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 Ch 21: The Fog of War

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PostSubject: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:27 pm


Ceridwyn followed Pela and they moved with tight precision. As Pela moved around the field Ceridwyn began to feel nauseous and felt the spit welling up in her mouth. She was getting pale but maintained her composure long enough for she and Pela to complete their task.

She grasped Pela by the shoulder suddenly and yanked her down. Pela hit hard and turned to look at Ceridwyn semi-alarmed and semi-annoyed as her knee made contact with the ground. Once she got her eyes on Ceridwyn she would see that Ceridwyn was sweating profusely and clutching at her stomach. The dark magic of this place wasn't affecting Pela nearly as much as it was Ceridwyn. With a croaking whisper Ceridwyn spoke, "Fifth..."

She pointed and Pela turned to look up at Fifth's tower. The fog was now moving from the tip of his tower and he was scanning the area, looking in their direction, searching as if he knew something was there.



His silver eyes scanned the landscape, searching. He could feel the magic that was being used within his wardings and he ground his teeth in frustration of not being able to see. Someone was there, of that he was certain. His voice boomed out, amplified by the magic of the towers, "I know you are here... I can feel you. Your magic has given you away!"

Pela saw his hands come up and he hissed words of magic, thrusting them forward. A ball of lightning burst from his fingertips and hit the ground about 50 yards from where Pela and Ceridwyn were hiding. The dirt exploded and scattered in all directions, the deafening sound caused Ceridwyn to gasp and she got to her feet and grabbed Pela, getting them both behind a large rock outcropping. Now that they were hidden from sight she released the magic she had been channeling and they appeared to those on the battlements of the city walls. They were still well within the wardings but hidden from Fifth's view.

"Come out come out!!!"

A second burst of electricity hit the ground about 50 feet away on their other side and smoking dirt mixed with shredded plants showered around them. It was obvious Fifth still didn't have a mark on them but he knew they were there.

Olwa moved as if he was going to dash to them and Myth grabbed him by the arm. He turned and looked at his Prince and Myth spoke, "What are you going to do? Run into the warding?"

Olwa felt Myth release his arm and he watched in horror as a third ball of lightening exploded against the ground, this one further away from the pair. Obviously Fifth was shooting blind and just trying to draw them out.

Ceridwyn reached up and grabbed Pela, "It's nearly impossible for me to cast in here, too much and it will kill me... we need to get to the wardings edge so Rayann can transport us back..."

Her voice was weak and raspy, "I will distract him... Then, we run..."

Pela was about to protest and Ceridwyn looked at her sternly, "Do as I say Pela..."

Pela backed up slightly and nodded. Ceridwyn looked at her from the corners of her eyes and rolled onto her knees, reaching into her robes and removing reagents. She looked at Pela again and nodded as she closed her eyes and began to chant softly, repeating an incantation that caused the reagents in her hand to flare to life. She opened her eyes and there was a sudden look of extreme anger and hatred on her face, she stood and as if all the discomfort in her body was suddenly gone she screamed the incantation for the final time and thrust her hands forward in a wide, arching motion. A blinding, white hot light erupted from her hand and burst through the air. Fifth turned and brought his hands up but before any spell could leave his hands the light exploded on the observation deck of his tower, blasting a massive chunk of ebony colored stone in all directions as a huge chunk of the deck disappeared from existence.

“NOW!!!”

She and Pela dashed as fast as they could and crossed the distance to the warding. Ceridwyn looked up and could see that Rayann was already beginning her spell to transport them back to the City. Her head was pounding with each impact of her feet and she was feeling the heavy weight of the dark magic pressing on her body. They were dashing towards one of the old poles that were originally in place for the first assault. Ceridwyn hissed and thrust her hands forward, a white circle erupted in the warding and Pela was through first, spinning and watching for Ceridwyn who was well behind her.

Fifth stood up and hissed magic from the remaining portion of his observation deck, his eyes focused on Ceridwyn. She was moving slow and he was able to track her easily as he released a black orb of magic that crackled and flared with menacing shadows as it trailed through the air. She was focused on Pela, aiming for the hole in the warding and didn’t see what Fifth had cast but she could feel the sudden presence of dark magic building around her again.

She saw Pela’s expression and then the young girls hands thrust forward and a blue bolt of ice exploded from her hands. It hit the ground 8 feet in front of Ceridwyn and froze the ground solid. Ceridwyn lost her footing and slipped, her chin smashed into the ground and burst open as blood splashed all around. Those observing might have assumed a mistake but a second later Pela’s brilliant move was unveiled. Yes she had purposely cast to cause Ceridwyn to slip and fall, but as the elfesses body was thrown to the ground the menacing orb of dark magic hissed over her back and exploded into the dirt beside her. What seemed like a mistake was literally a lifesaving move on Pela’s part.

Ceridwyn could feel her heart beating in her chin between the sharp pains. She reached up and her palm was completely crimson immediately. Pela ran to her and grabbed her hand, Ceridwyn screamed, “GET OUT!! SAVE YOURSELF!”

She could see the look in Pela’s eyes and there was no way she was leaving Ceridwyn behind. Ceridwyn rolled off the sheet of ice and got to her feet. As they started running they could hear Fifth’s booming voice once again. They both turned and could see his hands moving once again as he prepared yet another spell.

Suddenly two arrows appeared and one struck Fifth in the hand, the other went just over his shoulder as he reeled back. Pela and Ceridwyn turned in their dash and saw Aeolis and Olwa standing just within the hole of the warding. The both grabbed at the ladies as they closed the gap and drug them out of the warding just as Rayann’s spell to transport them back to the battlement went off.

Fifth watched with his angry, silver eyes and snapped the arrow shaft before withdrawing it from his hand. He grit his teeth and turned, his shadowy robes swirling as he disappeared into his tower. The mist coming from the top of his tower slowly began to fade as the influence of his presence left and over the course of the next half hour it ceased completely.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:36 am


Pela felt the influence of the ambient magic but she wasn’t nearly as affected as Ceridwyn was. Mostly due tot eh fact Ceridwyn had to maintain her spell on a constant basis while Pela’s spells were short and small bursts. As she saw what it was doing to Ceridwyn, she knew they had to hurry back before it was too late for the mage.

As Fifth began to flush them out, Pela grew angry and she wanted to fire back at him but she knew that was what he was looking for them to do. Instead, she had to wait for the right time. Of course she didn’t expect it to be when Ceridwyn created a distraction.

As Ceri’s spell fired off and they started running, Pela quickly put space between them with her longer, stronger strides. When she looked back to see where Ceri was, she caught a glimpse of Fifth and the spell he let loose. There was little time for her to warn Ceri and she improvised the best she could.

The blast was out of her hand before anyone could blink an eye. As Ceri was going down, Pela was charging back for her. AS Ceri tried to order her to go, Pela merely shook her head and grabbed Ceri’s hands practically dragging her behind to make sure she didn’t fall behind again.

As she heard the sound of Fifth’s voice once more, she glanced back to see his hands raised to cast another spell. They were so close…just a few more yards. And that’s when the arrows came through. Still running at break neck speed, she looked to see Aeolis and Olwa reaching for them. There was no time to slow down and she collided with both men at full force just as the transport spell brought them back to the battlements.

Panting from the exertion of the whole ordeal, she blinked and looked around. Olwa and Aeolis were cradling the women against their bodies and Pela’s hand still had a death grip on Ceri’s. Looking up into Olwa’s concerned eyes, she blinked and scranmbled to get to her knees and quickly apologize to Ceri.

”Please…forgive me. I had no time to tell you. It was not my intent to hurt you, Ceridwyn….”




Rayann watched the events unfold like a horror story told to children at bed time. Several times she cried out as Fifth’s spells came so close to the two women. As Ceri cast the spell of light at Fifth, Rayann held her breath as they started running towards the hole. When she saw Fifth’s spell hurling towards her friend, she couldn’t help but scream Ceri’s name from where she stood. As Pela cast the ice sheet spell that sent Ceri sprawling to the ground, Rayann clutched the stones of the battlements.

She always knew Pela was quick thinking on her feet and as she saw what the young sorceress did, she couldn’t help but silently cheer her protégé on. As Ceri and Pela started making a run for it again, she knew she had to intervene on their behalf. Looking over at Aeolis and Olwa, she called to them.

”Aeolis! Olwa! Here. Now! You’ll know what to do.”

As they stepped forward, she quickly cast a transport spell that transported the two Elven Rangers to the edge of the hole. AS she watched the two Elves realize where they had been transported she saw their training kick in and in the blink of an eye, they were knocking their bolts and letting them fly.

Working quickly, Rayann prepared her next transportation spell and as soon as Pela and Ceri collided with Aeolis and Olwa, she cast the spell. Instantly they were transported to the battlements and landed in a heap.

Rayann knelt down next to both women and studied them with a concerned look as she saw the wound on Ceri’s chin. There was no doubt it was going to smart for a bit until Tanjee could be contacted. She looked at Ceri and spoke in a shaky voice.

”By the Gods, Ceri…..I’m so sorry…..”




Aeolis watched as though he were outside his body. Every time Ceri and Pela came close to being hit by one of Fifth’s bolts, he felt his body jerk in response. His instinct was to run to her but he couldn’t yet. Not until they were clear of the warding.

He knew the toll had to be terrible on his beloved and yet she still fought. But when he saw Pela cast the sheet of ice causing Ceri to fall, he was certain the girl had somehow switched sides. That is, until he saw what she had really done. Realizing she had saved Ceri’s life, he breathed once more.

When Rayann called for he and Olwa telling them they would know what to do, he had an idea, but couldn’t be for certain until she transported them. As he appeared at the hole in the warding with Olwa, he moved like lightning. Knocking a bolt and letting it fly at almost the same time Olwa did, he watched his bolt missed the target but only because Olwa’s bolt hit first and caused Aeolis’ target to move.

As the women grew closer, he braced for he impact seeing Pela wasn’t slowing, and not that he expected her to. The instant he felt the impact, they disappeared from the ground and the impact finished as they reappeared on the battlements. He cradled Ceri in his arms and nearly panicked when he saw all the blood. As Rayann knelt down to assess the wound and Pela apologized, Aeolis’ arms tightened around Ceri.




As Ceri’s wound was dressed and Tanjee was sent for, Rayann looked at the Tower of Shadow and glared. If she could say she hated any one being, it was Fifth. After what he did to her own daughter, the things he did to Ceri in the past and now what he was doing to all of them as they waited for the Dark Army to arrive, she wanted to send volley after volley of spell towards that tower and destroy it first followed by the other two. She looked at her husband and grit her teeth.

”I pray your faith is well placed in our daughter….for right now, I want nothing more than to destroy that mage and everything he has with him….”

