Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Mon May 23, 2016 11:40 am

******************* Yesterday on the Road to Auskell ***********************

The towers of Le’Ghentel stood high, its striking pose exuding an air of power and majesty. While the sacred shire monastery still stood intact, it was undeniably apparent that these hollowed grounds had been tainted. There was an unease presence haunting this stone monolith, like a lingering shadow.

The Charlotte stood shaken in the withered courtyard of the shrine monastery. She was trembling but not from the cold, her fine tailored fur line winter grabs shielded her from such things. No, she trembled from the adrenaline, the fear, the shock. She had of course heard the reports, or at least the stories. It was however another thing entirely to experience the horror.

The proud diplomat and the giant Galt had arrived at the shine to find its court yard and halls to been painted with the blood of fallen country men and women. Their bodies lay about the grounds, some whole many others in pieces. Charlotte insisted they looked for survivors and as they unlikely pair did, the corpses rose. Charlotte had never seen anything like it, not even in her darkest nightmares. She froze; she wished to bring her rifle to bear but could not bring herself to accept the animation of the dead. The Galt however leaped at the mounting threat, hacking and slashing with bloodthirsty joy.  

It was soon over as quickly as it had started. Charlotte looked on as the giant Galt patrolled the courtyard collapsing the skulls of the recently slain Van’tese militia, or undead as he called them, with his armour plated heel. She still struggled with the reality, and by the time her shock had faded the pair had already returned to horseback, following the road to Auskell.

*************************** That night in Auskell ******************************

It had been a tiring month, one that had tested his patients and his morality. There was a time when Dvorn simply dealt in absolution, right and wrong, innocent and guilty, life and death. However, in the weeks past Dvorn found himself wishing Esham Le’Juene or Esham ‘the Hangman’ (as he was better known) had have survived the encounter with the Witch. He looked back on their time in Quillouse. Was there something they missed? Was there anything they could have done differently? If they had have caught that faceless dwarf, maybe things would be different.

Dvorn pulled his blade from one of the many boardwalk thugs that lay scattered about the warehouse stock yard before wiping it clean of blood. Across from the Ghenraen raised Ekklizian was the Overshadow Courtesan, Anika. A classic Ghenraen beauty, Anika was the embodiment of pleasure and desire. She stood over her share of the kills coiling her whip and was soon joined by the elven assassin, Jeriah. The three took inventory of the damage and began to reassess the situation.

Dvorn rubbed at his bald head and readjusted his grip on his Templar shield. “Where are the spriggans?”

Now kneeling over the corpse of their intended target, Jariah pushed his dagger through the gang leader’s throat. The man was dead, but the assassin was thorough. “I saw them chasing down some runners along the boardwalk.”

Anika had pulled a silken cloth from her cleavage and began to delicately dab away the blood and sweat from her face, neck and arms. “Marvellous, we’ve misplaced our mutant and the possessed once again.”

Feeling the argument once again stirring, the Templar’s responded in earnest, “I would not condemn either of you to death without first exorcizing alternative action”

The assassin rose, coldly interrupting “A weakness if ever I heard one. Corruption is not an individual’s illness to be remedied. It is a blight the must be cut away, root and stem before it spreads to others. A single life is nothing measured against the lives of thousands, Dvorn. You risk much by placing your trust in Grimble…”

Anika stepped forward, “Ok gentlemen, how about we find our spriggans before we start this argument again. It is the most pressing issue at this stage.”

The elf and the Templar set aside the debate once more and the three charged forth from the stock yard up the boardwalk. Eventually they heard stifled groans accompanied by the sound of crackling bones and retorting muscles. Each of the three knew it was the Spriggan Mutagen Alchemist. As useful as it was, none of them had become comfortable with the sight or even the sound of the Alchemist’s Mutagen fuelled transformations. They turned and stopped at the mouth of the alley in time to see the Spriggan Awen regressing to his natural form. As he did, the three looked around the alley way, noticing the overt demonstration of violence.

The two spriggans had evidently chased at least five of the dock thugs into this alley. One hung by his chest from an iron strut eight foot from the ground. He was missing both of his legs and bleeding a torrent of blood into the alley floor below. Another corpse lay upon the ground mere steps away, her body relatively untouched with the exception of a large metal rimmed barrel positioned where her pulverised head would be. The other thugs were slashed, gashed and prickled with numerous crossbow bolts.

Anika held her silk cloth over her nose and mouth in disgust, “We really must address this brutality, friends. It is one thing to kill but this... this is something else.”

Seeing only the Alchemist, Jeriah grew suspicious of his surroundings “This? This is evil Anika. The reason we should have acted in the sewers when Awen first brought the taint to our attention.”

“You know as well as I the mutilation is the Alchemist’s doing. The Mutagens impose bestial behaviour upon him.” Dvorn snapped in defence against Jeriah’s accusation.

Jeriah stepped over Awen who was now slowly reorientating himself, and past the two brutalised corpses to those at the alley’s end. “It is not the mutilation I refer to. I am referring to the fact that these men and women were tortured before they were killed Dvorn.”

“Perhaps he was seeking information?” Offered Anika.
“From all three? Unlikely” The assassin scoffed sharply.
“Leave it be Jeriah, we will talk to him.” Asserted the Templar.
Jariah challenged the Templar, “To what end Dvorn! You need to face the evidence. Grimble is lost, beyond our reach. Each moment you spend denying this brings him closer to damnation and worse.”
“As before Gentlemen, let us find Grimble before we continue this debate.” Cautioned Anika.

The elf pulled a thin needle like blade that had been driven a few inches deep into the tip of a torture thug’s tongue, and picked up the iron tongs from the ground nearby. He stepped over Awen and as he did he muttered sternly. “Get up.”

The Alchemist hefted himself to his feet. He was soaked in blood. More than enough to make even the most jaded flinch as the sight of him. Dvorn looked down at the Alchemist, his brow heavy with concern and frustration. “Where is Grimble?”

