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Repair of the Walls

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Inns'th was, more or less, just as Gormaric had left it. A mixed blessing, all things considered. That meant it hadn't yet been overrun by the creatures of Yh'mi, but it also meant that the breach in the wall remained open. Of course, as he soon found out, this was because the manpower and resource situation hadn't really changed: Inns'th remained severely lacking in both, and the dark knight once again cursed those who had fled in the wake of Remissio's army. He couldn't blame them for valuing their lives above all else, really, but he still smoldered with resentment. Had they stayed, perhaps the wall would never have been breached at all. Or, at least, they would have been around to help in the aftermath. In the now-silent depths of his mind, he swore that he would make them pay for their cowardice if any of them dared to show their faces in his presence.

It wasn't long after that Gormaric's mood was turned around. News was brought forth that both resources and manpower would be coming in from Terrenus, and that someone would have to step up and take charge of them, to ensure that everything would run smoothly. The dark knight stepped forward and volunteered without a moment's hesitation. A few moments of deliberation, and then he was given the go-ahead... if nothing else, due to his previous actions during the conflict with Remissio and his army. With nothing more than a nod of acknowledgement, he went out to await the new arrivals, as they were supposed to be arriving soon, perhaps even within hours. 

Sitting atop the ebon-scaled wyvern that had been Neque's last gift to Gormaric, his thoughts turned toward his old master. The being once ever-present in his mind, while eternally a sarcastic nuisance, had been an invaluable help on many occasions. Gormaric had departed from Yh'mi in order to repay that debt, and had returned after doing so. The emptiness where Neque had once resided was so very strange and foreign. As a force of habit, Gormaric would reach out for advice, and find nothing but echoes, memories pertaining to Yh'mi that Neque had left behind. Analysis of the creatures they had encountered, a few speculations about the nature of the land and the creatures within... and even a recording-esque memory of what Neque had experienced while within Remissio's mind. His mind turned then to a lingering regret. The knight hadn't known at the time, but he had suspected his master's involvement in the continued survival of Remissio after the explosion. In the aftermath, he learned this had indeed been true: in that moment, Neque had controlled Remissio's arm, ensuring that he would live just a bit longer, and ensuring Diligence's death. This was the regret that lingered: just in passing, Gormaric had gleaned that her loss had shaken the Order of the White Hand to their core. And Neque was responsible for her demise... and furthermore, it was Gormaric himself that had brought him here. Ultimately, then, he had killed Diligence, almost as surely as if he had done the deed himself. This was a weight he had borne in silence, until it had become too much of a burden to bear. He had then told everything to Ocelia, the amnesiac elven mage who also been an important part of Inns'th's defense during the battle. Her magical traps had destroyed many creatures that would have likely overwhelmed and killed the paltry but determined defenders atop the wall. She had also, once upon a time, been his lover and closest friend. After lifting much of that burden, he had made a promise to himself: whatever the Order may have thought of him, he would strive to do his utmost to make up for the loss of Diligence.

It was simple: everything had changed. If the dark knight had any say in it, however, everything would change for the better. Thus, his gaze turned toward Terrenus, and he waited, patiently.

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Some battles were fought with a sword, others with the mind, for this particular battle, Tor'Gal would need both to succeed. It was in these difficult times that even the most mundane of tasks could mean the difference between life and death. Case in point the large breach in the wall surrounding the town of Inn'sth, which was finally being repaired.

Out there in Terrenus, someone was generous enough, or perhaps pragmatic enough, to realize their plight and sent the required resources to mend these defenses. Inside his soul, the half orc felt frustrated beneath the gratitude, knowing that if he had done better in the the strange tournament being held in Hell's Gate, he would have been able to purchase what they needed to shore up their defenses. Next year he would do better, he would win the gold and bring it all the way back to Yh'mi, along with the glory. Until that time, he would shoulder the weight of his defeat and do what he could to help rebuild their broken walls.

During his approach to the work site the copper skinned half breed noticed the one who was most likely to be their overseer on this project. Gormaric was well known in these lands, for good or for bad, depending on who you asked. Tor'Gal cared nothing for that, so long as he was willing to help in making certain the defenses were back to serviceable condition. Gaia only knows the terrible truth of what the dark knight must have faced while in these corrupted lands.

