New Haven’s Witch Hunt

In the early morning hours on the 27th of Majestic, it was decided that New Haven’s radical element had to be quelled before it rose again from the ire of its inhabitants. It was decided among the acting heads of the Clergy, Knights of the Dawn left alive, and the Haven Military that a purging of the dark – a Witch Hunt – needed to be enacted to then enforce martial law. Martial Law would stay in place until the war over Osiris was done. Sir Palomedes had been recently placed in charge of the Paladins of the Knights of the Dawn. Among the their number only 77 Paladins remained of those 125 that were stationed here during the mob’s riot. Among the 3,000 Knights of the Dawn only 973 remain but they suffered the worst when they assembled on both the Sun Bridge and the Path of the Four Winds Bridge. They were the wall the Haven Military crushed the fleeing mob against as they tried to route back across the river. Less than five percent of the original 11,000 managed to escape.

What had surprised many during the mob’s riot was the teamwork within the Knights of the Dawn. Even those that worshiped Set worked to defend Haven. In acknowledgement of that, it was made clear the “Purging of New Haven” would give everyone they came across one chance to surrender. If they accepted it then they would be spared. Any who balked would be put down. All of the Priests, Knights, and even a few Paladins of the Dark that defended Haven were promised and given the same succor and treatment any of those of the Light received. Sir Palomedes made it clear that after the War of Osiris was done there would still be a Church of Light and Dark. That Church would see to the needs of ALL of its members! In the city word spread of the two Ramen sent to help on the Causeway gatehouse. It would take time to rebuild the half of the Gatehouse that had been destroyed in the battle there.

Sir Luther Berthold looked at his orders. Two Cohorts (100 soldiers = 1 Cohort) would flank 3 Lines (25 soldiers = 1 Line) of Knights of the Dawn would flank New Haven and enter the city from the North. Sappers had been sent ahead to disable the gates and make sure entry into the city on the northern side of the Great River would be accessible. Luther’s Line of Knights were the 27 remaining new minted knights from the Causeway defense. It was unorthodox to have a 27 man Line, but they refused to be parted and all swore to follow Sir Luther into Hades itself. Little did they know how right they were about to be.

The southern side of New Haven was to be blockaded by ships. The remaining membership of the Order of the Dawn would take position on the Path of the Four Winds Bridge while the Haven Military would match them on Sun Bridge to become the river beachhead target of the Northern team. Luther assembled his men and they went over the one rule of the coming engagement. The subjugation of New Haven allowed for only one attempt to be given to ANYONE found in the city. They must lie down and be bound or they are to be slain. Those that submit will be pardoned of any involvement and given the same care as any citizen of Haven. The city would then stay under martial law for the foreseeable future. They headed to the boats that would ferry them across the river and then begin the trek up and around the city to the northern gates.

The three 25 man Lines of Knights ran into serious opposition and one whole Line was forced to stay behind and deal the the forces in the wooded plains north of the Great River. The Military had taken their two Cohorts by ship out and up the sea side north till they were past the northeast corner of the city. By the night of the 27th of Majestic the two Cohorts and now two Lines of Knights were camped a mile north of the gate. Word came that the fighting with the missing Line of knights continued and is pitched with the larger force facing them it was unlikely they would be joining up any time soon. When the sappers dropped the gate in huge explosions of fire via ward magic the fighting to get inside the city of New Haven was the deceptively easy part.

Luther’s Line, being the vanguard of the assault. Was the first in and they lost one of their newly minted knights turning themselves into a human shield to protect the rest from crossbows firing into the right flank. Ten steel tipped quarrels peppered his form, though the attackers only survived about ten seconds longer than the fallen Knight. Vengeance was swift, but the opening had been made to allow the other line and two cohorts inside. In unison the attackers yelled, “YOU HAVE ONE OPPROTUNITY TO SUBMIT AND BE SPARED! LIE DOWN! YOU WILL BE SHACKLED ON THE WRISTS! PARENTS BEARING CHILDREN WILL BE SHACKLED ON THE LEGS! ANY RESISTANCE WILL BE MET WITH DEATH!”