Episode Song:

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Tue May 24, 2016 8:40 pm

"So, I hear ye found a boat," Thorgrim said as Eadwine sat down next to him by the fire. Thorgrim offered the scholar a wooden bowl of food and smiled mischievously, then laughed at Eadwine's pained expression. "Don't worry lad; it's only porridge."
"In that case, thank you," Eadwine said with a smile, accepting the bowl. He was trying to remember; when had he mentioned the boat to Thorgrim? He hadn't even told Torvus as far as he could recall. Mentally shrugging, Eadwine supposed that Merick must have said something. After swallowing a mouthful of claggy oats Eadwine replied "Yes, we did find one. She looks a mess and Merick believes the crew are smugglers, but they're the only ones we could find who would take us to North Watch at this time of y... under these circumstances."
"Did ye catch the name o' said boat?" Thorgrim enquired with a furrowed brow. With a start, Eadwine realised that he had not.
"Errr, no I'm afraid. Captain's name was Nico Moreaux, and the three crew---'the boys', he called them---were named Jean, Leon and Fleur."

With a bit more discussion Thorgrim winkled the remaining details out of Eadwine. The scholar could not tell if the old dwarf approved of Merick's advance payment or not. "We'll have to sell Jocelyn then," he stated simply. "And we best get the rest of their payment to them."

Thorgrim stood and walked over to a chest, then reached inside and counted out silver pieces. "You can take these and pay those crazy 'smugglers'," he said as he bundled the pieces into two small pouches and handed them to Eadwine. "Two bags makes you harder to mug, young man," the dwarf lectured when Eadwine gave him a quizzical look.
"Hmm, I'll take the sword too," Eadwine said. He still didn't quite think of it as his own, which was probably because he had never fought anything with it.

"When are we leaving? I'll need to tell them."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Thu May 26, 2016 8:22 am

With a start Eadwine realised that Thorgrim had a manacle on one wrist, and that a rather large, intimidating and unfamiliar hammer was bound to the other end. "What's this all about too?" he asked, indicating the hammer with a wave of his hands.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Thu May 26, 2016 4:33 pm

************************* 423 Years ago **********************

Malitia stepped surely though the halls of the stone ruin, careful not to make a sound, not a whisper. She could feel her heart thumping in her head, pounding in her chest. Despite the hour of the day, the ruins were cast in a harrowing gloom as the skies were darkened by the raging storm. Its cascading thunder echoed through the halls, its lightening lashing violently at the creeping shadows. Through the cracks and crevasses ran the torrents of the down pour. Then, over the sound of heavy rain, and the deep rumble of soaring tempest, she heard it.

The sneer was low and threatening. Malitia could feel the fear trying to take hold. In silent defiance she gripped her spear, its elegant features betraying its brutal purpose, glazed in a shimmering gauze of humble light. Like coarse stone the sneer rippled again, ebbing for a tone of contempt. “It has been many years since I have witness the folly of man this close.”

Malitia’s eyes widened, a flash of lightening allowing her to catch a glimpse of a slithering tales receding into the darkness. She dared not speak, perhaps the creature was aware of her presence was unable to place her. She readied her shield, optimistically poised. The voice rippled again, this time accompanied by the light tremoring thuds of a moving giant. “You think yourself a slayer, girl? You believe victory is within reach for you, somewhere, lurking in these shadows?”

The voice seemed closer, the tremors were stronger. The sneer drummed again as the lightening lashed out once more. The momentary brilliance casted a towering winged silhouette wreathed with enormous talons and large fangs over Malitia. She turned sharply to find her shadow veiled quarry looming over her, poised. The beast lunged forward, maw wide, fangs exposed. Malitia leaped desperately aside as the creature’s jaw snapped viciously from the dark. The sneer rumbled with a hint of frustration, “A spry little one, aren’t you? Though it matters not, death will find you soon enough, and you fear it… I can smell it, I can smell you. Your filthy existence taints the halls of my solace.”

Cloaked by darkness, the lady and the beast circled one another separated by grand pillars, rubble and iron. Malitia hardened her resolve and focused past the gloom clouding her sight. The tremors were becoming more pronounced, deliberate. She could feel him preparing to strike, with tooth and claw readied as spear and sword. The beast lunged, topping innocent pillars and statues, adding to the scattered rubble throughout the ruin.

Malitia could see the hulking behemoth charging towards her. She tossed her spear horizontally upward catching it gripped anew and took aim. The ceiling above began to crumble against its own weight. He was within plan view, his tremors one with the rolling thunder of the heavens above, the gleam in his eyes reflecting the sky born sparks. At that moment, as his gaze met with hers she struck. Her spear took flight with speed and precision, like a hawk descending upon its prey, it met its target. Plunging deep into the beast’s right eye, he roared in agony as he lost his balance but not his momentum. Malitia dove forward as the colossal beast trampled past her through the gothic ruin’s wall.

Malitia approached the newly formed precipice, overlooking the castle’s lower towers. The galling winds tormented the castle’s remains, its spires besieged by an endless horde of rain marching to the drums of thunder and lightning. Below, the beast was climbing to his feet quickly retaking his senses. He pulled the spear from his eye and released a bellowing roar. Malitia drew he broad sword, she would finish this beast, and in the wake of his death the house of Brightlen would flourish. The beast reached out with its leathery wing, and took flight, each airy stroke matching the quake of the skies above. Malitia took several steps back from the opening. She took a deep breath and ran forward; letting out a battle howl as she leaped into the storm.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Sat May 28, 2016 1:13 pm

Thorgrim gesticulated with the mighty war-hammer that was chained to his fist. "It's been a while since i swung a hammer. Weapon chaining is common practice in dwarfish weapon training. It's all about learning to make the weapon an extension of your own body. Best way's always been to do it literally." Thorgrim gave of a little chuckle "Shoulda seen us when Ketter was starting with training the lad's"

Thorgrim took moment to ensure everyone had woken and arrive to breakfast.

