5th day of the month Olfaccium
Nation of Sight
Shimmer Town"Remember, the gate consists of three parts."
The Kharu-Natjer said to a room full of Malkev's men, Svephraey's brutes and the pact makers. "In order to open the gate, we must take control of each part. Lose control of a single section, and we won't be able to open the gate for the Army of Touch. Without the army to distract the Cult, our attack on the seed risks failure."
Somehow the Kharu-Natjer had seemingly learned about the army's approach and Karina's newly assigned mission to open the gates. He had called everyone together the night prior to prepare a plan of attack.
All participated in the planning, even Malkev though his participation came grudgingly. The man had apparently approached Karina earlier in the day and came to some sort of agreement with her. The details of which had yet to be shared to the rest of the pact makers.
Svephraey was the only one who didn't have anything to add. Keeping to herself, the woman watched the group from the corner of the room. Her eyes seemed to twinkle with amusement. She was noticeably absent today, to the displeasure of the Kharu-Natjer. Her lack of appearance earned her a scornful comment from Talon."There is the inner and outer portcullis, and in-between them there is the actually door."
Malkev had been kind enough to provide a detailed description of the gate's workings the night prior. Each portcullis was opened by their own winch and pulley system. Once the gate's reached their apex the would lock into place to both the benefit and detriment of the pact makers.
On the one hand, it meant that the pact makers didn't need to hold the portcullis opened. On the other hand, each portcullis locked into a lever that would cause the locking mechanism to release when hit with a sludge hammer. It was a defensive measure built into many gates these days. The release mechanism allowed soldiers to quickly shut the gate on an invading foe, trapping them between to metal grates. It was kill zone of sorts. A trap allowing the defenders to pick off enclosed invaders with ease.
This was why it was important to maintain control of the opening mechanism for both of the portcullis. The outer portcullis had its winch exposed at the top of the gatehouse. The winch for the inner portcullis, however, was enclosed inside the gatehouse's guardroom. The pact makers would need to make it inside the gatehouse to open that winch.
The door between the two metal gates was held in place by a thick wooden bar. So not only would they need to open the inner and outer portcullis, but they would need to unbar the door as well. Fortunately unbarring the door was more trivial in comparison to taking control of the two opening mechanisms. That, however, didn't make the job any less important."You will each be given a bag of salt. It wasn't cheap. So do be careful not to lose it all before taking on the seed. And remember, don't forget what our friends told us. Rip out its hearts. Cut off its stem. Salt the stump. Only then can we kill the seed..."
The world changed within an instant. The sun turned green and shifted in the sky. The sky turned black, like night, just without casting the remainder of the world in darkness... though everything did seem gloomier, oddly. The sight stopped General Viktor Frost in his tracks. He could hear his men muttering with concern. The words 'Dark Magic' popped up more than once.
Colonel Raelar stepped up beside Viktor seeming strangely unperturbed. "Scouts weren't lying then." The colonel said in a flat tone.
General Frost exhaled softly. "So it would seem, Colonel."
"Point towards the Lieutenant's sanity then." Raelar said with a sniff. "But, do the rest of her words ring true or are they mere fancy?" "With any luck, the Lieutenant will open the gate and we won't need to find out."
Raelar eyed Viktor with a frown. "Well then," He said. "Shall I have have one of our feathered familiars give us a look beyond those walls?"
General Frost nodded curtly. Frost's next move depended on whether or not the girl had received his message.
He was about to focus his attention on calming the troops when suddenly the gates stirred. They opened wide enough for a lone rider to exit.
"Ah." Raelar said. "That must be their envoy. Well General, I'll leave you to it."
Viktor drew his mouth in a line. He watched as the rider drew closer.
"Open the gate! Let us out! Open the gate! Let us out!"
A small crowd of angry citizens had gathered at the foot of the wall. Crowds like this had apparently started gathering sometime during Tayla's isolation. Apparently some lord named Malkev had rallied the people up, instigating them into protest.
"You don't own us!" She heard one of them shout. "You don't control us!"
Tayla ignored the shouting for the most part. They had people patrolling the foot of the wall making sure nobody got too close. According to Smit, who was now her boss, it was their job to assist in securing the wall and the gate's opening mechanisms.Smit...
She thought her grip on the hilt of her blades tightening. She could feel her nerves tumbling around like little pebbles inside her chest. Thinking about Smit made her feel... what? Anxious? Betrayed? Remorse? Jealousy?
Too many feelings circled around that man. Emotions which had only been stirred when she bumped into him the day prior. "I hear you've taken my... old position."
She had said to him that day, after breaking a long awkward silence.
"Someone has to keep the newbies in check." Smit had replied with shrug. "I didn't exactly ask for it... well... sort of...""Sort of?"
Smit cleared his throat uncomfortably. "You made it clear to me that my help was neither needed nor wanted.""I-"
Tayla started, but she was quickly cut off.
"You nearly killed me trying to smash that woman with the bell.""I saved you!"
"And immediately after you put a sword to my throat.""You were undermining my authority!"
"Tayla..." Smit sighed. "Look where your authority got you."
Tayla stiffened. His words catching her off guard. Since when did Smit argue back?
"Does it not even bother you that you nearly got me killed?"
