Joined: 25 May 2007
|Posted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 2:59 am Post subject: Assault on Eastern Transian...
|Here follows an accounting of Aeshen, Wood-witch and Transian Druid.
Sunlight dappled through the overhanging canopy of the Transian forests. Their numbers spread thin throughout the Green Heart, Forest Druids were all too quickly becoming a rare sight in the foliage. Battle with the minions of Undead that dared to wade the Argus River, had taken its toll over the years, and the Elders of the Circle took pains to train the remaining members of the ancient lore spoken by animal and plant alike. Aeshen was seated upon a moss covered rock, and within the folds of his robes, he held a deer-foal. Suckling quaintly from a water skin of milk fashioned from minerals and flour. He rested about two miles West of the Argus river.
Three nights earlier, a throb of ghouls had sauntered through the waters of the Argus, meeting a string of spell-wards that Aeshen had erected in earnest against them. It troubled him that the Eastern forests had moved against his portion of the Western Transian, Hernai was a week away of reinforcements, so Aeshen had been commanded to Ward the East as best as he could. As he set the foal down to walk about, he regarded the previous battle, the ghouls had come through the water, to meet spell wards which caused roots and other plants to battle with the Undead. Aeshen was also amongst them, commanding a tree as he animated it to club them. The group was quickly dispatched, and the mindless undead persisted.
Finally a break in the battle, he had stood victorious over twenty or more ghouls, his breathing labored with exertion of spell craft. Painstakingly, he had erected new wards, determined not to allow the abominations to set rotten feet upon the sacred soil. No attack had come, and it was as if the undead were weary of the druidic magic in place. He often turned his perceptions northwards, as if to see and hear through another's eyes on progress.
He moved without noise, towards a narrow copse of trees and soon the canopy over head had disallowed all but the most slim of trickles of sunlight. The foal loped along behind his feet, learning the new strengths of his legs. Aeshen passed under ancient yew trees and came to a pond, gleaming a gentle green and brown with algae. Gingerly, the foal lipped at the edge, Aeshen's lithe fingers patting it as he crouched low with it. It was mid-afternoon, and the heat and oppressiveness of the day had no hope of entry under the cool shades of the ancient forest ceiling, Aeshen smiled blissfully.
He seemed to drift in and out of awareness, the foal having drunk its fill, lay across his lap peacefully. He rested, propped against the comforting arms of the roots of an Oak and turned his elven face to the skies. Tonight would mark the celebration of Midsummer, when summer was at its peak by the druidic calendar. He would sit the finalities of his tests of power, before being dispatched southwards, through Hernai, and into the Plains to discover the cause of the drying. A small bubble of anxiety built inside of him, would he pass?
Thundering gray images flew towards the party that was killing the ghouls. Threatening images of Novalis came towards them; Shadow Dragons his minions breathed huge billows of black towards them to darken their vision with their magic. It was too close to VelvetLuve who was riding through the forest to see such things going on. She had the front legion with her and her demon dogs at her side.
The wards had flared green flames as the shadow dragon had barked its putrid fumes. Druid warriors, their silver scimitars flashing in the air despite the gloom had covered their faces with the leather coats they wore. Another spell ward ignited, sending green and silver sparks to obliterate a ghoul that came too close, they were laid like mines, invisible to naked eye until they were triggered or if they used magic. A war horn sounded, and the small group of defending druids backed away. Aeshen's ears perked and at once he had started a sprint to the front lines, concern etched on his face.
Baad rode in besides the Sovereign VelvetLuve, and her Son with his own legion of Knights. He was Knight Admiral however, he act as her guard with reasons the Sovereign is not yet told of. Staying silent of course as far to Luve and her son do talking his choice was more violent and brutal before talking starts.
VelvetLuve wasn't front line and didn't need to be. Driving her energy from the back, wicked fumes of death began to float forward. The stench was enough to make a plant wither and die, or worse yet make those attacking violently ill. If she was seen, it wasn't the natural beauty of Luve, but a creature with horns and a tail with a woman's body. The only thing identifying her might be the hair. Calloused scales covered her arms and legs which glittered. Minion demons ran by her side almost thriving on the putrid fumes.
Aeshen crested the hill that led down the animal path towards the copse of trees which marked the edge of the forest, the sound of the Argus river rushing in its cause way. He passed flawlessly towards the nearest squad leader. He was in no way higher ranking then him, but Aeshen spoke out of necessity:
"Some kind of smoke breathing dragon, we cannot fight the minions and battle it as well...? He looked wounded but the Witch would think he would live. A score of Warriors covered their mouths and coughed violently. Aeshen sensed magic prevailing. His spell wards would not prevent the roll of black smoke from entering the forest, unless he erected new ones.
