Ngô sat cross legged by the low table the servants had just finished setting up. To her right, the ever impressive Iron Hero of the Batuhuan people, Ganbaatar. He looked intensely at the map before him, running his fingers through his hair every so often. Ngô had come to know this man's personal ticks and various peculiarities well in the past months. The man was a warrior, a wild man of the steppes, adept at the bow and able to ride any beast he put the saddle on. Ganbataar had not asked to be Khan, but he had taken to the task with admirable skill and leadership.
“We cannot afford to stretch our forces thin.” The voice came from the old monk and Naijin de facto leader. Naito sat in the white and yellow robes of his order, no regalia or sign of command on his person. He didn’t need it. He was the only reason all of these ancient enemies were sitting down, discussing among each other like equals.
“I agree.” The old, raspy voice of the Tau representative. Her appearance placed her in her early forties, but her voice was strange and raspy, and their eyes were deep pools of ancient wisdom. Her body swept in silks to the point only her face showed, she pointed to the map. Her finger pointing onto the Anihara Harbor.
“We must first secure Naijins harbors.. The young lady Amatsuna have provided us with boats enabling a co-ordinated land and naval assault on the city of Karaju. Her clan are still the best boat makers on all of the island, this much is certain.“
“Before that, We have to make sure they do not pass the desert into the last of Batuha. If they overtake my people, no invasion will stand a chance. My warrirors are capable of great deads, but they cannot fight to their fullest when Nangs undead hordes simply burn the field and steppes we ride on. Food is already scarce beyond the dessert reaches. “
Ngo considered it for a minute. Then she spoke out, her voice clear and stable, full of authority and years of corralling warring nations into a functional alliance. “The Souther Kingdom is dealing with the Rajah, more so then the Nang at the moment. All of this is futile without Najins harbors. TO strike at the at heart of the Nang, these isles need to become our unassailable stronghold. Lady Jaou, you said that the man responsible for the Naijin invasion is resting in the port city of Karaju, correct?”
“Indeed. “ Lady Jaou nodded, folding her hands in her lap and smiling knowingly at Ngo. “Bei Lao has retreated to the heavily fortified town of Karaju, to await his allies for a reinvigorated assault on Najin.”
“Then we must first strike at him, for Naijins safety is paramount at this time. “ Naito spoke, pointing to the map. “First, we strike at the Commanders resting place. We take Karaju. Then, we use the boats we have available to sail to the northern most Nang Shores, where we willl assault the Undead from the coast, while the forces of Ganbataar assault form the north. We link up at the City of Timagir, it shall be our foothold in the northern provinces.
There was a moment of silence. Then Ganbataar nodded. “I accept this plan. Does the representive of Hang-Jun have anything to provide?” He looked to the old man who untill now had remained mostly silent and seemingly in deep thought. He looked to the other four and shook his head.
“The Fortress will hold as long as Ngo and her allies provide us with provisions and materials for the war effort.” He nodded to Ngo. “I to, approve of this plan of action. First, we free Naijin from its would be conquerer. Then we relieve our allies in the north.”
The five each nodded, and silently finished their tea in deep thou.
-------- Five days later.
Just outside Karaju harbor
The boat swayed in the heavy, roiling waves, thunder crashing across the sky above them. The rain clinged to every surface like a angry, jilted lover. Each footstep was a perilous challenge for the crew and its passengers as the deck was slick with water.
“Hold it steady!” The voice of a young woman cut over the crashing waves. “I will throw you overboard myself if you cannot keep up. Maybe Raijin will go easy on us then!!” Aiko bellowed to her men and women, who all worked tirelessly to keep the ship steered right. In the mist, the city began to slowly come in sight. No lights, no markers to guide weary ship crews into a safe harbor. Just the dull, damaged wood of a neglected harbor. Aika produced the Rajahn spyglass she had been gifted for this mission specifically. And what she saw made her swear under her breath. Swinging in the wind, was hundreds of hanging corpses, all along the sea wall. Live, writhing corpse. Reanimated with foul magic. And a formidable warning system. They would not be able to sneak their ships into harbor even for a brief surprise. She sighed, put the peculiar invention away and went over to her first mate and second charge. A young man named Raito.
“Signal the ships. We are not going in unseen. Everyone needs to be ready to spill out onto the docks the second we reach them. This will get real ugly.” She grabbed her helmet, with its Amatsuna crest. As she slipped it on, she let her hands rest on the hilts of her blades as they drifted between the sea walls, large formation of rocks and logs put in place to make sea sieges like this more difficult. At first, she thought maybe the mist let them pass. But then, the first scream pierced her ears, and then another. Soon the screeching clawing, having corpses let the night know that blood was about to flow.