"Alright Lads'n'lass. I'd guess we've got about three days before we move on. So first Order is eat hardy and sleep well! Will need the energy and may not have another chance. But between those two, Train like your lives depend on it. They well do."

Thorgrim took turns addressing each member of the group. "Eadwine- I've asked Ketter to include you her training. You seem to know which end of the blade goes in the foe, But running in the open was a big mistake - Ketter will help you with how to move around in battle. Watching your flanks and cover and whatnot. Dwarves do it better than your time in the human military could."

"Adrysse, I Gather you need to talk to Kasper somore. If you'll go after breakfast, Ill swap after lunch. You can spend the rest of the day exercising muscles other than yer mind in whatever way ye see fit." Thorgrim's tone had dropped a touch more tender for the young priestess.

"Torvus, I'm headed to the smiths and id like you to come with me. With luck, Ill be able to barter some mail for the lot of you, But the way you move yours will need to be proper fitted so as to not rattle around and give you away. Once we've got the mail we'll run it out to the lot of ye. Wear it in training, and everything else besides. Same as weapon's there is only really one way to master it. If it's still uncomfortable to fight in when true battle comes tho, then don't. But train with it outside of that."

"Merick. Do as you see fit, But please stay off the drugs..." Taking a closer look, Thorgrim realized that it was probably too late, Merick had the look of a hung over sailor about him. The Dwarf made a note to tell the Dwarfs to keep drink away and the barkeeps to include him in that token system Thorgrim and the other Dwarfes had thought was so abhorrent. Guess it made more sense for the manlings. "...Or at least try."

"Anything else we should set out before we head out?"

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Sun May 29, 2016 1:16 am

"Fitting aside, I've picked up a trick or two over the years that might help us get what we need. Travelling with merchants has its benefits, they get especially talkative on a full stomach and I'll be damned if I can't feed a few people on a journey."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Mon May 30, 2016 5:35 pm

"One moment," Eadwine said before Thorgrim could reply to the elf. "Can you clarify why we're staying for three days please? I thought we were in somewhat of a rush... and I'll definitely need to let Nico know when we're leaving."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Tue May 31, 2016 9:24 pm

"Three? Did i say that? So i must have, No sorry lad. Two nights. Starting last night, we leave at dawn tomorrow, if we can." Thorgrim was clearly still somewhat drowsy, but he was in much higher spirits than the night before, and colour was returning to his cheeks.

"That may well come in handy Torvus. There's some other things I would seek, Shields and guns and the like. If there is anything else anyone needs, you're welcome to come along for some morning armory shopping!" Thorgrim said beemingly, and began to dig into the oats they had been rationed as breakfast.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:48 pm

"Where is the armoury? I need to go and inform our transportation that we're leaving tomorrow at dawn, but I desperately want some leg protection. I wouldn't say 'no' if anybody wanted to come for a brief jaunt to the docks with me either."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:31 pm

"Not far." Thorgrim replied "Least the Dwarfish Forges im hoping can aid us are. And aye, It's me plan to fill our yer chain and gather suits for the rest of ye. Not much time for dock jauts for me tho im afraid."

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:36 pm

Eadwine looked around at the others, hoping that someone would come with him, but also trying to not look pathetic about it. He was unused to feeling hunted in his own kingdom, and the threat of Faceless had him on edge; he wanted a companion.

Still, his intellect told him, it was unlikely that the Faceless would have word of them here. Yet.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Fabulous on Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:50 pm

"Adrysse."

The priestess's name broke through the fog that clouded her brain as she sat eating her breakfast; still half-asleep, she tried to pinpoint who was speaking to her. Her eyes found Thorgrim's face and she could see that he was talking. As she stared at his lips she tried to concentrate on what was coming out of his mouth.

"Gather ... talk ... Kasper."

At the mention of the old dwarf, Adrysse internally groaned; she had completely forgotten about the ritual! Realising that she was wasting time, she shook herself awake and devoured the rest of her breakfast. She had no idea what Kaspar had in store for her and how long it would take for her to learn the ritual so she hoped to see to him as soon as possible.

As she gathered her belongings and headed off she made a mental agenda of things she needed to do later:

  • Inspect she still had all her supplies and nothing was lost/stolen or broken


  • Check her ritual supply stock

Contemplating the possibility that learning the ritual didn't take too long, Adrysse hoped she could inquire about somewhere with any ritual supplies; internally kicking herself for not asking Thorgrim before she had left, she made another mental note:

  • Ask Kaspar about ritual supplies
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:38 pm

As the morning matured it became increasingly apparent that the unprecedented arrival of the Silver Wardens had bolstered the morale of north watch's guardians. In total they were fifty strong (and to those in the know), less than a dozen were Gate Veterans, while the rest were of the Ghenraen Chapter. Despite this, it was obvious (with few exceptions) that the Wardens were the most experience and skill amongst North Watch’s defenders.

The snow fell heavy, unyielding and many of the Ghenraen refugees were shoveling snow from the main cause ways and salting the uncovered roads in their wake. The great walls of Courage, Honor and Vigilance (towering some twenty meters tall) shielded the toiling workers and training soldiers from the relentless winds howling over head: though this was a luxury that eluded Torvus and the wall's watchmen. It was here upon the Wall of Courage that Torvus, one of Sir Bellemy’s newest agents, aided Lieutenant Emile Lucael in the preparation of the forward defence.

Merick had taken to investigating the nooks and crannies of the fortress. It was an impressive and dominating fortification to be sure and its design was deliberate, purposed to support an effective defense. The tenacious thug had reached the end the main thoroughfare that snaked its way up the mountain side, from the great gates of Courage to the grade doors of Vigilance. Here at the foot of the wall of courage, carved into the cliff face itself was a smaller fortification in its own right, serving as the Wardens' barracks. Its doors were now open, and before it were many carts and horses methodically being relieved of their burdens. A woman stood firmly among the toiling wardens, coordinating their efforts. She was a mature woman with a warrior’s frame: her Auburn hair was a platted an wrapped up into a bun. Beside her was another, much older woman exuding a silent air of authority and experience. Unlike the battle maiden, the older woman was dressed in fine linens and furs thinly veiling the presence of sturdy leather guards. Merick watched as the two women would occasionally exchange opinions while orchestrating the warden’s growing occupation.

