A Meeting and a Battle
Gul Kobra gazed into the darkness and listened to the sounds of the night. He was standing alone on the deck of The Retribution pondering the events of the last few hours. His comrades had, to a man, or woman, gone to a clandestine meeting in Tradetown. According to Dur it was one of the newly arrived Drow, Lady Zarae, who had convened the conference. What gave her the right? Barely on the deck and already throwing her female, noble weight around. He had fled Shannizar and started a rebellion to be free of such arrogance. She would have to be schooled in the new order of things. Gul cursed quietly to himself. How dare she? How dare they all? Only his brother had bothered to tell him of the gathering, and that was just to stay in his good books, probably. Anyway, Dur would be reporting back on what went on so at least Gul would have something on which to base his response. Was it mutiny? Was he getting it all out of proportion? He could take a guess at those who would use this as an opportunity to undermine him. He could also speculate on who would back him. However, a Drow never really trusted anyone.
Later that same night, Gul was staggering back from The Green Dragon when he heard something behind him. He turned, his hand reaching instinctively for his sword, but was relieved to see his brother, Dur, approaching.
"Brother, the meeting has finished. I can give my report if you wish.”
"Certainly, talk to me as we go to the ships.”
Together they walked and talked. Dur explained that all were there and the talk at the start was of the disaster at Mora on The Isle of Dread. "Lady Zarae led the conversation. She seemed to be trying to find out what was lost. Greed was in her heart I think. Gorlab made one of his snide comments about your leadership, not the last of the evening. He also made reference to a ‘split in the party’s dynamics’ at one point later.”
"I would expect nothing else from Gorlab, he has ambitions beyond a mere captaincy I believe” said Gul. "The Lady needs watching, too.”
"Brun Casta and Goll remained loyal to you, though, backing your leadership and arguing against Gorlab.”
Gul smiled, "Brun seems to be becoming another Kalan in that respect, don’t you think Dur? What else was discussed?”
"There was political debate about what should come after we are victorious. Tsab was his usual self, anti-noble and very revolutionary. Brun favoured equality for all Elves and Drow and Lady Zarae seemed to want a monarchy. I became bored and didn’t pay too much attention.”
The two brothers fell into silence and carried on each lost in his own thoughts. As they walked Gul noticed that the people of Tradetown were rushing around, as if in panic. He stopped a passing Endorran:
"What is happening?”
"Ganab the Nasty and his goblin hordes are approaching the city. Gygax and General Haarg are looking for volunteers. 1000GP if you join up.”
Gul considered and decided to try his luck. "After all,” he said to his brother, "if I’m to lead an army I need to get experience.”
They changed destination and went to the recruiting station. Dur carried on giving his report,
"There was debate about future plans which boils down to this: Kargoth wants to go to the mountains around Shanizar to rally his people to our banner, Tsab wants to warn Nashkund about the mind flayer in his midst and everyone wants to go and settle accounts with the Cyclops that’s been disrupting trade.”
"It all sounds pretty good to me” said Gul "I had been thinking along those lines as well. What of Berun? Has Brun managed to save his soul?”
"Ah! Here’s the thing, Berun’s funeral is going to be in a few days and all must attend so we can judge who’s loyal.”
"So be it” said Gul, secretly relieved to see the back of Berun.
"Just one other thing, both Brun and Gorlab did make mock of you referring to you as ‘sad old Gul’."
Gul just scowled and strode off to join in the defence of Tradetown.
General Haarg and Gygax Dragonlord studied the map carefully.
"Lord Gygax, we have scouted the goblin positions using Gul’s flying ship and I think it best you fight on our right flank to counter the giant. Your presence will also bolster the Cronk contingent posted there.”
"Very well General, but who is this Gul you speak of?”
"A Drow, lord, with delusions of generalship, I thought we could put him in charge of the reserve. At least then our goblins will think twice about running away. I wouldn’t like a Drow leading a group of Beastmen blocking my retreat.”
The dragon seemed satisfied with the plans and the two parted to marshal their forces.
The opposing armies met on the east road towards Tradetown. They approached each other and exchanged volleys of arrows as they closed. Three well aimed fireballs from Gul caused havoc. Gygax Dragonlord chased off the giant and there was a general melee across the whole battle line which the Tradetown forces won, routing the goblins.
The triumphant General Haarg led his troops back to Tradetown and there was much celebration. Hoorah!
There is now a bounty on Ganab’s head. He looks very funny with a chocolate bar sticking out of his hat and there are marauding goblins in the area. Gul has made an impression on the Beastmen of Tradetown.