After relaxing for a day in Mixed Bag from the excitement of gaining Ryu as an ally to their cause, the Calican military quickly caught up to speed with our intrepid heroes. Their next orders dispatched them to Eastern Zartinia, to the Ragnor province. Calican intelligence had discovered that in the town of Senia there was a residium mine, highly coveted by the manlin army. Indeed there had been sighting of Lania Lancaster and Zeric Lancaster, Talia’s parents and generals of Isorn’t’s army. It was rumored that the Lancasters were hoping to gain control of the residium mine in order to make some sort of powerful magical weaon. Quickly, the party made haste to Zartinia, although briefly Taiass Atwari broke rank from his comrades, explaining he had business to attend to but would meet them later in battle.
After almost two weeks of journey, Nathan Bishop, Kao-Tsu Quan,Talia Lancaster (Black), and Vivian arrived at the rocky Senia military outpost by a small riverbed. The Calican troops had already been fighting for days and were currently at a stalemate with the manlin and drow forces. Luckily, they had arrived in time; major battle was due to occur at any point! As Talia looked at the state of the troops around her and tried to find the person in charge, she realized, for the first time in her military career, she and her friends were the highest in rank and the sole commanding officers of this military operation. Nathan exchanged a glance with her and he nodded, stepping up to the plate of leadership and accepting the challenges ahead of him. Sgt. Gull Hallem, a up and coming Zartinian soldier, and Sgt. Unak, a grizzled old school Zartinian vet who had fought in the old war, informed Nathan and Kao-Tsu what sort of troops were ready for the battle. Archers, crossbowmen, and mages brought up the rear of the attacks while foot soldiers were plentiful in the front. Also a group named “Razor Squad”, comprised of swordmages, and a small but powerful squad of Zartinian rangers with Komodo dragons were at their disposal. After some light socialization with the troops to raise morale, the battle was about to commence!
First under Nathan’s leadership, the Calicans pressed forward on offense, attempting to take a hill leading to the mine. Unfortunately they spread themselves too thin and their ranks were split. Many Calican casualties were a consequence. Regardless, they pressed on and were able to defeat a powerful group of drow riders. Through this victory, they captured a critical bridge directly leading to the mine of Senia. After pressing forward, word reached the leaders. Taiass rushed to the front of their lines, back from his mysterious business and ready to help. They could either help interrogate a manlin prisoner giving their troops problems or they could help in the medical triage, where a disease called “the shakes” was affecting their troops. Kao-Tsu agreed, keeping the troops healthy was key to a victory. This choice proved to be a dismal one, as not only could they not prevent the disease from spreading, but Talia and Kao-Tsu fell ill themselves.
Despite their setbacks, the party was frantic to pull themselves together. Gull Hallem brought to their attention the news that a squad of drow was seen going under the city, through the sewers. This was surely their way of getting a surprise attack on the Callicans! Talia agreed to help lead Razor Squad in a secret attack to catch up with the drow and foil their plans. In the dark stank sewers, the squad had difficulty moving about and finding direction. Instead of finding drow they were able to cut off a group of manlin with cave trolls. After a strenuous battle that left the cave trolls scattered in the sewers, a huge explosion was heard from overhead. The ground shook, and the walls began to collapse and cave in around the leaders. Nathan and what little remained of Razor Squad was cut off from the rest of the party and was forced to retreat back to their main camp, trying to find a way out of the maze of sewers back up to the surface. Taiass, Vivian, Kao-Tsu, and Talia marched forward, weary and unhappy with their current situation.
It wasn’t long before the cave in cleared out and they were exposed to the open air. Kao-Tsu was astonished to see the city of Senia practically destroyed as if a nuclear reactor had exploded. The explosion had rutted out over a quarter of the city and turned it into rubble and ash. Both Calicans and manlin had died in the explosion, but apparently the destruction had made two people very happy. Lania and Zeric stood smiling coldly amist the devastation, thrilled at the results at their work. As Talia angrily confronted them and accused them of their evil misdeeds, she realized her mother was truly lost. Lania laughed at her daughter wildly as she spoke of her superiority as the matriarch of the Lancaster family. Zeric, sadness in his eyes, pleaded for his daughter to listen to reason and join their sides as the winning side of the war. Talia shook her head sadly. Her parents were dead to her after all. After a brief yet difficult fight on the edge of crater, Kao-Tsu and Vivian were able to push Lania and Zeric over the edge. As Talia peered over, she saw a shadowy web reach out and snatch up their figures before they hit the bottom of the cliff. This was not the last confrontation of the Lancasters, to be sure.
By the time Kao-Tsu, Taiass, Vivian, and Talia retreated to their home base and regrouped with Nathan, it was too late. Their army had been routed, the manlins had taken the residium mine of Senia, the Zartinians had suffered a huge military setback and almost half of their troops had been wiped out. Not only that, but Vivian was horrified to discover that her faithful retainer, Goo had taken a spear to the chest and had died of his wounds while she had been away fighting the Lancasters. There was nothing to do but pick up the remainder of the shattered pieces of their military and move on. Vivian wept tiny tears as Talia clenched her fists in anger as the men dug Goo’s grave in the rocky earth. Her parents would pay for what they had done to her and her family.