It was difficult to keep up with the pace Forza had set for the workshop, or at least it was for Eadwine, whose right leg had once more suffered another grave misfortune: this time in the nearby abandoned lake side village. Though it seemed that this injury registered as little more than an excuse to Sir Bellemy, a notion shared by the Warden’s First Alchemist, Forza. Eadwine was not sure what to make of Forza, at times he was certainly frustrating, but it was undeniable that he was a creative individual that seldom did things by the book. A fact supported by the way he intended to re-bore the decommissioned battle cannons. As the morning went on however, it became apparent to the unofficial apprentice that Forza approached any problems and adversity with humour. When the young scholar inevitably made mistakes, or damaged equipment Forza would laugh and then correct his apprehensive student, finishing the lesson with a quip at the budding champion's expense. Eadwine, the Siege Smith Padrig and his apprentice Marcel pulled the rigging chain until the ceiling rig clicked into place. The last battle cannon was now suspended, mimicking the others, each hanging vertically like iron carcasses in an industrial abattoir. Before Eadwine and the two siege workers could admire their work, Forza stepped out from the mobile lab and issued the directions for the next step.

Thorgrim and Adrysse embraced the confidence they found in the presence of the Silver Warden Commander, Hothgar. He was a tall and brawny man, adorned in plate armour but strangely wielding an elegant staff rather than a blade or maul. Hothgar placed his blue crested helm upon the table and perused the war table, scratching as his grey stubble. One thousand Van’tesian soldiers, two thousand militia, one thousand able peasants, near one hundred wounded; fifty with plague, fifty Wardens, twenty four ballista; eight catapults; four trebuchets and only half are manned, twenty decommissioned battle cannons, six warwheel organ cannons, a Ghenraen Knight and five mercenaries with a death wish. Sir Bellemy grimaced and the four began to discuss tactics and share their gathered intelligence.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:15 pm

“There is a saying” Thorgrim began. He projected his voice well, the old feeling of being part of an actual military swelled in his chest, and with the fortuitous arrival of the Silver Wardens, he could not keep a measure of mirth from his voice. “A Dwarfish saying, Muradin's first law of Sieges. What can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible time. We’ve been trying to plan for anything so far, but now we may be able to take a more narrow look.”

Thorgrim locked his gaze with the steely eyed Silver Warden “Commander Alger, Before we can make any plan worth its salt we need to know what we may be fighting. Creepers that can climb walls, those bloody Wraith things which can phase right thru it! Not to mention this Giant. What other Beasts may they conjure up? Once we have a picture on how they may foil us we can formulate a cohesive strategy to win this fight, I know it!”

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:15 am

Hmmm. Merick peered over the small cart that he was standing behind as he watched the new arrivals move back and forth. They had a lot of equipment: weapons, supplies, ammunition, and a bunch of other stuff that Merick wasn't sure about. They weren't here to enjoy the scenery, that was for certain.

Everyone seemed to be quite happy that the Wardens were here. He remembered seeing their hall back in Van'tese but he never expected to see them here in North Watch of all places. They certainly looked the part; properly heroic and all that stuff. The two women near the doors looked rather ordinary by comparison to the others that were stomping around in chain mail with their weapons. The old woman looked like she would be better suited to tending a school or something but the other one looked like she was in charge. Merick could hear her voice ring out over the yard as she ordered people to bring supplies into the barracks. She had a voice on her, that's for certain. It had that harshness that one could only get from shouting for years and years, like how the fishmonger's wife back on the Wharves, Ophel, sounded after a long day in the market.

He still wondered what these Wardens were doing here considering everyone had said North Watch was a lost cause. Clearly they had some sort of plan, otherwise they wouldn't have shown up. Something that let them fight against undead. Maybe some sort of secret weapon? He'd seen the cannons but that couldn't be all that they'd brought. There must be something else. Hmmm.

Merick wondered if he should go and train some of the other men in how to wield a sword and do what Bellemy told him to do. Nah. Bellemy was a sour git and a "Sir" so Merick would rather jump into the lake than listen to his orders. His skill with a sword wasn't that great anyway and the Wardens could go play hero for the farmers if they wanted. And besides, he still wanted to find out more about this "Coward's Reach" that he'd heard whispers about. Some sort of back door or something for the castle. When the undead came, he wanted to be prepared with a way out of this dead end. Heh. Perhaps Torvus had heard something while he was busy training the farmers on the outer wall? It also wouldn't be too bad to find the quickest route from the outer wall to the inner parts of the castle just in case anyway.

One of the Wardens came over to Merick's cart and grabbed one of the many crates that needed to be unloaded. His armour gleamed in the sunshine although the man's thick-browed scowl and bald head didn't quite match the picture of a hero. The Warden told Merick to either lend a hand or piss off and Merick happily obliged by leaving the Warden to carry the crate by himself. Merick sauntered his way towards the outer wall and did his best to avoid being drafted into any actual work. One person who by all rights probably shouldn't be here wouldn't make a difference, no matter what he did.

The gate loomed up at him and he whistled at the immensity of it. He'd seen it coming into North Watch but, after taking the time to stand beneath it, he could truly appreciate the size of it. Surely that 'grave giant' thing that Cassandra had seen was a trick of her eye or something. There's no way anything living or undead could be as tall as this wall. Then again, he hadn't thought that a giant freaking dragon would burst out of the ice in the middle of the lake so maybe it was possible. Merick shivered at the thought, or maybe he just shivered at the memory of the freezing cold water. He blew on his hands and he began the slow ascent up to the top of the wall. Hopefully he wouldn't have to walk the entire length of the wall to find Torvus.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Tue Jun 07, 2016 6:51 pm

Hothgar’s focus melted away from Thorgrim, trickling back down to the strategy table between them. The silently recounted the military roster and assessed the established defences. The trebuchets were currently stationed on the major placements along Honour Wall. Separated by several ballista positioned to take advantage of the kill zones below without sacrificing line of sight to the rest of the fortress. Unsurprisingly, Bellemy had repositioned the Vigilance Ballista along the Courage Wall along with the available catapults. Supporting the Walls of Honour and Vigilance were the Peasants armed with crossbows, and those not along the walls were being taught pike formations and tactics.

