Hidden 29 days ago 27 days ago Post by Polybius
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Polybius Rhymer

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The Siege of Tamberle

Welcome! This is a true Jump-In roleplay and I invite you all to join in! I have a vague idea about the world and character I want to play and that's about it! Anyone can join. I only ask you respect the rules of the guild and acknowledge the other players. I will play Maren, a noble with some claim to the throne of the kingdom of Erlad. This is a true free-roleplay in that you can create a character and start posting without GM approval! The idea is to get the RP rolling and see what happens. Think of it as improvisation with some minor guidelines. Just keep within the general outline of the RP and everything should be all good. I've written just a quick paragraph below to create the setting and scene. The obvious jump-in character would be Maren's bodyguard, but you could create any character that fits with the setting. Let's write!





Maren walked along the stone causeway, holding a lavender scented kerchief to her nose and mouth. Still the stink of the fire-fens found her nostrils, and made her stomach churn. Flames, blue and green spouted randomly from the muddy marsh that surrounded the city of Tamberle. Behind Maren walked a soldier, wearing light armor and a sword on his hip. Shadows flickered across the many stone bridges leading from the city to dry land.

To the north, an army camped on a grassy embankment jutting into the brackish water. In the twilight of the day the cook fires were lost among the spouting flames of the marsh. But Maren could hear the war-songs of the mercenaries come to kill her and it chilled the bones of her slim frame. She paused, leaning against the ancient stone parapet. She was not sure if it was the fumes of the marsh or the impending invasion of the city that had knotted her stomach.

“We’re all going to die here,” she said. She looked at her bodyguard. He was observing the camped army, and turned to meet her gaze.
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Hidden 29 days ago 27 days ago Post by Ladypug
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He wanted to say something - anything - to ease his noble's mind, but Cassius stayed silent. Nothing he could say would do her good; it'd either implant a false hope or be affirming her fears, neither of which were exactly comforting. He'd only served Maren a little under a month now, and it's likely he'll die protecting her tonight. He figured he'd die young, but this is perhaps a bit better than he anticipated - he got to live his last days as if he was a noble, somewhat. Good food, nicer equipment, warmer nights.

Any rage or apprehension he had coming into tonight has since been smothered by acceptance of his likely fate tonight. He's satisfied with all he's done up to now, and he's in what some people would call the prime of his life, at 30.

...And she's still looking at him, as if expecting him to say something. He briefly glances back down over the army below - looking her in the eye for too long makes it difficult to think.

"It's not my intent to let them have you without a good fight, milady," Cassius finally says, a bitter sort of smile on his face, if briefly.
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Hidden 28 days ago Post by Polybius
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Polybius Rhymer

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Maren studied the sellswords' face. She found a thin smile, and weary eyes. Cassius had barely been in her service a month and now she had led them both to there probable deaths in the city of bridges. But in that time, Cassius, and the dozen or so men of his hired company had been well taken care of...the people of Tamberle were sympathetic to her cause, and the city was wealthy. The soldiers ate and drank their fill from the city coffers. The people of Tamberle were as much at risk as Maren's own small rebellion and were gracious in their hospitality.

"It's not my intent to let them have you without a good fight, milady,"

Could she trust his loyalty? Or would he and his men run once the situation seemed hopeless?

"I do not doubt that, Cassius," said Maren turning away from the walls to look upon the city. "I doubt any quarter will be given to this city, however. These men are mercenaries from Karsus, hired by my brother. They are not trained soldiers. They are looters. Bandits given royal sanction. This city will burn if they breach the walls."

And I am the cause of all this, thought Maren. For a moment, she doubted herself. Her brother had taken the crown that was rightfully hers. She was the eldest, after all. Fled the city with a handful of loyal men and women. That seemed ages ago. She had no choice, really. She would have been imprisoned, or worse. It wounded Maren's heart to think her brother Mago would be capable of such crimes, but here they were.

What would father think? Son and daughter tearing apart the kingdom like this?

The city was quiet now, as the moon rose above the eastern walls. A few lightly armored city guard patrolled the streets, lighting braziers and torches. The money-houses and merchants guilds were quiet. Even the inns and taverns seemed somber this night. The people well knew what would come in the morning.

"Cassius. I know you will fight. That is what I hired you and your men to do. I do not expect the Karsusians to breach the walls tomorrow. They are not organized enough to take this city that quickly, but once they do..." Maren looked down at her kerchief. The embroidered silk scented with oils from distant lands could buy a commoners food for an entire season. She balled the cloth up and tucked it into Cassius' breastplate.

"Keep me alive Cassius. Do that and you and your men will be well rewarded," said Maren.


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Hidden 28 days ago 28 days ago Post by Ladypug
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"This city will burn if they breach the walls."

Cassius grimaces slightly at the thought. Buildings on fire, crumbling; people screaming, crying, panicking; families torn apart needlessly. Maren had mentioned her brother a scant few times. Not that he really cares about the minutia and the drama of it all, but if this Mago fellow is paranoid and power-hungry enough to burn a city down, he is, at the very least, a massively unpleasant individual. Thank God he's an only child - every group of siblings he's ever met have convinced him having a sibling is a special sort of hell.

"...They are not organized enough to take this city that quickly, but once they do..."

Cassius glances down in a bit of confusion as Maren tucks the handkerchief in his breastplate.

"Keep me alive Cassius. Do that and you and your men will be well rewarded."

"Of course, milady." Cassius replies with a small nod.

As she turns away, he pulls the handkerchief from his breastplate to further examine it. He takes his glove off to rub it between bare fingers, tilting his head slightly as he observes the lace-like patterns on the silk. It's a very nice kerchief indeed. He has the fleeting thought to return it - he has no need for it, afterall - but.. it is very nice.

