Luxsantorum raised his shield arm to catch the incoming arrow barrage. The sound of the wooden shafts shattering upon its surface echoing like children firecrackers in the night. The men behind him crouched in the cover he provided; each of them with their own crossbow held ready to fire. He took another step forwards, this time shifting slightly away from the rock wall to create a narrow gap in the cover. Immediately the soldiers behind him fired up at the archers positioned on the lip of the ravine.
The heroes had finally come through with the location of the gate, and the task had fallen to him to lead the army to to battle. It was fortunate that word had spread well enough in advance. The advance warning combined with the proof of the assault on Bulvidu had been enough for the King to command the armies of P’Bapar to mobilize. In the current time to mobilize, they had gathered over 10,000 soldiers, and another 100 paladins from the Fuwido Military Academy, and a further 15 mages, and 20 eagle riders from the Secret Library of Has. Luxsantorum still held some hope that Jermailyn still might convince her dragon to join the fight, but the beast was so young, its effectiveness, and will to fight were in doubt. Against an army from Hell, the numbers would be inconsequential; however if the party could prevent the General from using the Crystal, they just might prevail against a smaller force.
Now though, since the gate’s location had been discovered, he just had to get the men to the battleground. This unfortunately would be much harder than anticipated. The location in question is deep in the rugged mountains. Trails to its location are rough and narrow, thus eliminating even the possibility of siege weapons or heavy cavalry. Luxsantorum shook his head, it would be optimistic to even count on light cavalry. He’d have to use mule trains to supply his men, and that would prove costly indeed. He could use the mages to help assist in travel, however using them in this way only worked for a limited number of men, and used up the mage’s ability to defend the rest of the column. This was especially necessary, as it seemed that the mysterious Birdman had raised a significant force of cultists and mercenary’s. He not only had to contend with the terrain, but also with ambushes and guerrilla raids on his men.
As the men behind him took care of the last of the archers, Luxsantorum pushed forwards up the mountain trail, knocking one cultist over the edge with his shield, and spitting another with his spear arm. There was no question that he would make it to the gate, it was only a matter of how many men he’d bring with him.