Private Tales To Avert Time Honoured Doom

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer
Character Biography
Shuddering into existence from memories scant remembered, stone work did pull itself from the ether of time into the realm of the living and wilful upon this simple grassland, the ruined stone keep rising from the memory of the soil so blackened with blood ancient years ago. It bore the marks of the vain struggle of knights against the Dark, the burned foundations of palisades that now scorched the earth as if burned recent and new, the bodies that were shimmering greys that lay still. Plate mail adorned with blazing emblems of families long since permutated by the decades between then and now lay still in the ground, submerged in the land as if imprisoned by it, some families stock extinguished by this battlefield ill remembered by scholars few.

The sky did grow mournful pale and grey, soon to press into night's dominion. A light rain did descend upon this place, soaking the soil of memories with fresh water. It would not quench the rage that did build and grow in spirits trapped in place by virtue of the deeds performed so many years ago. That caged emotion was soon to be roused into action. Those imprisoned souls to this place were bound to their duty to defend this place with repurposed frame granted by the inexhaustible conviction of their oaths and vows. Such was the way of the Enshrined Blades to strive to spit out the poison of failure, even beyond death. None might say what gave their spirits form, perhaps their dedications gave them life, or perhaps, did the Dark give them new life to play out their final moments once again.

The keep rose high in the sky, where great gouges from monstrous claw did rend the stonework. It was as if in it's last days, such was the curse of this place to remember it's own misdeeds. And perhaps, to redeem them by fresh blood to ply the battle to come. The spirits would attend their duties, to play out the battle that had occurred before. The Dark, and the valiant bold who stood in desperation against the vermin, against the spirits, against the beast and the trepidation of mortality rendered in sickening short.

This was a former outpost of the once mighty Order of the Enshrined Blade, filled with upstanding warriors who stood against a great scourge that besieged them. The banner of the Enshrined Blade was raised once more in this present era by spectral force, tattered by infernal arrow as it was before they fell in the last day. For this was the last day played out in small measure, a remembrance, a tribute, and a grim reminder of the day the Dark won over the forces of mortal valiant condition. Forty had stood against the Dark, assembled in corpse upon the ground, barricade in crumbling stone and burnt pallisade. Forty souls once again were called by duty to answer this grim task, to play out this drama once again, perhaps with aid from those who might find sympathy to those souls extinguished by the Dark's will to dominate and dash the hopes of the living.

This ruin was lifeless for now, the lingering souls not yet animated. Such would come in time. Only the flag raised to signal this ritual to be performed by long tortured souls and even longer living being of the Dark. Dark forces that would prove their superiority to the failed last stand of these retinue of Enshrined Blades. So it had played out over the years, without attendance of the mortal to renew their efforts, or at least, mortals strong enough to stem the tide of horrors to be released against the defenders.

Even now, tendrils of blackness did coalesce and plot their reliving of their crushing victory against the knights of the Enshrined Blade. The rain fell, and time would tell if the spirits would find their peace by virtue of the newcomers that were but short minutes away from seeing the Keep, cresting over hill from short journey.


“We draw near,” Ostrum said he spotted the flag that was in tatters. This much held true to the stories he had been regaled in hushed tone by his comrades at the hearth of his Order's base of operations. He bristled at the sight of it.

He expounded some history of his Order to his company, Garrod and Vandor, two warriors who had adopted the cause as their own for coin, as they watched the Keep shift as if mirage into further convictions of reality.

“The banner of the Enshrined Blade is rarely raised aloft now. We have not the numbers as we used to, all those years ago. We act as single agents in the ocean of fate now, instead of the mighty hosts we once were. Singular, we act as guardians to the Just, solitary, we act for the good of honour. But there, in that Keep, forty of us stood strong. And they died without faltering in faith of their purpose.”

The rain was carried by strong gusts of winds that set cape and hair to flow.

“I know not of what the night will bring in full, comrades. Few have observed what we are about to place ourselves within, let alone ventured to avert. But I know that the Dark will be unrelenting in it's assault. The stories tell us that much. The gates are barred for now, but I know the words to open it so. We have arrived with good time. Upon the pealing of the bells shall the final assault begin, first the Enshrined shall make their final motions and reverence to honour the way of stalwart service, defense and contest, our bywords, even if they must be our dying ones. You will see the spirits of my former kin bear weapon again, a rare honour. Their killing arts passed down to us living shall be a sight to behold, no doubt of that,”
Ostrum said, growing more bold for his explanation. He felt his own place in history become assured, his own deeds to be remembered, for if this was a successful venture, he and his comrades would be recalled by his Order as saviours.

Just another failure by the howling winds of time and fate if not.

Garrod Arlette Vandor Colton
They had come from The Corner Cross, a tavern at the corner, and an inn at the crossroads.
One there was, just some minor mercenary, seated at a corner, with ale, meat ripe off bone.
Then came a knight with his plight. And then came another, a sellsword with a great sword.
That was as much as the former could make of him. Two soldiers of fortune—nothing more.

Sir Ostrum Brandish, however, had stakes within this game so as to hire a pair of fellow blades.
They were fellows, if not a fellowship, their bond in contract, but the knight’s bond is different.
Vandor Colton saw it on his face that very same day, there in the tavern, and now in his gaze.
A serious countenance, mustached, yet Brandish looked like a man unfazed and determined.

Unbowed. Unbent. Unbroken.
Colton surmised in his contemporary’s eyes, granted a moment.
On grassland, plain as day, yet a grey sky came their way as they arrived, like a fog over ocean.
Let’s hope he doesn’t forget my payment. Though, that sellsword would put it that past Brandish.
The latter was a man who seemed as honest as vigilant; capable, arms, armor; a sword to brandish.

They stood beneath the grey in alliance, a triumvirate whose power derived from common cause.
To slay the enemy, as best as this mercenary may say. The payment was enough for the sellsword.
For Ostrum, he needed more. He wanted to lift the curse, to heal the wounds, and right the wrongs.
Order of the Enshrined Blade. Vandor shifted his gaze to the banner in the distance—of battles born.

The rain fell gently on his plate, but much of it was covered by a black cloak, with the hood up.
It helped keep his head from getting wet. A light drizzle was yet heavy when carried by a wind.
Vandor was garbed in his armor, shield at his back, carrying a dagger, and his sword at his hip.
Beside him, Ostrum mentioned mighty hosts, guardians, honor, forty strong, and their blood.

They died. The sellsword sighed. With faith, purpose, honor, it did not matter. Death is death.
Vandor had battled the darkness before, in all manner of form. Confident, but he was no idiot.
He knew their venture was dangerous. No mere savior, however, he was here for his payment.
First and foremost. On the other hand, this was an adventure. He hoped to enjoy it bit by bit.

“The night is dark and full of terrors,” Vandor gestured upon the horizon with a grin.
Night was coming. But it is not yet here and here we are. “And so is an ogre's armpit.”
He shrugged, looking from a dying sun to the keep in the distance, thinking of its bells.
There was a method to this madness and he would follow it. Well, he had a sword to sell.

