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Old Jun 26th, 2019, 08:45 AM
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Chapter 5: Shifting Tides

Dimi and surroundings, Day 9 of the Campaign, Month of PeaceThe rest of the Bura fleet had caught up with the captured ship before dawn was breaking. The human crew had been shackled long ago and secured, so the sail to Dimi was uneventful. The town was just waking up as the human ship with the crystal bow was moored at the pier of the city. The sight of the Seahorse emblem of this free city of Vinione on the glazed tiles of the city wall and on colourful banners was like a balsam, the castle on the mountain overlooking the sea even more so.

When the general populace caught wind of the fact that a ship had been captured and their fleet had returned victorious an impromptu parade broke out. People were shouting and dancing, even throwing bags of coloured powder to cake the arriving ships in bright patterns as they exploded on the hulls. It was as if the war had been won when in fact the fleet had taken heavy losses and Bura was still under siege. Regardless some soldiers were lifted onto the shoulders of happy people on the docks.

Yet the mercenary ships were not to stay directly in the city. After goods, the wounded and most prisoners were unloaded the galleys and triremes that were not directly owned by the city undocked again to sail south, were a few miles out of the city began a miles long army camp of the various companies that were lending aid to Vinione in this war. The human ship had to be left in Dimi, as city officials wanted direct access to it for the study of the strange material.

Atale and Pataya were introduced into the camp of the mercenary leader Zaqrah along with the squad that had helped take over the ship they had been prisoners on. Zaqrah himself, an older Ux with a strangely dry skin and a regal bearing, was witnessing their arrival. Another celebration broke out here as well, smaller than in the city maybe, before people were given some time to rest and their wounds were taken care of. Atale and Pataya were offered employ in the Zaqrah irregulars too, as were Nkasa and Tsehin, or if they chose to move on at least some first aid and a place to rest. It seemed like the camp of Zaqrah was the biggest of the mercenary bands that had gathered south of Dimi, and the newcomers could even see close to ten war mammoths being groomed on the edge of it.

Nergui, the Tsing Goun commander of Zaqrah informed everybody that they should report to Zaqrahs tent on the evening of this day. She had hid away some of the human prisoners to interrogate herself, seeing as they had brought a human interpreter from south, the red haired woman called Modwenn. The captain of the ship the Mercenaries had to hand over to the officals of the Free city of Dimi.

The evening came around and people were fetched for the debriefing. In the tent of general Zaqrah all the platoon leaders were present, including Nergui. The squad that had captured the ship were the only regular soldiers, but they received slaps on the back from the officers. That they had to fight a battle as a distraction nobody seemed to begrudge them, maybe because they had brought home the first intact human ship and a whole cargo hold full of prisoners to interrogate too.

"I've talked to the prisoners all day with the help of the human woman," Nergui began. Modwenn, the human in question, was not present. "They have given me very tall tales, which I will relay to you unaltered even though I am not sure I can believe them."

Staring straight ahead the Tsing Goun continued: "They claim to be the army of the ten tribes of Caerphy, a country that they assure me lies beyond the human continent in northern icy waters, where they supposedly live only on ships or on floating slabs of ice, hunting wales. Our advisor from the An Uxian Magical Guild, for the new playersArcane Towers in Purano found out that Caerphy lies over 8000 miles away from here."

Nergui paused a bit for effect then. "It's not only the distance that is troubling, but the fact that there lies a whole continent between the northern sea and us. How they got here is a confusing story." She moved right on to it: "They say they were preparing a surprise attack on human kingdoms called Meidling and Hietzing to carve out some place to live on the earth and rock. The crystal on their ships gives them magical powers beyond that of any one man, and they say that there is an obelisk as tall as a mountain made of this stuff sticking out of the ocean where they dwell. They used its power to try and move their ships magically right next to the cities of Meidling and Hietzing, avoiding the barricade of their combined fleets."

"When the ritual was completed they found themselves in different waters for sure, but were confused upon finding non-humans. Their leaders decided that it was of little consequence ultimately, as they had not enough energies to repeat the ritual and move somewhere else. They decided they needed to carve out a land of their own here." The Tsing Goun looked at everybody in turn then, especially her superior Zaqrah, who motioned her to continue with a nod. "So this is the story the prisoners have told me. We have no access to the Captain, who may or may be dead by now anyway, to confirm any of this from a leaders perspective. As I said I am not sure I believe any of it, but be that as it may it seems like we have an enemy that has their back against the wall and nowhere to turn."