Courage Wall in addition to almost all of the Ballista and Catapults was manned by the Van’tesian Soldiers and Militia. It was evident that Bellemy had mounted an aggressive defence and had his most valuable assets guarded as well as one could with an army predominantly comprised of farmers with pitch forks. The only real disappointment in the entire formation, was that there were twenty decommissioned battle cannons rusting away in the Honour siege works. However, Bellemy had neither the resources, or the man power to repair them in time without forgoing training or ignoring other vital aspects of his defence.

Hothgar respected the best laid plans, and indicated this with a heavy sign and a thoughtful nod. He was comfortable with the established plan, and now had a measure of the Knight before him. He was a keen strategist, and it was clear he knew the fortresses strengths. It was also evident (despite it being veiled by logic and strategy), that he cared for the wellbeing of the common folk. Hothgar was relived he did not choose to march his guised company deep into a Ghenrael, at risk of political fallout for a lesser man. No, this was a Knight he could respect. He was Knight that not only knew the code, but followed it.

Hothgar reached down to a heavy Iron bound tome, joined by robust clasps to a chain bandolier. He held it before him, open in one hand, leafing through the branded leather pages. “The Silver wardens are not like the Hunters of the Scarlet Hood. I wish to extinguish the notion that we are experts when it comes to Necrophage Forbidden lore. However, what we lack in expertise we make up for in experience. I cannot for certain what this particular rising has in store for us, but I can say with certainty that is this rising has been using Wraiths to vanquish your scouts and if it is indeed true they are constructing a Grave Giant, then it should go without saying there is a powerful Necromancer if not a Lich at the head of this rise, supported by a coven or potentially an entire cult.”

Bellemy pressed his thumb tip to his jaw, arching two fingers up to his temple and began to rub. “If they are using Wraiths, then they will certainly use them in the siege. The effective deployment of their legion is relying almost entirely on the siege towers they are reportedly building. In the battle for Secondus of Trilogy gate, Wraiths were frequently found eradicating artillery and siege teams leaving entire companies unsupported and often at the mercy of the Necrophage legions. If we can ensure the safety and effectness of our siege weapons, and bring down the Legion Towers, we will be able to keep the battle outside Courage Wall.”

Hothgar nodded in agreement, but maintained a frown burdened with concern. “This is a likely strategy yes, but Thorgrim and the Preistess made mention of Ghouls…” Hothgar sifted his gaze between Dwarven strategist and the wielder of the Ardent Crest with keen anticipation, “Is it likely these risings are connected, how many Ghouls were there in the Thane?”

************************* In the Honour Siege Works ************************

Eadwine, Padrig and Marcel had just finished detaching the fifth cannon’s cascabel. It was a physically demanding task, even with three able men: and they were already tired after having dismounted all twenty cannons from their mobile chassis before suspending each with the roof riggings.

Forza came out from inside the huge customised, reinforced wagon that was stationed in the workshop hall. He stepped with purpose over to the men who were kneeling on the ceiling gantries removing cautiously securing the detached cascabel from the battle cannon.

Forza called up to Eadwine, as the carefully placed their iron ward down. “Eadwine come down here, I’ll need your help with the next phase. Padrig, Marcel, relax lads. Come down, make a start on fuses, powder cartridges, ammunition and prep the post fire tools.”

Eadwine struggled with his braced leg as he climbed down form the upper gantry where he and the siege smiths were perched. As he did, Forza grew impatient and called out once more. “I’ll continue working, meet me in the lab.”

********************** Atop the peak of Courage Tower *************************

Torvus looked down over the edge of the tower. He had to be at least thirty metres high, on top of the wall’s twenty. The wind was untamed up here and ruthless, and in response the wild elf had veiled his face with hood and scarf with only a narrow slit between the cloth bands that coiled his crown allowing him to see. Captain Maxim stood beside the Northwatch Agent, equally cloaked in furs and heavy linens. As they both marvelled at the vista before them he yelled to the elf, so he would be heard over the howling wind and their shielding attire.

“This one of three signal posts sir! A team of five will be stationed here and will use these signal mechanisms to give field reports and distribute command’s orders. If we lose our signal, Courage will be blind. We could end up with fighters blocking siege firing lines, or fighting in volley zones. We could be pushing advances when we should be making a tactical withdraw. Without these...” The Captain point at the mechanical statue and then to the others atop Honour and Vigilance tower, “…utter chaos!”

************************ Along the Courage Ramparts **************************

Merick reached the summit of the stairs and found himself upon the bustling Courage Ramparts. Soldiers, Militia and their officers were training and preparing the first line of defence. Teams of men were being taught by the droves to effectively wield cross bows proficiently. Others were practising response tactics to wall breeches. With the exception of the soldiers, it all appeared to be desperate actions, last minute preparation, an attempt to turn the common folk into an elite siege army overnight. While Merick still though Sir Bellemy was a Sour Git, the level of experience displayed here, or rather lack thereof forced Merick to appreciate a small level of understanding for the Old Knight’s concerns.

