Chapter XII - Claiming the Relic

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Senlui
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Chapter XII - Claiming the Relic

Post#1 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:40 pm

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The Regiment arrived at the gleaming city of Tor Achre at the latter half of the night. From their position on the hills, looking down upon the high capital of Chrace the Druchii considered a route in. The white spires above the city, illuminated by the light of the moons, contrasted with the upheaval below where thalken warriors hurried about their business, seemingly making ready for battle.

“I sense something strange ahead,” whispered Sylleth to Ithilsyn, “Keep your eyes open, Mistress”. A member of the secretive Khadath Coven, Sylleth was indeed attuned to the Ruinous Powers. More so than would be suffered to live; she bore the mark of Slaanesh upon her neck, and already appeared to be showing some minor mutations. As long as the sorceress proved to be discrete and loyal, Ithilsyn would welcome her into the fold. Better this way, to keep a close eye on her. Besides, her talents proved useful. Should Sylleth prove to grow troublesome, well... Ithilsyn smiled at her thoughts as she regarded the sorceress and nodded.

“Commander,” Amarthandir exclaimed, “This is the city I spoke of. The Thalken general holds an item of great importance to our cause...” This shadowy sorcerer spoke sweetly and with confident mystique to his temperament, giving Ithilsyn enough concern to suspect that this one was dragging them into some grand scheme of his. She had spent enough years learning the gentle art of manipulation to see another master at work. Perhaps it would have been better to have killed him; certainly in times before His Dread Highness had lifted his suppression on their existence, Amarthandir would not have been suffered to live. Another one to keep close. The Coven certainly was gathering up the waifs and strays...

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“Form up, we attack!” called Caranordor.

Swords hissed from their scabbards, glaives gripped in iron gauntlets. The Regiment formed a line with shields at front and began their march. Approaching Tor Achare from the city road, it was clear that the army of their weak kin was too great for a frontal assault. The sport of luring them out from their gates would be amusing, but they had no time. A more cunning approach was needed.

Skirting around the southern walls, the cliffs rose around the city edge, providing a natural barrier from attack. Here the city walls were low, and a wide marble slabbed path wound between them and the cliffs, giving alternative access to the city for those on less grand business. The Regiment’s approach had not gone unnoticed. The twang of a bowstring nearby, followed by rapid succession had the Regiment raising shields and forming a defensive line as a band of Chracian archers attacked from behind the cover of the low walls, releasing a hail of arrows in their direction. “Paint the marble with their blood!” roared Caranordor, pointing angrily at their foes. As if in reply, one archer landed a spectacular hit, sending an arrow towards the Druchii Commander which found its mark, lodging deep inside his shoulder. With a snarl, Caranordor reached back, twisting the projectile before pulling it out, his hate driving him on despite the pain. Ithilsyn raised a hand above her head, forming a shadowy shield above her. The arrows struck but splintered against the barrier as they met it. Amarthandir stood still and did not appear to react as an arrow passed right through him; the next minute he was elsewhere, unharmed.

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As the skies grew grey with the light of a pending dawn, the clouds tore their bellies open on the ragged Chracian peaks, spilling rain upon the scene played out below. The light tapping of rainwater on armour mingled with the sounds of the fight, yet the rain at least would hamper the archers who would be reluctant to allow their bowstrings to get wet. Likewise, this was no weather for crossbows. The Druchii had to find another way in to Tor Achare.

They continued to follow the path, which grew narrower until it funnelled into a small doorway where the cliffs met the wall. Here a small glade of trees had been permitted to grow, foolish the Druchii thought, yet understandable from their complacent cousins who had forgotten much of the art of war. Stepping out from between the trees came a group of thalken spearmen, crying their challenges, and defiant commands that they could go no further. The Druchii threw back curses of their own, promising untold suffering to the families of those defenders once they had cut them down. Enraged, the spearmen charged, and the Dark Elves met them with vicious glee. Gretka and Zyli danced around them cutting hamstrings and throats with their twin blades. Sathari and Andariyel slammed their shields into defenders, stabbing forward with their swords as their enemies staggered backwards. Amarthandir calmly watched as Ithilsyn, Sildra, Sylleth, and Vexra wove bolts of fell sorcery of various effects, until at last the Regiment walked through the corpses of their enemies and through the doorway into the city beyond.

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It would seem that their route had bypassed the majority of the city’s thoroughfares. Perhaps an entryway for use by their servants or lower castes, it had indeed given them a great advantage in not having to fight every step of the way through the Chracian capital. They found themselves at the far end of a small plaza, fountains in the centre, trees lining the edges. At the opposite end, across a well manicured lawn, five ornately decorated towers rose, as opulent and stately as those fools that dwelt within them. The light paled and soon darkness would be gone. It seemed that now the Druchii would need to strike swiftly and true, decapitating the thalken leadership before claiming the artefact of which Amarthandir spoke.

The plaza at first appeared to be deserted, as the bulk of the High Elf forces were gathering below at the main gates. Soon enough however, a patrol of five Chracian axemen came into view, walking past the fountain. Striding with a relaxed bravado, the sternly faced warriors joked with each other as their patrol brought them closer to the Druchii. Their demeanour changed instantly as they spotted the trespassers. As one took up his horn and raised it to his lips gathering his breath to give off the alarm, Sildra pointed her staff forward, causing him to fall to the ground as a loud crackling sound could be heard, confusion painted on his dying face. The remaining four warriors fell upon the front ranks, attempting to cleave them with their great axes. “Phalanx!” roared Caranordor, “Those who break formation will be flayed alive!” Raising his halberd to parry a vicious blow from a charging elf, he staggered as the Chracian’s axe bit. Already weakened by the arrow to the shoulder, the Commander’s shoulder guard shattered under the weight of the blow, before falling in splinters to the floor, blood spreading through his khaitan beneath.

