The Battle of the Seven Champions

World of Macilnya

And lo, it came to pass in the 306th year of the kingdom of Maltara that the orcish hordes pressed close against the forces of Maltara; and that even as the dread hand of the Sacred Many abetted the pilgrimages out of the Blighted Spires, the warriors of Ghashburz forayed into the Western March to distract the Earl's army.

Two raiding bands ventured forth, each circling, one north and one south, where they skirmished day after day with the levies of the Count and the Earl. Losses on both sides rose, yet the skirmishes continued, as the Maltaran forces drove the raiders further out, little knowing that this was the goal of the raids. As the Maltaran forces spread far out, the true threat arose.

Marching out of Ghashburz came an orc army the likes of which had not been seen since the Coming of Gruublak. 400 warriors strong, the army trampled into Maltara, pressing towards the March capital at Hilltop. With the primary defenders drawn out, the remaining forces evacuated the peasantry, gathering to stop the orcs at Three Hills, where their forces would be able to make a stand on the three low hills.

As the orcish army attacked, they split into two large forces and one smaller, with the two driving out against the flanking forces, ignoring the Earl's troops in the middle. Seeing this, the Earl was forced to dispatch his own troops as reserves to support the faltering units to his sides.

Seeing the opportunity, the small orcish reserve force charged the Earl's force. Both units were primarily elite; the Earl's bodyguard contained two paladins of Pelor, three Sisters of Succor, his wizard Piter, a young Vodalaran monk, and myself, the bard Robrin, as well as five men at arms. The orcish reserve was headed by the Champion of Ghasburz, the winner of the annual Challenge of Chains, who wore full plate armor inscribed with orcish honors, and carried a spiked chain with mean intent. Flanking him were the six Lesser Champions, the most fearsome warriors of the six clans that resided near Ghasburz. In support of the champions were three orcish shamans, who called upon the fell powers of Gruumsh to support the champions.

The forces collided in a frenzy. The senior Sister, Jiskah, called upon the divine power of St. Cuthbert to grant us luck, while the shamans of Gruumsh did they same.

And the orcs charged.

After thirty seconds of swirling melee, 4 of the Lesser Champions had fallen, as had the two junior shamen. On our side, the 5 men at arms had perished, the monk had gone down, and Jiskah and the junior sister had been taken down by the Champion of Ghashburz. Piter had stepped out of the fight, having exhausted his magical arsenal; the senior shaman appeared to have done the same.

The Earl and I had each taken critical wounds, and maintained our feet only by sheer force of will. The last Sister, Margrit, stood between us and the Champion of Ghashburz, while the paladins were locked in combat with the two remaining Lesser Champions. Growling didainfully at Margrit, the Champion deftly attacked her mace with his chain, disarming her. Summoning the strength of Cuthbert, she leaped at him, wresting his chain from his grasp, and then striking him with his own fell weapon. He charged her, and they fell, entangled, in such a fashion that no one could safely interfere.

When the tumbling stopped, Margrit stood, the Champion dead at her feet. Seeing this, the morale of the orc hordes plummeted, and they quit the field, despite their numerical superiority. The Earl rallied his forces, and harassed the orcs back into Ghashburz.

The armor and chain of the Champion were given by the Earl to Margrit, to use as she chose; but that, my friends, is another story.

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