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:11 pm


Ceridwyn felt the impact into Aeolis and as they reappeared on the battlements she was still squeezing Pela’s hand. The young girl turned and started apologizing and through the blood all over her lower jaw and cheeks Ceridwyn smiled. Despite her injury her smile glowed and she spoke through a raspy whisper, “There is nothing to apologize for child… you saved my life.”

Still holding Pela’s hand she turned a weak gaze to Rayann and whispered, “You as well friend, nothing needs to be apologized for, we did what needed to be done, the fog is already beginning to lift and visibility will return as a result.”

She turned to look up at Aeolis, his eyes were welled up with tears and she whispered as they tended her wounds, “I love you my betrothed. I must sleep… I am …. sorry….” She slipped into unconsciousness. It only took a few minutes for her breathes to regulate and become steady. The exertion on her body was obvious. She was pale and clammy, but even when she went to sleep her grip remained firm on Pela’s hand.

The others looked at Aeolis in slight interest, Ceridwyn had referred to him as “her betrothed”, obviously there was some news that he needed to share with them.



As Olwa held Pela he clung to her as if she was the only thing in the world that mattered, and in a way, she was. He threw protocol to the wind and wept into her neck as he held her safe in his arms. He spoke, “I am sorry we couldn’t assist more, we moved as soon as we were ordered.”

Pela smiled seconds before burying her face in his chest. He stroked the back of her white hair and looked up at Aeolis, “Herumain, I wish I had missed, your arrow would have struck his heart if mine had not hit his hand.”

Aeolis shook his head and gave Olwa a stiff pat on the shoulder communicating that he was proud of the young Elf’s quick moving and Olwa could not help but smile. He turned to look at Rayann as she spoke to Prince Myth’alas. He then turned to look at the Prince, curious as to what his reaction would be to her words.



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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:20 pm








Pela refused to release Ceri’s hand even as she reached for Olwa. The task she and Ceri set out to do was now complete and because of it, and because of what Aeolis and Olwa did, the fog was lifting and the Elves would see the approaching enemy sooner.




Aeolis saw the look on the others faces when he happened to look around. Clearing his throat softly, he stood up and cradled Ceri in his arms.

”Well, if you all must know….I have asked Ceri to take her life vows with me when this is all over with.”



The hours ticked by after that. Ceri slept peacefully in the quarters she and Aeolis shared. Her betrothed never left her side the entire time. Even after Tanjee had arrived and assured him the injury to Ceri’s chin was nothing more than a cut that would heal in time after she tended to her future sister. And while it was more difficult than it sounded, Pela was ordered to rest as well and Aeolis permitted Olwa to remain with her knowing to separate them now would be more foolish than the punishment he’d hounded out in the heat of the moment.

Myth and Rayann spent the time of waiting in their quarters as well. But their time together was not as restful as the others. While it was true Rayann needed to rest after her own casting, she didn’t sleep. Instead, she spoke at length with Myth regarding what took place.

He had spoken to her mentally regarding her comment about his faith in Kali and while she knew her words were emotionally charged, she was speaking the truth of her mind. After some lengthy discussions, Rayann understood what Myth was referring to and it gave Rayann a glimmer of hope her husband was not misguided in placing his faith in Kali.

All too soon, though, the alarms were sounded bringing the group back together on the battlements to take the report from guards patrolling the walkways. It was Sir Gideon himself that spoke to the gathered commanders from all forces.

”One of the alarms the Lady Mages set have been triggered. Shortly after that, several others were triggered.”

One of the Elven Rangers stepped up then and saluted.

”There are several Draconian parties with no more than a dozen in the party skirting the outer edges of the perimeter. They are coming from each side so it is difficult to tell which direction the army will be coming from at this point. Not without long range reconnaissance, Herumain. Do you wish us to do so?”





Aeolis glanced around at the faces looking at him and he debated for a moment before shaking his head.

”No. There will be no need for that. We should be prepared for them on all sides, not just the one we first see them on.”

He looked to Ceri then and saw she was still reeling from the exertion from this morning and he touched her shoulder tenderly.

”Are you sure you have rested enough, Mel’amine?”


Rayann took a deep breath and looked up at myth. Reaching out, she slipped her smaller hand into his larger one and squeezed gently before she reluctantly released it. Looking over at Ceri, she stepped forward and hugged her friend tightly, whispering in her ear.

”We have a wedding to plan when this is over with.”

Stepping back, she smiled softly at her friend and nodded then looked to Aeolis and s miled.

”Keep your bride safe, Aeolis. I want to see her the day you exchange vows.”

Aeolis nodded and inclined his head respectfully.

”I will, Princess. I give you my word.”

Rayann stepped up to Pela then and drew the girl into a tight hug as well. Pela released Olwas’ hand and wrapped her hands around Rayann returning the hug. As they hugged, Rayann spoke softly to Pela.

”Remember everything Bad Rock, Ceri and I taught you. If you do, then you will survive this battle.”

She pulled back and touched Pela’s cheek softly then looked to Olwa and smiled.

”May the Gods protect you both.”

She looked up at Myth again and nodded.





Pela listened to everything that was being reported. So her triggers worked. Good. As Rayann hugged her, Pela closed her eyes and listened to the soft voice of the woman who treated her like a daughter. When the hug was broken, Pela looked up at her and smiled softly as well. When Rayann looked over at Olwa, Pela slipped her hand back into his and smiled.

Now came the test of her other abilities. The army was just on the outskirts of Heartlund and the Knights, Elves and Mages had to ready themselves for one hell of a long fight. And pray they were strong enough to hold back the wave of Dark Tide that was getting ready to crash down upon them.

Anotehr of Pela’s early warning triggers sounded off again and the group looked at each other before dispersing to their assigned locations. The wait was over.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:04 pm


Ceridwyn woke. She and Aeolis moved as fast as she could and the returned to the battlements as Pela's alarm sounded. She stood and looked off into the distance, they couldn't see them, but she knew they were coming. The alarm going off was just the beginning.

Aeolis spoke to her and she turned, casting a gentle smile as she whispered, "Whether I am or not is no longer the question mel'amin."

As Rayann hugged her she squeezed her friend tightly and spoke into her ear, "My the gods give you protection and wisdom. May we survive and live to see what we plan come to pass."

She stepped back and watched as Pela and Rayann embraced, with smile she reached and hugged Pela as well speaking to her, "You saved my life, I will never forget that. Thank you. May the gods be with you as we meet this coming tide."

She looked at Olwa and smiled with a nod, "Take care of our girl."

He nodded and then bowed his head respectfully before turning to Myth and Rayann, "May the gods protect you, my Prince and Princess."

He gave a formal salute and then inclined his head in a respectful position for a few seconds before turning to look at Pela, "And so we begin."

He turned just as the next alarm went off and glanced at the others, they immediately scattered along the battlements, the bells of war began to ring and the entire city of Heartlund and it's surrounding area went into full war mode.



Nidhug had pushed the army, but they were in good spirits and rested enough to get the job done.He had not heard from Tynen last night as he had commanded and assumed the man to either be dead, captured, or a deserter. It didn't matter in the end as far as he was concerned, the man was little more than a distraction and Nidhug was satisfied with the possibility that he was killed, it was one less obstacle in maintaining his power and gaining more as well.

The Dark Ladies army entered the region and made their way swiftly towards Heartlund. The air was still moist from the morning dew rise and Nidhug as well as the other casters were feeling a strange prickling of dark magic. As the tops of the towers came into view, Nidhug could not help be mesmerized, especially of the tower of flame... something seemed to be pulling at him, as if he was being called...

He was pondering these thoughts when in the distance a sound like steam through a Gnome whistle exploded into the air, as well as a dazzling array of white and blue lights came shooting up. He furrowed his brow and narrowed his eyes. Turning to one of his commanders he spoke in their guttural language, "They have alarms set, hasten the army, move fast. We have no element of surprise, so we take them by force. Our army is 25,000 strong, we have no need for subtlety."

The Commander nodded and sounded a horn that was horrifying in it's pitch, in a moment drums began to beat from all directions and the Dark Ladies army almost seemed to materialize out of the ground. Of course it was due to calculated movement, but the dark line of troops seemed to instantly double, the ominous sound of thousands of drums beating in unison shook the ground. The heavy booted feet of the Irda, Orcs, Netherman, Draconians, Humans, Trolls and Goblins echoed the off beat of the drums, the whole landscape seemed to suddenly come to dreaded life.

As the second alarm went off the arrows of the Elven archers and warriors began to sing through the air and the screams of the enemy began to ring out as well. Nidhug loosed the signal, a massive skull made of fire and smoke lifted from where he was and filled the sky. It morphed into the shape of Tahkisis, the five headed dragon of chaos, and spread slowly across the sky. The battle cry of the Dark Ladies Army exploded into the sky and the thunderous charge started from the West and the North of Heartlund, so far the East side was completely empty of enemy troops.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:06 pm


Kali looked out across the landscape. From their vantage point along with the assistance of their incredibly powerful magic all three of the Wizards of the Towers were staying abreast of the situation. Fifth had called all of them together after his run in with Ceridwyn and Pela, and since all three were on high alert.

They knew what this meant, their plans were about to be put into action. Fifth only had one, reliable and functional soul well of the new design. He had given it to Piramay. This didn't surprise Kali, he had been showing her slightly more attention lately and the two of them seemed to be getting closer. In Kali's mind it didn't matter, this whole dance was a means to an end, nothing existed except the plan she had fashioned in her mind. All three of them had an alignment of necessity, she knew that, in the end they accepted that each was there to see that their individual goals were accomplished under the guise of the collective.

Piramay was standing slightly in front of Kali and to her right. Kali watched her as she traced her finger along the broken stone of Fifth's balcony railing. Her bright red hair was flowing gently with fire and she remained completely silent as they waited for Fifth. Kali knew that any attempt to read her mind would be instantly detected, and though she didn't like it she remained ignorant of the fire wizard's thoughts.

The Dark Ladies army spread out like a black blight across the land and it was only when the sound of Fifth's steps hit her ears did she turn from the scene unfolding before them. Kali heard him before Piramay, her sharper hearing had picked up his sounds when he was approaching the top of the stairwell.



She turned to look, Piramay shortly after as Fifth stepped onto the balcony. He looked from Kali to Piramay and then walked to the railing. He took in the scene for a few moments, watching as the arrows of the Elves were loosed and the dance of battle began. He could hear the screams of the dying and he turned to face the two ladies on the balcony, "I can feel the first souls already being released into the air. The soul wells are ready for harvesting."

He turned to Piramay, "You have the only soul well that can pull the souls from the living. I have given it to you because of your unique casting. If you become too hot to use magic resort to the soul well. It will be an appropriate test to see if it is functioning."

