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  1. #11
    Ride The Lightning

    EXP: 143,759, Level: 16
    Level completed: 52%, EXP required for next Level: 8,241
    Level completed: 52%,
    EXP required for next Level: 8,241

    Storm Veritas's Avatar


    Storm Veritas
    Improvisation is a key to all elements of life, a belief Storm Veritas clung firmly to and relied upon. This was fortunate, because the best laid plans for attacking Radasanth had gone completely sideways, leaving him angered but undeterred. So proud had he been to show Shinsou the ”Welcome Wagon”, loaded with gunpowder, high grade alcohol and other cheap explosives, that he hadn’t accounted for its failure to reach the front gates.

    Could have ended the whole damned thing before the fighting started.

    Yes, the ordinance vehicle he had lovingly crafted could have opened the tempered steel gates of Radasanth like a can of tin, however the wagon had never reached the gates. Instead, it was stopped by some damned fool scout that the Brotherhood soldiers identified from a distance unhitching the oxen from the front of the carriage, leaving it stranded some hundred yards from the front door, like a lovely gift box left by the curb.

    None would remember the magnificent arrow shot that took down this scout where he stood, because for its accuracy and lethality, the arrow came a minute late. The oxen stupidly (brilliantly?) wandered away from the wall, mooing out their hunger before settling on brush. The Brotherhood forces had advanced regardless, the siege weapons settling now four hundred yards from the impossibly square cut stone wall that cast deep shadows from its eighteen feet of growth. Behind it, the large city, rich with thatch roofs, pitch-topped flat structures and water-beaten wood structures beckoned for hellfire.

    “Of fucking course someone had to unhook the wagon. Because why can anything ever be easy?” Storm spoke to Shinsou on his left and Seamus on his right, the three trading petulant barbs and jokes. Anything to cut the tension before what would certainly be a grisly scene.

    “Range is ready, Cap’. The cannons are well within range, as are the archers behind them. I can move up the giants at any point, but they can’t reach from the back yet. Footmen are ready to race.” Seamus stared straight at the wall ahead, envisioning the inevitable fall.

    Looking left, Storm had seen the mix of feeling upon Shinsou’s face. Shin had engaged in terrible things before, however tended towards pragmatism. This was a shared feeling, although the wizard oft felt that the more heroic Telgradian underestimated the value of raw force.

    “Hayate? The people? Any way to backdoor the innocent, and give us people to rule when this is over?” Shinsou reasoned in his questions, but did not plead.

    Storm listened, but his resolve was set. He pulled a small steel ball from his satchel as Vaan Osiris conversed with him, the older magician wrapping the orb in cloth and using a thumb-length of wire to fasten the cloth securely.
    “To every fire, there are hordes of people running in two directions. Those that run to it, and those that run from it. We’ll have to kill the brave ones, but the chickenshits will be mostly spared. Sort of makes life a little easier if we don’t have the bold, Radasanth-loyalists pushing back after we save the city. Hell, even the brave might knock their knees enough once they see the giants.”

    Without another word, Storm snapped his fingers, arcing a small flame between his fingers that caught immediately to the dried cloth about the metal ball, which now floated gently over his hand. He stared at Shinsou, the stoic warrior reluctantly nodding. In a flash, the ball was fired from the hand of Veritas at the distant wagon. Sound seemed to vanish off the face of Althanas for a moment as the ball gently bounced around the wagon, small flames gently flickering out for just a moment. The moment lingered, thousands watching with baited breath until an enormous explosion rocked the landscape, a thunderous boom that left carbonized wood debris and ash billowing out of all sides from the once-was wagon. When the smoke cleared, the ground was a near perfect circle of black char, stained only by a residual splay of red where the scout once lay.

    The gate stood, resolute and defiant some hundred yards from the massive explosion, met with only some small cedar scented ash floating about it. It was not for fifteen seconds before cannon-fire began crashing into the walls and rooftops by the hundreds, a sky of fire and arrows raining hell on the front door of Radasanth.

    Behind the front line, a very uneasy group of horsemen waited, the steeds giving nervous brays and pecking at the earth below with their shod hooves. They had advanced slightly behind the torrent of explosions which slowly moved upon Radasanth, watching stone crumble and fires start before them, smoke beginning to accumulate in thin whiskers above the city, slightly obscuring the red star which continued to grow in the north sky.

