After returning from the Woodsinger elf camp, with the promise of 50 elf bows for their cause, the party rested while the free folk of Harkenwold poured into Allbridge. The leaders of these people argued with Dar Gremath and each other, about how the defences should be laid out, who would lead, who would put their forces where. Seeing nothing was being achieved the party threw their weight behind Dar Gremath, and cajoled, bullied and persuaded the others to fall in line. The party helped with the plans, suggested where to dig trenches, where to put the elven archers. Non combatants were sent from the town to stay in other communities. Dar Gremath asked that the party be held in reserve, to be sent if or when the Iron Circle broke through the defences. The Druid Reithann and her apprentices would guard the woods to the west, but would need more help. Bobo and Sivkin offered to help her and the druid gratefully accepted. The Riverboat halflings would form a skirmishing group operating on the roads throughout the village. Should the Iron Circle break through they would try and harass and break up the groups, even if the halflings had to goad the Iron Circle into chasing them. They could then be picked off more easily by a second group waiting in ambush.
Finally scouts reported that the Iron Circle had been sighted on the road to Allbridge. It was a smaller force than expected, leading everyone to suspect that an attack from another direction would take place. The bridge across the river was barracaded and archers protected it. It was a clear day, and so archers on both sides had no trouble seeing targets. The Iron Circle used tower shields for protection to try and make it across the bridge, while at the same time rough cut rafts containing men landed on the Allbridge side of the river having come from upstream. Dar Gremath ordered them to be pushed back into the river and the battle was truly joined.
The party saw that a late arriving raft was landing some distance from the main battle. Their intent was obviously to flank the defenders, and the party rushed to intercept them.
The battle went better than expected. There was only one veteran combatant, and he had a reptilian creature following him around that spat acid at anyone who came close. The rest, despite their numbers, were rascals and thugs who had joined the Iron Circle as a way of increasing their power, but they were quickly butchered by the more experienced party. The acid spitting drake was next, and the Iron Circle veteran was the last to be chopped down, surrounded by the party.
The rest of the Iron Circle had not fared any better, they had been pushed back into the river by the forces of Allbridge, and had been stuck with arrows from ten elven archers set to watch that area. Some had drowned in the river, others were slain, although a few had jumped back onto the rafts and reached the far side where they joined their fellows.
After a brief rest where wounds were bandaged, there came a whistling sound, followed by an explosion of rock. A large boulder had been flung from somewhere and had landed in the village, shattering and sending splinters of rock everywhere. While they tried to figure it out, someone shouted “look!” and they saw a flaming object, as large as a man arcing through the air and landing on a house, exploding in flame.
“It must be some kind of catapult!” Dar Gremath exclaimed. “You must find it and stop it before it reduces Allbridge to rubble!”
The party headed off eastward, where they found a trebuchet and crew across a tributary river. The bridge had been dusted with caltrops, and several creatures stood waiting to guard it.
The battle was fierce! The trebuchet crew fired a barrel of oil at the party, but luckily it was easy to dodge and only a couple got splashed by the burning oil. Some swam the river, some walked slowly across, avoiding the caltrops, some balanced on the wall of the bridge and came across that way. Waiting for them were two tar devils, creatures that oozed hot tar and radiated heat. They could fashion the tar into a ropey net that ensnared their foe and brought them close where they could be stabbed with their khopeshes. Two cutthroats lurked in the trees near the river, giving Leshanna, Suvlaka and Gauthak a nasty surprise. An Iron Circle adept cast spells at the party from behind a wall until he was run down and killed by Tor. Tor and Leshanna also killed the trebuchet crew, and Leshanna destroyed the trebuchet. By the end of the battle Tor and Gauthak were unconscious – Gauthak close to death – and Suvlaka had died of his wounds from the cutthroat.
The battle was won, the trebuchet destoryed, but the war was still to be won.