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Horns (Ratling quest)

Discussion in 'Questing' started by Tore, Jan 27, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1
    Tore

    Tore Getting some practice in, huh?

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    So i have no idea what i am doing, wish me luck (first quest)!
    This is a quest set in an original fantasy world, which takes inspiration from many sources like Lord of the Rings and more modern work like Joe Abercombie's books. A large influence comes from the web serial https://practicalguidetoevil.wordpress.com/. If you haven' already started reading it i greatly recommend it. I make no promises about update rates. There will be no skill lists or stats because that sounds boring to me but do not fear, you will have a lot of input on how the character develops during the story. You will even get to name him when the time comes. The thoughts of the current viewpoint character will be written in italics. I won't provide you with lots of information in the beginning but you will learn about the world during the quest. If you survive long enough to learn that is. If you do something really stupid, you might die. I will roll dice in the background for risky plans and actions that rely on luck (Not sure how often this will happen). There will also be an expectation of realism in this worlds context. No matter what you do or roll you are not going to survive a 100 meter drop to some rocks with out magical help or kill a fully grown dragon with a stick (are there even dragons in this world?). Lets get to it!
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    The world is dark and full of grasping claws. Whines rise and fall in the filth that fills every nook and cranny of the cavern he calls home. His sensitive nose has grown used to the smell of mud and blood. There is a palpable tension in the air as the sound of stomping feet approaches. It is feeding time and mother has arrived. He knows nothing but the hunger in his belly as he dashes forward on four small legs, pushing and biting to find relief for the gaping hole in his stomach. Claws and teeth find purchase and suddenly he reaches the front of the writhing mass of rodents.

    Mother is large, far larger than any other rat he has ever seen. Her fur is sleek and oh so soft. She offers her milk and he suckles greedily. Mother shrieks and a claw swipe sends one of his sisters flying. She bit too hard in her excitement. He has learned to not make that mistake twice and controls himself. The thought of going hungry is unbearable and mothers claws give ugly wounds. Must drink, must grow. Avoid sting. Someone bit his tail and he kicks back in fury, desperate to keep his place. Mine mine mine mine mine Mine! The others are insistent and they hoist him of his feet and drag him backwards. Someone else takes his place. Soon mother decides it is time to leave and climbs up the ledge, vanishing from view.

    A semblance of peace returns to the cavern after mothers departure. Small forms scurry everywhere in the darkness, finding their way to softer ground. Rats form piles and begin to sleep. He seeks a pile of his own and curls up next to his brothers and sisters. Someone falls on top of him from the top of the pile and he rolls them downwards, heedless of the squeaking. He is far too tired to care. Soon sleep takes him and he dreams of horns stretching towards a foreign heaven he cannot comprehend.

    This cycle repeats itself over and over again. He eats and sleeps and sleeps some more. His days are filled with short bursts of fighting for food and endless boredom. Time passes and the cavern begins to grow crowded. He and his brothers and sisters have grown. They are not the tiny rats they used to be anymore and if he had the words to describe himself he would compare himself to a small dog. He reaches mothers knees now! Alas he has never seen a dog nor eaten one at least to his knowledge. This day feels special. Mother has spent all day with them, licking their fur and squeaking. He can smell her sorrow and it scares him. A new large scary looking rat arrives from the tunnel and leans over the ledge, looking at you and your siblings. The strangers fur is a mixture of grey and brown and he is missing an ear. The stranger shouts a string of words and mother answers. He only understands bits and pieces. Something about leaving?

    Mother sighs and begins to push all of her babies towards the ledge and the stranger. He climbs up the rock face, claws sinking in to find purchase in the stone. It is easier than he thought and soon he is laying next to the stranger. Others follow in his wake and he moves out of the way. Soon the stranger leads them up the tunnel towards new and wonderful smells. As they move ever upwards it starts to get brighter and brighter. His eyes hurt and he closes them, moving by touch. It only gets worse and he can hear the distressed squeaking of his siblings around him. Someone tries to flee back to mother but the stranger pounces on them and kicks them to the front of the queue. Suddenly they are in the open air. The brightness is overwhelming and he curls up on the ground trying to shield his eyes. The smell of fresh grass fills his nostrils. The stranger lets them be but stops everyone who tries to run back to the cave. By nightfall the worst is behind them.

