Part 22: Day 23: The Tower
As soon as I climb the tower, I'm being thrust into battle. Looks like there are still dredge present.
There are five enemies, no two of them the same type. A Scourge Warrior, a Dredge Slag Slinger, a Slag Slinger Veteran, a Flame Slinger, and a Blind Slinger.
Three of these are new.
Unlike below, there are a couple human bodies up here.
The gaping hole in the floor is going to make navigation difficult with this many varl. Still, I don't want to split up my forces, especially when I'm at a turn disadvantage.
At least I start within swinging range of the enemy. Mogr steps forward to cut the Flame Slinger down to size.
The ordinary slinger around the side moves around, but doesn't reach anything. Fosalt does the same.
I'll be sure to get a gif of it when I can, but the Blind Slinger uses his ability, Sunstrike, on Bersi. In addition to being a normal Strength attack, Bersi's Exertion is effectively zero on his next turn.
Taking something out this early is a risk, but I think I can manage it. The only thing I'm really worried about is the Warrior, and Hakon just needs one clean hit against it to manage the threat.
I want to kill the Flame Slinger, but it's just not going to happen. Bersi's Strength is 1 short of being able to kill it on his own, and thanks to Sunstrike, he can't bring any exertion to bear against it. I could do an Armor attack with Yrsa to soften it up, but it would run three space away as a reaction, leaving it safely out of Bersi's attack range.
Instead, Yrsa lays down a wall of coals. The Warrior is acting twice before Hakon's next turn, so I want him to pay for his approach.
In an unexpected turn of events, the bastard moves away from my army. Is he going around the other side?
So close! But Flame Slingers are still dangerous, even at low Strength.
Fortunately, it's not feeling too vindictive, so it takes a single step back before poking Bersi's armor.
Bersi is within range of attack from across the gap. What's worse, my coals wall backfired - Mogr can't advance without taking damage.
I think what we need to do is get far enough away to lure them over the gap. Fighting ranged units across that abyss is painful.
Or at least, that was the plan initially, but keeping Bersi intact is going to be hard that way. In order to cover his withdrawal, Yrsa has to advance. I'm handling this poorly.
On the plus side, the Slinger runs away (over coals) as a reaction, then runs back forwards (over coals) to counterattack. 4 damage, and if I can get him to do it again next turn, I'll have killed the thing.
Then THIS happens.
Veteran Slingers are like normal Slingers, but with 3 Will and 2 Exertion. If they find an opening, they hit, and hit hard.
Immediate damage control - this should keep it from killing Bersi outright.
Hey, is that a survivor?
The Warrior just keeps pacing back and forth. With any luck, I should be able to begin the Pillage before it reaches us.
In yet another move I fail to capture a Gif of, the Flame Slinger changes the game plan.
Those two crystals in the ground near Hakon and Mogr are bombs. When the slinger's next turn comes around, they will explode, and anyone standing on or adjacent to them will take two points each of Strength and Armor damage.
So, I'm not going to let it get another turn.
Time is now of the essence. The enemy army - and thus their Warrior - is getting 2 turns to each of my 1.
The enemy turns to focus their attention on Eirik. This could get ugly fast.
I'm honestly not sure how I should have approached this fight. Maybe having people on both side WOULD have been a good idea here.
Okay. I can do this.
Despite his injured state, Bersi isn't very threatened by these slingers. He pressures the veteran with an Armor attack, forcing him to retreat towards Eirik.
Burning a point from the Horn, Eirik seals the kill. 2 left.
But the result is the worst possible situation.
My next two actors are on the far side of the rift due to my earlier indecision. The Warrior will get to act again, and he's in hitting range of Eirik.
The result is painful and immediate.
Yrsa lays down a wall of coals to discourage his advance. This works bizarrely well - he wanders off again, going god knows where.
FINALLY. Pillage begins.
Here's hoping that's his last effective turn.
So ends an awkward mess of a fight.
You lean on a crumpled wall, watching endless waves of dredge marching below. "Satisfied, Hakon?" Mogr asks. The vast number of dredge remind you of the great wars. "I've seen enough..." you reply. "Let's get out of here."
We came here for answers, so we might as well get some damn answers.
Mogr leans down, patting the man's tunic. He stops, frowns, and presses his ear against the man's chest. "This one's breathing," he says, pulling the man upright. "She wasn't so lucky," he says, looking over the woman.
The clang of metal reaches you from the courtyard below, muffled by the thick snow. You curse. "Quick, back down. Bring the live one!" You skip stairs as you descend, shouting orders to the varl below!
Eirik was the only one wounded. We can still handle a full engagement. To arms!
The prince wanted to fight? The prince gets to fight. Have an army of a thousand dredge, prince.
