Not a single walking corpse monstrosity escapes Kettering; every one is hunted down and slaughtered by the Hunapha that have taken up residence and are ferociously defending the location of the Maelstromic restoration device.
On the first day of the season, Lord Drane Haversham's men form up, gather up their supplies, and march resolutely out of Kettering.
Not to look a gift beetle in the mouth, Kulan-Gath's Judgement on Kettering waste no time in securing the Bastion of Hope, the bizarre fortification that the colonists have erected around the area. It makes some kind of sense, the sharp angles of the walls; it would be pretty difficult for a gargantua or an earthquake beetle to get a good run-up against any surface, and attacking armies are funnelled down between siege weapon emplacements.
Then Judgement on Kettering turns to RS2.
The facets of the Creche Lodge of the Pit of Friendly Vipers absolutely refuse to come within several hundred meters of the building. They calmly explain that if they went any closer, they are certain that their souls would dissipate like so much chaff on the breeze - they would much rather submit to any other fate (and Tecocol quite convincingly offers to torture them to make sure they are sincere) than enter that area.
Xanthan is first to actually enter RS2; her eyes are immediately drawn to the complex and highly polished wooden dodecahedrons, with gleaming brass joints, that dominate the centre of the building. The dodecahedrons are free to rotate, and are still surrounded by the pulleys and carved stone weights that were expected to drive them, but currently they are quiescent. Those who gaze upon the device feel somehow ethereal and weightless in the face of it, as if it is the only truly real thing in the room.
Further investigation reveals a lever which seems to be designed to put the device in motion, releasing brakes from the pulleys and allowing the stone weights to descend. However, the lever has been pulled and the stone weights are in their lowest position, resting on the wooden framework below each pully section.
And it is noticable that the place is still distinctly consecrated - to the Teacher, by the way that the feeling inside is calm and makes you inclined to act in a socially responsible fashion. It is also very clear from the feeling that it would be utterly unthinkable and massively irresponsible to destroy this building, or prevent its operation, and protecting it seems very strongly to be the only obvious thing to do.
The Avenging Eidolons spread out across the whole area; partly to report on incursions as quickly as possibly, partly because attempting to keep four hundred and twenty avenging eidolons cooped up in a colonial fortification is not going to go very well for anyone involved. The Tlaxti, Azarch and Hunapha are quite happy to pass the time quietly indoors, although there are some tensions when the Smoke Leopards and some members of the Warrior Lodges attempt to order around members of the Turncloak Warband and discover they do not, in fact, consider themselves to be animals, slaves, or Worthless...
Finally, there is news: Poise and a few of the Avenging Eidolons of the Ire of Bendul-Dolum come galloping back from where they have been hunting, a rather sorry-looking Flembic carried in their claws. It's Governor Patrick Kettering - and it looks like he has been having a bad season even before the Avenging Eidolons played with him for a bit before bringing him in for attention.
"You might want to know," Kettering says, when he realises that he is now in the presence of important people who might listen to him, "that there are almost two hundred walking corpse monstrosities, at least, heading right this way. From the way they're dressed and where they're coming from, it looks like Ponderous has killed and raised every Arteman in their lands and sent them in this direction."
It sounds like he might be of some use, after all.
Ixtli-Ollin takes him off for a little chat, just the two of them - well, the two of them and ten eagle-eyed Smoke Leopards of the Cold Season who blend silently with the walls, ready to shoot Kettering if he tries anything. With the incredible persuasive abilities granted to him by the Majesty of the Moon, Ixtli-Ollin talks quietly with Kettering of the obvious superiority of the Hunapha way of life, the reasonableness of Kulan-Gath's intentions, the value of co-operation - of capitulation, eventually, of course, but in a way that preserves the usefulness of all parties. He parades a couple of carefully chosen members of the Turncloak Warband in front of him to demonstrate the excellent treatment that good, useful, competent Flembic citizens can expect in the Bendul-Dolum Dominion.
It really is quite convincing, when he puts it like that...
