The Wave Breaks

The Hanorian game has clearly been to try and decapitate the only real meaningful resistance it has encountered in the city, and getting an assassin into close quarters with Stern Lions they have come close. However, The Silk Glove are again present and the attempt is stymied and the assassin himself slain as he flees the scene. Lions is hurt but recovers from the poison in time to consult with the party on their final day in the city - if they are to get to Tine Vale in time to meet the approaching Hanorian land army they will need to leave this evening.

In the morning Lions tells them that their enemies have attempted to get to The Covenant leaving a dozen guards dead at the scene. Their efforts were in vain however as Lions has taken their advice and replaced the document with a copy - he has the original in a safe place. Now he begins to give a little more credence to the theory that the document might provide the key to the Hanorian magical dominance.

There is also a note waiting for the fellows, sent by the father of Livia Blackstock and accompanied by this ransom demand from Captain Chiral. Much time is spent debating whether to offer help or to stay and serve the city. In the end it is with great regret that they accept that this is clearly a trap and that they must not follow their hearts.

The morning is set for a hunt, the newly rallied city guard have been equipped with a means to magically detect the Rakshasa and they are divided into three large squadrons that will sweep down through the city in search of the assassins. The party must be on hand to help when they are flushed, and the day is spent principally responding to false alarms and small scale brawls that ensue. It is only towards the days end when the enemy is finally confronted.

In the meantime, Erdan and Vini volunteer to investigate the attempted robbery of the Covenant - knowing full well that it was Vini that was responsible - though he alleges to most of his fellows that the guards were slain my another's knife. They undertake a perfunctory investigation but then follow other leads hoping to track down a genuine Hanorian agent to pin the blame on. They have significant success and with the help of their fellows manage to capture another of the spy masters.

The high fairytale castle walls of the city were conjured from the living rock by the magician founders, dominating the landscape, beautiful and awe inspiring and totally impractical for siege warfare. At their southernmost point is the Grain Gate a modern fortification abutting the outside of walls and acting as a fighting stage, mustering point and barracks for the city defence on that flank.

As the squadrons of city guard sweeping through the city reach the Grain Gate they discover that the Rakshasa assassins have taken over the fortification and will have to be dislodged. The city guard are wholly ill equipped and underpowered for this kind of work - Lions feels that they will take heavy losses trying to take back the gate. As the party consider their actions a runner arrives with news that there appears to be a marine force heading for the docks.

The party make a snap decision - the old city walls also have a gate that now forms a secondary defensive line to the Grain Gate. The gate is lost they tell Lions. Close the inner gate post a guard and let none pass, leave the Rakshasa outside seal the city walls. Then, Vinis requests a moment to conjure magical mounts to gallop north to the docks.

Before they go, Stern Lions asks that Puff swear loyalty to House Lions in return he gives him a Founders Seal, enobling him and granting him the appellation Puff of Lions. He tells him that the seal will allow him to seal the city docks preventing access.

At the docks to the north of the city, there is a very wide pool in which the few remaining boats in the fleet rest on the blackened stone piers surrounded by the sunken hulks of the vessels that were fired eight weeks past. The pool itself is separated from the sea by an extension of the city's grand walls. The entrance to the docks is guarded by two tall lighthouses and stretched between them an array of chains and bars that have been added since the blockade.

Attacking these defences is the animated steel dreadnought that Erdan recognises from their first sighting of the enemy landing force. The giant steel squid is ripping down the chains strung between the two lighthouses. The party run towards the towers in time to see an enemy saboteur using one of the animae summoning devices. As they reach the tower the creations arrive and they undertake a defence of the tower whilst Puff uses his seal to engage the ancient magical gates that rise from the waters lifting the great dreadnought into the air and sealing the harbour pool.

With a shriek of tearing metal the housing of the great light at the top of the tower gives way and comes crashing to the floor pinning Erdan and Vinni beneath its weight and destroying another of the animae - the remainder of the summoned assault force become enshrouded in a flickering aura and disappear back to wherever they came from. Meanwhile the great dreadnought continues its attempts to heave itself off from the stone teeth that ancient magics have conjured from the harbour floor.

The remainder of The Silk Glove rush to the stop and attack the device forcing it into engagement and preventing it from lifting itself free. Warned by the flickering surface its body, Gabriel conjures a magical fog that sits over the great bulk of the creature so that that the party cannot see it and it cannot see them. Whilst this tactic serves to prolong the encounter it also prevents the creature from using a wide range of its attacks and reduces it to attacking solely with its thrashing tentacles.

The battle is won and as the fog dissipates, it is clear that the marine assault force slowly approaching on two great rafts has paused and is now coming under concentrated attack from two siege engines within the port. By the time that Vini and Erdan have been pulled from beneath the collapsed lighthouse fittings both rafts have been smashed and their occupants sunk.

Erdan tells the party that it is not sufficient to sink the rafts, the animae will come through the waters the docks must be defended. Each of the heroes commands a detachment of the City Guard and defend the wharfs from the creatures as they clamber up from the deep. After an hour of continuous fighting it is clear that the marine assault has been repelled and has cost the enemy dearly.

At the end of the battle Stern Lions calls the Silk Glove to him and addresses them.

We have won a great battle today - I do not believe that they have the forces on the blockading vessels for another marine assault now, we might even consider a counter attack if we could only find the means to get out to them.

I know that you have sworn to go south and meet the enemy's main force and I want you to know that you go with my blessing and also with this - it is the covenant and I commend it into your hands Puff. My father, Ketrick is amongst those taking a stand at Tine Vale - go to him and tell him that I have sent you. Tell him that he must revoke the covenant and that I have said that it must be so.

My father will doubt what you say of course however we have long ago planned for this - listen carefully to what I tell you. Relate this to him without embellishment for in the details there is hidden a message.

At my childhood home there is an orchard that grows the finest apples in Morst. They are a golden colour and have a sharp taste that grows sweeter as the nights draw in. At the foot of the orchard there are beehives and as the harvest approaches the orchard is filled with their sound as the windfalls foam in the sun. The bee-keepers say that the sweetest cider carries the taste of bee stings.

If any of you would choose to stay, the city has a dire need for heroes and in remaining here you may yet find a greater role in what is to come. To the rest of you gods watch over you and guide your heads, hands and hearts.

The Silk Glove make their preparations and head into the night south to war.

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