The enemy force is one Warrior, two Grunts, two Vicious Grunts, and one Enraged Grunt. The latter is another tier up from Vicious - one more point each of Armor, Strength and Willpower. This group is fiercer than it looks.
The enemy is at an inconvenient middle range that doesn't let me approach them safely, so I'm actually going to move my line back a couple tiles. This gives me the freedom to let them come to me, while also resting up some Willpower.
Until the enemy comes within swatting range, we Rest.
It doesn't do anything, since we're at full will, butwe gain nothing by advancing until it can make a difference.
Quite perfectly, the peace is broken by the Warrior stepping into Hakon's hitting range.
Hakon may end up dropping during this fight, but I'm gonna call it worth it.
Bersi gets the second hit. In retrospect, I probably should have put Mogr and Fasolt closer to the center of the fight - our tanks are lagging behind.
Hakon dropped the Warrior down to a manageable health level in one attack, already forcing him into Armor attacks right out the gate.
The meatshields reach the fray! Fasolt can't do any meaningful damage, but his presence should at least complicate things for the enemy, and I can use his aggro control if things get dire enough that I need it.
The enemy, as is wise, is going for the more vulnerable targets.
This is a good spot for Hakon - it gives the frontline more room to maneuver without opening up the Warrior to slip past to Yrsa.
Speaking of Yrsa, the enemy is clustering together.
Yrsa likes it when they cluster together.
The enemy has turned their ire towards Fasolt! Two heavy armor hits later, he still has 10 left, so he's stable for now.
This attack took almost all of Ludin's will between getting into positioning and making the stab, but it was worth it. This way, he's significantly weakened an enemy, left the flank open for Mogr to close in, and is just barely out of range of the next enemy to act.
When he does get hit, it's for Armor, not Strength.
And that's the last double-digit Strength enemy cut down to size.
The Warrior falls back to tempt me with a summoning, which means it's almost time to start claiming kills.
Fasolt wasn't very well-placed in this fight. He's at his best when he's close to enemies who have high Strength of special abilities, and he ended up inside the swarm of Grunts.
Okay, time to pick up the pace. One down.
Yrsa is a great source of consistent damage, even if she's not good at getting kills.
I REALLY need to hurry - Fasolt is down to 3 Armor.
As the enemy pokes down our Armor bit by bit, Bersi gets the second kill.
Next, to Mogr.
Fasolt kills one, then is dropped to 0 Armor.
Hakon, then Yrsa gets the last kill.
You take a moment to survey the battlefield. The enemy is being pushed back all the way down the line.
I don't think we've even taken any Strength damage.
The reinforcements are four Grunts. Three of them are close - Ludin is going to take some hurt here.
Ludin deals with his dire straits by getting aggressive! He'll get in the way of my stronger people if I let him fall back, so instead he uses Impale on the next Grunt to act.
The damage, followed by the bleed damage, is enough to drop the damage down to one point.
In this round, Mogr is my strongest - he didn't take a single hit in the previous round.
Hakon, on the other hand, has lost some serious Armor.
Fasolt, in the meantime, must carefully position himself where no enemies can reach him. He's got about one good hit in him before he goes down.
Hakon is actually in fairly bad shape right now.
Fortunately, the miracle of high Exertion means he can still put out damage, even in his injured state.
I wouldn't have risked this before, but Yrsa's last promotion gave her enough Armor to soak up an 8-Strength hit. Better yet, he walks over some of the coals on his way to annoy Bersi.
The Impale strat is working for Ludin so far, so why change it?
Hakon's still got 9 Strength left, despite all the beating he's received.
Next, Mogr will go after the guy hounding Ludin, and--
Okay, change of plans.
The screencap didn't take, but Mogr falls back to kill that Grunt before it can get another (fatal) swing at Fasolt.
Ludin's down to 2 Strength, but he should be able to pull through.
That went much better than the battle before it.
I had one eye to the fight... next time I looked down, dredge are swarming into the courtyard. Can't tell how many more are waiting out there.
But it's a lot. If we're getting back across the bridge, it'll be a fight.
Not really. Unless you want to wade into that valley, we're going to have to leave the same way we came in.
Hakon, I think you should take a look at this.
Nearby, the man had been bundled and laid near a shot wall protected from the wind.
I think this man is a mender.
That raises more questions than it answers.
That's right, I knew his look was familiar.
The spell weavers? In Ridgehorn? Why?
Maybe they knew something about what's happening. If he's going to tell us anything, we need to get out of here alive.
I agree. Let's decide how we're going to defend this dump in case they attack again.
Each day we wait here the dredge are going to pile up. How many will there be tomorrow? Double? What about the next day?
Er. Look, it's your call, Hakon, but... we can't cut and run on this one. There's only one way out.
Here we go. Do we bring the fight to them, or let them come to us?
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