    “I’d say we wait for counterfire; we’re at a good range to keep them pinned down for now, flood the city with fire to flush soldiers and cut them down on their open charge.”

    Turning his long face to Vaan Osiris once more, the wizard spoke directly in low tones.

    She’s in there, right? Do you think she fights us here, or can Hayate get her out safely? Two horn blasts from Seamus and he’ll know to extract her. Three, and…

    “Three and Hayate hears that she’s beyond saving.”

  2. #12

    EXP: 92,057, Level: 13
    Level completed: 15%, EXP required for next Level: 11,943
    Level completed: 15%,
    EXP required for next Level: 11,943

    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris

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    Permission to jump ahead of Phi granted, also some minor bunnying permitted by Storm
    "Yeah, she’s in there alright," Shinsou muttered his response to the electromancer amongst the cacophony of the Brotherhood's assault, "and let me tell you this; Philomel will not be leaving that city in any sort of friendly capacity. Hayate can try, but I ran into her on the way up from Tylmerande, and she made it clear where her loyalties lie. We have to prepare for that. I hope he is ready too...Hayate is strong, but Philomel could be a handful."

    As he mulled over the implications of his own words, the Telgradian frowned as the cinders of the welcome wagon scattered to the wind. His irritation at his failure to placate the faun a few days prior was now somewhat dampened by the need to think about the task at hand; the siege of the fair city of Radasanth, and how best to proceed. He waved Storm closer to him as the no longer functioning wagon smoldered a good distance away from the main gate.

    "I’d bet that most of the minor gates in the inner wall have been closed since your forces began encamping nearby, for security," he mused. Shaking his coat, the Telgradian trotted forward slightly, pointing at three separate points of the city wall; one east, another straight ahead, and one west. Swinging his sheath in perhaps a too-nonchalant way, he leaned toward the intrigued electromancer and continued his line of thinking.

    “Those points, there, are where I think the gates are. If we concentrate on raining fire down on those parts, we’ll flush their flanks from the sides of the city into the middle because they’ll have nowhere else to go. I’ll finish off your plan and obliterate the gate to create a vent, because it won’t be long before those soldiers decide they prefer to take their chances out here with us. When they do, as you said, we’ll decimate their open charge.”

    The brief break this initiated gave Storm a chance to fill his pipe with that familiar cherry tobacco, his blue eyes meeting Shinsou’s. There was a silent nod in agreement. The Telgradian held back for a few seconds, apparently steadying himself.

    “You know, it could just be bullshit but I heard that the soldiers in there switched to rubber and leather armor once they heard it was you out here. Cute of them to think of you, really, especially as you are the quiet one of us,” Shinsou said with a grin and a hint of irony, “Seems a bit pointless, though. Rubber not only smolders, but it’s really easy to pierce with dark matter or ice. Or small, homemade iron bullets.”

    Storm snorted lightly, the best he could do under the stress that chugging his pipe was putting his lungs through, and sallied forth. "Nice of them to pay me the compliment, but I don’t much care if it’s rubber, iron, wood or human shit. If they come out here for me and you, and they will, it won't matter what they're wearing. They’re only coming to die.”

    "Right," Shinsou responded, "Well, if we’re in agreement, tell your cannons and ballistas to focus on those easterly and westerly points. I’m going to open that gate."

    It’s been a while since I’ve done this...hopefully it puts the fear of god into whoever is standing around to watch. Shinsou thought to himself, a smile crossing his lips. Even though he could only maintain it for very short periods of time, his Starflare Pulsar was one of the strongest spells in his arsenal, able to generate such powerful gravitational force that even diamond struggled to maintain its physical form for long under its weight. The gates of Radasanth would be a sinch, and the sheer spectacle of the attack would surely give the armed resistance of Radasanth second thoughts about what they were coming up against.