The rouge slowly waded through the militant crowds in the direction of the huge Courage Tower. It wasn’t long before Merick could hear a foreign and peculiar sound. It was music, which could be heard clearly over the howling wind that chilled the ratchet dressed thug and the ambiance of looming war. The song was not one he had heard before, but it was the unmistakable eclectic harmony produced by an accordion. As Merick continued to cut his path along the stoic wall, he eventually found a woman, nestled in one of the wall’s embrasures with her feet buried under a large Mastiff's belly that lay before her. The woman had a mane of thick dark brown hair tied up in a chignon, and her winter attire of furs and leathers framed her colourful sari-like skirt and tight low cut blouse that showed off her ample cleavage unabashed. Merick rolled his eyes, knowing full well she was a Sinti, nothing but wagon riding, tent pitching, pocket picking, bullshit weaving, lute plucking, sex teasing, rainbow wearing, nomads.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:51 am

His knee clicked and jarred unusually. Despite Adrysse's administrations, Eadwine still felt the loss of his knee-cap keenly. Odd; he had never really paid attention to his patella until it had been ripped from his body. The feeling of the wraith's unnatural limbs penetrating his lower leg occasionally returned as phantom pains, and a dull feeling of resignation haunted him in the few brief moments that he was not working. He had been fully prepared to sacrifice himself back in the town...

His head spun a little and Eadwine yearned for a bowl of blood broth. With a smile he wondered at his recent moral degredation: soon Thorgrim would have him chugging ale and forging beard rings too.

Eventually Eadwine made it back to the workshop floor and skirted his way around the cannons. No way was he walking underneath one of those.

Forza was working busily inside his enormous mobile lab. Eadwine did feel a little stab of envy, and another of shame. He'd been out of the alchemy loop for so long that he felt like he scarcely deserved to claim any connection with the art. Still, the sharp-tongued Florin had already taught Eadwine much, and reminded him of much that he'd thought forgotten.

He could hardly imagine Milburga being apprenticed to the Forza. She was so business-like and unyielding, almost the antithesis of Forza's tongue-in-cheek, let's-go-get-'em attitude. He made a mental note to write to her.

He stepped up into the alchemy lab and cast a quick eye around. The array of materials available was astounding, even compared to Bogglebang's cart. Eadwine absently wondered what use peacock feathers could be, and this briefly turned his thoughts to Charlotte. Clamping down on distractions, he addressed his new mentor, who was bent over an extraction apparatus.
"How can I help, Master?"
"I'm 'Master' now am I?" Forza asked, tinkering with a stopcock. "I certainly hope I shan't have to kill Milburga to claim that title." He looked up and threw a cheeky smile at Eadwine. The latter still found Forza's lack of mask distracting.
"It seemed only fitting: you are my master for the next few days at the least. After that, we shall see." Eadwine shrugged. "With the Undead on their way it may be that Milburga won't get the chance to kill you." He paused to let the joke sink in. In truth, Eadwine was yet to get used to Forza's style of banter.
"Not if I have anything to do with it," replied the Florin, now mixing a concoction which Eadwine did not recognise. "Here, hold this."

Eadwine stomped over and held the tube presented to him whilst Forza carefully decanted a liquid into it; the younger alchemist tentatively identified it as a variety of mineral oil. "Master, I see why re-boring the cannons is useful, but I wonder---how will it solve the condensation problem?"
"Mineral oil. Makes a good barrier between volatiles and the atmosphere," Forza pointed out. "Well, I'm sure you are aware that the specific heat capacity of the cannons will decrease when they are re-bored. That means their temperature will rise more quickly, and so the condensation will evaporate before the next shot can be loaded. Here, put these on."

As Eadwine pulled the elbow-length gloves on he mulled over Forza's response. "But their temperature will also drop more quickly when not in use, yes?"
"Yes. Pray that we have that problem, kid. Once these"---he indicated the hanging cannons---"start firing they won't stop until they're out of powder, we are dead, or the Undead are... deader." The senior alchemist pulled on a pair of dark goggles. "Good thinking though: maybe there is a brain in there." Eadwine restrained the urge to knock Forza's hand away from his temple.

"Now, we're going to have to be careful. Don't want this stuff to get on you! It'll eat the fat out from under your skin, and keep going 'til your whole arm falls off."
"Speaking of arms..." Eadwine began, thinking of Merryn's notebook.


Last edited by Mifurey on Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:12 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Punctuation and spelling. Fixing auto-correct errors.)
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:48 pm

Forza sensed a large conversation in Eadwine's ton, or at the very least he was distracted. Forza would usually explore the opening presented to him given any more favorable circumstances, but the he could not help but feel the weight of the responsibility for those relying on him. Sure his fellow wardens were clad in steel and accomplished warriors, but two frequently has success hinged on his Lazarin Elixers, his concoctions and his mastery over Alchemy Munitions. Now on the eve of war, in the face of overwhelming odds, Hothgar and Gaylia looked to him to 'do as he does best' and pull twenty battle cannons out of retirement with only his talents, two laborers and an apprentice who had forgotten the basics. Forza felt his heat flushes coming on, an indication of his mounting frustration. It bubbled to his throat and launched forth. "Arms is what you will loose if you don't focus Eadwine." Forza delivered his quip with a facetious grin. He always found it to be more favorable to vent his aversions with humor, though it seemed this particular Ghenraen lost his funny bone along with his knee cap. The bearded student of his seemed to be Milburger all over again. Perhaps he'd have to reteach Eadwine how to smile as well as his alchemy levels, just as he had done with Millburger.

As the two completed their preparations, Forza indicated that they had time for a rest. He moved to a section of the wheeled lab and pulled a large slide mounted board from a wall cavity. He then grabbed a near by bench rag and indiscriminately wiped away the apparently useless calculations and notations. Forza then picked up a piece of Chalk and began to write.

"Ok Eadwine, you've said its been some time, and you never got to sit your Alchemy Level and blah blah blah, i forgot everything... Unfortunately we lack the time and i the patients to discuss what ever it is you actually do remember so... lets start from the beginning." The unconventional Alchemist scribbled down the numbers 1 to 4. As he turned around he noticed Eadwine was taking notes into a book and he furrowed his brow in response. "Eadwine, Alchemy is about using your senses. Seeing the reaction take place and understanding the 'what and why'. You had your chance to learn it the text book way, and for all the good it did, you've forgotten it all. Put that down and talk with me you cap-less wonder."

