The party receives news that General Mille Venus has been court-martialed and send to Argosy as a prisoner. They seek permission from TSIR to go rescue her, which is granted, as the party plan to leave the next day.
In the early hours of the morning, an emergency meeting is called, to which the party is summoned. Argosian forces have been seen moving out of Fort Zweiver and Aldura toward Neria. TSIR suspects information about the Aldurans joining the Tribes has leaked, and Argosy wants to retake Neria before the reinforcements arrive.
The bad news is that the army is led by General Tarron Argus, the Forward Commander of Argosy’s forces, and a big part of the reason the Argosians made such a huge impact so quickly. Much of this due to the Arguspaladron, a giant mechanized tank designed by Argus that is impervious to most attacks, and capable of destroying gates incredibly quickly.
TSIR’s estimates put the army between 5000-15000, and most likely 10000-12000 if Argosy wishes to maintain his southern and western border strength, and assumes Argosy has predicted a defense of 5000, and that with the Arguspaladon the Nerian defenses will fall before any reinforcements. Thanks to the Dark Roads, TSIR thinks the Aldurans will arrive a day or two before the Argosian forces, but has a better plan anyway.
She wants to have Tallula lead about 4000 troops out near a small folly where a Dark Roads exit will allow the remaining 2000 troops to meet with the 2000 Alduran troops to flank the Argosian army.
Predicting about 3 weeks before the encounter, the party are given permission to attempt a rescue of Mille Venus, and leave later that day for Fort Gerrou.
Arriving at Fort Gerrou, the party meet with Captain Rousen, who had been given command for now. A discussion about how to rescue General Venus ends with the party deciding to rescue her and fake her death, so that they don’t anger the Hawthornes. The party left shortly after the meeting.
Hot on the tails of Major Fernando Vallenze, the party wait til nightfall to send Soro in to try and sneak Venus out. Using his snake, he sees the 4 tents, 3 guards, and a wagon with Venus in the middle of the camp. Using his snake to bite a horse as a distraction, Soro sneaks into the wagon, and frees Venus. Again, using his snake to draw the guards away, Soro and Venus attempt to sneak out of the wagon, but unfortunately Venus is spotted, and the alarm raised. Venus immediately runs for the hills, as Soro sneaks under the wagon to hide.
Major Vallenze gives chase, teleporting and dashing toward the party, and even skips right over the fake corpse of Mille Venus the party had planned, but loses sight of her – though sees Santa in range, and chases him down, forcing his surrender. They take him into the wagon, and begin questioning him. Soro, still in the area, uses his abilities to knock Santa out, and buy the team time to discuss their strategy.
They decide that leaving Santa with the enemies risks giving up too much information, and a rescue is enacted. A bit of setup with Venus creating a battle plan began with a volley of arrows, with Soro making a particularly impressive shot that immediately dropped Major Vallenze. Quick reactions by his allies summoned darkness around him and the medics, but the party merely took this as a chance to attack his lieutenants, and drop them. Vallenze eventually emerged from the darkness, and called heaven’s wrath onto Mille, almost dropping her immediately, but she bolstered herself, and delivered a blow against the Major that almost punched a hole through his chest, while the rest of the party cleaned up the remaining troops, ensuring they were all killed.
Kris found Santa barely conscious and suffering from poison in the wagon, and administered medicine, and with Santa rescued, and Venus safe, they decided to quickly return to Neria.
Arriving at Neria to meet TSIR and Tallula, who gave them a telling off for taking too long, they introduced Mille Venus to them. TSIR decides to escort Venus back to Ignos to debrief and plan. The party take a small break, before Donovan leaves with Soro to meet Rephaim and the Aldurans in the Dark Roads, as Tallula takes Djembe, Kris, and Santa to head straight onto General Argus.
Taking the bait, Argus charges his army right into Tallula’s, as Donovan emerges from the thicket, flanking the army. Surprise no doubt playing a huge part, the Tribal army took an immediate advantage. With some excellent defensive maneuvers from Kris and Djembe to protect the army, Argus wasn’t able to try and recover any advantage, and the aggressive pressure from Santa, Rephaim, Soro and Donovan gave no respite to the Argosians. Building upon their advantage, it was only a matter of time before General Argus felt the need to surrender to the Tribal forces.
TSIR, Ignosi, Venus, and the rest of the Ignosi leadership arrive in Neria to discuss their next moves. After conscripting 500 of the Argosians, and killing the rest, while imprisoning General Argus and his martials, they discuss options.
Firstly, the information that Mynosea has been destroyed by the Human Nationals/Arnise forces, who now share a border, which TSIR thinks means the Arnise forces will have to drag forges from their northern border to the south.
Major Iain Lytel has the more pertinent information, that Argosy has apparently ordered a complete and immediate withdrawal of all border forts into Gallia. TSIR thinks this indicates the Argosian military is not the 20000 or more troops previously estimated, and probably closer to 10-15000, which TSIR thinks they can reduce even further by sending their healthy troops, approximately 5000, to intercept the retreating Fort Ventroux troops and eliminating them before they reach Gallia to make the inevitable siege of Gallia much easier.
The final point of discussion is what to do with Mille Venus. With the Argosian borders shrinking every minute, she doesn’t think Wallace has any reason to re-court martial her and send her back, and that she might be able to get back into contention being named as Hawthorne’s successor. Her analysis is that she was probably 2nd in preference, behind General Kale Westlake, the Western Border Commander, and ahead of General Khasim Bhutan, the Fort Galen Commander. She feels that she had a good relationship with Bhutan, and might be able to convince him to become her second in command, if he joins her. The biggest issue will be how to convince Wallace to choose her over Westlake, but she thinks if popular opinion was enough in her favour, Wallace would have little option, without facing a civil war.
So the party decide that after taking out the Fort Ventroux forces, they would head to Fort Galen to speak with General Bhutan, then to Rein and Caval to sow the story of Mille Venus into the public and get her approval rating up.