Misery's Company, once they have returned, report a temporary interruption in service; a large force of Rukh moving under the orders of Benedict Delano, attempting to desert Rukh and eventually take refuge in Havocstani territory. Over one hundred and fifty strong, the Rukh force seemed dispirited but still a serious threat; skilled with pistol and bow, spear and sword, and well-equipped with siege weaponry.
They apologise exaggeratedly for not having managed a better count, on account of it being rather difficult to approach without being destroyed by pistol, bow or ballista fire, but do report that they managed to kill five of them anyway, and invite you to attempt to do better, whilst dying repeatedly of course - except, you can't do that, can you, you pathetic mortal?
The ruins of Abu Malikari are haunted, of course. They wait until nightfall to strike, of course. The vengeful spirits of this place take their toll, of course. Two of the Malikara Pistoleers 4th shot with their own pistols. One of the Malikara Spears 4th impaled on his own spear. One of the Malikara Swords 1st has swallowed his bastard sword.
And one of the Malikara Rukhi Rangers 1st simply torn to pieces; and many others bearing the marks of a similar struggle which had gone better for them. It is as well that Benedict Delano has arranged to take them from this place, the troops agree - at least in Port Havoc they will have intact walls to stand behind, and not so many ghosts.
The ruins of Abu Malikari are haunted, of course.
A few buildings still stand, here and there. The college, naturally. Not even the Onontakhan would turn down the use of a college. More strangely, the great stone head, Beacon, still stands. She attempts not to give away your position, but the ghosts are coming out of the rubble in any case. They are few, and ragged, and they watch from the shadows with their claws and with the symbol of their deaths upon their brows.
They wait until nightfall to strike, of course.
The Malikara battalions are old hands, battle-worn veterans, Royal Guard; of course they keep watch. But the ghosts are unnervingly silent, shadows in the torch-light, whispers in the wind. The gently sinking rubble, twisted and crumbled versions of once-familiar streets, plays with the watchmen's perception, leaving them jumping at rags and shooting at breezes, letting the ghosts in their subtle forms slip in.
The vengeful spirits of this place take their toll, of course.
At the morning call, after a night of shadows and strange creatures, not quite sure which kills were their imagination and which actually occurred - it is not as if ghosts leave a body - there are several conspicuously missing. Two of the Malikara Pistoleers 4th shot with their own pistols. One of the Malikara Spears 4th impaled on his own spear. One of the Malikara Swords 1st has swallowed his bastard sword.
And one of the Malikara Rukhi Rangers 1st simply torn to pieces; and many others bearing the marks of a similar struggle which had gone better for them.
The Malikara leave Rockymarsh Plain, once the fabled city of Abu Malikari, as swiftly as may be. There is nothing but ghosts there, now; nothing but ghosts and the quiet, lonely statue, wondering why her death has not yet come.
The last of the proud Malikara soldiers slink out of the colony, harried by the ghosts which haunt the Rockymarsh Plain - the name by which the Onontakhan have re-christened Abu Malikari.
Such is the shame of their departure that five of the soldiers kill themselves amongst the twisted yet familiar ruins, not wanting to leave their fair city. There are no great stories left to tell in this place. All is rubble, mist, and ghosts, sinking back into the swamp, as Benedict Delano gathers the rats that would leave this sinking ship and shepherds them towards Havocstani territory.