Eadwine bit his lip, this Florin was incredibly trying on the young scholars patients, but for some reason the budding champion complied. "Very well Master. What are the numbers for?"

Forza smiled. He could see the frustration in Eadwine's posture and heard flecks of it dusted upon his tone. If Forza was going to get these cannons functioning in four days, he'd need this Ghenraen up to speed in less. "Right! There are innumerable catalysts that can and will effect your extractions and mixology processes. But! There are only 'Four' you need to concern yourself with. I refer to these as the Laws of Alchemy. A bunch of dead old white guys would say there are far more: and would have prattled about this across so many tomes you could build a forth wall for this fortress...." Forza pressed his chalk to the board and began to teach (his way). "One! And this one's a bitch. Your environment. The temperature, the humidity and moisture, the temperature of your materials and your tools... look the point is, the reason we use labs is so we can keep these factors constant and reduce the expose of our methods to these factors that really, we have no actual control over."

The sore student seemed to remember the Boggle-bang informing him that it was an ill conceived to practice extraction and mixology outside lab conditions. It filled him with a rebellious sense of achievment that he had managed to brew a Cluster Orb without error, but it did occur to him that it might have been easier and more efficient, had he have considered this 'law'. Eadwine quickly refocused as Forza pronounce his next point. "Two! Extraction: Our Aether essences are derived from Earth, Flora and Fauna. There are your three major Origins. Extracts can be of single origin or multiple. Depending on the Extract Origin, and weather it is single or multiple: these factors will dictate what your extraction perimeters are. Knowing these factors will mean the difference between blowing your hand off or simply losing your eye browns when you make a mistake."

"What about Aether Phenomena? That too is a result of extraction and mixology errors, and one arguably more dangerous than the risk of loosing a hand." Eadwine attempted to engage Forza's unique teaching method. One without books, tests and lectures.

"Yes, that too is a very real and very dangerous risk that we as Alchemists can be exposed too. Another reason we must secure an understanding of these Four laws of Alchemy before we leap face first into practicals application." Forza gestured back to his growing list and continued. " Three! Dose. Even a gram's difference in the measurements of a Lazarin Elixer could mean the difference between simply remedying heinous wounds and doing that with side effects such as accelerating grow of hair, nails and skin: causing lesions, seizing of joins and so on. Heck in some rare situations, remedial concoctions could also accelerate the condition of the patient. Under dosing is a issue to: if you under dose and you've extracted on a reliable spirit, the consumer might just get drunk and feel a light buzz. This is a factor true of any Alchemy concoction"

Forza tossed the chalk into the open container from which is was originally retrieved from. He strolled over to his now sitting student collecting a stool mid saunter. Position his chair in front of Eadwine, Forza took a seat and looked the Masked Ghenraen in the eyes. "What do you think the final law of Alchemy is?"

Episode Track: Forza and Eadwine:

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:08 pm

A short time later and the explanations of the towers signalling systems were done; Torvus hoped he wasn't expected to man the signals, he didn't feel it would be the best use of his talents, but then what would be? These sieges didn't seem like a good idea to Torvus, you couldn't stalk your prey, you couldn't hide or withdraw and approach from a new angle, and unlike laying an ambush both parties know where the other is.

Returning to the would be archers Torvus resumed training them in the basics, and inspecting their gear. They were doing well, at least as well as could be expected, and Torvus was doing his best to keep his spirit up and put on a show for the men and women on the wall. Making sure to point out that with the arrival of the wardens our chances were good, and warning the archers to watch their shots in the event that a warden sought glory by meeting the enemy head on, "Better to let the professionals fight, no need to get in their way" he'd say with a smile.

Between volleys of practice shots into the fields beyond the walls, a detail was sent to retrieve arrows; it was a task that quickly became considered a punishment. Reminding any any who complained that "Arrows don't grow on trees, trust me I've looked!" usually quietened dissent, along with the occasional reminder that we'd need all the arrows we could get. Of course having a small unit of wardens or Torvus to accompany the detail helped. These outings into the fields allowed coloured flags to be placed to help with gauging distances, with any luck it would prove useful and the undead wouldn't make anything of it.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:05 pm

"Observation," Eadwine answered after a few moments. He paused to observe Forza's response.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:30 am

Thorgrim gave a thoughtful shrug "Some hundred or so, But i cannot claim to have had clear sight on all of them, not that such a thing is ever clear in the under-dark. I would put a safer estimate at three hundred. They will be a problem at the wall, and it is them i fear could simply climb around and above."

The dwarf indicated the rough mountains around the fortress. "The wraith too had an uncanny ability to climb, no that it matters when they can disappear and walk thru walls at will. I had feared exactly that, sabotage, from them. I Suggest we shift the siege weapons into fire teams. That way we can stretch the trained crews to several weapons with simple labor to help with the simple tasks, wenching and handing ammo and whatnot. More importantly, we can focus on concentrating defenders capable of taking down those creatures.”

Thorgrim pointed to courage “We should focus our best direct fire weapons here. Any cannons we get going, i'd say up to an array of five. It covers much of the road the army must come from, and if it is three hundred metres between the first and second walls, and those are proper siege cannons, then we have range all the way to the waterfront. If this fortress was built propper that is as should be. The more cannons we get working, the more we place along the wall, Battery’s of three should give good cover.”

Thorgrim indicated the 7th, 3rd, 9th and 11th towers along Courage wall, counting away from Courage itself and in that order. “Lay them out in that order, shifting the other siege weapons around, depending how many cannons we get working. If we get all of them, then the last three would be well placed here, in this larger tower beneath the hall of records. Good coverage there. Failing the cannons, set up the catapults in two batteries of four, in Courage and the 7th Tower, and spread the Ballista in teams of three around. I would recommend the Reapers to cover the Gates, Batteries of two above the gates, placed so as they can strafe the walls if they are breached nearby. One Battery to the main Gate, One to the tower Beneath the Hall of records, or the gate itself beneath that if we get all cannons and there is no room. The final Battery may be well served back on the second tier wall, Honour is it? With the majority of our blooded ranged units. Help cover the main gate if it falls, make good use of the killing fields, and if any part of courage is taken then we make it rain a final death upon them and retake it if we can.”