She clicked her tongue and shrugged before moving to the silver lining: "These are the bad tidings, but there is also wonderful news. A runner has reached us earlier this afternoon announcing that twenty Triremes from Vinja have arrived carrying eight hundred soldiers and tools of war. Also ten ships coming south from Bazzro and Lutheya have been sighted, with the numbers they will lend to our strength not yet clear. Likewise we have been informed that the Uxian for MagesMogh in the employ of the Dimi army have determined that the crystal material takes time to recollect its magical potential. They want us to attack again on the morrow, landing two thirds of our armies on Managh Island to challenge them on the open field and attempting to break their barricade on the sea."

Last edited by Phettberg; Dec 6th, 2019 at 06:19 PM.
  #2  
Old Jun 26th, 2019, 05:40 PM
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RaazIt took a lot of willpower to not lean down onto her knees and kiss the ground as they landed. Sailing was nice, and the feeling of the ocean wind in her fur was pleasant, but the Idler felt like she needed a nice warm bath to get the salt off her and the annoyance from being able to do so little while on in a ship and being attacked from afar. The land, the city, now that was where Raaz thrived.

Tall tales were woven almost instantly on their arrival as those who were on land interrogated the remaining humans from the ship, getting translation from the only human Raaz would agree to work with, though the stories were just that, "That tale sounds more far fetched then some of my drinkin' buddies old stories of the items they were able to steal right out from under the noses of the nobles. Magic may be real, but magic that teleports you across worlds? Nah."

Rubbing her long coarse nose fur she sighed, "The Captain was alive when I left her, sorry for bein' the reason she's dead though if she didn't survive. Humans are squishy, evidently."

Yet, based on the words being spoken by Nergui, they were about to ride a ship once more, and go off to travel the seas and use magic they couldn't control or didn't know how to use,"If we fight tomorrow, who all will be goin'? The same crew, or are we bein' split up into another ship? I don't know much about sailin', but I learned some things over the last few days. Biggest thing is I need more arrows. Also, we need more people to attack from a distance if we're going to get anywhere."
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Old Jun 26th, 2019, 07:02 PM
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"If the enemy has no possible place to retreat to, they will all fight to the death. Losses will be high for us as well, and it will be very many years before everything is rebuilt."
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Old Jul 1st, 2019, 06:56 PM
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Atale
The little golem is highly relieved to be off the water and greatly enjoys the parade and other merriment.

When she hears the tale of the human tribes war, she shakes her head. 'I'll never understand why humans shoot first and talk later. Why I am sure there would have been plenty of land to go 'round for these poor, perpetually seasick peoples, if they had bothered to ask. But now I supposed they will not be very welcome!"
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Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 06:34 PM
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Pataya Ilaq-Puki of the YatakPataya has quietly listened to those around him. He is fascinated to learn that these human attackers are from the extreme north and is glad that the Eternal Ice is a long way to the south of them. He has accepted a role in Zaqrah's Irregulars and recovered his possessions. When there is a break in conversation he interjects. "These humans took no opportunity to parlay. They are dangerous and mad with power. They must be exterminated," He returns to quiet contemplation after his brief contribution.
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Old Jul 4th, 2019, 03:28 PM
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Planning for WarBefore the whole squad of Voitleja got their opinions on the situation out Zaqrah lifted his hand from the gilded hilt of his ceremonial dagger, calling for silence. When the room had quieted down he scratched at the burned side of his face and wiped his ruined eye before announcing: "We're heeding your council tonight because I have something to ask of you specifically. Any questions and thoughts you might have Nergui will try to answer"

True to his word he let everybody continue then, and Nergui tried to answer or give more information as they went around in a circle.

"We're not leaving anybody," the Tsing Goun told Raaz. "Only the cities are leaving men behind in case of failure. As mercenaries we only get paid if we give it our all. The way it is." She cleared her throat with a croak. "Might be you'll get more bows in your squad, but unlikely seeing as you didn't lose anybody yet. As an army we have plenty of archers. And as for your ammunition - you can get as many as you can carry from the quartermaster."

Moving on to Jo'Seph the Platoon leader commented the following: "They are not with their backs against the wall just yet, since they have established a foothold by conquering Meshkou in the north of Managh Island. As it is there have been no efforts to attack whatever troops they left behind there - since when we lift the siege at Bura we want them to have somewhere to turn. Breaking the Siege is the only objective of tomorrows fight. If they are to be rooted out completely it will follow after, but that is not for us to decide."

Atale and Pataya were talking about similar things, so Nergui adressed them together: "It's true that they are despicable, but from what we have been able to gather they had put everything they had into an assault that was supposed to directed at an enemy they knew. Their ships were packed full of warriors, with supposedly only a weeks worth of fresh water and rations. It was to be victory or death."