Ostrum Brandish Garrod Arlette
Ryiek swayed in the fading eve, knuckles white against the haft of his makeshift spear. Weakness clung to his knees, to hips that bucked in place with but a sparing touch of drizzle kissed breeze. Acid roiled in his stomach; nausea that threatened to spill from his throat with each passing step.

Shadows stirred in the leylines. They beat wrongness against his temples, thrummed hallow poison across the plain. Something crept hence. A pregnant malevolence. One that wept past the distant glades. It stemmed from stone, riven stone and wood and vine; from straight cut blocks fallen low into ruin.

Ryiek paled, but moved, finding perch in mirrored countenance. The saccharine melancholy of sacrosanct ground cemented resolution in him. It nipped at his veins, veiled with the cloy of death.

He inhaled, let the soiled leylines sift across his nose. Tasted it on the back of his tongue. Watched tears crack from the corners of his eyes; the darkness itself coiled within him.

His songling stride kept him low to the ground, as might a dog sniff after game. Hooded gaze hung beneath a cowl of fur, he pressed ever on. Nearer the clang and clamor of voices that had called him. That drew him from gleeful repast. Stole his mirth and beshrouded his shoulders in the demure of sorrow.

How it dared. How it crooned and cawed. How it led him ever closer the brassy bombast of voices on yonder.

He approached. Slowly, but with a call of echo about his lips:

"Terrors full," he said, chin swiveling up to meet the figures three. The ley trembled at his side. He sipped from it.

"The Just act in numbers, and I, the spirit of kin, kill Dark?"
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Garrod grin, toothy and gleeful. "Aye," his right arm ached, and he eyed the stranger that did approach. Like a thing born and brought by wayward breeze.

A meal, for later, perhaps, Oh Flesh Mine?

"Kill the dark," he assured the pitiful looking thing.

A strange and rare delicacy, to be sure, the long toothed flame split grin green across the black canvas of his mind.

The cold rain pitter pattered against the cowl of his cloak. His armor heavy after long march. His sword too, a thing that would see him drug down into the mud.

"Lets not tarry any longer," he said to his companions, and shift the weight of his weapon as he marched forward. Gave the odd comer a firm grasp upon the shoulder. To brace him, perhaps. Or to get better measure of him. Who could say.

But it was by his own left hand, as the demon's white held tight the strap of his heavy weapon.

Mud squished under boot, and forward he marched.

Ostrum Brandish Vandor Colton Ryiek
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"If you wish to defeat the Dark with us, welcome, be joined to our venture to assist my Comrades."

He made introduction of each person in turn, himself last, as they made way, and then rolled shoulders as he took step towards the keep.

"We make our approach. When the bells rings, that is when the combat begins. The rest, is our charge to react in accordance to our might. Let us be about the task, and serve our purpose to the full."

While lesser men might have found their knowledge of what was to come an opportunity to flounder or falter, the unknown terrors that would be matched against him filled Ostrum with new imaginings of glory. He was brash to the task, his wit keen to retort against the mockery of the Dark's vantage of power. He bore many weapons with him, and he had no doubt they would all be bloodied and made to serve their design.


The sky began to yield to darkness, the rain continued to cover the blood drenched soul. A mere day ago this place had resembled nothing of the battleground in stasis it appeared to be now, a simple meadow where one might think naught of consequence had ever occurred. No plaque, no statues, just the hum of insects and the gentle sway of long grasses to mark this locale.

The keep itself was small, and had the marrs of siege upon it's surface, great gouges of beast clambering, impacted walls that were cratered from both magic and siege equipment brought to bear against the stonework and the knight's hold. This was the final night remembered, the final night that the knights fell. The walls still held despite their trials, with portcullis down and two ghostly attendants to the wall, the first to be roused into service. Their deaths remembered, countless now, was not theirs to shirk again. The rain did fall through their spectral frames, which soon would resemble more bone and flesh instead of this apparitions that did shimmer with deathly grey and white.

The two knights who stood present bore shield and sword, the more common armament during the Enshrined Blade's days of regimental assembly. Pommels of gold, blades of quick grey steel. Their vast shields and tight wrapped cloak marked with their personal heraldry, displays of honourifics now abandoned by the Order. The one who stood within the left tower had tinges of crimson, the maw of a fire dragon which had placed him into the ranks of the beholden to duties of the Enshrined cast across the surface of the cloth that draped small and tight to his frame.

The other who peered out with ever growing strength and wits of the doom they were about to experience once again, as if waking from one purgatory to the next trial of the soul, the repeated cycle to which they were trapped, bore the marks of a beast that no longer walked the land. A thing of spikes and six eyes of blue, something slain to attain his position and trust of the others that he might fight to the bitter quick of life. No helmet on either, their eyes were granted full scope to see the Dark coalesce upon the wings around them. Their faces pale and graven, yet determined and unshocked as to the circumstance.

“Aid, perhaps,” the one bearing fire Drake upon cloak said in shuddering short to the other with beast of tendril and six eyes, spying the gathered small host of assistance. What they saw, of Ostrum and his hired help, did not bear the Dark about them, not in allegiance nor in bearing. The knight who was the first to speak of this host of Enshrined had seen the tendrils of black that did mass as long and burgeoning weight upon the fields around them, not yet harmful, yet full of whispers and intent of being more than they were.

Another knight roused from deathless slumber in the courtyard, who placed hand to head and thoughts slowly filtered into their mind renewed as they rose from armour that shackled their souls. The courtyard was bear except for the motionless bodies that gathered soul ether about them as animation and wits would soon take place of stillness. All in resplendent plate that was gilded and well serving, yet would all be laid low in turn by the Dark's ways of violence.

This knight freshly roused already had hand was already upon spear and hate within his heart, mighty and barbed, weighted to bring down drake and foul beast, his tormented rest of failure marked in time never deprived of his compunction to wield weapons true. He looked up to the news he arrived to, unusual event in a rout existence of pain.

Succour to our fate, how many bear our cause, what flag?” the spear wielder said, his voice a whisper, yet still understood by his comrade in arms.

The one who bore the tendrilled beast upon cloak replied in words better developed, his speech more honoured by his dedication to the vow and oath of Lexicon. His tone in ghostly rasp, his measure steady and full of pledged scorn and ill satisfaction. It was his hand that raised the flag, the first to rise to the call to action.

“Aid, if their speech reveals them mindful. No army relieves us. No flag they foster. A mere handful. We endure this not with the common, no matter how base our fate, it is ours to bear with Assured Zeal. I'll not indulge in tourist, no vagrant to honour shall we indulge. Our parts to perform shall not be shared with base cur, such would further stain us. Providence to the Innocent if they have no stake in our fate to avoid this coming siege and fate. Providence to the Just, if they speak our words. If they be worthy to stand with us, so shall it be done. Hark, Comrades. The anointed time of battle draws near. Night steals the day, and so we stand each in turn to fell and fall. Recite our existence, rebuff the doubt that lingers, our vows be true, our oaths be strength. We endure what none else could stand with glad hearts, with or without this promise of succour from a handful. Hope damns us to deliver not our fullest wrath. Hate, zeal and acceptance of our place redeems and sustains us in the hearth of Killing Arts.”

the spear wielder whispered out, his words straining to come into existence. Some souls bore their humanity with good acuity. Others, like himself, were ready to fight to the last, yet chipped away, event by event, by the brutality of the Dark.

