The Siege of Palingrad, Finale
Four T-RX golems rolled an enormous wooden cube up to Palingrad’s outer wall without even token resistance being offered. Fester’s intelligence had been correct; the defenders would be waiting to ambush the Addams Family inside the city. Lord Gomez stood watching the battle golems struggle to muscle the siege engine before turning to address Pugsley.
“You don’t think you made the arms a little short there, do you?”
Pugsley shrugged. “It was a balance issue. I couldn’t attach heavier arms or they would have lost some of their biting ability. The weight distribution would have been off.”
One of the T-RX’s moved around to the side of the box and bit down on a large knob connected to a solid metal bar protruding from the middle of the device. It ponderously rotated the metal bar clockwise and a strange melody began to play in time with the T-RX’s movements. Gomez had heard the tune a million times before but never could resist singing along with the tune.
“All around the Magic Kingdom
The Carnie chased the money
The Long Walk has finally come
De-pop goes the Carnie
A rand for his own upkeep
A rand to give his honey
That’s they way you lose your life
De-pop goes the Carnie”
At the end of the song the siege engine had finished charging and activated. A giant head wearing a fool’s cap erupted from the front of the cube and smashed into the wall with devastating “Bazinga”. Since the wall was unguarded, the weapon punched a hole clear to the other side. Gomez smiled – he always loved seeing the Bazinga in action.
Elsewhere along the wall, two siege towers were effectively if conventionally breaching Palingrad’s wall to the north and south of Gomez’s location. It was in the center, however, that the Addams Family forces would be making their main push. Soon it would be time to begin the assault, so Gomez needed Pugsley to be ready. It was time to send the caster down to the southern breach.
“Pugsley, good work. Take your T-RX’s and head on out. As soon as the wall falls, I want the Igors to send scouts into the city.”
Pugsley put his fingers into his mouth and let out a shrill whistle. The T-RX’s bounded over to him like oversized puppies. The Dollamancer clambered up on top of one of them and rode off to battle. Lord Gomez called out one final order after him.
“Don’t overextend yourself! We might not be able to send aid.”
The warlord turned his attention back to his personal stack. He had to admit that Fester had been right to about the uncroaked knights. Leaving the equipment on the League of Legends’ Champions was a good idea. With huge equipment bonuses, Fester’s bonus to uncroaked units, and his full bonus as Chief Warlord, each of the Champions was a force to be reckoned with. Together, they would be nigh unstoppable.
Since Lady Morticia was tasked with providing covering fire from the top of Palingrad’s walls, and Wednesday was off leading the northern column, Lord Gomez’s stack was one unit short. He flip-flopped for a while on what the last unit should be before finally ordering a tamed Bubble Tapeworm to join up.
After sending in a scouting stack to check for surprises, Lord Gomez and his crack squad passed through the hole in Palingrad’s outer wall. The city that lay before him was different than any he had previously encountered. It was packed with row upon row of drab buildings that afforded countless opportunities for the defenders to stage ambushes. Gomez wished he had brought a dozen Fashionistas; that way he could have stomped the city flat before a single Addams Family unit set foot inside the walls. “Oh well,” he thought, “guess we get to do this the hard way.” The warlord checked the nearest buildings for any sign of activity before ordering his stack forward. As he led his troops down one of the broader streets he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Fester.
“Why don’t we let the knights go first, my Lord? That is what they are for.”
Gomez felt annoyed at the caution; he hadn’t survived for as long as he had by taking stupid risks. Then again, he always enjoyed taking calculated risks. Right now he was risking that any hidden archers would wait till he was closer to start taking potshots. He was wrong.
A half-dozen arrows erupted from a nearby building and whizzed through the air toward the Addams Chief Warlord. Gomez turned to dodge a moment too late; one of the arrows had him dead to rights. The impact knocked warlord over for the second time that turn but oddly Gomez didn’t feel his hits decrease. He rolled over quickly to assess the situation and discovered the reason that he took no damage – one of the undead knights had caught the arrow on a glowing magic shield. Fester helped Gomez back to his feet as the rest of the knights moved ahead to protect the brothers.
Gomez dusted himself off as he mentally ordered one of his warlords, Count Ingkards, to lead a stack of knights to cut off the archers’ avenue of escape. “You might be right, brother. Now, let’s go say hello to the League, shall we?”
The duo worked their way through the narrow streets of Palingrad, covered by the heavily armored Champions and the eagle eye of Morticia Addams. Each building they cleared yielded treasure in the form of more units for Fester to reanimate; eventually, the city swarmed with Uncroaked. It wasn’t long before Lord Nexus realized what was happening and pulled his forces back to the garrison. The Addams archers on the wall loosed wave after wave of arrows into the retreating League forces and Wednesday’s spidew-mounted knights caught and croaked many of the stragglers. The Addams’ forces swelled in number as Gomez had the bodies gathered and brought to Fester.