The Tsing Goun scratched the base of her beak and looked back at Zaqrah briefly, who only nodded as if to affirm her assessement of the situation. Nergui continued: "From what the prisoners are telling us there might be as many as a hundred ships all filled each with dozens of fighters eager for blood and glory. Seems to me that the Captain had to give them something to fight soon, not only because waiting was not an option. They don't speak our language either, but even if they did no Free City would have been very keen on accepting that many armed to the teeth strangers. As it is we've been getting too many refugees from the Human lands by ways of Bazzro and Lutheya. The folly of these people was always going to cause violence one way or another."

She shook her head then and it became apparent that she had had this sort of conversation often before. "No matter. Until a few days ago we did not even know for sure where they came from. Now we know, but they have rejected attempts to parley with them in their own language. The Free Cities think it's because they believe themselves to be winning - and I can't argue with that. Might be they will listen once we push them north. This is where you all come in."

Nergui pulled out a roll of pergament as she continued to talk: "You've proven to be a resourceful squad able to operate independent and outside of normal formation. This is something we will need tomorrow, but it's a dangerous mission. I will lay it out for you, and then everybody that does not want to be a part of this can just walk out of this tent and will be reassigned to a different squad - no further questions asked."

She unrolled he pergament and spread it out on a table in the middle of the tent. On it there was a drawing of some sort of snakelike insect. It had a dozen insect feet running along a scaly blue segmented body ending in a head not unlike a praying mantises, with large mandibles, giant bug eyes and feelers spreading upwards. Fins stuck out on the upper body of the creature to either side ending in large spikes.

"The humans have brought this with them. You may have heard rumors already. If you haven't, this drawing doesn't do it justice really. It is a beast thirty feet long or more. They have three. At the moment these things are trying to chew through the solid rock that Bura was built on. Luckily they are not making speedy progress, or the town would have fallen like Meshkou."

Before she finished off her speech she waved over an aide who brought a sealed clay mug the size of cannonball with him. Nergui placed a hand on it, tenderly as if it were an oversized egg. "We need them dead, but the humans are keeping them away from any ballista they see, and our trebuchets are too slow to aim at a creature moving at their speed. This is the deadliest poison that the Mogh from the House of the Free Mind have been able to brew up. Ever. Supposedly a drop can kill a grown Mammoth three times over."

"Once we land our Army we hit the humans with everything we've got. You just look for these bugs, hit them as often as possible with steel dipped in this liquid death. That's the best idea the Free Cities have got - but seems like they are at least smart enough to hand it to us."

Nergui looked at everybody in the room that was not another platoon commander in turn. "So, are you in or are you out? If you've got doubts then leave. This is too important."

A few seconds passed in silence that felt like hours. To everybodies suprise Voitleja stepped forward first: "I do not see like anybody else here. These beasts need to be hit from afar lest it become a suicide mission, but my vision is limited in that regard. I will gladly be reintegrated into another squad where I can be utilised in a better way."

The strange eyeless warrior left the tent without a further comment. Soon Ebtsun the Tsing Goun Archer followed, then Tham and Bezra, the two mages from different traditions. Sheedi, the young Uxian crossbowman that wore too much makeup and jewlery for a warrior, stepped forward and said something surprising: "I... I will go."

This made the topless Rak'Ari warrioress Mali, also called "Mad" burst out laughing. "Damn right you will you little louse - you've turned into a killer!"

The dark skinned humand and her disfigured gettan friend that had also been captured on the boat that had been liberated by the squad were also in attendance. Yet the Getta was in no condition to fight tomorrow, and everybody could see it. "Can't walk," he muttered. "She'll have to carry me out in a bit."

"Ssh," Nkasa cut him off. "You will fight again my friend." The human looked up at Nergui from under her black locks. "I can shoot an arrow just as well as he could. You can give me one and I will fight."
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Old Jul 4th, 2019, 11:33 PM
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Atale

"Hunting beasts is what I do best! I will make a shirt from their hide! But I must find a bakery first, for many grievous chunks were removed from my dough and I do not heal like meat people."

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Old Jul 5th, 2019, 11:25 AM
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AseQuiet this whole time and being lost in his thoughts since the escape speaks up. “I am in. I’ll help stop these creatures from Bura.” His voice is heavy and already tired from the task laid before them. But also solid and resolute.

Last edited by Vulco1; Jul 5th, 2019 at 11:25 AM.
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Old Jul 6th, 2019, 08:05 AM
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"Killing off the beasts might break the siege, but what is our endgame here?"
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Old Jul 6th, 2019, 01:56 PM
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RaazNodding at the answers they received she stepped forward, "I'll be glad to join in on this fight. Poison and distance seem like a perfect fit for me," with a glance at Voitleja she looked back, "With Voitleja stepping out though, who will lead our squad?"