The rain continued to fall as portcullis remained firmly down, the mud growing, the Dark amassing. A distant rumble like thunder within the ground, a shaking of the soil as terrors did coalesce into base sinister things.

So did Ostrum and his companion made approach, wary and braced for what was to come.

A voice called out.

“The Mark of our Order be sighted upon you, Comrade Knight, but audience to this battle we do not grant you yet without test. We would know the compulsion of honour that brings you so, to you and your company. We know not of time's betrayal of our kin, do you still hold virtue and valour to be maintained within the quickening soul to battle's sake? To what do we stand, Knight of the Enshrined Blade?”

Ostrum looked up at the more vocal of the spectral knights. His gaze was unyielding to his interrogation. He thought he should have expected such a bracing welcome, but wondered as to the wisdom of denying anyone to help.

Ostrum replied sure and true.

“Compunction to the vow, Providence to the Just, compulsion to the vow of Merciful Deliverance. Cardinal direction, South, Igniting Hope. Need I speak more?”

A howl of wind. And then reply.

“Nay, you are no imposter. Your comrades, be they worthy of this field?”

Ostrum frowned and did not hide his irritation.

“Verily,” Ostrum said instantly.

“Proceed then, and aid us. The gates open. Be welcome, and strive against the Dark with us.”

The gate opened, and with it the skies cracked with bleak black bolt of Dark. The surrounding began to toil.

“About it then,” Ostrum said as the portcullis lowered behind them.

Within the courtyard the knights slowly roused, forming into squads. They looked to the newcomers, silently.

Ostrum turned to the others.

“The bells will soon ring, I have no doubt of that, then we shall be beset-”

The ground shook. A sound of peals from the distance, horrific warbling of metal clanging out their call.

“Is this the bell we wait for? Are we to the task?” Ostrum asked his comrades.

Not yet. Not yet, Comrade Knight, soon, soon.” the eerie voice spoke from high up from watchtower. “The ritual is delayed by your presence all. You have time to declare yourselves to us. We would know your names, your renown, your prowess. Impress us with, I appeal to the Vow of Lexicon. Such both forces gathered would entreaty such custom. We have performed our declaration enough. You are new comers to the display. Be known. And be judged by the combat to come.”

Ostrum looked to the others to declare themselves before bringing his voice to bear as he pondered new details untold, witnessing his comrades rising from suits of armour on the ground to look at him with wary respect.
A fortification, this keep once was. Now merely ruins. Vandor wagered Ostrum thought differently.
To him, this place was one of memory, and more than. It is Ostrum’s past as much as what he may bring.
They approached the gate, no triumvirate, but now a group of four, whether of knights, hunter or sellswords.
They braved the way, the portcullis in the distance, though it was not open to them. Soon to meet the hordes.

After this endeavor and adventure, Vandor would be content with heading to a tavern for a few whores.
At any event, the foursome wasn’t left without engagement and weren’t bored as two knights came forth.
Bore shield and sword, either one was a bit different from the other, and no helmet, unlike this sellsword.
His cloak still fastened, the hood was down, and steel guarded his skull worth its weight in gold and more.

Thus began their interrogation from the audience of the spectral spectators turned investigators verbatim.
They spoke of providence and of what was just, vagrants and innocence, of being worthy. Wordy guardians.
It was all formality, of course, reciting oaths taken, promises unbroken. For dead men, they did have heart.
Vandor listened, he watched, sweeping his vision from portcullis to ghost-person, thinking of Killing Arts.

Virtue. Valor. Vow. Oh, get on with it, for crying out loud. Compunction and cardinal directions.
‘Verily’, said Ostrum. You beautiful little shit. Four words in a sentence to turn anybody’s head.
Yet, he spoke his one word so simply, so instantly, that Vandor could not help but grin at him.
The spectral knights wanted to test these four men, and the group’s host is his own weapon.

His word was as sharp as Vandor’s words were curt. Then, just like that, the gates opened.
Bells? “Bloody hell!” The mercenary offered while the ground quaked. The arena did beckon.
Yet it wasn’t time to fight. Vow of Lexicon? Vandor blinked. He wasn’t much for introductions.
Vandor Colton,” he tilted his head. “Sellsword. Son of two farmers.” He bowed. “At your service.”

Ostrum Brandish Ryiek Garrod Arlette
Thus trilled the warning shot of warbling metal; the bale scream that sundered through the keep. Resonance on stone, cut by rain but not softened (never softened as it sung a raucous fervor that beat the pale to flesh and bone).

Ryiek, face contorted, dug tooth into lip.

He struck himself to the sounding gong, raised head to the billow of voice that poured from beyond. It strung together, enmeshed in an echoing twine. The bell, the wrongness, the nauseous taint in the leylines. The hand that clasped his shoulder; how it oozed, how it crooned like to the taint about them. It pealed as thunder down his spine.

Wariness lidded his gaze, and he brought it to face the spectres above. He opened himself to the ley and pronounced himself:

"Ryiek," he said. "Just, in aid, to strive against the Dark." His mouth worked before sound could follow. He tasted the words, let them dance at the tip of his tongue. Held them long, syllables drawn as glyphs warding the air.

"I will, for Providence, of no renown, kill."

Ostrum nodded in approval of his comrade's declaration.

Worthy, he thought, worthy.

The leader of the Enshrined spoke again.

“So you are known. Let all who witness us bear us true, for our words spoken reveal our estimation of our deeds performed, and to be bidden from frame renewed,” the knight who had so interrogated Ostrum and his company spoke. He clanged his mighty shield against the foundations to punctuate the proclamation.

The knights gathered at their positions, taking wall and corner, weapons drawn, shields raised, vows upon lips, armour crackling with magics initiated. Ostrum looked at this in wonderment, such techniques to protect the self was thought contrary to their Order's custom. The best defense is a good offence, Ostrum was taught and instructed, and yet here his comrades would gird their armour in laurels of protective energies of sparking white. He thought to ask his fellows of this, and thought how little time there was to learn from the past.

I am no steward of records, I will observe their Killing Arts and perhaps yield more talent into my mind matter. Perhaps there will be time for words exchanged once we carry this day.

As if pouncing upon such reckless confidence within the knight Ostrum, the rain that did spit began to torrent with punishing force. The ghostly knights as if baptised by the rain that did pour became flesh entire, their frames given bone and muscle, and with it, all senses of potential pain. Such was the Dark's gift and curse, and it's sick humour to be entertained by.

The Keep had four walls of stone, and a inner sanctum of square that could be withdrawn into. Knights stood about the walls, with blade beared and position confident. The newcomers were to the wide courtyard, which adorning the walls had targets and dummies to train. If one looked upon the ground one could see it dark with ancient blood, both of beast dark and of knight slain. Ostrum felt his stomach tighten, his brow prang with a tremor of pain, his fingers seizing upon his weapon with haste at the understanding of his body to where he was.

“Hallowed Castigation be delivered!” all the knights, sudden and as one, cried. A mighty cheer to rouse.

Except Ostrum.

Confusion was the only emotion summoned by such an ill placed cry.

