|Flood medium cavalry|
We picked up right where we left off on the previous session with the same cast.
Having won a decisive victory, the cabal now set about figuring out how to follow up. Their army, while superior in firepower and magic, were far behind enemy lines and vastly outnumbered. The battle-field, dubbed Geminon Field by the rank and file, lay on the outskirts of the main camp of Samil Raga. Captain Galan, Master of the Arcana of Space, estimated the enemy to have about 60,000 men within a day's march. The Erians had a little more than three thousand.
Van Saar now decided to take Geminon to task over his paltry show during the battle. Not only had he not been able to field a single legion, he had been absent from the field throughout the entire battle. Harsh words were said. This resulted in Geminon leaving the cabal behind, taking Prince Wacklaw's Kengelian troops back to their own lands.
Not willing to accept defeat, the cabal took up position on the high ground overlooking the narrow field, and prepared to meet the enemy. The troops left under their command counted about 1,500, many of these being irregulars. The horse and cannon belonged to Prince Wacklaw. Still, they reckoned that three Masters and an Adeptus should be more than capable of defeating an uncoordinated mass of dirt-worshipping heathens. And of course the company of Grey Knights were bound to make a difference.
When the enemy showed up, Master van Saar and Adeptus Tito went to parley. The diplomacy met with little success, as Samil Raga were in no mood to roll over to a small coven of assassins, lie-smiths and witches. As he pointed out, he was but the first of many - behind him came a whole people. And so the stage was set for the Second Battle of Geminon Field.
Thousands of warriors took to the field under the Raga's horse-hair banner, amongst them many of the dreaded horse-archers, as well as heavier cavalry, infantry, and even some cannon. In front of the Flood battle-line, shamans were dancing madly, throwing entrails and foul curses towards the Erian ranks. Drums could be heard all over the country side, and many of the warriors carried fetishes and charms.
And so it began. The Pius Cabal had used the time well, and several powerful spells had been woven. Master Galan had accomplished his second Masterpiece, making him Master of both Space and
The battle began when the Flood's cannons opened fire, spreading chaos and destruction on the Erian left flank. The irregulars lost a hundred men before the magicians could silence the guns. Before the enemy could get their lighter field-pieces into range, Bansl's magics bore fruits. The river flooded the area on the Raga's right flank, thus making any forward movement of cannons impossible.
The battle now began in earnest, as the Flood's mounted archers advanced to within range. The Erian muskets, having a shorter range, took heavy casualties without being able to answer. Despite heavy countermagics by the Flood shamans, the magicians managed to drive the enemy back through heavy spells. Adeptus Tito now sent his Grey Knights forward together with his great Lynx totem, shattering the infantry advance threatening to overrun the Erian right flank.
Bansl's second feat was to set fire to the marsh in front of the enemy lines, further limiting the enemy's routes of advance. Still, despite enemy cavalry roaming the field, driven mad by van Saar's spells, floods and rampant fires, the Flood kept on coming. And with a slow inevitability, the thin red line on the high ground got thinner. Then Samil Raga took the field with his heavy cavalry, supported by five hundred medium horse.
Galan made an attempt at killing the enemy leader, taking great care not to employ any magics that could be countered. The shot was true, and would have inflicted a grievous wound, had not the Raga been surrounded by his Blooded Men. The wound intended to stop the barbarian king in stead made one of the warrior in his retinue drop from the saddle.
The Grey Knights now veered to halt this charge, leaving the left flank open. In a glorious melee that delayed the charge, the Draccian knights, unable to break the Flood, perished. The Erian line were now under severe threats of being overrun all along the front, and the magicians knew that even if they managed to drive the barbarians back now, they had no chance of winning another battle. They needed a miracle.
After Geminon left, High Priest Bansl's prayers had gone unanswered, and so now the magicians all joined in a ceremony to compel the Lord of the Crossroads to aid them in this desperate hour. To demonstrate his sincerity, the High Priest made a human sacrifice, the wounded drummer-boy Jens. It must be mentioned that van Saar refused to play any part in this primitive, reactionary ritual.
Their prayers were answered, and Geminon, Master of Swords came onto the battlefield. Seeing that the enemy was taken aback by the onslaught of the Black Man, the Pius Cabal ordered their remaining troops to advance. This desperate charge finally broke the Flood, and the barbarians fled the field.
When victory had at last been snatched from the jaws of defeat, the cabal found Geminon sitting on a dead horse, the body of Samil Raga laying before his feet together with the bloody oxen skull of one of his gods.
In the aftermath, the Pius Cabal managed to persuade the Flood to turn away from Kengel and in stead march on the southern plains of Ruhani.
Storyteller's note: One of the things that is starting to become more and more clear is the different paradigms of the Masters. Their dogmatic differences are only growing, and I'm looking forward to see where this takes them.
Now that their adventures on the Eastern Front has been concluded, it looks like they will be heading west to seek out the elves beyond the horizon. Or not. I'm quite exited to find out what the next chapter will reveal.
[Picture source: 1 BBC NEWS; 2 own]