“EVERYONE TO DECK! EVERYONE READY!” She yelled as the ship picked up speed. Tau and Hang-Jun soldiers took up the front, their shields a thing Naijin never really employed in battle. Soon after, their shields were battered by arrows as the undead poured out towards the dock, the archers shooting with little aim and precision in mind. But without having to worry about growing tired, they could empty their quivers at a impressive rate.
“HOLD!” She she screamed, “Hold dammit” She saw one of her crew, a young woman who been with her for at least a year, take an arrow to the face and go down like a sack of potatoes. An arrow graced her left cheek but she did not flinch. She felt the shock of the ship hitting the docks with force and the screamed out in bloodcurdling fury.
“FOR NAIJIN! FOR THE LIVING!” The Ships let their ramps down as the men and women of the five accord rushed out to meat the enemy that occupied the city. At the same time, a large crashing sound was heard from the northern gate of the city, as the land based force did theri thing.
--- The North Gate, Moments earlier.
The North Gate stood before them. And Bartan considered his options. At his back, he had 50 of his best men, people who had followed him since they were youngins. Steppe Warriors of a people who had managed to take even the great city of Jang from the Nang Dynasty before the sanguine fever. Now, they were in leu with their old enemies, and had allies with knowledge and technology none of his forebears had ever been able to imagine. His large cleaver like saber shone in the night, his sons soul roiling inside the metal blade. One of the men from the fortress city of Hang-Jun rolled a large, heavy contraption of iron and wood up towards the gate. He bit his lip, motioning for his men to slowly inch forward, keeping a low profile. Not that it would matter as the engineers lit a wick on the large contraption and ran away past him.
There was a moment, then the wick seemed to slowly die in the rain. He cursed, about to order his men back as he approached it. Then the wick lit back up as if it had a second thought. The explosion made his ears ring and to his great surprise, the gate went with it. Heavy oaken doors, mean to withstand consistent besieging, splintered inward. He heard a roar from the city, as the boats on the other side made landfall. Intent on not letting them get all the glory, He charged the broken up gate even as undead began to pour out. And behind him, he heard similar calls to action by the other commanders and their warriors. His blade cleaved the skull of a half rotten skeletal warrior as his shield shoved another aside. He saw his compatriots wade into battle, striking down the unruly and scattered undead. So far so good. These even those without a holy weapon could put down. The real challenge was further in.
EVent: FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE
Naval landing: You have been shipped into the harbor as part of the two pronged attack. Your enemy is mainly the unliving hordes of the city. Many which are unarmed and civilian corpses meant to bog you down while archers take potshots at you. Watch your head and make it up the hill and stairs leading into the city proper!
Main Assault: The Main Bulk of the forces are holding the northern gate. Heavily armed undead are trying to keep you from pushing into the city. Making it through the gate will be a slog, but if we are to keep the evil from escaping, we must persevere!
Mikayazi's eyes drilled against the wooden gates of the city ahead, her hand tightly wrapped against the pommel of her sword. She kept a cool demeanor on the outside, a leader must show courage around her soldiers, they must show that there is nothing to fear ahead, that victory is surely at their grasp. Moral is a key part in victory and the general is responsible for the bulk of it. For, if even the commander is nervous of the battle ahead, what does that say for the common soldier? A steely resolve was necessary, so she kept it for the sake of the people under her banner.
That wasn't to say she wasn't scared shitless. Sure, she's fought in small skirmishes with the undead, her group normally had greater numbers or fought against mindless undead. But this... this was her first invasion. This would be the first time she and her men would be running against a horde of enemies that wouldn't immediately break. But... she knew she was ready for this. All the men and woman by her side were ready for this. She had trained since a young age to be a warrior, and her people? The moment she had became Diamyo of her land, she made it mandatory for all citizens to train in combat. She knew they'd be at war soon and every last soul should be prepared for it. And the results showed. Behind her, were willing volunteers trained to be militia, men and woman trained in all manner of weapons ready to fight by their Diamyo's side. Well, it was mostly the offer of land she'd get from moving her borders onward. Many of these farmers, fishermen or hunters were more then willing to fight a war so they may have a better life at the end of it. A commitment both she and her bushi warriors shared. Speaking of, her samurai were currently elsewhere, making preparations as a Calvary unit. If things went horrible here, she'd need a flanking unit to allow a strategic retreat. She doubted it would be necessary, but in war there's no such thing as being over cautious.