Ostrum turned upon the spot, looking in all directions to his comrades that resounded such a declaration.

“What mean you all? Hallowed Castigation, such is the ritual of judgement from fellow comrades of our Order, this is a battle to come against the Dark, not assessment of worth from comrade, not the weighted scales of honour against the one! Speak! Explain at once!”

A reply, amused, mocking, yet burning with robust conviction of purpose from the watchtower from the one who gauged their worth so.

“Ah, with such little understanding does our comrade stand with us. Is it not told of the fate of those many before us who betrayed in lock step the ideals to our Order? For we face the transmogrification of those who have condemned their vows, turned bestial, turned horrific, turned against their pledge to fell those who still remember their time honoured duties. Traitors to honour stand against us with glee, with spite to what they once resembled. Those who failed Hallowed Castigation besiege us. And so we deliver our judgement refreshed to them! Traitors, weaklings, liars, betrayers, failures! And yet their mass in number quakes the ground. Such is the fate of all who condemn and fail their vows! Tell me Sir Brandish, did you think there was no consequence to shirking oath and vow aside from exile, from death? Our vows and oaths that grant us power also grant us our condemnation if we walk away from them once mortality is shed. It is to the Dark the traitor goes. And it is to the Dark and against all those who betrayed our ways, we stand against, in repudiation of the stains against our Order.”

The ground trembled again, the sky was filled with screeching beast that lingered. They waited for the final peal of the bell.

“Every individual who Buried Their Vows stands against us, drawn to test us! Is this not the greatest moment you could think, to punish those who go unscathed and indeed, empowered by their honour sold! All manner of horror amassed by core emotion of their base deeds, such has amassed in their strength shall be reminded of honour's might! You do not know how many have failed their duty and become as the Desecrated Dark. We do. Stand you with us against the shadows of our Order, their existence is to be punished by the Just. We are blessed to perform our function! Hallowed Castigation delivered, to be proudly drawn as weapon against so many judged as flawed, degenerate, unworthy of our ways!”

Ostrum faltered at this zealotry. Truly, the comrades of old were another breed.

“By Fate and Honour,” Ostrum breathed as the bell finally rang it's dreadful note that set all to surging volume of violence.

Too late to think upon the meaning yet.

For the Dark descended.

The Dark brought to bear it's beasts first, great winged wyverns that descended from the blackened cloud, crashing upon the walls with vast mouth of snapping, with cracking wingtip and barbed tail as they sank from the blackened sky. Already the clash had begun all around them as the flock of wyverns descended upon all four corners, six in number, various in size and ferocity. Their eyes glowed red, their mouths spilling scathing word of taunting. The Enshrined now to their Killing Arts performed, great displays of martial strength mustered, cutting and fending off such beasts.

A crash against the portcullis. Multiheaded hydra did bring it's bulk to smash, as humanoid knights did stand waiting to flood the place with their forces, their swords all born.

Ostrum looked to them, and saw the resemblance immediately.

“Those who Buried Vows Rendered, they...they are the foe?”

As mighty spectral host, their armour inversions of their former glory, blackened, soiled by the stains of dishonour, their weapons burning with gleaming red, their outlines shimmering with the raw stuff of the Dark.

“No greater Dark than the Shadow cast by those who shirk the Light of Honour!” Ostrum cursed, realising now the gravity of things, and with sudden understanding snarled. The ancient words, taught to all Enshrined, made manifest.

“End-them-rightly!” Ostrum bellowed, longsword in hand, the hydra tearing through the portcullis at that exact moment of his declaration. It exploded into the courtyard, a great thing of multiheaded menance, and honour shirked knight banished and cast out from the Order of the Enshrined Blade did surge forward in unison behind it as battle commenced for one and all, swords beared, shields raised, and all murderous killing arts at their disposal.
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Emboldened by the chant, Ryiek tore back his lips in a howl. Voice lifted to the blackened sky, he filled himself with the night's own ardor. Settled it about himself, a mantle of power that crested his hood of fur. The crash, the peal, the mighty bay of dawning melee drew him ever closer to the fae.

Two clenched fists held the haft of his wooden spear poised in the crook of his neck. His teeth chittered in fury. It made no human sound. A breath. He caught it in his lungs, whispered it from the hollow of his throat.

That stirring murk in the air, that electric taint coagulated at the tip of Ryiek's spear. Oozed over his hands, a film that threatened to slip it from his grip. He held fast. Demanded it take shape before him. And so it did. Writhing, violet lines spilled from the spear; it splintered, sparked, and forged itself in the purest of lightning.

He pivoted, leaning deep into a hip, knee bent and readied; exploded into motion, a sudden affect of violence about his eyes. The spear flew true, sung from his palms, propelled straight into the encroaching mass of vile bodies before. It struck, a chord plucked from the hydra's hide, and grafted a line from sky to spear.

Lightning arced down its length, rippling as it rent the air.
Words weaved. Voices howled. Monsters made manifest in screech and whip of wing. A scan with his green eye. A grin tore across his face as the dark road of steel came free from his back, a clatter of teeth, the power of storms. Garrod held strong in white hand, his weapon as left cut sign of zephyr and gale.

Down came the wyverns in a crash. Small one first. Youngest and quickest. Its razored beak snapped out at the end of its serpentine neck. Maw gnashed down with an air splitting clap.

Garrod leapt. Swift with wind's step. His body contorted in the air like great fish, his sword point high brought down as the weight of his body and steel fell down unto drake's neck.

A crunch-pop of scale.

Plunge did the weight of the monster killer's point. The wyvern wailed and crashed against the ground against a throng of dead warriors turned to life again. The creature trashed as flame licked blood sprayed across floor and crowd alike.

The hunter's boots found purchase, his legs stayed sturdy. His arms worked down the weight of his weapon. A slam against keeps wall near nocked him. Forced wind from lung and dazed his head. His white hand held still. Vice-tight around the grip of his sword.

A stirring of strength as breath filled mortal lungs. The run of his great sword traced with light. Storm called. The weight lessened. Strom arced from thrown spear and cracked down through Wyvern's neck. Sparked its wash of blood to flame in wicked bloom that washed across a score of knights.
Bells. Bloody bells of hell... He had heard them before, sometimes in chime, other times like a gong.
Felt the ground convulse, like a corpse clinging to life, heard the shriek of beast, saw the sky blacken.
Heard the speech of the enshrined knights, and blinked at Ostrum’s ‘fate and honor’, ready to move on.
He, Vandor Colton, watched the army of darkness, spotted the hydra and portcullis, wyverns, or dragons.

The Knight Ostrum Brandish brandished his sword and roared a warcry. The sellsword kept quiet.
Shield in left hand, bastard sword in right. Suit of plate to protect him, helmet on head, eyes peeled.
The spectral force advanced, red weapons amid the red eyes of the wyverns after the bells pealed.
The hydra had crashed through the gate. The mercenary's contemporaries attacked. All right. So be it.

Vandor followed suit, picking between his opponents. These rival knights were an ocean of menace.
Then again, the hydra did not seem to care about them while they were in its way amid Ryiek’s blade.
Lightning crackled, thundering through the throngs. With hydra distracted, the wyverns were a threat.
Garrod Arlette was dealing with one of them at least, leaving three. One of them flew for a mercenary.

