Chapter IV - Such is the Price of Failure

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Senlui
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Chapter IV - Such is the Price of Failure

Post#1 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:50 pm

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The Commander looked on as his troops gathered, the Black Ark looming behind casting long shadows over the small fortification they had made use of to unload provisions and set up the ranks for the long invasion before them. The smell of smoke and iron tang of blood filled the camp; the nearby cauldron readily offered captured High Elves as libation to Khaine in order to invoke his blessing on the war to come. The screams of the dying mingled with cruel mocking laughter, yet such a thing was mundane to a seasoned warrior with Malekith’s writ hanging over him.

There was no further time for delay.

“Sa’ an’ishar!” came the command, the troops forming orderly ranks; some mounting up on lumbering cold ones, creatures of the deep earth that carried Naggaroth’s most fearsome knights into battle. The beasts snorted and snarled, whilst their masters lashed at them and dug in their spurs. Finally they were on the move.

The Regiment did not have far to travel for soon they were amid the fight for Narthain, the imposing white stone spires now crumbled and stained with soot. The Temple’s witches were already engaged with swordsmen as the sieged city burned. Rubble lay all about, and in this area Beastmaster Maughann had set up his command, to which Caranordor addressed. The Commander’s warband halted whilst he gave parlay to the Beastmaster. It would seem that a stalemate had been reached here; the Druchii forces had enough might to wreak havoc, yet not quite enough to turn the tide of battle and claim the area.

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“And what would you offer in return for our aid?” negotiated the Commander. The Beastmaster thought for a while before replying, “I would offer a share in the spoils.”

There was a noted silence whilst this was considered. Maughann’s failure to secure victory was damning in his capability to lead a band of forces, and now he was merely offering a share to Kar Khadath for bringing him glory? No. This would not do. Yet spoils were to be gained here, as well as a pivotal stronghold on the north coast to reinforce dominance of this section of Ulthuan. Strategically it would be foolish to pass through leaving the thalken to harry and hamper the Druchii efforts. “Very well,” the Commander replied. “Regiment, we attack! Kill them all.”

At his command, the warriors rushed in to attack the unchallenged thalken forming a defence at the base of the spires of Narthain. Swordsmen and archers rallied, and seemed unprepared for the rush of well trained steel and spite that descended upon them in fury and slaughter. A black dragon descended to join the battle, soon met by a sun dragon of the asur. Injured, the mighty beast took to the sky, settling on a high arch still somehow intact far above, howling its rage. The Regiment turned its efforts to the noble beast before them, so rare now in these lands since the times of Caledor. Irreplaceable, a symbol of hope and majesty for the High Elves. It had to die.

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All efforts were targeted upon the sun dragon, its gaping jaws snapping at the Druchii who nimbly dodged it and struck back with glaive and spear. The beast lashed with its tail and swiped with claw, yet was slowed by countless cuts to its body, and fell enchantments from the sorceresses of the Coven. As it thrust it’s head forward, in a bid to snap its jaws around one of the warriors, a glaive was thrust fully into its mouth and pushed hard through until it found the dragon’s brain. The Druchii pressed his advantage and gave a twist; the dragon thrashing in agony, throwing the Druchii clear with a shake of its head. The damage however had already been done, and with a sorrowful howl, the mighty beast fell, never to soar the azure skies of Ulthuan again.

The slaughter was complete. Scattered about were the bodies of the dead or dying. Many were dispatched as the Druchii roamed through them, yet a few were dragged away for amusement later. As this went on, Ithilsyn’s eye caught something at the base of a tower. A tall harp stood next to a few chests. Whilst most of the town had been cleared of goods in light of the Druchii landing, this seemed to have been too cumbersome to take away. She admired it as she drew close, it seemed to hum with a song of its own as the wind caught the strings, and the gilded frame was decorated with fine carving. She recalled a promise to Telalis in return for favour. Ever a Druchii of her word, she would not disappoint.

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“Commander,” she called, as she stepped through the battlefield, oblivious of all but the harp. “I would have this.”

Caranordor paused, wondering for what purpose this item was required. The sorceresses gathered about the High Seeress, and he stepped forth amid the carnage to see what had caught her eye. As if hearing his thoughts, Ithilsyn turned to him, holding her staff as she explained, “The Rite of Nethu calls for a harp, to tease the soul out of the enchantment’s target. This is a gift from Hekarti, ready to be claimed.”

The Commander did not question her further. The Seeress was responsible for the magical forces of the invading force that he was in charge of, and that included claiming any arcane artefacts that may be put to use against their foes. “Load it up,” he cried. “We take this with us”.

The Regiment marched victoriously from the spires, armour and blades still wet with blood. Presenting themselves before Beastmaster Maughann, the stood in silence, frenzy still in their eyes as the bloodlust coursed through them. Caranordor stepped forwards to announce the victory.

“Narthain is defeated. We come to claim our prize.”

Maughann looked him up and down with a sneer before slowly replying, “Very well. You shall have half of the spoils for your reward.”

Caranordor knitted his gauntleted hands together, looking down thoughtfully. He sighed, a twisted smile forming on his lips. “Half the spoils? I think not.”

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In a motion too swift to be predicted, his hand fell to his sword which was unsheathed and swung in a blurring arc to the beastmaster’s throat. Carried through, the blade cut through flesh and bone, launching Maughann’s head through the air until it landed on the plaza with a wet thump. It rolled across the ground and settled gazing lifelessly as the Druchii’s headless body fell to its knees before falling forward and emptying it’s blood across the white stone.

“Such is the price for failure.” Smirked Caranordor.

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Previous Chapters:

Chapter I - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=23964
Chapter II - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24190
Chapter III - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24669

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