Her eyes drifted to the large steel contraption that was rolled up onto the battlefield her eyes briefly examining it before flicking back to the wooden gate. She was assured by the fortress engineers that this contraption could blow the gate right off it's hinges. Which, while made her relieved now... but, if this weapon spread to other nations, it'd change the art of war forever. Which means she'd have to plan. Not know of course, but all in due time. The wick was lit and a murmur spread through her band, the realization that they'd all be in combat, real combat was making it's rounds to every single one of them. Mikayazi turned to the woman next to her, putting a hand on her soldier, giving her a warm, reassuring smile. "Captain Natame and I have trained you all well. Remember, you are fighting for the future of this nation." She yells out to the crowd, turning toward them, her hand clasped on her captain's shoulder. "Remember, the undead have no honor, so do not make the mistake of having any of your own on this battlefield. They will use any dirty trick, so be sure to use any of your own. And remember... you have your brothers and sisters in arms beside. Put their lives in your hands and they will do the same to you. Depend on each other and we will make it out of this battle with our banner on top of this gate!" The cannon exploded, a the gate splintering with a loud boom, Mikayazi throwing her fist in the air. "The time for conquest is now! FOR JIKAI!"
Mikayazi charged forward, toward the zombies that were flooding out the gate, quickly noticing that these were just mindless shamblers with an armed ones mixed in. Most likely to soften the group or to try and overwhelm them so that the tougher foes inside would face the group while they were exhausted. Disgusting. The roaring group soon clashed with the undead, Mikayazi ripping her blade from it's sheath, her blade quickly severing a zombie's torso in two. The way she moved was sight to see, she was never in the same place for long and her blade slashed and cleaved anything in it's sight. Her militia began filling the spots next to her, eager to send their former country men back to the afterlife.
The roar of the waves, the constant downpour of rain, and the distant crackle of thunder did little to steady the beating of Ryon's heart. He was below deck, seated at one of the tables. The time for maintenance has long since passed. All he did was stare at his hands as he contemplated the upcoming battle. Ryon was glad to serve in the vanguard, and this was far from his first voyage on a seafaring vessel, but he could not shake the trepidation from his being. He sipped from a flask of soju, but no more than a taste. Any more would dull his senses.
A woman's voice barked orders from above. The Amatsuna heiress who had so graciously granted the Five Faction Concord their ships would be joining this battle. They were simple: to make ready for contact. The lieutenant gave his men a wild grin and rose to his feet. "You heard the lady, let's get up there." His forces responded in kind. His particular squad only truly consisted of volunteer soldiers who wished to be at the front; it was no surprise to anyone that many men in Jinju were not exactly keen on traveling to foreign lands to die in a war against the undead. Still, where these men may have lacked in talent or experience, they made up for in spirit.
Ryon gripped the Red Meteor in hand, inspecting the arbalest for only a moment before properly pulling the lever and stringing the fire mechanism. Even now, he could feel her soul giving life to this weapon. He would do her proud. He could spot his fellow men from Hang-jun stride out of the decks with their own equipment. Some had blades and shields in hand, whilst others had crossbows of their own. The lieutenant was quick to follow behind. The battle would be joined soon enough.
The ship hit the docks with a heavy thud, the very impact causing more than a few men to fall off-balance. A storm of arrows erupted from the dock. "Shields up!" Ryon boomed, his voice echoing across the dock. His squad was quick to respond, raising their deungpae to block the oncoming projectiles. The man and his fellow crossbowmen hid behind their barriers, but not all were as lucky. Some men were slow or had been knocked down by the initial impact and were struck dead. Others had simply had the ill-fate to suffer a wound this early on. It seemed that these creatures were substituting quantity over quality. "Return fire!" The lieutenant commanded, his own marksmen doing as he asks. A staccato of bolts and arrows found their marks in various places, but many had instead failed to hit the target. The shot from his own crossbow tore a bloody hole in the head of one of the unresting. The man grinned, but wisely decided to hide behind the shield of another soldier before another volley came.
Ryon ordered his men to push forward. Most of the vanguard had entered the streets already and were doing battle with the Unresting there. Their opponents were nothing spectacular. They would be little more than peasants to cut down, had they not been tainted by the sanguine plague. When a man at the front was to strike at a ghoul, he would quickly be sprayed down by a torrent of arrows from above. How troublesome, the man thought to himself. In between shots, the man threw ceramic bombs up onto the roofs and buildings where the enemy archers hid themselves. The resulting explosion would quickly silence those emplacements.
"Not one step back! Move forward and find some cover!" The lieutenant commanded as he fired a crossbow into the brain of an oncoming ghoul. They could not afford this battle to become one of attrition.
Amongst the rocking of the ship that sailed closer and closer towards the city, just below the main deck, Wei has taken to sitting on his knees in a focused state. Valiant Song sat across his lap, while in his hand he held one of his talismans to the celestial beings above, begins to speak softly aloud in a prayer.
