Fort Virtue Soars was the last to fall, and thus exacted the highest price from the invaders. The southernmost pass through the Graywall Mountains was blocked to free movement by Droaamish forces for over a month before repeated frontal assaults by ogre infantry and aerial attacks by harpies and gargoyles finally drove the fort’s defenders from key parts of the walls, which then fell. Thus far, it seems there were no survivors. Soon after news spread of the fort’s defeat, a rallying cry took on a life of its own, as people from across Breland spoke of “fighting with Virtue” to destroy the invading monster hordes.
Things had gone even worse in the central and northern passes, with monstrous forces making relatively swift gains through the mountains. The Argonth had been dispatched to aid in the relief efforts at Sharn, and was thus late in making an appearance on the front. Legions of gnoll infantry had made swift progress south of Silver Lake, across the plains separating northwestern Breland from northeastern Droaam. Those foothills of the Graywalls, and the northernmost pass were also taken quickly. Fort Orcbone fell, and Droaamish forces stopped west of the Shavalant Wood, and northwest of Castle Arakhain – seemingly at the far end of their lines of communication.
In the center, the eastern foothills of the Graywalls were entirely in Droaamish claws. Their forces were, however, in a somewhat precarious position, with their backs against rough terrain with only a few points of egress, and to their front was an expanse of flatland that ended in a dense wood, where Brelish forces had thrown up a stout series of defenses, and were using the familiar woods as a means of supplying what had become their western front.
Shadowlock Keep, at the south end of the border, had stood. A combination of naturally rough terrain and the lingering devastation from the sea had made a large-scale invasion along the southern coast impractical, and so Droaamish forces moving through the pass at Virtue Soars were breaking south to contain and reduce what had become the westernmost bastion of Brelish forces. Their advance through and beyond the pass had been severely hampered since the beginning of the invasion by skilled delaying actions and guerrilla-style attacks by an unknown number of presumably Brelish partisans. The road out of the pass was held with such tenacity that the invaders were unable to move their forces around the fort and into Breland as quickly as they’d planned, thus enabling the fort to do more damage to the Droaamites, and the pass itself, before falling. Word was spread by these partisans to nearby towns, which enabled both for the escape of many people and an early warning of not only the existence of the attack, but a detailed picture of the forces involved.
Following the fall of Virtue Soars, the partisans fought a series of delaying actions to the southwest, back toward Shadowlock Keep, where their eventual arrival was met with much relief – the survivors of Droaam, twice over, with their hefty haul of magic items, were there to make a last stand against the hordes.
We will begin our next session within Shadowlock Keep, with the party working alongside COL Anwar to formulate a defense plan for the coming siege. Scouts have reported Droaamish forces closing in from the north, and the presence of some skirmishers to the west. They could be at the Keeps’ door within a day.