    The main gate could take the cynicism out of any man, at least for a few minutes. Shinsou could only compare its grandeur to the Citadel. It stood at least three times the height of the wall on either side of it that encircled the outer city of Radasanth. As he approached it, the Telgradian estimated its height as between seventy and eighty feet. Shinsou rested his eyes as an ethereal wind suddenly picked up from around his feet, howling and tearing at everything within five feet of him, with himself in the ‘eye’. Even as this localised but violent gale ensued, the inner wall never expanded inwards, ensuring that his storm never flayed his own skin, much less clip at his soul.

    Fill the arrogant vessel with madness, deny the seething urge to crawl. Unite, repent, fill the ground and know your own powerlessness.

    The incantation was never heard, but its effects were immediate. Manifesting in the center of Radasanth’s wrought iron front door was a rapidly expanding and viciously hissing black mass, born of a marble of dozens of distinct colors. Seven orbs of dark matter materialized above this black core, swirling and orbiting before suddenly striking the black hole with such force that everything within two hundred feet shook violently and the resulting shockwave knocked Shinsou off his feet. As the Telgradian stumbled back to an upright position, the chaotic aftermath quickly became apparent. A swirling, oily mist drifted around a super-heated heap of crumpled, twisted iron that once comprised the gate. Amongst the devastated brickwork were once finely carved statues, representing important events in the history of the city, that now lay in ruinous piles around the edges of a breach almost fifty feet across. The gloomy cloud of residual dark magic made it difficult for Shinsou to make anything out beyond the destroyed gate, but he had used this spell before, and knew the destruction would have eaten another fifty feet into the city boundaries.

    Turning slowly back to Storm and his men, his lungs heaving and his muscles aching with the sheer effort of the conjuring and its aftermath, Shinsou cast his eyes over a watching Brotherhood. Some of the horses had spooked and brayed harshly. The men were slightly rattled, having only seen this once before, but before long were stoic and ready again.

    “…I screwed up; used up too much damn energy,” Shinsou admitted as he limped past Storm and clasped a hand on his shoulder, “That one is tough to control and is a hell of a drain, but the gate is open. I’m going to need a few minutes to get my breath back.”
    Last edited by Shinsou Vaan Osiris; 05-29-2019 at 02:55 PM.
    Old does not mean dead – New does not mean best – No hard feelings, I’m tired of being right about everything I’ve said – Yours does not mean mine – Kill does not mean die – We are not your kind

  3. #13

    EXP: 97,145, Level: 13
    Level completed: 52%, EXP required for next Level: 6,855
    Level completed: 52%,
    EXP required for next Level: 6,855

    Philomel's Avatar


    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    30 (+10)
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Female (+ Male)

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    There upon the wall, where darkness had bitten.

    She was indeed within the city, and she was near the gate when the mighty explosion erupted.

    There was a single, defying sound. It shattered what minor peace was left within the besieged city, shattering whatever hope had been held out, despite the engines of war that lay at their door. For the world now trembled, the country now shook, knowing that the enemy was truly at their door. Now, unavoidable, inevitable, resplendent.

    Definitely, no longer hiding.

    The gates blasted apart without mercy. Despite the wagon having never made it, the huge structures of iron and stone twisted, burnt, rent and were ruined, devastated, and blasted as the poison of nothingness, the void of destruction that appeared in a single globe (at least it would be reported later) exploded hatefully. And, just as towers and walls had been crushed by the ballistae and catapults, ancient stones that had held against Radasanth and Corone's enemies for many decades and centuries burst apart. The aged gate, strong, was suddenly gone. Stone flew, people screamed, the city cried out in a hollow, fearful voice. And the guards, so patiently and desperately guarding their home, were killed without any chance of survival.

    "Oh ... my ... Drys above!"

    She felt them, ripped from existence as if she had a personal connection to them. Indeed, she did, in spirit and in brotherhood, for defence of their city, but it could have been in mind and soul. Eight warriors, each under her command, were instantly killed; taken from the world and their wives and children. Taken from their city, their home and their lives. Eight - not the first to be taken, indeed, for others had been taken in the stonework that had so far been shattered by the siege engines - yet, the first so obviously, so dreadfully, so terribly.

    So ...