“To those who are watching from the Heavens, on this day, we seek to strike against the foul darkness hat has come unto these lands. We ask that you bless our blades to strike true. That our arrows hit their marks. That those who make the ultimate sacrifice in the coming struggle, be heralded to a worthy rest.” With the final sentence of his prayer, he bows his head in reverence, fingers grasping tighter to the talisman in hand as he hears the cry to form up upon the deck.
“It’s finally time…” he speaks to himself, placing the jain back at his side as he stands up. “We shall begin to bring back the light upon these blighted lands. We cannot afford to fail.” With a final check to make sure everything of his was secured, he rushes up to the deck with the rest of the soldiers.
As soon as the ship makes landfall, Wei hurries behind the shielded front, his sword dancing between the shields as the undead came charging forward. An arrow bypasses the shields, just missing his shoulder as it thunks into the soil behind him. His eyes narrow, ire towards the enemy archers on the tops of the various buildings in the city firing down on the forces.
Looking at what options are available to them, he’ll shout out to those near him. “Keep yourselves closer to the walls when possible! Use them as cover and advance when our own archers have fired back!” Catching sight of one buildings door sitting open, an idea comes to him. “In fact…” he motions to some of the others as he rushes towards it, another arrow cutting through a bit of the cloth of his pants, but nothing harming his leg. “Let us cut through the buildings and limit their archers targets as we take these chances and strike the undead from a different angle to the others!” Bursting into the interior, Valiant Song whirls and stabs through several undead within as Wei begins his advance.
And with this plan in action, Wei, along with those that followed after him, would bound across the city streets, taking cover through various buildings to avoid the ghoulish archers above and to clear out any undead inside from popping out and ambushing the forces advancing through the streets from behind. Many a ghoul found themselves struck down with great precision, Wei and Valiant Song like a dance of death.
Or would this be a dance of re-death?, he mused for a moment as his jain is pulled out of the cranium of what was once a living woman, fallen to the ground. May you finally find rest, he offers this quick prayer with each new undead stricken down.
Kage Tatsuya – No Honor Among the Dead: First Blood pt 1
I stand before the dying meet. I feel the angel’s cry and weep. I wish away my own defeat. For one more breath I ask to keep. I close my eyes, I lie in wait, until its time to strike with fate. This is for you, sign the deceased.
For my fathers… For my mothers... For my daughters... And my sons.. For my people...
Kage knelt in the mud, his beads draped over either side of his hands as he clasped them together with his head down. Extraordinary visions of those he loved, and those who he would love passed through his consciousness box. He concluded with a deep breath exhaling any last regrets. It was ritual for him to release all that has tailed itself to his being every once awhile, to center himself in the objective spanning throughout generations leading to this moment. A moment that the living would never forget, the attack on Karaju was just the beginning of a campaign that would demand great effort to be undertaken by those who still believe there is life left worth fighting for.
The loud snap of what sounded like thunder roared overhead.
'It was time...'
Kage lifted himself from the earthy floor as remnants of muddy substance clung to the kimono near his knees. His tongue slid across his top lip sensing the water which continued to cascade from his forehead to his jawline. The rain's intensity would create for a more difficult battlefield to traverse but it was expected to thicken the plot of the story about to unfold. The doors to Karaju were broken and the undead began raging out in mass. Kage took a deep breath looking up toward the sky as rain split across his skin.
"May those who fall be blessed in eternity, and those who live find solace in their lifetime." Another deep breath to calm the spirit of his mind and body. His eyes casting back down to the battlefield where the first line of steel made contact with the enemy. The orderly living soldiers found their match in the chaotic formations of the dead. Kage reached around with his right arm over his right shoulder to grasp the wooden hilt wrapped in red cloth, raising his arm upward he unsheathed his Chang Dao. It was a beautiful blade with a straight edge used stabbing and for eliminating the small tokens in the undead army like the unresting and nagri.
Kage bent his knees planted his feet and sprung toward the living's front lines which were currently being supported by fierce warriors who each had their reason for participating in this dance of sparks and steel. Kage's bare feet found the soft mud a bit difficult to gain speed in, his eyes focusing in on his first target, as always the uncertainty spawned butterflies in his stomach, but once he hit that first contact...instinct would override and he'd simply be both the painter and the painting, neither directing the picture, but simply experiencing the happening.