Giving a grunt loud enough for the knight to hear, Tor'Gal gave his breastplate a slap, a standard greeting between paladins in the order. "I was told to come here and help guard the place." He said in that gravelly voice which always showed much of his lower tusks. "My blade is yours to command."

As a preference, he preferred to fight, but if the situation called for it, he would be willing to do manual labor as well. Repairing the wall was top priority, so he would not be choosy with whatever job he was given. There was more at stake here than pride or honor, there was the safety of all of Terrenus at stake. Even if it required the ultimate sacrifice, he would pay that price if it meant defeating the evil that lurked within every cranny of this accursed country.

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------> Two Days Earlier, Alam Airfield - 200 Miles South of Selemath

"That is the gist of the mission Mr. Alam, you'll fly these materials." The logistic's officer said, his thin fingers pointing to the materials sitting just outside the hanger; about twenty five hundred pounds of supplies, mostly building materials. "To a drop point just beyond the Black Ridge, where it will be picked up by our men and transported the few days travel into Yh'mi where it will hopefully save lives." The thin officer handed a clip board to Gaim, hoping to have him sign for possession of the materials. "How much if I land them dead center in Inns'th?" Gaim suddenly asked, his frustratingly cocky expression seeming to be ignoring the very real danger of flying into the skies above Yh'mi. Horrible storms filled the skies at all hours, darkness never ceasing and it wasn't uncommon for airships to crash and burn against the famed Spires - but those were airships, piloted by massive crews and built more for travel then combat in general. Gaim was a raptor pilot, and he knew that is why they came to him; an airship could transport more goods to just outside Yh'mi, only a daredevil like Gaim would try to fly directly into the hell scape that was those haunted lands. 

"Double pay, plus hazard pay and full resupply if you agree to give air support - assuming you survive the trip, of course." The logistic's officer replied without skipping a beat, his own smile a clear sign that he had gotten the response he had hoped for. The pair shook hands and quickly work began, all excess weight to be stripped from the raptor if it was going to make the trip fully loaded - guns and ammo were the first to go, they wouldn't be needed for the trip and if he made it to Inns'th he would be resupplied and rearmed there. insulation and heat dampening followed, as well as cockpit armor. Finally an extended range fuel tank was fitted and the materials were quickly loaded into the cavities left by the loss of weapons, ammo and armor. Loaded up Gaim gave one last hand shake to the logistic's officer and climbed up into the only place he ever felt truly alive - the cockpit. 

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His fingers danced over the start up controls, the 1500 horsepower direct mana combustion engine exploding into life, it's V12 roar drowning out every thought in Gaim's mind and sending his nerves alight with excitement. Quickly he pulled on his flight helmet and gloves and before long he was coasting his raptor out of the hanger and onto the runway, the engine screaming as he pushed forward the throttle; the massive weight inside the fighter aircraft causing it to struggle to take off but eventually it took flight, leaving the logistic's officer and his crew alone on the airfield, watching with smiles on their face. "He lives up to his reputation." The officer mused, his hands already dialing into his crystal communicator, the pickup crew wasn't going to be needed. 

------> Present Day, just past the Black Ridge - ten minutes till entering Yh'mi airspace.

Gaim whistled as his eyes set on the massive storm clouds growing closer and closer, their menacing darkness constantly illuminated by the sharp strikes of lightning. Gaim was glad his old bird wasn't retrofitted with modern gear more so then ever at this moment, the horrible electrical interference already fucking with his helmets head's up display, the modern crystal electrical display not shielded well enough for the sheer energy in the air. Gaim removed the helmet quickly, detaching the face mask and reaching back behind his seat to grab his mother's old helmet and mask, donning the classic gear and plugging the hose into the air supply. The hydraulic controls of his raptor were mechanical, immune to the storm's threats but Gaim would be lying if he said his tension wasn't rapidly growing as he approached Yh'mi airspace. 

Because while his controls might be immune to a direct strike, his engine's mana impregnated oil pump probably wasn't, meaning he'd lose engines if he took too many direct hits and the insulation and shielding failed. There was of course also the threat of his canopy getting blown and then he himself getting struck, but the cockpit tended to work a bit like a faraday cage, or at least Gaim hoped it would. "Inn'sth, this is Old Soul. I'm ten minutes to LZ, has a runway been prepped for my landing?" Gaim said into his crystal dynamic radio, the static of Yh'mi limiting the range of communicators so heavily he wasn't sure he would be heard but it was better to at least try to reach whoever was in charge before he arrived, as to prevent him from scaring a few hundred extremely tough townsfolk and warriors.

