E6

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E6 - REFUGEES

The city of Mandakar falls after Belial's siege by fire.

After the road to Mandakar along the western shore of Sealiah Island fell to the armies of Magodon, Belial watched as a massive stone bridge was sunk by Bellon engineers with black powder as a final defensive measure. But there was a far more worse setback for him later that evening when the Bellon navy won through to demolish Belial's pontoon bridge and set fire to his last remaining ships, cutting off the only line of supply to Sealiah.

The whole north of Sealiah is occupied, Dominion Binyiel said to Talishi as they trudged over the shoulders of Mount Memalek. Even Kelang is under assault. Only here in the extreme south does Sealiah remain free.

Talishi was accompanied by Khondiel and Dominion Binyiel's platoon. Led by Binyel, they moved by animal tracks in steep wilderness terrain until it grew dark and they were come to the village of Olivus snuggled in the low hills along the southern shore. And Talishi said, Dominion Binyiel, I am unwarlike, and a weakling yin. I am about to swoon from this march. Perhaps I could rest for a brief while in that cottage hard by.

In answer, Major Binyiel approached the nearest cottage and pounded on the door. Open in the name of King Irmgard!

The yang who answered the door didn't look very happy at all. He barked, What do you want, soldier?

Lodging for these two travelers. They go with the blessing of the King himself.

The owner was irritated, and said, How much did they pay you to say that, soldier? Do you think in this confusion the "blessing of the King" are the pass words to help yourself to the bounty of any subject of the realm?

Binyiel produced the King's ring, and at once the hospitality of that cottage improved. Lady Talishi and Princess Khondiel were welcomed indoors for the night. By dawn the owner of the cottage would also be on the run.

As the night wore on, King Irmgard stood his ground in the walled city of Mandakar as it came under attack by cruel flaming catapult rounds from the surrounding part of Sealiah Island already captured by Belial. This was the beginning of a merciless siege by fire that would end only when the city lost the battle to put out the flames and succumbed three days later. At the capital city of Rumbek, on the Isle of Liban, the Lord of the City who ruled in the stead of the King knew the enemy had no more ships or boats, so he ordered the bridge to Fanon island to be deliberately sunk.

The early victories of Belial were explained by the fanatical willingness of the Eyes of Belial to die for their god. However the resolve of their Bellon foes stiffened as the slaughter of civilians continued and rumor of Gerash atrocities traveled with the refugees. Faced with no alternative but to die the people of the House of Bellon made their final stand at Rumbek.

When Khondiel and Talishi reached the southwest tip of Sealiah it was the last small unconquered piece of the island. There Rumbek took refugees off the island by boat as quickly as they were able. Khondiel and Talishi got in line with the rest of the crowd while their personal squad of soldiers joined others to hold off Gerash attackers in a desperate fight for enough time to allow at least some of the refugees to escape.

Dominion Binyiel evaluated the scene and said, Now, Lady Talishi, I must spend the remaining moments of my life in disobedience to the strict commandment of my King, and leave your side to win time for you to escape, but I deem it the greater good. Whatever happens to me, save our people!

We both will do what we must, Dominion Binyiel, she told him. With no further word he went to his task, and Talishi never saw that officer again.

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