Piramay nodded and he turned to Kali, "You will move from the eastern side, I will go through the middle and you little Phoenix," he turned to look right at Piramay, "You will go to the west. The forests are your first target. We know the Elves are there, burn them to the ground, turn them to ash and we will transport the soul wells there to collect the unique life force of the Elves."

He turned to Kali, "You will protect our weak side, make sure if the Knights or the Elves make the stupid decision to try and out flank our position that they are driven into the charged warding or meet a slow death. Don't forget to activate the soul wells before you kill anything though."

Kali nodded in compliance and looked at Piramay who was staring at her with a sly, sinister smile on her crimson lips. Kali simply looked at her and then turned back to Fifth, "What if the dragons do appear?"

Fifth turned to Kali with a vicious grin, "I have something special planned if they do, until then stick with the plan. Remember we are still vulnerable, and their numbers are more than adequate to overrun us if we get caught outside our wardings. The Elementals will not live long outside of the protection of the towers so only deploy them if it's an emergency."

He turned and looked at the battle scene, "We move in 20 minutes..."

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:44 pm



Piramay turned from the pair casting her eyes back out to the battlefield the sly smile still upon her lips. She would relish laying waste to the forest and the elves that resided inside. There wouldn't be a piece of vegetation within the area for the elves to hide in. Still she did not like the idea of Kali being out of her sight during this fight but she had learned that it was pointless to argue the point with Fifth. All she had was suspicion and strong personal instinct but the wizard required more hard proof. He was convinced of the girl's loyalty because of her lust for power. Years of experience as the grand inquisitor had taught her that vengeance was also a powerful motivator and she knew because of Fifth's training that the girl likely desired that in spades.

With her hands slipped into her robes she rolled the two soul wells and a third gem within the palm of her left hand. She was prepared to act if the girl proved to be a traitor in their midst. Fifth would find that making her utter the words I told you so came with a cost. Her eyes lifted from the battle looking to the sky and she shuddered with anticipation. The dragons would be in for the surprise of their lives when the approached Heartlund. No doubt they had planned a grand entrance and hoped to lay waste to the Queen's army when they arrived. However her creations now waited patiently for the signal to emerge from the molten ring that had formed around the base of her tower. Her subjects had proven to be most resilient and even after draining all that power and essence to power the transformation of the eggs they still lived.

Piramay spun on her heel looking at Fifth and then Kali "Signal me when the time to strike is at hand. I have a couple last moment details to attend to before our attentions are focused on the harvest."

Fifth nodded knowing that it likely had something to do with the their surprise for the dragons. In a flash of flame Piramay vanished from the observation deck appearing once more in the caves beneath her tower. The familiar groan of her two guests was music to her ears as she stepped into the chamber fully and two sets of eyes locked upon her. Her left hand slipped out from her robes as she looked at the two dragons and shook her head. "You have both been quite resilient and had exceeded my expectations. It is time for one last experiment my friends and then you shall be set free."

They both eyed her warily and it was the gold that issued a verbal threat through mind speak. Piramay chuckled as her hand lifted revealing a red jewel that began to glow. As it did the dragons became enveloped in the eerie light. "Silly dragon I never said you would leave alive. I simply said you would be free... free of your mortal coil" The jewel flashed bathing the dragons in a prismatic spray of color. Everything was silent for a moment then a terrible screech poured forth from the two greats beasts as the lights began to pull away drawing with it their remaining energies and their very souls. Piramay was certain it was the most painful thing the great dragons would ever experience.

As the light was pulled into the jewel tendrils of energy emerged from the jewel and wrapped themselves around Piramay's arm. As the tendrils sank into her skin she gritted her teeth but never lost her smile. "You will serve me well in death as you have in life..."

Should would appear before Fifth and Kali just before their attack was to start and she would seem to be in better spirits than when she left. A sinister glint in her eye and a devilish grin settled upon her face as she appeared calmer than she had been in days.
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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:19 pm



Myth was on the battlements shortly after the first alarm spell had gone off and he knew what to expect after it had. The enemy knew they had lost the element of surprise and they would make a rush for Heartlund. Almost on cue he heard the ominous horns of the dark army and moments later the dark visage the preceded her armies appeared upon the sky. He watched as the flaming skull spread to form the image of the dark lady herself in all her draconic glory. The archers began to loose their arrows into the coming enemy and Myth's remained upon the dark visage of the queen in the sky. He slipped the ancient bow from it casing. Already the link between him and Rayann was open and she knew his plan.

His bow came up aiming to the heavens as his hand reached where the string should be and drew back. The magical arrow and bow string materialized as Myth made the drawing motion with the bow. Myth nodded allowing Rayann to cast her spell upon the arrow before he let the dually enchanted arrow fly. Swirling energy trailed as the bolt flew straight into the visage of the dark queen. The darkness enveloped the light of the arrow but moments later there was an explosion of color as the visage was cracked asunder by the stunning brilliance of the crest of the knights of solomnia backed by two crossed elven arrows. Myth chuckled knowing it served to do nothing more than to ruffle the proverbial feather and boost the knights moral.

Another volley of arrows erupted from the archer emplacements as Myth turned his attention once more to the battlefield below. He wondered how long it would be before Fifth made his move and revealed his hand for all to see. "They will make there move soon... the element of surprise for the enemy has passed and they will now attempt to topple us with their sheer numbers alone. It will make the beasts of the queen wild and reckless fermenting the chaos that the wizard wished to take advantage of. It is only a matter of time now...."



Rose sat silently on her horse waiting patiently for the right time to strike. She had deployed a cavalry force to the north eastern forests after reports came back that there was sufficient space away to hold the force and that the enemy had not scouted the point out. All she could do now was wait for the signal from Sir Ordin. When that signal came they would ride fast and hard driving themselves right into the sides of the enemies ranks. They had orders to plow through the enemy ranks and return to heartlund to reinforce the defensive positions. Because of the unpredictability of the magi they had only planned for one pass, and they would make it count.
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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:12 pm




As Piramay disappeared Kali turned to look at Fifth. Her eyes scanned his face as he shifted his gaze to her, "Say what you want to say to me Kali."

She looked at him and spoke, "I know this is your plan, and though we have contributed you have made the calls. I would humbly ask that you allow me to go up the center and you take the Eastern most side. You know the usage of the soul wells better than I, it makes sense that you would deploy them for harvesting..."

Fifth looked at her, his silver orbs void of any emotion or movement reflecting her back into themselves, "That is not why you want to be in the center, we agreed on honesty between us did we not?"

Kali inhaled deeply and looked at him, her crystal blue eyes shining in the sunlight, "You are right Fifth, we did. The plan from the beginning was for me to be in the middle, so that has been my area of preparation, but to be even more candid with you, I don't trust Piramay. She is up to something and I would prefer to be closer to her in case she attempts to circumvent our plan and use the battle to her own advantage. Those creatures she is breeding, how do we not know they will not be turned against us? She was always a wild card in the service of the Dark Lady, what makes you think she is anything less now?"

Fifth turned and looked at the tower of flame. It was flashing and flaring like a molten star. Suddenly the roar of the dying dragons penetrated the air and Fifth grinned as he turned to look back at Kali, "She has no reason to break with the power of the towers, it is these towers that is finally granting her the power she has been craving for so long. Tahkisis held her back so as to control her and dangle the carrot in front of her face, the towers have unleashed her and she is finally able to become what she is supposed to be. The towers work on a system of balance, fire, shadow, shadow-flame, without one the others can not exist, you know this. If Piramay was to destroy either of us her own power would be lost, she knows this, as do you."

She caught the slight quiver of his lower lip, the give away. He was confident he had the two ladies hooked into his scheme lock stock and barrel. She turned and looked at the tower of flame and he spoke again, "Your request is denied, you will be on the Eastern most side, it puts you closest to your own tower as well as gives us the protection we need to do our jobs. Remember the parts are not greater than the sum, if the three of us work together, we all become more powerful in the end, equal and in balance with each other."

She ground her teeth under her closed lips as she turned to look back at the city of Heartlund. This complicated her plan. His decision to move her to the east was a deviation from the original plan, he had her in the middle of this whole deal from the beginning and at the zero hour he switched it. All her planning was to be in the middle where she could execute what she was planning but now, she would have to improvise.

She turned back to him, the sound of his voice and the words 'your request is denied' still ringing in her ears, "Very well Fifth, this whole plan is yours and yours alone, as was the plan for the creation of these towers, a creation that has put me where I am today."

She looked at him and then turned back to the City. Fifth walked up behind her and gently placed his hand on her shoulder. She could feel the coldness of his soul through her robes and she wanted to vomit at the feel of his grip. His voice was like poison as he spoke, "Soon one third of this world will be yours, to control and reign over. The gods refuse to give us what we want, so we will take it, without their permission. We are the most powerful things on this planet now, not the dragons, or the gods, US. We have proven that what can't be done is possible. Bid our time together, stick with the plan, and we all walk away with what we want in the end."

He gave her shoulder and almost loving squeeze and then his hand trailed down her back. He pressed into her robes and felt the sensual curvature of her spin and stopped just as the small of her back curled back out over her buttocks. She turned and looked at him, her eyes whispered consent, deceitfully acknowledging his words and the touch of his hand while at the same time her guts were churning as if a thousand snakes had just been dumped into her belly. She wanted to wretch and gag as his hand rested on the curve of her body, but if she was anything, it was a master of deceit, she had learned it from the best, and she was playing the part to the letter.

"By your lead then Fifth."

He patted her gently just under the small of her back and nodded, turning and disappearing into his tower. She transported herself to her own tower, crumpling to the floor the instant her feet hit the floor. She clutched at her stomach and cried as she spit on the floor, her tears came and she pounded the marble with her fists as she screamed. After a few minutes she composed herself and stood, walking to the dressing mirror and reaching onto the bureau. She inhaled deeply and wiped the tears from her face, clearing the evidence of her departure from her act. Reaching down and taking slow, deliberate breathes she grabbed a hair pin from a small wooden box. The box had remained closed on her bureau since she had arrived. She opened it and a platinum hairpin in the shape of Paladine shimmered in the light of her room. It was a gift that Trystan had given her a few days before the first battle of the towers and she traced her finger over it lovingly. looking up into the mirror she began to think of what these two dark wizards had done, how they had blightened the landscape, and what she had to become to defeat them. The time was now, and she knew it was now, or never.