Yh'mi was seconds out, and Gaim could no longer contain himself as his body began to shake heavily, the center stick in his hands vibrating slightly as the turbulence of the air hit his raptor for the first time. Gaim locked hard on the controls, pushing the throttle full and dropping altitude fast; better to be closer to the ground then at max altitude - the altimeter warning light screamed as his altitude dropped rapidly, his nose pointed near horizontal as the push prop configuration of his old raptor screamed it's joy. The bird wasn't the only thing screaming, Gaim's voice filling the cockpit with a joyous roar. 

Gaim had a reputation for being wild, and as he slammed his heels into both rudder pedals and pulled hard on the center stick that fact became clear to anyone who happened to be watching - he had pulled his raptor out of the dive at a mere 600 feet, the roar of the raptor's engine bouncing heavy off the craggy surface of Yh'mi and echoing for miles in every direction. But for as crazy as it appeared, Gaim had thought long and hard about how to tackle Yh'mi, and had come to a single conclusion; high speed, low altitude was the answer. This tactic limited the volatiles weather from causing turbulence and made it so the lightning had to travel a greater distance to meet him, limiting his chance of being struck by many fold; furthermore it allowed his lights to illuminate the darkness more effectively by hitting terrain and giving him a better read of his general location,. "Inn'sth, this is Old Soul. See you soon." He clicked into the radio, the shake of his voice sounding almost euphoric. 

Edited by Old Man Jean

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Gormaric sat deep in thought as his wyvern circled lazily just above the breach in Inn'sth's wall, tacking stock of the situation so far. A small force of workers had arrived to serve under his command, and he immediately put them to work with what materials they had immediately available. He had received word that some crazy bastard was delivering supplies directly to Inns'th via aircraft, and would likely be arriving sooner rather than later. Outside of the breach, the half-orc paladin of the Order who had arrived to help him stood guard, overseeing 10 warriors. That was all the warriors that had been immediately available, and he had been told more may or may not be arriving later on. He supposed the force would be able to hold up against probing attacks by Yh'mi's lesser creatures, but something more concentrated with more powerful creatures involved would give them quite a bit of trouble, at best. But he would likely be able to join the defense himself at that point, and that would make a notable difference... assuming he wasn't overvaluing his own skills. He hadn't actually had the opportunity to do much fighting without Neque's aid, so it remained to be seen how his power and skill would be affected by his absence. He still felt strong, but that meant nothing until it was tested on the field of battle. And the power of the Inanis within him was quite an unknown quantity in the absence of the Shadow King. At least Shadowfang still remained at his side, and the dark blade had developed quite the taste for the blood of Yh'mi's creatures after the battle with Remissio's forces...

With everything mentally sorted out, Gormaric brought down his wyvern behind the workers, supervising their work. He would join the guards as soon as he found someone that he deemed competent to oversee the workers. This wasn't spurred by a lack of trust, really, but a need to ensure that work got done smoothly and efficiently. Anything less could possibly result in all of their deaths, which was... rather sub-optimal. Until the dark knight could join them, those guarding the breach would have to hold out as long as they could. As if in response to his thoughts, it was at this same time that the guards would spot two approaching groups of Chhitten: a group of 8 or so off to the right, somewhat close, and a similarly sized group off to the left, further out. As long as they were fast enough to take out the first group before the second arrived, they would maintain the number advantage throughout, and thus would be likely to make it through with small wounds at worst.

Edited by EpicRome23

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Meeting with the warriors who had arrived to the wall, Tor'Gal got to know them somewhat while introductions were made. Some were simple mercenaries in it for the gold, others however were true believers of the Gaian faith, understanding the importance of keeping Terrenus secure from the monsters that were soon to be coming for them. The half orc felt content about this, as it made it easier to trust someone when they shared the same beliefs as you do.

Doubt had been creeping into his mind about whether or not he could lead these people into battle. This was to be his moment of redemption, but could he actually pull it off? So much was riding on this, and he couldn't even defeat an illusory enemy in the MOBS tournament. With the stakes raised so much higher, he could not afford to lose this time, or else he very well would be better off dead.

