Our heroes swiftly arrived at the port of Ar’ginth along the banks of the Dewton River in Argus’s boat. Another boat, hoisting the flag of the Veiled Alliance, left the port and intercepted Argus’s vessel. The party heard the amplified voice of General Aramil, the current leader of the Alliance, who insisted that the party identify themselves.
Alex and Ost gave Aramil the secret Veiled Alliance hand gesture, and Aramil dimension doored aboard Argus’s ship to speak with the party. In short, the party explained the situation, introduced Lady Varr to Aramil, and informed Aramil of King Valerian’s approaching army. Argus docked the ship in the port as the party went ashore.
Morak did not dispute Aramil’s or the Veiled Alliance’s cause, but he argued that the most important thing for the party to do at this moment was continue their mission and bring the book to the Temple of Boccob in the Mardak Desert. Some of the others, such as Bardy (the temporary name for our friendly Bard) and Ost, wished to remain with the army as they attempted to fight off Farun’s forces. The dispute was soon settled by Argus, who revealed that they would be stuck for the duration of the battle, as he had planned from the get-go to stock up on supplies here.
Aramil was grateful for the assistance of our heroes. While Aramil is a powerful mage, it would have been foolish of him to assume that he could win the fight without the aid of others. He said that Valerian’s army was not coming to attack the city – the army was coming to crush the rebels. If the Veiled Alliance had no forces in the area, their influence would diminish and the remaining neutral citizens would fall back under Farun’s control. This gave the Alliance the advantage of choosing their battlefield – they could defend Ar’ginth, defend the port, take the battle to the plains, or even attempt an attack on Martyr’s Rest, where the enemy army was currently camped.
After much strategic debate, it was decided that it would be most advantageous to defend the port. The Alliance’s army was practically split in half – some forces were fighting near Camillo under the command of William Jerving (a Paladin) and Xel’yn Zeron (another Wizard) and were too far away to assist in time. Aramil took about half of their forces and guarded the southern flank of the port gate, concealing himself in the process (a dead leader is not a good leader). He appointed Bardy as the quasi-official “commander” of the Eastern flank’s forces, as he showed good leadership skills.
The party began to organize their forces. Laralan suggested that the Alliance’s archers be mounted on the cliffs outside of the port’s gates, so that they could fire upon troops in the plains below. While this was a good idea, Morak pointed out that any Alliance forces on the plains would be devastated by Farun’s cavalry. To counter the cavalry, Alex pointed out that horses hate mud and will often, unless well-trained, refuse to go through it. At the party’s suggestion, Aramil and some mages used scrolls of Transmute Earth to Mud to cover several parts of the plains in mud to counter the cavalry. Argus and three other Alliance captains readied their ships to use cannons to fire on enemy troops from the banks of the river. Ost and his new friend, a barbarian, loaded up a ballista on the port gate. Laralan joined a group of archers, helping their aim. Alex joined a group of Alliance mages. Bardy joined a group of foot soldiers, with his songs boosting their spirits in the face of grim odds. Morak joined a group of scouts, ready to ambush enemy soldiers.
The battle was a huge success for the Alliance. The foot soldiers who approached the port were decimated by fire from both the archers and the boats on the River. The enemy side lacked a large amount of magic, as the Warlocks did not arrive to Martyr’s Rest on time thanks to our heroes. The cavalry and the Slayers (on horseback) attempted to charge around the cliffs and central plain to hit the archers from a vulnerable side, while a group of evil Clerics began raising undead from the slain bodies to distract the archers. They were slowed significantly by the random patches of mud in the ground. The scouts ambushed the Clerics after Argus’s cannons nearly blew them to pieces from a distance. The majority of the Clerics (of Hextor) were dispatched before they could heal up, but their leader – the mysterious Serah Kyssinder, older sister of Jane Kyssinder, escaped unscathed.
Those few cavalry units and Slayers who bypassed the mud did slay a lot of archers, but they did not slay Laralan, who used his handy Updraft spell to escape over the cliff and join another unit of Alliance forces. The mages took apart the Slayers and cavalry from a safe distance, with aid from Ost’s ballista. At the end of the day, only one enemy unit of cavalry escaped unscathed from the Eastern flank.
The other side of the battle went moderately well. At first, the cavalry were destroying the alliance’s foot soldiers, which made room for a group of Farun’s soldiers to near the gate with a battering ram. The archers were too preoccupied shooting the enemy cavalry and foot soldiers, so the mages tried to dispatch the battering ram. This prompted the mounted Slayers to start attacking the mages – which prompted Aramil to enter the battlefield. The Slayers immediately went to attack him. Aramil summoned an Earth Monolith (a giant earth elemental) and teleported back to a safe distance as it demolished the battering ram and the Slayers. With the ram destroyed and the mages going temporarily unchecked, half of the army that attacked the Southern flank was destroyed; the rest retreated back to Martyr’s Rest.
The party regrouped with Aramil, who said that the Alliance had survived for another day. Aramil was sure that Valerian would not immediately retreat, but he was also certain that because of the excellent defense of the Eastern flank, they would not be able to directly engage the Alliance’s army for a good amount of time.
The party agreed to stock up on supplies at Ar’ginth’s port and then begin heading to the Temple of Boccob in the Mardak Desert.