Then a young boy stepped out and raised his hands. Luther thought it was odd that he has been holding paper in them. It didn’t look big enough to be a scroll, but as one of his knights moved forward gesturing to lay down. No hands on his weapons the boy smiled and knelt, pulling his hands together as though in the beginning of a prayer. The knight looked back at Luther smiling, never seeing the red, flaming waves of magic explode outward as the twin magic wards activated. The boy was burned alive alongside the knight.

A Warded Suicide Strike.

Luther reminded his Line they would see more underhanded tactics like this, be on their guard. Their objectives:

  1. subdue those wishing to remain citizens,
  2. dispatch hostile forces within New Haven.
  3. Move south through the center of the city,
  4. secure the ruins from the Dome of Celestial Virtue to the River Wall between the great stone bridges.

Keeping the swarthy Timirian psychic in his Hand of troops. Luther told his Line to break into the 5 Hands (5 Soldiers = a Hand), and Sir Marcos would relay commands using group telepathy and individual telepathy. Forward they began to move wary of fanatics, like the “flame-warded” boy. Three hours in to clearing buildings two of the Hands met heavy resistance. Sir Luther had Sir Marcos issue the withdraw order. Sir Luther then repeated the command from earlier, cupping his hands around his mouth, “YOU HAVE ONE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT AND BE SPARED! LIE DOWN! YOU WILL BE SHACKLED ON THE WRISTS! PARENTS BEARING CHILDREN WILL BE SHACKLED ON THE LEGS! ANY RESISTANCE WILL BE MET WITH DEATH! YOU HAVE UNTIL THE COUNT OF TEN OR I’LL HAVE THE BUILDING SET ABLAZE! WE CAN REBUILD THE CITY, NOT YOU! I WON’T LET YOU HURT THOSE TRYING TO HELP ALL OF YOU MAKE IT THROUGH THIS DAY! SUBMIT AND BE SPARED! LIE DOWN! YOU WILL BE SHACKLED ON THE WRISTS! PARENTS BEARING CHILDREN WILL BE SHACKLED ON THE LEGS! ANY RESISTANCE WILL BE MET WITH DEATH! ONE, TWO, THREE…” Ten minutes later and two burning buildings behind them. The cries of fanatics howling on the wind. The next building surrendered, and were shackled and handed over to the Line of Knights & Paladins behind them on support, round up, and medical duty.

It was highmoon when they finally made it to the ruins of the Dome of Celestial Virtue. Sir Luther’s men were not prepared for the sheer destruction and then the far Hand of men on the right flank were down to three and arrows appeared in each of their foreheads! As those brave souls fell unceremoniously to the rubble Sir Luther tried to reach their bodies but was stopped by Sir Marcos when the psychic raised his hand and more rubble collapsed on them crushing their forms into a bloody porridge. When Luther’s eyes fixed on the psychic he heard him say as he moved behind a broken wall to spy the assassin with the bow, “You ARE NOT FATHER INDARIS OR THE OATHKEEPER! You’re a rough, but competent leader now do your duty and and bring us through alive! Heroes are those joining the gods or somehow about to become gods, we are neither – Sir Knight.”

Duty. Honor. Oath.

If Luther was ever to become a Witch-Hunter of Xerx’ses he needed to keep the vow he made to his men that promise that they were going to reach the river wall. To do that they needed to see their attacker that had the advantage of time spent among the terrain. Luther cringed at his idea and then relayed it out to everyone through Marcos. Soon various dead bodies throughout the ruins of the dome were set ablaze! Adding to the light in the North, East, and West of New Haven. Signals that wanton violence would be crushed tonight one way or another. Once a dozen or so bodies were making it easier to see by Sir Luther had Sir Marcos protect him with a psi-barrier of mental energy. He stood up to be a visible target and repeated the cry from earlier to those that had just killed his men, because it was the right and fair thing to do when all he wanted to do was burn them, burn this whole stinking city! He couldn’t do it though, not because he lacked the will, no he had read what “happened” on the Isle of the Cyclops. He would take that lesson to heart and not make the easy choice to hate. A few second later a bow was tossed one way and a quiver of arrows another way. A man stood up one of the knights recognized as a shoe cobbler that worked in both towns. The knight called out for him to come and submit to him. Bloodshed was avoided and a lesson was learned about doing the right thing was NEVER the easy thing. At that moment Sir Luther stopped envying CrIsis, because the choices that still lay in front of them he did not want to make.

