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Battle Report Contest Winner - The Price of Conceit

Rowan
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

A thin mist still lingered upon the air, a remnant of the morning’s fog. The incessant humidity that permanently clung to these tropical isles scattered off Kryta’s southern coast made such conditions a common occurrence. It bothered Pharalon little. The rising sun would burn off the last of it: it would not be a factor in the coming battle.

The troubles had started weeks beforehand. A rag-tag bunch of miscreants had taken up residence in an abandoned old fort, just to the south of the lands that Pharalon’s guild rightfully called their own. Thieves and vagabonds with dreams of grandeur and dominion, or so the ranger Lewarx reported. He was, however, known to exaggerate such things.

Regardless, the young upstarts had bestowed upon themselves the title of Guild, and were now laying claim to lands to which they had no right. That was, indeed, the last straw. A writ of challenge was issued by Pharalon’s Guild Lord, and was grudgingly accepted. Such was the way disputes were settled between guilds. Blood was the only true way to seal a contract, death the only way to lay grievances to rest.

And so now it came to this. Eight of Relios’ finest, stood arrayed by the guild hall gates, decked in garb of both battle and guild, awaiting the horn the would sound a start to the battle. Pharalon found himself filled with a quiet confidence. Looking around at the battle worn men and women around him, the finest the guild had to offer, victory seemed a mere formality. The opposition were unknowns, mere children before them. They would break as twigs beneath his iron heel. He went over the battle plan in his head. It was a simple tested formula, one that had served them well in the past, one that, Dwanya willing, would serve them well today. And on that thought, the horns rang out.

The gates raised, they Pharalon and his party moved swiftly down the twisting trail to the enemies Guild Hall. As expected, they were milling, somewhat nervously and without apparent order, just outside their own gates. A quick survey of the group before him told him that which he had expected all along: and assortment of warriors and monks, and a ranger lurking in the background, and all with the look of unseasoned amateurs around them. Easy meat.

Everyone knew their roles, and quickly swung into action. Leading the charge, Pharalon smashed through the hasty line the enemy warriors had formed, making a beeline for the vulnerable monks in the rear, his brother-in-arms, a hulking man named Rhodan, close behind. The sight of himself and Rhodan bearing down upon them drained the blood from their faces and the steel from their hearts, and they quickly turned tail fled. Desperate for safety, they raised the gate to their hall, hoping to find some safety within its walls. Giving chase Pharalon and his guild mate dashed through the open portal, in to the heart of the opponent’s hall. Two of the enemy’s warriors dashed through the gate, just as it slammed shut.

Suddenly, Pharalon was peppered with arrows, raining down from the battlements above. Many bounced off the steel plate that covered much of his body, but one managed to penetrate the small gap at his knee. He was crippled, unable now to pursue the still fleeing monks, and with the enemy warriors bearing down on him, he turned to stand his ground. It was only now that the gravity of the situation struck him. He and Rhodan were inside the enemy hall, alone. Why had his guild mates not followed in the pursuit? It was then he realized something, and cursed himself for paying so little attention to the enemy maneuvers. There had been only five of them at the gate. Only five of the eight allowed to take the field. The other 3 must have taken a side exit and flanked them. They would now be engaged with the casters at the rear, cutting off any hope he and Rhodan had of support. Another barrage of arrows thudded into his breastplate. His vision blurred, a wretched poison was now coursing its way through his veins. He knew there was no hope of victory here now. Battle fury overtook him, as he unleashed his last remaining strength against the charging enemy warriors, then only darkness followed.

He came to in the heart of the guild hall, holy life coursing through his veins. The euphoria of rebirth quickly vanished as he surveyed the chaos around him. Meteors rained from the sky. Undead monstrosities swarmed across the dais. The last of the remaining priest went down under a wave of animated corpses. Only he remained. The bodies of his comrades lay scattered around the dais, where they had been trying to hold a defensive line to protect the priests. They had failed.

Yet the guild lord still stood. While he lived there yet was hope. Sorrow swept through him at the sight of his fallen comrades. From deep within him burst or the cry “I will avenge you”. He charged, blade seeking whatever was closest, killing at random. From all sides he could feel himself battered by arrows and fire and ice, sliced by blades and battered by hammers, but the pain was distant. A thunderous blow sent him to his knees. He wavered, and then toppled to the ground. From the corner of his eye, he saw his Guild Lord slump, then disappear under a mass of enemies.

No glory would be found this day.