Approaching the inner bridge, across which the powerful Edict of Storms raged, we met a small band of Unbroken, the remnants of the Realm of Stalwart’s army, facing off against Disfavored. Taking our appearance as a timely distraction, the Unbroken retreated to more well-defended positions, leaving the Disfavored to face us. While their stubbornness may serve them well on organized battlefields, all it had provided them was more corpses through the whole of my journey. I greatly respect the fact that they fight for the Overlord, at least as much as the Scarlet Chorus do, but the constant infighting and pride from both sides set me on edge.
The nature of their conflict, and why the Overlord didn’t make moves to quash it, aside from my investigation, lead me to thinking, as we looked for a way through the storm-blasted terrain. The Tiers were the last region of the continent, the final holdout, to be swept under the Empire’s grasp. With two mighty armies and no-one left to conquer, it dawned on me that the logical outcome would be war between them. Perhaps the Overlord’s aim had been to have one survive while the other fell all along. The thought did little to placate the irritation I felt at being forced to kill so many of my own people who foolishly or blindly followed their leaders’ egotistical commands into my path.
We came across a small band of Scarlet Chorus in our exploration, who welcomed the extra assistance in clearing the area of hostile forces – though I don’t think they knew who we were as we met, I saw realization dawn in their wizard’s eyes as we broke bread later that afternoon. “We’ll find a way for you to cross the chasm,” he said after a long while. “One of our scouts saw the drawbridge mechanism they pulled on their retreat. If we take it, you can walk right up to the front gates of the keep.
Rumors held that the Voices of Nerat was happy to have the Edict of Storms continue to rage in this area, if for no other reason than to make the Disfavored who claimed the region as their own suffer. Unsure if I could trust the Scarlet Chorus band to actually aid us in our endeavor, I had little choice – I couldn’t split my group and both take out the winch and hold the bridge at the same time.
True to their word, we soon heard the sounds of combat issuing from across the gulf and the drawbridge crashed down heavily, unlikely to rise again. The Chorus was beset by Disfavored forces, and without our assistance they would be quickly wiped out. The battle was ugly, brutal, and over quickly, battle cries and screams of pain vanishing into the howling wind which whipped dust and grit into the air, so near were we to the maelstrom.
In the skirmish both of Verse’s daggers broke, one against the Disfavored captain’s shield, the other as she slid it between the creases of his breastplate. Frustrated, she placed the pieces into her pack, vowing to have the blades reforged. Luckily she still had her bow, the mystical Bane-vanquishing artifact we found in the oldwalls. She preferred to be in the thick of things, not standing apart, but she was a soldier and understood that some times fate didn’t allow us to do as we wished.
With grim determination, we turned our attention toward the great swirling vortex that shrouded the keep at Sentinel Stand, hoping the Stalwart Insignia had all the power the Scarlet Chorus believed it did.