|Unit Class:|| Melee Unit|
|Starts With:|| Can Use Bronze, Iron, Mithril Weapons|
|Info:|| 7 |
|Special:|| Regains Recruiter Promotion after defeating a Demon or Undead Unit|
Does not die after casting recruit
The hound that tracked him almost looked normal, until it turned and growled. Half of the face was rotted away, and the skull beneath was scratched and chipped, with a dark pit for an eye socket. But it had no trouble seeing its prey. It leapt for Donal's throat.
This was far from the first Hellhound Donal had seen. Reflex took over, and he dropped and rolled to avoid the fangs. His crude weapons flew to his hands. Donal and the hound circled each other, feinting and pulling back, until in a flash it was over. Donal dodged the lunge, and sunk his blade into the demon's neck, pinning it to the ground. It growled and thrashed about almost comically, trying to free itself and continue the attack.
"C'mon, boy, play dead," Donal said, slamming his shield down upon the hound's skull. Both shattered, and the thrashing stopped. "That's a good dog."
He didn't laugh at his jokes any longer. He had stopped amusing himself some time ago. Ten years or a thousand, he had no idea and had stopped caring. Since his people left Hell, there was no one else to laugh either, and yet still he quipped as he grimly fought the inhabitants of this realm. In the home of the King of Despair, his biggest battle was maintaining the one thing that sustained him, hope.
"We have no hope, Capria. We must abandon the siege."
"Capria turned to face her nephew. "We cannot, Mattius! You heard what I heard from Fanariel's lips. Â‘The Sheaim have made a breakthrough. With Agares' guidance.' We must press on!" Capria trembled as she spoke, her aging frame failing her more and more lately. Perhaps she would be steadier if she met her council without full battle armor on, but to be war leader of the Bannor and not be ever battle ready?
"Indeed we must," agreed the High Priest. He was young, much younger than the regent he addressed, but he spoke with supreme confidence. "The heresies stemming from Galveholm are provocation enough to mobilize. Sabathiel therefore sees no reason for us to even associate with elven brigands like this Fanariel."
Mattius snorted. "I'm sure Sabathiel knows a better way to get a spy into Sheaim lands, but he hasn't been exactly forthcoming lately."
"Does the Head of House Venerat doubt the authority of the priesthood to speak for..."
"What Mattius was pointing out, Elmin," Capria jumped in, "is that we need to prioritize our missions. The Clans have been building strength, our ambassadors have been expelled from the Lanun capital, and"
The war council was interrupted by a tremendous quake, throwing them all to the ground. Capria's reflexes triumphed over the limitations of age; she bounced to her feet and raced out of the tent. The camp was showing the benefits of Bannor discipline and were in formation around the commanders' tent, ready to repel the attack.
But it was not an opening magical salvo for an attack. The army watched as the trees and brush on the hillside below them withered and died, the sun was obscured by a dreary haze, and fires erupted on the horizon. It was a scene Capria remembered well from her childhood, and nightmares ever since. 70 years ago they had escaped Hell, and now it had come for them.
He had scoured this Hell looking for an escape. Never mind that it was an infinite plane, he swore he'd seen every inch of it twice. He had been chased every step of the way by the minions of Agares and Bhall, and managed to either elude them, or fend them off. All to see this day.
Donal saw a portal to the mortal realm stretching out in the valley below him. A rift in dimensions, fluctuating wildly. And around it was arrayed an army of demons. Cavorting Imps, a contingent of Ruhin, a virtual city of manes... and the biggest Balor Donal had seen. And they were leaving. "Oh, not without me, you don't," he muttered as he started down the hillside. "I don't know where you're going, but it's got to be better than here." The demons marched through, as the rift slowly began to close.
The demons were on the march. The first battle with them had caused the Bannor army to rout, and since then they had been pushed back to Tor Lehan, the nearest settlement to the corrupted lands. From its battlements Capria could see flames at the border to the Infernal lands all through the night. So far the priests' blessings had kept the corruption at bay, but not the corrupted. They surrounded the settlement, the demons that had haunted her in her youth. Only the most courageous soldiers remained to stand against them.
The battle was joined at dawn. It quickly turned against them.
Mattius stood alongside his aunt at the battle lines. "If I'm to die, I'm honored to do so beside one of the heroes of legends."
Capria nodded, swinging her two-handed sword. "I'd rather live. But if the Bannor do not stand to face this dire threat, who will?" An image at the edge of her field of vision made her turn, coming face to face with a monstrous pit beast.
"The trick to these beasties is to get them from behind," shouted an old friend as the Pit Beast was felled. "The wings limit their peripheral vision."
"Who... my god, is that you? Donal Lugh?"
"In the flesh, for a pleasant change."
Mattius gasped. "Then the legends... are all true? We are the Bannor of Sabathiel!"
The tide of battle turned. The Bannor lost as many as survived, but the town was saved, and the forces of Hell pushed back for today. The news of the victory spread, shaming those who had fled, and inspiring a new generation. This was the war that Sabathiel had saved them for, and it was only beginning. But the first victory was theirs.