Cassius folds and safely tucks the cloth into a small, unimpressive leather bag which he keeps on his belt before putting his glove back on.
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Hidden 28 days ago Post by Lucius Cypher
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War horns sounded in the distance. But they were not from any normal human horns of brass and metal. No, this was a sound more akin to a great beast, bellowing a ferocious roar. A beast with an insatiable hunger. A hunger for violence. From the opposite side of the horns came a hail of flaming arrows peppering the war camp of the entrenched mercenaries. Arrows meant to sow chaos and confusion as oppose to causing any major casualties, but this strike was aimed specifically for a food and wood storage within the camp, to ensure that major supplies are burned to the ground. Pouring out from the hills affair came a strange sort of cavalry; instead of horses, they were large boars. And riding them were not men, but orcs.

Leading the charge was their leader, Malakaus Urabrask Vorinclex. A half-orc bastard of a knight who once served Maren. He died sometime later due to treachery, but before he passed Malakaus learned of him and his claim to bridge an alliance between his savage tribe with someone who could claim the throne. Orcs have always been a regular enemy to humanity, but Malakaus had dreams of uniting his people to become more than raiders and murderers who lived in caves and camps. To that end, he had watched this mercenary army to gauge their strength, and in turn gathered up a small band of orcs willing to fight for him. It wasn't a large force, only about thirty including himself, but Malakaus was not here to defeat this army, but to drive them away. Their tactics was to disrupt and weakened, and hopefully Maren's own forces could actually clean up the rest.

It looked as though Malakaus and his small unit of boar riders were going to catch the disorganized mercenary rabble, but instead he shouted out something in his brutish mother tongue and hurled clay flasks of oil onto more tents and solid structures. Long range archers then fired more flaming arrows, running away before the mercenaries could catch or fire back. They had to keep moving; while the orcs and their boars were naturally strong and vigorous, they lacked the more sophisticated armors and weapons the humans had. Malakaus himself was the only orc who had a proper metal breastplate and a steel battleaxe, while the rest of his kin had only harden leather armor, bows, and stone-tipped spears.
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Hidden 28 days ago 28 days ago Post by Polybius
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Adrenaline coursed through Oyargs black veins. The smell of fire and the sweat of his mount, a hairy bristle-back boar from the Tartarus Mountains filled his nostrils. Down the steep embankment of the marshy fen, tumbled rider and mount. Oyarg screamed with fanatical triumph as he plunged his heavy spear into a man and the beast trampled the body underfoot.

Already the fires were spreading through the camp. His master, Malakaus, although not pure of blood, was a clever one. But Malakaus liked to fight. He did not cower in caves, hoping to raid some meager caravan or farm. Malakaus led his men to battles wherever they were to be found. And Oyarg loved, no, lived to fight. Some thought his master foolish to split his forces when opposing a larger army, but the fire arrows had distracted the Karsusians; a mistake that would cost them their lives.

Oyarg did not care for tactics or politics. He was a grunt. A true soldier of the orc kind. He lived to follow orders, and to kill and to die. And Malakaus demanded blood this night.

The orc charged through the Karsusians line, screaming and thrusting his spear. Men half-dressed, drunk and barely armed fell before his blade and beneath the tusks of his boar. Oyarg laughed as he killed and wrecked havoc on the scattering mercenary army. His companions had fallen behind. He was leading the charge. He looked behind him to see a dozen men swarming the vanguard of the charge. Oyarg was alone.

Pathetic. Thought Oyarg as he thrust his spear into the face of a fleeing man-kind. The spear stuck, and Oyarg cursed as his gnarled fingers lost their grip. The heavy spear was left behind as Oyarg careened into a heavy black tent. Canvas tangled his mounts hooves and tusks and the boar faltered. Oyarg saw only darkness, the tent entangling him. He could feel his mount thrashing wildly as he reached for the machete on his hip. The sounds of battle were drowned out for a moment, and then :

A sharp pain in his side forced a gasp from his frothing lips. Another. The pain only enraged him as he flailed wildly, machete in hand cutting canvas and flesh. Light from the fire-fens fell through a tear and Oyarg fought his way out. Spears and swords in the hands of men fell, cutting and slashing Oyargs flesh to ribbons. Blood mixed with dirt and Oyarg fell, dead, smiling.
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Hidden 28 days ago Post by Ladypug
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Cassius's head shot up from his bag when he heard the inhuman war-horn sound off - his next instinct is to immediately grab Maren by her head and force her down behind cover to protect her from possible archer fire. He waits a moment before peeking over the edge, firmly keeping the noblewoman still as he does so. Only when he realizes that the orcs aren't trying to storm the city - rather, they're driving some of the Karsusians to flee - does he let go of Maren and slowly rise from his crouch to watch the chaos unfold below. Orcs don't usually act in such a coordinated manner; they rely on strength in numbers moreso than tact, yet...

He continues to observe in puzzled silence as he sees boar riders weaving through each other, spearing and trampling the Karsusians in a brutal dance of death, fire threatening to burn them all to a crisp if they don't move.
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Malakaus's ambush was doing well. At least 1/10 of the camp was on fire and most of the soldiers were still in disarray. However within that same chaos, Malakaus saw one of his warriors over extend and get overwhelmed. The warlord snarled; it was unfortunate but inevitable. While ambitious all of these warriors, while trained and hardy, were young and untested in a true battle. Most have only hunted and this would be their first chance to kill men. They were the eager ones who wanted to fight for Malakaus without really considering why the more veteran orcs turned him down. Still Malakaus was able to train them well enough to control them. He saw two more riders attempting to break off and avenge Oyarg's death, but Malakaus roared to get their attention and return to formation.

