Charon, Thriatos and Horacio find themselves on the road to Neddam. Their guide Pater, who works for Acidus' spymaster Jonicus, helps them with the practical arrangements as they need to smuggle themselves into the city. The plan goes well and a day later the three find themselves safely behind the walls of Neddam.
As they arrive in the city they are greeted by Acidus second in command, Soraman, who in the grandmaster's absence leads the mages of house Caeduis. Showing them their quarters Soraman explains they will meet lieutenant Tyras in the morning who will talk to them concerning the city's defenses.
As the new day dawns the mages follow Tyras around on his tour of the city. He explains that the governor is currently laying siege as his goal is to conquer the city, not raise it. While the city's supplies are good for another month the lieutenant fear that the population might rebell if the situation haven't been solved until then. The mages all agree they do best in increasing the pressure on governor Rubaros' forces and split up to work on their separate solutions. Charon draws inspiration from the botched gremlin crossbow-deal and seeks out the city's craftsmen to see if they can provide him with something similar, but without any schematics he has little luck in this. Thriatos and Horacio plow through the ends of the wizard house's library to see if any spells that might be of use can be found.
After a few days of research Thriatos concludes that a simple spell to increase the range of the defender's projectiles could force the attackers to give up ground and move back their positions. Horacio commenders some of the wizard adepts to learn such a spell. Meanwhile, Charon has not given up on his idea of a large crossbow or ballistae and decides that demonic help is the best solution. With Thriatos' aid a demon is summoned who agrees to help in exchange for a second summoning within the Imperial capital. After some consideration the men agrees.
Judging progress is as good as it can be, Charon now diverts his time and energy to convince the city's dux to spend more money on food supplies. The dux reluctantly agree to match any offer the wizard house makes and 50,000 gold later the city has invested in supplies for another two weeks. Charon quite unabashed pass his half of the bill on to Soraman, who agrees it might be for the best but suggests the three keep quiet about it to avoid getting enemies among the other mages. As for transport, the ever willing captain Scaurus is more than happy to ferry food to the city for a price.
A few days later Charon receives his ballistae from the demon and they decide to stir the hornets' nest by aiming it at the enemies main camp. As the bolt lodges itself firmly in the ground next to their largest campfire the soldiers quickly catch up on the message and within an hour they are moving their tents further away from the walls. With all the commotion going on Thriatos and Horacio gather as many conjurers as they can find and summon a small horde of imps which they send to assault the busy soldiers. While not posing much of a threat, the imps do start quite a few fires, topple a couple of supply-laiden carts and startle many horses and other animals. Shortly, it is a provication hard to ignore...
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