The Gift: Chapter Two

The Gift: Chapter Two Completed

[COMPLETE] With the gods dead and dragons slowly spreading their dominion over the land, will you fight for something? Or die with nothing?

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Setting: Norr2011-03-29 04:53:52, as written by Smith
Jurial Plains, 7 Miles South of Laeral

The chatter amongst the troops, no matter how scarce, had begun to grate on Wrath's nerves by the first half-hour of marching. He let it slide though seeing as the troops were bonding. It was always good to work with people that you actually liked instead of feeling that you were being forced to do so. It became too much to bear when it began to rain an hour out. Wrath called for quiet and the legion continued on in silence. Merely ten minutes of this was all it took for a pair of volunteers--a young girl in mismatched leathers and a pimple-studded youth--to turn back for town. Shocking. he thought, looking back in mild interest. He scowled when a drop of icey water splashed into his eye. At the very least, Wrath thought thankfully, the Live Leather kept out moisture.

Dirt road became muddy and harder to traverse over time. Verdant grass as tall as a halfling grew on each side of the road and stormy winds sent ripples across the plains. At last, reaching the edge of the forest, the legion came to a halt. Sid and Wrath moved the legionnaires out of the rain and under some of the cover the trees provided for a short rest. The halfling motioned over Wrath with a look of consternation plain on her face.

"We can't take the battle cart in here." Sid said, motioning towards the dim interior of the forest before them. "Besides the obvious, if we're surrounded they can just light the damn thing up and scatter us like a torch with roaches."

Wrath frowned and looked into the murky woodland. At length, he nodded. "Yes, I think you are ri-" the human narrowed his eyes. He had always had a sharp eye, but was doubting his sight now. Some ways into the forest something flashed...if only briefly. It was either the faint light catching on water or..."Grimsmirk, take your unit and set up near those rocks over there." Wrath glanced toward an outcropping consisting of large stones about fifty yards from the treeline within the grass. "Be discrete."

Picking up on the hint as if having known the entire time, Sid Grimsmirk stretched her leather clad arms and moved over to whisper to one of her legionnaires the order to follow her. The harpy nodded and relayed the information to the next soldier, who in turn passed it on until all ten members of her squad were following her into the underbrush. "Stay low, and try not to rustle the grass too much." she said as she and her squad disappeared into the grass.

Wrath called out for the remaining soldiers to form up. "Heavy armor in front, light in the middle, medium in back." A basic, sound tactic. Fighters forward, magic users in the middle for optimal protection and rangers in the back just in case of a sneak attack. Wrath himself unsling his lute and strummed a note nearly inaudible within the steady patter of rain on leaves. A slight prickle would run down the spines of nearby legionnaires as his spellsong began. He kept up a rhythmic plucking that soon grew into a melody that sounded much like the rain itself, slow and inexorable. Iriana, the lamian dressed in heavy plate, hissed. This was followed by growls from the trio of orcs. They smelled something the others did not...but then it came into view.

A tiny form slumped forward out of the dim woods clutching a hand to his stomach. It was obvious from his garb that this was one of the legionnaires his legion had been sent to back up. At first Wrath thought he had been stabbed, but as the halfling came within twenty feet he saw that such was not the case: The halfling was missing his hand and trying to keep the crudely-wrapped wound away from the elements. Wrath started forward just as the wounded legionnaire collapsed. The first arrow shot right over the prone halfling soaring right at Wrath. His eyes widened and he plucked a high note, magic force knocking the projectile out of the air. Eight snow-white men and women of varying races appeared just within the limit of Wrath's sight. His legionnaire's tensed, awaiting orders.

"Don't worry, stay put, they will soon lose their heads"
Wrath's voice was melodious and carrying a palpable charge of energy. Something changed within the enemy Children and they charged recklessly towards the line of legionnaires. The first to reach Wrath--a minotaur, surprisingly--was decapitated when he strung a pealing note that materialized a cobalt blade of force before the hulking brute. The bard loosed a feral grin.
"In more ways than one...they'll all soon be dead."

Wrath jerked his head and the battle was joined. The lamia and the three orcs worked in concert and swiftly overwhelmed a single Child that was just barely too far from her comrades to receive immediate aid. The halfling and elf stayed back to loose projectiles into the enemy for a moment before drawing swords and joining the fray. One of the only two volunteers from Laeral that had opted to stay, died gurgling as a Child's scimitar slid from his neck. "Don't lose your heads boys, though this may seem like fun. For this is a battle, that has only begun." Wrath readied his magical weapon and continued playing his song as another Child rushed to engage him.

"Ok." Sid spoke only loud enough to be heard over the rain. "Luckily this drizzle hasn't produced any mist yet, so visibility isn't too poor. As the light squad our job is to lightly pepper any enemies we see so they will be weak enough for Liu-Wen and his boys to eat without chewing too much, but not causing so much of a threat to make them change course to attack us." The rock formation on which Sid crouched was much like a low wall of stone, providing not only excellent cover but an optimal shooting range. "Bows, crossbows and slings out."

That said, Sid unhooked the crossbow on her belt as well as five bolts and handed them to Talae. "No throwing until mid-range. Use that." Then she unhooked the large contraption on her back and went to work. After only a few clicks and snaps of assembling her items did the sounds of battle ring out from back where they had started. Only slightly elevated above the top of the grass, those on the rock would be able to see the clashing forms of black and white figures. There was a reason the Legion chose black for their uniforms. After a few more moments Sid was ready. With a grunt the halfling hefted a wallarmbrust; What basically amounted to a crossbow the size of a halfling, built for sieges, onto the rock wall and took aim. She knocked a large steel bolt into the lock, wound the winch back a few times and watched. Achiru, the harpy of her unit was about to ask why she hadn't given the order to fire yet when Sid smirked.

Seven Children came skulking out of the grass behind Wrath's embattled unit to deliver what would amount to a devastating rear attack. or at least it would have, if Sid's unit had not been there. "Fire." Sid's weapon was the first to loose it's high-caliber bolt. The metal tore through the rain and air to bury itself in the shoulder of a sneaking Child and blast out the other side in a spray of blood and sinew, severing the limb in a gory mess. The enemy fell to his knees and cried out in more shock than pain. The others slowed for a heartbeat to look in the direction of Sid's troops. The halfling waved before loading another round and beginning to wind up. Half of the undamaged robed dragon cultists moved to attack Duran, Gileas and Caine respectively as the other three rushed into the grass to put a stop to the ranged assault. Sadly, there was more than fifty feet inbetween them and the rock.

As Achiru knocked and loosed another arrow in his own bow, the harpy shot his commander a skeptical look. "Didn't you say we pepper?"

Sid smiled and took aim at her next target. "Well, you guys are pepper. I'm more of the jalapeno." Glancing over at Kisikoni and his slightly larger than normal crossbow, Sid patted her own massive weapon. "Mine's bigger'en yers."