She combed her hair, the sounds of the battle outside began to increase and grow in volume. She tucked the hair back into two braids that met behind her head and she tied them together with a piece of red ribbon. Reaching into the box she grabbed the clip and brought it up, slipping it into the hair above her right ear and straightening it. She stared at herself and then turned, grabbing the Staff of Cells. The seemingly docile staff suddenly flared to life, a purple and red glow began to swirl around it and the top glowed with power.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:03 pm

Keatara heard the call to battle and was up and out of the dining hall within seconds. She made it to her small cabin in record time, collecting her most prized possession...her grandfather's long bow. She'd kept it with her, keeping it unstrung until needed. Most thought it was nothing more than walking stick strapped to her back and she never said anything different. Now, it was needed and she'd strung it that morning before heading out to get her morning meal.

She was up on the ramparts in no time, standing next to the other archers. She scanned the area in front of them, looking for any movement that one of her arrows could feed from. She saw it then and watched and waited, making sure that it was the enemy and not friend. She notched an arrow, waiting, her green eyes glittering with the thought of killing Tahkisis' minions.


Tynen hurried out of the dining hall as well, but for different reasons. He was there to sabotage things and take out as many knights as he could, perhaps even an Elf or two. Acting like the concerned citizen, he collected his sword and daggers and began to move around. He was also looking for a certain person....Keatara. He'd seen her in the dining hall....she'd changed, but not so much that he didn't recognize his little sister. She was still pure, that much he could tell and her spirit was strong. He would now find her and see what her strengths were as far as battle tactics. Perhaps try to add her to his own regime for the Dark Lady. He smiled a cold smile, thinking about his mistress. She'd rewarded him with higher strength and better agility for his gift of his family.

He spotted his sister climbing the ramparts, a long bow in tow. He looked closer and saw that it was their grandfather's long bow. Interesting.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:24 pm


Aeolis remained next to Ceri but he loosed just as many arrows as his brethren did. As the visage of the Dark Lady appeared in the sky, he cursed loudly and when the visage was broken with the burst of light that resembled the Knights crest and the Elven swords crossed, he heard the cheer from the gathered forces.

He saw Ceri preparing to meet the enemy and as the black tide grew closer, he heard her utter a prayer to Solinari before looking to him and nodding. The time had come for them to enter the fray and as she moved closer to the edge of the rampart, e was by her side with an arrow knocked protecting her from all sides seemingly at the same time.




Rayann stood next to Myth and when he pulled the mythical bow out, she added her own enchantment to the bolt that formed when he pulled the invisible string back. When the visage of the Dark Queen burst with the light of the arrow, she heard the cheers of the forces.

When she heard Myth, she looked up at him then looked up at the towers and nodded.

”Then we’ll have to be ready for what ever they throw at us. And knowing Fifth and Piramay the way we do, they’re going to throw hell at us.”





That cheering was short lived. The sounds of battle quickly filled the air. Metal scraping against metal. The sounds of men yelling. Orders being shouted out. The screams of the dying. The smell of blood, smoke and regents filled the air as man, Elf and Mage all worked together to fight the tide that threatened to crash over the protective damn of Heartlund’s walls.




The East side wasn’t left vacant for long. As the rushing army advanced, Pela and Olwa found themselves in the thick of the fighting. Olwa fired off several of his arrows hitting the enemy while Pela fired off several of her spells. They were a formidable pair and they moved as one when they moved along the walls to help reinforce the forces around them.

Several times, Pela was able to cast a spell on Olwa’s arrows as he fired them off giving his shots a wider radius. Instead of killing only one of the enemy, they were able to take out the one he fired at and one on either side.

It was like watching a hungry swarm of locust come towards you knowing there was nothing you could do to stop it yet you fought with all you had to stop the worst damage from being done. Pela and Olwa had taken a short break in fighting so she could catch her breath and when they started back into the fray again arrows from the enemy started heading in their direction.

As they fought together again she saw Olwa turn his back to her to fire off an arrow at the enemy. At the same time, she saw a draconian caster getting ready to cast a spell and fire it off. As the dark bolt headed straight for Olwa, she screamed and cast a spell of her own that placed a shield of clear ice behind him. The dark bolt hit the shield and it shattered into a million ice shards showering both of them.

Pela felt the needle like piercing in her cheek as a couple of the ice shards made it between her hands when she tried to shield herself from the shattering of the ice shield. When Olwa turned to see her, he would see she was like a berserk fighter. Her hands flung left and right as spikes of ice flew from her fingertips and pierced into the enemy. Unfortunately, she left herself vulnerable to the enemy as the swarm continued to advance. Even more so when she heard a screech coming from the towers that sounded so painful and heart wrenching at the same time and she startled then whirled around to look up at the towers.




Rayann and Myth worked in tandem with each other. When he wasn’t using Blue Moon, he was using the enchanted bow and with Rayann casting her own spells with each of his weapons they were able to take down many of enemy. But just as many of the Knights and Elves were falling to the enemy. It was an equal give and take on both sides.

Rayann knew she couldn’t keep casting indefinitely. Already she could feel the strain on her body but she refused to stop because she knew if she did, the enemy would win this battle and she couldn’t let that happen. Myth was never ending as well of energy, or so it seemed, as she watched her husband become the warrior he was trained to be.

She glanced up at the towers when she heard the screech and she cringed. What ever that was, it wasn’t good. She looked over at Myth and saw he was looking towards the towers as well. He looked over at her and she heard his missive. Nodding, she spoke to him in kind before she cast a spell that sent a bolt of pure energy at an advancing soldier hell bent on killing her and Myth.

~I agree….the matter of time has arrived.~




Aeolis fought side by side with Ceri. His arrows sung through the air like a never ending song. As his beloved cast her spells over and over he could see the toll it was taking on her. If she didn’t cast spells directly at the enemy, she cast them on his arrows aiding his shots.

When the screech from the towers came, he was just getting ready to loose an arrow and it went way wide when he let the string go. Daring to look up at the towers, he looked back at Ceri and shared a look of concern with her. Their pause was momentary as he yelled at Ceri to duck and fired off two more arrows at charging soldiers.

”We need to move back to the next level!”





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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:10 pm

Keatara was firing quickly, the majority of her arrows hitting their marks. She could hear the screams of the dying and the injured and a tried to block them from her mind. Hearing them brought back the nightmares of the day her family had been taken from her. But, it also made her more determined to hit her mark and take as many as she could.

She couldn't help but cast quick glanced at the knights down in the main battle, her green eyes searching for Gideon before firing again. She also thought about Tanjee and Aeolis and prayed that her friends were safe and unharmed. She'd seen the towers and had heard the stories behind them, but she didn't know their true danger or how powerful the mages in them actually were.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:40 am


Mid-day approached and the troops on both sides were getting exhausted, yet the army of the Dark Queen threw themselves against the defenses again and again. Ceridwyn thought about the waves of the Bay of Branchala to the East of Glen Durel, how the waves would hit the enormous stone cliffs. How many times and she walked with Rayann and Kali along the paths that stretched along the rocks and watched those waves frothing into the white stones.

Only this time the waves were black and sinister, carrying swords and had death in their eyes. Time and time again she and Aeolis had been moving out, doing as much damage as they could and then withdrawing back into the walls of the city so she could rest and Aeolis could resupply his quiver. As they made their way back out onto the lines they both turned and looked as a horrific screech came from the direction of the towers. She furrowed her brow and looked at Aeolis with concern on her face. The battle had been raging for several hours and still the towers remained still until that very moment.

She backed up and got close to Aeolis, looking towards the spires, expecting to see something dreadful, but nothing happened. The sound died and then nothing appeared. Aeolis grabbed her and pulled her behind one of the emplacements as a throng of arrows came in and thudded into the ground all around them. She kept her eyes on the towers, barely paying attention to him. Finally she turned and spoke over the sounds of the battle, "Whatever that was we are sure to find out soon enough, but for now we have time."

Aeolis looked at her curiously but before he could ask what she meant she was over the top of the wooden emplacement and dashing across the blood soaked field. Several swordsman ran at her as she dashed and she dodged each with incredible grace to her steps, most were struck with one of Aeolis' arrows as they turned to pursue her. She ran towards a Draconian who was clearly one of the more skilled warriors on the field in the area. His stripes of rank were displayed on his metal armor just under the shoulder and there were half a dozen dead soldiers around his feet. Ceridwyn increased her sprint and just as he slashed down another human soldier he turned to face her. He began to run at her and she shifted her direction just as she heard Aeolis' arrow release from his bow.

The Draconians eyes went wide and he brought up his shield, catching the arrow almost dead in the center. Bringing the shield down he now shifted his focus to Aeolis and was closing the gap fast. Ceridwyn sprung up on top of one of the wooden emplacements and spun, heading back towards the Draconian who was now on top of Aeolis and their swords were smashing against one another. Aeolis' movements were swift and precise but the Draconian was matching him swing for swing and keeping pace. Ceridwyn hissed words of magic and flung a spell towards the creature, but the spell exploded just feet from impact.

Having detected the use of magic to the side she spun and saw two Draconian magi coming up over a small rise. One was focusing on her, the other on protecting the battling champion. She grit her teeth and reached into her robes removing a small pinch of bat guano mixed with sulpher. She quickly rolled it into a ball and threw it like a ball in the direction of the two Draconians as she hissed words of magic. The ball ignited into a ball of fire as bright as the sun and exploded on the ground between the two Draconian wizards. The explosion blew both of them to pieces and set the grass on fire for thirty feet in all directions, a massive crater in the ground smoldered where the ball of fire had landed. The Draconian champion heard the impact and had ducked, not knowing what had happened as his back was to the wizards but his move proved to be a fateful mistake as Aeolis' first blade cleared the shield out of the way and the second found the creatures exposed neck, severing its head from its body.

Ceridwyn turned and looked at Aeolis, dashing towards him. Their power was in the closeness and the separate was to increase their chance of injury. She had only taken two steps when magic charged the air and her body was encased in vines the sprung from the ground at her feet. She fell to the ground and screamed in pain as the vines grasped and squeezed the air from her lungs. Aeolis turned to look and saw a Druid of the Queen manipulating the plant life below Ceridwyn, his teeth were grit and he was filthy, covered in no clothing, only plants and mud. Aeolis reached and removed an arrow, drawing back and hitting the Druid square in the forehead, the arrowhead coming out the back of his skull. His eyes crossed and he fell backwards in a heap.

Aeolis charged over to Ceridwyn and with a precise stroke the vines split and fell of her body. She coughed and gasped for air as she crawled to him. Looking up, her face covered in dirt she spoke, "Thank-you mel'amine."

She got back to her feet with Aeolis' help and they turned to the sound of a battle cry, yet another wave of the Dark Ladies troops were clearing the rise and charging into the battle. She turned as she wiped muddy sweat from her brow, "By the gods, it's as if the very ground is creating them."



