Once upon a time... I hate that beginning. Let me try again: It was a cold, stormy night... Yeah, that's it. Okay, it was a cold, stormy night during the Festival of the Conqueror. And outside the walls, a strange sight was to be found. "Aaargh!" the Cineran footsoldier gnashed his teeth. "Aaahhhhck!" Eventually, a patrol of Iridine soldiers found the poor wretch, sitting there and wailing in the most pitiful way. On one hand was a tatoo of a curious symbol... an arrow, dripping with blood, under the Cineran numeral for 1. One of the grunts went up to him and asked him to explain himself. He received a bloody nose for his pains. As per standing orders, they dealt with him in the quickest way possible: They cut off his head. Later on, the Licius Renande, the Iridine officer in charge of the patrol, was justifying his response. "The beast was clearly inside Iridine land, he gave a bloody nose to one of my men, and he didn't answer our entreaties for an explanation. As such, he merited death. I really don't see what all the fuss is." Ereal bless bigots in our legion today. The event went unpunished.
Several weeks later
"A host! A host!" the lookout posted on the northern gate cried. "A host of Cinerans, headed for our walls! Iridine, to arms!" A great amount of tumultous activity ensued; men bustling off to secure their weapons and armor to deal with the Cineran army. It looked like an invasion on an unprecedented scale. And the Cineran army marched on throughout the night. Finally, in the morning, the Cinerans were near enough to the city to spot individual faces. To a man, each one was gaunt and bony, and even slightly green. Every Cineran appeared emaciated and starved nearly to death. Near the back of the army, which stretched back as far as the eye could see, the *CRACK* of whips pinned down the slave drivers' locations. There were just so many of them! Man to man, the Iridine legions would have kicked their starved asses back to Cinera, but the already decimated Legio against this giant host? The fight was not over, but it looked pretty bad for our heroes. Iridine led out with the first sally, several hundred patrols of three, two soldiers and an officer, against the indomitable Cineran body. These sallies proved effective, with minimal losses. Fast and lightning quick, the patrols would reenter the city before serious harm could occur. But the army just stood there, and took what losses without serious resistance. It almost appeared as though the Cinerans wanted to die. No longer was the crack of whips heard, but the Cinerans still stood stock still. What a curious turn of events! A great army of Cinerans, camped outside the walls of Iridine, and little bloodshed being happened. On reflection, Seredian Allende, long be his favor curried, asked for prisoners to be examined. One patrol, ironically led by the same Licius Renande, who killed the first Cineran weeks ago, captured a Cineran grunt. The footsoldier was as emaciated as the rest of his group. His ribs showed through the skin, which was itself more like dried parchment than living flesh. At first, his throat was so parched that he could only croak out indescript squeaks. Eventually, he became well enough to speak with his captors. His head cleared with good wine, his tongue wagged once the inquisition started. It was conducted by one Licius Renande, recently promoted. "What is your name?" "Poandius. Harrun Poandius." "You will speak truly and succinctly, or else die you shall, Harrun. Why has there been a great host of Cineran pigs camped outside our city?" "Succor... please, we want succor." "Succor? Cineran dogs seek succor... how so?" "We need your healers... please, let us be healed. Each of us is in need, for if untended we will soon die." Each of the Iridinians glanced at each other at that; the temptation to just allow the Cinners to die was great. However, sense of duty prevailed over personal dislike, and the decision was bumped up. Several days later, the order was given for healers of Iridine to congregate in the Hospice while the legion collected the Cinerans from outside their doors. Although feeling rather sickly, even the bigoted Licius Renande contributed to helping the Cinerans. Until he collapsed, of course. The Cinerans occupied the Hospice, with a strong guard of soldiers. And healers helped the sickly Cinerans. By now, I'm certain you've realized what the Cinerans aimed to do. And what the quasi succeeded, if it wasn't for the death of Licius Renande. This, ahem, tragedy opened the eyes of those that didn't see that by exposing their Legions and their healers to the Cineran sickness, they were jeopardizing themselves. And so, to avoid a widespread panic, the Cinerans were quietly brought to the mines and executed. This might not have been the most noble act in the world, but the sanctity of Iridine continues. All these events happened. Really.