Tayla's hands balled up into fists. Her gaze lowering towards the ground. His words hit at something. Something she didn't want to acknowledge."You... you sold me out..."
She said at last. Her words had a tremble to them.
"I-""You sold me out!"
She shouted. Her eyes meeting his with a look of pain. "You made me think I could trust you and then... then you sold me out..."
Smit gave Tayla a hard look. "I took your advice after that night." He said quietly. "I told Sightless Syella that I was ready to lead my own group of clan members. You know... just like you said I should." Tayla's heart skipped a beat. Smit in turn drew his mouth in a line. "She gave me your team... Like I said, I didn't ask for this."
Tayla shook her head. Tayla didn't have time to think about Smit right now. Right now her main concern was to hold the gate.
Standing atop the wall's fortifications she looked out towards the Army of Touch. Their rider had finished negotiations it seemed. He was on his way back.
Hold the gate. That is what the Sightless had told the Clan. The army of touch had no siege weapons or boats with them. They would need time to take the city, and that was something the Clan had on their side.
Every day the Distortion grew. Already its influence reached beyond the town's walls. Soon, it would reach further. Far enough to shroud any effective location for the army to make proper camp for a prolong siege. That alone played to the Clan's advantage... in more ways than one...
"Open the gate! Open the Gate! Open the gate!" The citizens cried. It appeared more people had joined the crowd. Tensions between the crowd and clansmen were rising.
Sightless Nieffar stood by the eastern gate. Behind him stood Sightless Syella and four other Sightless. The envoy had finished bringing them up to speed. The Army of Touch had ignored Nieffar's request to hold negotiations as expected. Instead, they demanded unconditional surrender. Open the gates to them, and they would handle things peacefully. Resist and there would be bloodshed.
"Bloodshed?" Sightless-to-be De'laire -no... Sightless De'laire- said. "Oh no no no... Wouldn't want that... or would we? Could rid us of those protesters, hm? They are quite noisy, yes..."
Sightless Nieffar gave De'laire a frown. She had been rubbing her eyes intensely the day prior, as one does when the itch spreads to the eyes. By night time, she had taken to clawing at her eyes. Her screams of agony mixed with cries of joy. Both had echoed throughout the once Inn as the woman made her transition to Sightless.
De'laire did not yet have the full look of a Sightless. Though her skin had already begun to harden, its hue was not quite black. Likewise her blood had yet to fully change to the sickly greenish yellow puss. Instead her newly scratched out eyes bled a light orange goop. It slowly gathered at her damaged eyes until it succumbed to gravity's weight and slid down her cheeks. The woman didn't seem to mind though. She let the goop do as it willed, all the while muttering to herself in typical De'laire fashion.
Sadly, turning Sightless had made the once Crazed woman no less crazy. It seemed her hopes to regain her lost sanity had proven fruitless. On the upside, she no longer would wield her magic against their new recruits. The ones who were unfortunate enough to not know better than to talk over her. Like all who go Sightless, De'laire's previous magics were now lost to her.
On the flip side, however, her new powers would make her even more dangerous. Though not at her full strength yet, she had already proven capable of strangling a poor clansman early today. His crime? Whistling.
Sightless Nieffar made a tisk with his tongue. The crowd of protesters were getting quite noisy indeed. What's more, the crowd was growing. A few people were even beginning to shove at the clansmen holding the crowd back.
Sightless Nieffar tilted his head quickly left and right, producing a loud pop from his neck. He found the people's cries irritating. The noise made the call of Insight stir within him. It beckoned to him. Urging him to dive into its depths. The desire to let it take him was strong now. It had been that way ever since that night at the tower. The night where he let himself slip.“Syella, De'laire, with me. The rest of you, tend to your positions.”
Nieffar said to the other Sightless. They nodded and spread out, Syella and De'laire falling in step with Nieffar."I don't like this."
Sightless Syella said. "I don't like this one bit."“You worry too much.”
Nieffar said."And you worry too little."
Nieffar's mouth twitched in annoyance at Syella's words. "Are you prepared to abandon this precious town of yours if the milk turns sour?""Everything is under control."
Sightless Nieffar replied. "Really?"
Sightless Syella shot back. "And what of that one?"
Nieffar furrowed his brow, confused. He let the Insight guide him. Showing him the one Sightless Syella referred to. Within moment he found the man. He stood atop a crate at the center of the crowd of protesters. A crowd of protesters which had grown quite large...
It was Lord Malkev O'Kal. It seemed the man was addressing the crowd...
"This is our city! Our home!"
Malkev shouted to the roaring crowd, his voice projected through use of one of his personal guard's magic abilities."And yet they take from us, acting as if they own this city. They take our food! They take our sky! They take our loved ones and twist them to their ways!"
Malkev looked to the crowd meeting the gaze of individuals. "We cannot let this go on!"
The crowd roared. Raising sticks, poles, chisels and hammers. Malkev waited for the crowd to quiet. He then dramatically pointed to the eastern gate."Beyond that gate lies the Army of Touch. They've come to help us! Come to purge the cult from this town! Come to put an end to this Distortion! However... they cannot do this alone... It is up to us to help them! Up to us to open that gate!
"So I ask you all this one question. What do you say to taking back our own city?"
The people cheered. The people roared. The people rushed the cult for their lord...
And thus the Battle of Shimmer Town began.