Okay then... That made picking between his enemies all the more easy. He spotted sharp talons.
Razors for teeth and with its wings pinpricked with pits as if arrows had once broken them open.
Brandishing his weapon and standing with his shield before him, Vandor Colton waited; no victim.
The wyvern had flown downward. It howled with the fury of a thousand Ostrums as it came at him.

It was a myth that one could not be athletic or acrobatic in plate armor. Rather, you could flip.
Vandor didn’t but he did jump away from chomping teeth at the last minute then repositioned.
He wanted to test his opponent. Flies low then it bites close. It screamed in anger and reversed.
Flying through the air, it turned then it came back for another attack, determined to kill Vandor.

The sellsword bit his lip, waited for it. Come on, you shit.
The wyvern did, suddenly dipping as the merc predicted.
This time, this guy rolled forward—toward his opponent.
The teeth missed him and then came forth those talons.

By this point, Vandor had come out of his roll, stood forth.
The belly of the beast above him, he swung high of sword.
The brilliant blade paved its way into flesh while steel tore.
Weak at and beneath the breast, that beast could only roar.

It fell in a heap in the sea of undead, dishonored swordsmen.
Bleeding, spewing blood from a gaping wound, meeting death.
Hopefully, at least. Vandor didn’t wait as he advanced yet again.
Many knights more—a hydra to contend with—two wyverns left.

Ostrum Brandish Garrod Arlette Ryiek
Traitors fell in full scores at the blast of electricity so powerfully rendered by fae touched ally, their weapons shuddering in spasms in shocked grip tight, their armour further conducting the vicious arcane strike to deadly affect. Each in turn faded from view as their will to fight was snuffed by bolt delivered so brutally, their bodies not leaving a shed of blood, but charred corpses quickly scattering to the soul ether. The hydra itself was blasted full bore by the strike, all heads quivering and lashing out in convulsions of torment. Great blackened branches of the lightning's course marked it's body, and it slumped in lurching movement, spite of the gathered driving it a few steps forward before succumbing to the strike bested.

“Well struck!” Ostrum remarked with good cheer now at such a display of prowess as he charged as if guided by the light's path.

Wyverns erupted in viscera as blades made their punctures, Garrod and Vandor's own efforts brutalised the beasts. Crumpling in mass of wing, tail and jaws that were left agape and slack by their perishment.

Damned knights made their approach, and Ostrum did engage with their number. His heart glad to be in the thick of it, but his mind reeling from such recent revelations. To fight the monster, thoughtless, was one thing. To deliver justice to the living embodiment of stains against his Order...

A rare honour savoured!

A smile upon his lips as battle fervour took hold, steel matched steel, their techniques familiar, an echo of his own training. Blows sudden were barely refuted and met, they betrayed their swiftness with strikes that lurched one moment to dupe, then rushed sudden as a dam full of water broken. Sparks erupted as edge met edge, his own magically keen weapon set against the Dark's own infernal embellishments. The damned knights were many, but some still held some modicum of decorum, they mostly met each warrior one on one, and waiting in the wings for their turn.

Infernal voice growled from behind helmet encasing their shroud of a face.

“Be wrought to failure for your loyalty to a fool's life of service!”

Ostrum wrenched words from his heart full sworn, Endless Rebuke, and set it aflame, and thus power released by virtue of his dedications. And so was a titanic blow bestowed to his sword arm as he spake back and lashed out immediate.

“I repudiate with outright vorpality to your capitulated oath! REND!”

Ostrum's longsword gleamed gold for a precious moment, thin and razorlike across the edge, and with full stance readied to cleave did he tear through his foe's trunk. Slashing true, he tore through the man of steel entire, his blackened armour parting in two, blood dissipating into ash as he was undone.

Few in number were the Enshrined reduced in effective force for the efforts of the mortal. Never before had such smatterings of violence bestowed upon the assailers of the honoured bound. Never before had their number received such hope.

Yet in mass did black armoured knight befall the host, now paired with swarm of arrows that did land upon the field with unerring accuracy, as a swarm of wilful hate. Knights raised shield as they parried with blade, yet the arrows did render cripples of the able bodied. Gritted teeth as the fight went on.

Ostrum bore no such shield, and dived into the remains of the portcullis' domain, sheltering by stone where others used clout of shield. Into the thicker part of combat did Ostrum stride, bearing bracing word of contest and full brunt of his weapon bared. Great columns of knights with pike did strike out, shield raised and sealed in organised mass, to which Ostrum made quick step back to consider his next approach.

A dark sphere of multitudinous jaws of gnashing mouths with black ichor spilling from lips, a thing of foulest magic, did bound from behind this shield wall. A chewing thing of hate that did propel itself forward and beyond Ostrum's sword stroke in vain. It bolted towards the Enshrined, who's swiftness in armour was not match for this thing's terrifying speed. It swallowed knights entire with great wanton abandon, in quick succession, making a mockery of their defiance. Three slain in quick gulp as if they stood for nothing but vain defense.

Without eyes it sensed it's enemies, more prey to it than warriors to best.

It lurched, chewing upon the Enshrined as it hovered and lingered and sensed, spitting out shield and weapon which was now alight with green acid flame. It now was to towards Garrod with a mighty endless hunger about it's frame, long fanged teeth sat in black pitch mouths that spiralled about itself like a multitude of hungers made gnarling threat.

It grew incensed as it's own want for voration sensed another of it's own pedigree of greed and with all maws wide, did assault Garrod with endless clashing teeth and bottomless pit.

Like sensed like it seemed.

The banner received a spiteful torrent of arrows, another puncturing of pride.

The last stand of the Just replayed anew, with shocking, devastating first retort to the Dark.

Yet this was but the beginning. The wyverns were almost fully bested, the Enshrined and the assistants to their cause striking true and valiantly for their interjection of violence. The hydra, slain. The Damned Knights that had poured in with the hydra's entrance had sure footing and whirling weapon, now bringing with them new harassers born of flight that hurled flaming spheres at the scene from the skies. Imps. Their eyes burning red, their sharp talons and guiling wings keeping them safe distance from the Enshrined, descending to support wyverns that now lay for the most part dead. No panic in their number. No wavering of heart. Yet these Damned Knights had no reinforcements from the central gate from their pike born comrades, for Ostrum and two Enshrined held off the pack entire.

The walls began to shake around them as mighty blows born from Minotaur at each side, west and east, did smash against them. It would not take long for the walls to fall each in turn if they continued to press with such sieging. Within their hands a great column of iron bearing their own head resemblance, a battering ram in effect and deed.

Ostrum stood aside with two of his ancient comrades, and fended off the front gate from the impending pike column, bringing searing weapon to thunder against their line even as the pikes did make their steady advance in sharp wall forward. Their organisation gave them great defence, yet the three were eager to provide contest to their force entire, bringing booming oath enthused cuts that did sear the air and crack across their ranks, beating them back in small degrees as they tried to advance beyond where portcullis did once protect.

