A woman in a white robe stumbled through the rough roads north of Truce. Her long, raven hair fluttered in the gusty wind which foretold a storm; the determination in her eyes, however, kept her marching on.
Oddly enough, she was barefoot, and stopped to look up as the first drop of rain hit her cheek from the night sky. "Damn." She rubbed her round, pregnant stomach. "Don't worry, we're almost to the nurse."
A short way south, in the Truce Militia's encampment ... Nurse Bathory also looked up, popping open her parasol. "Looks like rain," she said to Jacen beside her.
"Yeah, going to make the watch a little mopey." Jacen looks around then turns to Bathory, "What are you still doing up, anyway?"
The good nurse looked toward the moon, which was covered in storm clouds. "I have trouble sleeping when there's a storm brewing on the horizon. And we're due to hear news of the battle in Brei any minute... What bothers me, you see, is that we haven't received a message from our side or theirs."
"Yes no message, and surprisingly, no explosions. I'm nervous." Jacen says as he sits down and draws his sword. He begins to clean it with a cloth.
As if on cue, a red and golden flare lit up the night sky. It spiraled upward from the woods south of the fort, crackling into the sky like fireworks and fizzling out among the light rain.
"I don't remember a Militia signal like that..."
Jacen jumps up, sword in hand. "Neither do I. You may want to get back into the hospital, something tells me somethings up."
A hylian archer comes running along the cliffside, shouting in the distance from the watch tower. What he says is garbled until he dashes closer, shouting "Wi.... t..... W.... s! WITCHES! Advancing from the south!"
Bathory high-tails it to the medical tent, flinging her parasol at another tent as she runs by it. "Wake up, wake up! Medics to the infirmary!"
Jacen yells, "Everyone, man your stations. Things are about to get dicey." He sheaths his sword and pulls the bow off his back as he races up the ladder on the east side of the fort.
The young man grabs Jacen's hand, hauling him up the wall. He gestures southward with his bow, where the faint trump-trump-trump of marching is snaking up the path. "There, they're coming right in plain view. Should I ready the archers to fire into the canyon?"
The rain is now coming down full-force, soaking everyone in the torrents and chilling them with subsequent windy gusts. A south wind, by the by...
"Ready them, but don't fire until my order. I want to make sure it's actually the Empire and not Sunflash trying to be an idiot." Jacen chuckles slightly and runs to the furthest south archer position, readying an arrow.
"Archers at the ready!" The archer scurries back to his station, and all of the archers lined up along the canyon walls knock their arrows and wait.
TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP. It's definitely an army-sized march, and as they come into view of the south gate, it is terribly evident that they are all young women in red leather suits, wearing a full-arm metal gauntlet on one side.
Something strange and glowing snakes among them, flicking back and forth, but they march forward like robots.
"They're the Empire all right. Logs, send one round down the hill, archers, fire as the logs begin to near in. Looks like it's a fight they want." Jacen draws his bow and waits until the logs get halfway down the hill to fire.
Meanwhile, in the infirmary... Nurse Bathory sends a few medics to wait at the bottom of the ladders, should there be injured archers, and then barks "Two more of you, put out the main campfire! I don't want the fort burning down, or any more injuries from falling into it!"
Bathory seems to be misappropriating her troops, however, as the rain has all but done this. The two young priests scurry off anyway.
SNAP! Go the ropes as the soldiers slice what is holding back the logs. A great clattering rings out as they roll down...
The surprised shrieks of witches ring out as the logs go crashing into the first wave. However, an explosion of ice quickly shatters the last log rolling down, and the witches march over the dead bodies of their comrades.
Now, however, the witches are looking up and have spotted the archers. They raise their glowing gauntlets into the rain, collectively shouting "Freeze Arrow!"
A sweeping ray of frost blows up into the sky from the outstretched palms of the casters, seemingly using the rain itself to great effect. Shards of ice go scattering everywhere above, slicing into the stationed archers.
Not many of them go down, but a great number of them go reeling and screaming as they are sliced by surprise.
