Beyond the Borders
The Mudlanders finally broke past the Erathian borders into the unnamed swamps beyond, but they ran directly into Mad King Gryphonheart's advance forces. Knowing that this was only a small portion of Gryphonheart's army, Tarnum searched for a new ally.
Tarnum must defeat Mad King Gryphonheart's vanguard forces quickly before they receive reinforcements. All Heroes will be limited to level 30, but Tarnum and his two best Captains will transfer to the next scenario.
|Day 1 - day 1|
|Although we have finally left the Erathian borders, Mad King Gryphonheart hasn't given up on us. In fact, he had entered the battle himself. Now, I know why he has been so quiet during all these conflicts. He took his considerable forces and marched them around to block us from freedom. We're outnumbered at least ten-to-one.|
And Gryphonheart has stated that he will not be taking prisoners. In his own words, "I will stop at nothing less than the total eradication of these escaped slaves!"
|Day 2 - Day 2|
|For a couple generations, the Erathians have been taking slaves from this region and shipping them back to their own lands. We expected to find assistance once we reached here, but the people of this land want nothing to do with us. In fact, they blame us for bringing the Erathian army to their region, so we're unlikely to receive reinforcements from the natives.|
|Day 6 - Day 6|
|We face only the vanguard forces of the Erathian army, but that is more than enough considering the bulk of my people are noncombatants. Even though we're outnumbered, I didn't expect an attack so soon.|
Gryphonheart's influence has been felt even though he does not lead these vanguard troops. He must've ordered his troops to attack my camp at night. Only a madman would give such an order when facing creatures native to the swamps.
A dozen of my new recruits were killed in the initial attack, but my troops responded quickly and they're eyes were much more suited to the dark than those of the Erathians.
Soon we routed the enemy, killing half their number in the process. Our victory has given my troops some much-needed courage, and it has given me an idea.
It goes against all my military instincts, but perhaps the darkness of the night can be our greatest ally!
|Day 9 - Day 9|
|Today Adamina and the other wisewomen showed me their version of the laws that would govern the Mudlanders. I almost laughed when I saw their similarity to the unwritten Barbarian laws. Many of their ideals are based on the old beliefs of my own culture before I tainted it.|
One difference is their strict laws against slavery. As a race that has had a taste of slavery, they have reacted almost fanatically against it. Besides murder, holding another person as a slave is the only crime punishable by death.
"They look good," I said. "So, what do you think of Droglo?"
Adamina scratched her knobby head.
"Yes, but wise beyond his years! I've been thinking about naming him as my second. Of course, I'd like to get the approval of the wisewomen first."
Adamina looked at me for a long time before she answered.
"I will ask them. We will let you know," she said. She stood as if she were about to leave, but stopped at the exit to my tent.
"There are forces at work around you, Tarnum. For the first time, I do not doubt that you will free our people. But what then?" Adamina asked.
"That's too far away for me to think about. First, let's deal with King Gryphonheart," I said.
|Day 11 - day 11|
|I've been receiving word all day from my scouts of their successful nighttime raids on Erathian camps. They managed to steal resources as well as inflict more than four times their number in casualties. As long as I keep up these attacks, the Erathians will never feel safe. In time, it will destroy their morale.|
If it comes to that, Gryphonheart will lose!
|Day 14 - Day 14|
|One of my Lizardman scouts intercepted a message to the commander of the vanguard forces today. King Gryphonheart has ordered them to hold their ground for two more months. After that, Gryphonheart will march his entire force against us.|
|Day 17 - Day 17|
|I summoned Droglo to my tent late one night after most of the camp, especially the wisewomen, had gone to sleep.|
"What is it?" he asked, knowing that I was up to something.
"I've come to the realization that we can't possibly beat King Gryphonheart if he marches against us," I said.
Droglo glared at me. Until now, I had never shown anything but complete confidence in our inevitable victory.
"We need help, Droglo, but I don't have the time to wait for the wisewomen to agree with me. In fact, I'm certain they won't," I continued.
"What do you have in mind?"
"But they're murderers!" Droglo protested.
"Yes, and they know how to defeat the Erathians! The Mudlanders are brave fighters, but the only reason we haven't lost is the Erathians keep fighting us on our own terms - in the swamp. Even we can't beat the numbers Gryphonheart is going to throw at us!"
As much as he tried, Droglo couldn't defeat my logic. Even this idealistic young man knew we were outmatched.
"So, what do we do?" he asked.
"Not we - you," I said. I hoped I wouldn't live to regret this decision.
|Day 21 - Day 21|
|When Droglo didn't return today, I began to imagine the worse.|
Why did I send a young boy to enlist the Barbarians? My people respected strength over all else these days. Wouldn't it have been best to ride there myself? But I couldn't leave these people without a commander.
I prayed to the Ancestors, begging them to give me strength.
But more importantly I looked skyward and implored, "Protect that boy! He has the heart of a Barbarian!"
|Day 26 - Day 26|
|I rushed into the healer's tent to find a woman removing a crude bandage from Droglo's face. The wound beneath had been caused by a blade, biting deep along his jaw line. It would be an ugly scar.|
Droglo shrugged. It was too painful for him to smile, and he talked without moving his mouth.
"A duel," he said. "They made me battle one of their best warriors - an Orc."
"Even though you told them you were acting as my voice?" I said, shocked.
According to custom, Droglo should have been under my protection. If they had wanted a test of our strength, they should've sent their best warrior to face me in one-on-one battle, not force 'my voice' to fight. Apparently, I didn't know my people as well as I thought.
"How did they respond to my offer?" I asked.
"They agreed to help, but at double the price you offered. And they said if we didn't pay, perhaps the Erathians would," Droglo said.
I clenched my fists but tried not to reveal the anger boiling within. My people owed the Mudlanders for their help in freeing them long ago, and this was how they repaid their debt! Extortion!
I took a deep breath, placed a hand on Droglo's shoulder.
"Thank you," I said. He must've gone through a lot while in Barbarian territory.
|Day 30 - Day 30|
|Our victory over the vanguard forces is close, so I have sent my scouts ahead to taunt Mad King Gryphonheart's main forces. May they never have another good night's sleep!|
|5, 3, 0||Castle|
|11, 30, 0||Fortress|
|28, 13, 0||Castle|
|4, 33, 0||Your most powerful hero from The Ransom scenario.|
|11, 31, 0||Tarnum the Beastmaster|
|16, 30, 0||Your most powerful hero from The Ransom scenario.|
|18, 30, 0||Gnoll||"What rebellion? You brought those Erathians with you. Why should we help you?"|
|22, 35, 0||Lizardman||"Hey! This is our mill, you crook! Go away!"|