Vithari too, had taken a battering from this small invasion and grunted painfully as an axe landed in her chest. Andayirel stepped in as he witnessed the blow, and stood more closely to her to grant additional protection from his shield, watching her with his icy eyes. Vithari pulled the axe from her armour with gritted teeth, and pulled her enemy towards her to embrace him with her hate. Leaning to speak in his ear, she uttered, “Next time, get my neck. Ensure I’m dead... or this happens”, before slamming the Chracian’s own axe into his belly, dragging it upwards to his chin and splitting him open.

Sathari thrust forward with her blade into the chest of a Chracian, twisting it cruelly as she relished the pained scream as the ribs cracked with her efforts. Sylleth raised her hand, and cut down with a sorcerous lash of light, cutting a Chracian cleanly in half, as Ithilsyn wove a hand above her staff before glancing at the surviving thalken with a sultry smile. She held forth the staff, releasing a swirling bolt of agonizing dhar bursting forwards towards her prey, who fell to his knees, screaming. His soon to come death would bring relief from the living nightmare that wracked his mind as the dark magic tormented him. As the last of the patrolmen fell dead, the way to the High Tower stood open. There was only one way to go, forward.

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The Regiment made their way across the square, the walking wounded too proud to take the rear lines, Caranordor himself a fearsome sight with a bloody arm and damaged armour at the front of the formation. They ascended a series of wide steps to a command square of sorts, where confident in his safety within the city’s heart, the thalken General was in discussions with his Archmage. It took but a moment for them to notice their visitors, and the two elves grabbed their weapons as they sighted their would-be assassins, preparing for battle. “I knew your kind was obsessed, but to stoop so low...” exclaimed the General as he charged to the nearest Druchii with a spear. In no mood for niceties, Caranordor growled, “Regiment! Gouge their eyes out!” and ran forth to meet his foe head on.

Simultaneously, the Archmage advisor prepared a spell; a bolt of multicoloured magic flying towards the sorceresses which failed spectacularly. The warriors rushed in at the General, Vithari stabbing towards his groin as Caranordor grabbed the General’s neck with his halberd’s spike and pulled him to the ground, blood gushing everywhere. Sorcerous blasts riposted at the mage, Sylleth certainly having a good day of it as she cast a slicing shard upon the wounded mage, turning him into mince.

Trying to push himself up, despite his terrible wounds, the general cried, “You fools... will doom... the world...” before collapsing dead. Caranordor turned to Amarthandir for further guidance, but the sorcerer was nowhere to be found, causing frowns and accusations against him. Quickly his absence was forgotten, as a golden object glittered before them on the general’s table, in the pale light of the now-rising sun. Sylleth seemed nervous. “I sense something here...”

Understanding Sylleth’s reactions to certain forces, Ithilsyn whispered, “Does it sicken you sister, or call to you?”

“It is screaming with pleasure and pain...” came the reply.

“Inspect it quickly, more are coming!” roared Caranordor, not aware of the danger such an item could pose. Sylleth walked towards it as Ithilsyn called out to her, “Sylleth no. Do not touch it!” Too late.

Taking the golden statue in her hands, Sylleth stared upon it, seemingly transfixed for a moment. The object seemed to be enchanted, for soon all felt its pull drawing them in, every mind in the Regiment feeling an assault of a cacophonic choir as the influence of the statue danced with their minds. The more magically attuned Druchii felt their minds invaded by whispers and promises of power. As the rain finally stopped, Sylleth grimaced as if hiding some unknown pain, before pointing to the source of such a disturbance. “There is power gathering to the south. I feel it... near the great waystone where Caranordor had been found and saved.”

Questioning looks passed among the Druchii as the statue was carefully placed in a bag. Had she indeed sensed this, or was something afoot, driving them back to the waystones. Sildra frowned to herself. “Those thalken were preparing to march on Chaos,” before thinking of Amarthandir, her suspicions strong, “That sorcerer tricked us!”

“Where the bloody hell is he?” queried Sathari, some of the Regiment noticing Sylleth’s eyes widen and grow brighter than ever, before she uttered a cry.

Turning her head to Ithilsyn, Sildra asked, “Seeress, allow me to stay behind and perform a ritual to track down that vile traitor so we can apprehend him.” Her own brow furrowing, Ithilsyn pushed some dark thoughts away. The sorcerer certainly appeared to thus far be proving her intuitions correct about his character. “Do what must be done, Sildra.”

Oblivious to the discussion between the sorceresses, Caranordor called out, as he strapped a makeshift shoulder plate to his armour, taken from the dead General at his feet. “Let us proceed south then. To the waystones.” He locked eyes with Ithilsyn as the location was uttered, the seeress turning away to avoid being seen to challenge. What were they heading into this time?

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If you wish to join us or learn more about us check this topic:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=23965

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
Chapter IV - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24808
Chapter V - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24875
Chapter VI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24880
Chapter VII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24898
Chapter VIII - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24937
Chapter IX - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24976
Chapter X - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=24979
Chapter XI - viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25000

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