    The following week is spent learning to follow basic commands and mock fighting in the surrounding forest. Whenever he is not eating or sleeping the stranger is making sure his muscles ache in the evening. The world is a wondrous place. So much to see and smell, so many delicious critters to eat. There is a giant ball of bright hotness in the blue above him as he runs through the wet forest. The sound of pursuit echoes behind him and his eyes try to see through the foliage around him. Where to hide?

    [ ] He scurry's up a tree. Best to take the high ground!
    [ ] He continues running. The rats behind him are not that close yet.
    [ ] A bush! He jumps inside and lays in wait. This might be a good place for an ambush.
    [ ] write in
     
  2. tellion

    tellion Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] He scurry's up a tree. Best to take the high ground!
     
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 2
    Tore

    Tore Getting some practice in, huh?

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    [X] He scurry's up a tree. Best to take the high ground! (He is a careful and cautious rat.)

    The rats pursuing him make quite a ruckus as they run through the forest, scattering pine cones in all directions. Head swiveling he looks for the nearest tree. Dropping hurts, must have good grip. There is a large tree up ahead and he runs up to it. He moves so the tree is between himself and the pursuers and starts to climb. His strong limbs easily lift a fairly light body and he almost runs up the side of the tree. Rising above the earth is exhilarating. Everything down in the forest floor is so small he could fit even a large log in his paws. A tiny beetle dashes past him and he snatches it with his mouth. He is hungry. They weren't given as much food today and he did not see the stranger eating at all. The beetle is delicious, all crunchy in his teeth.

    The wind is stronger in the tree tops and he holds tight with four legs of claws to stay on. A faint smell of smoke drifts in the air. The rats belonging to the other pack in this exercise run past his tree, oblivious to his presence. He lets out a happy squeak when they are outside of hearing distance. There are very few rats in his pack left, most got captured early on. The stranger won't be happy but that can't be helped. Darn. He rubs his pointed snout in irritation. The stranger is not as soft and nice as mother. For a little while he feels sorry for himself and tries to imagine that the branch he is holding on to is mothers leg. It doesn't work. Mother didn't have bark on her legs. A sigh escapes from him and he starts to make his way down. He finds is a lot harder than climbing upwards and when his tiny feet finally touch the ground he promises to practice more before climbing another large tree. Little ratlings don't fall from trees with the same ease as pine cones.

    He begins to make his way back to the area of dense spruce trees they have been using as a camp. Sleeping under the branches is quite comfy, especially if one gathers a nice pile of spruce needles to sleep on. The main pursuit seems to have passed him completely and the forest is quiet. The only sound he can hear is the tip tap of his own feet. It makes him uncomfortable. Innately he knows this is not how a forest should be. The birds do not sing as often as they should and mammals, big and small, are nowhere to be seen. It was quiet already when they came out of the cave but the last rabbit in the area surely died when the young ratlings were weaned of their mothers milk. A growing pack needs all the food it can eat.

    When he arrives to the camp most of the rats in his side are already there and the stranger is berating them for their poor performance. He slips in among the group. It is not immediately obvious but the stranger has an urgency about him. His front paws hold a stick and he beats the ground to emphasize his words.

    "You need to be better than this! Next time don't scatter when you walk in to an ambush. Little rats are easy pickings when they are alone. So don't be alone you maggots!" The stranger rubs his forehead in dejection. "We will pick it up tomorrow, now go and rest. Whatever food they can spare for us will arrive shortly."