    She began to run. Directly, to the gaping wound in the walls of the city. In her wake Kerr Barren ran, the Major of the city guard who had since dedicated himself to her. In those few hours that they had been together now, he was hers. Until their possible death. As she ran she called commands as she passed warriors of the various tribes she had control of - the city guard, the Rangers of Underwood, the old imperial warriors of Corone, and those battle-trained whores of Radasanth who had volunteered. To some she told to stay and hold, to some she called to follow. Others, to the captains and generals, she gave little orders, and allowed them to use their instinct, especially the archers who would fire upon whatever army approached.

    And some had approached. To destroy and rend the gates. Immediately, fiery arrows began to fill the sky, a wave as the faun of fauns ran past them. And as they came from one side of the non-existent gates, so did too they begin to rain from the other side. A volley of them, and then volley of normal arrows. Great crossbows on rotating bodies, small catapults that could not shoot as far as the siege weapons, yet fitted neatly upon the wall.

    Philomel kept running. Over to the gap in the wall, where she aimed to defend what might come through with earth and sword. And as she did she called out with her mind.

    My darling! she finally called out.

    And deep beneath the earth, something stirred.

    * * *

    There upon where the earth rises, where the siege engines lie.

    A wide, savage crack shockingly ripped through the ground. Ten feet long it caught the base and foot of a catapult, which jerked to the side beneath the irregularity. The stone ball it had been preparing to fire rolled out of the sling, crashing to the ground upon the toe of a siege engine worker. He let out a shriek, as painful as they came as the crack began to widen.

    And from the rend there burst a horror. All mottled grey, brown, and khaki green. All scales and savagery and anger. All teeth and claw and fireless breath, who came like a doom and threw his jaws right around the first catapult. Straight into the wood and iron did he bite - a creature from another world. For the underground was his home, and tremors from the assault on the city had disturbed him. Simply, and without hesitation, he ran through the wood, splintering it and then swallowing what he had bitten whole. Then he dove, right back down into the earth. His long lithe body, purely built for burying and for war, dug once down into the soil, but only shallowly.

    A line in the earth followed his movement, but he was fast, surprisingly so for his thirty foot of length. He snapped at the next catapult. And ate it. And moved to the next, chomping as he went. His skin was as tough as steel, his teeth able to eat mythril. Half a second did the people have before he dove and ate what he willed, and then he paused -

    And roared. And a wave of sonic energy blasted out from him. They shattered wood fifteen feet away, and the very grass to tremble at its roots.

    People fled.

    For Delath had been released.

    * * *

    There within the Hall of Steel, where the Assembly waits.

    Sebastian held onto his own. And he prayed that his dear wife, Harriet, would be well.

    She at least had left the city. Like the Brotherhood had demanded of the Assembly, she had even left the country and gone to stay Akashima alongside other wives and lovers. Secretly had they gone, looking as much like refugees as anything.

    But he - he could not abandon his home. He held onto a long curved knife, naked in the firelight as he and the other members hunkered in the back, windowless room that they had claimed as their place of defence. One single Assembly member, Gerard Carruthers, had been selected to wait in a secret location in the basement in a public house in the city, just in case the worst situation that they would all die in the siege. Or if the Brotherhood should win, and then he would rise as a voice for the people.

    But for the rest of them, they held their own, surrounded by the greatest warriors that the city had to offer. For too long had they toiled to make their country the wavering democracy that it was, culling the empire, striving through a civil war. Ten Rangers of Underwood, ten knights, who had once been in the company of the Ixian warriors, and ten holy paladins who worshipped the local gods, stood around the corners of the three chambers. They were fully armed and eyed the single doorway. Through it was another room, this one with windows, and armed to the brim with crossbowmen.

    Sebastian breathed slowly, and wished he could be part of the fight. But he and the others had to survive. They had to remain in secret, up inside this fortress with towers and the best defence. Surviving on stuffy bedspreads, salted pork and dried fruit. Water was brought up from a well below, and at every point in the way checked by a guard dedicated to the city.

    It was as secure as they could be. In the circumstances.
    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.

