Rathe Grey & Chiya!
Location: Askavi Mountains, Fort Helios, Sky Pass
Fort Helios. A grand design placed in the pass that split the Askavi Mountains, called some way adequately Sky Pass. It is here that the fort had stood against countless invasions and attacks for just over two centuries. Garrisoned by some of the finest men the Askavi nation could muster. At the head stood Rathe, Warden Commander of Fort Helios and Lord-Defender of the Pass.
Out for his daily routines Rathe walked along the upper ramparts, dressed in full gear and always ever alert for the unannounced strike against the Askavi lands. As his feet fell against the cold, windswept stone one after the other. It was always cold this high up and it wasn't an odd event to have it snow even in Summer when this high up. However, it was this height that gave the fort it's tactical advantage. Any higher and intruders couldn't fly, leaving them to either brave Fort Helios or spead weeks navigating the treacherous mountain passes. Though with Rathe walking the ramparts it was a sure bet that the mountains would be safer. Yet even with that fools still tried to beat the wrath of Rathe and his men. Today was no different than any of the others over the past 200 years and the outcome will be the same.
This time, like always, Rathe was not walking the ramparts alone. The Kindred Wolf that he saved a few years ago and couldn't seem to get rid of. Though he'd never want to, Chiya was his best and only friend. And while he's never told Chiya that, he seemed to understand. Happily prancing along, keeping pace with a cheery gait. His tail wagging so fiercely that it threatened to fly off and get launched to the stars. "I hear something! Like voices!"
He chimed up, running instead of after Rathe to an arrow slit in the ramparts, looking out at the horizon, or at least he would've had he been tall enough to leap over the cusp.
Rathe, witnessing this adorable little feat slowly walked over to him and reach down with a single massive hand, scooping up the pup and putting him on the edge so he could look out into the horizon like he had originally planned. Looking out at the horizon with his friend the two saw how beautiful the wild world was. It was gorgeous and wonderful. Yet it couldn't fool either. They knew what dangers bred like rabbits out there and now more had come to their walls. Rathe looked out at the land to see a threat and where it was, but it wasn't until Chiya chimed up again to add, "Look in the sky!"
DId he look up to see what at first looked like a black cloud. Yet, he knew the truth of what it was. Letting out a grunt he picked Chiya from the edge and set him back on solid, contained ground, before walking off briskly to one of the massive bells that were set up on the wall. "Protect your ears."
He said to Chiya, who very quickly put his head down and paws over his head. Once that was done he gripped the chime of the bell and begun to swing the heavy metal thing back and forth, causing a resounding clang to echo through the entire fort. With the clangs came his voice, "To arms! To arms! To arms! All men to their stations!"
Within but a few minutes the men of Fort Helios were roused from breakfast and some even from sleep as they scrambled to to armor and weapons. Having been trained, drilled, and experienced in handling situations like these, several ranks were already at their volley points. More still at the artillery stations as their weapons were either themselves or mounted on the walls in the form of ballistae and trebuchets. Yet even as the first few hundred men grew ready they did so before the enemy was in range. Thanks to Chiya's supernatural ears they had removed the enemy's element of surprise. Before long the entire fort was at arms and ready to fight.
Rathe stood on the highest tower of the fort, overlooking the fields and his own men as they readied all weapons they had to bear. His tower was the forward most place as well, so he could even see down the front facing wall of the keep to ensure that all positions were ready to fight, and so that he could give commands. The first of which, "Artillery! Ready!"
Waiting a few moments as the artillery stations and mages took aim and drew upon their power. As the swarm came closer he waited and waited, watching them get closer and closer until finally, "Fire!"
All across the fort mages and ballistae let fly their long range bombardment to the swarm. A few moments passed as the bolts and blast flew through the air until finally making contact. Energy blasts exploding and clipping many sets of wings at once. Bolts from ballistae punching holes through the swarm and many Rhilander bodies. Even from so far away Rathe could see as the clumps of bodies well from the sky. Again and again, wave after wave was fired at the swarm, taking down hundreds of bodies, but still the swarm was only minorly shrinking, just as the shadwo began to cover the fort.