Olwa and Pela had been battling the troops that had been circling into the Eastern side of the city. Though there were skirmishes happening in the area Olwa could tell that the bulk of the invasion was coming from the West and the North. That didn't mean there was a lack of enemy attacking on this side however. They would come in small waves, hitting in precise areas to test the defenses, but every time they were driven back. Several had discovered the warding in the most unfortunate way, their smoldering bodies still smoking at the wardings edge. The other soldiers had figured out that there was an invisible wall there and did their best to avoid it as they withdrew.

Early in the going Pela had the archers concentrate on pushing as many of the enemy soldiers back into the warding to use its power to their advantage, but after a few times the enemy soldiers realized they would take their chances with the arrows rather than the magic. Olwa and Pela had just withdrawn back near the wall to rest for thirty minutes when the shriek of the dying dragons came from the towers. Olwa looked up and furrowed his brows. Looking at Pela he moved close to her, expecting the worst but nothing came.

"Only the gods know what that was... let's hope whatever it is they keep it away from us."

Pela looked at him with an expression that said, 'yeah right' and he looked back at her with a shake of his head, "Just trying to be optimistic."

After their rest the two younglings ported to one of the pre-set areas set up by Pela and Ceridwyn, appearing in an empty foxhole set behind some of the wooden emplacements. They watched as a thicker wave of enemy troops appeared under the shout of a battle cry and about a third of them split and came towards the eastern flank, Olwa looked at Pela and spoke, "It looks like our side of the battle is about to get a lot more interesting."





Sir Ordin and Trystan flanked Lady Rose. As the battle raged Ordin watched with both of them as things unfolded. Several times Rose and Trystan would look, asking non-verbally if it was time, but he shook his head and kept watch. Finally as they were in the third and a half hour Ordin could see the frustration on Sir Trystans face, "Sir Ordin! How long are you going to let our men die before we charge in and clear the field?!"

Sir Ordin looked at Sir Trystan and then the Lady Fairwind, "I have seen this before, they are softening the line, weakening us and tiring us out. Trust me boy, your time to bleed is coming soon enough." Rose shifted her glance to Ordin as he spoke. He could see that she too was ready to enter into the battle, but her patience level was far higher than Sir Trystans.

Almost as if on que the massive battle shout from the Dark Queen's army rose and the furthest hillside that blinded their site of the enemies movement turned black as swarms of soldiers poured over the top and towards the battle. Sir Ordin turned to look at Rose, she could see it on his face, this was their moment. Before he said a word she pulled her sword and Sir Ordin was a mere second behind her. Sir Ordin turned to look at Sir Trystan and spoke, "Now you see, the soldiers we have been observing all morning are the canon fodder, THESE are the soldiers that are dangerous ones!"

Trystan furrowed his brow and turned to the scene as he drew his blade, if the soldiers they had been watching were less skilled he suddenly felt the knots in his stomach. "You were eager to charge Sir Trystan, well now you have your opportunity!"

Sir Ordin's voice exploded from his mouth just before he snapped the face guard of his helmet down and the thunderous sound of several thousand horses erupted into the sky like thunder. The charge of the horseman began as the stronger forces of the Dark Lady poured onto the field.





Kali stood on the balcony of her tower, Fifth was just to her right and Piramay on his other side. The three had walked out onto the balcony just as they heard the warm horns and the battle cry of the more elite of Tahkisis' troops flood onto the field. Fifths face was ear to ear in a grin of satisfaction as the battle unfolded before them. Kali turned and watched as Pela and Olwa responded to the charge coming up the eastern side. She watched how Pela moved, like an acrobat who could cast. It was an amazing dance and she was more than impressed.

She then shifted her gaze to Ceridwym. Her white robes stuck out like a sore thumb against the grass and blood that covered the ground. Spell after spell erupted from the Elfess and blasted holes in the enemy lines. The soldiers of Heartlund would follow into those gaps and push the more elite troops around, herding them into the kill zones for the archers. Her mother and father were doing the same thing on the western side of the battlefield, using the defenses that had been constructed over the last couple months.

As the charge of the horseman broke into the left flank of the dark troops the three wizards watched as the more elite troops were broken in half and the front group was trapped and encircled. The second half of the wave retreated back behind the hill and there was a lull in the battle. Though it never stopped the pace slowed for the first time in the hours of fighting which had been unfolding beneath them.

Kali felt Piramay's eyes on her, surly the fire woman was looking for a crack in her face, the see a smile of satisfaction that the soldiers of Heartlund had just seen a minor victory in this push back of the Dark Ladies troops, but Kali's face remained in a slightly menacing scowl, simply taking in everything that was unfolding below.

Fifth turned to Piramay and flashed his thin smile, "I assume that all is prepared?"

Piramay laughed and nodded. He nodded back in satisfaction and turned to look back at the battlefield, "If the Dark Ladies Generals stick to their usual tactic there will be one more push soon, just before sunset. Tomorrow morning will come the big plunge when they will attempt to truly break through and storm the city. So far they are following the typical pattern to the letter."

He turned and looked at Kali, then to Piramay, and finally back to the field, "It is in the height of the battle that we will harvest our souls."

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:22 pm


Aeolis wasn’t sure just how much longer he and Ceri could go on like this. It was maddening to see the never ending supply of Her Dark Majesty’s army. Were there that may desperate beings out there to want to join her troops? Obviously there was for they just kept coming.

If his fingers weren’t so seasoned, they would have given out on him long ago but as it was, he was able to still fire off arrow after arrow at the bodies around him. He was grateful he wore the leather sleeves over his fingers on both hands for several times he had to switch which hand he pulled the string back with and which hand held the bow. It was normal training all Rangers went through, after all, one never knew when they would have to swap out. Such as now.

His brow was sticky from sweat, blood and ichor he collected during the fighting and he quickly wiped it with the back of his left hand before firing off another arrow. He was just getting ready to say something to Ceri when he heard the cry of battle and saw the newest wave coming towards the Keep.

”By the Gods….”

He knew they were coming but he didn’t expect them to be so many. As they approached, she looked to Ceri and knocked three bolts at once. Ceri knew what he was doing and as his tired arm drew the string back tight, he waited an extra second so she could finish casting her spell. When her words ceased, his arrows flew through the air in a high arch instead of straight for the target this time.

The rushing hoard didn’t see them and when his bolts finally hit something solid, they exploded taking out about twenty bodies in the blast radius. He and Ceri were able to do this a few more times before the hoard was able to close the gap.

Shouldering his bow, he withdrew his blades and began hacking and slashing his way through the melee. His blades bit through bone, sliced through muscle and tissue, severed limbs and gutted the enemy soldiers but he knew he couldn’t keep up the pace like that.

He felt Ceri’s hand on his shoulder and instantly he found himself back on the battlements and able to use his bow for longer ranges. It gave him time to breathe from the close up, hand to hand fighting but even he knew it was only a temporary reprieve.

He dared to glance at the younglings to see how they were fairing and he saw Pela and Olwa working as one like he and Ceri were. He felt pride for his young charge knowing he had never faced anything like this yet he refused to give any quarter. Olwa was fighting like a seasoned soldier.

Noise drew his attention and he turned his head just in time to see a Draconian Magi casting a spell intended for Ceri. Before the thing could utter the last words of the spell, Aeolis fired off a bolt that pierced the creatures temple. Immediately the draconian turned to stone and fell over shattering. He looked over at Ceri and nodded before he fired another bolt that seemed to be aimed right for her but it whizzed by her head and planted itself into the trachea of a charging human from the dark army. The bolt was so close to Ceri she felt the feathers from the arrows shaft barely brush against her cheek.






After the break, Pela felt the strain of her casting starting to take a toll on her. For the first time in her life, she could feel the way her body was screaming for rest yet she knew she couldn’t give in. As the wave of fighters for the dark army advanced, she knew these soldiers were going to be even more skilled and as such, they were going to be more difficult to overpower.

As Olwa fired off bolt after bolt, Pela could see they needed something a little more wide spread in the affects it had. She looked over at him and nodded. Stepping up ahead of him, she knew he would be able to fire the bolts he needed to protect her from either side of her body but he had to stay behind her when the spell was cast.

She began to chant the words to her spell and as she lost herself in her spell casting, Olwa fired off a barrage of bolts protecting her. Her voice grew louder with her chanting indicating the spell was going to be quite powerful. Before her an ominous cloud began to form and as her chanting got louder, the cloud grew in size. As the last words were yelled from her lips, the cloud was over fifty feet in diameter Thrusting her hands forward, an arctic blast of air spread out over the advancing troops. It was so cold and so powerful that the troops who were sweating instantly felt the moisture on their bodies turn to ice. Those who didn’t sweat were instantly sluggish as the sudden drop in temperature caused their blood to move slower through their veins.

This allowed Knights to advance upon the dark soldiers in the immediate area that weren’t affected and engage a slightly smaller force directly before them. For those that were affected by the arctic blast soon found themselves sitting ducks for her next spell.

As she chanted, Olwa could see her hands turn blue, but not from glowing. It was as if all life had been sucked from her hands and her hands had been stuck in an ice bank for a very long time. AS she chanted, the ones caught by her arctic blast began to scream in agony as their bodies began to freeze from the inside out. And since they were unable to move very fast from suffering such a sudden onset of hypothermia, they were unable to outrun or defend against her spell.

What neither she nor Olwa saw was the draconian magi just at the base of the wall and as Pela cast her deadly spell, he was casting one of his own. Pela didn’t have time to shield herself from the spell and it hit just in front of her at the edge of the battlements. Rock and mortar exploded shattering her and Olwa with the shrapnel. Pela flew back into Olwa and sent him flying forward. His body took the worst of the impact into the opposite wall.

It took a few moments for Pela to regain her senses but by then, there were several of the dark soldiers heading for her and Olwa. She quickly looked to Olwa and saw he was stunned to the point where he was almost knocked out. An ugly gash on his forehead bled freely. She shook him trying to revive him quickly.

”Olwa! OLWA! Wake up!!”

He was too stunned and she had to take matters into her own hands now. Scrambling to her feet, she held both hands out and a staff made of solid ice appeared in her hands. Both ends were razor sharp and as the soldiers advanced, Pela showed the other training Bad Rock had put her through.

The staff spun and twirled in Pela’s hands as though it was an extension of her own body. She parried, dodged and thrust around the enemy’s blades and axes while protecting Olwa. The staff swung around behind her and connected just under the chin of one of the soldiers, piercing him through the skull.

Pulling her staff free from that dead body, she spun around and deflected the blade of another soldier. It knocked her back a few feet but she was able to keep on her feet. As they closed in around her, she saw Olwa starting to come around. Jumping to the edge of the wall, she jumped over attempted swings of their weapons and delivered quite a few of her own.