Garrod Arlette Ryiek Vandor Colton
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To think, only some time ago Vandor Colton had been sitting alone in a tavern at a crossroads.
The Corner Cross, an inn in the middle of rich vegetation, verdant fields, while the sun shone.
Things were a bit different this very moment. Yet this is what the man was raised, trained for.
As the welkin cracked with thunder, fell beasts raining down fire, Vandor greeted with sword.

He had slain one opponent already, the wyvern, so what’s another? Whether it or some other.
The hydra was dead. The undead were being slaughtered like cattle. There were two wyverns.
The sky caught his eye. “Look alive, guys!” He smiled wide. “Our reinforcements have arrived!”
They weren’t on their side, of course, but the imps meant more courses for dinner. Let’s dine.

From the corner of his eye, Vandor spotted Ostrum with Enshrined as they took to gate and wall.
Forces on the other side were trying to get in, assaulting the walls, adding to the chaos all about.
The great chorus of roars, swords and more in this storm they waged, brewing since ancient days.
Sir Ostrum Brandish wanted justice. He would get his moment in battle, standing tall and proud.

Unless we all die first, of course. Vandor searched the parapets, seeking defensive equipment.
Trebuchets, ballistae, something to drive the attackers backwards as they besieged this keep.
He found his quarry as his enemy found him. The sellsword served a footman his steel edge.
The blighted man’s head came off in one swing at the neck. Then a wyvern came to sweep.

Vandor dodged the beast as he had its friend earlier. Shit. The wall assault needs attention.
Yet that aerial assault deserved no less. Amid the wyverns and imps his team is surrounded.
These beasts would harry Ostrum and his efforts for all they were worth. We can’t have that.
So the sellsword did change tactics. After the wyvern passed him, an imp came for its attack.

Vandor brandished his shield just as a ball of fire was hurled toward him.
Yet the flame burned away on the shield’s face, protected with its magic.
The imp flew forth, its crimson gaze maddened with sudden confusion.
The shield-bearer swung his sword the next moment, slashing the imp.

His blade cleaved a nasty gash across its chest, blood spilling.
The imp crashed in a heap at his feet, bleeding and squealing.
Vandor didn’t wait to see what became of its fate, jogging on.
Shield-bashing a soldier at the steps, knocking him clear off.

His target was dead ahead. A weapon past the parapet.
Nestled center of the turret. A ballista. A sound defense.
So he mounted the machine. Quickly loaded the bolt in it.
Took aim, grinned, bit his lip. -FWOM!- And a bolt released.

One wyvern screeched. Losing one of its wings.
It was circling up high. But fell from the skies.
He had been aiming for the wyvern's breast.
That'll do. Vandor would yet settle for less.

Ostrum Brandish Garrod Arlette Ryiek
A stir. The roar of tumult. Mouths wide with roar. Calls for shape.

Shield Wall.

Shield Wall.

The dull strum of bows. Like angry wings beat strong against the winds. How they screamed through the howling dark.

The Hunter made himself small against the lifeless corpse of his prey, amidst the wash of fire so let loose. His sword raised against his side, thick blade of waved steel, wide enough to cover head and neck.

Arrowheads pinged and scraped past against round of plate. With sching and twang and slip, those arrows did fail to break. But one caught point. Its head sliced across leather of boot and flesh of calf. Blood spilled. Teeth grit.

More noise. Screams. Shouts. Rattles and clangs of blade to to blade and hammers against steel. Pikes long plunged into flesh, shafts hacked down with great swings and chopping blows.

Garrod rose, with whisps of smoke curled off of frame. Wicked was the demon that resided within him. Wicked was its hunger for that which might sate him. Fire. Gold and true. How he would devour such tongues of shimmering bright. Turn and twist to wicked green.

Break through the lines that ball of gnash and teeth. A putrid thing, of stupid greed. Wanton want and ceaseless need.

A laugh. Hot as the countless tongues that burned across the prison field. A laugh. That bade break the walls of this cursed place. For no divinity nor honor. But simple need. A flame could not burn, once all the air was robbed.

Fool mockery. The Old Hunger did hiss.

Garrod's teeth did grit.

Shameless thing that dare take. The demon in the jewel did break.

Garrod stood before the ball of hungry green flame. Before those bright teeth, twisted in upon themselves.

You know not what you trifle with. Came the green fire's voice. A crackle. A spark. A gout of green tongues that flickered with want and danced with wicked glee.

"Belephus," Garrod spoke the name, and felt his right hand grow tight about the grip of his sword.

Withering, wanting, wicked fire did wriggle across his weapon's edge with demon's desire.

Garrod grinned wide. His left eye, gone, but a green fire writhed there in its place.

The demon of many spiraled teeth lurched forward. All gnash and consume.

The hunter possessed dashed back, great blade come down in overarching slash.

A scar rent across the mass of lightless ichor. Where its pale green fire did burn, a maddening chartreuse did burn.

Ostrum Brandish Ryiek Vandor Colton
Fog occluded the eyeless gaze of night. The watchers wrought Dark about the palisades, sundered in the greening flame.

Ryiek's shoulders rolled and shuddered, remnant pulse coursing the length of his spine; he expelled it with the last of his breath, eschewing the terror that gripped him. He hung limp, loose about the waist. Disarmed, he dissembled the mantle of power that laced his veins.

The ley drew thick in the air; as smoke, ephemeral. The halcyon of arcing cries dampened the roll of thunder. It cascaded. Ryiek pried open his eyes. Another lurching step. Forward; he held himself shaft of the spearhead. Pressed.

His throat began to move. The garbled harangue vibrated. Grew in tenor, collapsed; began. A faeling song ripped from him. A pulsing heart beat blood against his ears.

He thrashed his palm unto the earth and wrenched from it the rooting vines beneath.

They bloomed, as grasping hands might slip and seek for the Dark's own ankles.
The blackened sphere reeled back in new found startling pain, shocked as it discovered sensation beyond the gnawing pain within it's pit. Mouths soured, tongues did lick the fresh wound delivered by Garrod's weighty weapon so infused with a mightier hunger than did ever befall the mouthed thing. Pain was a universal language, transgressing the inhuman nature of the thing that bobbed and weaved about Garrod. It goaded with snarls that would quickly turn to all consuming bite as the pain relinquished to hunger's home.

The imps, as did the rain, continued to descend, fire and water blending in downpour, punctuated by outburst of arrow volley. Boot trod where flames evaporated the pools of water. Rain, no matter how thick, failed to extinguish where hellblast delivered. A shake of the walls, the eastern wall began to reveal signs of crumbling under minotaur force. The western wall was availed by Enshrined Blade who leapt in pair against the horned creature, blades downpointed. A bellow of pain, and then amassing soldiers to end those duty bound to die in heroism's gambit.

Vandor's efforts with ballista had drawn the attention of comrade and foe alike, imps set about with swarming bolt of fire in harrying volley. The Enshrined assembled about the mercenary and lifted shields to protect Vandor as he set about the work of using the siege equipment, the fire bolts making resounding crashes upon the shields.

The shields that were set in locked formation that beset Ostrum and his two kindred at the broken maw of the portcullis did shuffle forward, despite the defending force's efforts. Ostrum frowned at the scene, at turned to his comrades for council.

"We cannot break their line this way," Ostrum intoned. A nod from the other two knights who stood beside him.

