The next couple of days pass slowly. You ride through countryside that changes little as you pass. More tall grass and foothills. In the very distant south small streamers of smoke can be seen, your best guess is that they are from the remnants of villages that are hanging on even under the treat of war.
As you approach the area that was shown on the map as where you'll be crossing, you see the defenses that have been built up over the last half a year as the armies have come to a stalemate in this area.
These defenses are made up of earth and wood barricades almost 20 feet high with catapults positioned behind them. On top you make out other defensive weaponry, ballistas and oil culdrons.
Riding into the the Coalition encampment, you notice how bad it is on the front. Broken and damaged weapons and armour scattered around the makeshift forges. Wounded soldiers slumped against the barricades or other structures.
Surprisingly there don't seem to be many soldiers who aren't wounded.
One that is approaches you, a dirty and ragged looking Dwarf, his beard tangled and matted, his clothing faded and in dire need to a wash and sewing needle. Coming to stand in front of you, he looks up and sneers, "So... You lot ar' the 'Great Champion's ar' ye? Well ye look nothing more than poppinjays playin' pretend in ya momma's back yard."
Motioning for you to dismount and follow him he leads you to a crude looking shack.
On the inside, through the dim light you see maps, a few tattered books and other scraps of paper laying around.
The Dwarf sighs as he sits down on a bench by a large table, "Well, we were told ye were comin'. We've mobilized all the able body warriors to tha north to help in this foolish push. I'll lose many a good Dwarf, and some of the men that 'ave come to be stationed 'ere."
shaking his head as he unrolls one of the maps upon the table, "But far be it for me to complain about how that upperty Elf decides to spend the lives of us out 'ere on tha front lines... Neve' seen 'im out 'ere. No, 'e stays all safe back in 'is lil' brother palace.
Anyway... I'm guessin' ya wanna know 'ow this is gunna go down aye? Well look 'ere."
he growls, pointing to the map.
"We're 'ere. Those there, they're the Covenants dogs. Mainly Hobgobbos and Bugbears in the southern two camps, Orcs in the northern two. Lucky for you lot they acted the way the Elf thought. When they saw us movin' north, most of the main forces followed, but don't think you're in for an easy stroll, they're still out there. We hear 'em at night, hooping and hollaring.
Now, what'd the Elf tell ya's that ya were ta do when you cross over?"
he finishes, rolling the map back up