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As van Joss had expected, once pushed in the right direction the leaders of the Fisted Races lost no more time in building upon Thompson’s plans to properly construct fortifications.  They swiftly discussed, agreed upon, improved, then discussed some more before a final set of plans were created, a set of plans they all had a hand in creating.

With that plan in hand, the various leaders then began to gather their civilian populations and determine who among them had the skills to do what they needed.  Within hours of finalizing their construction plans, the leaders had assembled a highly-skilled work force that was then immediately pressed into action.

Using great blocks of stone quarried from the ground, or the artificial stone van Joss had seen in the Ancient city where they had met the Cetacea, the various civilian workers swiftly built great defensive walls with a degree of cooperation never before seen between Fisted races.  In fact they worked so well together, it left van Joss shaking his head in astonishment as he watched between the odd time the Fisted foremen asked for his assistance.

With Thompson’s plans in hand, the primary fortresses quickly grew out of the slushy mud of the plains, great blocky structures fundamentally sound and built to withstand massive assaults.  And once the main walls were erected using basic tools designed by Kanid engineers, mud and dirt were heaped against the stone before sharp stakes of wood were deeply inserted, further deterrent against battering rams and enemy sappers.

The final touches were being applied to the third of the quartet of fortresses the elven war smiths had designed as van Joss looked over the front walls, Thompson’s plans in hand, his expert eye running along the left hand section, recently completed when the words reached him.

“Impressive,” a low voice rumbled in the Ryon dialect from behind the lean human.  “Almost big enough to be called Ryon fortresses!”

Van Joss’s narrow lips curved slightly upward as he slowly looked over his shoulder to find the powerful figure of King Fizel, lord of the Golden Kingdom and high commander of the Golden Armies of Light.  The big Fisted was standing with his legs braced in a wide stance and his thick arms crossed over a barrel chest as his green eyes scanned over the fortress before them.  Behind him, standing in tight order, were almost a hundred of his personal guard, the Golden Dragons, their normally ornate armor covered in a thick layer of Neroth muck.

Fizel, for that matter, was also covered with the sticky, slimy stuff, so thickly that the great crest of the ruling house that was embossed onto his breastplate was completely hidden.  Still the big Ryon had a broad grin on his face, his eyes fairly dancing with delight at what he saw.

“Took your good time getting here, your Majesty,” van Joss pointed out dryly before gesturing at the fortress now behind him.  “Our building is just about done.”

Impeccable timing, van Joss.”  Fizel grinned.  “Ryon timing.  Let our lessers do the work then sweep in to reap the benefits!”

Van Joss chuckled lightly as the first of several columns of heavily armed Ryon troops appeared the low hillock behind the Golden Dragons to march towards the fortress.  Catching sight of the troops, he quickly sobered.  Fizel too became more serious as he glanced over his shoulder at his army, grimly noting the battered condition of several of his men.  A condition that didn’t elude van Joss’s sharp attention.

“By the looks of it, somebody else did some work on you and yours on your way here,” the lean human operative quietly commented

Fizel nodded before looking back at the shorter human.

“Primiad troops, cutting through the western reaches of the Directorate,” the big Ryon growled.  “They caught us moving southward to make for the Neroth.  A vanguard force only, but savage fighters all.”  He glanced back at his troops, now being brought to order by several officers, bright plumes on their helmets marking them from the rest.

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