Archers, cover fire. Algyln!"He called to the Druid Priest of Phonobele."Do what you can to stem that cloud!"
The sudden change in command surprised them, but none argued. A spray of arrows arced from the trees once, before all fell back.
The only other spell caster he knew of, the others were all martially trained. Aeshen spread his feet and drew on the One Power. His eyes glowing a fierce green as he commanded energies to take shape. His lips chanted a spell, calling the energies from within him. Funneling that energy through the towering oaks that stood above him, the witch's mind engaged with erecting spell wards against purification. The leaves of the trees and plants would glow an ethereal green as his spell chimes in with the natural energies of those plants. Meanwhile, Algyln, murmuring a loud prayer to Phonobele, whistled a gust of wind from his outstretched palm to counter the deadly toxins coming from the East. Luve could see Aeshen clearly on the frontline, a figure resplendent in arcane magic?s.
VelvetLuve laughed wickedly, her sister, Angel, followed the goddess Phonobele, but she wanted all the do-gooders to die, and violently at that. Looking over to her son, Novalis, she ordered the demons to surge forward in fiery balls of flames. They did just that, led by her lead dog Arthur. Flames and putrid smells were fighting for her, for this was -their domain-. A voice sounding nothing like hers echoed in the forest demanding the trespassers return to where they came from. Fire would only kill what they loved and she would set fire to any part of the forest she felt like.
Recoiling in horror from a spat of hellish flames, two druids fell, and quietly, Aeshen vowed to avenge their deaths. His spell wards were holding, but they would not last for long. Dancing backwards through the trees, Aeshen commanded a company of tribal covered men to sound the general retreat. Aeshen heard the voice. -That- voice which caused his so much ire. Perceived through Luve's magic by gift of Clear Senses. Her magic was undeniable, like a signature and it caused his skin to crawl. "Luve..."He swore bitterly, seeing the demon dogs.
Men began to wade the waters of the Argus to enter their sanctified Western boarders. Supporting archers on the western banks released a volley of arrows to whistle into the midst of the Eastern forests, Aeshen ducked low, and then snatch a glance towards Luve. She was too powerful to face one on one, Luve had battle Aiyanna at one stage, and it was unclear who won. Aeshen destroyed a ghoul with Witchfire, before running back to the Argus himself, covering the retreat with his own magic?s.
Baad leaned back on the saddle, letting Luve tinker with the magic. She, like others, is so fond of. He told his men not to move just yet. Luve and Novalis was not so easy to defeat and until he knows situation, he will keep any thoughts and ideas to himself.
Ignoring the cold of the water, Aeshen half-ran, half loped through the depths, many druids were sinking into the water, to become one with it, and quickly travel to the opposing side to seek refuge and healing. Aeshen helped the stragglers back to shore and looked across the expanse of water with a terrible anger in his eyes.
"Mark my word Velvet! You will have this battle, but the war is -far- from over!" His magic allowed his voice to project across the sparkling river, now tainted with the blood of defenders. The wood-witch turned away, of the 200 men and women he joined with, less than half that remained... within the privacy of his thoughts, he wept.
VelvetLuve looked over to Baad, "I think we should kill him."
It was stated with little emotion and probably would upset VelvetAngel immensely. That alone made her happy, and the horns and her demon image surprised her that he would even recognize her."Be off with you, for you live only at my mercy." Mercy in Velvet's eyes might be nights of putrid sickness and stenches that wouldn't leave the druid's side, especially near the beauty of the forest he loved so much.
Baad had responded, "Why him? First make him suffer by destroying everything he and is kin love and holds dear?" He figured, if to kill him, does it slowly, while everything else withers and decays? "That should also make your tree hugging sibling angry, if not shed a tear for a dead tree." Shrugging his shoulders, he was still upset about Angel ruining his perfectly crafted wardrobe and will not let go of it until something of hers she worked on or holds dear is ruined or destroyed
Good advice, she thought, making one suffer was much more pleasurable than killing them outright. She looked over to Baad and hissed, ?He seems to recognize me. Then don't kill him, but follow his favorite friend and see where they reside."
Many of the survivors cried, for they too passionately cared for the land and trees. Standing orders from the Elders had been to find a weak spot in the Eastern boarder and infiltrate, begin cleansing as soon as possible. The ritual of purification had only commenced for a few minutes, before the alarm sounded. Seems the minions of darkness had been aware of the plan. Aeshen sat with a soldier and turned to Algyln.
"Most will recover; it will take some time to weather out the stench of that demon hag's magic though..Aeshen, this was a disaster.."Aeshen nodded in muted depression. He walked the recovering lines of the druids, the squad captain had fallen and it seems he was in command until another spoke up. "Fall back, five miles and hold position. Send word to the Elders." He turned a grimace face across the river, before joining the ranks which moved deeper into the Western forests, soon, they would
Baad nodded his head once. "I shall have it done." He has his own business, so he will have to aid his best trackers that are not weak as normal scouts should be. Assassins and Ninjas had their uses. "Should I have someone keep an eye on your home or your sister's home in case he seeks help from her?" Angel was a worshipper of the goddess of nature, why not be sure this person not help in any fight against his Sovereign?