Warning signals went off at the sight of the Chhitten advancing towards the wall. Everyone was on high alert, uncertain of what they should do as they could not depend on communication from the outside to convey to them the orders they required. Whatever distractions plagued the paladins mind were pushed aside for the moment, the greater objective coming right at them. Such creatures were a nuisance on their own, but if they were to join together as a group, they would become a very real problem. Without wasting another moment he began organizing the defenses.

"Form up!" He yelled, directing those who could heal in the back line while the shields moved into the front. Five shields were arranged in a line with three two spear men in the back and three healers behind them. Tor'Gal took the right flank, his claymore brandished and ready to destroy his enemies. At his command, bolts of lightning, fire, frost and divine magic were fired into the group of monsters closest to them. Many of the attacks landed good hits, killing or injuring a majority of the Chhitten before they came into contact with the main group.

After dispatching the remainder of the monsters, the paladin ordered for more volleys to be sent towards the next group coming for them. Though they had closed some of the distance between their starting point and the defensive line, they still received two volleys of magical damage before routing into the wilderness. Because of the Marshall skill of the half orc, the mercenaries only received minor damage, with none being forced to deal with the horrors of the creatures neurotoxic venom.

"Good work." Tor'Gal said while they were being tended to by the healers. "But that was hardly all that Yh'mi has to offer. Stay vigilant and continue to hold the line so the repairs can be completed." It felt good to succeed, but he just as he told the others, this was far from over.

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An incessant wind sweeps across the Broken Plains. At its touch, the creatures of Yh'mi stir and, all at once, begin to march toward Inns'th: or, more precisely, Inns'th's ancient wall, and the breach in it which Remissio had made. Perhaps this wind is the manifestation of a greater consciousness, one seeking the destruction of the only obstacle between Yh'mi and Terrenus at large. By necessity, this is a matter of speculation alone, with there being no witnesses to this phenomenon except for the creatures of Yh'mi. And few, if any, of them seem to bear full sentience, or even a full intelligence of their own. Thus, even if they had the desire to speak, how could they ever begin to articulate their experiences to others? No, it is best to simply remember that they all share the singular desire to destroy Inns'th and the Order of the White Hand.

But the aforementioned wind? It in and of itself is greater... or, more precisely perhaps, whatever or whoever it is that is behind the wind. For among the forces arrayed against the breach's defenders, only this wind fully understood the situation. The ebon knight Gormaric oversaw the workers that scrambled to seal the breach, while an all too small group of dedicated and skilled soldiers stood as the sole defense between the breach and Yh'mi's creatures. It was the thought of the former that brought the wind pause, and perhaps even a tinge of fear. It knew that Gormaric had been one of the primary factors in bringing an untimely end to Remissio's assault. And to the extent of its awareness, he had also brought about the demise of Remissio himself. It was not often that those outside of the Order were notable as anything other than temporary nuisances, always destined to either meet their doom in these dark lands, or soon depart in search of better-paying pastures. But this Gormaric, and the sword he wielded which actively craved to feast on the flesh and blood of Yh'mi's creatures... determined. Powerful. And seemingly nowhere else to go. An enemy to keep a close and wary eye on, for the time being. And in the future? To be subverted, if possible, or to be destroyed with the utmost expediency if that was not to be.

Pushed onward by this wind, Yh'mi's creatures began their march toward the wall's breach anew. Its defenders would not be given an overly long time to rest, and would soon find another group of creatures approaching them: More Chhitten, double the number of the last wave, and gathered together into a singular group. A task that was not insurmountable by any means, but would most definitely present more challenge than the first wave had. For the moment, the wind contented itself with observing. Perhaps it should have brought forth the largest group of the most powerful creatures that were close at hand to begin with, and thus overwhelm the defenders with the sheer weight of strength and numbers. But that wouldn't do, for even with the seeming advantage, it was folly to attack an entrenched enemy at the height of their morale and condition. Another consideration was thus: while Gormaric didn't stand among the defenders at the moment, he would inevitably have joined the fray, and the attacking forces would have paid a very dear cost for victory, if they even managed to win. And presuming victory, it was also likely that they would not have had the strength to overrun and destroy Inns'th afterwards. Therefore, it was far better to wear them down with a succession of weaker waves that grew stronger each time. For ultimately, the myriad creatures were expendable, but every defender that was lost was a significant blow. When the strongest wave was sent crashing in, it stood to reason that it would sweep aside the defender's battered remnant. Even more so if Gormaric remained out of the fighting, though he would more than likely join in when things started to look bad.