    Everyone scatters amongst the the trees. He tried to count how many rats there were in the camp yesterday but it was difficult. He counted twice as many rats as he had fingers and lost count. This morning another large group of rats joined them and counting became impossible. Rats and more rats. He finds a rat he knows from the cave, a brother of his with a black snout and together they snuggle in a pile of pine needles, next to the road that cuts through the forest. Together they wait for the cart to arrive. It comes late in the evening and there is barely enough food for them all. The stranger and his stick are the only things keeping fights from breaking out. Everyone goes to bed hungry.

    The situation does not improve and three days after his adventure on top of the tree there comes a message with the food cart and the large ratling pulling it. It is time to leave and march towards the mountains in the southwest. He and the rest just follow where the stranger leads them. Where would they run? Game is hard to find and the food carts are going in the same direction. The roads are filled with ratlings. It is a host on the move. He could not imagine there were this many rats in the whole world. Midway through the day a giant ratling surrounded with smaller but still huge rats passes their column by going full tilt. He looks at the group in awe. You would need to stack at least three strangers to reach the big ones back. Soon the giant has vanished in to the horizon, leaving a cloud of dust behind its passing.

    After a week of rough marching they see their first human. The stranger tells them that the live ones have a lot more meat in their bones and the adult ones are a lot bigger. The skeleton has been picked clean. As the giant ball of flame is giving way to the night they arrive to a place so strange, none of the little ratlings have a frame of reference for it. The stranger tells them it is a small border town of the Kingdom of Dale. There are weird caves but not caves that are above the ground. The ratlings make camp in the town and fights break out between tired rats who want to sleep inside the "houses". The town is full to bursting and the war camp stretches past the stacked rocks that surround the town.

    He does not feel like sleeping just yet. The mountains are very close now. He climbs on top of the strange stacked rocks the stranger called "walls" and looks at the town in wonder. What kind of creature could build this? These humans are mighty indeed. He turns around and looks toward their destination. There are lights in the mountains. More of them in the valleys where the enemy waits. There will be more of these walls and a lot of angry humans where they are heading. Spears and shields. Long claws that cut. He shudders. There is no helping it for he is afraid. His fear is dust in the wind. They have been hungry for weeks now. His stomach howls for food. Everyone else in his pack feels the same hunger. This morning one of the smaller rats in the pack was found dead. He had been eaten during the night. They had never packed camp so quickly.

    Slowly he makes his way outside the town walls. There is a dirty puddle next to the walls and he tries to make out his own features in the dying light. He does not know what he expected to find. A dirty, brown ratling with grey spots in his snout stares back at him. He sits with his back to the wall and stares at the mountains. Death, hurt and pain. Meat. He shivers. This time tomorrow he might be dead. It is a hard thing to think about. The light fades and plunges the world into darkness. The lights in the distance shine ever more brightly, beckoning him to test the steel manning those walls. He makes a decision. If he is to die tomorrow, he wants to die with a name. All the big ratlings have names. Even the stranger has a name. Someone they met three days ago called him Vercaq. He has heard many other names in the past few days. Rahz, Voq and Brihk. Sihl, Fher and Cix. Time passes as he ponders the problem. The camp around him falls to sleep. Finally he comes up with something fitting.
    [ ] Djoz
    [ ] Nerras
    [ ] Skaz
    [ ] Dregger
    [ ] Kerzhal
    [ ] Write in
    He tastes the word on his tongue. It doesn't come out right. None of the little ratlings can really speak properly. It will have to do.
     
  4. tellion

    tellion Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] Skarzhal

    Also are these rats similar to the skaven in any way?
     
  5. Tore

    Tore Getting some practice in, huh?

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    There are some similarities. They and the Chain of Hunger from a Practical Guide to Evil were the main inspiration in the ratling side of things =). I don't want to say too much so i won't spoil anything.
     
  6. tellion

    tellion Not too sore, are you?

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    Oh that's fine anything skaven inspired is good for me!

    Can't wait to see the rest of this quest!

    Now for some blatant self promoting inquiring if you are interested in looking at my quest out of boredom in exchange?
     
  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 3
    Tore

    Tore Getting some practice in, huh?

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    [x] Skarzhal

    In the morning they set out towards the mountain range. There is no food to distribute anymore. The rising sun greets them and lights up the beaten, muddy ground. The flows of ratlings split up, some heading to valleys in the south and the northwest. The stranger leads his pack southwest, towards the valley between the highest peaks. Snow covers the tops of the mountains and glistens in the sun. The mountain range is called the Rodents Teeth and between those teeth stands the fortress of Anglagan. One of the many seals between the Rat Lands and the Kingdom of Dale. The air is heavy in Skarzhal’s lungs and every breath is precious. As they march, they pass the sickly and the weak, those whose strength has left them, lying in the dirt. All of them clinging to life with same desperation and longing. They pass those left behind and step into the shadow cast by the peaks.

    A pack of about a hundred large ratlings dressed in mail and carrying swords and shields joins forces with them. The stranger forfeits command to a rat with a mean looking axe after the pair clasp arms. A distant, ever present sound begins to get louder and louder. After two hours of marching their column goes over the last hill between them and the plain in front of the fortress and Skarzhal understands his error. The sound washes over him. The shuffling of feet. The clinging of mail and roaring and squeaking. He was not marching with an army. The thousands of ratlings he has seen marching towards the Rodents Teeth were a mere meager reinforcement. A grain of sand on a beach. His eyes behold a host that can break empires.

    Large ratlings in armor and weapons at the ready are numbered in the tens of thousands. Little ratlings are a mass beyond counting and they swarm everywhere in the plains in front of him. "Ancient ones," the larger ratlings in their column whisper and point their claws and swords to the three giant ratlings that pull ramps behind them. The Ancient ones are larger than many of those houses Skarzhal last saw this morning. From the looks of it, the battle has been going on from some time and will soon begin again. There is a massive red tent in the center of the host, next to a large boulder. Everyone gives the tent a wide berth.

    As they walk down the hillside Skarzhal takes in the Fortress of Anglagan. What wonders are possible, when even now i can't believe my eyes. It was a series of walls and gatehouses, stretching ever deeper and ever higher from the valley into the pass. Now four of the six walls are broken and overrun. Between the peaks the main fortress waits, a wall and three towers reaching towards the heavens. It is made from black stone that seems to suck the light from the air. To Skarzhal it looks mean. Like a thorn stuck in the flesh of the mountains.

    The stench of death grows stronger as they walk on the plain among the host. The ranks are orderly enough and there is enough empty space to move units to the front. There are piles of corpses on the field, casualties of prior assaults. Some them are burned and molten. The enemy has mages. Skarzhal turns his eyes away from them. That could be me soon. He is still quite shaken by the scale of the conflict. The ratlings are not without magic either. What awaits us, if this is needed to shatter it? They reach the first wall and he gets his first look at an adult human skeleton. The skeletons have been stripped of flesh and piles of them fill the ground. Skazhal walks in a daze and suddenly they are past the fourth wall. He can see individual humans in the distance now, on top of the fifth wall. Blue flags depicting a striking eagle fly on the parapets. Their pack of some two hundred little ratlings and a bit over hundred armed ratlings makes their way to their assigned spot.

    There is still quite a lot of rats between them and the front line but it isn't as reassuring as Skarzhal thought it would be. Ladders and ramps are transported by their position in a frenzy of activity. In no time at all the action stops and the field stills. The sudden silence takes the breath from Skarzhal's lungs. Ten heartbeats pass and then a ripple goes through the host. A large form has left the tent and the form rises on top of the bolder. "Horned Lord," the whispers spread. Skarzhal has heard stories of them on the march. They command the Hosts of Hunger and rule in Kharakbar in the center of the Rat Lands.