That being said, it wasn't as if Malakaus didn't intend to get revenge. Those soldiers were among the only few sentries who were ready for a fight, and Oyarg's final moments did a good job gathering them close together. Malakaus would not let it go to waste. He and his riders hurled more flasks of oil at the black tent and the soldiers surrounding it, riding away before they could engage the orcs in melee. Shortly after, more flaming arrows rained upon the camp, burning the oil, tents, and soldiers alike. This was as good of a send-off as a warrior could get; not only did he die in battle, but he had the honor of having his remains burned so that his spirit can join the ancestors in the Grand Fire, commonly known as the sun.

Additionally, for the soldiers who thought they could put out the flames with water they would be in for a nasty surprise. Many may consider orcs as crude and unsophisticated, but that would only make them underestimate the orc's cunning brutality. When the soldiers would dump water onto the flames, the oils which fueled that fire simply jumped out and spread onto anyone and anything nearby; the oil was made of an alchemical grease devices by the clan shamans that can burn even on swamp water. Only by smothering the flames with sand or something fireproof could properly kill the flame. And it's highly doubtful that these mercenary soldiers would think to do anything like that as their soldiers fled and their camps burned.

Malakaus lead his riders out of the camp as blew on his war horn, calling form a deafening roar where the first horn came from. It sounded like a thousand orcs were ready to descend upon the camp, but what came instead was a black cloud that rushed towards the encampment. And within that black cloud was glowing red eyes and a twin sharp tusks. It was an illusion of sorts, but an illusion befitting a brutally cunning orc. With the chaos around them Malakaus would make the army believe that his small group of 30 was in fact a larger force of hundreds or more. With the black smoke moving towards the camp, they may even suspect some sort of magic. But in truth, it was only one boar carrying two large bundles which created much black smoke, so thick that not even elven eyes could pierce the darkness. Only the flames that lit the bundles could be seen and they were positioned in such a way that they looked like demonic eyes. But the brutality of this tactic was that while there was not an army of one hundred orcs within this cloud there was a mighty boar beast, the strongest of it's kind. The terror of the Tartarus Mountains, a spawn of the Erymanthian Boar. While not as large or as unstoppable as the legendary creature, it is still far more dangerous than the boars that Malakaus and his rider's were mounted on. It had a hide thick enough to ward off pikes with tusks sharp enough to tear apart walls.

The only problem was that none of Malakaus's warriors, not even himself, could actually control the damn thing. They had merely lured it here with bait before setting it on fire to ravage the camp. Hence why Malakaus and his riders now needed to quickly clear the area before they too become a victim of the Erymanthian spawn. With any luck the boar and the mercenary army will sufficiently weaken each other enough for Malakaus to drive one or the other off. Worse case scenario, the boar proves to be too effective and drives off or even slays the entire army itself without taking too much damage, making that Malakaus and his riders need to figure out how to drive it away before it destroys the town. But Malakaus doesn't really see that as too much of a problem. He had a plan for that too.

As his group gathered back together he shouted orders for them to switch. Those who were archers now joined him with oil flasks, and those who rode alongside him into the camp took out their black bows. Many fear the orcs for their savage strength and their sheer numbers, and they are the classic barbarian hordes who would ravage a countryside with axes and clubs. Malakaus's clan was no different, at first. But he was different from the other orcs. He knew their true strength when they did not. Many would think the longbow is an elven weapon, meant for those with greater accuracy and dexterity. But what they don't realize is that a proper war bow is not a dainty weapon for some graceful waif. It requires great strength to draw back an arrow that can kill a man. Humans need to raise archers within multiple generations, making sure they have a noble's life to keep them strong and able. But an orc doesn't need that sort of pampering. Orcs had raw strength, and that's all they needed. With their raw strength even a novice orc could use a war bow with a draw strength close to 200 pounds. All it took from there was training them to hit their marks, and then to do that while mounted on a moving boar.

As Malakaus and his group changed formations, he raised a banner high into the air for Maren to see. The banner was also topped with an orcish crest, a symbol of his clan. The banner belonged to his father, Sir Aeon Archange. He had been one of the knights loyal to Maren who escorted her to safety when her brother had usurped the throne. An idealistic man to the very end as he was killed when Malakaus's own tribe had ambushed Maren's party on their way to Tamberle. He had thought, because he had a lover in the tribe, that they came to his aid. But instead they too had been paid by that treacherous Mago to hunt down Maren. When Malakaus had learned what had happened to his biological father, he had rebelled and slew the tribe leader. This created further chaos within the tribe as multiple clans fought for power, while Malakaus's own clan, Clan Vorinclex, fled for their own safety.

Malakaus wanted Maren to see this banner along with his clan's crest so that she knew where his loyalties lie. He came here representing his clan, but he was fighting on behalf of his father, who had been loyal to Maren to his last breath. Hopefully this would be enough to convince her and her allies to see that Malakaus isn't a threat to them and help out in some way, either by attacking the mercenaries once they were weakened or at least not shooting Malakaus and his warriors when they approach the town.
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Hidden 28 days ago 28 days ago Post by A Bald Elf
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Amongst the chaos strode a tall and nimble figure, a shadow shifting away from one strike to the other, concluding their skillful performance with a graceful back stab to the unsuspecting enemy. The assassin was one step closer to their ultimate target, they could feel it.

Erlad's newly crowned monarch once stopped by for a visit at their local guild, dropping a grand of gold on the table in exchange for his sister's pretty head. And that was just half of the intended payment, which had more than piqued the assassin's growing interest. They both agreed to come in close contact with each other, they never developed a bond no, but the hired sword knew how much of an entitled brat Erlad's new king is. The plan is to set camp, infiltrate the walls without much suspicion, while most of the low tier mercs cause havoc in the city as a form of distraction. Each group and individual had their part to do if worse comes to worst, the assassin being the one to do the quick and quiet blow if others had failed to do so. "Don't fail me on this one, Nyx." The assassin took note of the last thing Mago had said.