  4. #14
    War Criminal

    EXP: 8,990, Level: 3
    Level completed: 99%, EXP required for next Level: 10
    Level completed: 99%,
    EXP required for next Level: 10

    Hayate_Amatsukami's Avatar


    Hayate Amatsukami
    “Hush now my love, dry your eyes…” Hayate could hear the voice of a mother waver as she tried to console her babe, they and many others were seaking refuge within the main hall of the Steel Keep. The sounds of rolling chaos filled the air as the battle for their city had begun in earnest. With each and every crumbling rampart, dust fell from the rafters, showering the hundred or so civilians and scattered mercenaries on either side of the hall. There were a number of central facing pews filled to the brim with those who weren’t able to flee the city before the fighting, and surrounding them at all entrances were hastily build barricades of sandbags and crates as well as anything else they could push up against the doors. From here there were a few ways in or out but none that were unguarded by either the Radasanthian guard, the Imperial remnants, or some freelance mercs hired by the Assembly.

    As the Shinobi sat in contemplation near the rear of the hall he watched as a few men came in and out of the way leading further into the keep, in the direction of where he presumed the Assembly to be riding out the storm. His mind raced as he tried to come up with some plan to make it past the guards, there were four men armed with the insignia of the Imperials. Knowing their past and how skillfully the Imperial army had trained and implemented before Hayate bided his time, not wanting to waste this opportunity.

    As he formulated some kind of plan Hayate took notice of a handful of small dirty children gathering just off to his right. Among them were a few that looked to be no older than ten, these were by far the oldest of them. Hayate could tell they were among the street urchins of the Capital, being dressed in tattered rags and caked in grim were obvious tells, but there was no adult in sight that looked to claim them. He bit his lip, fighting the urge to give up on his mission altogether. Why the hell were these children still here, why hadn’t the assembly done something more for them then just corralling them in to wait for slaughter? He stood up and turned to face the ten or so kids before walking over and placing a hand upon the oldest of them. The small boy had short curly blonde hair and was startled as he turned to face Hataye with a face withered by fear.

    “What’s the big deal!” the boy yelled as he shoved himself off of Hayate taking a step back. The boy stood tall and bravely in between Hayate and the others.

    “Calm yourself son,” the shinobi said pulling off his hood and showing a concerned smile. “Tell me where your parents are?” The boy was quiet but didn’t for a moment waver. Or at least not to the untrained eye, but Hayate could see pain willowing up inside the boy child.

    “Gone… just like everyone's...”

    “I see,” Hayate said as he squatted down meeting the child at eye level. “Well then tell me what your name is, so I can talk to you like an adult.” Again the boy was quiet for a moment.

    “Grell… and these are my friends.” He said as the others cautiously peaked from over his shoulders and behind the pews.

    “You are all very brave aren’t you, staying calm down here and keeping everyone safe. The generals should throw you a feast when this is all down.” He said smiling again trying with all his heart to comfort them. Again the keep shook, startling all the little ones as the recoiled back down under the pews.

    “I don’t care about that, just my friends,” Grell said fighting the urge to hide.

    “That is the bravest thing I’ve heard anyone say in all my entire life. Grell, I’m going to let you into a little thing, but you have to keep it a secret. Nothing bad is going to happen to you or them, because just like you I’m strong and all I care about are my friends. And from this moment on you, all of you are my friends.”

    The boy’s face lite up, but only to fall back down into sadness as the Steel Keep continued to rattle. He appeared to want to join the others but before he could Hayate reached into his cloak pulling out a fairly decently sized case stopping him. The Shinobi opened it revealing an array of sharp knives and signed for Grell to take the case. After a brief moment of consideration, the boy took the case, holding it tightly to his chest.

    “When this is all over I’d like to ask you to do something for me,” Hayate said before letting the boy go back to the others. “Find me, no matter what you may hear, but for now I want you to do anything you can to keep them all safe."
    "Just shut up for once! What the hell do you know about it?! It's not like you ever had a family in the first place! You were on your own right from the beginning, what makes you think you know anything about it?! Huh?! I'm suffering now because I had those ties, how on earth could you possibly understand, what it feels like to lose all that!" -Sasuke Uchiha

  5. #15
    Senior Member

    EXP: 11,761, Level: 4
    Level completed: 56%, EXP required for next Level: 2,239
    Level completed: 56%,
    EXP required for next Level: 2,239

    Paladin_Lorenor's Avatar


    Not Known.