The Avenging Eidolons warn that they had to discorporate one of the Northern eidolons that was accompanying Kettering; and indeed, Benediction promptly manifests, repeatedly, within RS2 itself - which is, after all, a consecrated area. The first time, there is not a sufficient watch within the building, and he is finally caught by Destrada and the Smoke Leopards of the Bloody Harvest as they sweep the area inside the walls for insidious threats; thereafter, the Smoke Leopards are on high alert and catch him very quickly each time.
In the end, Kettering seems to be adequately convinced; there are some worries that the conditioning will not hold, but he is certainly not on the side of the incoming undead, and he is very helpful in arranging the various siege weapon crews properly to take advantage of the unique defensive properties of the star fort, a building far removed from the Hunapha and Tenizidi experience.
There is some discussion about the correct disposition of the troops, but Commandant Putok is very insistent that there is no point in leaving any of the force outside the walls; he explains patiently that if you have a nice solid barrier between you and the enemy, and they have no obvious way of subverting it, why would you want to venture out onto the surface - well, in this case, the undefended part of the surface, anyhow - instead of simply picking them off from your sturdy and practically impenetrable shelter?
Not all of the Avenging Eidolons will listen to him, but even he eventually admits that using expendable troops to channel the undead into the killing field seems a reasonable use of resources.
The swarm - for that is what it is, like a swarm of drones - of undead shamble towards the fortification with no sign of intelligence, oversight or reason. It is almost childishly easy for the Avenging Eidolons to channel them towards the space between two arms of the star fort, along which the Turncloak Warband, the Warrior Lodge of the Bright Morning Star, the Warrior Lodge of Heaven's Fall and the Warrior Lodge of Tempest's Fury have set up their various siege equipment. The Jaculi of Huaman's Daughters do a few token acid-spitting flights between the walls, but it is clear that the undead are no threat to the set-up you have here.
While the ballistas, catapult and arbalest mow down the undead in droves, a few of the Avenging Eidolons of The Contempt of Bendul-Dolum open a sally port and drag in a sorry collection of claw-marked Hunapha. It appears that some of the Warrior Lodge of Xibalba's Ruin, hungry for glory, had headed out with the Avenging Eidolons. The Contempt drag the unfortunate souls to Tezatoloc, who can stitch them back together, but he declares the nine miscreants who appear to have been the ringleaders of this little expedition too stupid and disobedient to live and sacrifices them to the Toad instead.
The rest of the Warrior Lodge of Xibalba's Ruin are put on clean-up duty. While the Avenging Eidolons and Walking Corpse Abominations mostly discorporate, there are an awful lot of ballista bolts to retrieve.
Kulan-Gath's forces have had plenty of time to establish themselves in the star fort at Kettering before the first serious threat to RS2 arrives - almost two hundred walking corpse abominations that clearly were once the remains of the Arteman people.
Interestingly, the Hunapha, Tlaxti and Azarch seem to have colonial help in setting up siege positions in the unfamiliar building, and not just the long-standing Turncloak Warband. Patrick Kettering is brought in by hunting eidolons who ambush him on his way through the area, and is later apparently co-operating with the Hunapha forces to defeat the undead.
Thanks to the excellent fortification and siege weapons, very few if any of the defenders are killed; in fact, the only deaths seem to be the Hunapha causing their own casualties in some kind of celebratory - or disciplinary - sacrificing of the few troops that did venture outside the walls.
Can it be true, that the Maelstromic Restoration Device at Kettering still stands?
The Bastion of Hope, the Star Fort, is overrun with Hunapha and Azarch and Tlaxti and all kinds of native monstrosity, and then the undead come boiling out of the old Arteman lands to join them...
...but, the tale goes, the Governor himself - Patrick Kettering, who has not been getting much of a reception from the peasants for his tireless attempt to gather them to safety - marches straight up to the Bastion, having sighted the undead hordes, and immediately takes over and organises the native rabble inside into an effective defence for the precious device!
Naturally, with a little Flembic military discipline, the undead are easily vanquished; but hearing the tales of destruction from those parts of the colony that were meant to be safe, Governor Kettering is obliged to head back to see to the organisation of his own troops, leaving the thoroughly converted and repentant Hunapha in charge of continuing the defence of his eponymous settlement.