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Their respite was short lived, a gathering of thirty two or so Chitten coming straight for them, a greater challenge than previously seen before. Now with so many in such a large group, Tor'Gal was certain they could overwhelm them if they didn't pull their defenses together to stop these horrors. Rage began to heat the blood that coursed through his veins, his ancestral anger starting to rise to the surface as the notion of extended battle entered his mind. These were the enemy, and by the grace of Gaia, he would smite these abominations and further cleanse this land of its eldritch filth. Even now though, he had to remain in control, for the good of the mercenaries, for the good of Inns'th, for the good of Terrenus.

"Launch volleys!" He commanded, and the sky was once more colored in the variety of offensive magic which sought to destroy their targets with prejudice. This tactic he felt was greatly successful against the mindless beasts who knew nothing of tactics or moving carefully through a battlefield. Every attack counted, every shot that connected meant one less beast to engage with in close range combat. Tor'Gal could not deny that he felt satisfaction in the deaths of these creatures, his sympathy for these living beings nearly nonexistent after battling them for so long. These creatures would only serve to destroy the natural balance of Terrenus, and so their annihilation was necessary if the world was to continue surviving.

Had he more time, the paladin would have been able to prepare something substantial for the beasts, but this situation required speed and ruthlessness. He needed to put his all into this strike, to destroy these monsters in order to preserve their defenses, for without them they would have nothing to keep the workers sealing the wall safe. Gathering his willpower, the half orc readied the will of Gaia for when the Chitten got closer, the range of this attack dreadfully short and thus was ineffective at long distances. With his spirit surging outwards through the ground itself, he had only moments to time this correctly in order to maximize the damage it could accomplish.

A mighty roar tore its way past the battlefield, and with it came the wrath of the almighty Gaia herself. Shock waves ravaged the landscape at the exact moment the monsters were skittering towards the defenders at great speeds. Spikes of pure rock pierced the shells of the Chitten, mercilessly slaying a portion of them while leaving the rest of the creatures slightly dazed by its effects. At his call, he was joined by the defenders to rush the small remainder of creatures, cutting them down and ending this threat to their beloved homeland.

Together they screamed the war cry of victory, once again rebuking the forces of darkness by the leadership of the novice paladin. Pride and glory filled the half breed from head to toe, his fatigue still setting in from the exertion of that spell. They could not continue to keep fighting nearly non-stop, that much the half orc understood, but for now their morale was on the rise, and he himself did not wish to burden himself with his concerns. All that mattered was repairing the wall. So long as that objective was accomplished, any sacrifice could be justified, in the name of their Saint-King, and in the name or protecting their home from the monsters coming ceaselessly upon them.

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While the malicious wind continued to drive the creatures of Yh'mi forward, Tor'Gal and the men under his command would nevertheless be given some respite from Yh'mi's onslaught. When the inevitable next wave came, it was announced by an eerie cacophony of screaming and laughter. Soon after, a trio of Fallen Knights crested a rise, now becoming fully visible to  Inns'th's assembled defenders. Less visible, but still noticeable by the keen eye, was a group of 20 or so Chhitten. Alone, they threat the posed would have been relatively low... but, accompanying the Fallen Knights exponentially increased the magnitude of their danger. Tor'Gal and his men would have a rough fight on their hands, and would be hard-pressed to pass through unscathed as they had with the waves of creatures prior. Releif for them looked to be nowhere in sight, but they had volunteered for this duty in the knowledge that they would have to hold until the wall itself could hold... and if they had to give their very lives, to the last man, than so be it. It grew more and more likely that, if these waves continued at their current trend of escalation, that Gormaric, the ostensible person in charge of the whole wall-repairing operation, would soon have to lend his blade in assisting the defenders.

But not just yet.