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    A Hero.

    Once he was called that.

    Lorenor held the hilt of weapon tightly, attempting to draw some sort of comfort and a stability. He panicked. In his mind he only saw the first time it happened, during the Demon War of antiquity. He was seeing the ravages of war play out in his head. People were screaming and dying looking for a way out..but in he was only an old man. Who had seen this very event before during The Demon War.

    He was gasping in panic and fear. His eyes darted from battle to battle as the front gates of Radasanth were shattered by an all too familiar power. What do I do...? By all rights the last Ixian Knight should not have been there. His people's time had come long since, indeed he was a relic of a lost time. I can't do this on my own... Just beyond his vision he saw a familiar face.

    The Vampire Urei.

    Urei walked up to Lorenor and extended his hand as chaos erupted all around them. "Why are you afraid my love?" Urei suddenly asked as Lorenor reached out to his old Lover and Master.

    "What do I do...?" Lorenor asked, the panic had taken it's grip on his heart. He was just an old man.

    "Trust in the light." Urei said.

    Lorenor nodded to Urei. The light..had never once lad him astray since Reformation with the Ixian Knights so long ago. It was at that point a dragon came forth from the bowels of hell itself...The dragon had a different agenda. Lorenor observed as it flew towards the field of battle. It was not a threat to the people directly. He was in a state of panic, but right then, he saw something else. A group of people attempting to flee the battle was suddenly crushed by flame arrows and cannon balls.

    Lorenor gritted his teeth when he saw that. Rage filled his heart. ..What do I do...? Lorenor slowly walked towards the burning corpses, one a dying woman looked up at the glowing Paladin.

    "Why is this happening?" She barely uttered.

    Lorenor, following the ritualistic rites of his Order knelt down next to the fallen. He placed a hand on the forehead of the dying woman and began to cry for her. He gave her her final rites. No. The Last Ixian Knights was giving Radasanth herself her final rites. He began to utter the incantations that would compel the spirits of the fallen to The After of the legendary Thayne Codex.

    But something happened that he did not expect.

    "...Ixian..." The voice of the woman called out to him in spirit form.

    Lorenor finished the rites and turned to look at the ethereal form of the woman. "You are afraid."

    "I don't know what to do." Lorenor said honestly to the ghost.

    "Take my strength, Paladin." She said plainly. "You know the compelling arts of your people yes?"

    Lorenor hesitated. But nodded in compliance. It was his duty to tend to the dead. Lorenor finished the rites of passage and observed the lost spirits on their journey to The After. Lorenor looked at the woman, and extended his hand to her. "Come with me." He commanded in the spiritual rites of his order.

    "It shall be so." She responded and took Lorenor's hand.

    The spirit guided him to the location of Hayate and Grell's position. Lorenor was tired. But he no longer was afraid...he merely felt numb at that point. Lorenor and the compelled spirit stumbled upon the chamber where Hayate and Grell lurked. "Akashiman!" Lorenor was glad to see familiar markings on Hayate's person. He looked at several survivors present. Lorenor held a serious expression on his face. "Akashiman we have to get them out of here, any who wish to live. You wish to live...come with me." Lorenor walked towards Hayate. He'd been relatively near to Hayate's position and the walk wasn't that long. He saw the survivors gathered around Hayate. "We have to get them out of here." Lorenor said.

    A Hero.

    That's what he once was...

  6. #16
    Ride The Lightning

    EXP: 143,759, Level: 16
    Level completed: 52%, EXP required for next Level: 8,241
    Level completed: 52%,
    EXP required for next Level: 8,241

    Storm Veritas's Avatar


    Storm Veritas
    The arrival of Delath to the battlefield was no less upsetting to the armies of the Brotherhood of the Castigars than a fire in a theater, or perhaps a tapeworm on one’s digestive system. Like a great, armored mole the mighty earth dragon burrowed a channel at great speed, the ground above it rupturing earth and crust like a shark’s ten feet before striking the first catapult. Delath erupted from the ground in a great muddy eruption, a maelstrom of fangs and claws and horror splintering and obliterating the support ballast and lever arm of the great siege weapon, rendering it utterly useless. While men jumped back in exasperated horror, the spectacular dragon disappeared back into the earth no less rapidly.