Slowly but surely the soldiers fell to her staff and when the last one remained, she jumped, flipped over his head and shoved her staff into his back letting the opposite end stick out the front of him. As he fell forward, dead, she released the staff and almost instantly it melted.

Hearing Olwa groan, she turned and knelt down before him. Blood flowed down the left side of his face as she gave him concerned look. As the sound of thundering hooves filled the air, she jumped up to see the cavalry going to work knowing it gave her and Olwa a few minutes to collect themselves before the fighting began again. Kneeling back down to him, she ripped the bottom of her shirt off, and wrapped the material around Olwa’s head to stop the bleeding. His eyes were clear but she knew he was still feeling the pain from the wound.

”Olwa? Are you alright?”






Rayann and Myth were keeping the enemy at bay, but just barely so. Several times she cast a shield around them as a large volley of arrows came raining down on them. When she wasn’t doing that, she was casting damaging spells at the enemy or working as one with Myth in the way they had trained when they first met.

It was exhausting to say the least but to give up now would be a death sentence. She felt the incredible pull of magic and looked over to see Pela casting a powerful spell. She was immediately concerned for the girl but Myth told her Pela had taken care of herself long before she met Rayann so Rayann had to be happy with knowing Pela would be fine.

Of course that was all she could think about as the next wave of darkness came crashing upon them. T almost the same time, the sounds of hooves crashing onto the ground filled the air and Rayann knew the cavalry was now in the fray.

As she turned once more to fight with Myth, she could feel eyes on her and knew the three mages of the towers were watching the events unfold. Bemused, no doubt.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:13 pm


Tanjee had been hard at work with the medical staff since the first clashes took place. She called upon every ounce of her training to help sew wounds together, stop bleeding, bandage heads, apply salve to bad bruises and give words of encouragement to the Knights and Elves as they were brought into the infirmary.

There was a never ending flow of the wounded, dead or nearly dead. She aided those she could with her Goddess’ grace, but she reserved that for only those who were far from dying and in such terrible pain they were nearly insane from it. For the rest, she relied on everything her mother had taught her about taking care of the injured and infirmed.

As the wounded kept coming in, she began to notice something strange about some of them. While all of them had the tell tale signs of combat related wounds, many who were dead or so close to death she had to let them go didn’t seem to have the dirt and grime on them the others did. No sweat matted hair on their heads. No dirt flung on them. No dents to their armor to show they had taken several blows.

Something just didn’t….feel right about their deaths. She was no seer of any kind, but even she could tell these men had fallen before they had the chance to join in the main fray. But to complicate the matter, even some of the others who DID have signs of battle had wounds that just didn’t make sense.

That tingling in the back of Tanjee’s brain that told her something was amiss semed to grow with each body that was brought in like that. But she couldn’t take the time to investigate. Her talents and abilities were needed right here, right now. For her to leave would be disasterous.

She would just have to keep track of all of this in the back of her mind and when things finally calmed, IF they ever did, she would do some snooping around to see what was really going on around here.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:12 pm

Tynen was enjoying himself. As he moved around the keep and outer walls, he would engage various knights in battle, usually coming up behind them and stabbing them with his long, serrated dagger. The wounds he inflicted were more than not mortal and it brought a smile to his face at times. A few fought, but most fell to his silent attacks. When someone would holler at him to help, he was quick to do so, covering the fact that he was the one inflicting damage to the knights who had yet to see battle and he couldn't be happier. Of course, he had to hide that happiness which for him was easy enough to do, but still....his black heart was satisfied.



Keatara was firing as fast as she could, her arms getting tired but she ignored them. She thought she saw Ceri and Aeolis, but wasn't sure and she knew that she saw Gideon which brought a sigh of relief from her when she felt that tingling sensation in the back of her head again, causing her to miss her target. She turned around, looking into the keep area, knowing that whatever it was it was close.

As Tynen got closer to where Keatara was at the tingling grew to an almost painful level and she found that she had to find out what was causing it before she could be of any more use to their cause. Leaving the ramparts, she fled down the steps, letting the tingling sensation act as a radar. It wasn't long before she felt something that terrified her. She could feel satisfaction at killing and it wasn't herself she was feeling. It was someone else. She looked around, trying to see who as she rubbed at her head trying to get the sensation to stop when she saw the back of a large man. He seemed familiar to her, the way he stood....moved.....used the dagger. It was then that she realized that he was going to attack a knight and she moved into action.

Moving her longbow to be slung over her shoulder with the quiver of arrows, she drew her short-sword and approached quietly, but not before the man caused a mortal wound to the knight. She point of her sword touched the back of the man's neck, "Drop ye weapons and keep yer hands away from yer body, then turn around."

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:15 pm


The dragons didn’t slow their pace much. They seemed to know the urgency of their trip now that the magically sensitive creatures could feel the charge in the magical force of Krynn. Kellan was concerned that they would be too tired to fly the next day and handle any trouble they may encounter once they got to Heartlund. The silence of Nol during the flight told her there was quite the disturbance and he was communicating silently with his fellow flight members.

Kellan felt their urgency bleed into her and several times she tested the Dragonlance to make sure it was securely mounted to Nol with the shoulder end tucked into the harness on the saddle. She glanced at the other dragons behind and to the left and right of Nol that made up the V shape of their formation and she could see the concern in their eyes, even in their natural form.

As the morning gave way to afternoon the dragons kept up their pace. Kellan grew concerned for Raju especially and she dared to look over her shoulder at her friend. Evening was fast approaching and finally Kellan reached down to let her gloved hand stroke Nol’s silver scales lovingly as she spoke to him.

”We need to stop for the night, Nol. I know it’s early, but you and the others have been keeping this pace all day and I’m afraid you all would be even more exhausted tomorrow if you didn’t stop now.”

She could feel his resistance yet he couldn’t argue the point with her. Finally the flight of silvers began to descend towards the ground and land. Almost instantly the group morphed into their human or Elven forms. Nol being no exception as soon as Kellan slid off his back. Her legs were stiff from being in the same position for so long and it felt good to stand on them again, even though the blood flow was slightly painful as it began to circulate normally through her lower extremities. She could see the others and noted the tired look on all of their faces, especially Raju.

”I will take first watch solo tonight. You all need to rest much more than I do. I promise, if anything happens, I’ll alert all of you. Deal?”

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:42 pm


Ever since they had felt the strange, dark magic the dragons had increased their speed substantially and made up a lot of the flying time they would have had the next day. For the most part there was very little communication between the dragons with the exception of some navigational changes. As Kellan stroked Nol he listened to her words and though he didn't say anything she would feel the ripple of his muscles under her legs as he contemplated her words. He was about to say no and order them on but a glance to Raju and he could see in her face that she was near falling out of the sky with exhaustion.

He ordered the flight down and they landed in some high, rocky craigs. As he shifted to his Elven form he checked on Raju. There was some whispered words and she patted him on the chest as she hugged him and as he stepped back he nodded. Kellan would be able to see that he was like a sister to him more now than ever and he hugged her tightly before turning and walking over to Kellan. He looked at the way she was stomping her feet and stretching her legs and he knew that she was probably in some pain. As she talked about watch he shook his head and spoke, "It won't be necessary, we are too tired for all of us to not sleep so we will gather and cast some enchantments around the area to ward us from danger. Besides we are so high that the only thing we will be seeing this evening are marmots."

He smiled and reached up, patting her shoulder lovingly. He turned to his dragons and spoke in their native language, they all nodded and spread out. Kellan would hear their spidery words of magic being spoken and a soft quiet settled over the area. The moons were up and bright this evening and there was a crisp chill on the air at this altitude. Nol walked over with some dray rations for Kellan and handed them to her as he sat beside her. To keep away any danger they didn't light a fire and Nol spoke, "I apologize that there is nothing fresh this evening, I know this isn't the most comfortable way to travel but we are making good headway to Heartlund and should be there mid-morning tomorrow. We have three to four more hours of flight time. He turned and looked to the southwest as he spoke, "There's the ruins of Northkeep below, just so you have your barings."

As Kellan turned and looked she would be able to see them. They were quite a ways off and hardly recognizable under the pale light of the moons, but it was them for sure. Nol turned and looked at her, "I know it might be painful for you to see them, but I wanted you to know where we are. This is the exact spot I was at when you and the others came several months back and I took you to the Isles of Mist. I was watching everything from that rock right over there."

As she turned to look at the rock that was only 30 feet away she would be able to see claw marks in the stone from where he sprung off and into the air to rescue her, "I almost lost you that day. Another couple seconds and I would be mourning your loss instead of sharing this evening with you."

She turned and looked back at him and smiled sadly. He put his arm around her and pulled her in close. The warmth of his body fought the chill and he held her tightly as she slowly ate her dinner rations. As she finished Nol turned and looked, all his dragons were asleep and he turned to look at Kellan, "We need to get some sleep. We will depart at first light, about seven hours from now. I would suggest you wear your battle armor instead of your formal armor."

She looked at him curiously and she would be able to see in his face that he was being completely serious. Her expression begged for more information and he shook his head softly, "I am not privy to anything that you don't know... it's just a weird hunch in my gut."

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:05 pm



With Rayann at his side Myth wove a dance of death the likes of which the knights and elves had never seen. His movements were graceful like any elf but they had an edge of danger to them. He shifted in ducking in under blades spinning to avoid deadly tips all while lashing out with his ancient sword. The signal to pull back to the next level of the keep had sounded and Myth could hear the cavalry smashing through the enemy ranks. The second wave of enemy troops had been broken but Myth knew that they were not done just yet.

He barked orders for all bracing to be reinforced as passages were closed and barricaded. Archers were ordered to their places so they could concentrate fire on the enemy troops that were dumb enough to come through the outer archways in pursuit. Knights and elves flooded past Myth as he stood defiantly in the door with his sword ready. His reputation as an unyielding engine of death was well known to the queen's army and some were proving hesitant to engage the elven warrior. Myth eyed down a pair of draconian warriors that watched him wearily. Soon they were joined by other soldiers of the queen and they found their courage. Eight in total broke off and charged towards Myth and he simply shook his head as he stepped forward to meet them.

The inner light of Blue Moon shined as the a pair of goblinoids quickly closed the gap. One lunged high and the other low believing that Myth could only defend against one. Myth blade came up as lept into the air cleaving cleanly through the first creature while leaping over the second. Myth landed smoothly while the second creature ate earth, and a moment late his face was driven hard into the earth as Myth lept up and flipped back landing on the creatures head. He gave the creature little more than a glance as he charged forward allowing Rayann to finish off the beast.

