Things aren’t exactly looking up…they’re actually looking the other way.
Thanks to the Way Watchers, we’ve finally got a good accounting of the forces we’re up against on the western front. What we had hoped might be fairly small warbands of giants, bandits, and soldiers turned out to be just the opposite. I saw the Hill Giants with my own eyes—fifty or so in armor with Mastadons for their mounts. From what the Way Watchers tell us, Irovetti’s main army is even more formidable, consisting of thousands of soldiers backed by wyverns and other monsters. And as far as the Numerian bandits, no one’s been able to get close. Even in a best case battle where we can bring all our forces to bear simultaneously, they will still outnumber us by more than two to one.
Word from Brevoy is even worse. It looks like the Rostlanders and Surtovas have put aside their differences for the time being to focus on invading us. Apparently a deal has been struck that will divide Ursundova territories between the Rostlanders and Pitax if their campaign is successful. It came as no surprise to me that House Lebeda spearheaded the cause of this war. If there is a silver lining in any of this, it will be that I may be finally able to face the Lebedas on the field of battle to pay them the wages of guile.
And if things could be worse, Leilania has found that the enemy alliance has another trick up their sleeves. She has found evidence that they are manufacturing some kind of weapon at an ancient abbey to the west that has the ability to kill en masse. It seems that the enemy intends to bring this weapon onto the field of battle as a way of flushing us out of our walled outposts and fortified cities. Irovetti’s other armies have staged themselves on the border, but are waiting until this weapon is ready to lead them to easy victory. It’s agreed among Jacek’s war council that this is where we must strike first, to attempt to destroy the enemy’s most deadly weapon before it can be brought to bear.
In the meantime, our armies march west with all available haste. We have a little under a thousand men available to go to the western front without leaving our other cities undefended. While well-equipped, many of these men have never been in battle before. They will trust in our leadership to find victory. Given the numbers arrayed against us, we must be more than cunning. The only way we will win is by dividing the enemy armies and destroying them one at a time on friendly ground.
In two days our armies will converge on New Light. Hopefully, with the weapon destroyed, the Hill Giants will cross into Ursundova first without knowing that we are ready for them. If they do, with proper planning we can encircle and destroy them with our combined forces before the other armies can find their way across the border. One clean victory could discourage the others from moving directly to New Light. It is our best hope.
If we fail, I fear that a siege of New Light is inevitable. They city is well prepared in that respect, but we must be wary of putting too much faith in walls and towers. An army behind a wall is well-protected, but it cannot fight as it is meant to. And the enemy has advantages that we do not. We cannot afford to be complacent.
I am heartened at least by Jacek’s leadership in this time. The entire wealth of the Kingdom has been redirected to its defenses—the forges run day and night crafting weapons and armor. Jacek has also made entreaties to the houses in exile in Mivon. If we can have them harry the Pitaxians from the South, then the Pitaxians are unlikely to attempt a protracted siege. Irovetti cannot leave his capital undefended with the Mivonese ready to take advantage.
Honestly journal, there are so many moving pieces to this, so much to consider, that it make my head hurt. I do my best to offer good council to the King with Iomedae’s teachings as my guide. But it’s hard to know what is best, especially with all that is at stake.
I visited dad the night before last and told him what to expect. He took the bad news in stride, as he always does. Of course, he asked how he could help. I told him to do nothing, I told him to keep his head down until it was over. He didn’t like that one bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was forming a raiding party even as I write this. I love him for it.
Tomorrow Jacek will lead the attack on the cursed monastery. I will be at his side. We will be victorious.
And then the war will begin.