Open Chronicles The Attack on Fort Endurance

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Shisha

Golden War Dog
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Shisha seized Iber, and was about to turn and bring him back. He was a foolish one for running away when there may be more Wargheits about. She understood his panic; being chased down by something of her size wasn’t anyone’s idea of a good day. She was bigger than most war horses. Two-legs didn’t like being chased and tended to panic. He screamed about someone named Annette, and Shisha saw him draw the knife.

She shook him a bit, but it did no good. He wasn’t aiming at her. He drove the knife under his chin, and the Devourer dropped him in surprise. He’d ended his own life! Suicide wasn’t unheard of with Devourers; she had heard tales of old males suffering from war wounds ending it quietly in a lake. But not a young soldier, and not so swiftly!

Shisha nudged him, but he was dead. She picked him up in her mouth, and carried him back up to the rest of the soldiers. She didn’t understand. She knew he was dead but she didn’t know why. Was he so frightened of the dead Wargheit? What did he mean by Annette? She needed answers.

Zana
Trajan Meng
 

Zana

Second Level
Dreadlords
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The blade parted its sweet kiss across her cheek and drew first blood.

It was surprise more than skill that allowed Annette to land the blow and Zana cursed herself for her own foolish recklessness. This woman might not have been a true Anirian guard but she must have had some training in order to be allowed on the mission and that meant that she had been trained well. Just because the Guards did not always possess their own magics did not make them easy targets; Talus and the people she had met had shown her that.

It was only a knife so it seemed pointless to draw her blade forged in the flame of a dragons breath. It deserved more worthy opponents than this. Instead she settled back into hand to hand grappling. One hand came up to grab at the girls wrist and she wrenched it hard in an attempt to get her to drop the blade. If she too was unarmed then the immediate threat would be gone; an idiot with a knife was sometimes worse than a skilled fighter. But a scared fighter? That was deadlier.

"Your creatures have been defeated, give it up girl. Tell us why you have done this."
 
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Trajan Meng

An Old Soldier
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Annette did indeed drop the knife as her thumb lost grip on it. But her desperation was acute, and she did not relent.

She tried to headbutt Zana square in the nose.

* * * * *​

With the Wargheits dead the Guardsmen were being dispersed out with shouted commands from sergeants and officers. Some to stay in the courtyard in case of any strange, undeath-related contingencies, some to reestablish security and man the walls again, some to assess the damage and to begin collecting and organizing the dead. Few were as yet aware to the unfolding drama between Annette and Zana. Commander Farrus, being one of them once he heard Zana talking, had a glance over his shoulder and a moment of alarmed bewilderment as a Guardswoman was attempting to strike the Dreadlord.

* * * * *​

Trajan stared down at the corpse of the fiend as if his gaze were the only thing keeping it dead. It seemed so. That baleful glow in its eyes had gone out and did not emerge again, nor were there any embers or hints of such. He'd a moment to ponder then the meaning behind the attack, strange as it was to think of it with a word like "meaning," considering these creatures. But they had to have come from somewhere. And two of them, at the same time, attacking a fort with a large garrison instead of some small, mostly defenseless town, as was often the wont with these sorts of beasts. It spoke of something sinister, and he'd a mind to confer with Farrus and Zana about it.

But he saw something as he finally did lifted his gaze from the dead fiend. The war beast, carrying a dead Anirian Guardsman. A few nearby Guardsmen were remarking on it, but were otherwise unconcerned and attended afterward to their assigned duties.

Trajan saw the hilt of the knife sticking out of the bottom of the Guardsman's jaw. He narrowed his brow in puzzlement, then approached the beast. It seemed well-trained enough.

"Whoa, whoa,"
he said, speaking in the only way he knew how to make a trained animal stop. He had his offhand held out and he touched briefly the dead Guardsman's head and helm, moving it about as if there might be some answer to the conundrum from a different angle. But there was none. The man was stabbed by what appeared to be his own knife, given the empty sheath.

"How in the hell did he manage that," Trajan said, musing aloud. He'd not even considered suicide a possibility, not for a Guardsman in the heat of a battle like this one; his first thought was that it was some manner of horrendous accident. Perhaps the body ought to be set aside, the matter investigated.

Shisha Zana
 
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Shisha

Golden War Dog
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34
Character Biography
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Shisha stopped as Trajan held up his hands to her. She’d seen two-legs stop horses in the same way. Did he think of her as some dumb animal? Some cart horse to be stopped before she ran someone over? He was going to be in for a big surprise when she asked her price for killing the Wargheit, then. She let the man examine his companion, and put him down so he could get a better look.

At his musings, she tapped her paw and scratched in the soil. He said Annette before he stabbed himself. She wrote. She sniffed at the man. Well, she was still hungry and they were collecting the dead. There was something off about this one though. He didn’t smell like a freshly dead human. He smelled...different. She sniffed at his face, at the blood under his chin.

Like he’d been dead for weeks. She extended a claw and opened his mouth. If he was rotted on the inside, it would show there first. Instead she saw the fangs. Vampire. This one was undead. She reached out to lip at Trajan, snagging the dead man’s lip in her claw and lifting his head so the other could see the evidence of vampirism. This man had been dead before he’d walked into the fortress! Was that where the Wargheit had come from?

Trajan Meng
Zana
 
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Zana

Second Level
Dreadlords
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This time the Dreadlord would not so easily be caught off guard. As Annette slammed her head forward Zana pivoted on her right foot with an elegance more suited to that of a dancer than a fighter. She didn't release her grip on the woman's wrist however and as she came to a stop behind the woman's back she shoved the arm still in her grasp further up the woman's back. Smartly she brought up her foot in a well aimed kick to the back of the knees with the intention of driving the woman to her knees.