As the Addams marshaled their forces once again outside the garrison, Lord Gomez had the Bazinga disassembled and brought into the city. As a diversion, he ordered Fester to sacrifice two more Igors as living bombs while the siege engine breached the inner wall. The first Igor charged into the garrison gates and immediately exploded. The second dove through the opening that the first had created before detonating. Screams and gore flew through the air.
In the ensuing chaos, Gomez, Fester, Morticia, and the uncroaked Champions raced through the opening that the Bazinga had made and into the grey garrison corridors seeking Nexus. They stumbled upon the enemy leader deep within the bowels of the city. The warlord was in the process of being helped into his armor by two retainers, so Morticia had an easy shot. The remaining defenders managed to destroy one of the knights, but the others easily cut down the leaderless defenders.
With the city’s protector fallen, the rest of the garrison fight turned into a slaughter. Instead of bothering to hunt down individual pockets of resistance, Lord Gomez focused on capturing the tower and dungeon so that the city would fall. Uncroaked infantry swarmed into the two remaining city zones and quickly dispatched the few enemy units they found. It wasn’t long before the black crest of the Addams Family adorned the wall of the garrison. With the city captured, there was only one small matter left to deal with: the Roflcoptors.
Captain Reynolds saw the livery on Palingrad change, just as Lord Gomez had promised. The Addams Chief Warlord had “convinced” the mercenary to wait around one more turn with the promise of additional payment and the chance to capture more Roflcopters. What Gomez didn’t know was that Reynolds had received a Thinkagram from a side called Charlescomm offering a bounty for each croaked archon. The ruler of the side had even authorized payment for the archons that Reynolds and his Browncoats had already taken care of. Reynolds called to Jayne, who wore a battered sending hat, and the warlord flew over to join his leader.
“Did we get the gem, Jayne?”
Jayne pulled off his hat and listened intently. After a moment he grunted, “coming in now.” Taking one of the ear flaps in his hand, he tapped the bottom of the hat and then reached in. A brilliant green gem gleamed in his fist as he withdrew it. Jayne tossed the gemstone over to Captain Reynolds, who admired it for a moment before converting it into shmuckers. The emerald de-popped with a “doop” sound.
Reynolds then looked over to the sky above Palingrad. The remaining Roflcopters hovered forlornly over the city, lurking in the far corner of the hex. For a moment, Captain Malcolm Reynolds almost pitied the archons crewing the formidable devices. Then the tower’s spell defenses spat out several shots, deliberately aimed wide as per Reynold’s agreement with Lord Gomez. It was the signal that the Captain had been waiting for. He spurred his Firefly onward and yelled an order.
“Let’s move out!”
The two commanders met in a small clearing just outside the wall of the city to finalize their business transaction. Captain Reynolds, followed by his second-in-command, dismounted from his Firefly and walked over to Lord Gomez, who was chatting merrily with Morticia. The trio smiled at each other for a moment before Lord Gomez ran over to the mercenary and caught him in a bear hug.
“Thank you, Captain Reynolds. Without your assistance I may never have been reunited with my dear brother.”
Reynolds wheezed and disentangled himself from the Addams’ Chief Warlord.
“Happy to do it. Y’all seem like good folks, if a bit strange. I hope you don’t mind me saying that. Well anyways, I’m sure you’ve got catching up to do so…”
“Ah yes, the contract. If you give it to me, I’ll affirm that you’ve lived up to your end of the bargain. I hope that our mission’s success means that we can do business again in the future?”
“You know how to reach me by hat. Now, if you’ll just sign here, Lord Gomez.”
The Captain pulled out a Signanamcy contract and Lord Gomez held out his hand. The warlord’s Thing scrambled up holding a pen, and Gomez signed the contract with an extravagant flourish.
“There! I trust that your purse is comfortably full now?”
Captain Reynolds smiled. “Very, my Lord. Before I leave, may I ask what you plan to do next?”
Lord Gomez pointed off to the west. “My battle with the League has just begun. I can see almost see Rush-ya from my doorstep. And you, my good mercenary? What battle awaits you?”
“One of our scouts found a ruin guarded by a feral dwagon a few turns back. I think we’ll head out that way and see if we can find some treasure.”
The two mercenaries remounted their Firefly and rejoined the rest of the Browncoats in the sky. Lord Gomez and Morticia waved goodbye. The last thing that Captain Reynolds heard as his squadron passed through the hex barrier was Lord Gomez calling after them.
“Good luck, and keep flying!”
(NOTE: user was awarded 200 Shmuckers for this 5-part story! -Rob)