Another mission was assigned to our party. Another to which I took part and that I will describe to you in this letter. It all started on Feldspar when the elf thought it was a good idea to volunteer for a mission. He seems to want to earn promotions, which is understandable especially coming from an elf. But I cannot complain as it allows us more freedom and means we do not have to blindly obey orders as much. The mission was simple: a city was disturbed by riots and we were to attempt return the situation to normal. We were assigned troops. A couple hundred men: infantry, cavalry and artillery. We spent much time preparing the equipment for the week-long mission. Many forms had to be filled but luckily the elf took responsibility for this as he had been the one volunteering us. I still do not trust him fully and will keep an eye on him, checking what the paper he fills say. He is still an elf after all.
From what we were told some cultist had manipulated the people of this town into rebelling against the empire. As time goes I seem to understand more and more what can be people’s motivations for doing this. It seems the empire is oppressing many people and making many enemies too. Too many maybe. Anyways, the main problem with this town is that it was pretty much situated in a desert. This mission, as it turned out, might be that easy after all. And indeed, the hundreds of citizens that had turned into zealots were a rather dangerous mob to deal with, even with an army of hundreds.
After having established camp on the planet, our party left the troops behind to scout the city. It was half a day away on horses, and we thought they could manage without officers for an entire day. It was night when we arrived and we were faced with closed gates. Guards asked us what we wanted and we hesitated to state our purposes at first as we could not be sure if those guards would welcome an army sent by the empire or if they were a citizen-established militia that would start shooting at us with the weapons they made sure we noticed. After minor lies from the elf – which did not surprise me really, neither that he was doing most of the speaking or that he lied – to test the people looking down at us from the top of the gate, we established that they were probably the guards, loyal to the empire and told them we had been sent here to try and control the upheaval. The guards were actually rather glad to hear that three hundred men had come as they had lost about a hundred of them in the riots and they had now barricaded around the gate.
They let us in and we discussed the situation. The guard could not tell us anything precise but did tell us about that cultist that had manipulated people and he did not seem like the type of person I would want to be friends with. It was agreed that we had to see by ourselves the situation inside the town to have an idea of how to attack and we decided to scout as discreetly as possible the streets. In case things turned bad however, we had to make sure back up was coming so we sent the human ranger to lead the troop back to the town. It would mean for her travelling all night and then all day again as the infantry could not move as fast as people on horses but this was necessary and she did not seem to mind.
Once inside, we heard chanting. It was coming from where the palace used to stand. We noticed that even though hundreds of people were supposed to have died the streets were empty of corpses. All the zealots were gathered around a mount of bodies on which was standing the leader, a strange amulet around his neck. Clearly if this man believed to be the prophet of a new god it must have been some kind of dark force of this world. The amulet was glowing and rather hypnotising, to the point that most of the people in the crowd seemed to actually look at the amulet and not the cultist himself. Above the corpses was a dot of light similar to what we had seen in the necromancer’s castle. This worried us greatly and we decided that as it appeared to be a portal like the one we had – unfortunately – released and allowed to expand, we could not let it spread on this planet like it had on the previous one.
The plan was simple, the Kobold and I would go up a tower, about 200 feet away from the gathering, to try and shoot the leader to stop him from opening the portal (while being careful not to break the amulet as it could potentially worsen the situation) and the wizard, the Ifrit – I have learned recently that this human-looking person I was talking to you about in my first letter is an Ifrit, the descendant of fire elementals – and the human necromancer would stay closer to the mob to deal with a bomb the Kobold had engineered and that was surrounded with grease. The Kobold used his musket and magic to prevent the noises but the cultist was looking straight at us and even if no sound were heard when the bullet that hit him was fired, he saw the bright flash of the musket in the night. As planned, I sent an arrow shooting towards him. It hit but I realised this was a human I was shooting at and no matter how much I hate them, they still are living, intelligent beings and I had never really killed someone before.
