Through the Breach
Narrate: Near the edge of Alais Primos’ old wall, a memory-event manifests, revealing a shimmering golden dome over the city, formed from phenomenal levels of divine magic. The shield resembles a giant golden tortoise shell, designed to protect the defenders of the city even from aerial attacks, but due to the limited power of the Arc, only a small semicircle of this field has manifested.
Kasvarina and other warmages bearing longswords wait behind a row of eladrin soldiers holding up heavy shields against potential bolts from the city—there must be around three hundred Clergy armsmen at the ready, just beyond the translucent gold field, each with a crossbow at the ready.
Positioned about eighty feet from the field, The eladrin army has left a wide opening in their ranks, and general Sor Daeron walks out into the space between both forces, followed by a hundred chained human prisoners held at spearpoint by his soldiers.
Sor Daeron: (in Elvish) Brothers! This wall of theirs is no mere enchantment. The leaders of the Clergy have manifested the prayers of their followers; together, their faith holds strong enough to turn aside any blade or spell. But today, we will shake their faith in their leaders. We will make their prayers falter. We will make them fear us!
(in Common, turning to the city): Humans! I am Sor Daeron, general of the army that now faces you. We have traveled far to bring you justice this day, and yet you rebuke us at your doorstep like poor hosts. Hear me! Send forth your mightiest champion. Prove you are worthy to lead the masses that flock to you by offering up the lives of one of your own! Defeat me in single combat, and my forces will leave Alais Primos unravaged!
Narrate: There are murmurs among the Clergy host, but no figure of authority steps forth. Sor stands impatiently, outside of the safety of his army’s shield vanguard, but close enough to the prisoners that no shots are fired.
Sor Daeron: If you will not send forth a champion… your comrades shall pay the price for your cowardice. I will cut them down ten at a time while you watch!
Narrate: He taps his foot, silently counting off seconds until a full minute has passed. The air is tense, and the look in the eyes of each defender is nothing short of murderous, but still no word is spoken. Sor Daeron turns, grimly nodding to a group of spearmen keeping the first row of captives at bay.
Sor Daeron: Kill them.
Narrate: The massacre begins. Ten spears move in unison, neatly piercing the ribs of each hostage while the rows of doomed souls behind them beg for their lives. Every minute that passes, the slaughter repeats, and soon the line of Clergy warriors is screaming and jeering in a nauseating mixture of horror and rage. Many Elfaivaran soldiers turn away, unable to stomach the wholesale murder of the helpless, be they human or not—but true to Sor’s promise, the golden shield over the city starts to flicker. Grief and anger are distracting the people of the city from their steadfast prayers.
When fully six rows of humans lay dead at the forefront of the eladrin forces, the golden wall parts. All three hundred soldiers follow behind a battle-priest who walks within a small, spherical version of the shield protecting his city.
Sor: (smugly) Prime Cardinal Richelmont! You grace us with your presence at last. And with nearly half of the men who once trusted you still alive—
Richelmont: Blaggard! Blight! The wrath of our gods be upon you!
Narrate: Several geysers erupt from the ground around Sor, blasting forth a cloud of choking white powder. Sor dives clear, but all ten of his spearmen are caught in the divine spell—when the dust clears, they stand as lifeless and crumbling statues of salt.
Sor: You deny my challenge!? You slaughter my men while your faithful keep you safe? I will see your pride bleed out of you on this battlefield, you monster!
Narrate: A brief, but bloody battle follows. Sor closes the distance to his foe, and the exchange of spell and blade is dramatic and destructive enough to keep the armies at their backs from clashing in melee. Kasvarina herself tries to press forward, but there are simply too many eladrin in front of her; the crush of bodies makes it impossible to advance, so she keeps her distance and lobs what little spells she can. After a minute of combat, the cardinal catches Sor’s arm in a pillar of salt, but Sor manages to strip away the priest’s shield with a spell of his own. The surrounding eladrin launch arrows and spells, and the cardinal falls to a hail of magic missiles. The surviving humans retreat, and eladrin rush to treat the injured Sor, but Kasvarina calls out:
Kasvarina: An opening! Hurry! To your left!
Narrate: Kasvarina and four officers fey step from the staggered and chaotic ranks of their allies, rushing forward as the new opening begins to narrow. They only barely make it through, only for their brash action to pit them up against three hundred furious Clegy armsmen. Though her allies drop in seconds, Kasvarina fights with heroic vigor until finally being struck unconscious by repeated mace strikes to her head.
Kasvarina lies still. In reality, she has kept her wits about her, and is merely feigning unconsciousness so the memory-event can continue, escaping any major injury.
The humans begin praying to bolster the wall, and two men draw daggers to finish off the wounded when a figure cloaked like a healer rushes forward and admonishes them.
Nic: Stay your hands; spare them! Your brothers and sisters are still on the battlefield in chains; we can ransom these wounded for them! If even a single eladrin here is among their nobility, we can save every hostage they’re keeping. Please…!
Narrate: The soldiers look unsatisfied, but they relent to the man’s wisdom. He enlists the group to carry the bodies to a nearby church where he’s tending to survivors.
As the men get to work, the healer pulls a cigarette from his coat and lights it. Just on the other side of the golden barrier, eladrin bash at the barrier ineffectually, while others parade the dead body of Richelmont. The men say prayers for their prime cardinal, which Nicodemus joins into half-heartedly.