“The Siege weapon experts will be invaluable in this fight, if we could have horses ready to ferry them back from Courage to other emplacements if things get too hairy we would minimise loss of firepower. Can also shift them back or around as things develop. Sir Bellamy, You said we shall fight in Courage and that sounds wise, The Priestesse, Adrysse, has powerful magics that can see the wraiths even when cloaked, and more powerful magics that can hurt them badly from afar. We could watch over the greatest collection of the siege weapons there. Either that or the 3rd Tower of Courage, Depending where the Commander plans to fight with his men and experts? My team stand by the priestess, To protect her, and together rally the defenders around us. I should say, Bar myself my team are able fighters, but they are not Warriors or Soldiers yet, Tho they are Prodigies in each their own fields.”

"Ohh, And as for Cowards Reach, I still think it dubious. Our halls were lost to similar passages thought safe to us. But with wraiths about, cannons or a guard will be pointless, since we cannot spare capable fighters, to be sure. I would still urge caution. Sap the passage, if we must use it then we blow it behind us, tho we won't have too its best to plan from defeat and work our way to victory from there, as us Dwarfs would say. And if any foe does seek to outflank us, then we can blow the passage on them. Take my council or leave it, Sir Bellamy, as you see wise. ill simply not have it go unsaid is all."

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:42 am

She's probably freezing her tits off in this weather. Serves her right for being a useless Sinti. Merick wanted nothing more than to march over and stomp on her stupid accordion but that large mastiff made him pause. Some people reckoned that Sinti could capture a person's heart with nothing more than a few honeyed words and it seemed that animals weren't much different. It was one of the largest dogs that Merick had ever seen and he did not wish to tangle with it. He rolled his eyes again as the Sinti bint layered a sultry siren voice into her music. Merick tried to push his way through the throng of people that were moving along the wall but part of the crowd had stopped to listen to the useless wench. Some people reacted angrily to Merick's shoving but a few well placed elbows meant that he kept moving along the wall and towards the tower in the distance.

Merick had seen a rather large metal symbol on the tower when he'd first reached the top of the wall and he began to make out more detail as he got closer. The bronze shone in the weak winter sun and it appeared to have been fashioned into the shape of a large cat with a wild ring of hair that wrapped around its entire head. The cat was enormous and almost stretched from the ramparts to the top of the tower. It looked like it was trying to climb the tower itself. Merick gazed at the immensity of the symbol and he reckoned that he could probably see it from the inner wall of North Watch if the sunlight hit the cat at the right angle. Merick's reverie was disrupted when a group of about a dozen men and women shuffled past him. He thought he heard them murmuring something about elves always being good at archery and he peered along the wall to find a familiar long-eared hunter.

"Torvus!" Merick shouted as he made his way towards the elf. Torvus was perched on the edge of a gnarled wooden stool and he looked like he'd been restringing a few of the bows that had been piled on the floor. "Having a good time training the farmers? And how's your gut? Still hurting from that monster or feeling pretty good?" Merick's cloak billowed with a sudden gust of wind and he wrapped it around himself to protect from the cold.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Fabulous on Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:35 pm

"Some hundred or so, But i cannot claim to have had clear sight on all of them, not that such a thing is ever clear in the under-dark. I would put a safer estimate at three hundred. They will be a problem at the wall, and it is them i fear could simply climb around and above."

As the dwarf answered the Wardens' question, the priestess was trying her hardest to concentrate on the conversation going on around her. She knew this conversation held the utmost importance and she should be more involved and engaged but her mind wouldn't stop worrying about the plague victims in the hospice.

As she once again became distracted by the urgency of the suffering people that she didn't know how to help, she caught herself just before she started to subconsciously walk away from the table. Remembering the last time she tried to heal a disease she had no knowledge of and the destructive aftermath, she wasn't willing to try a healing spell on a whim that it worked without discovering more first. Making a decisive mental note to locate the alchemist afterwards to discuss an alchemical cure, she knew now wasn't the time to let her heart take over her brain.

"Take my council or leave it, Sir Bellamy, as you see wise. ill simply not have it go unsaid is all."

As the dwarf finished talking, the priestess realised that while they had a decent strategy plan in progress, they hadn't set in place anything about the Necromancer and what to do about him.

"What about the necromancer?" Adrysse began. "He's the only one I'm really concerned about. If he doesn't go down then he can keep raising the undead, and if any of our guys die he can raise them too. Also, he's the one that I need to perform the ritual on."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:07 pm

Well with torrents of blood he'd sprayed it wouldn't be hard to mistake where the boned horror had stabbed him, of course Adrysse had stopped his bleeding prior to his decent. "It got me high on the chest, thankfully didn't make it down to my gut. And the farmers are doing well, we'll make hunters of them yet." He said with a smile.

Deciding a short break was in order he called to the archers to try for a volley of three arrows each at the green flags. After heading down the stairs to Merick the elf felt a little light headed. "Aside from the lost blood I'm doing well, Adrysse knows her art that's for sure. As for the wound, it only aches when it's cold." The last comment getting a look from Merick that seemed as though he couldn't decide if the elf had lost his sense of feeling, but quickly dismissed with a wry grin from Torvus as he tightened his furs.

The archers above on the wall called out commands by rote and released a volley, one of the more capable bowmen correcting anothers efforts in a tone much like Torvus would use. "So Merick, are you keeping busy?"
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:36 pm

Thorgrim gave a meaningful nod of concurrence with the priestess. "Aye, that's the only way this ends in victory. Commander Hothgar? You've got the experience, how do we kill a Lich?"

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

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