"My Lord," a voice implores from behind, "You must see the healer. You're side is..."
You wave a hand at your advisor, grimacing at the pain that wells up from even this small movement.
"Go, Tarric," you growl through gritted teeth, "See to yourself and leave me in peace for a moment."
You hear the soft sigh, and then the sound of shuffling steps moving away down the stairwell of the shattered Keep. You slump down against the parapet before you, and look down at the sword slash which sundered your armor and creased your side deeply. That sword would have finished you on the next stroke but for the brave actions of your advisor. Tarric had deflected the killing blow, although the attack had defeated his defense and gashed his leg deeply.
You think back to the waning moments of the vicious battle as you look about the devestated castle at Thelgaard. The forces of the Snake and the Pig have been crushed, but your forces have been decimated, and the Keep is in ruins. The population has fled in terror, and all of the stone and iron industries have been destroyed. You have recieved word from the King congratulating you on breaking the will of the enemy alliance, yet imploring you that your former commander in the Royal Gaurd, Jerrod, is pushing intensely for the his abdication.
He has requested you move against the traiterous rogue as quickly as possible, but you know you must have time to recoup your losses and attempt to restore some semblance of peace to this devestated land.
"My lord!" the voice of your advisor calls from below, "Some of the people have returned, lord, and they report bands of the Pig's troops are banding together and pillaging the local villages. Shall I get the men together?"
What men? you think cynically. Only a handful of your troops survived the terrible seige, and not tremendous weariness and wounds from the pitched battle.
"No," you call down, "Send word to the villagers to come to Thelgaard. We will have to rebuild this place, and recruit a force for its defense. And begin recruiting men for the iron mines and the quarries. We must get those industries functional as quickly as possible."
As your advisor moves away to follow your orders, you begin formulating plans for the assault on Jerrod. You must move quickly, before word Jerrod's depridations can lead to the downfall of the King.
This is part IV in the "Return to Glory" series.
Part I: The Plains of Esregoth
Part II: Defenders of the Faith
Part III: The Price of Blood