"I will repeat my question; tell us why," Zana's tone was not full of anger or malice but it was no less deadly. Her threat was as lethal as a naked blades edge despite the softness with which she spoke.

Her eyes flickered briefly up to the Commander in front of her then back to the woman under her grip.

"You were trying to kill him, why?"
 
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Trajan Meng

An Old Soldier
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The war beast was clawing at the dirt--wait. No. Not just clawing. Those were...those were words. Ventor's mighty sword, the beast could write. It was intelligent. And there was a time when Trajan would have saw this as nothing other than a threat, classifying Shisha into that great mass of perceived enemies beset against Mankind. Xenos, such was the pejorative adopted by the Luminari. But that was a time that was past, a long stretch of his life that rested between news of the Battle of Wandering Creek when he was a younger man and a chance encounter with a girl named Rumer in more recent days. He was a changed man, despite any lingering throes of his old way of life that might resurface, like the small crests of waves from the disturbance of a stilled lake.

Even so, a moment of reorienting was required for Trajan. For him to shift out of his prior perception of Shisha into one more appropriately considerate of a clear display of intelligence.

"Annette," he said, again musing aloud. He had killed himself on purpose, and there was significance in that surely, but this mention of someone named Annette was the more pressing unanswered question. Was this man, in truth, no more than a rare cowardly Guardsman, who had killed himself on a foolish whim, speaking the name of his wife or daughter or some other beloved as his last words?

Then the war beast--Trajan was at a lack for what else to call the large, armored creature that could indeed write--caught his attention. Opened the dead man's mouth and...

Fangs. Small, not so different from regular incisors, but fangs.

Trajan crouched, the head of his warhammer down on the ground, and got inspected more closely those fangs. Scoffed. "Vampire. The Dreadlord did suspect that these creatures were vampiric in nature. Yet they are fiends whose boldness extends only as far as the dark they cower within. But here they are, with two massive abominations attacking a stronghold--"

Two. Two massive abominations. And only one dead vampire before them.

Trajan looked as much as he could look at the eyeless war beast. Said, "Does it stand to reason that for two abominations, there could well be two vampires attending them? I fear that it might be so." The war beast had sniffed at man before exposing the fangs. Perhaps. He kept his voice low. If there was another, it could be any one of the Guardsmen about them in the courtyard. "Can you track the other by scent? If it is so, then this other, this Annette, mayhap, could still be--"

It was then that he heard a slight commotion. Commander Farrus even, not so far away, loudly demanding something.

* * * * *​

Where the hell was Iber when you actually needed him? This was the perfect time for him, if he had any damn sense, to be in a position to stab this mage in the back. Then Annette or him or both them could finish the mission and at least die without dooming all of their fellows of the Mulder clan in the process.

But there Annette was. Alone. Surrounded by the enemy. Brought down to her knees and one arm twisted behind her back. Being questioned and with slim chance of actually being able to wrench some kind of victory from the abyss of defeat.

Yet still, as she struggled, she looked back to Zana and answered with a growling sneer, "I thought his blood would be mighty tasty, you harlot!"

No purpose in hiding her vampirism anymore. It was either known or would be shortly enough.

Commander Farrus then, him along with several ranking Guardsmen, came up to Zana and the captive Annette. He had already made a quick assessment of the situation and he joined in seamlessly with Zana's questioning.

He demanded loudly, "Speak, woman! There is no clemency on offer for you, but we will have our answer. It is only a question of how much persuasion you will be able to endure. NOW SPEAK."

Annette laughed. A tiny, quiet sound, bereft of hope and full of defiant scorn. "Come closer. I'll whisper it in your ear. Commander."

Shisha Zana
 
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Shisha

Golden War Dog
Member
Messages
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Two vampires, two monsters. One controlled by each? How did they sneak in to your fortress? I barely got in, and I had to play the stupid dog. Shisha wrote quickly. If there was another vampire then time was of the essence. He asked her if she could track by scent, and she nodded her chin. She needn’t have put much effort forth...there were shouts coming from the Commander’s direction. Shisha made a small noise in her noise, more of a short bark or bugle, and hurried toward the sounds.

She trotted, hurrying without wanting to seem like she was charging at the already-nervous group. The commander was shouting at a woman, presumably Annette, with the dread lord holding her arm behind her back. Shisha looked back at Trajan, and nodded her head at the captive vampire. That one stank of undeath.

Two vampires wouldn’t attack a fort alone. We’re these two powerful enough to make the monsters? Shisha patted the ground next to her words, and lipped at Trajan. There were more vampires somewhere...or they were under the orders of a more dominant vampire. Like insects sending out scouts.

Trajan Meng
Zana
 

Zana

Second Level
Dreadlords
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1,185
Character Biography
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The Dreadlord seized Annette's hair in a fist and yanked her head back. The very knife she had attempted to use on Zana was now in her hand and the sharpened edge pressed against the woman's throat. Of course, as a vampire, it would probably not be much of a threat but in her experience decapitation worked well enough on the vermin. As the knife bit into the woman's undead flesh, Zana couldn't help but find cold satisfaction in the fact the knife would draw the process out longer, painfully so. Reluctantly she pulled her mind back from the dark edge and raised her eyes to the pair who joined them. An eyebrow quirked at the creatures writing in the muck but she didn't comment on it; her travels with Talus had revealed far stranger things than that.

More besides the point it was probably right.

With a flick of her wrist the blade slid away from Annette's neck and in one swift movement came down on the woman's hand instead, driving through the back of her palm pressed against her back. The tip of the blade probably just scratched at the girls back.

"Who are you working with?" she asked coldly.
 
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