Satisfied, the witches continue to march toward the walls.
"Archers, take cover, and fire only when you have a clear shot. Log wave two go, three get ready." Jacen ducks behind the wooden barricades as he gives the order.
The second wave of logs comes rolling down, but only one manages to roll into the troops before the others are blown apart by several random girls shouting "Blast Bomb!"
In the nearby foothills, well out of arrow range, Elijah's band were working furiously into position. Elijah himself however, stood, cloak to the wind, breathing deeply and carefully...
"They're expecting the logs now, take your shots!" The apparent archer-captain fires a whistling arrow, taking out the witch in his sights. Other arrows stream down after him, piercing many targets but also clanking off of many gauntlets.
Jacen says 'Logs, release remaining pieces, then get in the gate. Ground troops, get ready, but don't exit just yet. Archers, continue a barrage, -some- arrows have to get through.'
Camory stood next to Elijah, her longbow at her side, unwielded. "At your convenience, Elijah. I'm ready for the second signal."
SNAP! SNAP! More ropes are slashed to release their heavy load, and this time, all of them get through. The witches who are firing ice arrows are quickly cut off, and now the total number of visible troops has decreased by half - living, that is.
Next to Jacen, two archers are pierced with ice and hit the ground. Medics race up and look them over, carrying one to the infirmary and one out of the way, apparently dead. Other archers show cuts and scrapes, but the wooden shield appears to take much of the blast.'
If Elijah noticed what Camory was saying, he didn't acknowledge it beyond perhaps a grunt in the time of his breathing. Concentration was key.
Now, the witches have reached the gates, moments after they slam shut and are secured from the other side. Many of them put their hands on the walls, shouting "BLAST BOMB!"
BOOOOM! An explosion shakes the walls, and although it doesn't blow a hole into the fort, some chunks of wood and debris go flying outward from them.
Bathory jerks her head up, stopping in mid-saw. "They're at the gates already?! I better hurry!" She continues sawing off the arm of the patient on her table, whose forearm is black with frostbite and pierced by an icicle.
Elijah nodded. "Ready!" A ring of light appeared, which became a disk, which concentrated into his hands. "AUUUUURA BOLT!" The FZZZYORCH of white light struck immediately for the gates!
" Archers, continue concentrating your fire, keep up the good work." Jacen throws his arrows to the ground, hoping they'll be used by the others. He jumps down the ladder and draws his sword as he runs towards the choke point inside the gate. "
A fantastic explosion of light soars like a burning disc, slamming into the gates in a shower of sparks. More debris and wood splinter outward, revealing small holes and chunks. Camory advances now, moving into position... behind the witches with an arrow in her bow. "Falling Star!" An arrow whistles out of her grasp, striking the same spot Elijah's spell did, and exploding into a similarly wondrous array of sparks.
This time, however, the gates explode inwards upon the soldiers.
Four shieldmen get bashed back into the wall, and two onto their comrades spears, the rest remain unharmed, and out of the way. Jacen yells "Allright, people, here we go. Hold positions."
The witches are holding their positions, not advancing on the gates. In fact, some retreat ever so slightly, and begin firing extra sprays of ice at the archers. Several of them go down screaming with a sickening thump on the canyon floor...
Those that don't retreat smile silkily at the soldiers lined up before them. They are in casting range, but not weapon striking range, and stand shoulder to shoulder.
Simply clasping their metal gauntlets together, the first in the chain giggles "Dimil Arwin, ehehehe!" and a bolt of chain lightning snaps into the nearest Militia spear, presumably jumping across the arranged men with a sizzle.
Camory shouts "Don't attack the archers, make them useless! Balus walls, up!"
"Hounds ready, boys?" A small cheer rose up from Elijah's small troupe. "Right. On my mark." He paused, and then stepped into a cage. There was one last touch...
"Lightning... great... Men, advance, get within range, keep up the formation of shield wall/polearm for right now. Archers, half stay up and try to find a hole, the rest of you, get down here and either find a shot or draw a sword." Jacen Yells.
At Camory's command, the witches cease fire and begin to focus on a joint spell. A shimmering blue aura surrounds them, shielding them from the rain... and... disintegrating the arrows that fly through it? The wind has worsened too, disrupting the projectiles' aim.
"Good! Stand strong at the gates, don't advance!" Just before taking cover under the Balus Wall, Camory fires her own arrow into the sky; this time it exploded into the same array of showers as the first signal.
Elijah smiles, almost viciously. "SMITHERS?!?!" He grinned, standing on top of a Behemoth, drawing a machete. "RELEASE THE HOUNDS."
CLANG! The releases on the cages, well, gone, the walls fell off, leaving the Behemoths one way to run. Elijah suddenly found himself holding on for dear life, cheering all the way, as they stampeded towards the walls.
Jacen notices the witches odd behavior. "Okay, guys, prepare for something, this isn't right, Defensive positions. Don't let anything through."
The witches' barrier shorts out as they divide in two, but that's okay - cramped against the canyon walls, it's hard to get a shot at them. They give the beasts a wide berth, as the raging Behemoths come crashing through.
Jacen says 'Okay guys, looks like we have something coming our way, line up just inside the wall, the gate's too small to allow all of them through at once, take them out as they try to get in.'
Jacen says 'Archers, remain firing at the Witches, let the ground troops take the beasts.'
Nurse Bathory looks up as a primal roar echoes across the battlefield. "What in the HELL?" She wipes her brow, and administers an anesthetic to someone.
Camory moves out slightly from the canyon wall, lining up a shot. She releases an arrow into the air which leaves a trail of black smoke, all but unseen in the dark night.
"Ma'am, sounds like one of those beasts to the south... in the Velvet fields or something, I can't remember the name." An orderly tells Bathory. (Jacen)
Elijah slowly found his feet on the moving 'Hemoth, riding it like a surfer. A moment, and with his squad catching up behind him, Elijah leapt before the stampede slammed into the wall, tipping the posts like so many toothpicks. Elijah's other machete came out, and Elijah landed just behind the lines, idly cutting down a swordsman who couldn't turn fast enough. "WELL?"
Jacen says 'They're in, Attack. Take out the beasts first.'
Jacen races to the strange rider, who appeared to be in charge. Approaching quickly but cautiously.
Elijah released a clasp under his cloak, which caused a large weight to fall to the ground. "Chompy? Raise some hell." "CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP" the chain chomp started to go after the swordsmen, while Elijah evaluated Jacen.
Jacen points to a group of swordsmen, "You, after that thing, make sure it doesn't get to the infirmary. Spearmen, take out those beasts, and hurry. Archers, fire at anything that's not ours." He then turns to the man. "And who might you be?"
Elijah grins. "Name's Elijah. And you are...?" The machetes rested easily in his hands, Chompy seemed content to play with the guys with sharp things, and the 'Hemoths were... well, being big brutes who stomped on everything, sending people flying, like t
On the other side of the field, a spearman races up to a Behemoth and attempts to stab it. Unfortunately he was too close to the beasts mouth, and was soon a snack. (Jacen)
A great moan is heard and a WHUMP, as four lancers working in tandem take down one of the beasts. Its rider rolls off, taking up battle with them...
Another one of the behemoths makes a particularly prodigious leap, almost as if something was pulling it into the air by puppet strings. It gives a shriek as its muscles are pulled beyond their limits, and it is dead before it lands, frothing at the mouth and crushing a poor foot soldier.
A hazy distortion makes its way unhindered from the corpse of the animal to the remains of the campfire, undetected by the soldiers. The distortion suddenly ripples, and Yuber kneels on the ground in the center of the piles of dead bodies.
A group of archers aim their shots at a Behemoth rider attempting to disorient the beast into attacking the Empire as well. (Jacen)
Camory shoots another round of fireworks into the air, illuminating Yuber from the back. His face has the deathly shadow of a skeleton with a smile that could curdle blood.
Jacen points to the Rider with his sword,"So, do you -have- a name."
On cue, the witches force into the gates, firing scattershots of icicles and lightning.
Chompy has managed, of all things, to eat a sword. Almost choked on it too. Elijah barked, "BAD CHOMPY! NO TREAT!" It whined and got back to work.
Jacen looks over this Elijah. "I am Jacen, commander of this base. Surrender now, or your army will be defeated."
Just then, Nurse Bathory sticks her head out of the infirmary, shouting "Jacen...? Jacen?! Where are you?"
Yuber's low, unearthly chanting is accompanied by a demonic chorus as an enormous, dark purple, eight-pointed star spins around the ground at his feet, extending to surround the entire battlefield as his ritual begins.
One of the soldiers replies to Bathory's call. He's over there, talking to the rider of that beast. I don't think you should go over there." (Jacen)
Elijah raises an eyebrow, smirking. "I wouldn't be too sure. Besides, it would make me look bad to my employer.
"The battle is getting too close to the infirmary, and the medics are wounded from the ice shards that keep flying past there!" She grunts with frustration and jerks the tent flaps closed again.
Jacen says 'Well, depending on your fight, I might be willing to explain to him with my sword.'
Another Behemoth goes down with a roar, this one crushing several lancers with its huge body.
The witches force past the choke point, spraying ice and lightning everywhere. "Freeze Arrow! Freeze Arrow! Freeze Arrow!"
Yuber continues chanting, and slices himself in the side with one of his kodachi, letting his deep-red blood flow into the ground. The entire magic circle turns utterly black, and a feeling of despair washes over the battlefield.
Elijah shuddered as the star washed over him. "Let's get this over with..." He cracked his neck, advancing a little towards Jacen.
Camory comes trouncing in behind them, and as a swordman rushes her, her bowstring twangs. The smokey arrow pierces his shoulder and travels through cleanly. The man blinks and looks at his arm - the wound is still smoldering and burning LIKE HELL!
"AAAGGGH!" He runs off screaming.
A group of swordsmen race towards the witches, attacking as they get there. Archers are now concentrating fire completely on the Witches, with only Spearmen on the remaining Behemoths. (Jacen)
"Ahhh, sweet music." She then seems to glance at the ground, though she has no visible eyes. "And perfect timing, I might say."
Inside the infirmary, Bathory is getting even more frustrated. These smoking wounds seem to get worse when white magic is used on them. The soldier begs "Please, ARGH, no more, it hurts!"
Jacen slowly closes the distance between Elijah and himself, shield in one hand, sword in the other.
The sun flashes black for a brief moment within the circle as dark magic takes its effect. Yuber finishes his chanting with a loud exclamation in some unknown language, and the feeling of despair intensifies for a moment. Even Yuber himself lurches a little in place.
The foot-based mercs who had let the Behemoths go finally catch up to the action, adding some basic firepower to the match. Johansen, in particular, manages to Jedi Mind Trick a Spearman briefly into attacking one of his own number. (Elijah)
A swordsman sneaks up behind Elijah, poised to stab into his back. A sparkling arrow zips by, exploding into a sticky net of goo that wraps around him and sends him plunging to the ground like a little present. Camory tips her imaginary hat at him.
Elijah lashes out with a machete- high! He nods back at Camory, but his mind is on the fight with Jacen. No need to kill the disabled.
As Camory deals with the swordsman, an archer takes advantage of the situation to send a shot at her. (Jacen)
With a jerk of her head, Camory spins around and catches the arrow in her hand. A nearby witch rolls her eyes as Camory knocks the arrow with her own, and pierces the offending archer with both. "Countercarom, bitch."
The ritual completed, its true effects are suddenly, violently visible. Yuber sinks to his knees as the ritual drains his magical energies.
Jacen throws his shield up to block the attack while sweeping his own blade towards Elijah's feet.
Chompy worries a swordsman, who tramples the one tied down in his haste to run away, the acid burning into his armor and skin. Elijah leaps over the attack easily. "Please."
Suddenly, Every last corpse in the battlefield rises up, takes up arms, and begins moaning piteously.
The witches begin casting rudimentary spells in the right general direction, the archers begin firing upon their former comrades, and many of the surviving soldiers begin fleeing in terror. "Oh my GOD!"
The giant pile of bodies twitches and shambles to life, crawling and stumbling and advancing toward the infirmary building.
Mizo stumbled along the mountain path, and peering down, saw the chaos of the battlefield. "No... no... I'm so.. AH-! close!" She falls to the ground, crouching in pain.
She continues to crawl up the path doggedly, clutching her stomach, but has to stop when she moans with a gut-wrenching pain. "Not yet baby, not yet!"
Elijah looks at shambling corpses, looks at the infirmary, and draws the obvious conclusion. "... Not happening." He looks to Jacen. "Later?"
"What the..." Jacen trails off. He doesn't usually put something like a dual off, but turns to Elijah, "Yeah, whatever." Jacen then pushes of with his shield and runs towards the witches. Might as well take out them first.
The living witches have also retreated, but the zombie-witches stumble and flop at Jacen. They are pathetic fighters in death, but the sheer number of walking bodies is overwhelming.
One of them manages to singe his cheek with a "Flare ... ... arrow ... ..." but it's laughably short of a nasty burn.
"DAMMIT NO!" Elijah couldn't break off now to attack the shambling pile. "Chompy! COME!" The chain chomp leaves a body dissolving as it hops towards Elijah. A plan occurred.
Jacen is unsure if they have much more magical power, but a few sword slashes takes care of the problem. Other Swordsmen follow after him, working on the undead witches.
Elijah throws Chompy at the infirmary walls, pounding on it. "EVERYONE BETTER START RUNNING!"
Camory, in the meantime, is standing next to Yuber with an arrow knocked to her bow, on the opposite side of the crowd of zombies (from Elijah and Jacen). "This is much more effective than I thought. I did expect, however, that turn of events."
She nods towards Elijah running to warn the Infirmary.
Bathory sticks her head out of the door. "And why, pray tell, should I - EVERYONE HAD BETTER START RUNNING!" and she takes the fuck off like a gazelle.
Young medics and nurses begin running out of the infirmary, followed by the injured and then the severely injured. By that time, however, many of the hungry zombies have reached them.
A hungry witch rips into a soldier who has one leg and one arm in a cast, chewing his neck as she grunts in satisfaction. Gross.
Yuber says 'Perhaps he was just trying to flush out more wounded for them to eat? I'd hate to think he's truly breaking his contract this early.'
(Jacen) The militia spearmen, most cringing, start attacking their once comrades. They know they're not alive anymore, but it still hurts. Most of the Archers have now switched to swords and are advancing to the infirmary to help protect the wounded. The archers remaining on the ledge continue to fire on the live witches retreating.
Camory nods, keeping her arrow trained on Elijah. "I agree, quite a shame it would be. Now, what shall we do about that Jacen fellow..."
Jacen still slices the undead witches, but begins to add Mend spells to the mix. His magic isn't the strongest, but Bathory showed him a few tips, and he's had a little time to practice. Should do a bit of damage.
He'd done what he could on this end... Elijah turned, dealing with what few living soldiers hadn't broken, run, or stopped fighting, making his way for Jacen.
And indeed, Jacen manages to disintegrate holes in many zombies. He has cut off the advancing ones from the escaping wounded, but there's so many...
Mizo, from a cliff wall above the fort, pants and gasps inaudibly. "Help... h.. h... help..." She lies there on her back, in labor, covered in sweat and... blood?
Nobody can hear her cries, though, and she continues to huff and bleed from the icicle lodged in her chest.
Jacen continues his attack beginning to work his way back towards the infirmary where it appears things are beginning to take place. Other swordsmen continue to push towards zombie witches.
An archer jogs up to Jacen, opening his mouth to say something. He just slumps forward though, lifeless, with a smoldering arrow in his back. Whump.
Camory says 'Woops, I was aiming lower.'
Elijah points at Jacen with the machete, still clean from all the rain, as the battlefield started to resolve itself. "Unfinished business, you and I."
Jacen sends a mend spell towards the archer, in hopes of it working, when it doesn't he faces Elijah. "Yes, so we do. Stop you attack on our infirmary and let's finish."
Camory, from nearby, looks to Yuber and mutters "Stop our attack. How about no."
Yuber chuckles. "I'm thinking that man has no idea who's in charge here."
Elijah shakes his head. "It's cleared, now, or nearly. Nothing more I can do. So? How about it?"
Jacen sends a few random mend spells off towards the infirmary not caring who they hit, it'll help either way. "Fine." He readies himself in a defensive stance.
The red-haired archer gives a little "Oooh!" as Jacen's mend spell tickles her. "This is really quite interesting. What kind of tactics are these...?"
Elijah fades into the Ginga, making a deliberate strike to Jacen's shield side. He was throwing a feint.
Jacen swings his shield to block the expected attack, but pushes his sword in case of a counter attack.
Elijah smirks, and overpowers Jacen's stance, moving his sword off-line. Next opening....
The blow pushes Jacen back as he staggers for a second. He then swings his sword towards Elijah's right shoulder.
Elijah paused. Chompy was watching his back. Okay. The moment of hesitation almost cost him quite a bit of blood, but he parried, hard.
Jacen's shield comes up to block the parry, and although he gets knocked back, he also manages a shield bash against the swords.
However, Elijah is no longer in front of Jacen. "Sorry, I have to refuse the charges." He had cartwheeled aside, and was launching a kick from handplant!
The kick lands fully on Jacen's back sending him in a dive to the ground. With a thud he replies, "No refunds..."
"Too late for that!" Back on his feet, Elijah sends both machetes plunging towards Jacen's back, the mud dripping off them slowly in the storm.
Jacen barely rolls in time to avoid the blades, however, one does nick his shoulder, a line of red appears under his shirt. He swings his leg around to try to bring Elijah down with him.
Mistake. Instead of trying to resist the takedown, Elijah controls his fall, landing under Jacen's shield, the machetes left behind.
Yuber yawns widely. "This fight needs either popcorn or a Bone Dragon, and I honestly can't decide which one I would rather conjure. I've got enough of my energy back to easily summon either..."
Noticing his disadvantage, Jacen drops his sword, he also slips his left hand out of the shield. He attempts to roll over, apparently trying to grab something on his belt.
Elijah gets ready to deal with a dirty trick at any moment, leveling a sock at Jacen's shoulder. "Quit fumblin' around and fight!"
Jacen winces back in pan, but already has an object in his hand. A hunting knife makes a path for Elijah's back. (Knife is approx 6in blade)
There's the trick! Elijah grabs at the haft of the knife,trying to bring his weight to bear and put it down.
Camory shakes her head. "Bguh. I almost fell asleep. Why are we letting these two fools stumble around?"
Yuber sighs. "Because that imbecile, Bahamut, ordered us not to interfere should this particular fight arise. .....I loathe that overstuffed gecko."
Camory shrugs. "He'll bite it soon enough."
Jacen fights for control of his own knife as he spots an opening. With his free hand, he grabs a Elijah's ear and pulls as hard has he can.
Elijah rolls with it... His free hand becomes a fist... There is an eruption of blue light! the one fist becomes many, slamming into Jacen's chest!
Jacen takes the punch square in the chest. The blow pushes him into the air a foot and he goes flying off of Elijah. A trail of blood comes out of his mouth and nose tracing his path. He lands face down and unmoving, by all appearances, dead.
Elijah gets up, slowly. Damn it, he had just started to heal that ear, too. It was bleeding, fresh. He picked up the machetes and put them away, and called Chompy over. It was going to be a long day...