Dick and Anacrusis sit in on a palaver between Pretty Colleen and the army captain. The captain again requests that she join forces with the army and she asks what he thinks has changed. He responds that much has.
The severity of the situation has increased as the mongers have collapsed the northern bridge. If they meant to destroy the one in midbridge and dig in then it would become many times more difficult to drive them out when the full army arrives. As such the general has been convinced to send a larger preliminary force to try and take the town back as well as additional supplies and funds. As here force has also grown through its merger with the Pawa Prowlers they would be very useful and with the new funds they could pay them mercenary wages.
She seems unconvinced and though Dick and Ani, make some swaying arguments she decides adjourn to consider her options. The captain the boys thanks the boys for lending him their knowledge of the bandits during the meeting and asks them to use their familiarity with them to se if they can learn of anything else they could use as leverage.
They learn that the bandits are planning to head back to Arabis. They also learn that Colleen was once a captain in the Arabisian army called the 1001 knights. When her sister, the Knight Martial Shaherizade, betrayed the kingdom Colleen stood up to her and was driven out of the country along with her subordinates. They fled to the valley and took up banditry. it seams that Colleen also believers her sister to have been acting und some magical influence. They determine that she is probably returning to her home country with her newly inflated force to make one last ditch effort to saver her country and sister.
The boys plan to offer aid in this effort, both with the magic and the manpower, if she stays to help them. They run the idea by the captain and find that he agrees that a contract of mutual military support could be drawn up, though victory in arabis would have to come with spoils for the valley as well. They meeting again with Colleen who plans to announce her decision. Before she has a chance to say one way or the other, the captain eagerly offers her the treaty. She accepts and announces to her men that they are now mercenaries.
Meanwhile for off in a sylvan glade Bozon tries out his now cold forged iron axe. Sprig in her manic state seems to have forgotten that he was supposed to meet with some of their leaders and directs him to a Banyan tree enclosure. as they approach they hear arguing. they listen in and hear two elves debating whether or not to commit forces to the valley.
The elves overhear Sprig and Bozon talking and call to them. Bozon enter the tree and introduces himself. The detracting elf accuses him of making up stories of demons to trick the elves into helping the humans, but Bo argues that his knowledge of the demons alone is proof that his words have at least some merit. The proponent elf agrees that he makes a good point but say proof would help ease the mind of some of their holdouts. Bozon shows them the Khaos Cult’s book and they see that the ritual in its back is indeed possible. at this there is no choice but for them to help.
A few days later, back with the army, Dick, Ani, and Sage head to the newly built fort and port to the south west to great the arriving army reinforcements. A fleet of small cogs sail up the river and take turns unloading men and supplies on the few docks available. The watch as several familiar faces disembark the vessels. First, Esmeralda the uierd comes down the gangplank, followed shortly by the alchemist who they left their grandfather with, and suprisingly the other alchemist whom they left on the road south. The general from Athia comes some time later, and finally, with great elation, they see their Grandfather’s healthy face emerge from the ship.
They reunite and remains with their old acquaintances and grandfather before heading back to the armies base of operations. As they approach they see a small force of armed men, slender and pale. At its front they see Boson and realize he has brought the elves back with him. The two forces meet and commingle, each glad to have the others support.
This newly formed force or soldiers, bandits, and elves spend the next few days training and strategizing. finally the cousins are called in to see the battle plans. After hearing it all they petition to be sent on the mission to make sure the mongers can not raise the draw bridge if they are pushed back from the southern district. They also offer the option of using Sprig’s portable hole to carry them across the river unseen. Because of this advantage the leaders all agree that they should be sent tho only in addition to the team that was already to go with the cogs being sent up the river. This way they have a back up in case they fail.
with the battle-plan set the army does ints final preparations and then marches on Midbridge.