Meanwhile, the selfsame ebon knight stood with arms crossed, watching the workers forming a line between the stockpile of stone, dwindling all too rapidly, and the portion of the wall which had been breached. For what relatively few workers that Inns'th had manage to raise, it was remarkably efficient. But it seemed more and more that it wouldn't be quite enough, soon enough. This was the utmost priority, for if Yh'mi's creatures got a foothold within Inns'th itself, it would be the beginning of the end. Gormaric seethed at his inability to improve the situation, at least as far as he could see. With the shipment that pilot was supposed to be bringing, his calculations indicated that he would have enough stone to bring the breach in the wall back to about how it had been before Remissio's attack. While that would be nice and all, the ebon knight felt more ambitious than that. If he could get a hold of a proper material, in a properly large amount, he could upgrade Inns'th's wall into something even greater than it had been before. The issue with that, of course, was that he couldn't leave his current position. He believed the workers would slip off one by one sporadically without his oversight, leaving no work being done at all before long. And, of course, those defending the breach could not hold out forever. He hoped that a relief force would arrive before it was too late, even if it meant reaching out to his old master. In fact, he mused, that may be the best course of action in any case, as the possibility was there that Neque could help solve many, if not all, of his problems in one fell swoop. The Order, mayhaps, would not be entirely enthused with the nature of the aid that would most likely be sent... but, at least for now, he had been given full oversight of this operation. He snapped his fingers, and set off in search of someone to serve as a messenger. His wyvern, meanwhile, remained behind to watch the workers, occasionally snapping at the ones he perceived to be slacking, or otherwise not putting in full effort.

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As a paladin of Gaia, Tor'Gal has always held a distinct mistrust of the undead, no matter what form they took. That was why he took it as a personal offense when his eyes took in the sight of the Fallen Knights. Valiant warriors of the light twisted into the monsters they were now, it was no life for such holy warriors. Releasing them from their unholy bondage would be a mercy upon them, one that the half orc hoped wouldn't cost him his life.

"Form up!" He commanded, but the mercenaries were more reluctant to try and put up a defense against the monsters this time. It appeared the presence of the Fallen Knights and their eerie cackling had unnerved them to a point. Personally Tor'Gal could not blame them for their apprehension, as it required much training to even attempt to resist the effects this land had on ones mind, let alone what these monsters were capable of. Without morale, the warriors were likely to bolt, which meant he was going to have to give them a reason to fight on, or else they were done for.

"Hold steady! We'll only survive this if we work together." Finally they listened to his instructions, and were back in their formations before the forces came bearing down on them. The Fallen Knights would be the worst, this he knew for certain, but how they were going to deal with it was going to be the worst part.

 

"Fire volley!" Multiple bolts of offensive magic were fired for a third time this day, but were not as effective as the paladin had hoped. The Fallen must have had some means of defending themselves, for the bolts had difficulty piercing through a magical barrier the knights had erected, cutting down the possible casualties on their side significantly. Anger began to boil within his veins, coursing through the half orc with great intensity. It seemed there was no end of vexation that this land could not enact upon them.

"Gaia give me strength." Tor'Gal pleaded, readying himself for the inevitable charge against the enemy. "Hold the formation, do not let them cross! Spear men, to me!" With a great roar, he gave a challenge towards the Fallen Knights, knowing deep down in their twisted hearts they still had some semblance of honor amongst them. Three versus three, an honorable match of equal terms, and one that would save the front lines of their defensive forces. While the Knights engaged the paladin and the two spear men on the side, the Chitten being taken care of by the spear wall.

"Fall to me, monster!" Tor'Gal said, charging forth to meet the knights in open combat. It would be a harsh victory, with one of the spear men dying, and both the other along with the paladin being considerably hurt, but still able to fight. Each victory was going to cost them more and more, until they were whittled away to nothing. "So long as the wall is completed, it will all be worth it." He panted, his blood seeping out of a wound at his side.

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Eleven had become ten, and not all those among those ten retained their full fighting strength. The Fallen Knights had served as a fierce blow against Tor'Gal and the other defenders of the breach, though not one that was decisive by any means. The vicious left hook one might expect after this jab, however, showed no signs of coming. Whatever this was indicative of, whether this was respite granted by Yh'mi anticipating the last wave as being deadlier than it had been and scrambling to arrange a different follow-up, or a sign that Yh'mi was busy preparing something even bigger... the point to take away was that Tor'gal and the other defenders would be granted some time to rest, tend to their wounds, and take care of their fallen comrade.

Gormaric, meanwhile, had found a suitable messenger for his purposes: a mercenary who had been wounded during Remissio's attack, and had regained enough strength to go about daily activities, but not enough to participate in the defense of the breach. The ebon knight gestured for the merc to stay nearby as he sat down and wrote out a letter to his former master, companion in his mind, and... fri- acquaintance.