His approach was not impeded, the first thrust forward with the Chang Dao slipped right below the chin of an unresting. It was previously engaged in defending their position against an ally of the living but was not prepared to defend it's right flank. Kage's blade had entered horizontally it's blade facing right. When Kage pulled his Chang Dao from it's target, his left foot was in front with his right foot as support. Kage's left shoulder remained lower than his right because his right arm was fully extended for a piercing blow. Following up this attack, he twisted his torso and hips to the right so that his blade cut through the left part of his target's throat. Kage's blade cut the air dividing rain drops before slicing into another undead from the side.
Two fell with two actions and a small window for a few more living soldiers to wedge into was established. The undead's formation losing some of its ground crashed in harder from the sides trying to close the newly founded gap. Kage and others maintained their maneuvering to continue pushing forward. Kage dancing gracefully in the midst of it all while allies ground away at the never ending corpses.
They were truly legion. For no matter how many she cut down, another took its place. The undead swarmed, they didn't bother with formations, they didn't think of retreat. She could not affod such luxury. Bellowing a warcry she rallied her retinue to break trough the middle of the mass as soon as her allies began to fight the archers in earnest. Utilizing the brief respite from arrows and bolts, she and her samurai dove into the thick of it with one goal in mind. To carve a path. Her samurai preferred nodachi. massive two handed swords meant to cut trough pikemen and light cavalry. They turned out to be excellent weapons against tightly packed undead as well, her samurai drawing scores of kill with their advance.
“Do not falter. Press on!” She bellowed again, her blade cutting a bloody crescent as she cut into two mostly decayed shambling undead. Another explosion let her know another nest of archers were taken care of. Each rumbling helped her mind focus, to reset her goal and push further. IT was working to, without constant arrows raining down on her formation, the samurai under her and the other lords pushed into the throng and cut them down. Her blades flashed in light blue upon each cut, the holy blade severing whatever foul magic kept the corpses still moving. Up the stairs they went, a battle that was more then just uphill. The sheer mass of undead climbing upon one another threatened to become a unholy avalanche of biting, scratching flesh,
“YARI, UPFRONT!” She hollered as the trident like spears were hustled to the front, perfect to push in and back the now thinning, undead hordes. Thats when he heard them.
They were spectres of death. Howling, shrieking death. Nagri. They came all but flying into battle, jumping of ramparts and rooftops. Most of them wielded naginatas and wore tattered white robes over their armor. It told her they were most likely former warrior monks, Their shreeks sent men reeling and cutting their ears in pain, only for them to be cleaved in half by monstrously strong swings of those naginatas. One came at her, pushing it in a quick thrust, pressing the attack as she backed away.
“PRESS THE ATTACK!” She yelled to her men who were falling back from the sheer ferocity of the Nagris sudden appearance. Blood soaked her clothes at this point as a battle like this was far from a clean affair.
She cut to the side, dodging a shamblers clumsy sword swing and kicked it into the Nagris path. The Nagri simply battered it aside, but that split second was enough. One of her blades found their home in his skull. There was a second of a pause, then the skull exploded.
He drove the edge of his shield right into the bridge of his opponents nose, listening to the sound of crunching skull as he moved with his fellow warriors at the gate. They were met with hard, violent resistance. The shamblers here had been kept in a better state, and still wore sets of armour and wielded their weapons with a chaotic frenzy. He deflected a spear and took the undead spearman's head clean off as he moved into the undead pikewall. His job was to tie up the bulk of them so that the more nimble of their forces could move in. So he and his did what they were best at, they bellowed their warcry engaged the enemy head on. His cleaver of a sword cut flesh and severed the undead magic within it, separating heads from shoulders and cutting arms of bodies. He became a dervish as he tried to buy what time he could.
That’s when the screeches began. It rang out across the battlefield like a angry sirens call of death, he saw men and women around collapse, and felt a small trickle of blood run down his left ear. He gritted his teeth and buckled down, shoving a undead pikeman aside with his shield, moving towards the source of the sound.
“SHUT.” HE screamed as he a sword dug into his side, dispatching the attacker without stopping to check the wound. “UP!” He tossed his blade, saw it sail in a perfect spin and arc, saw with satisfaction as it hit the Nagri square in the chest, the creature clawed at the blade as it began to dissolve into fiery dust, seeing their captains bravery, his squad moved in, wading in to form a circle around him as was helped up by Aulan, his sister and second in command.
“You threw your blade brother”
“Had… to shut it up” He groaned, feeling his left ear, which was still ringing. “Get me to my blade Sister. I hear it calling.”
Docks: The clever tactics of the vanguard at the Docks has lessened the archers to an after thought, and secured the flank. The Docks are now a proper beach head for a second wave of attackers to reinforce. Push your advantage, even as they enemy is employing nagri.
Gate: The battle is slow, but successful in the livings favor. The Sanguine have let loose their most powerful Nagri to try and stem the tide. Their screeches can outright make your men pass out. Silence them at all costs or your infantry will fall!
