Right. This is slightly overdue, so I might miss something. Can't be helped. Anyway, this is a synopsis of the most last chapter of the Book of Reckoning, the current chronicle of the Book of Worlds. You may be interested to know that this is also the beginning of the second volume of the BoR.
After having made it safely through the blockade and landed on the Dark Continent (see last time), the Company and a shore party made up of the Enæïd and the Pius's marines, headed inland by foot. According to their guide, the mysterious Efreti, the mustering field was about two days marching from the ship. The astute reader will remember that their main objective here was to place the gateposts and activate the portal, so that the Host could march through.
Early on, van Zaar (becoming more and more wracked by semi-prophetic visions, and hardly sober for the last two months) decided to quarrel with lt. Lance, the officer of the marines. This resulted in van Zaar attacking every suggestion made by the only professional infantry officer in the crew. Thus, in no particular order, the shore party trekked into the dry plains.
(O'Connor) acted as the scout, his main task being to make sure they didn't somehow get tricked into the spiritworld, while Captain Galan scouted the surrounding country. Note: both are Awakened professionals.
After some hours the captain became aware of some three hundred cavalry on the other side of a low ridge, and scouts about to reach the top, thereby noticing the Company and their expedition. In a short session of the, now trademark, supperåd, or wild committee, they opted on deiscretion as the better part of valour.
(O'Connor) found a track that would take them through a deserted part of the spiritworld, thus evading the cavalry. For a while, it all seemed to be going smoothly, until they start to feel the familiar tingle of danger approaching. (O'Connor) quickly realizes that they have walked into some sort of trap, and that he can't pierce through the Gauntlet.
As (O'Connor) continues to look for a way out, the rest form up in a protective circle to meet whatever it is that's stalking them. Soon after, they are attacked by a metal monster, burrowing through the sand (think Scorponok from Transformers). This Forge Demon killed two of the marines, and all but killed (O'Connor) and two of the Enæïd before the Prince and his men dispatched of it. Luckily, immediately before the Forge Demon incapacitated (O'Connor), he had managed to open a path back to Argos prime.
Having gained almost half a day by the short cut through the shadows, they pitched camp shortly after getting back on the track. Through varies and sundry magics, all the wounded were fit for fight come next morning, and they pressed on. Around noon they were found by a dozen scouts from yesterday's cavalry - Blood Legion (humans sworn to the Dark Prince), according to Efreti. This time, the mood was for fight, rather than expensive flight.
Now the Enæïd got a chance to shine. At about a thousand paces, and in the span of fifteen seconds, five of the warriors of the Second Age had put arrows in all the riders, killing every last last man. Banzel and van Zaar headed out to inspect the fallen, and returned with uniforms, weapons, a banner, and the horses.
Later in the afternoon, riders were again spotted, this time it proved to be Efreti's men, the Fire People. That night they dined well in an oasis, surrounded by about two hundred desert warriors.
Having a few days to spare, they killed time catching up on studies, practise and drink. Banzel became so fascinated by the rifles of the fire People that he challenged their best shot to a shooting match. After five shots at the feather of an arrow, first at 150 paces, then fifty more each time, they had to admit to being equal. As the Bombman said after the contest, "at least none of us cheated more than the other."
Finally the day came upon them. The gateposts were set up, and Captain Galan called upon both his own, and older powers, and the portal shimmered as it activated. Without further ado, (O'Connor) walked into the cold winds blowing from behind the gate, and disappeared.
When he returned, he was followed by several hundred Crinos of the Draccian Wolflords. For the remainder of the day, thousands upon thousands of soldiers from the Kingdoms of Eria, Draccian men-at-arms, and Hannuman Mujahed marched through the gates and onto the soil of the Dark Continent.
The Host of Man is now poised for battle.
Storyteller's note: The Company is now in a unique position. They have completed the task they were assigned: they've found a way to get the Host past the blockade. They are now discussing what to do next. Now, I have a few ideas of my own, of course, and so do they. Frankly, I'm exited to see where the story goes next.
As for the new name of O'Connor... Well, I got it in writing last time, but right now I am away from my desk. Additionally, I have been pestered by van Zaar's player as well. Apparently I misspelled his name in three ways the first time around. Now I have to go back and edit all the mentionings of him as well, and I have to change that tag. Why is it that PC names almost always have the most exotic spelling possible? One of the universal constants, no doubt.