(Featuring screenshots from our very own Piratejim!)
Team Stromfront moved south along the coast of Mirdain lands to our new home in the city of Tugri.
I had seen cities similar to this one during my travels, but I had never been inside one. It was surrounded with a curtain wall, with massive defensive cannons mounted upon them. It was a fearsome place, that still had an air of beauty to it. The Elven construction was clear, but unlike the capital, this city was built purely for war.
When we arrived before the city gates no one came out to greet us. "Are you sure we're supposed to be here Blarggy?" I asked.
"It's fine, most cities keep their gates shut all the time. Come over here, we can use a spell to get over the wall." Our party went around the cliff face and found a slanted section. Blarggy fired a spell that made the air swirl. He jumped into the cyclone and it pushed him up into the sky, over the walls.
"Well, what's the point of these walls then?" Pangalatic said before following Blarggy into the cyclone.
Once we'd all made it inside the city, our reception remained chilly at best. Dominion didn't seem to care about a handful of novice fighters joining their ranks, and I certainly didn't blame them for it. There were a dozen of other clans already gathered around the Vault, discussing something heatedly.
We all split up to wander round the city, exploring our new home. It was an expansive place, almost as large as the Mirdain capital. In the center there was something I'd not seen before. It was a large chamber with a glowing orb of blue light. One of the friendlier Dominion folks told me that it's part of a network. From this city they could warp to any other city owned by Dominion, using rare items called portal shards. A very useful bit of magic. And yet, I couldn't help but feel that Agon now felt like a much smaller place. Well, I doubted that I'd ever be able to use such a luxury anyway.
We were still exploring when a voice boomed out from the Vault area, calling all members of the alliance to assemble. We had apparently joined the alliance on an exciting day. Some other clan had hired Dominion to capture an enemy hamlet. We were to ride out in force, meet up with our employers, rip the Hamlet from the enemy's control, and return home wealthier than we left. But things did not go quite so well.
We had a force of about sixty warriors from various clans all riding out together. After meeting up with our new allies we set up on a hill overlooking the hamlet. While we waited some clanmen set up massive cannons. One person even brought out a warhulk; a hovering armored cannon platform.
These seemed to mostly be for show however, because they were soon dismantled and put away again. To me it almost felt like a pageant. There were weapons and armor that I'd never seen before. They crackled with arcane light or reflected the unnatural hues of Agon's twin moons.
Team Stormfront was issued weapons and armor, and more battlespikes to use against the Hamlet. I had never been part of such a powerful united force. In my ignorance, I found myself overjoyed to have been so readily accepted by relative strangers. If I was a cog in their war machine I was at least a well cared for cog.
When the time for the siege came, the enemy didn't show up to defend their home, so terrified they must have been of our might and arms. The Hamlet's stone was demolished in short order by hundreds of battlespikes flying through the air, and ownership of the hamlet was passed along to our new allies. There was some celebrating afterwards, exploring of the new place, and socializing between allies. I was having an amazing time of it, still elated to be in such a powerful alliance.
Blarggy tried to bring us back to reality. He pulled the five of us aside and whispered, "Guys, I think it's time to leave here..."
Pangalactic and I assured him that there was no rush. "Why would we leave? It's our hamlet."
Blarggy shook his head, "It's not our hamlet, it belongs to Archon. And they aren't our allies, they only hired us to help them win it. I think we should slip away before they take notice of us."
But the rest of us were hearing none of it. We figured it was best to stay with Dominion and follow them. We didn't want it to look like we weren't pulling our weight. But this was a mistake.
When the time finally came to leave we mounted our horses and decided to take the scenic route home through the woods and mountains. We weren't in a hurry, so we split up a bit, looking at the rivers, the ruins, the mountains, but always staying within sight of someone else. Not long after we left, Pangalactic rode closer to us and said, "I think there's someone following us." I gazed in the direction he pointed but saw nothing.
"Let's get closer together then, just to be safe." We tried to pull everyone back into a pack but we'd lost sight of Publius and Piratejim. That's when our trackers came into view. I recognized the colors. "Oh, they're friendly, just some folks from Archon."
Blarggy shouted, "No! I already told you, they aren't our allies!" The confused looks from the rest of us just made Blarggy angrier. "They bought us to help them capture that hamlet. We did that. Now, we're just like anyone else. They're here to kill us, run!" He spurred his horse into motion, and after one quick glance to Pangalactic, I followed. That's when we heard Piratejim screaming.
We followed his cries over the hill to our left and reached its crest just in time to see his horse go down in a storm of arrows. Two men on foot then quickly dispatched Redham while four more on mounts galloped in our direction.
I kicked and pushed my mount to go faster. "I can't believe they'd do this, we helped them!"
"Dominion helped them, we're nobody!" Blarggy shouted from ahead of me. "This is how Agon works!"
We had a decent lead on our attackers, and we just had to maintain it until we found Dominion. But then we heard Publius shout in the distance. We veered to the right and crashed through the trees. When he came into view, his horse was barely alive, and two more enemies were blasting firenalls at it. Pangalactic and Llemon charged in and swiped at the attackers from behind, cutting bloody streaks across their backs.
A wave of magic cascaded out of the enemy staffs, surrounding them, and their wounds knitted shut. Pub yelled to us, "Just go! Leave me to them!" and wheeled his wounded beast around to charge at the two enemies on the ground. The remaining four of us formed up again and tried to get back on track towards Dominion's lands. But, our attackers must have known where we were headed, because the mounted men we'd lost sight of were waiting for us. As soon as we came out of the trees we were smashed by explosions while arrows took us from our mounts. It was over for me in seconds, and the last thing I saw was the sneering faces of the men I'd just helped, before a sword was thrust into my chest.