You'll be especially glad for the help of Samuel and Sybil when you hear about Ret-Talus's new pet summoner.
You may know that some of Ret-Talus's champions are people that joined him voluntarily, out of greed, pride and a dispicable self-interest that cared not a spit for others. Sirian Waters is not like that: he was captured and forced into service to the Rotten King. Understandably, his mind cracked from the experience. We don't know the details of it, and I for one am glad not to know, but he became a loyal and eager toady to his captor. He makes an obvious choice for an assistant summoner: in Ret-Talus's position I would rather give a stone to an insane but loyal servant than an ambitious traitor.
Unfortunately, Sirian's insanity is not a serious liability. In fact, with his warped mind he has attained some frightening abilities. There can be no doubt of this, since our scouts have witnessed it repeatedly, but Mad Sirian can heal himself in the middle of battle, something that no summoner has been able to do before.
Quiet down, and I'll tell you what more I know. There are limits to this ability that we might take advantage of. First of all, he only has been seen to heal himself after attacking and wounding other units -- and enemy units at that -- so he has to put himself in harm's way to heal. Secondly, Sirian's use of the stone frequently leaves him wounded, so there is a sort of cosmic balance in that which we can thank the heavens for. But don't count on him to hand us the battle through overuse of the stone; he is insane and committed to an evil cause, but he is not stupid.
Sometimes Sirian is seen clutching his stone and gazing at it with a feverish intensity. When he does that, be prepared for some nasty surprises, becuase those episodes are usually followed by heavy summoning.
Like his master, Sirian can summon the dead to fight. But he surpasses his master in being able to summon units that have fallen earlier in the same battle.
He even has brought back champions, so don't take anything for granted if you face him.
One of the new champions that Sirian has in tow is another bound demon named Gul-Dass. Unlike Elut-Bal, Gul-Dass is never released from his bonds, because he doesn't have to be: he is just as deadly while bound. The one good thing about him is that when he gets especially vicious Sirian himself is hurt, I guess because of the strain it puts on the spells controlling him.
You all look as grim as I feel about this news. But don't lose heart. Remember that we also have a new summoner, and not only is Samuel Farthen one of the sturdiest warriors I have known, he leads a large force of fresh new troops into battle.