Turning to his men, Rathe smirked, which many people could say is almost more concerning. "Thank our assailants men! For they had seen to giving us the pleasure of fighting in the shade! Enjoy it while it lasts and know that in their passing, their final deed was a minor convenience for us! Archers! Open Fire!"
At the closing of his speech the archers on the upper and lower rampants drew, took aim, and unleashed volley after volley on the approaching Rhilanders, peppering them with hundred of arrows. Still more of their numbers fell as magic, arrows, bolts, and arcanic seige fire lit up the approaching swarm. Greatly reducing their numbers.
Rathe watched as his men did their duty, killing for Askavi and their family behind the walls. Yet he had done nothing but direct his men so far and that would not do any longer. With Harbinger in hand he pointed the blade at the swarm, readying his aim and power before taking several broad swipes and lunges with his weapon. As if making some sort of dance or training drill with his weapon. Yet on each cresendo a deep, dark grey lash or pulse of energy struck out, growing in size and reaping havoc upon the gathered swarm, cleaving swaths of blood to be cut from countless Rhilanders as the strokes continued through their unprotected bodies. Of all the men on the wall Rathe was still the most devastating in combat and he wasn't going to let anybody beat his kill count. So he continued his dance of death, twisting his weapon like it was a part of his own body. All the while cutting apart hordes of foes.
However, much like many battles with enemies of this size, they could not keep them at range forever and as their swarm was cut to a mere quarter of it's size, they reached the ramparts. The small, mischievous, and violent invaders attacking the archers first and very quickly overwhelming several who were carried away and cut to pieces by countless blades and claws. Although as it continued on the vanguard arrived with their spears, swords, and hammers. Piercing, slashing, and smashing at them to repel all boarders, sending most over the edge of teh castle for the wolves to reclaim.
Rathe still in his Warden's Tower watched as the swarm was being repelled at the wall and while the landed Rhilanders fought the vanguard he drew up his blade in hand and stretched his great wings taking flight with a great surge and charged into the swarm, erecting a magical barrier to leave him with a shielded bubble in a crowd of flies. Cutting around with his physical weapon to cut Rhilanders in twane. Yet for each one he cut another hundred seemed to be around him, swarming. As they surrounded him and walked right into his trap he quit swinging and instead started to summon all of his power inside, building up for several moments before with a great roar he let it all erupt out and surge past his form to burn and melt away the gathered Rhilanders. Killing countless and blasting a huge hole in their swarm. At that stage their numbers had be reduced so much that many of the stragglers became flapping at top speed away from the fort. With their forces in full retreat Rathe flew and hovered gently before his men on teh ramparts. Harbinger held firm in hand as he watched those swho remained be put to the sword.
Returning to the ramparts he started to walk past his men, "How many fell in the attack?
His question simple and cold, showing no sign of remorse or regret for the fallen. Yet that did not mean he didn't care. He needed to know how many he must honor and ask for their eternal vigil from the after life, to keep and protect their vows, and to ensure that Ashkavi will always be safe.
"Twelve my lord. Died with sword in want, faithful to their oaths." A captain among his ranks declared, approaching, saluting, and reporting to code. Rathe nodded in kind and walked away with teh captain following, "Have their bodies dressed and their graves prepared. I will preform the rights myself. Get messages to their families. Tell them all that they passed honorably."
Rathe said in response, always volunteering to provide the last rites of his men. To him it's more than sending to to teh beyond, it's about honoring them for their faithful and loyal service. And of course to request they stay and keep to the walls of Helios to watch over their fellow men and to keep Eternal Vigil of Ashkavi. It was never something he wanted to do, but he owed it to each and every soul who was his subordinate as their loyalty and devotion could never be repaid, so this was just a small offering he could make to start repaying that debt.