    The Horned Lord is even larger than the Ancient ones. Most of all he is elegant and graceful. Horns rise from his head and crown him in dread. He looks at his swarm and finds them worthy. The Horned Lord raises his hands in the air and spreads his sword sized claws. He opens his maw and Roars.

    The roar spreads through Skarzhal, resonating in his heart, and answers a question he hadn't known to ask. What is his purpose? It is to live. To exist in this world. To find suffering and joy. To taste all life has to offer and hang on to it to the bitter end because he is mortal. He could not describe what he feels but in his soul he knows that the Horned Lord is a godhead made flesh. The roar envelopes him. He feels the mud between his clawed toes. He tastes the smell of death and meat in his tongue. The humans manning the walls flinch. The field explodes in sound and the host begins to charge forward.

    The humans begin to sing. They seek to match the roar and fail. Skarzhal can still hear it though. Through the calamity that surrounds him he hears them sing of ascension. Of otherworldly spires and congregations of spheres. Of a home amongst the Faceless gods. He finds them wanting. He knows now the Nameless face of his own gods and ads his voice to the roar.
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    There are quite a lot of options open for Skarzhal now. He is very small and maneuverable.
    [ ] Skarzhal tries to stay close to a ratling with a big tower shield. The ratling and his companions carry long ladders.
    [ ] One of the Ancient ones is quite close and she is heading for the gatehouse. Skarzhal will try to follow in her wake.
    [ ] A group of bear sized ratlings are pulling a ramp towards the wall in Skarzhal's right side. He joins the troops behind them.
    [ ] write in

    Authors note:
    I realize the choices in the earlier chapters might not have been the most exiting but this should change now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  8. tellion

    tellion Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] One of the Ancient ones is quite close and she is heading for the gatehouse. Skarzhal will try to follow in her wake.
     
  9. Tore

    Tore Getting some practice in, huh?

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    I will check it out when i have the time =)
     
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  10. tellion

    tellion Not too sore, are you?

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    Thank you my boi but something came up and I will be editing my last chapter for it.

    Still great chapter as always!
     
  11. Biigoh

    Biigoh Nothing but Innocent Fluff Moderator

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    [X] One of the Ancient ones is quite close and she is heading for the gatehouse. Skarzhal will try to follow in her wake.
     
  12. Threadmarks: Chapter 4
    Tore

    Tore Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Authors note:
    As you can tell Skarzhal is having a bit of a religious moment. A Horned Lords presence made that a certainty. Rest assured that this is not railroading. You will find out more about the gods in the future and you are free to choose who to follow or whether you wish to follow any gods at all. That's about it, lets get this show on the road!

    [X] One of the Ancient ones is quite close and she is heading for the gatehouse. Skarzhal will try to follow in her wake.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Up close the Ancient one looks truly menacing. Skarzhal made his way to her as fast as he could when the charge started. She wears a large steel helm that leaves only narrow slits for her eyes. She runs easily with the host, conserving her strength. Skarzhal follows in her footsteps. The gatehouse looms in the distance. Arrows fall from the sky like raindrops. The roar of the Horned Lord echoes in all of them. There is divinity in this. Tears fall from his eyes. Is this what bravery feels like? The arrows strike home and ratlings fall all around him. A hail of arrows bounces off the Ancient ones thick fur and ricochets from her helm. She is not bothered in the slightest.

    The first rows of the charge begin to explode. They have reached the killing grounds filled with mines and stakes. Mutilated ratlings are launched in the air and the enemy mages make themselves known. Lightning and flame begin to rain down from the ramparts. The charge does not slow down. It picks up speed. On top of the wall a chant is rising to it's crescendo. The Ancient one begins to pull ahead of Skarzhal he runs like he has never ran before. His muscles burn with the effort. The chant concludes and a ring of green fire forms on top of the gatehouse. A green, house sized fireball shoots out of it towards the Ancient one. It undulates in the air violently like the space it exists in is too small and something is going to burst at any moment.