The methodical twang, click, and thunk of his weapon was something Ryon had grown very much accustomed to, these past few days. The twang of the crossbow's string, the click of the mechanism's gears, and the thunk of the bolt striking the target was something he could hone in on, even as the battle continued to rage around him. In a sense, it was the metronome that helped him decide the battle's pace, provided that he's in control of the battle's tempo in the first place. This time around? The sudden attack from the docks and the relentless advance definitely meant that initiative was on their side.
"Forward, my brothers!" The man let out a wild laugh as he fired off another bolt at a distant archer. Now that the beachhead was secured, it was time to press the attack. They would be able to get reinforcements from the other ships easily enough now, and it was imperative that this force linked up with the other force that was storming the gates. They were on the other side of the city, of course, but that didn't make the goal any less important. The squad pushed on ahead, intent on earning their fair share of kills.
When he heard those screams in the distance, Ryon had realized his folly too late. Half of his squad was now overextended, and the Nagri would soon be upon them. He briefly considered ordering his squad to pull back, but that was impossible; a loss of momentum here might mean that their attack would stall at a critical junction. No, as much as he dreaded it, he would have to push up to his other squad members and link up before the Nagri get the idea of picking off each man one by one.
"Nagri, left side!" Ryon shouted as he fired his crossbow at the approaching undead warriors. Their bone-chilling shrieks were more than a little distracting. Upon hearing the dreadful wailing of the Nagri, the lieutenant's aim wavered ever so slightly. His crossbow bolt veered off-course as it thud against a nearby wall ineffectually. Thankfully, his squad was now linked up, and they could face these monsters together, rather than alone.
As the Nagri approached, Ryon pulled back the repeater's lever with speed borne of experience... only to find that he was out of ammunition. His eyes widened in surprise, before his expression shifts to one of rage. He had miscounted this cartridge's bolts, and the fact that these screaming ghouls could throw off his aim with an ear-splitting cry only exacerbated the issue. The men at the front readied their deungpae, forming ranks in an attempt to hold off the oncoming group of Unresting, whilst the marksmen at the back prepared for another volley against the Nagri before they could close in. The lieutenant had no time to perform a full reload of his weapon, and he knew it all too well.
Thinking quickly, the man pulled a ceramic bomb from one of his pouches and lobbed it in an arc towards the front. A moment passed, before it detonated in the middle of the approaching group of Unresting, reducing a few unlucky ghouls to unrecognizable gore. That should help the men at the front, but the more pressing issue was the Nagri. Soon enough, the monsters descended upon his squad in full force. Hang-Jun military doctrine would state that the shieldbearers would protect the archers or pikemen, but in a chaotic fight like this? The doctrine went out the window.
The lieutenant however, had abandoned the playbook quite some time ago. Useful for battles against other nations. Not so much the undead. Ryon watched as a few of the men in his squad lost focus due to the shrieking, only to die in a follow-up attack from those polearms. In life, these Nagri must have been warrior monks. The Nagri ahead of him seemed to know of Ryon's lack of a loaded weapon and moved to attack the man. The lieutenant backpedaled to avoid a frontal stab, then leapt to the side to dodge a vertical swing. He needed to turn the tide now.
Ryon let out a rallying cry as he darted forward, ever closer to the naginata. The Nagri seemed to realize the man's plan far too late, because the lieutenant was already upon it. The man slammed the crossbow's heavy stock against the shrieking ghoul's face, forcing the Nagri backwards. He followed up with a powerful kick to the knee, causing the monster to crumple to the floor. What followed was a less-than-dignified display of brutality as the lieutenant repeatedly bashed the stock of his crossbow against the Nagri's head. On the second or third strike, the ghoul's head gave way with a sickening squelch.
The lieutenant looked up at his squad to see them injured, but alive. They had successfully fought off the Nagri, for now. One or two of them had perished in the skirmish, however, and many more were not able to escape without injuries. Still, in spite of it all, their expressions had mirrored their officer's. These were eyes filled with determination. They would fight and win, or they would fight and die. Ryon gave all of his men a wild grin.
"We'll make sure their corpses are returned to Hang-Jun." He starts. "...but only after we return these corpses back to the earth!" He laughed heartily for a moment, gaining his second wind as he reloaded his crossbow.
Mikayazi pulls her blade from the chest of an undead spearmen, his light chest piece being no match for the thrust of her sword. Not spending a moment to watch, she quickly swung her blade to the right to decapitate another abomination, both bodies falling to the ground and crumbling to dust. She hadn't slowed down since the beginning of the battle, she had no need to. Her opponents were rotting corpses that lacked finesse, fine movement and strategy. While she did have to make sure she didn't end up surrounded, these small pockets of undead were of little match to her and her blade. Peering to her left, she smiled at the sight of Sakura, her captain, swinging her naginata down in a heavy arc, splitting a man's head in two. She had been trained well.
But they all have. The training camps that Mikayazi had set up when she inherited the throne had done wonders on her populace. All able bodied men and women were required to train and graduate from the training camp. In these times, everyone needed to be able to defend their home from an unstoppable force. And it was something very few people complained about. Who wouldn't want to be compensated to learn how to protect their family from invaders? And they were doing it well. The mindless shamblers were being slain at a quick rate. If they kept this up, it'd be cle-
Mikayazi suddenly cringes in pain, nearly dropping her sword to cover her ears in an attempt to stop the screaming. Nagri... she's only seen one, but... it was enough to know what they're capable of. Not the rotting corpses of the shambler, they were as able bodied as any normal human and had a scream that could burst ear drums at close range. Which means, her militia's training would be put to the test.
"FORMATIONS!" Sakura screamed. "Poles arms in front, bowmen in the back. Priority target are the Nagri, aim for the chest, pierce their lungs!" Men and woman rushed back and forward, making a line formation, with those armed with bows taking the back. "FIRE AT WILL!" Sakura shouted , arrows whizzing past her face as they stuck distant Nagri like pin cushions. The group would stay in one spot and priortize defending the archers from approaching undead. Mikayazi smiled and turned back toward the undead, her grip on her sword tightened. Things were finally about to get interesting.
Flashing her blade, she ran toward the nearest undead, her way cry rivaling the Nagri.
Kage Tatsuya – No Honor Among the Dead: First Blood pt 2
One. Two. Three. Four. Kage stabbed and slashed his way through what felt like a countless number of undead who appeared more as mindless fodder than actual resistance. He kept pace with his breath as to not exhaust his physical body or put strain on his mental state. The breathing kept his central nervous system, rhythm, and pulse all in a homeostasis. His body followed the speed of his head, and if he were to guess, the living were winning. It may have been a bias assumption but it was one that kept the spirits high above the battlefield where clarity existed, while the dark woods of blood and bodies convoluted much of one's senses in the thick of it.
An undead sword plunged deep into the man next to Kage, his attention curled to the left and side kicked the undead's knee, buckling it backwards. Gritting teeth he flipped his hilt toward the upward position, blade down, and with the undead collapsing to the ground, he shunned his blade to the left forcing steel to penetrate the undead's trapezius. Kage pulled his blade out and shoved the butt of his Chang Dao into the jawline of an undead who just filled the space in front of him. The bones of the undead who was just struck cracked sending the head up from focusing on Kage. Kage followed through with the strike by stopping his momentum at the peak right above his shoulder and sent the tip of the blade back down to stab right through the chest of his recent target. The two undead now folding in their own filth gave the living more ground to step into, but as they did the high screeching took root in everyones ears.
Kage dropped to his knee as his senses were thrown into a disorienting frenzy. His Chang Dao lost in the confusion, "What the fuck!" He yelled out as the screeching surrendered back into the background of able fighting bodies. Two allies around him were caught by surprise, one was gutted by an undead blade, while the other had their neck gouged from the teeth of a ravage unresting. Kage spotted the mobile Nagri who he assumed were the cause of his immediate disorientation. They stood out adorned with more armor and moved akin to a human. While on his knees he sunk both hands into the mud and grabbed some sludge to shove into his ears.
As the mud settled the noise of the battlefield became muffled, nearly silent with few sound waves reaching Kage's cerebellum. He zoned in on his new objective, 'I have no time for the screams of undead children, throwing tantrums because they are losing, pitiful.'
An undead sword came thundering down on his lowered position, Kage's attention reset on the field, he tucked his left shoulder forward and under while grabbing with his right hand around his left sheathed Dansu Raito. Rolling forward and unsheathing Dansu Raito he came to a crouch while cutting horizontally severing the unresting's back knee sweeping it right off the ground and landing on its back. Kage followed the line of his strike from left to right and came back from right to left but on a 45 degree angle to meet the undead as it landed on it's back. Kage's Dansu Raito pierced the gut. He stood up with his blade smoothly following out of the undead's stomach. The smell of death filled Kage's nostrils as he stepped over the deceased, he looked to a Nagri with a fire in his eyes.
He noticed the living were losing some ground on his side and then he spotted his target, 'Nagri...' he thought.
Kage noticed it was gazing at a formation which appeared to be protecting their archers. He would set his line of attack to intercept it's intention. The Nagri found it's moment as Kage started his approach, it ripped through a few minor skirmishes without much resistance from the living. Men and women alike were thrown off position as unresting followed the Nagri's destructive wake. It made incredible ground and at about 30 yards from encroaching on the formation of archers, Kage lowered his shoulder to hit the Nagri from the side slowing its movement and sending it to the ground for a second. Kage quickly slew an undead following the Nagri before the Nagri got back to its feet and attacked Kage, the Nagri's blade came from Kage's left in a crescent cut across his body. He instinctively twisted his right shoulder back, dipping his left shoulder, and using his hips to generate power in his maneuver pivoting the right foot to spin and cut. Upon spinning his right foot slipped in the mud causing him to fall to the floor right underneath the Nagri. The Nagri's blade came mere inches from his nose during the fall. Kage quickly recovering by switching the Dansu Raito to his left hand and rolling onto his right forearm allowing him to stab his sacred weapon upward at the Nagri. The Nagri side stepping the stab it used it's momentum from the cut to change direction back at Kage which was aimed at the rib cage. Kage was able to sit up from the energy produced in his stab and face the Nagri's blade, slipping his support leg back in the mud while leaning his lead knee forward to drop his height, Dansu Raito glanced the Nagri's horizontal cut. Springing from the back foot shifting weight to the front knee Kage pulled up and followed with a stab to the Nagri's skull.
After making the kill Kage scanned the battlefield quickly to reorient himself, turning his back to his allies formation, and focusing on the next Nagri to take out before the screams continued to effect the living.
“We’ve done well so far,” Wei speaks to those that have fought fought alongside him this far into the docks. Currently, his group has taken the chance to catch their breath in one of the abandoned buildings as the archer threat to the forces have come to be more periodic annoyances than constant harassments upon the advancing forces. His eyes scan over those amongst those still here. It was a bit smaller than when they had first started, some being struck down while others were injured in one way or another and ordered to fall back towards the main forces. “But don’t let it get to your heads. It’s only a matter of time before they may send our way something-“
At that moment, piercing screams rung out in the air from outside. It wasn’t long after those that screams of agony were let out by no doubt victims of what monstrosity has now come to the battlefield. Even in here, the screams gave a ringing to their unprepared ears. “-worse! Damn.” Wei’s brows furrowed. “Nagri… it was inevitable they would be set upon us…” He had heard stories of them. How they could bring down some of the mightiest warriors without even having to bear their weapons or hands upon them. He didn’t know how well he could take one of their direct screams if it came to it, but he certainly was planning to not have to test that if he had too.
Wei quickly moved his arm to one of his sleeves, ripping off most of it with a strong tug. Some of the group were taken aback by Wei’s sudden action, watching him as he rips some of it into smaller pieces before working them quickly into his ear. Once he finishes the second ear, he then uses the remaining material and rips it in a way to make a long strand of fabric, before then wrapping it several times around his head, making sure it’s covering his ears as best as possible.
He turns back to the others. “Find something to cover your ears!” He yells out. More screams from outside, even damped, have him turn to see that one of them is making a fast approach towards their position. Picking up his bow, he fires an arrow towards it. It sinks into its shoulder, but it only slows it for a second, as it continues to run towards them even more angry than it already was, it’s screams coming more prominent as it approached. On the edge of his vision, he could see that those who weren’t fast enough were grasping at their ears from the sonic bursts out of the creatures mouth. He couldn’t let this continue, else more of them would be out of commission.
Valiant Song came to replace the bow in his hands, as he charges the Nagri. The beast in turn brings its naginata to bear as it brings it down at him in a mighty arc over his head. Wei dives to avoid the strike, rolling back into a standing position in time to block its second swing aiming at his side. Gritting his teeth, he pushes back against its bladed end with Valiant Song, in turn throwing the nagri off balance. Taking the opening, Wei charges forward. The Nagri once more goes to let out a scream out, only to find a blade to slam into the back of its throat, piecing all the way out the back. It writhes at this, trying to claw at Wei, one backhand striking him in the hand. Roaring in aggravation, he slams his hand onto the pommel of Valiant Song, enough force being added that the blade ripped upwards into the Nagri’s skull, splitting it in two. For a moment, the undead’s body stayed were it was, before finally giving way and falls to the ground with a thud.
Heavy breaths came from Wei as he heads back to his group, waving his blade to remove the blood and grey matter still on it. He flinches a little as he can feel his ears ringing. Even covered, those screams are definitely not something one wants to be espoused to for an extended period of time, it seems. He shakes his head, focusing back to the others. “It won’t be long till more are sure to head this way. We can’t let them dictate where the fights are. Keep moving and try to engage them before they can focus those damned wailing at you!”