It took 4 or 5 days and several minor skirmishes for the group to reach the outskirts of Drezen. Our elite units – the Dawnriders paladin unit led by Akaros and the archers Alexei recently equipped with horicaclum bows – are with us and the rest of the Brevic army is about a week behind. I, still in the palanquin where the party placed me with only Mr Tiddles trying to comfort me, take a break from my prayers to Erastil to speak to my husband. Noleski offers words of comfort, support and courage as I weep to him my sorrows and fears. He will, I hope, plant a pot of rosemary in my rooms. I feel better for talking to him and hope I haven’t left him too concerned for me.
Whilst waiting for Howlan Garress and the Brevic army proper to reach us, we harry some of the demonic troops stationed outside Drezen and manage to capture a few key locations. A graveyard (some mercenaries we freed advised that the crypt housed the remains of the first Crusaders); a bridge into the main parts; 6 watchtowers (Aaron getting to show off his awesome assassin skills). These reinforced with our own troops.
Our army arrived; we were updating Lord Garess and our other generals etc when a battered knight on an exhausted horse arrived at the tent. Through beaten breaths, the knight explained the bridge was under attack. Apologising to the generals, we quickly mounted Keiran’s griffon Brutus (cannot remember if it’s been mentioned before that Mr Tiddles had enlarged the beast until he was large enough to carry all of us if necessary) and requested the Dawnriders follow to helps us re-secure the bridge.
The enormous beast on the bridge had 3 heads – a snow leopard, a goat and an unfamiliar white, serpentine head – and wings. It was happily eating any of our embedded troops who tried to move. We landed behind it – I dismounted but the others stayed on as Brutus flew back towards the beast: I used shadowstep to move forward near Alexei and Evander, who’d jumped off a little earlier to be out of immediate threat range.
It took 3 rounds – 18 seconds of combat – to finish the beast off. Brutus was nearly destroyed in that time and the strange lizard-head* kept breathing ice on the rest of us, trying to hide out of range. Much mythic power needed, but ultimately it was the celestial T Rex summoned by Alexei that did the last few points of damage needed to wipe the thing out. Alexei will later return to the bridge to ensure a frieze of the battle is displayed along the side wall.
Another army in the Crusade is due to be joining us in about another week, so we begin preparing the siege to retake Drezen. Akaros, Lord Garess and the other more experienced military minds suggest we enter when a breach in the walls is made, so that we can recover the Sword of Valour and mount it once more on the wall. Akaros, as paladin of Iomedae, will accompany us.
Somewhere in the sorrow and excitement, I have missed my 20th birthday.
After about 5 days of laying siege (and still before the other army has arrived), our bombarding troops (with assistance from alchemist Ezekiel and Roland the gunslinger and his companions) manage to create holes in the east and west walls and take down the main front gatehouse: this is the path we take into the citadel.
*There are no dragons on Golarion, not even dragon myths. We joke about sky lizards from time to time, but definitely no dragons. So we wouldn’t recognise that head as belonging to a white dragon.