    The good thing about being right behind the Ancient one is that she is so huge. She blocks a lot of projectiles due to her size alone. The bad thing about being right behind the Ancient one is that she draws a lot of attention. Skarzhal stares as death flies towards him in wonder. There is no fear in his heart. The Ancient one shows no hesitation. She jumps to meet the green death and roars her defiance. Just as they are about to collide, when the world seems to grind to a halt and the tension in the air screams for release, she fills that silent heartbeat with single word. "Embrace."

    The word rings in Skarzhal's head. The green flame does not explode. It envelopes the Ancient one like a second layer of fur and after a landing that shakes the earth, she continues to charge. She cleared the remaining ranks in front of her and she is sprinting now, her giant paws eating up the distance. A final, desperate lightning bolt strikes her and the green flames devour it. Skarzhal can see the whites of the humans eyes now. They scream and brace for impact. The wall shakes and men fall from the parapets as twenty tons of ratling shoulder checks the portcullis. The iron bends but does not break.

    The host reaches the wall and ladders rise to the parapets. Ramps are pushed in their place and the tide of ratlings begins to stream up the wall. Shields shatter and blades cleave through meat and bone as the swarm takes their first bite. It is utter chaos. Still the humans sing. A ratling falls from a ladder, a sword stuck in his throat and lands right next to Skarzhal. The sword almost takes his front paws. The mass behind them pushes ratlings, Skarzhal included right up to the Ancient one and he cringes, waiting for the agony of burning flesh. The flames lick him and instead of pain he only feels gusts of warmth.

    The Ancient one jumps upwards and clasps the parapet with her front claws. Her tail swings in front of Skarzhal and he takes the chance. He jumps and holds on tight as the Ancient one climbs up the wall and rolls on top of it, crushing all the unfortunate souls that happened to man that particulate section of the wall. Some of the crushed are dressed in opulent robes. Those were probably the mages. Skarzhal lands on top of a bowman and there is no time for thoughts. His teeth sink in the mans throat and he ravages the soft flesh between the mail shirt and the helmet. The feeling is glorious. Tasty. He stands up, blood dripping from his teeth.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Now what is Skarzhal going to do? Remember, the wall is very thick. Thick enough for the Ancient one to stand on top of it so there is some room to move.

    [ ] A ratling who has lost his tail is rolling in the ground with a human, trying to push a dagger through the humans eye. Help the ratling.
    [ ] A man with an arrow through his neck is killing ratlings left and right as soon as they rise above the parapet. He has his back to Skarzhal. Attack him.
    [ ] Hug the wall and stay as close to the Ancient one as possible.
    [ ] In front of the Ancient one stands a woman with a large two handed axe. She is smiling. Help the Ancient one and attack the woman.
    [ ] write in

    Authors note:
    Unfortunately, tomorrow you won't get an update. My lectures finish at 9 pm =(.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  13. Biigoh

    Biigoh Nothing but Innocent Fluff Moderator

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    [X] A man with an arrow through his neck is killing ratlings left and right as soon as they rise above the parapet. Hehas his back to Skarzhal. Attack him.
     
  14. tellion

    tellion Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] A man with an arrow through his neck is killing ratlings left and right as soon as they rise above the parapet. Hehas his back to Skarzhal. Attack him.
     
  15. Slifer

    Slifer Know what you're doing yet?

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    [X] In frontof the Ancient one stands a woman with a large two handed axe. She is smiling. Help the Ancient one and attack the woman.
     
  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 5
    Tore

    Tore Getting some practice in, huh?

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    I have returned! It seems there was one brave soul who was willing to charge a woman who is exited at the thought of fighting an Ancient one but alas his/her dream of instant death was left unsatisfied =).