I hesitated before shooting again, highly disturbed by what I had just done. My party members on the other hand did not hesitate and kept with the plan. Shots were fired and as zealots rushed towards the tower at which the cultist was pointing, the bomb was detonated sending dozens of bodies flying in the air. The rest of the crowd had to walk on the grease and through the wall of bodies that was now burning on the ground, shrapnel imbedded in them. I was horrified for a second to think that we were maybe killing innocent people who were just manipulated, maybe even magically, by a crazy man. This is when I realised the best thing to do was to stop him and hope the crowd would calm down. When I looked up I saw that the portal had opened and two horrible creatures had come out. They looked like the insects from around the river but much, much bigger. I shot two more arrows at the cultist above whom the portal was now closing back. The insects were flying towards the tower where he was pointing. He obviously suffered from the arrow that flew in his side but he kept chanting as the battle begun.
Everything just happened so fast. Shots were fired next to me, the rioters shot back and a bullet scratched my arm where my leather armour did not stretch but it was merely a scratch. Fireballs were flew underneath towards the crowd and I readied my bow again. The insects were getting close to the tower. I shot the cultist again, beginning to wonder if really this was the best option or if moving back to avoid the bullets and the incoming monsters was wiser. He was beginning to be seriously injured. He did have probably two bullets and five arrows in his body by now. Shots were fired again but this time it was a cone of fire that opened in front of the tower. The Kobold was aiming at the insects. Before I could understand I was violently hit on the chest and if it had not been for my leather armour I probably would have suffered much more by this blow that tore my clothes.
I was not sure if the Kobold was alright. More fireballs lit the ground below, and gun shots brought down one of the two insects. I hesitated a moment as to what to do. Should I retreat, bring assistance to the musketeer that had tried to protect me from those monsters, deal with the flying giant that had just attempted to kill me or continue to bring down the cult leader? I noticed that the man was trying to heal himself. I slightly protected in the tower and could still stand a number of blows from this insects before the situation became critical. In addition to that, the Kobold seemed to be about to take care of the remaining insects and I thought I had heard him tell me earlier to not stop shooting at the leader until he was down. From the glimpse I caught of my companion’s face he seemed rather alright even after these couple attacks.
I sent one more arrow flying straight to the cult leader and he fell down. I quickly moved back in order to avoid any more hits from the damned creature that was about to reach for me again and this is when a ball of energy came from the ground and brought it down too. We walked back down to the bottom of the tower and went to make sure the leader was dead and the amulet was not still opening the portal. I found a wand in his hand that I gladly took as I like not having to come too close to an opponent in combat – I am not resistant enough to stand many attacks. I think the wizard too the amulet even though he wrote in the report that it was destroyed. I knew I had better keeping an eye on him, he is an ally for now but I cannot and must not trust him. Humans however are worse. I can never understand how they can be alright with the death of hundreds of their own.
In the end we took care of the hundreds of rioters with only five of us and not the entire army we brought. They helped rebuild the city a bit as it had been severely damaged in the past days. An archmagus was sent by the empire to contain the portal that was still there, but at least not growing like on the previous planet. It was probably the right thing to do to stop this ritual. Once the wizard in our party deciphered out to make the cage containing to contain the portal he gave the instructions to the archmagus and we left with our troops. We were, as planned, offered a promotion – well deserved if I may say to have survived what turned out to be a suicide mission – and I have now been officially made Captain. I do not care much for the title or the 50 horsemen that have been attributed to me even if I think this small troop could be useful in the future. I just look forward to be free again and to be able to help people as I please. I definitely hate humans and their system.
I am now on the ship, anchored at Feldspar, and I have been writing for long I am beginning to lose my words. I have not been able to get much sleep lately. I keep thinking about this cult leader I killed. Even if it was the right thing, I still have killed a human being and I somehow feel guilty about it but I have a feeling that unfortunately I will have to get used to that feeling as it probably will happen more and more in the future.
I will write to you again soon, when I get some rest, a new candle and can write in straight lines again. There probably will be a mission in the mean time so it might be a while but I will keep thinking about you.