Soon they would be out of sight to those on the Eastern shore of the Argus, weaving through the trunks of trees as deftly as the wind. Aeshen called a bird from the trees and asked it to send message to the hidden enclave of elders in Hernai. Dirt and sweat covered most of the warriors, and all walked with their heads low. The plan was folly, if not ambitious and the undead had exacted a toll for it, the fallen would be retrieved if they could by Druidic Shadow dancers, who were rogues mostly, for Luve could animate the fallen into her service. Placing his hand upon the shoulder of a nearby soldier, he smiled briefly, before removing it and continued his trek through the Western forests.
"No not my sister, have Maya lure him to her and then work her magic." Yes, Maya had her ways and wicked as they all were, she knew the beauty might lure Aeshen into succumbing to her and spill his plans. This was whispered quietly to Baad as he was only instructed to follow the favored druid, Aeshen's friend. Capturing that druid would be a levering point on their side.
"Damn me" He thought. Reaching their destination, the group of eighty or so, and fifty warriors remained, with thirty reserves waiting in secure locations for reinforcements; all had shattered morale, but brightened slightly when they reached the encampment. Loved ones greeted one another, and some mourned quietly, mumbling prayers to Phonobele that they be taken into the soil and replenish the land. Aeshen weaved through the throngs to report to his superior, Avellan, a winged elf maiden who a massive compound bow set between two neatly folded pearly wings. She wore her auburn hair in a pony tail and sat over a large map made by the cartographers of the Argus rivers, she frowned when Aeshen entered, expecting the Squad Commander.
VelvetLuve laughed and turned to ride back off. Novalis already left and he left something totally obnoxious to follow them. The sweet sickening smell would absorb into their skin and hair, his mother had taught him well. She turned to ride off with her legion, they had much to do. In fact poisoning Aeshen's closest friend might be on the agenda. Phonobele hated poisons and never used them, what would their counter-react with if they found out they did it."I will leave you now Baad, get word to Maya immediately. Our General should know about this."
Baad nodded his head as he knew Luve and Maya if try lure any male to them whatever reason is one good reason to be female in the Baaton in a world full of lonely men.
"One druid I will have brought to you then." He was sure Luve had her scheme cooking. Snapping his fingers, four of the people he has working for him not as Baaton but outside sources and as close to a partner one can call it so long he provides business they do what is asked, no ands ifs or buts, not even handshakes. "Yes I will go inform General Maya, Sovereign VelvetLuve."
Aeshen was sweaty and his brow was creased with a frown as he leaned on the table at which she sat. Her wings twitched softly.. "What happened?" She asked, Aeshen sighed and moved stray locks of hair from obscuring his vision.
"We were met with heavy resistance on the Eastern shore; we had no time to begin the Purification. Kaliel fell in the first wave of the attack." Indicating their position on the map, Aeshen explained the nature of the assault and counter-measures. "Some noxious fumes were expelled at us; we need clerics to cleanse us." He spoke adamantly, for while Avellan was clearly better than him in combat, Aeshen was as much a Druid as she was.
VelvetLuve rode off to the tower and disappeared, or did she just vanish with her magic? Novalis was long gone, but the fumes remained like a wall separating the two forests.
"I don't think we can spare any healers from our Northern boarders.." She pointed, once the map was flipped over. "And there's a border dispute with travelers to the Volcanic regions." Aeshen knew she had trained in the Divine arts, but was unsure if she had the means to rid them of the terrible stench that lingered on his men. Aeshen himself had warded the plants and trees from the initial cloud, but he could feel the taint spreading. "Strip them bare if you must! I will not let poisons soak into the forests because you would rather send warnings to travelers." He was furious and stormed out of the make-shift hut, to turn his eyes over the gathered, three hundred strong volunteers had come from the Calling, but they were a hundred less now, if not more.
Baad watched Luve leave, looking to the Dark Elf ninja beside him, he simply stated, "You heard her, you bring this Druid back alive. Not dead, harmed, I could care less. Break or cut off the legs if need be."
Payment was unnecessary; he had gold pay to them all, he rode off with his legion, leaving the group to their task.
Casting a final eye over the exhausted defeated troops, the Wood witch prayed that Phonobele would send aid. His steps were paced evenly as he walked through them, offering reassurances and complimenting when needed, but deep within, the druid harbored doubt. Facial expressions remade as stone as he considered the next move, he would need to find a cure to the lingering taint of Luve's magic.