    [X] A man with an arrow through his neck is killing ratlings left and right as soon as they rise above the parapet. He has his back to Skarzhal. Attack him.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A man with an arrow sticking from his throat is cleaving ratlings to pieces in front of Skarzhal. Well that won't do. Skarzhal jumps forward and sinks his teeth into the man's thigh. The man gurgles and kicks erratically. Two little ratlings come over the parapet and latch on to his face and the four of them tip over. The Ancient one screams in pain and a flash of light illuminates the wall as ratlings strem up the ladders. Skarzhal leaves the newcomers to finish of the twitching man and raises his head just in time to see the woman and the Ancient one fall from the wall and smack into the ground. He peers down as the pair begin to circle each other. The human soldiers make a fast retreat to greener pastures.

    "Well ain't you a tough bitch," the woman says and wipes a strand of hair back behind her ear. "They call me the Tanner and i will make some fine leather out of you."

    Skarzhal gets the impression that the Ancient one is not particularly threatened by the declaration. Without warning she breaths a cloud of grey smoke at the Tanner, who dodges faster than anyone has the right to, cursing all the while. The smoke continues on and hits a group of human soldiers who fall to the ground screaming, flesh melting of their frames.

    "Oh, you will pay for that," the Tanner promises and charges forward.

    Two ratlings push Skarzhal out of the way and jump down. They are about the size of an average human but they have a sliver of the same presence the Ancient one excludes around herself. They join the fight, moving with supernatural speed and grace. Looks like they have the Tanner under control. Skarzhal shuffles back from the edge and is almost immediately kicked in the face. Stars fill his vision and he rolls away as fast as he can. Steel strikes stone behind him. Skarzhal scrambles to his shaky legs and turns around. A man comes at him, axe raised but at the last moment the stranger jumps down from the parapet and cuts the man's head of.

    "Get moving maggot," the stranger screams and runs to the melee. Skarzhal shakes his ringing head and leans against the wall. Just a quick breather. I'll follow when the world stops spinning. Skarzhal's stomach agrees with the assessment and he pukes violently.

    The next thirty minutes are filled with bitter fighting on top of the wall, with neither side showing any signs of slowing down. Corpses pile high on both sides of the wall. The two other Ancient ones on the field try to make it on top of the wall but somehow the humans hold them off. The ratlings try to advance past their breaching points and create new ones while the humans try to expel them from the wall. The Tanners death begins to turn the tide. One of the two ratlings who jumped down to help the Ancient says something and is suddenly next to the Tanner, bringing his sword down at her head. The Tanner, who is now flanked on three sides dodges barely out of the way, right into the Ancient ones sweeping claws. The claws slice her to shreds and remove her left leg. The follow up crushes the Tanners head.

    It is evening by the time the bodies have been cleared away and the ranks are in order again. The ramps and ladders have been lifted over the fifth wall. When the humans realized the wall was lost they retreated in good order up the pass and into the fortress. Now only Anglagan stands between the host and the Kingdom of Dale. The Seal has never been breached. The Horned Lord stands on top of the fifth wall, watching. At the top of Anglagan's middle tower, the tallest of the three, stands a man in worn plate and grey robes. He is a alone and the air around him is filled with opaque panels of force that slowly circle him. His name is Kepler and he waits in silence.

    The stranger dragged Skarzhal with him after the wall was taken. They are once again in formation, this time closer to the middle of the host, waiting for the signal. All three Ancient ones stand at the fourth rank as formidable as ever and the sight fills Skazhal with confidence. Even if one of them is not on fire anymore. Maybe, just maybe...i might live. Better not get my hopes up though. He is tired and his head is sore. Most of all he is hungry. The couple bites of flesh he was able to take did not sate the gaping pit in his stomach in the slightest. There is no helping it. Behind those black walls lies salvation and it won't come cheap.

    The Horned Lord Roars once more and the host sweeps forward like a tide returning home.

    Kepler watches as the swarm charges through mines and pits. Ever closer. He closes his eyes and listens to the calamity that is about to fall on the greatest stonework his people have raised and knows in his heart it will not be enough. Then let me spend your strength Rat, he thinks. It is high time he took the stage.