    “The FUCK is that thing!?” Storm was momentarily stunned before his memory recalled the great familiar of Philomel. Pulling on the sleeve of his chained armor nervously, the electromancer was frozen. He stared at the broken mound of earth for answers as his army continued to fire upon Radasanth, the steady rhythm of catapults, archers, cannoneers and trebuchets pumping wave after wave of terror down upon the walls and city alike. It was only moments before history repeated itself, and Delath completely erased a large trebuchet as a sharp knife can cut taut canvas.

    He’s going to take ALL the siege weapons. Can we peel back?

    Storm stood atop the great Attila aside Shinsou as he looked at the smoke-pouring city before him, and looked back at the desolation behind him. If they retreated, Radasanth would be summarily reinforced, and there was no replacing the siegecraft lost or men that would flee a failed siege. This was the only time to strike.

    “We’ve got to hit those gates hard and heavy. If you’re still worn, peel back for now and get the second batallian to attack that fucking dragon. He has laid his plan; we need cover for the siege-craft. Let’s whack that mole hard the next time he pops up. “

    Still fatigued, Shinsou nodded and sat upright his own steed. “Is that all, then? Just slay the magical disappearing dragon in the four seconds he pops up to eat our beautiful catapults? Anything else, m’Lord?”

    The wizard smiled at his friend, understanding the absurdity of their situation. “Put my mead on ice; looks like I’m going to need a tall glass when this is said and done.” Riding off with a nod, Storm gestured to his lieutenants, who immediately rallied the throngs of soldiers into formation.

    My Gods, they move well. You’d think they actually liked us if you didn’t know better.

    The footmen, some cavalry, archers and cannoneers formed long ranks, standing shoulder to shoulder some thirty wide in a long row. Although focused and ready, they were far from fearless; many eyes popped back with each successive explosion of the dragon behind them eviscerating the battlefield, wiping another weapon from the world. To their left, nearly splitting them, the thin magician and General boomed his noble voice from atop his enormous horse.

    “It’s alright men, I’m scared too. Soak in the fear. It quickens the pulse, and focuses the eyes. Let it sharpen you, make you lethal.”

    “Death is coming for us all, and for some we meet him today. For some of our brothers, we bring the chance to free the greatest city in the world of tyranny. Breathe for just a moment, and relish in your legacies.”

    Smiles and nods, men beginning to puff their chest and flare their nostrils.

    “Today, you have a choice. You can fight hard and live forever, or lay it down, dying as sweat-stains in a history book. Pretty fucking easy choice, you think?”

    At this, the front squadron of soldiers began hollering, clanging shield to sword in thumps and bangs. Fear had no place among the terrified.

    “Shields up and cannons at the ready. Radasanth only thinks they’re ready for the Castigars; it’s time to bring hell to their fucking doorstep!”

    At this, Storm and Attila charged ahead, the mighty black steed pumping hooves into the earth. The men broke from a walk into a charge as he pumped his sword forward, joined by Commander Brackett’s identical signal opposite him on the right flank of the great line of men.

    As they entered a range of four hundred yards, the distant command of Radasanthian Army leadership echoed faintly, and a barrage of arrows littered the dark sky like little stars, flickering as they moved through the light paths of assaulting fireballs, moonlight, and the ominous red star growing before them all.

    There’s so many. So goddamned many.

    “Shields up!”

    In a single motion, a ceiling of iron and wood emerged above the batallions, as shields were raised to stop the oncoming arrow fire. Metal-tipped barbs, Storm was able to easily wave off the two dozen arrowheads that had been positioned for him. The majority of arrows aimed at Seamus bounced off his horses armor, although one barb struck between his thigh and knee plates, forcing a furious roar from the old man.

    Between them, the shield-covered men were not so lucky. The arrows largely found purchase upon shields, however the vast numbers were far too heavy. Errant shots snaked between gaps in the shield ceiling or upon the sides, dropping men as though they fell through thin ice. The roars of horror were drowned by the larger cry of charging men, and the falling soldiers left large gaps for more arrows, which quickly fell as the charging wave trampled the just dead.