Wyvern fell as he looked back from heavy bolt born from ballista.

Ostrum nodded to the other two gifted idea by Vandor's own interjection to the combat.

"Vandor, a shot against this wall of shields!" Ostrum requested, his voice carrying as well as drill sergeant in the square.

The square was a host to Ryiek's struggle, to which the defending Enshrined Blades had taken note of the individual who had so rendered hydra into collapsed corpse. Three Enshrined Blades, their heraldry of the griffon, the hawk, the sparrow, placed hand upon the soil and spoke as one in shuddering spate of vowels. The magic so spoken was brute simple. A shield of protection extended in shimmering white to Ryiek to avail him of his plight.

A burst of arrows, a smattering of fire. The sparrow heraldry crumpled as it was engulfed from all sides. The other two, unphased, kept shield up as best as they could as they worked their defensive magic to assist the fey aligned mortal.

Garrod Arlette Vandor Colton Ryiek
Four wyverns there were at the start of this chaos. Amid the onslaught, only two were now left.
There’s one! Vandor’s tongue slid over his lips, shamelessly enjoying the bloodlust of its death.
It fell down to the ground, bereft of left wing, roaring, only for companion to silence its scream.
The ballista’s operator just as quickly shifted another bolt onto the frame, aware of his attention.

Just as predicted. Come on then. If he could draw in the winged beasts to him then so be it.
That would keep them off the backs of those who determined to keep the besiegers distant.
Minotaurs roared, breaking against bastion frame, shaking stone from foundation to parapet.
Gates would not raise! You will have to work for your meal! -FWOM!- As a row of imps ate steel.

They had flown downward toward Vandor in their line so the ballista bolt skewered them as one.
Well-aimed bolt, truth be told, but this wasn’t Vandor’s first dance with siege machines or spells.
Idiots. There goes another load. Here comes some attackers ready to raise hell and then some.
Sallying forth, the army of darkness did not dally in its charge. Neither did a knight in his yell.

“We cannot break their line this way!”
Ostrum called across the carnage. His companions listened.
Whether the leader, a commander, to Vandor it did not matter if Ostrum asked of him or commanded.
"Vandor, a shot against this wall of shields!" Colton kept up his grin. Now you are speaking my language.
He pivoted, swinging his machine in another direction, squeezing to release the bolt into that black ocean.

The juggernaut of an arrow penetrated a stream of attackers assaulting the keep.
“Dinner is served!” Vandor laughed, enjoying the cheese between his teeth by blade peeled.
Figure of speech, surely, but all in all he loved the moment when his target fell into the deep.
Vandor raised his shield. A gold bubble covered the front of the ballista: a shield from a shield.

Ostrum Brandish Garrod Arlette Ryiek
Writhe did the green flames. Flickered and hissed.

The form of the monster shift forward. The mantle of reality swelled about it. Eaten by the fires that burned so bright in Garrod's eye.

Arms braced behind wide blade's road as teeth snapped and cracked and tried to bight around. To take in whole. But turn did the weapon's pointed path, as maws threatened to rip out whole chunks.

Pushed away by the spit and crackle of demon's fire, lashed out, like cat of nine come rake and claw from within the bleak pit.

The maws widened to spit. But the teeth came down, mindless in need. The round infernal scraped its belly across the stonework of the yard. Bashed, with Garrod still amidst its snapping jaws that punched and battered at his armor.

His arm twitched. Its shell clattered. The eye came open.

Ostrum Brandish Vandor Colton Ryiek
Ryiek took a single steadying breath. The Knights ringed him (a redoubt in their midst, grim determination striding forth to mete out Justice). Vacuous imps streaked the sky. Horned roars shook the keep's foundation. Tremors wracked the smattering rain.

The deep perversion of it lifted his hackles.

He drank ever deeper of the ley. Saccharine ambrosia sifted his veins; lines of power spiderwebbed out. He reached for them. Twin moons bathed him in gloam dyed ley. Penumbral shadows banded of emerald hue. The wicked grins bared teeth to the keep.

The cavalcade of pikemen, the meet of spear and sword on shield; the turn of steel, the drowned echo of pain and fervor. Contorted iron shells wrenched in their boots. The spectres of men twisted, swelled.


Reality popped from its seams. The rain beat red to the drum of spectres pulled to limpid bits.

The plop as they hit the ground. The putrid screams that subsumed the bulls' own roars. The clatter of steel on leather on ground. Ecstasy rimmed his lips. Open mouthed wonder set his knees to quiver.

Imp by imp by blade by fae. Rows of corpseweed bloomed in the ether between.

And with glazed eyes did Ryiek fall forth, elbows sloshing into the mud.
Polearm pointed out were faced by far firmer puncture, or indeed, rupture. Darkened minds had not expected that by living hand was the tide being turned in unusual direction. Dread knights, appalled by this interjection of magic into a testing of mettle. First were those were in full score were bested by first ballista shot. Normally born against the Minotaur which would smash walls and break on through, as was Enshrined Doctrine, Hallowed Practice, and Rightful Response. Not the knight class to be beset by such columns of piercing!

Clatter went the knights into death, collapsing in line. Shells of themselves, laid out on the stone. Bested by bolt.

Another introduction of fae arcane energy, strange and eerie shook the scene in all it's complication. Weird and distorted the images of the knights entire, the imps en masse. They shuddered, as contemplating the fragility of their existence, struggling for it. Caught. The laylines so compelled, drained the mana fuelled nature of the place of it's firmament. The construct of the keep's enemies was being tested in resource by such demands.

The Enshrined around Ryiek looked in renewed power of confidence for such a display, the imp fire now coming in infrequent spats, the rain finally taking proper place of the skies.

And then the wall collapsed, a braying minotaur shrugging the column of steel that was a battering ram. Twenty score knights stood ready as the minotaur breathed heavy. These knights wearing crimson. Two short swords in each hand. Gleaming. Malicious with quick orbits to prove their worth to slice air, if not flesh.

With mighty hoof did the Minotaur parade into the courtyard as Enshrined beset the crimson, shields sidestepped, swords snicker snacking and gripping metal and finding mark. It leaned down, as if set to charge. Five Enshrined readied to receive the enemy with glad heart that this may well the end of this particular sequence of labours.

Ostrum looked to the Minotaur, still fending off foe the portcullis.

The foe was being shocked.

Their number waning.

What few spearmen remained by the keep's entrance could not hold formation by mighty shield's interlocking embrace. They set about their task against Ostrum and his comrades by the gate.

And to the thing of teeth, to that red eye rendered it humble to it's all consuming hunger. This was a force that not only desired to be sated, but made heavy demands to reality to make consumption not of teeth, not of chomping, but of all consuming hunger that rent that it sought. It looked in startled, frozen revelation, there was something greater than itself. Shocked, and indeed, awed.

Garrod Arlette Vandor Colton Ryiek
Entombed in gilded energy, in magic as so reckoned, fortune of conjuration to ballista so cocooned.
Yet no nexus or web of interconnected leylines wherein were risen that baleful power. It’s different.
Amid the machinations of that mercenary’s contemporaries and their enemies, he sits in his tune.
A song of fiddling strings, lyre beneath skies higher, humming like wings, his machine of menace.