    The man on top of the middle tower begins to sing. "The mirage of reality is plain to my eyes, the surface cracked yet unbroken." The words twist and slither through the air as the panels of light orbiting the man begin to rotate around their axis. Skarzhal feels the tension gathering in the air and his ears pop.

    "The wheel turns, the gears grind." The man spreads his hands and continues. "Let true falsehoods seep through the shackles of creation."

    Atleast a thousand ratlings die instantly. From the ground and the air all along the pass a forest of mirror-like shards emerges. The first ranks strike them head on. Every ratling that touches a shard shatters to pieces. The Ancient ones try to save themselves. One has already used her the trick that could have seen her survive and tries to slow down. She hits the shards and falls apart. The second turns ethereal and tries to make it through. The forest of shards gouges pieces of him until nothing remains. The third slows down in time and saves herself. It is a poor comfort as the shards begin to advance.

    "Usurp," The Horned Lord answers and snatches the spell. He turns the shards unto themselves and they vanish from creation. "That's the spirit Kepler, my old friend." His voice booms across the battlefield. "Shall we dance?"

    The sky opens over the Horned Lord and a lance of light strikes down towards him like the fist of an angry god. He opens his maw and eats the spell. In a blink of an eye he breaths out and sends it right back towards Kepler who parries it to the heavens with a panel of force. The Horned Lord begins to breath in and all the spells raining down on his host begin to curve towards his gullet. The Host of Hunger charges forward.

    Upon the walls of Anglagan, madness reigns. Skarzhal doesn't know how he got here or where he is going. His teeth find flesh and he sinks them in drinking gulps of blood. The screaming is deafening. The stranger is next to him and he is covered in blood. His left arm is missing from the shoulder and he is roaring bloody murder, hacking at a dead man with his dull and chipped sword. A spear takes him to the chest and he vanishes from view. Night has descended and they fight in the light of scattered torches. There is no room for any technique. Enemy and friend are so squished together that many let go of their swords and take up their daggers. Time loses all meaning. The killing will never stop. We will be here in this moment, till the end of days.

    The horrid monotony breaks when a scream so alien that it cannot come from a mortal throat rings through the battlefield. A white figure with silver hair bursts into the inner courtyard hacking and slashing men to pieces. The figure makes his way at the foot of the middle tower and just runs up the side towards Kepler and his bubble of wards and shields. Kepler takes one look at the thing and shoots to the clouds.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [ ] Whoever or whatever that is, it killed a lot of humans when it made it's way in. Skarzhal tries to make his way to the courtyard and see what is going on.
    [ ] The humans are in shock and demoralized. Skarzhal stays with the force trying to clear the wall so the rest of the host can advance. They are pushing the humans back towards the middle of the fortresses outer wall.
    [ ] This looks like bad news. Skarzhal circles back and tries to stay as far away from the silver haired figure as possible.
    [ ] write in.
     
    Akshka, Ragura and Pandachop like this.
  17. Biigoh

    Biigoh Nothing but Innocent Fluff Moderator

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    [X] The humans are in shock and demoralized. Skarzhal stays with the force trying to clear the wall so the rest of the host can advance. They are pushing the humans back towards the middle of the fortresses outer wall.
     
  18. tellion

    tellion Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] The humans are in shock and demoralized. Skarzhal stays with the force trying to clear the wall so the rest of the host can advance. They are pushing the humans back towards the middle of the fortresses outer wall.
     
  19. Pandachop

    Pandachop Making the rounds.

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    [X] This looks like bad news. Skarzhal circles back and tries to stay as far away from the silver haired figure as possible.
    I'm guessing that the human mage is going to have a suicide technique when facing defeat and it seems like that time might be now.
     
  20. Ragura

    Ragura Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] The humans are in shock and demoralized. Skarzhal stays with the force trying to clear the wall so the rest of the host can advance. They are pushing the humans back towards the middle of the fortresses outer wall.
     
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