    Knowing he could not protect his beloved mount, Storm reared Attila and hopped off, shooing the beast back to the tent-grounds as he effortlessly flipped away the second wave of arrows. Some men hesitated as Lord Veritas had stopped, and he pivoted his icy gaze towards them venomous. “Move! What I’ve got behind you is much worse than the men before you!!”

    The wave of men hit the gates fast, thumping headlong into a steady wave of pike and sword wielding Radasanth guards. The defense buckled but did not yield, the screams of unidentified men lost in the madness of cannon fire, dragon assault, and battle cries.

    “Cannons! The Wall! Hit the battlements!” The great Commander Brackett boomed from his horse, blood forming below the arrow he had snapped above the knee. For no less than two hundred yards from the gate in each direction, archers continued to pepper the wave of men, now bottlenecked at the gate and dying by the dozen with each progressive round. The old commander was shielded by the massive tower shield he held above himself, but was felled as a stray bolt struck above the hoof of his beast. Sad and furious, Seamus limped up on his weak leg, holding the tower shield high and listening to the ting-ting of countless thwarted attacks.

    “Storm, we’re pinned! We need you!” Brackett backed into the wall of men, who moved to surround him as a human shield. Desperate eyes sought out to the wizard, irate with the terrible turn of events. A singular thought dominated him, one which his stoic visage refused to share with his men.

    We’re completely fucked.

    Eyes on the wall, he grew weary of waving away the ceaseless barrage of arrows heading his way. Without a word, he broke hard left, his hand raised to the wall as he moved in a full sprint, breaking across the perimeter of the battered defensive wall as archers shot wildly at him. In the center, blood was pooling a the feet of the soldiers as their own men died around them, and they struggled to move the dead to their own perimeter to serve as makeshift meat-shields for the helpless.

    “He’s running away!” A Castigar troop uttered, despondent in his fate, stranded without hope at the gate as more and more men fell, and the front line surged forward into Radasanth so impossibly slowly.

    “No, he’s going to hit them. Haven’t you heard about him before?” A grinning fool pointed towards the seemingly suicidal adventurer as Storm Veritas was sprinting towards the wall now, wider than the men had been positioned. There were still a few men where the lunatic was heading, however they couldn’t hear the shouts from their commanding officers. With a single pulse of electromagnetic energy upon his metallic gear, Storm Veritas was propelled high and gracefully at the wall some two hundred and fifty yards from the gate.

    These men don’t need a gambler or a trickster; they need a god. I can’t be merely GOOD, I must be godlike.

    Storm’s maniacal idea was what he configured as his only hope, a desperate and reckless idea to save his men from the trap he had charged them into. As he vaulted to the top of the wall, he was met with two men pulling their arrows towards the surprise invader. They almost made it, before a twin pair of electric blasts ripped through them with a loud CRACK-BANG that left his signature odor of ozone in its wake. They fell peacefully to the ground, innocent children laid to rest one final time. To his left, there were no men in sight, but to his right, a tremendous row of archers that had never expected his arrival.

    There were hundreds of them, perhaps thousands. They were men no better or worse than his own. They were men with parents and brothers and sisters and wives and children. Storm was able to suppress his humanity as the first line of four or five had pivoted to fix their arrows upon him.

    An arrow carved through his right shoulder as his eyes flashed white, the projectile cutting through his thin chain from this distance without much effort. The fury magnified the rage of the legendary wizard, who proceeded to unleash hell like never before. With a scream, he erupted an enormous, pulsing beam of white and blue lightning down the length of the passage upon the wall’s top, fragments of energy splintering off effortlessly in it’s hate-fueled wake.

    Get down. Get down. Get down.

    Completely exhausted, Storm saw only smoke before him, the thick fumed obfuscating him from the horror his incredible attack had unleashed. Had he killed ten men? A thousand? There was no time to examine the wreckage. If even one lived, they could claim him if he collapsed atop the wall. His eyes on smoking Radasanth, Storm witnessed a thatch-roofed building that had yet to catch fire. Before the smoke cleared, he tripped as he tried to jump to the roof, crashing through the thatch into the darkness of the building below.

    What he had done would be remembered, but certainly not completely by his own accord.

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