta's side.

Sparte is at a jog with Merek and Calaudrin, coming from the direction of the walls via a few shortcuts and side routes. He comes to a halt at the sight of the carnage, looking around for a little while before sliding his sword away.

Orazio moves over to Magpie, and takes one knee beside him. "Here, let me see if I can help?" He doesn't wait for anyone to give him permission, despite his words, but begins examining the wounds on the man.

Merek is drenched in all kinds of blood, while he follows the Iron Guard, Sparte and Calaudrin, to this place. "I can't... Killing all of them while they can't even... It's just," he looks queasy, every single bit of blood on him is not his own though. He swallows and uses one of the other Guards for support to walk with, "Where... No enemies? Is Brand... Dead?" he asks. He shakes his head a bit. His sword is sheathed, as he starts to shake his head. "I'm sorry I couldn't get to Estaban and Aiden fast enough," he tells Sparte and Calaudrin, obviously blaming himself for what happened there, even though he did kill the formorian.

Gisele presents the dipper of water first to Aureth. He's in full plate, after all.

Calaudrin follows in a breathless jog after Sparte. He squints at the carnage around them, though he's at least little relieved to not see anymore fighting. There's a glance spared for Merek. "He's going to live. Stop beating yourself up over it." He makes no comment on the shavs being cut down, having ended a few of them himself

Fortunato looks down at himself, dimly. He clears his throat. He tries to sound gravely secure. "Brand must be dead. We're here, we were here, so they had time." He's mostly talking to himself. Dripping and wan, then, he's walking over to Orazio and Magpie. To the Legate, soft. "I'll -- gods, I'm filthy. But I'll help, too, if I can."

Chapter 4. The King's Wake

Loud Interlude

Orathy and Torian Culler start to go see to their own dead, considering they had brought a fist of men down to the pits, it was time to start taking stock of all they lost, as the war comes to an end.

With the defeat of the Silent Army, the Compact hopes it can rebuild. The losses in Arx have been devastating, and crisis after crisis has plagued the Compact for some time. With the world saved through tremendous sacrifices, now the hope turns to peace, and for the recovery of his majesty King Alaric Grayson IV. The worst is over, of course. It has to be.

Orazio nods to Merek and the approaching Guard. "I believe Brand must be destroyed. None have raised hand to defend themselves." Then there's a gentle smile for Fortunato. "Please, do. I think I just bandaged something he's probably going to want to use again at some point."

Ferrando is still laughing and mostly doesn't sound very unhinged. "Ahhh, hahaha. We did it," he says with a deep exhale. Apropros of nothing, he rubs a skeleton's skull like he had some hair left there. "Good job, buddy! She's not going to be pissed off at you after all," he tells the undead creature cheerfully.

Aureth laughs. He sounds a little hysterical, weak-kneed with relief. "Thank gods. Thank the gods."

Tristan lets out a long breath. He pets the dog, and begins to clean his sword. "I should get back to the palace," he says, to no one in particular. He manages a faint smile. "Look. We're all still alive. Amazing that."

4 Culler Hoodlums leaves, following Orathy.

Ryder the falcon arrives, delivering a message to Aureth before departing.

Sparte just sort of stares at the, ah, conscripted dead for a little while before shaking his head and deciding it'll be easier not to address it directly. "I guess, I guess they, uh, had things handled here. Doesn't look like Brand broke through." He shudders a little in his armor when he glances at the signs of death all around. "But... Did anyone see Brand fall?"

A couple of the zombies shuffle past Sparte. One of them is gnawing complacently on an arm he picked up somewhere.

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