Embalmed in magnificent golden, that shield upon shield, the imps fly down in their demise.
-SKZZTT!- Zapped like lightning bugs or insects by lightning that instant amid the enshrined.
The winged beasts seek to penetrate the force field, golden if transparent, brilliant and bright.
They cannot. So as their cousins cast unto death advance, and die, they fling flame—O they try!

Then they shortly discover that even fire cannot break the barrier in its duration of one-way translucence.
-FWOM!- No need for mercy. These fell beasts did rip from that spear of destiny that was O so due to them.
A missile loaded, ballista manned, pivoted, man in position as he bit his lip to target dread knights damned.
Whom had collapsed, clattered , shattered, by bolt of judgment’s engine, only for more of them to have risen.

“FALL AGAIN!” Vandor Colton roared across floor and parapet, upon the ranks to rattle the keep’s flanks.
“IN THUNDER’S BREATH!” The sellsword—the spellsword?—summoned that gold soul to his own hands.
Rain falls, blades of water to precipitate onward carnage, as the mercenary readied a storm to cast forth.
In that moment of predestined excellence, in the exquisite essence of destruction, something else roared.

That shout of a minotaur from hell.
Around the sellsword, the rock rings.
The wall falls. He cannot cast his spell.
That same moment, the fell beast shrieks.

And, fourth of its brethren, of whence were swept into the abyss, it swoops in, sharp if tuneless.
Consumed in anger, breath of revenge, from the welkin it flew amid imps opposite in direction.
A moment, more perfect than poetic, Vandor did swerve and swivel, unbroken in his position.
Stone crumbles beside his bastion, as what then greets his guile is so vile of beast; ruthless.

The fourth and the final wyvern.
As those imps did burn at him.
Flame forbidden by gold prism.
That wyvern descends in turn.

“BLOODY SHIT!” Is all Vandor has time to emit amid the quake of fallen wall.
His own walls may close in around him, break barrier and bastion, but not all.
The gods want this mortal to live a bit more, so he leapt from ballista just then.
Diving across rock, and his device is torn asunder, burned, its bolt and bow spent.

Ostrum Brandish Garrod Arlette Ryiek
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Within the dread thing's maw, Garrod hung on for dear life. Teeth grit and bared as infernal flames licked at the soles of his boots. Wrapped green tongues about his ankle that singed flesh. A grunt of pain, as the teeth went on, trying to grind his bones to dust.

The gauntlet, his arm, fanned and split across the seems of its carapace. Like the fins of some spine plated fish, the strange wings that sprout from the sides of the white arm shook. Thrummed. Pollen spilled from those gilled vents betwixt carapace and wings.

From the eye of the jewel come open glowed a virulent green, came a spark. A flash. And all the ventilated dust washed to ravenous light. The ignition saw the large stupid thing's innards withered and cooked. Saw the monster killing blade cut through. Cleave out.

With the punch through of greatsword's tapered peak, the demon of lesser hunger came open. Halved across its whole. It pealed apart. Awash in a green fire that spread and leapt and ate at anything it touched.

Garrod stood atop it all. His arm changed. Like a thing come alive all its own. His sword there in that changed hand, as ash and freshmade soot danced about his breathing form.

Ostrum Brandish Vandor Colton Ryiek
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Lashes fluttered in the rain on Ryiek's eyes. He quavered there, knees knocking into the mud, somnolence thick on his tongue. The air buzzed with activity; the cries of imps and men, the ring of steel like so many bells in the toothless twilight.

Kaleidoscopic sight rendered before him. He drank ever deeper of the ley. Effervescent power dripped into him, from lips to chest, from chest to fingertips. The strands of it puppeted him, and he hung limp by their command. Piteous, as those very knights who stood against the encroaching hoard.

Hunger crystalized in him. Settled in the pit of his stomach, in the gooseflesh that rippled featherlike from his neck.

It shuddered, keening vision in on a single point. A hand. A mouth. A thing. His mouth was ash. Dry, dull, devoid of anything resembling taste. His knees liquid. Nevertheless, he rose. Tore himself from the mud, forced vitality into each numbed digit.

He clenched his fists, vaguely surprised that they came up empty, absent the wooden haft that once graced him. Stained in mud, saturated and heavy. He looked to them, nodded, and muttered a binding word. Mud to clay, clay to stone. He petrified his flesh, layer on layer until they rested as wrathful cestuses. Eschewing further ceremony, he broke from a crouch to a run, joining the melee with the daemon bearer, with the thing that echoed his own hunger.

Garrod Arlette Ostrum Brandish Vandor Colton
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Rain pelted the scene as if it were a multitude of slingshots from the heavy laden cloud that loomed. Heavy smacks of water on stone a chorus to this ceremony. Chill winds mingled with the heat of battle, plate adopting rivulets as if the armour were to weeping, gambesons becoming sodden above glistening chain. Breath hot in the air that expressed, boots sloshing on the ground. Blood mingling with the downpour in ebbs of availing hearts.

What seemed in inexhaustible supply of foe was being spent, all cause committed to the present field now. This supply would have to be enough for the insult the Dark would have ring out in history's sake.

Never before had the devouring sphere be inspired by fear and consumed by magic greater than it's construction. Sent to the chill winds as powder.

Never before had ballista bolt been levied against full score of knight and wyvern. Never had those who cared to amend the Enshrined Blade's fate had brought such fury.

The Enshrined had been cut down in some number, but unquenchable was their willingness to fight. It was to the two sword wielding warriors of crimson plate of the enemy, the final wave of soldiers, that made heavy tread across slick stone towards the Enshrined. Embroiled, each side contended with the other.

Yet the hoof of minotaur pound heavy in charging motion as they went to gore the Enshrined Blades, tearing forth, braying and heavy with exertion. Ostrum stood with them, refusing to abandon his comrades in defiance. Powered by the Dark, the minotaur's eyes were rubies behind the wide sweeping horns that crashed forth.

Clattered frames bound in steel to the ground, punctured, laid low. Sent to the stone walls, backplate smashing against the defense. Ostrum being one of them, gasping as the pain made connections to such quick event.

He placed hand upon his chest which was all tight agony, his armour holding for virtue of it's construction. His comrades, in more antiquated gear, held no such compunction to serve. His fellows plate lay tore, hands that still locked grip with weapon as life faded. Ostrum's eyes were blackened by the stun. Blinking desperately to try to at least look those rubies direct as the coup de grace was imminent.

Ostrum tried to rise, but muscles failed him in these precious seconds as the minotaur loomed, malice and enjoyment of this moment from this creature.

The numbers of the foes were reduced, but all that was moot to Ostrum, who stared through the black of his dazing to center on the red gems of hate. That lowered, along with horns, to finish the upstart who had dragged such interlopers to this echoing message to the Order.

Wordless, defiant in forming vision that was but a noble glare, Ostrum, back to the wall, upon the floor, barely holding the longsword point forward. The minotaur beat hoof upon the ground as it readied what would surely be Ostrum's end, muscles rippling, horns lowered, eyes glinting...

Ryiek Garrod Arlette Vandor Colton
  • Dwarf
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