Having retaken the Unicorn intact and discovered, in the broadest strokes, the fate of their fellow crew, the Officers met with Alraji, the Vizier of Baruk-Tur. They decided to help him and the city by retaking the Great Gates from the Rephaim who held them. Donar elected to head to the East Gate alone then to meet up with the Atlantean party sent to take the North Gate. The Officers agreed to the plan and set off, though this was likely to only be a temporary measure, since the Vizier has no ability to order the Sentinels so long as the Viceroy is incapacitated and no Regent of Kerpatis’s blood had been appointed.
Thus the Ealiir, and Donar, had effectively undertaken to defend the city alone.
This they did. Vonvaka and his black blade, followed by Thurival, Fleshton and Eniki, as well as a new Barukturian companion, a physicker called Percy, made their way to the North Gate through sheets of rain. Percy, it happens, was an accomplished necromancer who used his arts to animate the corpses of two of the Aviim slain by Fleshton and Eniki the day before. Thus bolstered, the party crept closer, using Thurival’s familiar to scout the area obscured by darkness and rain.
They discovered that the Rephaim, three in number, had rounded up the gate guards and any local traffic to consumed them, one at a time. One unfortunate was screaming his last as they approached only to be silenced by a disquieting crunch as the Rephaim chortled. This resonated with Vonvaka, a mirror of the loss of his brother, who then casually dropped 35’ to the ground and strolled towards the offending giant. The others were either entirely unaware or flummoxed by the bizarre behavior of a runtling, cavalierly strolling towards feasting giants.
Confusion soon turned to rage and fear as Black Razor bit into the Rephaim again and again and again. Using the souldrinker as leverage, Vonvaka scaled the giant from knee to neck, at last severing the spine and riding the corpse back to the pavement – surrounded by a black nimbus of stolen life energy. Thurival began driving arrows into the avvim from hiding above and behind, to considerable effect. Eniki charged into the fray with his looted Dawn Blade cutting into the avvim from behind. Percy’s shambling dead staggered forward, bogging down a few of the avvim, while his magecraft plagued the third Rephaim with blindness and enfeeblement.
But the second rephaim and most of the avvim were drawn to Vonvaka like moths to a flame. And, like the moths, they met their doom upon the black sword, drinking their souls to empower its wielder to slay yet more of them.
The battle lasted some time. Even Black Razor needed to strike avvim and especially Rephaim multiple time before felling them. But finally they were slain, three rephaim drained by Black Razor and many avvim as well. Only two remained alive long enough to escape through the gates, where an even more shocking battle was unfolding.
Donar did not exaggerate when he claimed that he could handle the East Gate alone. He was already speeding along the north road outside the walls on his goat drawn chariot when the Ealiir cleared the North Gate. Aided by the potency of the Golden Apples, Thurival was able to see what unfolded a quarter mile away.
The Melqart and his army were already headed south towards the gates. Donar, a thousand feet short of the Melqart, leapt from his chariot, covering the distance in one bound, and driving his axe into the Melqart’s armored shoulder. The giant swept the man to the ground, slamming him down in a spray of mud. Donar immediately leapt again but was met by the Dawn Blade. 25’ of glowing yellow metal chopped him from the sky, casting him dozens of yards back into the mud. The blow looked as if it could have cut another Melqart in two, yet Donar rose again, leaping through the air in a crack of thunder into the Melqart’s back-swing. Donar’s axe sheared completely through Anaik’s hand sending sword and hand spinning through the rain and darkness to impale the very wall the Ealiir had just claimed.
Maimed, the enraged giant caught up Donar with his remaining hand and threw him into its mouth, gnashing its teeth. Teeth exploded out in splinters as Donar leapt back to the ground. No sooner had the Red-gold brawler touched down than the Melqart began stomping on him with its boots – until a bolt of lightning lanced down from the sky, burning Anaik’s face and chest.
The Melqart staggered back , sorely wounded so many times. Donar lurched unsteadily to his feet. The rains stopped, revealing roiling clouds depicting an angered bearded face. “INTERLOPER!” thunder boomed as a briliant bolt slashed the sky, blasting Donar into a crater dozens of yards wide. The the blast mauled Anaik and his army and even reached a quarter mile to the watching Eliir, threatening to push them off the walls.
All stood in shock while the clouds reached down to the crater picking something from the ruins and receding to the north. Muttered thunder “too soon for you boy. Stay in you own realm.”
The clouds part revealing a watery dawn and a battered, enraged Melqart with a fistful of Rephaim and scores of Avvim looking south to the Gates of Baruk Tur for vengeance. As the Ealiir watched, the sullen Anaik snatched up one of the avvim fleeing from the North Gate, biting his head clean off and drinking the corpse dry. As his followers staggered to their feet he bellows loud enough to reach the walls “Bring me sacrifices! this City will BURN!” Avvim immediately begin scattering to the countryside looking for sacrifices from the many plantations, lest they be added to the menu.