They navigated though the marshes while the masked figure made their way around the orc warriors, the only thing that stands between them and the prize is the city walls; Maren's last line of defense. At least that's what they thought. Not until the pig men, orcs as they are traditionally called, had finally joined in the chaos. And just like that the moment took an unexpected turn. This wasn't looking too good for the mercenary army. Everything happened in an instant; boar riders took them by surprise like the .

One of them ran the assassin over to the side, tugging away their hoodie to revealed ash colored strands of thin hair. Nyx returned to stance and this time, countered one of the brute's on coming attack. The blow was rather slow but deadly, yet it gave the assassin much moment to roll out of the way, slicing the brute behind the knee as he wailed in pain, one knee slumped on the ground. The assassin did not hesitate to stab him on the skull.

As the orcs pressed on, Nyx couldn't afford to be caught in the firefight. Men flailed from one side to the other as demonic boar ravaged their armies. And for the assassin, it's only a matter of time til they are fully overwhelmed. It left them with no other choice; stick to the plan, whatever it takes. Scanning the area the assassin caught sight of a marshy area which one could only guess, served as some sort of moat. Which means there's most likely a sewage system connecting to the city's interior. It becomes clear that the only way to press on with the objective out of desperation is for the assassin to flee the battle, and immediately make their way within the city walls.

After killing one and another of those orcs, Nyx sprinted towards the stables, grabbing one of the horses to flee in the dead of night and of course not after a group boar riders followed suit. As they went far enough to reach the edge of the water close to the city walls, at a dark grassy corner, one of the orc men aimed his bow at the foot of the horse, causing it to stumble over the ground with the assassin. Nyx cursed under her breath, and quickly stood up to be confronted by the warriors, backing away from them with swords drawn, as if waiting for the right moment to counter any oncoming attacks. Obviously outnumbered, Nyx can only resort to one thing to survive this; by jumping on the water. Which the assassin did, without any more hesitations.
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Hidden 27 days ago 27 days ago Post by Zaphander
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This was Annabeth's moment. For too long had she been denied by the fighter's guild, by the mercenaries, and even by the local guards to join the fight. She was an orphan, they would say, and a woman to boot. The kinder ones would use honor as an excuse but most were more blunt and simply thought her as weak. Didn't matter that she had trained herself in combat and even had her own armor; they simply can't let a woman join them in battle. But now they don't have that choice. With the enemy at their gates they can't afford to let something like gender prevent her from fighting.

Taking her warhammer in hand Anna went to find the lady and captain. They were newcomers to the city, and likely didn't know Annabeth. She had known about them for sometime however, and hoped to use this opportunity to get into their good favor and take her on as a knight, or even just a fellow mercenary. She was willing to prove her worth however she could. When she found them, she called out. "Hello there! Lady Maren and Captain Crassius, correct? I am Annabeth Elliot, a knight errant. It looks like the tide of battle has shifted to our favor! We should sally out and route these brigands while they're still a chance."
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Hidden 27 days ago 27 days ago Post by Polybius
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At last darkness had fallen and the somber night sky was filled with stars. The purple moon rose swiftly, and a sliver of it's own full self this time of year. A streak of light fell to the ground to the north. A fallen star? thought Maren. Another streak of light, fiery and red.It is far to late into the fall for the star-showers... she thought worriedly. Then hundreds of fires filled the night and Maren heard the war calls of orcish riders.

She stood mouth slightly agape as the mercenary camp was beset by the nomadic warriors. She heard the screams and cries of battle, carried easily over the fire-fens. From the North Bridge Garrison came the warning bell.

"What is going on Cassius?" said Maren. She looked to Cassius to see his reaction.

"Hello there! Lady Maren and Captain Cassius, correct? I am Annabeth Elliot, a knight errant. It looks like the tide of battle has shifted to our favor! We should sally out and route these brigands while they're still a chance."

Maren turned to see who had addressed her and posed such an outrageous thing. Who is this woman so eager to shed blood in a battle we cannot yet understand? thought Maren.

"The gods peace upon you Lady Elliot," said Maren warily. Her attention returned to the battle on the north bank for a moment. It seemed to be going poorly for the Karsusian mercenaries, and for a moment Maren felt relief. The thought of an orcish army at the gate was a different matter entirely...

Maren turned her attention once more to Lady Elliot. Maren forced a smile. The warrior held an impressive Warhammer. Maren did not doubt the woman could wield such a powerful weapon and instinctively reach into her robes and gripped the pommel of her shortsword concealed there. "Forgive me, but who are you? I do not recognize your name nor standard. What is your business here?"

The sounds of battle continued beyond the wall...

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Annabeth bowed her head towards Maren. "Forgive me, Lady Maren. So excited to fight that I forgot to make more formal introductions! As I said before I am Annabeth Elliot, a Knight Errant. I was trained by my father, Sir Asterion Elliot, a man-at-arms who fought for the former king. He had distinguished himself many years ago against the western heretics, the Dragon Fire Cult. He's long since retired and passed away many seasons ago, however I have taken up arms in his stead, as he died without a son to carry on his legacy." Annabeth kneeled towards Maren while keeping her head bowed. While this might not be the time or place for a formal knighting, there was some due process for these things after all.

"I'll admit to some embarrassment but I have no troops of my own. I come offering only my hammer to your cause. Eager as I am to prove myself, I know I alone can't hope to take down that army or the monster slaughtering them all right now. The town's guard would never allow me to fight alongside them because I am a woman but I'm hoping you and your captain have better sense." Annabeth continued to look down, but she raised her hand in the general direction of the fighting. "Even with this chaos ravaging the enemy, this city doesn't have the numbers to take on the bulk of the army or the orcs. But if you could spare a few good men, I'm willing to join them and take out their leadership! This army of thieves and cowards are lead by more powerful commanders, but once they are gone even their numbers will do them no favor. All I ask is that you give me this chance, Lady Maren, so that I can prove my honor."
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Hidden 27 days ago Post by Polybius
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The woman, Lady Elliot, seemed so genuine in her affectations. The name Elliot was not familiar to Maren but she had certainly heard of the fire-dragon cults. Maren was slightly annoyed at the 'knights' insistence on leading men out into the chaos of the night. But Maren could see this woman was clearly eager to fight.

"You are a very brave woman to ask such a thing, Lady Elliot," said Maren coldly. "And you are not a knight..." She thought for a moment. "But it is true I need good fighters. So does this city. Help defend the walls, if it comes to that Lady Elliot. For we do not know what threats await us in the morning. Do that and I will take you into my service. 10 silver a month, plus food and lodging. Cassius will be your commander. That is my offer. Take it as you will."

Maren turned once more to view the battle unfolding on the banks of the fire-fens.
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The battle was going well so far as Malakaus and his riders continued to harry any fleeing soldiers into the path of the the Erymanthian Spawn. They cut down soldiers, armed or not, and set fire to many tents. However as they rode a two of his warrior came up to Malakaus. One appeared to have lost his leg and was bleeding from his head, while the one who carried him seemed worried. He spoke of how a warrior had wounded his friend, and how another one of the riders was also lost to the same warrior. This panic in the orc's voice only made Malakaus annoyed. "Lufynt! Drec ec fyn! Uv luinca oui'mm kad rind! Un ajah gemmat ev oui tuh'd vummuf so untanc." Again, many of these warriors were young and untested. They knew they fought against soldiers but were confident thanks to Malakaus's careful tactics giving them an advantage. The fact some of those soldiers were now trying to fight back seemed to scare them, but Malakaus will make sure they have worse things to fear than just the soldiers.

"Oui yna ymm aqbaneahlat rihdanc cu oui ghuf ruf drec fungc! Y lunhanat yhesym ec dra sucd tyhkanuic uha yht fa ryja draca bedevim janseh dnybbat!" The orcs seemed to take Malakaus's word as a challenge. They were not cowards, or at least they would not admit to being one. However Malakaus knew his words alone would not be sufficient to convince them. They needed a show of bravado, an epic deed to follow. Simply riding about cutting down fleeing soldiers or shooting arrows at unsuspecting fighters won't instill confidence. They needed something much more flashy.

Malakaus shouted to his second-in-command, a rather burling looking orc raider, to take his banner and to continue strafing and herding soldiers into the path of the Erymanthian Spawn. Malakaus himself drew his battleaxe, a wicked weapon of his own make, and charged into the camp. Unlike some of his fellow riders he made sure to not be near any tents were a random soldier could come out and ambush him. No, instead he actually followed the trail of destruction made by the monstrous boar ravaging the camp. Right now it was still rampaging, but it was about to run into a large pike wall. Even for it's strength, those spears could do some serious damage to the Erymanthian Spawn. But Malakaus wasn't going to let that happen.

He lowed his body as he spurred his boar forward, charging towards the pikeline. A sucidal move for any sort of cavalryman. But this was where human horse riders and orc boar riders were different. Despite seeing the wall of spikes in front of it Malakaus's boar did not slow down at all. And just as a pile would've skewed it through the eye, the boar flicked it's head to the side and knocked the pike away using it's massive tusks. Suddenly there was an opening within that spear wall as Malakaus's boar gored a pikeman, while the half-orc himself swung his battleaxe and decapitated another soldier. All of this happened right after Malakaus and managed to outrun the Erymanthian Spawn, and caused just enough of a shock to the pike line that the boar was able to run them over, taking only a few superficial injuries in the process.

A group of soldiers were trying to arm a siege weapon to slay the boar, but they too would find their end at Malakaus's axe as he cleaved two bodies in twain. Seeing their commander capable of destruction of their own, showing them that he was not some craven who expected his orcs to simply die on his behalf, Malakaus' young warriors found renewed vigor and would soon come and join Malakaus's rampage. They followed the second's command to continue torching tents and destroying as much supplies and fortifications as possible, attacking the soldiers only as Malakaus directed them. Once the warlord had joined back up to his troops properly, he commanded them to fall back as the Erymanthian Spawn was on it's way. The smoke still covered it's body and was creating a choking cloud of smog that would blind the soldiers in the camp, creating further chaos. It'll also make it harder for Malakaus and his warriors to actually fight, since they too needed to be able to see and breath. For now they had wrought enough destruction to call for a retreat. Many soldiers wanted to loot the dead but Malakaus roared at them; they can come back to loot once the Erymanthian Spawn was gone. For now they needed to return to their camp, tend to their wounded, and prepare for the next battle.

Before Malakaus would leave he made sure to raise his banner up on high for Maren to see. So far there hadn't been any arrows from the city walls, but Malakaus wasn't sure if that was because she trusted him to deal with these mercenaries, or simply because she hoped they would slay one another first. Either way Malakaus and his surviving rides would leave the battlefield for now, returning to their camps and getting ready for the next fight.
Hidden 27 days ago 27 days ago Post by Zaphander
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Annabeth raised her head with a smile. "I accept! You won't be disappointed m'lady. I will bring honor to us all." Annabeth stood up and nodded towards Crassius. Hopefully he had heard everything so Annabeth won't need to repeat herself. "Though I still think we should send out some of our own warriors to strike the enemy commanders, I'm willing to follow your orders. Many of the townsfolk have already boarded up their homes and shops. While the docks are still full of merchant vessels ready to flee once the city is breech." But Annabeth didn't seem worried as she reported this information. In fact she cracked a small smile. "The fact they haven't already fled tells me they're confident that the city will not fall. Even the peasants are joining the militia to defend their homes. Not all is lost yet, so long as you continue to have hope."

As Annabeth spoke to the two on the wall, the soldiers below were trying to rally together. Most of them knew they couldn't defeat the boar and were now trying to lure it away with horses carrying what few supplies they could scrounge together. If they could just get that beast out of here, they might be able to salvage this situation. Not helping however were those damned orcs. If they had just come into camp and started fighting, the soldiers could have easily surrounded and overwhelmed them. Instead they ran away, but the soldiers will take whatever advantage they could. As the monster was being drawn away a few crossbowmen took aim at Malakaus and his riders as they were fleeing. Even though it was nighttime the fires from their camp provided enough illumination for them to shoot a volley of arrows at the raiders.

Meanwhile putting out the flames was a knight carrying a staff. But he wasn't a normal knight but a royal knight. As he approached he lifted his staff towards the inferno and started knocking the flaming boxes and supplies into the mud and dirt, dousing the fire on them. The flames hardly seemed to bother him as he waded through the fires and killed the flames. Soon a soldier came up to him. "Commander Diclonii, we've manage to lure the boar away from the camp, but what should we do about the fires? Water isn't putting out the flames!" The armored knight looked down to the smaller soldier and scoffed. "It's like you've never dealt with a little fire before. Use the sandbags to smother the fire! They're in one of the few supply tents those damned pigs haven't set fire to. And ready the catapults! I had hoped to minimize the damage to this fine city, but it looks like we don't have that option anymore. By the time tomorrow comes, I'll make sure this entire city is nothing but bones and ashes!"
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Hidden 27 days ago 27 days ago Post by Ladypug
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"What is going on, Cassius?"

Maren's words continue to ring in his ears. Cassius has been doing an excellent job of not showing it on his face, but this is nowhere near how he had imagined this going. He had a plan, and until the orcs had showed up he was confident in the plan. He would have sent his men with Tamberle's army to defend their walls in the morning, and he would stay with Maren and, if things had went poorly, he would protect her to his dying breath, as he had said he would. He expected a quiet, if tense, evening - more time to fully accept his possible demise, not.. Not all of this!

As Annabeth continues to talk, and talk, and talk, Cassius's neutral face slips into a grimace. Her voice is ear-piercingly shrill, like a harpy eagle's cry - but that is, frankly, an insult to the majestic bird.

"You're willing to follow orders, Lady Elliot?" He waits a moment or so, "Good. As your commander, I order you to be silent until spoken to," Cassius pinches the bridge of his nose, voice softening to almost a whisper, "Your voice is giving me a headache."

He leans into the railing slightly, back turned away from the chaos below. He instead looks to the night sky above. It's possible that the Karsusians will start attacking sooner than expected now, thanks to those damned orcs. He glances to Annabeth for a moment, then down to the city below. Maybe he should send her to rile his men up - he had told them that they could rest easy tonight, for it was tomorrow they needed to worry about, but now...

He looks at Annabeth once again, "Actually," he stands up straighter, "Here's a job for you. Tell my men that I said they need to armor up and be ready, that the plan has been.. adjusted. If they hassle you," Cassius takes off his scabbard, handing it to Annabeth, "flash this blade, they'll recognize it. My men are lodged over in that.." he points in the general direction of where his people are lodged. "..area, over there. It's close to the leatherworker's place. Despite my orders for them to rest, I don't doubt for one moment that Avery's awake and drinking right now, the idiot. Avery's a redhead, not common 'round here. You'd have to be a blind man to miss him."

Cassius shoos her off to go do as he asked, "Go on."


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Hidden 27 days ago Post by Lucius Cypher
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As Malakaus and his warriors rode away, one of the archers spotted the arrows flying towards him. He shouted out a warning just in time for Malakaus to raise his axe to deflect, though most ended up hitting his boar and his armor instead. Only one arrow managed to even bypass his breastplate, but fortunately the orc's leather tunic underneath blunted the arrow's strike. Thus the bolt only made a small cut into Malakaus's flesh, as oppose to something more serious. His archers returned fire while Malakaus himself remained cool headed, doing his best to control his boar who felt the need to flee now that it's been struck.

The remaining orcs managed to getaway from the battlefield and return to their camp hidden in the swamp. The waters here were far too deep to take horses; they'd end up stuck in the bog and drown. But the battle boars of the orcs were tougher than that, not to mention their body shape and strength made it possible for these creatures to even swim across, even with the orcs on their back. On an open plain horses could easily out run and maneuver around the slow but tough boars, but in these marshy conditions ill suited for cavalry, the rough and rugged boars were more mobile. Not to mention that within the waters themselves were orcish traps; wooden spikes that would impale men or horses that the boars simply swam over, though the orcs also knew the safe path to avoid them anyways.

Malakaus's war camp was sparse; the only ones here were the mothers and sisters of his warriors. They were responsible for maintaining and protecting the camp while the men were away. Even though a female orc was stronger than any human male, orcish society was simply the type that still considered women a lesser gender. Malakaus thought otherwise, but not many females cared for his opinion. They were here for their sons or brothers. They too distrusted Malakaus and his maverick thinking, blaming him for the clan's current exile. But he hopes that this gamble he made allying with Maren will pay off. As he dismounted he went to check on his scouts.

Not all the orcs here were from Malakaus's clan. His people came from further north, and don't normally call the lands around the fire-fens home. While the boars were native to this place, they were different from the bristlebacks more suited the the mountainous region. And so Malakaus made it a point to contact the local orc clan around here to act as guides and scouts. They were not part of any tribe, and in fact seemed to want nothing to do with orc politics. He had to pay quite a hefty sum just to get two orcs who were willing to work with him. But two would be enough.

Garruk was tasked to keep watch on the Karsusian Mercenaries. It was thanks to him that Malakaus even knew what he was up against, and what tents they needed to hit first. It was thanks to Garruk's trained falcons that he could see further than his own eyes. What that meant, Malakaus was not sure. Perhaps it was magic. Or perhaps his falcons were just smart. Either way Garruk had not lead Malakaus astray so he'll trust him. Hew was in charge of counter-intelligence, basically making sure that no one finds this camp. He was certainly magical; when Malakaus first met him, the man already knew his name, his parents, and his plan. Thus Malakaus deduced this man was some sort of seer who uses divination to see into things that mortals cannot. More importantly he made sure that other scouts and assassins never find the camp. Usually through misdirection, though recently a few bodies have been pulled out from the marshes. Hunters paid by the mercenaries.

Meeting with the two, they exchanged words in their orcish tongue. Through them Malakaus learned of two important things: firstly he finally found out who their leader looks like. This would be important if Malakaus wished to claim the glory of defeating this army first. Second, he learned that among the mercenaries is an assassin. Unlike the other ruffian soldiers this man was a far more skilled killer, and certainly knew what he needed to do. Apparently Malakaus's own men had run afoul with him already, though where he was right now, Hew did not know. This concerned Malakaus; it's possible that this assassin might come after him in order to end his raid party before it can do more damage. Or more likely, the assassin has been sent to kill Maren. If she dies, than this entire campaign would be for naught. This put Malakaus in a tough position.

As his men rested Malakaus returned to his tent to debate his next course of action. No doubt the mercenaries would be scrambling to conduct their siege now that their supplies were cut. But they would also know that by doing so, they no longer have the luxury of time. Normally sieges could take weeks, months, or even years of simply camping outside of a fort or castle and bleeding it dry of resources and supplies. After all, that's why the current king had hired a mercenary army to preform the siege, as oppose to his own country's army. Even the new king can't afford to send all of his soldiers to one place for very long. So those mercenaries have to make some progress soon, or before long they'd run out of food to eat, wood to keep warm, and the siege would die in a few days. And now that they know that there are orcs here who would harry them, they would also need to spent time or men to guard their flanks. If they focus entirely on besieging the city, they'd leave themselves open for Malakaus and his warriors to ambush them from behind.

Divide and conquer. That's how the humans defeated the orcs and drove them from their homes. By attacking from multiple angles, the many tribes could not come to eachother's assistance, too busy protecting their own, and one-by-one each was lost. Even now Clan Vorinclex was weak. Having been exiled from the Dark Star Tribe, with Malakaus himself causing his own friction within the clan, they were in a very precarious situation. His failure here could very well mean the death of his people. But at the same time, it was in circumstances like this that the most reward could be gained. If they could simply route those Karsusian mercenaries, the plunder from the battle would turn the tide for his clan. They would be well armed and armored, and more capable of standing up to their enemies. If they could gain the cooperation with the city, they could barter goods and buy better equipment that what could be made or stolen in battle. And finally if Malakaus could forge an alliance with Maren, he would have a credible authority against King Mago. Someone that he could rally his people around to defeat the human king who had taken their lands, so to say. Inevitably some may ask if Maren intended to give Malakaus and his people back the lands her father had taken from them. This wouldn't be easy, but if Malakaus proves his worth to her, it's possible. Certainly a better chance than the orcs trying to take the land back by force.

As Malakaus was thinking about this someone came into his tent. It was his mother. A old, by orc standards, woman with a sunken face but bright eyes. On her back was a black war boar and in her hands was a dead water fowl. The two exchanged a few words, just casual conversation. But she got to the point quickly after: she thinks Malakaus should return home. Thirty men would not be enough to take on the enemy, even after the damage they caused today. At best even if they could route the Karsusian, many orcs would die. And even if Malakaus was the sole survivors, the humans in the city would simply finish him off to remove two birds with one stone. This is despite how Malakaus's mother looked at the banner by his bed. The banner of Aeon Archange. She truly loved the man, and only because of her people did they have to part. But he was dead now, and Malakaus was alive. And she wanted Malakaus to live. This thing he wanted to do, to unit his people with the humans, it was a fantasy. A mere dream. Such a thing could not happen in reality.

These were things that Malakaus has heard a lot. Being a half-orc people seem to think he's some sort of myth, a mistake. That there was no way orcs and humans could genuinely work together. People have said the cruelest things just to disprove Malakaus's hope and existence. Things like his father simply raped his mother as a show of human domination. Or that his mother was just a whore with a taste for man flesh. Or that he was actually just another bastard of the man orcs who would ravage human women unfortunate enough to be kept as slaves after a raid. So many terrible things just so they could be protectively jaded at the idea that somehow, things could have been better if they had simply given it a chance. But Malakaus was different from them. He would take that chance. It was his destiny.

There was good news. Another women entered Malakaus's tent with news of supplies that came in. More orcs from Clan Vorinclex had come to assist, and they had brought valuable plunder with them: steel weapons. The reinforcements had intercept and raided a weapon's caravan that was suppose to supply the mercenaries. With this his orcs would be better armed to cut through the armor of the Karsusian soldiers. The arrows could easily punch through even the toughest of plate armor with their black bows. And there was still Malakaus's secret weapon. As he left the tent to go see the new weapon shipment, he passed by his mightiest weapon of all; the War Wolf. A mighty trebuchet that took him and his few loyal orcs at least five months to complete. Bringing it here without anyone noticing was the hardest part. But now it was near in completion and ready to wage war against his enemies. If the Karsusian attacked now, even in preparation of Malakaus's horde, they would never suspect that orcs of all things would have a siege weapon capable of sending a two hundred kilogram projectile nearly five hundred meters away. And with the scouts Malakaus had hired, he was confident that he could easily strike the Karsusian's before they knew what hit them.

Things were looking better by the minute but Malakaus would not let himself relax. Such arrogance was what caused the collapse of his people in the first place, and disaster could strike at any minute. His men would need to be ready to sally forth soon. He'd have to leave a few behind to guard the camp as well as to operate the siege weapon, while Malakaus himself needed to lead his men back to battle. He trusted his second-in-command to take care of things here. Soon the camp was abuzz with activity as warriors rearmed themselves, ate their rations, and tended to their wounds. Malakaus himself had taken off his armor to deal with the bolt that had struck him. His mother brought over some medicine and clean bandages.

"Soon... This battle will be over. And the war will begin."
Hidden 27 days ago Post by Haeo
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Atop the walls were many figures. Seen from a distance, most would look alike with subtle movements and a stiff and nervous manner. Having to simply stand and wait for the chaos on the fens to spread and lash the city walls was a tough challenge for the young and impatient. But, fishing rewards patience, stillness, sure strikes and the waters around the shipping routes had a valuable bounty for those who had no fear of getting a little dirty. Though, in times like these, the men with the skills to reap those rewards were mostly gathered aboard the merchant vessels. Their skills would be useful on the waves.

One of them had joined the shapes on the wall. Perfectly still, he stood calmly. He had a tall basket of woven fen grass beside him on his right that was full of javelins and harpoons. Leaning against the wall on his left was a short spear with strips of metal running the length of the pole between the spike that tipped it and the steel capped butt that had proven useful in several dockside scuffles. He wore little by way of armor, a simple leather jerkin with detached sleeves that included gloves and thick leather pants that were long enough to almost cover the fact that the young man was barefoot. Boots could slip on wet stone as easily as on wet deck boards.

The young man was in a shadowed place between torches where the presence of lights made him all the more difficult to see. Scurr Nippled-Bottom was not a person with great prospects. But, he was handsome enough and he knew how to hide from the fish and the Black Squid of the deeps. He was almost ready to marry his girl too. It would be dangerous, but a little loot from the battle and he'd be able to afford that dress that Lita'd been wanting. It'd help soothe her father's doubts about him too. In the meantime, she and her family were busy securing passage with one of the more reputable merchants.

She'd be safe, at least.

His thumb slowly traced the pattern of a charm she had given him, a lock of her hair braided in a betrothal knot and secured with a strip of white linen. He tucked the charm in his belt, secure but out of the way, while being careful to not move anything that could be seen above the battlements. His stillness would make him seem like part of the wall rather than a defender. It should help him get the drop on the first enemies to approach. He swallowed hard. He had never killed a man before. He wasn't looking forward to it. He cast a sidelong glance down the length of the wall to where that noble lady was standing. She was a looker, he wouldn't lie, but there was something about her that put him off. Eh, he was happy with his Lita. But, maybe if he stuck just close enough to this lady he might be able to ride the shadows and make both his mark and his profit. Riding the shadows was what harpooners like him did best, skimming the edge of the most active fishing grounds and picking off the prey that were distracted by the commotion. Most of their catches were literally in the shadows of other boats, either right under their noses or hiding in the shadow cast by their sails. Hopefully, he'd be able to read the shadows well enough to not get caught up in the fighting too much. Death didn't bring profit... or ring wedding chimes.
Hidden 26 days ago Post by Polybius
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The battle on the beachhead continued as Maren watched. In the darkness of night, she struggled to judge the tide of battle, but as the screams and cries of men drifted across the marshy ground Maren could tell the Karsusians were breaking under the orcish assault. Riders rode hard through the scattering lines of mercenaries, driving them into the fire-fens. The fires were spreading slowly through the camp and even one of the partially constructed siege catapults had caught fire. Through the flicker of the flames, Maren glimpsed an odd thing-a royal standard. A human banner. Maren could not make out the design of the crest in the darkness, but she found it odd an orc would carry such a thing into battle.

a trick perhaps? Why would the orcs raid this far south? And into an armed camp? Her mind turned the possibilities over and over, but she could not make sense of the situation. Either way, the immediate threat of siege was momentarily broken.

"I cannot make sense of it Cassius," said Maren. "Do you see that banner there?" she pointed to the royal banner. "It is of human design. Why would the orcs carry that?"

The night air turned warm, and the smell of smoke drifted over the wall. Nearly an hour had passed since the battle began. Maren suddenly felt tired, her mind racing to understand the new developments.
Hidden 26 days ago 26 days ago Post by Ladypug
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"Do you see that banner there?" Maren points to the banner as the boar riders escape back from whence they came, "It is of human design. Why would the orcs carry that?"

Cassius squints into the darkness where Maren is pointing, but by the time he locates the pitch dark silhouette against the black-blue sky, it's gone over the hill. He shrugs his shoulders slightly, "I'm not exactly a seer of any sort, milady - I have not the faintest idea.. unless you happen to know an orc personally?" Cassius briefly scoff-laughs before making a note of Maren's sudden onset of exhaustion. Smile faded and replaced with one of neutrality, he gestures vaguely in the general direction of Maren's quarters, "Perhaps we should retire for the night- or, rather, you retire."
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