The party proceeds into the woods in search for the winged creature – several miles behind the lines they encounter it, a huge winged creature that appears to be a mythical dragon, it appeared to have tendrils of black mist encircling it which would occasionally contract, causing the beast to wince in discomfort. Gronk confronted the dragon directly, and during the exchange the dragon intimated that it recognized Gronk, that he was €œthe one from Karak ap’ Karak”. Eventually dÃ©tente failed and the creature attacked the party. A fairly intense battle ensued where most of the party was seriously injured by the beast’s flame. (Two cutscenes occurred during the fight, both can be found below.) Eventually, a crack shot by Alton and a charge by Vladimir but the beast down before it would have a chance to escape. The corpse falls on Vladimir, forcing the party to hack away at the bulk of the creature to free him.
Just as Vladimir is freed and the party begins to recover, a Strangler unleashes fire on the party and continues a barrage of spells until he is put down. The Strangler wore a bracelet that appeared to be bound to the tendrils of fog that were surrounding the dragon.
The party spends some time tending their critically wounded, and then heads back towards Hillcrest (the head of the dragon dragging behind some of the horses). On their way they encounter small pockets of fleeing goblins and then scouts from 3rd Battalion, who inform the party that the battle is won and the 3rdhas been sent to the goblin cave-turned-fortress to besiege it and prevent the greenskins from mustering for another assault.
The battle at Hillcrest claimed the lives of roughly two thousand Northland army troops and the slaughter of tens of thousands of goblins. Of Society men, Cutter, Lassiter, Goblin, and Warder Kev were lost in the battle. The party findsVolkov sitting with the bodies of his last two men and helps him with their burial before separating for healing and food. The Society and the commanding officers of the five Northland battalions meet several hours later to discuss plans for the future. After discussing issues of logistics (it’s discovered that Goblin had been magically treating the camp’s water and preserving the teeth of the army from rot and disease), Volkov addresses the need to bottle up the goblins. With nearly infinite reinforcements from their bloom, there is no practical way to conquer the fort directly, and besieging it long-term is unfeasible. The party recalls that the bloom backed into a mine extension from Leitus’ compound, and volunteers to head back to the ancient elf’s demesne in an attempt to collapse the cave from the rear.
As they depart to rest (and provide a proper Warder funeral for Kev). Volkov mentions that they should make haste, because when they’re done they’re going to have to go find out what the dwarves have been up to the last thirty years€¦.
Today he crouches over a sand table surrounded by glowing runes in an unmarked tent in the middle of the army camp. Every time a shaman in the greenskin army begins to draw energy for a spell, the sand swirls around a point in the table, and the old wizard casts a spell on that point, incinerating the offending orc. He’s feeling his advanced years more acutely today, the effort of suppressing so many magic users on the battlefield, the crushing sadness at the murder of his apprentice, and the weight of the knowledge that he may truly be the last of the Teribain school wizards are wearing on him, dulling his wits; and while he incinerates threat after threat after threat, a circle of deep ones far behind the goblin lines quietly unravel the old wizard’s defenses.
Just as the old wizard feels the icy stab through his heart, a laughing dwarven face forms in the sand of his table. Goblin snorts and plunges his hand into the sand, gripping as if grabbing the spectral face by the collar. He pulls his hand back, lifting the sand-face further out of the table, its laughter giving way to consternation.
€œNever…” groans the old wizard, €œ…ever…gloat.”
Simultaneously, both deep in the forest behind the goblin lines and in an unmarked tent in the center of the Northland camp, there is an explosion so hot that it incinerates everything within ten yards, leaving only a sheet of glass with no sign to be seen of a circle of deep ones, or of a tiny old man, whose name really wasn’t Goblin.
Together, they defected with their friend Sergei Volkov on the field at Westergarde, and so loved and trusted were they by their men that every single soldier in their units went with them. Together, they joined The Society. Together, they marched back across the Northlands, this time as liberators instead of conquerors. Together, they kept their men safe when both the North and the South were after their blood. And together, in a single act of betrayal, they lost all of the men under their commands in a single moment.
Today, they’re out in front of the lines of 2nd Battalion, flanking the goblin lines from the hills South of Hillcrest. There are no men under their charge, just Cutter’s axe, and Lassiter’s spear, and a red, blinding rage. When the huge Orcish Warboss takes the field, not only do they find a target for their rage, but the small bits of their minds that remain Sergeants knew that killing that one boss could save hundreds of lives, lives of hard-working enlisted kids. Together, they charge through the horde of goblins, who themselves are so driven with fear that they simply ignore the two men. The Warboss sees them coming and grins wickedly, beating his chest plate with his huge, twisted sword and roars at them in defiance.
They crash into the orcs surrounding the boss, Cutter sweeps them aside with his axe and Lassiter leaps past him. The warboss spits the man on his sword with a roar of triumph, but falls silent when he sees the grin on Lassiter’s face as he pulls himself a few more inches down the huge sword and plunges his short cavalry spear through the chieftain’s eye and gives it a twist.
Together, they lay facing each other in the bloodied mud next to the corpse of the Warboss. His Lieutenants are fighting amongst themselves for his position, and the goblin lines are crumbling without the whips and roars of the orcs to drive them. Cutter takes a long draw on the dirty stub of his cigar clenched in his teeth, snorts out a single, satisfied €œheh”, coughs, and hands the cigar to Lassiter, who takes it in his bloody lips and takes a puff himself. He tries to hand the cigar back, but finds his friend staring at him with dead, vacant eyes. He sighs, pulls a small iron ball from his rucksack, taking care to avoid the massive sword poking from his midriff. He lights a wick on the ball with Cutter’s cigar, and weakly lobs it into the midst of the orc leaders.
€œFucking amateurs,” he growls, just before the bomb explodes.