He ducked beneath a spear shifted avoiding another blade as he danced his way into the groups midst. Always he was aware of were the two draconians were. The group circled and Myth struck out taking the hand of one baiting another to strike. When the soldier did Myth spun grabbing the spear head jamming it into the throat of the draconian behind him. The spear was now lodged in the stone corpse of the creature, but Myth had no time to marvel as spun once more fighting of his remaining attackers. The last of the knights were heading through the archway and the dark forces were starting to surge his way.

With a shake of his head he used the spear as an aid to jump up onto the solidified draconian before he lept off away from the charging enemy. Blue Moon flashed as the energy that had been gathered from Rayann's spells was released in a brilliant blue light the cut into the earth and the soldiers unfortunate enough to be in the way. A spell from Rayann cleared the area allowing the knights to close and seal the passage way.

A quick glance to Rayann made it clear how tired she had grown from the fighting and they were both relieved for this momentary reprieve. Holding out his hand Myth waited for his wife before the withdrew to their secondary position. For the moment there would be a lul in the fighting but he knew things would pick up as soon as the enemy could recover from the damage of the cavalry. By his own estimation they were holding their own for the moment but he was certain their were surprises still to come.




Rose was at the head of the charge with he hammer in hand. There was a tingle that ran up her spine as she brought the head of her weapon down upon the first enemy soldier. She was so focused she didn't even register the sound of bone cracking beneath the blow. The entirety of the solomnic cavalry smashed through the enemy lines. A portion of the force pealed off to surround the smaller enemy force driving it into the infantry and archers lines. This would be the one chance they had to use the cavalry and she was glad that they made it count.

She could see that the defenses were holding but she could also tell that they were withdrawing to the secondary lines of defense. The positions were more easily defended than the outer level and so it made sense to withdraw to them after the initial pushed of the enemy force had been met. Still they were meeting with heavy resistance and as they cleared through the other side of the enemy force she prepared to order the knights to the keep as had been planned. She could see the enemy was preparing for them to come around and try for another run, but Rose was no fool. They had spear, pikes, and crossbows laying in wait for them but she would not play the fool.

"Knights return to Heartlund keep!!!!" Her orders were passed through the line and as one the cavalry pulled away from the enemy army riding hard for the lightly contested southern gates. Whatever enemy had been along the southern wall would soon be trampled as the cavalry made for the gates. While Rose did not like being the first to enter the gates it had been expressed by more than one source that she should spend as little time on the field as possible. If for any other reason than to be a source of moral for the frightened citizens inside the keep. Reluctantly she had agreed in the end.




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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:10 pm

Tynen grinned as he heard the voice behind him speak clearly with a northern accent. He knew who the voice belonged to and now the time was at hand, sooner than what he'd thought it would be. He dropped the serrated dagger, the blade red with the blood of the knight. He heard his baby sister tell the knight to get himself quickly to the healer. "It will do ye no good for I delivered a mortal wound sister." He'd yet to turn around but he could imagine the look of confusion on Keatara's face and snickered as he turned around slowly, keeping his hands away from his body. He knew the skill with which she wielded a sword let alone her bow and arrows and she was just as deadly with her daggers. He was taking no chances even though his Dark Lady had gifted him with extreme strength and prowess. He wanted first to see if there was any hope of his sister joining him.




Keatara heard the voice and her wing like brows furrowed together as she tried to place that voice. She knew that voice.....but from where? And he'd called her 'sister'. Why? Unless......her eyes widened as the man turned around slowly and she stared into the blue eyes of her beloved brother, Tynen. It couldn't be....could it. This man who looked like Tynen had just attacked a knight....her Tynen would never have done anything like that.

"Aye....it is I, Tynen. Don't look so bewildered little sister. The Dark Lady has granted me a great reward for the sacrifice of our family. I see from the look on yer face that ye do not believe me. I used to call ye 'little scrapper' cause you never gave up."

Keatara's eyes welled up with tears as she shook her head in denial. This couldn't be her brother...this stranger wasn't Tynen. He couldn't be and yet he was the only one who called her 'little scrapper' and never in front of anyone else. It was his own endearment to her as they were so close.

"No....Tynen would never have killed so coldly nor would he have sacrificed his own family for the Dark Goddess. You are not he!!!" But, she knew in her heart that it was indeed Tynen and he had done exactly as he said. She remembered then seeing Tynen right before the attack, how'd he'd kissed her forehead, telling her how much he loved her and saying he was sorry. She'd never known what he was apologizing for....she knew now. She knew now why he'd been acting strangely for the weeks before the attack....very aloof and distant. They'd all blamed it on a girl from the neighboring farm that they'd thought he was besotted with. She kept shaking her head in denial, still not wanting to believe it. "Why are ye here, Tynen? What happened to ye?!!"

Tynen chuckled, "Why...I came to find ye little scrapper, get ye to join with me. And see to it that we take Heartlund for the Dark Lady. Why else?"

Keatara was shocked for a few seconds then her green eyes darkened as they narrowed onto him and her sword was leveled once more at his chest. "Never.....do ye hear me? NEVER!!!" But before she could do what she so feared, kill her own brother, she found herself laying on the ground her head spinning from a blow she'd not seen coming. Tynen had used his abilities granted to him to strike her before she could defend herself and club her with his large fist, splitting open her cheek right below her small crescent moon scar. All she heard as he disappeared were these words, "I will be around, sister....think on it for I will be coming for ye."

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:31 pm


Weird hunch or not, Kellan knew better than to brush it of as superstitions. She’d spent enough time around the dragons these past few months to know there was much more to their ‘hunch’ than anyone could explain. Rather it was some sort of mystical ability or just their experience past down from generation to generation, she knew to take his warning as gospel.

As she settled down next to Nol and felt his protective embrace, she looked up at the sky. The moons were slowly making their journey across the darkened sky illuminating the land with their strange glow. They were going to arrive in Heartlund tomorrow and that meant she was going to come face to face with everyone. What was that reunion going to be like? Especially with things being tense?

Taking a deep breath, she let it out slowly. What ever is going to happen will happen. There was nothing she could do about it. And what ever happened, she would accept. Even if it was rejection from her fellow comrades. Her time spent on the Myst Isle taught her nothing mattered but what she had right here, right now. Tomorrow was never promised to her and yesterday is dead and gone. She never really understood what Liam was trying to tell her until she suffered her own mortality and was gifted a second chance at her life.

Turning her head to look at Nol’s peaceful, sleeping face she smiled softly as she reached over and touched his warm cheek. That second chance on life was with Nol right now. And with the choice she made there were risks involved and they were going to face the greatest risk in their relationship these next few days.

Lowering her hand, she caressed the hair pin of Paladine in her fingers as she looked skyward once more. As she laid there, she spoke silently to Paladine knowing the God could hear her words as though he were standing right beside her.

There was a bright light that filled the area and Kellan jumped to her feet ready for anything. When the light faded, she felt a sense of peace wash over her and she noticed the dragons still slept peacefully as well. Movement out of the corner of her eye drew her attention and she saw Paladine in his human form standing a short distance away. Quickly taking to one knee, she bowed her head in respect to the God and spoke softly.

”Your presence honors me great Paladine.”

She heard him move and he reached down, taking her hand and helping her to her feet. Smiling, he tucked her hand under his elbow and walked to the rock Nol had been watching her from that fateful day in the ruins of Northkeep.

”Your devotion honors me, child. I wish all of my followers dedicated themselves to me as much as you do. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have these sort of things to deal with.”

His hand made a sweeping motion indicating Northkeep. He continued talking as he looked out over the land.

”Many good men, honorable men, decent men lost their lives senselessly here. It pained my heart to see this destruction yet I was helpless to do anything about it. Yes, yes….even Gods are helpless against certain things. Just as humans, Elves and even dragons are.”

Kellan turned to looked at the sleeping dragons and then turned to look at Paladine looking at her with a sad look upon his face.

”You know not everyone will survive this battle. I don’t know which one of my children will fall but I do know their loss will be painful for me. One doesn’t lose a child without mourning their loss for a very long time. Nor does one lose someone they love without mourning that loss for a long time.”

Kellan’s eyes darted to Nol then back to Paladine.

”But….you just said…”

Paladine patted her hand gently and nodded.

”I know what I just said, child. I just want you to be prepared in case he is mortally wounded. He, like the rest of the dragons, aren’t immune from injury or death. They are just more difficult to kill than humans or Elves may be. And mark my words, this battle you are headed for will test everything you are. Even now the Knights and Elves are being tested. Never give up. No matter how hopeless it may seem. The spark of hope can ignite a flame that quickly becomes the firestorm.”

She glanced over at Nol then to Raju then to the others sleeping and looked back to Paladine and swallowed hard before she spoke again.

”I know. It’s the hard reality of war and battle. I just….I just never thought…

”You could love again? I believe it’s more along the lines of love anyone as much as you love him. Don’t look so surprised, child. You forget, I know everything. Your thoughts are just as loud as your words at times to me and while you’ve never actually told him how much you do love him, I have heard and I know. But I also know why you don’t voice it. Perhaps, though, the time has come for you to be a little less thoughtful and a little more…vocal.”

Kellan looked over at Nol and studied his face for a long time then looked back at Paladine. He smiled softly at her and nodded then turned and started walking her back to where Nol slept. As Paladine spoke, Kellan felt herself laying back down beside Nol.

”You’ll know when the time is right, child. Don’t let it pass you by. And don’t worry about your skills. Arvandor has trained you well. You’ll do what needs to be done and it will be second nature to you. Now…..you best get some sleep. Morning will be upon you before you know it.”

Just as she closed her eyes, she saw Paladine’s face smiling at her as he kissed his thumb and then touched her forehead.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:58 pm


Tara felt strong but gentle hands picking her up. When she glanced up she would see Gideon’s face as he barked at people to move out of his way as he moved through the crowded Keep. He glanced down at her when he heard her groan and saw her eyes open. His voice sounded like it was way off in the distance and muffled as he spoke to her.

”Hang on, Tara. I’m almost to Tanjee now….”

The next time she opened her eyes she would see his face as he was speaking to someone else asking if they could help Tara. He glanced down and saw her awake again and he nodded firmly.

”We’re here now, Tara….it’s going to be OK.”

Next time she opened her eyes, she saw Tanjee’s face concentrating and almost as quickly she heard Tanjee bark out orders for something then Tara felt cool liquid being poured into her mouth and down her throat that tasted bitter. Even as she fought against it, the affects of the liquid took over and everything faded to black




Tanjee had just finished taking care of a Knight when Tara was brought in with a terrible cut to her cheek and a nasty bruise forming on her head. Tanjee quickly got to work as she spoke to Tara knowing hte woman was in and out of consciousness.

”By the Gods….what happened here?”

Gideon shook his head.

”I don’t know. I found her on the ground in a heap. She must have gotten bumped by someone rushing to the front lines. I’ve seen this sort of thing happen before. Sometimes we get what we refer to as battle blind and we see nothing but our goal in front of us. We don’t realize we did anything to anyone until after things calm down.”

Tanjee examined the wounds and clicked her tongue, shaking her head.

”Well….who ever was battle blind in this case did quite a number on her. That bruise on the side of her head is dangerous. And that cut will have to be sewn up. But I hate to give the woman another scar. She has enough already. Even ones we cannot see…..”

Tara started mumbling then and Tanjee heard the distinct name of Tynen along with several other words she couldn’t make out. She glanced up at Gideon and shook her head.

”I would be surprised if her cheek is not broken. I will do what I can for her. Leave her with me. You may check back on her later.”

Gideon looked at Tara then looked to Tanjee and nodded before turning and leaving them alone.





When Tara opened her eyes again she felt sluggish. The room spun for a few seconds until she blinked her eyes a few times. There was an eerie quiet around her at first then as her hearing began to clear, she could hear the soft moans, crys and groans of others around her.

As she turned her head first to the left then to the right, she could see row after row after row of infirmed, injured and recovering Knights and Elves alike. When she tried to sit up the pain in her head wouldn’t allow her. Someone came rushing over and gently but firmly pushed her shoulders back down onto the bed she was laying on. She would recognize him as the young boy that ct her the other day in training.

”Please…Miss Tara….lie still. I’ve sent for Miss Tanjee. She will be here soon to look at you.

Candles were lit everywhere letting Tara know the sun had gone down and as she listened closely, the sounds of battle couldn’t be heard either. Apparently both sides had called a halt to the fighting to regroup, lick wounds and prepare for the next days fighting.

Tanjee seemed to materialize next to her when she turned her head again. The Elfess was smiling softly as she stroked Tara’s dark hair.

”That was quite a nasty blow you took, Tara. Lucky for you Gideon showed up when he did. You would have been trampled to death if he did not. He was quite literally your Knight in Shining Armor….only the armor was not so shiny.”

She saw Tara reach up to touch her cheek and Tanjee smiled even more.

”I was able to put the skin back together without using a needle. You should not be able to see the scar once it finally heals. But you will have to leave the bandage in place for a week or so until then. It is important to let the herbs do their work. And it will be quite touchy for a few days. Your cheek is not broken but it is badly bruised. The bump on your head will give you headaches for a week or so but there should be no lasting affects from it. Do you remember what happened?”

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:30 pm

Keatara fought through the fog to wake up, the pain pounding through her head making her want to stay in the darkness where it couldn't reach her. She tried to leave the bed but found she couldn't hearing the voice telling her to lay still, but she didn't want to lay still. She had to find Tynen, but her head....Gods, her head hurt as did her cheek.

She saw Tanjee then and tried to get her eyes to focus on her friend, but found it difficult. Finally, she calmed again giving Tanjee a shaky smile as she heard her speak. She reached up and touched the bandage at her cheek, terrified that she would have another scar added to her face. When Tanjee assured her that it wouldn't be the case she breathed a sigh of relief, then Tanjee asked her what happened.

Tara looked away from Tanjee, closing her eyes seeing her brother's face in her mind and what he'd become. She was quiet for some time then she opened her eyes and there was a deeper sorrow in them then before. "Tynen....Tanjee, Tynen is here. He's alive." She stopped again, trying to sit up only to have Tanjee gently push her back down. "He's the one who clubbed me with his fist. He be striking down knights before they have a chance to go to battle. He......he........(sob)......he set our family up to be massacred. He sacrificed them for the Dark Goddess and has been rewarded for doing so." She struggled again to leave the bed, regardless of her head. "I have to search for him, Tanjee. I have to end this. He's my brother!!" Now, she was struggling...fighting to get up when she heard his gentle voice.

"Tara...you must rest. You took a nasty blow to your head and you need to stay still for a bit." Gideon sat down on the cot next go Keatara, his gentle brown eyes smiling into her sad green ones as he stroked the cheek that was not bandaged. "You scared a few years off of me, m'lady. You can't be doing that to me." He smiled again at her, his eyes gentle yet firm that she stay put.

Tara laid back down and stopped struggling but she could still hear Tynen's words echoing inside of her head. [i]"I will be around sister...........think on it for I will be coming for ye."


Tynen was smiling from his hiding place deep within one of the empty stables in a stall clear to the back. He'd found his sister, taken out quite a few knights and was enjoying himself immensely. He would find a change of clothing, change his appearance, perhaps shave off his beard and have his hair cut. Then, when the fighting started up again, he would start killing again. Until then, he would have to lay low....keep out of his sister's sight for a short time, let her wonder at what he was doing and where he was at. It would drive her crazy, constantly looking over her shoulder for him. He chuckled...ah yes....life was good.

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:15 am





Tanjee listened to Tara’s story and her brows furrowed. When Tara tried to get up again Gideon quickly pushed her back down gently with his hands on her shoulder then took her hand in his and stroked her hair.

”You’re not going anywhere right now, Tara. You need to rest. If you don’t, that pain in your head will drive you mad. Then we’ll lose you for good. I’ll stay here with you. I promise. I’ve been sent to the sidelines for a few hours anyway. My horse suffered an injury during the charge against the enemy. He’ll be fine, but he needs to rest. And right now, things are quiet. Only a few skirmishes here and there to deal with. Seems even the enemy doesn’t like to fight when the sun goes down.”

What Gideon DIDN’T tell Tara was that the injury wasn’t the horses alone. When the horse when down, it laid its weight on his left leg and he walked with a noticeable limp now due to the way his knee had been twisted and practically crushed. Tanjee leaned closer then and offered Tara a cup of liquid. As Tara lifted her head to drink she would immediately taste the bitterness in it and know it was a sleeping elixir. Tanjee smiled and spoke softly to Tara.

”It’s only to help you rest without the pain in your head, Tara. I promise. By the morning, the worst of the pain should be gone and the effects of the elixir will have worn off. We’ll see how you’re doing then.”

She could see the anger in Tara’s eyes before they closed and she glanced at Gideon. They both shared a concerned look before standing up and stepping a few feet away from Tara. They looked at Tara and Gideon spoke in a hushed voice.

”Do you think her story has any merit to it?”

Tanjee shrugged then looked up into his brown eyes.

”I do not know. Perhaps she thought it was Tynen. After all, the blow to her head would cause her to hallucinate and make her think it was real….”

Gideon furrowed his brows.

”But…….you think it may be more than that?”

Tanjee nodded and looked to Tara then back to Gideon.

”I have seen some strange injuries come into the infirmary. Some of the wounds did not make sense. I thought perhaps I was just being overly suspicious but now….”

Tanjee went on to explain the wounds she saw and the manner in which she saw them. Gideon didn’t like the sound of her story and he glanced at Tara several times as Tanjee told him what she saw. They conversed a few more moments before Tanjee slipped away and spoke to the boy who had come to get her when Tara awoke.

The boy nodded and quickly dashed off. He scrambled through the Keep looking for someone. Finally he saw Sir Ordin with Sir Trysten and Lady Fairwind as they spoke about the battle that took place today and what they were going to do today. The boy was halted before reaching them by Rose’s guards.

He tried to explain he needed to talk to Sir Ordin but the guards refused to relent. A flurry of red and he suddenly found himself face to face with Larissa. He knew her to be Rose’s personal aid and when she motioned for the guards to release the boy, she asked him what was so important.

The boy glanced nervously at the guards then to Larissa.

”Miss Tanjee….she telled me to fetch Sir Ordin…..she said Sir Gideon needed to speak to him right away at the infirmary. Miss Tanjee don’t send me to get anyone unless it be real important like Miss Larissa.”

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PostSubject: Re: Ch 21: The Fog of War   Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:56 am


Sir Ordin was standing with Lady Rose Fairwind discussing the blow they had dealt to the army of the Dark Queen, however both of them knew what they had experienced today was only the beginning, "If they hit us like they did in the south several months back, we were only being tested today."

Rose looked up at him and furrowed her brow. He knew that she had heard of all the battles, word was sent from time to time between the regional commanders so everyone knew what was happening, this network of communication was in fact the reason he had moved to come to Northkeep in the first place. Rose remained silent as he pointed to the map on the large table before them, "My guess is that they will hit the Eastern side harder tomorrow, perhaps even concentrating a stab with the bulk of their forces. The fighting was relatively light there which suggest one of two things, either they thought the northern and western sides were lighter in their defenses or they feared the wardings of the towers. Obviously one look across the landscape and a conscript could see the defenses weren't weaker, so my gut tells me they fear the towers. It's either fear or their plan was to push into us from this side," He pointed to the west, "and then move through and into the towers from the west, creating an arc."

He leaned back slightly and looked up at Lady Rose, "It's hard to say, we push and pull, but my feeling tells me we should bolster the eastern side with some of the reserves just in case, and reinforce if necessary. We don't want to commit too many of our reserves in case they try to divert us one way and hit from another."



Sir Trystan walked in and approached. He saluted to Lady Rose and Sir Ordin. He was carrying rations for both of them and handed them over before looking at Sir Ordin, "Might I have a word with you sir?"

Rose could only smile under her feelings, she knew Trystan enough to detect when he was about to eat crow. Sir Ordin nodded and responded, "By all means Sir Trystan."

Trystan cleared his throat and spoke, "I want to apologize for questioning your judgment. If I had been leading the cavalry I would have had us charge in long before you did, and as a result the outcome today would have been much different. It was wrong of me to snap at you the way I did, and I won't question your judgment in the future."

Sir Ordin glanced at Rose and half smiled through his thick beard before turning back to Trystan, "Even the future Commanders need bumps and bruises Sir Trystan and I have a feeling you will be a fine Commander some day. Experience is always a better judge than instinct, experience will win every time. Let's chalk up today as simply an experienced Knight helping out one who needs to let some of his hasty decision making go and be more aware of the bigger picture."

Rose's eyes brows went up at Ordin's words, he was being complimentary, but at the same time clearly telling Trystan where they both stood in terms of command in this army. Sir Trystan nodded respectfully and spoke, "Fair enough Sir Ordin."

Sir Ordin reached over and hit Trystan's shoulder armor with his fist and looked the younger Knight in the eyes, "You WILL be a fine commander someday, I mean that. You have a good head and you can think, but remember when it comes to battle patience can be your ally, but it's a fine line, wait too long and you might loose, move to hastily and you might loose. It's timing built on a foundation of experience that gets the job done."

He winked and Sir Trystan smiled as he nodded. At just that moment Larissa entered with the child and everyone turned to look with curiosity.

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