CrIsis are not heroes but famous sacrifices for why someone chooses the right thing to do.

Luther shed a tear for anyone that has had to bear that terrible burden of the Eternal Torch Rings. Just then a large band about two Lines in strength for numbers burst up and pitched melee fighting ensued! One, two, five, seven knights died in the first minute but each brought their foe to death’s door with them! Standing on the southern side of the ruins of the dome the ten remaining Knights of Luther’s line could see the river wall now, as well as both of the Great Stone Bridges! The two remaining Hands split their ways to each stone bridge and would clear the buildings moving in to the center of the River Wall. In the last home Sir Luther and Sir Marcos cleared there was a Tauton! It was threatening to kill the family of Set worshipers. The five knights of the hand spoke in unison at that moment, “YOU HAVE ONE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT AND BE SPARED! WE WON’T LET YOU HURT THOSE TRYING TO HELP ALL OF YOU MAKE IT THROUGH THIS DAY! SUBMIT AND BE SPARED! LIE DOWN! YOU WILL BE SHACKLED ON THE WRISTS! PARENTS BEARING CHILDREN WILL BE SHACKLED ON THE LEGS! ANY RESISTANCE WILL BE MET WITH DEATH!” The Tauton charged the knights!

Five knights stood at the center of the River Wall leaning against it as though they were the only thing holding it up. They kept talking about any of them hearing anything from Sir Marcos before they went quiet. Three hours past and they nearly left to go looking for them when they heard a heavy dragging sound from the right flank of their location. Spinning and drawing weapons they saw Sir Luther and Sir Marcos dragging a door with the three bodies of the remainder of their Hand lashed to it. Silently they laid it down and everyone gathered around it. They all knelt and four on one side and three on the other but separated to show a missing pallbearer. They lifted the door and walked those three heroes to the Sun Bridge chanting…

Return these men to Ma’ip’s lands
Let them be lost in sunlight,
In the chorus of air where breath is translated;
At the sky’s border receive them.

Grant to them a warrior’s rest.
Above our singing, above song itself,
May the ages of peace converge in a day,
May they dwell in the hearts of the Afterlife.

And set the last spark of their eyes
In a fixed and holy place
Above words and the borrowed land too loved
As we recount the ages.

Free from the smothering clouds of war
As they once rose in infancy,
The long world possible and bright before them,
Lords and Ladies of Light and Dark, deliver them.

missing-man_inktober-dyer-rose-sm


This was recorded on the 30th of Majestic after being seen in a vision by Rod Rambler.


NOTE TO READER: My father was a soldier during World War II and the Korean War. He retired with the rank of Commander (O-5) in the Coast Guard and was present with the 3rd Marine Battalion (Motto: Fortuna Fortes Juvat or Fortune Favors the Bold) under the 3rd Marine Division when the Battle of Guam took place in 1944. During World War II the Coast Guard was drafted into the Marines to bolster their numbers. His unit was among those responsible for the taking of 60 sq miles of Guam back from the Japanese and killing of 5,000 Japanese soldiers. This tale is my way of honoring what he went through and Luther in this tale epitomizes the bad ass my father was and in my eyes, still is.

I modified an old Dragonlance books prayer for the Solamnic Knights to fit this story.


Art by AZ-Rune Art, commission him at artist@agodrebuilt.org
Additional Lineart provided by Dyer Rose / @BasiliskOnline on Twitter.
Additional color by AZ-Rune Art.

 

5 Responses to “New Haven’s Witch Hunt

  • I hope everyone enjoys the “missing man” formation in the pallbearers at the end.

  • The “Missing Man” was very fitting. So New Haven is “under control”…interesting…

  • This was an amazing tale- thank your father for his service, and for sharing it!

  • All this strife and conflict in Haven and New Haven because of one God’s petty retribution. You would think one of the first things Bes would do after being reborn is to fix the problems there that he caused.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *