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 Breaking the Blackmarket (SO vs Tiavain) 
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Pseudo-Voodoo Sidhe
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Post Breaking the Blackmarket (SO vs Tiavain)
The priest made his way slowly out from the temple doors, the worn edge of his deep red robe brushing the sandy ground. He walked with a purpose, not even looking up as he made his way towards his destination, he had no need. The two moons hung in the sky above, silent observers of what was going on in the desert of Culaearien, two great blank eyes watching the priest make the short trip from the temple to the nondescript low building nearby. Nothing set his destination apart, nothing made it stand out from the others near by, it was carved crudely with the teachings of Darden as the others were, made from the same deep red stone as the others were. It was quite unremarkable, just another of the buildings that made up the single permanent settlement of the red desert.

The whole settlement formed a rough cirle is it had been viewed from above, layers upon layers of circles each smaller than the one before like the skins of an onion. Outermost, encircling the entire settlement, were the layers of tents, the number of them varying depending on how much of the central tribe were present at any one time. Though the settlement might be permanent the tribe whose territory it lay within was still, for the most part, nomadic, walking the boundaries of their lands regularly. Though only the other tribes territories bordered their own, the Nibinbrethian were still a people fiercely protective of their lands in the same way that all the tribes of the red desert were protective of their beliefs.

Within the circles of tents were layers of low stone buildings squatting on the landscape, each circle smaller than the one before it. Not one of the buildings appeared to be more or less important than another, all were decorated and made of the same materials. Some were larger, it was true, some were smaller, but there was nothing that betrayed the purpose of the buildings. To have learnt what each was an observer would have had to go inside and even then the lack of decoration or frivilous items made it difficult to tell a family home from a place of business. Storehouses lay side by side with homes, the snake-tender's place of business was outwardly no different to the tribal leader's holdings. Those who lived within the settlement knew where everything was, in their mind's there was no need to advertise the purpose of the building to outsiders. Visitors rarely came to Culaearien as it was, those that made it to the settlement were met by those that expected them, knew where they were going or were stopped and questioned by the warriors of the Nibinbrethian. Or the final option...they were heathen invaders and well there was no need to tell them what each building's purpose was. After all if Darden smiled upon them, the heathens would find their way to the snake-tender's building and soon enough be sent onwards to face the God's judgement.

And then, when all the circles of building were done with, at the very centre of the settlement rose the temple of Darden, the only one within the desert's borders. Oh there were shrines and holy places scattered about the lands, places targetted by heathens to be defaced, but there was only one Temple if the Red Sands. The temple...well few who did not know of it already would have guessed at it being a holy place at all. From a distance it was merely a large formation of rock jutting out from the ground, a natural creation and nothing more. As a traveller drew nearer to it though it became clear that the 'rock formation' was covered in the painted teachings of Darden. And then it would become clear that the structure was hollowed out and that doors had been set into it to create an entrance. Only when a traveller saw these things would they realise that they stood before a temple.

Before the temple was a strange deep, hole in the ground, it might have been dismissed at first glance as little more than a well. The truth of it was another matter, the people of the desert would have gladly died to keep outsiders from that hole.The priest skirted the hole carefully, bowing his head to it as he travelled to his destination.

His target was not far, the simple building situated in the smallest circle, the one closest to the temple itself. He pushed aside a hanging length of cloth that acted as a door, cutting the rooms inside off from the outside world. Light spilled out from inside as the cloth moved, illuminating the priest and the area around him for a moment as he stepped inside and allowed the 'door' to fall closed once more. Wood was a rare commodity within the desert, few buildings had doors made from it, only the temple itself boasted vast grand doors of the finest timber. Advisor?, the priest asked quietly, closing his eyes against the warm soft light inside as he tried to grow accustomed to it.

Father Eskil you are always welcome here, you have no need to hover by the door like a child expecting to be scolded, the Sidhe woman replied. She sat cross-legged upon a coarsely-woven rug, a small glass vial of ink to one side of her. Upon her lap was a piece of parchment half covered with Lyssia's small neat script, itself laying upon a smooth think stone to aid in writing. In her right hand she held a quill, a bead of ink forming at its tip as she looked up at her night-time visitor. The ink bead swelled and grew large, pulled downwards towards the ground by its own small weight, hanging for a long moment like a black teardrop on the very tip of the quill. The inkdrop fell, changing its shape from teardrop to sphere momentarily before it hit the rug and sank into the dry weave leaving only a trace of its colour upon the material.

The priest entered the chamber properly, drawing his plain robes about himself before he sat down in front of the sorceress. Though Lyssia was not normally comfortable about those with great strength of faith that was not true with Eskil, perhaps he was the exception that proved the rule. Eskil was a good man, as fanatical in his faith as any in the desert tribes but a good man all the same. He often sought her out when the sun had set, wishing to speak with her of matters beyond the desert. Perhaps he recognised in her a kindred soul, she walked the world alone and in a way so did he. While the other priests of Culaearien tended to the living it was Eskil who tended to the dead and that set him apart, forced him to be mainly alone. When one of the church died it was Eskil that the body was handed over to, Eskil who dealt with the final preparations of the flesh before its ashes were laid to rest.

You know what tonight heralds?

Of course, she replied, not looking at Eskil but instead letting her gaze fall upon the words on the parchment. Though most others in the desert on a normal night would have long since withdrawn to their beds, falling to the gentle embrace of sleep, the sorceress did not. Even on an ordinary night she would not have slept, she could not give herself over to sleep's domain. Sleep brought the dreams, or rather the memories, and she had not wish to relive them night after night. So the Sidhe woman remained awake, writing through the darkest hours though none could have claimed to really know what she wrote about. The finished scrolls were always kept within a wooden chest that the sorceress had bought from a passing trader, the box sealed with a magical lock.

Eskil frowned slightly as if this reaction was not at all what he had expected from her,All is ready...you are aware of this aren't you? That night was not an ordinary night, beyond the settlement the warriors of the four known tribes of the desert gathered, their curved swords sharpened, their eyes fixed with a determined look. They were ready, their hearts beat just a touch at the thought of what was to come, of the blood that would soon flow. In their minds they prayed to Darden, not for His protection, not for the chance to live through the coming battle. No they prayed to die in His name and to take as many of the heathens with them as they could, they prayed that if they were to die that He would bless them with a good death.

Yes I know.

It was only recently that the forces of the Officium had marched to put down the threat of Isonian ships. The ships loyal to Freeman's Law had been suspected of intercepting trading ships destined for some lands within the Officium's reach. Of course there had still been the matter of exactly where the Isonians had been selling any ill-gotten gains. There were only so many friendly markets that the pirates could have turned to, only so many places where the origins of their 'wares' would not have been questioned. Somewhere friendly to them, somewhere that flew the banner of the same deity...the city of Tiavain. It was all suspiscions and whispered rumour of course, nothing certain, nothing sure. But the suspiscions were there, the trail of pirated goods could very well lead their way.

And you are still sure-

He got no further with whatever he had planned to say, the sorceress's voice cutting him off, I am sure...for the moment at least. The tribal leaders and Silus are quite capable of managing this alone. There are, she paused for the briefest of moments, Other matters that I must attend to. Her eyes flited towards a wrapped bundle in the far corner of the room and then danced back to the parchment. The tribes are quite capable of attacking without intervention from me, Even without the possible fencing of goods, the tribes didn't need much of a reason to attack heathens. The fact that the heathens were living often seemed more than enough reason for them to attack, such was the nature of their faith.

Eskil shook his head, knowing that he would get no more in the way of an explanation from the Sidhe woman. As he made it to the door she spoke one last time, May fate smile upon you Eskil. He looked back towards the sorceress but Lyssia had already turned her full attention back to the parchment, carefully writing once more.

_________________
SO - Into darkness...
Hlasta! Quetis Ilfirimain
Elador's Sváss


Fri Mar 19, 2004 8:10 pm
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Stablehand
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Two cowled figures observed the city from a distance, one with an air of nervousness about it, the other exuding a confidence that didn't just border on arrogance, it leapt into it freely. The first of the two pushed back the hood of her cloak revealling what at least appeared to be a human woman. But there was something about her, something that spoke of something decidedly non-human, something wilder. She looked to be about twenty-three summers old and that life appeared to have been one lived mainly out of doors from her tanned skin. The woman was taller than her companion and apparently stronger too, but she seemed to hold herself subservient to the other, her head continually bowed in the other's direction. Her clothes appeared new, only the dust of her most recent journey holding to them. This is the place?

Yes do you doubt me?

No, mistress, the tanned woman said suddenly, though she had only recently placed herself into the serve of the other she had still quickly learnt never to question the other. There were penalties to questioning her mistress, there were penalties for a lot of things she had found. And those penalties were always painful, trials to be suffered without ever showing that they hurt her, without ever admitting that she sometimes felt that she could not stand them. Her mistress told her that it was for her own good, that only through pain would she discover her true strength, only through suffering would she purify herself from the weaknesses that made her less than she should be. Mistress Esharee said that she was better than the others, or rather that she had the potential to be, all she had to do was follow Esharee's path, do as she was told.

But it was difficult, so very difficult. Sometimes she doubted...sometimes she wondered if she was really meant to follow the same path as Esheree. It had seemed completely right back at the hamlet when she had confronted the assassin, it had seemed exactly what she was meant to do with her life. But now? Now it seemed wrong, as if a part of her was trying to continually tell her that things were not meant to be the way that they were.

Tatyana's hand strayed to the longed bladed knife at her waist, her fingers slipping easily into the worn grooves of the hilt. The knife felt right, it was a part of her. She had no idea when the knife had been made, no idea when it had come into her possession, it was one of the few things that she had found when she had woken up a couple of ages before, fully grown but lacking a past. Back then wounds had covered the length of her flesh, enough injuries that she had truly believed that she would die unknown and lost upon a heat-scorched plain. But she hadn't died, she had lived, her wounds had healed with an unnatural speed and she had set herself on the path to finding out who and what she was.

She had met the assassin soon after she had woken back then and they had clashed, Esharee taunting Tatyana with the knowledge of her forgotten past. For many long months she had chased the assassin, seeking her out, trying to stop Esharee from killing, trying to find out what she knew. Eventually the chase had led them to an out of the way hamlet, a time that had changed Tatyana's life beyond all recognition. She had meant to kill Esharee for what the assassin had done, backed up by a motely crew of travellers who she had come across. But at the last moment she had found herself facing the assassin alone and rather than killing Esharee she had..she had begged the assassin to taech her, to show her everything that she knew. And though she was not truly aware of it she had fallen from the light into all-consuming darkness.

I thought, she began.

You don't think, the other figure, the assassin, spat, You do as I tell you, you obey, you do not question. This is the place and while I am well aware that I do not usually trouble myself with the wars of the guilds our employer will pay well for this. Not to mention it will give you a good chance to practise all I have taught you so far. The assassin brushed back her own hood revealling a face that was exotically beautiful though marred by the arrogance that she carried herself with. The skin about her eyes was coloured with tattooes, tiny black clustered dots that seemed to lengthen her eyes and appear a little feline. She shook her dark hair free of the hood, running her fingers through it to rid it of the handful of knots that had formed within it.

Her hands...the backs of her hands were painted with the same black tattooes as her face, though there they created a flowing, curling pattern that stretched down the back of her fingers and had their origin somewhere further up her arms. Most would have seen the tattooes and thought nothing more, thought that that was the last of the strangeness. They wouldn't have noticed the tips of her fingers, they would have not paid any attention to her nails. Or rather to her claws. Her fingers were tipped with short black claws where there should have been nails and Tatyana knew that no matter how harmless those claws might look the assassin knew well enough how to use them to her advantage.

Esharee Galenfirith, the blood-dancer, the kin-slayer. There were whispered tales of Tatyana's mistress, stories told in the light as people huddled around the warmth of fireplaces. Ordinary people didn't tell the tales of Esharee in the darkness, you never knew what the darkness could hold. In fact, despite their nervousness at the mention of her name, few truly believed that Esharee existed or rather they had no wish to think that she did. Some tried to explain her away as merely a mass of other female assassins whose reputations had been merged over the years. If she was real...if she was real most did not wish to think of the consequences.

But there were others, those that walked the same depraved circles as she did who knew the truth of Esharee, who knew that she was real. More than that, those people knew that no matter how terrible the tales that common folk spoke of, the truth was far, far worse. Those who really knew of the assassin knew why she killed, knew why she took such great delight in inflicting pain upon others. And those who knew of her rarely admitted to it.

_________________
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


Fri Mar 19, 2004 8:12 pm
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The clouds gathered overhead, dark and menacing. The nomad horsemen gathered below, as dark and menacing as the storm clouds overhead.

Tamlaine, Khan of the Steppes nomads, looked up at the storm brewing. It was a good omen. The warriors gathered around him were his own gathering storm.

Tiavain. City of mages. City of magic. City of cold, dead stone, a city of people who would voluntarily wall themselves away, cut themselves off from the world in a way that the Khan could never understand. The Steppes nomads roamed the grass plains of their home, never remaining in one place for long, just following their herds. The Isonians not only remained in one place, they built walls of cold stone to wall out the desert.

The Isonians. Tiavain. A people who's fate seemed so closely entwined with that of the nomads. Tamlaine's people had always maintained a cordial relationship with their neighbours, respecting the Officium for the purity of its faith, the clarity of its vision, the ferocity of its warriors. The nomads had hired themselves out as mercenary auxiliaries in the Officium's armies with enthusiasm.

And then the Isonians had come. They had brought fire and cold steel to the steppe, slaughtering a people who had never raised sword or bow against them, for no other reason than that the Steppe lay between them and their target. Had they, in their arrogance, believed that the horsemen of the steppe would meekly bow their knee and allow the heathens to pass unmolested? Had they assumed that the nomads would surrender in the face of such militant force?

If so, they had been wrong. Tamlaine had gathered every warrior still fit to take saddle that day, had called the tribes to him and had ridden to the Onyx temple. There he had bent his knee, not in surrender before the heathen, but in submission to the will of the Torturer. On that fateful day the riders of the Steppe had raised their blades and pledged tbeir lives in the service of W'Ikandor the Torturer.

And now the storm gathered once more on the verdant steppe. The summons had come from the Onyx Temple itself, from the Torturer, W'Ikandor. For two days, the nomads had laboured to carry out the demon's instructions.

Once more, the gathering storm would be unleashed on the heathens of Tiavain, descending from the steppe to bring fire and steel, a cold death wind blowing in the wake of their passage.


Fri Mar 19, 2004 8:14 pm
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The night had been an overwhelming success once again. The Officium had vindicated the theft of their supplies by the pirates only a week ago though it hadn’t resulted in the return of any of their wares. It had all simply disappeared, or so it seemed. It was obvious that the pirates had been able to deliver the goods before the Officium armies had smashed their boats, but the message had been sent.

The most logical place for the pirates to have delivered their stolen merchandise was the city of Tiavain. It was the only place in all the lands of Maxim that was unreachable to all. For some reason the city was impervious to the turmoil of battle that the rest of the Isle was subjected to. Must be nice. They also had a large marketplace. While there was no real proof that Tiavain had played any role in this affair, the Officium had put two and two together and decided that even if they couldn’t come up with four they were still heathens and still need culling.

Elamshin had been paying nightly visits to the heathen camps of Tiavain for the last couple of days before the war. Burning and looting where the threat to the Officium seemed the greatest in her estimation. There had been no official order for these burnings but Elamshin wasn’t one to wait around for orders that seemed inevitable anyway and since she hadn’t been caught, not once, there had been no harm. The wise leaders of Tiavain hadn’t even seen fit to increase their defense as a result of the burnings and lootings. Maybe they were all closet masochists and enjoyed the attention of the Officium.

Elamshin had certainly enjoyed the previous nights events. She had burned, she had looted, she had sent great magics upon their camps and then she had marched with her armies. Two of Tiavain’s camps had fallen under her attentions and she had suffered no repercussions as of yet though she waited anxiously for something.

_________________
I'm not a violent person just angry.
Do you feel lucky today?

[shadow=#B8860B]Sanctum Officium's Official Peon[/shadow]
[shadow=#993300]Acolyte of Pain[/shadow]


Sat Mar 20, 2004 9:40 am
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Dust scattered across the empty flooring as the vampire flicked the ground with clawed fingertips. The night was young, but there was nothing to do. Empty streets filled with empty houses with empty rooms greeted the creature as it stalked after the Officium armies. At least along this particular route, there didn't seem to be much left alive. At all.

She hopped onto a table, the soft thud of her landing echoing through what had been a reasonably grand dineing hall. Growling incohate syllables, she vented her frusteration on the flatware. Utensils scattered across the floor noisily. It wasn't much, but at least it was a sound. The debris glowed faintly in the moonlight that streamed through the broken ceiling.

Then there was another sound, and Lachaion knew that she was not alone in the house. She sniffed again, crouching low. Nostrils flared subtly, searchingly. Somewhere around here, something else was alive. Now that she knew it was here somewhere, it's status had been downgraded to food.

Prowling, she hopped down from the table and began to stalk. Out of the dineing room, into the kitchen she crawled. They had slipped once, so silent as they had been. They would slip again, and she would find them.

Leaning in to one of the cupboards, she growled and hissed. There was no response, so she kicked it in with a thunderous crash. Chittering, she moved on. Now there was a reply. Down the line she slinked, wrecking each little door in turn. Closer, and closer she crept, to the source of the faint whimpering that marked the last inhabitant of the Isonian household.

The child bolted from around the corner, fleeing straight past Lachaion's field of vision. The prey was flushed out, and without a moments hesitation chase was given. The girl could run, but nowhere near as fast as a hungering night-creature. It was hardly the work of a few moments before Lachaion had the brat cornered.

She screamed, and then there was a wet sound.
[center]~~~~~
Another child who vanished out of sight...
And her heart is broken, another prayer in vain...
There's a million tears that fill a sea of pain...

~Aerosmith, Fallen Angels[/center]


Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:56 pm
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OOC: This battle takes place on one of the main trade routes for the city of Tiavain, here is a picture of one on our site > http://www.tiavain.dotfr.us/outlying.htm

IC:

Arrnek was standing atop the barricks, looking out beyond teh walls of the outpost. The runners had already returned from the front edges of his protection. The plums of desert sand could be seen rising as thousands of soldiers marched forward.

He had been put in command of running the brand new outpost on the furthest reaches of Tiavain's lands. The post was very deep in the desert, one of the most notorious places for bandits to ambush caravans. He had ten thousand men at his disposal for the first few weeks. And this attack had come in the very week of their arrival. The tents cluttered the surrounding area, but maintained a distance of a hundred links from the walls of the post.

Every soldier was ready, the elite archers stood atop the buildings and walls to fire off deadly rounds while the lesser bowmen lined up in the court to rain arrows upon the enemy. A few pikemen lined the walls to repel any ladders, but the size of the force coming, it would be hard to keep up.

The remainder of his men, numbering about seven thousand, were divided between the walls, the court, where only a few stay'd, and the exteriors. Everyone was begining to grow nervous as the black dots grew larger.

Sire, we have been informed that two houses march against us. They number far more than we do. Also, we have recieved no word from the city. We can only assume that they are under siege and will offer no support.

Looking over his shoulder to the runner, he waved him off so he could get a drink of water and rest his legs. Generals, we must hold these walls tonight. We can not let the heathen armies past us. We are all that lays between the deep and the city. This fight must end here. Ready the archers and light them up for fire. Get the catapults firing anything we have. Let's give them hell!

Drawing his sword, he ran out the gates along with a few hundred others and straight to the field.

The battle raged for hours, the heathen boot being ground to a halt in time. Thousands lined the sands and turned the driest of lands into a muddied plain. The catapults had long since run out of objects to launch but the archers were still firing the occasional flaming arrow that could burn the very sole of the unfortanute person to recieve the blow. Close to the western wall of the outpost the fighting was especially fierce; the impact side of the two heathen armies.

Several more hours passed, and the ring of battle had recided to occasional screams of death. Isonia was with her warriors today, for they held the outpost. The two heathen armies had been destroyed. Well over half of the fighters from Tiavain remained. Their cheers were silent as they troged through the killing fields. The heathen armies could be seen still in the distance running. No one really knew where they were running to, but they seemed content to just run in the opposite direction of certain death.

Arrnek stood once more atop the barricks and looked at the death swallowing the lands around his post. Grining, he knew the day was his, and so would be the land of the heathens that had sent these forces. Commander, send three divisions to the main city. Our runner has returned and they are in siege. They are yours to command. I am taking two divisions and we are runing down the enemy before they even see the color of grass again.

_________________
[center]I once fought for a city I loved.
But it has been taken from me.
The Istari have done what all mages do in trouble,
run.......
[/center]


Sat Mar 20, 2004 4:08 pm
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The city of Tiavain. He had been here before, a long time ago. Long before his joining of the Sanctum, years...lifetimes...before he had come to his present situation. He hadn't been here as a member of the guild, nor truly as a heathen, but he had stayed for a time nonetheless. They weren't happy memories. He had never liked the crowded city, nor had he been particularly fond of the people residing within it. He had no regrets waging war on these lands.

He himself had taken charge of his priests this time. Melcahir was still absent, not yet returned from the recent offensives against the pirates. Telseryn had been happy for him to go in his place, taking full command of his forces in that conflict. The sea had never agreed with him; he had no wish to repeat his bad experiences of it from the past. Melcahir had done an admirable job of playing a part in the ruination of the pirates' fleet, and would hopefully have made formal contact with the demon, Maledict, while he was there.

Here though, the initial battle was already over. And with luck, a fair portion of the war was done, too. He was surprised at how soft the defenses had been. Surely the leaders of Tiavain had known of the threat. Surely they had to have suspected that the Sanctum wouldn't sit idle, especially with the repeated incursions of the heathen scouts.
But obviously not. Perhaps this time, they would learn.

Perhaps they would learn, as the pirates of LAW surely learned. The pirates had looted the Officium's goods, that was certain. And they had paid for it. But, judging from the reports filtering back from that particular battle, there had been no sign of those stolen wares on their vessels. And the only place they could have gotten rid of them in such a short space of time? In the only large market in this part of the world, of course. In the city of Tiavain. And now the lands controlled by the houses of Tiavain were...reduced, considerably. A harsh lesson indeed.
There was no direct evidence linking the stolen wares to the members of Tiavain, of course, only circumstantial. But no matter. There was a good chance they had the right people...and if not...well, they were heathens. When it came down to it, what excuse was needed?

Telseryn gave the orders for his priests to set up camp, waiting and watching closely for any attempted retaliation.

_________________
[glow=red]Sanctum Officium[/glow]
1am GMT Saturday 27th March 2004
[shadow=red]Always Remembered[/shadow]


Sat Mar 20, 2004 8:00 pm
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He paced uncontrollably; his short legs whirred in a circular motion and propelled him around the small area set aside for his desk. The last few hours had been frantic and somewhat confusing for the elf and now it was time for a little reflection.

You report we lost approximately two hundred Wampyr on the journey over to the City? How exactly was this possible?

The Sentry looked as terrified as anyone could when confronted by an irate miniature warlord, and pondered a few seconds before stuttering a mumbled reply.

These Wampyr Sir, they are well….. Troublesome beasts. It seems they might have got all little bored and took it upon themselves to find their own……. adventure.

By now the Elf was so angry he could hardly speak and flung a short right arm jab at an innocent ale tankard situated on his desk. The offending object sailed over the line of bemused sentries and came to shuddering halt by crashing into the fireplace over the far side of the room.

So the promise of a fierce battle against one of Isonia’s finest was not exciting enough! These were after all the dastardly bunch that had turned the Warguard of Rage against the Officium and a vicious vegetable fight had ensued.

He paused momentarily to regain composure, for it been some while since he had been so enraged

Dismiss them. The entire brigade, they have no place here. I bet Sorentio or Joshua suffer such fools so lightly.

Immediately Sir. And one more thing, the Raksasa patrolling the Northern Perimeter were forced to surrender approximately three thousand acres. However no one else associated with the Officium has reported any further hostilities thus far.

The stricken sentry hopped back, half in anticipation of further objects being propelled in his direction.

It seems the Mist has become the focus of much retaliation lately. Step up all patrols and keep me informed of any occurrences, we may be in for a long night.

With a dismissive flick of his wrist the sentries were gone and the Elf was left alone once more. He slammed the door shut to alleviate any further aggression that may be lurking deep inside. Moving his chair back to allow room for his muddied boots on his desk he tried his hardest to relax. All this stress was simply no good for his health.

_________________
Leader of the Giant's Armies

Elf sized entertainment for all

Following SO, somewhere, and somehow, whenever and wherever


Sat Mar 20, 2004 8:46 pm
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Elamshin scratched her head in confusion. This report made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Tiavain was claiming that one of their outposts had not only successfully defended against an attack but that they had sent the Officium armies to a retreat. Elamshin was sure that this had not occurred, she had spoken either personally or through scribes with each of the leaders of the Officium and none had even come close to having a challenge during the initial strike. Even Elamshin’s pathetic little army had managed to easily overrun one of the Tiavain’s poorly defended camps. Hell, the Officiums initial strike had been so meticulous that the leaders of Tiavain had sent word begging for peace before the first strike was over. They didn’t even want to attempt to put up a fight. It was all too simple, but typical for these particular followers of the Bitch. The Officium had suffered losses to one kingdom but that had been an attack by Tiavain. At least one of the fools saw fit to put up some semblance of a fight.

There is no truth to this report Captain. It’s just more of Tiavain’s ridiculous propaganda. Pass it along to the other of the Officium though; I’m sure they will all get a good laugh out of it too. Elamshin grins as she hands the report back to the large woman.

You know I just had a thought. Wait one minute I need to send a message to the Red Dessert with that report. The Captain, who had been in the process of leaving the room, stopped and turned around waiting as commanded. Elamshin quickly scribbles out a note to the Sidhe witch.

Quote:
Lyssia,

I received this report today and it baffled me completely, until I had a thought. Are you casting glamours on the Mages of Tiavain? Making them see things that aren’t really there and draining yet more magic from the Isle?

Elamshin


Deliver this to the Sidhe witch in the Red Dessert along with the report.

_________________
I'm not a violent person just angry.
Do you feel lucky today?

[shadow=#B8860B]Sanctum Officium's Official Peon[/shadow]
[shadow=#993300]Acolyte of Pain[/shadow]


Sun Mar 21, 2004 11:14 am
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What was that?

All had been silent in the chapel, nothing had disturbed the silence except now and then when he had found the need to shift position in order to ease the aches of his body. For hours he had remained in the temple, mediating on his own thoughts, listening to the passage of time and the settling of the dust. It had been calm, peaceful, a time to be enjoyed and savoured, a time to be thankful for. He had hoped that the rest of the evening would pass in the same manner, that none would need his advice or aid at least until Intop next peeked over the horizon. Of course it was rarely the case that such peace lasted, there was always someone or something that needed his attention. Sometimes a member of the faithful needed an ear to listen to their woes, at other times it was nothing more than chores to keep the chapel clean and tidy. But there always seemed to be something, something to break the peace and beg his attention.

The sound had been faint, so soft that if he had been walking around or talking to another he would most likely have never heard it. A faint cry from outside as if there was a soul in pain, in pain but too nervous or afraid to try too hard to attract attention to itself. If it was one of his flock he had to wonder what had happened that they did not enter the chapel itself to seek its protection. But there again perhaps it wasn't one of the people that he usually ministered to, perhaps it was someone else. A visitor to the city perhaps, one that had found themselves lost and confused, seeking out the chapel in their faith?

He pulled himself to his feet, walking quickly to the door even as the sound came again. The door opened easily, swinging inwards without a sound, revealling the splendor of the city at night to his eyes. But no sign of another person strangely enough. He frowned, wondering if the soft cries had been nothing more than some of the local children playing pranks. Children would try and find their humour where ever they could, he knew that well enough, he just wished that it had not come at the expense of his peace and quiet. Still never mind, better that it was just children and not-

The cry came once more, from close to the ground, causing him to look down puzzled. There upon the ground lay a small grey cat, it limbs bent beneath it and a small cut upon its side that slowly oozed blood. It mewled pitifully, looking up at him with a mixed look of fear, pain and resentment at those larger than it. Well, well what have we here then? Have you been in a fight kitten? Or has someone been hurting you eh?, He bent down and carefully picked up the cat, laughing at its weakened attempts to claw him. No doubt the poor creature had been attacked by someone, maybe some cruel soul had thought it funny to throw rocks at the tiny thing. Let's see if we can't clean you up and make you all better.

As he pushed the door closed behind him and entered the chapel itself the cat seemed to grow calmer, almost snuggling down into the crook of his arm. He smiled, he had always liked animals, had always wished for a pet of his own, something to look after and care for beyond his duties in the chapel. Maybe the cat would decide to stay around by the temple, Isonia knew that they would be able to care for it and ensure that no one else ever tried to hurt it. The thought that someone already had made his blood boil, how dare anyone think to bring harm to an innocent little cat? He couldn't even begin to imagine how someone could consider it 'good sport' to try and hurt such a pretty little thing. Let's put you here shall we?, he said gently laying the small creature down upon the altar, it wouldn't cause any harm to let it lay there for a bit. He turned his back on the creature, heading towards a little door that led through to the living quarters, Shall have to see if I can't find a saucer of milk for you.

Oh I wouldn't bother if I were you, came a voice from behind him accompanied by the soft sound of two feet hitting the stone floor. He turned quickly, his eyes falling upon a strange woman standing in front of the altar, one who had most certainly not been there a moment before. Of the gray cat there was no sign. The woman took a quick step towards him, raising her hands before his disbelieving eyes as his mind tried to grasp exactly who - or perhaps a better question would have been what - was standing before him. He had just enough time to realise that the woman's hands ended not with nails but with small black claws not more than half an inch in length before she lashed out towards him. The claws ripped across his throat, opening up blood vessels and slashing across his windpipe before he had the chance to cry out. Grasping at his own ruined throat he felt his knees crumble beneath him, the world seeming to grow dark at the edges of his rapidly blurring vision.

As the world started to fade for him he looked up into the woman's eyes, belatedly noticing the tattooes around her eyes. And those eyes...jade green and flecked with gold...a man could lose himself in those eyes...if he had time...if he could survive...

For the priest...the world ceased to exist...

[center]-------------------[/center]

Esharee watched the body of the dead priest for a moment, licking his blood from her claws as she did so. Very satisifying, she purred to herself, Though over far too quickly for my liking. The tattooed assassin smiled to herself, taking the time to admire her own handiwork, replaying the events of the last few minutes in her head. It had been easy to gain entrance to the chapel without arousing suspiscion, the priest had been far too trusting, far too willing to see the 'helpless, innocent' little cat and nothing more. The shapeshifter smiled wickedly, the expression revealling how her upper and lower canines were lengthened beyond what normally might be expected. To her mind there was no true innocence left in the bloos-soaked world of the isle, there was just the opportunity for further corruption.

And death of course, but there again there was always death, especially if she had any hand in it. Esharee didn't kill for money or some higher purpose like other did, she killed for her own twisted reasons, for the bargain that she had made while still young, for the sheer delight in having the power over another's life. Once Esharee had agreed to a contract she could not be bought off, she could not be reasoned with, she would simply kill.

Except in Tatyana's case of course, but Tatyana was a special case. At first the wildwoman had been little more than a pet project of the assassin, something that she could choose to end at any moment. But then things had changed, then Esharee had realised that there was the chance for something far better than merely killing the other woman. She could corrupt her, she could take the goodness and the light of Tatyana's soul and blot it out, lead her into the darkness that Esharee herself revelled in. It would be some time before she could fully sully the soul of the other, but it would happen, eventually. After all who would interfer? Who could? Those handful that knew Tatyana had failed the wildwoman, they would find it difficult enough to gain her trust again let alone undo Esharee's work.

The sound of a door opening caused Esharee to break off her thoughts of her new apprentice, turning her attention instead towards the door that the now-dead priest had been heading towards. A young man stepped out, apparently unaware of what had gone on only moments before. He'd taken three steps before he caught sight of the older man's body surrounded by a pool of his own blood. The young man grew pale, looking up at Esharee desperately as if he expected her to give him an answer for what he was seeing. The shapeshifter simply smiled and beckoned him closer, reaching behind her for something on the altar to use as a weapon.

Still not understanding what had happened the young priest walked over to the assassin, What's-

Shhhh, Esharee whispered, pressing her index finger against his lips to silence him. Her other hand swung round holding a heavy altar plate that had obviously been used to accept the monetary donations of the poor. Coins scattered all around her, falling to the ground and rolling away, one or two coming to rest in the pooled blood. The plate connected with the priest's throat, crushing his windpipe, the force of the unexpected attack throwing him backwards. He clawed at his throat in a similar way to how the other had when Esharee had attacked him, unable to breath, his eyes wide with terror.

Esharee turned away from the scene, lifting up the plate to observe her own reflection in it, brushing back an errant strand of hair. A gurgling disturbed her and she turned back, her eyes falling upon the helpless young priest. Will you just be quiet?, she spat, stepping deliberately onto his throat. Pressing down with her full weight she lifted up the collection plate once more to regard her reflection.

_________________
It's all in the eyes, Those probing, prowling eyes
Searching for that signal, That flash of invitation
So many confusing questions, Packed into so many snatched glances
So many strangled cravings, Crying out to be explored


Sun Mar 21, 2004 12:02 pm
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Do you think they want a fight, then? Considering the number of times we've beaten them in the past, you'd think they'd be going out of their way not to provoke us

Masanomi's voice is harsh, a thick layer of sarcasm overlying the seemingly ever-present battlehunger. Kiyomori shrugs.

At the end of the day, does it really matter? They may well be responsible for fencing the stolen goods, in which case they are guilty and must be punished. Even if they are not, the number of times their thieves have been seen in our lands recently, they must be up to something, and even if they were not, they are still heathens and deserve to die.

The warhost marches on the city of Tiavain. Again.

That's new

The building looked as though it was made from mud bricks. It rose up out of the sand, massive and fortified, bristling with arrow-slits, a good three stories high. The scouts regarded it with interest. The fluttering purple flag left no doubt as to the owners.

Pretty sure it wasn't there the last time we invaded. We'd have demolished it, surely

What a terribly good idea, Masanomi. Why don't you run back and inform the fólkhagi that we have encountered an outpost.

[center]-={*]=- -={*}=- -={*}=-[/center]

It is not long before the warhost is formed up. Kiyomori watches with interest as the rekkr-prestr prepare their ritual magic. The scouts are ready to begin their charge on the fortress. The herklaedi are ready to begin their own, slower advance, weighed down as they are by the steel of their armour.

Nariaki raises his hands above his head and begins chanting in a deep voice, the words of the High Tongue seeming to hang on the air. The other war-priests join in, their voices merging with Nariaki's. Kiyomori can feel the fur on the back of his neck beginning to prickle as the priests call forth the power of their faith.

Nariaki brings his hands down in a wide, hierarchical gesture, black robes fluttering as he does so.

Go!

The scouts begin their charge, racing across the sand towards the outpost.

A few arrows are fired from within the fort, a half-hearted volley. Kiyomori twists to one side, dodging the only arrow to come his way. A choked gasp and a thud from the sept-leader's left signals another scout's lack of luck.

The outpost looms large in front of the charging scouts. Shouted orders from within suggest that whoever is garrisoning the fort has noticed the oncoming warriors.

Come on, Nariaki, we're running out of time here ...

Suddenly, the wall around the high, wooden doors dissolves into a cloud of billowing dust. The doors themselves stand motionless for a moment before toppling inwards, raising more dust as they fall.

Five seconds later, the scouts reach the newly-created gaping hole in the outpost's defenses. Kiyomori's sept charge through, spears low and held tight. Kiyo races over the wooden door, and vaults the prone figure on the floor, flattened by the falling door. The defenders are milling in surprise, clearly taken aback by the sudden collapse of the wall, and then the scouts are among them.

Kiyomori flips his spear, holding it lengthways across his body, then brings it out in a flashing backhand arc that tears the throat out of an Isonian warrior. The man standing next to him lunges at Kiyomori wildly, an inarticulate cry on his lips. The sept-leader spins his spear again, parrying the blow with the tempered metal of the haft, then using the sword-blade as a pivot, spinning the butt-end of the spear round in a tight arc, slamming into the shoulder of the second warrior. The man staggers backwards, dropping his sword as the impact jars his arm, then collapses as Masanomi lunges past his sept-leader to bury his own razor-honed spearhead into the man's guts.

Kiyomori parries another sword-blow, feinting towards the man's face with the spear butt before lunging forward to stab the man in the stomach. Yanking the spear back as the man falls, Kiyo glances around. The scouts are outnumbered, but the shock of their attack is telling, Isonian corpses already sprawled on the floor ...

And then the herklaedi arrive, charging past the scouts, shields raised, long-axes swinging. Their powerful blows knock heathen warriors flying, smash them into the ground, sever limbs in a shower of crimson gore. The scouts pull back, regrouping, as the herklaedi tear into the enemy, not even bothering to form a shield-wall. Why bother? The heathens are outnumbered and disorganised.

Kiyomori's sept reforms. The central courtyard can now be considered under control, the herklaedi systematically driving the surviving warriors back, away from the doors.

Kiyomori leads his scouts through a doorway, into the bowels of the outpost.

It is cooler in here, the thick walls sheltering the interior from the blazing heat of the sun. As they enter, the sound of combat in the courtyard dies away slightly. The scouts press forward into the next room.

There is a sudden clinking sound from the rear. Kiyomori spins round, confident that Masanomi will continue watching ahead, ensuring the scouts are not all looking the same way .... an Isonian swordsman stands framed in the doorway, his scabbard, loose at his side, obviously the cause of the clinking noise. Two of the sept's scouts are already lunging towards him, spears low. The fight is short.

[center]-={*]=- -={*}=- -={*}=-[/center]

The warhost regroups ouside the outpost, now garrisoned only by the silent dead. Kiyomori is vaguely unhappy about leaving the structure essentially intact, but there is little the Anub-Re can do to destroy it. They have no siege weapons to smash the walls to rubble, and the rekkr-prestr can only perform so much magic.

Still, the threat has been neutralised, for now.

The warhost continues its march towards the city of Tiavain.

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0100 GMT Saturday 27th March 2004
Forever remembered


Sun Mar 21, 2004 12:50 pm
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OOC: This post is entirely accurate according to how the war went in game. I am not god moding this one buddies -- ALSO, hope this apeases you more so Nufan

IC:

Sire, we have just recieved word that one of our outposts has been destroyed. The runner was a returning scout that seen the forces easily take the post.

Staring at the runner, he nodded and sent him for water. Commander, ready every person you can, we march in an hour. And send Nufan a letter, tell him we're coming. Chuckling slightly, he walked from the cooking fire and threw the bone he was chewing on to the ground.

Within the hour they were riding. The ride was not very long being that Arrnek's outpost command was half a day ride form the borders of the desert home of the Sanctum. His scouts had returned from the lands that were Nufan's. His kingdom was honestly a shame. They would easily ride to victory.

The battle started past the sentinel posts and deep in the lands that Nufan had claimed. The fight started near his fortified home. The battle was fierce, but he could not stop Arrnek and his forces. They were simply a better army. They had laid claim to nearly 3,000 acres of this heathens land.

Commander, we have found the keep. I want you to nail a note to his door, then we will leave this castle in one piece. I want you to inform him that his attacks on our land and my outpost have been redeemed. His land is now that of Tiavain's. Also, send a letter to the leader of the Sanctum. Tell them this -- By destroying one of these outposts, they have opend the deserts to thieves and murders of the sand. Now merchants, yours and ours alike are free to be destroyed. Family homes located in the desert have been left undefended. Your merciless and ignorant attacks on these structures shows that you are only out for blood on a killing spree. You have amazed me once more with your 'tactics'. -- And sign that note Lord Arrnek. Now run will you.

_________________
[center]I once fought for a city I loved.
But it has been taken from me.
The Istari have done what all mages do in trouble,
run.......
[/center]


Sun Mar 21, 2004 3:46 pm
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(OOC: Oh Please, yes entirely accurate my friend but if you wish to describe me or my character as “scum” in the future I’d rather hear it over PM/ICQ. Thankyou. /OOC)


The door flew upon with huge bang and the paled face scribe skidded to a halt complete with nearly inked scribe. He paused to regain his breath before addressing the somewhat sluggish Elf.

We have a scribe for the Giant from a “Lord Arrnek”. We thought you would be the most beneficial recipient.

Gunthor took the scribe in his right hand and moved over to the light of the window where he could see more clearly, the shafts of moonlight lit up the letter.

This Arrnek seems to be informing us of an impending attack from his armies, what is the latest report? Have the sentries’ reported any hostilities on any perimeter?

No Sir, in fact the scouts on the North and Western perimeters are so bored they have been engaging in a particular rigorous game of stone hurling such is their boredom.

Then what on earth is the Arrnek bleating on about? I have no time to waste upon such heretics.

He paused to further consider the meaning of the scribe.

Perhaps he is referring to the initial attacks where the eastern border came under siege and was forced to surrender three thousand acres? This is the only hostile activity reported amongst the entire lands of the Sanctum, besides a few hung heads belonging to a few slack Isonian thieves.

That could only be the feasible explanation Sir, like I have stated the Wampyr have so little to do they have started looking for their own forms of entertainment.

The Elf scurried some more, rubbed his temple and contemplated what exactly to do. After a few moments of silence he smirked and addressed the still pale-faced scribe.

We shall not dignify such a speculation with a reply; Lord Arrnek is clearly seeking to boast about his accomplishment of capturing such a huge haul as three thousand acres. Let him have his moment of perpetual glory for if he carries on in such a manor someone will surely take one his glorious letters and ram it down the back of his throat, then and then only maybe I will be on hand to reply with a letter of my own.

Very well Sir, I believe that was all, I shall be on my way.

The Scribe left as quickly as he arrived as the Elf was left to his own devices, chuckling merrily to himself he pondered where he could obtain a much-needed ale at such an hour.

_________________
Leader of the Giant's Armies

Elf sized entertainment for all

Following SO, somewhere, and somehow, whenever and wherever


Sun Mar 21, 2004 5:36 pm
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He watched the plumes of smoke rise from the horizon. The armies marched towards the city, formed in a solid, wide line that stretched for miles. They pushed their way passed trees and moved over roaring rivers. The warriors marched for the battle; they marched because they wanted the blood of the unfortunate beings that would cross their path. It was mere minutes before the sun finally hides itself from view, but the army continued to press forward towards their objective.

Valor felt how coarse his throat felt and took a canteen off of his belt. He carefully titled his head back to let the cool fluid enter his mouth. The water didn’t do anything to aid the sensitive skin inside his mouth, but it instilled in him energy to push on. Surely his soldiers felt the same way, tired and hungry, ready to strike out at the first sign of hostility. On the outside, he was complacent and refreshed, not allowing his inner fatigue to let loose upon the troops. They looked to him for encouragement, and when he wasn’t tried, they didn’t allow themselves to be.

A smile played across his face as a runner came up from the main ranks. Most likely he was here to inform Valor that they had their destination in sight.

Lord Valor! We have reached our destination! But, the messenger trailed off.

Out with it, young one!!

We have received word from the Officium Hierarchy that the city of Tiavain has fully surrendered.

What you mean? The incompetent fools laid down their weapons minutes after the we arrived?

It seems that way, mi’lord. We only follow the main Officium task force by a few standard hours. Possibly the quickest surrender I’ve ever seen.

Enough. The City of Tiavain has proved their worthiness in the past. Surely this was just a mishap.

Chuckles arose from around the Warlord as the soldier caught hint of the sarcasm.

We will set up camp here, send scout across the Isle, I want to be sure these fool don’t have a pathetic trick up their sleeve that I would have to deal with.

_________________
[center][shadow=orange]Sanctum Officium[/shadow]
[shadow=darkred]1am GMT; 27/3/04[/shadow][/center]


Sun Mar 21, 2004 7:10 pm
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[OOC: Chronologically, this is before Valor's arrival]

The nomad horsemen approached the city of Tiavain, their horses moving more slowly than normal. Al-Chinua, right hand of the Khan, rode at the front of the column, at the Khan's right. Normally, such an enforced slowness would have chafed - the Steppes nomads rode fast and free - but the reason for the enforced slothful pace was a good one.

The orders from the Torturer had been straightforward, a brutal simplicity. Tamlaine's warriors were commanded to muster themselves and ride upon the city of Tiavain, where they would attack the heathens, destroying the walls that defended the city. There had been some reference to stolen goods, but Al-Chinua had not really paid much attention to the justifications. War was war, the Sanctum were marching on the heathens of Tiavain, and that was that.

Well, almost. The order had been to destroy the walls, something that had been cause for a certain amount of planning and preparation. The nomads did not normally handle such affairs, their warriors being light, fast cavalry, but ... the Apostle had spoken.

And the nomads had obeyed. The past two days had been spent preparing. The fruits of that preparation trundled along behind the riders, drawn by teams of horses, accompanied by supply wagons.

The nomads rode on.

Eventually, the column of horsemen reached the city.

Calmly, efficiently, the crews dismounted and began setting up the catapults. Wheels were secured with wedges, and the arms winched back. The first catapult was readied, and four struggling riders hoisted the first stone from the wagon. The catapult arm was released, swinging sharply up, hurling the stone through the air.

Tamlaine and Al-Chinua, still comfortably seated on their steeds, watched the small boulder sail through the air.

I think that one's going to go a little long

Al-Chinua regarded the hurtling stone as it plummeted down, it's arc carrying it beyond the walls. There was a sudden splintering crash, and cries of alarm. A thin cloud of dust rose.

Oh, I don't know. I'd say that was just about right, myself


Sun Mar 21, 2004 7:47 pm
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The catapults creaked as the arms swung forward, launching their rocks at the city. It had not taken the crews long to adjust their range, and the rocks soon crashed into the wall in a steady stream. It did not take long for the first cracks to appear in the stonework. Occasionally a miscalculation would be made, or a rock would prove slightly lighter than expected, and the catapult's load would sail over the wall to land with a crash on the other side.

The rocks impacted the wall with shattering crunches. The nomads had been limited in their ability to bring large rocks, and so found themselves forced to rely on a barrage of smaller missiles instead of a few large boulders. However, the warriors of the Steppe were in no particular hurry. The massed riders of the clans stood ready to defend the catapults from a counter-attack from the city, yet nothing happened. Had Tamlaine been defending the city - and the Khan shuddered to think of such a life, imprisoned within walls of stone, lacking the freedom to gallop across the grassland and feel the wind in his hair - he would have ridden out long since to attack the siege engines. Yet nothing happened. No riders, no troops at all sallied forth from the city. No mages wreaked arcane havoc, manipulating the mana the city held so terribly precious. There was just the steady crash of rock impacting on stonework - and already the stonework crumbled.

The catapult arm swung forward, the fir tree saplings creaking in protest as they did so, the arm hurling another boulder toward the wall. The base of the wall was littered with rocks and fragments of rocks. This rock, however, did not shatter itself upon the wall to fall in a shower of its own rubble. This rock impacted on an already-weakend section of the wall, already cracked, the fault snaking through the stonework. This rock impacted with a earsplitting crash, but it was the wall surrounding the city that shattered, masonry crumbling and falling away from the wall. Inspired by the sight, the engines' crews adjusted their aim, bringing the entire barrage to bear on the break, smashing into the weakened stonework. The steady hail of rocks tore into the thick masonry of the wall, sections of stonework falling away, widening the breach. In short order, a substantial breach had been made in the Isonian defenses, the walls toppled right down to the ground in a heap of shattered stone.

The catapults fell silent as the wall came tumbling down, the crews reloading them from the supply wagons, but not firing. The nomad riders waited expectantly, watching the clouds of dust settle.

And suddenly the gap was filled with bodies, as the Isonian defenders prepared to counter-attack.

The catapult crews launched their volley - not single boulders this time, but baskets of smaller rocks that fell like rain among the troops clambering through the rubble. These rocks were smaller, not really big enough to kill a man, but large enough, and thrown hard enough, to knock a man to the ground, or to break a limb upon impact ... and there were many such rocks hurled into the breach. One volley, then another. The second volley was enough, the troops breaking and scrambling back toward the city as best they could, those who had been struck down desperately scrambling over the rubble in an attempt to avoid the third volley.

Seated atop his mount, Tamlaine watched the carnage.

Enough. They retreat. Hitch the teams to the catapults and prepare to ride

After all, there was a lot of wall still standing around the city...


Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:40 am
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[OOC: Again, this pre-dates Valor's arrival on the field of battle]

The warhost approaches the city. Herklaedi march in tight rows, plate armour gleaming in the sun. Scout septs range ahead of the herklaedi, spears gripped tightly, archers moving with arrows in hand, ready to be nocked and drawn.

Before them lies the city of Tiavain.

It does not look to be in good shape. The great walls surrounding the city are shattered, lying fallen in rubble in several places. Pillars of smoke from within the city suggest that others have already begun their work here.

To the rear of the formation, accompanied by the war-priests, guarded by more scouts, roll the supply wagons, driven by goblins, drawn by dýr. The supply wagons contain the warhost's supplies, food and water to sustain the warriors on their march ... amongst other things.

The warhost halts before the city. Masashi regards it with distaste. All this time and they still have not worked out how to stop us smashing down their walls and ravaging their city

This time, though, will be different. Before, the Anub-Re have battled their way through the enemy to the very walls of the city. Usually because they have been fighting back, repelling one or another of the Isonian's many incursions into the territories of the Sanctum.

This time, though, things are different. This time, it is the Officium who march upon the heathens. This time, the warhost will not merely leave a pile of Isonian dead heaped in front of the walls. No, this time the warhost will enter the city itself to wreak bloody vengeance in the very streets of Tiavain.

Vengeance? Well, yes. There had been talk of the heathens being to blame for fencing stolen goods, "liberated" from the faithful by the pirate fleet. An interesting experience, that, battling on the water. Most strange. Whether or not that was the case was immaterial to the fólkhagi of the Anub-Re. The Officium marched on heathen foes, and the Anub-Re would, as ever, seek to liberate the souls of those benighted heathens from the bondage of heresy. To baptise them in their own blood and pray that their deaths at the hands of Darden's faithful would be sufficient penance for their sins.

Regarding the battered city before him, Masashi breathes deeply, allowing the compassion to flow through him.

Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.

Behind the fólkhagi, the herklaedi break ranks, heading towards the supply wagons. The Officium has spent a certain amount of time studying these heathens. Their city is said to be warded by magical defenses. The rumours may claim that the city is invulnerable to magical attack, but the actions of Darden's priests in the past have long since shown those claims to be the purest fancy. No, what concerns the fólkhagi now is an entirely different claim, and a rather more substantial one, namely that the entire city is warded against those who would bear arms, that the enchantments seek to cripple those who would carry a bladed weapon within the walls of the city.

Masashi has spent a certain amount of time on the march towards the city contemplating the nature of such wardings. Would they still hold if the walls were to be removed? It should not prove impossible to tear down the walls, not now, when the Isonians seem to be reeling from the ferocity of the Sanctum's attack. If there are no walls, would the wards still hold?

Not that it matters, for the Anub-Re are prepared.

Reaching the supply wagons, the herklaedi surrender their long-axes, exchanging them for long-handled warhammers. Masashi surrenders his own axe to the goblin quartermaster, receiving a warhammer in return.

Poor heathens. You placed your trust in your precious wards, but what good will they do you against those who bring not blades of steel?

The herklaedi, freshly-equipped, reform into orderly rows. The scouts take up position around the wagons; they will remain here to guard the supply wagons, where their spears will not be enchanted against them.

Those of the rekkr-prestr who will accompany the herklaedi array themselves behind the orderly rows, their bodyguards forming around them.

The herklaedi advance.

The change of weaponry dictates a minor change in tactics as they reach the city. Normally, the herklaedi would advance en mass, row after row forming behind the initial shield-wall, each warrior ready to step forward and fill the gaps formed as his comrades fall, or stagger back, wounded. Those behind are well-versed in the art of dragging a comrade back to the war-priests and their ministrations - a necessary art, given the scarce numbers of the Anub-Re compared to the more numerous races of the Sunlit Lands.

The armoured warriors, their eyes veiled against the brilliant light of Intop's glory, scramble over the rubble of the shattered walls, entering the city of Tiavain.

The minor change in tactics becomes apparent as the hearklaedi reform on the far side of the shattered defenses. Instead of massing their ranks, they leave gaps. The first two rows stand together, but then there is a gap of several paces before the third row, and another gap of several paces between the fourth and fifth ranks. The rekkr-prestr are formed up amongst the fifth rank, surrounded by warriors.

The reason for this looser formation becomes clear as the herklaedi advance down the street. The shields are locked together, an almost impenetrable defense, above which swing the long-hafted weapons of the Anub-Re, swung with all the force those powerfully-muscled forms can muster. But where normally those blows would descend in a flash of bladed axe, shearing through armour and severing flesh, they now land with sickening thuds as the hammerheads of their new weapons impact the defenders who rush to meet them.

They are smashed to the ground, but the hammer-blows are less lethal than the swings of the razor-edged axes surrendered at the wagons. The shield-wall advances down the street over fallen troops more likely to be injured than dead.

The open space between the front two ranks and the next wave becomes apparent as they advance. The gap gives the following warriors more time to finish off the wounded left lying in the wake of the shield-wall's inexorable advance. The third rank is less orderly than the first two, as the herklaedi pause to finish off the fallen lying in the wake of the vanguard.

The advance is not without casualties for the herklaedi, of course, although they are somewhat lighter than had been expected. Rather than drag the wounded clear, the second rank simply step forward, filling the gaps in the shield-wall. Third-rank warriors dart forward, helping the wounded clear, supporting them on the trip back towards the fifth rank and the benedictions of the war-priests.

Masashi steps forward, filling a gap in the shield-wall as the warrior in front of him collapses, spitting blood from a wild blow to the face. One hand pushes the shield forward until it clanks against those on either side of him. The other swings the hammer down in a crushing blow. The advance of the shield-wall has slowed in the face of increasing resistance, and warriors from the third rank are moving forward to fill in the second as the front-line warriors are dragged clear.

There is a sudden commotion behind the fólkhagi. Masashi does not look back, concentrating on swinging his warhammer at the foes in front of him, parrying when he must, striking when he can, confident that the rear elements will deal with whatever the problem is.

Behind him, the heathen troops who have come bursting out of a side-street, seeking to outflank the shield-wall, find that they have indeed emerged behind the front rank ... but that they are sandwiched between the second and third ranks ... and that the third and fourth ranks of warriors are now charging forward, hammers swinging. That battle is short and bloody.

To the front, Masashi's warriors smash down the defenders, pushing forward, deeper into the city.

Deep enough. They do not, after all, seek to drive a bloody path clear through the city, although they most likely could. Besides, there are wounded to be taken care of.

The front and rear elements brace, blocking the street off at each end, as the remaining middle-rank warriors set about their task. The buildings around are empty, the populace of this section of the city having fled before the oncoming battle. Unopposed, the herklaedi enter the buildings, ransacking the lower rooms.

What use is land to the children of the Dark Below? The home of the Anub-Re lies far away beneath the sands of the Red Desert. They have no need of acres seized in the foreign lands of Tiavain.

Wealth, on the other hand ...

Cursory looting complete, the herklaedi fire the buildings, firestarting with cruel efficiency.

Satisfied that the blazes are well-seated, Masashi gives the order, and the column of armoured warriors falls back, the front rank falling through the rearguard, who will cover the retreat. The initial attack has gone very well, the defenders ravaged, a street afire, and the middle-rank herklaedi falling back with bulging sacks. And this is but the first attack. The warehouses of Tiavain have not - yet - been hit, unless some other commander has beaten the Anub-Re to their goal.

The warhost reassembles before the supply wagons, the looters sacks emptied into the waiting wagons.

Kiyomori approaches Masashi, bowing respectfully.

Fólkhagi, we have recieved a communication from the Isonians. It seems they blame us for the destruction of one of their outposts. The complaint has been sent on to us, on the grounds that "You did it, you can deal with their whining"

Oh really? And what, exactly, do the Isonians have to say for themselves? We are, after all, at war with them

Kiyomori unrolls a scroll, obviously checking the message.

Well, fólkhagi, it would seem their complaint is this. By destroying the outpost, we have opened the desert to thieves and murderers. Apparently, that one outpost was crucial to their defenses, and they will now find themselves unable to defend their borders against bandits. There is some suggestion that this means that the bandits will be able to strike at the lands of the Officium as well.

Oh, and our "merciless and ignorant attacks" upon the outposts show us to be "only out for blood on a killing spree", apparently


The war-leader of the Anub-Re throws back his head, howling in laughter.

I swear, these heathens never cease to amaze me.

Of course we destroyed one of their precious outposts. It may have escaped their attention, but we are at war with them. Their security is not my problem, nor is it the problem of any member of the Officium. If they are incapable of defending themselves, then let them drink deep of His cup of sorrow. WE shall look after our own borders and deal with the thieves and murderers, although quite why they concern themselves with such when the armies of the Officium are besieging their city, I do not know.

As for their claims that we are only out for blood, that we are on a killing spree ...

Words fail me. You would think that, after all the times they have declared war on us in the past, they might, just possibly, have figured out something of the nature of the Sanctum Officium by now. But no ... unless "stating the obvious" is some feature of their debased heathen religion.


Kiyomori's answering grin is vicious. I thought you might find that amusing, fólkhagi. However, we have more important things to concern ourselves with. There are fires in the city, and some are quite near the warehouses. If we wish to avail ourselves of their contents, we should strike, and soon, lest they be lost to fire

Very well. Get the wagons moving. We don't have all day, we are, after all, on a killing spree here


Mon Mar 22, 2004 1:44 pm
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Stablehand
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Arrnek had returned from his fight on the Sanctums own land. How they snivel and think they are the mightiest beast to live. Destroying merely for the fun in it. There will come a day when I shall march on there cities, leaving not a stone upright. When that day comes, I will show no mercy for a single sole. I will run their wives through with spears and post them in the courtyards. I will slaughter their children and leave them in the streets they once played in. There will be no mercy for an act like this.

He stood with his men a few thousand yards out from the coty, watching the heathens armies asault the town. They had already taken out well over half the outposts that were built to protect innocents from this vary act. Families had been dealt death by these sick warriors. Now they laid siege to the vary city he called home. Oh no, there will be no mercy given.

Turning to the men, every single one had left the outpost to help defend the city, he called to them. WARRIORS! You see what the heathens have done to our city. They do this in the name of their false god. They defile our lands and wives and take everything that is close to us. Our children are dead, our homes afire. We may all die today, but lets bring them to their knees first!!! The men began to cheer, a cheer of valor, a cheer of hatred, a cheer of death to come.

Arrnek mounted his dragon and lept to the sky with two dozen others. The men in rank below him charged into the back lines of the siegers army. The catapults were easily overcome by the rain of fire set down by the dragons while the warriors sent death calling for everyone they encountered. The battle in the back lines where they hit was short, but the one in front would be a tell tale.

Arrnek reformed his ranks of troops, the dragons left to randomly kill at will. He ran to the front of the lines and called a charge. Within seconds every fighter on the field was rushing, screaming, at the charing walls of their city, and at the backs of the retreating heathen armies. Much blood would be spilt today.

_________________
[center]I once fought for a city I loved.
But it has been taken from me.
The Istari have done what all mages do in trouble,
run.......
[/center]


Mon Mar 22, 2004 2:12 pm
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Stablehand

Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 12:26 pm
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[OOC: I see you've decided to stop posting by what actually happened in the game, then. This takes care of the casualties I did take during the warstrike, though, so it's nice to tie that loose end up]

The walls lay in rubble, rent asunder in several locations. Tamlaine, Khan of the Steppes Nomads, regarded the ruins with satisfaction. The Torturer's orders had been carried out with speed and efficiency, and the warriors of the Steppe had not suffered even a single casualty.

I must confess, I find myself somewhat disappointed, my Khan. You'd think at least some of them would try to fight back.

Apparently not, Al-Chinua. Although to be fair to the heathens ...

Fair? To the heathens?

Yes, Al-Chinua, even to the heathens. Remember this - they too are warriors. Never underestimate your opponent, for that is the path that leads to overconfidence and ruin. As I was saying, to be fair to the heathens, amusing though such a conceit might be, they were unprepared for such a devastating strike as the one launched by the Officium. Such unprepardness is their own fault, for the Isle is filled with foes who will strike at the merest hint of weakeness. Has the Officium not show such? Have the Isonians themselves not shown such, striking at the Officium in the past in the mistaken belief that they were temporarily weakened?

Their pathetic justifications for their attacks?

Tamlaine shrugs. Do not let your hatred blind you, Al-Chinua. It is entirely possible that they may have believed they had good reason to act as they did, no matter how violently we may have disagreed with their justifications. However, that is as may be. For now, we have done as we were bidden; the walls of the city have been breached. I am satisfied that our task is done.

So we may now ride to join our brothers-in-arms in the attack on the city? What of the engines, my Khan, are we just to abandon them here for the heathens to turn against us?

Yes, my right hand, we ride now to battle. As to the engines, we need them not. Instruct the crews to fire them, lest they be captured by our enemies and ...

The Khan's comments were cut short by a black shadow that swept across the battlefield.

The swooping Dragon belched fire as the catapult crews scattered in surprise. Already, orange flames began to lick up the wood of the frame ... and more dragons were swooping down on the horsemen.

Calmly, Tamlaine drew his bow, nocking an arrow and loosing in one smooth notion, cursing in annoyance as the dragon he aimed for swept its wings back, plumetting towards the catapults in a steep dive, the arrow sailing over the head of the rider. Shouts from the rear of the riders heralded the arrival of Isonian troops - not from the city at all. The Steppes riders swung their horses around, raising bows or drawing sabres as they prepared to meet the unexpected threat.

Tamlaine smiled grimly as he drew back another arrow. Finally, someone who is prepared to try and fight back ...

Still, at least the dragons had saved them the effort of destroying the now-worthless catapults.


Mon Mar 22, 2004 3:57 pm
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Stablehand
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Closed due to request of SO GM. Thank you.

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Mon Mar 22, 2004 5:22 pm
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