She was sad to see him go, but understood his reasons. It put others in danger when they had to keep him safe when he couldn't see anyone from afar. He was a decent leader though.
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Old Jul 6th, 2019, 06:02 PM
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Pataya joins the fightPataya has found his armour and weapons and stands talk among the gathered warriors. He rises onto his back kebabs he stands 13 ft tall and cries out "I, Pataya Ilaq-Puqi of the Yatak accept thy challenge. I shall fight these wyrms for the honour of the Ice. "
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Old Jul 7th, 2019, 03:55 PM
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A council endedNergui kept her word and did not seem to begrudge anybody who left the tent then. Those that remained assured her of their intentions, which made her nod thoughtfully. "Good," was all she said to the various oaths.

When Jo'Seph seemed unsure about the purpose of what was to happen on the morrow she sighed and turned to answer him: "This is the endgame. Our numbers are bolstered on land and sea, and they have lost two of their firespewing ships in a few days. If what we have gathered about these crystals is true they will not be able to send indefinite numbers of fireballs our way tomorrow. These beasts are the last thing that stands between us and lifting this siege properly. When they run north to Meskhou they will have to parley or we will crush them."

She waved a hand dismissively after having finished: "Now that is if the Free Cities can keep to the battle plan. As your squad has a special mission you will be on the southern flank and land with the second wave. From then on out it is your sole duty to find the beasts and kill them."

The Tsing Goun then turned briefly to Raaz, considering what she had brought up: "We're taking you out of the command structure. I don't much care who is the leader as long as you get your job done. Anybody that got hired in Purano and served since then will do."

Looking over the squad she considered the candidates that seemed suitable: "Say Gao, Yalar, Acorn or you, for that matter - or anybody else that feels like leading. Spirits, put it to a vote, but don't bother me with it. Dismissed."


Outside the command tent"I will get myself that bow after the camp women showed me where you all have camped." Nkasa had dragged her wounded Gettan friend outside the tent, but soon left to arm herself properly. "I'm new to this outfit, so I'll vote whatever way you want."

Gao, the abrasive Gettan warrior spat out after breathing in a lungfull of sea air. "Seeing as you went off without me and made yourself heroes I don't give a rats arse who leads me. I just stick em with my sword, eh?" He didn't seem particularly bothered, even if the laugh was forced. "Egra sod em all. In fact I'll just have a stroll to clear my head. Don't get too wasted, heroes."

He started walking away, humming some folk song to himself. A few seconds after Yalar the Uxian Fencer started to say something but was cut off by the Rak'Ari woman who for some reason was only wearing armour from the waist down, her whole upper body lined with scars old and new. "You did it brothers! Now normally killing Dragons is against my religion, yes? But you can't have all the bloody glory, can you? Wonder why the Vulture did not mention my name for captaincy."

Mad Mali laughed her unhinged laugh and let go of Yalar, who finally had a chance to speak: "I say we put leadership to a vote right now. I nominate myself."

Asef, the suave To'Ari crossbowman who had been uncharacteristically quiet this whole time nodded at that and said: "I will second it, but only if we have somebody standing against you. Raaz, how about it? We need a huntress for this job."


OOCI'm taking things slowish so the two new players can get their bearings with the squad bit by bit. I'll probably give a rundown of every member in the next post during the preparation for disembarkment the next day.
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Old Jul 7th, 2019, 04:12 PM
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RaazAs they began to walk out looked for Voitleja to say her good byes before he went off, the others began to talk about who would lead and Yalar offered himself as the leader. Raaz had no qualms with him being the leader and as Asef suggested her as the second choice she raised a brow, "I mean, if ya want me to be, I can go up against Yalar. Either one of us I think could be a good lead. My vote is whoever is the Cap'n by vote, the other is second in command. Sound good?"

She was actually surprised that Asef thought she would be a good fit for the role. Mostly she felt like she kept to herself, but perhaps she had peaked her head up a bit and helped more lately now that all their heads were on the line. It was very different from her old way of life, where you worried about yourself and yourself alone.
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Old Jul 7th, 2019, 08:02 PM
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"I'm not very good with a bow, but I could stand in front of the archers and block for them"
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 08:57 AM
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AseAse also browsed the crowd with his eyes looking for Voitleja. He’d be way to find later though. He knew he didn’t want to lead the crew. It wasn’t his place he felt so that made it easier to vote for someone else. “I vote for Raaz. She’s comported herself well in these few adventures and hopefully she’ll keep doing so.
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