Later that day…
Birk and Arnye had traveled throughout the early morning and at around noon them crested a hill and looked upon the trade fortress of Altaruk. Despite the blazing heat of the day, a chill ran down their spines as they saw standing before the north gate, a huge draconic figure. The battlements were packed with the fort’s archers and spread out on the sand around the gate were hundreds of guards armed with long trikals.
Leading the defenders of Altaruk were Birk and Aryne’s friends: Arisphistaneles, Zul, Selonius and Culler. Even from this distance, they could see the grim look of determination on each of their faces. It was obvious that none expected to live.
An epic battle began between Abalach-Re and the defenders of Altaruk. The archers fired volley after volley of bone and obsidian tipped arrows at the dragon queen, most of which bounced harmlessly off of her thick scales. The ground troops hurled themselves at her legs, attempting to immobilize her or at the very least wound her. Again only a small fraction of the attacks were successful in wounding her.
Abalach-Re moved through these attackers and used her defiling magic to slay scores of guards at a time. Her raw power was obviously countered by her inexperience and desire to kill as many of the defenders as possible. Under the barrage of attacks Abalach-Re began to weaken, the numerous injuries began to take their toll.
Arisphistaneles and the others pressed their attacks as well, although they had little more success then the rest of the soldiers. A few well-placed hits by Culler and Zul actually caused the sorcerer-queen injuries, but her preternatural stamina allowed her to keep fighting. Abalach-Re turned her attention to the heroes and they began to fall under her attacks. Selonius, Arnye and Culler’s companion Sundiver were all knocked unconscious. Birk was also within an inch of death but Zul was able to keep them all from dying.
Just as things appeared to be taking a turn for the worse, Abalach-Re decided to withdraw from the fight, teleporting to safety and then flying away. The numerous small wounds inflicted had finally caused her concern and she retreated. The defenders of Altaruk simply watched in amazement as she flew away. Over half of the 400-some guards were dead and all of the heroes had suffered some serious injuries. While they were happy to have survived, they all wondered how well they might fare if she were to return.