Quote

Neque,

Never thought I'd say something like this, but you've got me missing you a little, you cheeky old bastard. But of course, that isn't what this letter is about. You may remember the breach in the wall of Inns'th that Remissio created during his attack? Well, that's still there, because the situation with manpower and materials hasn't changed much, if at all, since we left. I've been making do with all the resources available to me, but... All I have defending the breach is one of the Order's paladins, and ten mercenary types. For workers, I have about twenty-five or so, and a rapidly dwindling supply of stone for the wall. I am capable of aiding the former group if need be, but left unsupervised, I fear the workers will begin to slack off, slip off somewhere, and somehow be nowhere to be found by the time I return. So, as much as I'd like not to, I'm turning to you. I am requesting manpower for combat and work alike. I am requesting materials for the wall, as much stone as you can muster (there's supposed to be a shipment coming in by plane at anytime, but we both know how things are in Yh'mi's skies)... and, if at all possible, a vast quantity of a material which is suitable to upgrade Inns'th's wall, to make it even stronger than it was before?

With appreciation,

Gormaric Warmoon

Scanning over his letter one last time, and nodding in satisfaction, Gormaric folded it once and slipped it into the enveloped he had procured before sealing it. Then, he stood up, handed it to the mercenary who would be his messenger, and started to open up a pouch tied to his belt. The mercenary watched the ebon knight with a raised eyebrow.

"With all due respect, sir, by the time I get this letter to this 'Neque' fellow, you'll either have finished the wall or Inns'th will have been overra-"

Gormaric held up his free hand as a gesture of silence, then turned toward the messenger merc with some dark red powder clenched in his right hand.

"I've already considered that. I have the capacity to cut out the journey there, but you'll have to take up getting back with Neque. Oh, also, this is probably going to hurt. Notably. Safe travels!"

"Wait, wha-"

Gormaric threw the powder onto the messenger merc, cutting off his surprised question as he was warped away. He gave a grin of smug satisfaction beneath his helm before turning away and making his way toward his wyvern. He would have to come up with a name for it soon...

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"You need to rest." The battle medic said. "The wounds you have would put most people out of the fight."

Tor'Gal nodded, sitting upon a rock while the restoration spell did it's work in knitting together his torn flesh. Fighting those Fallen Knights was difficult, more so than he thought it would be, and those under his command suffered for it. One of their own was dead, the others were injured from varying ways, with two actively battling against the venom of the dreaded Chitters. With only two healers, there wasn't much that could be done for those that did not have life threatening wounds. Getting everyone to fighting condition was more important than healing everyone up to full strength. In war, these were the decisions one had to make in order to ensure victory.

"He's dead...I can't believe those bastards actually go him." It was one of the front line soldiers, sporting a sword and shield. Shortly before they had buried the slain mercenary, he came to Tor'Gal, speaking of his association with him through the similar circles they were part of. Brothers in arms, they had formed a connection, and so the warrior wished to say a few words before his friend was committed to the earth. Tor'Gal permitted it, and once the words were spoken, the dirt was tossed, leaving the living to continue with their grim mission.

"Remember your mission, why you are here, and what is at stake." Tor'Gal said both to him and the others, knowing that morale was beginning to dip. They all knew death was more than a possibility here, but it was another thing entirely when you saw it, when you were forced to face it. Dying for your people didn't sound as heroic when it meant having the blade of a corrupted paladin thrust into your heart. With each death brought them closer to the possibility that they could be overrun, making the death's of their comrades seem merciful in comparison to what would happen if the full force of Yh'mi were unleashed upon their world. Lesser men would recoil from such responsibility, to hide from it and hope that someone else would bear the heavy burden of carrying the mantel. Tor'Gal could shoulder the weight, but without every able body available to him, they would be swallowed up by the darkness in no time at all.

The others had heard his words, and were willing to carry on with the fight. Tears went down the cheek of the warrior with the sword and shield, his grief turning to anger, giving him the strength to carry on in light of the increasing danger. "I'm gonna tear every single one of those bastards apart, I swear it."

Anger was a powerful emotion, but the half orc knew it enough to see how it could impair the one using it just as much as it helped. Had this been any other situation, the paladin would have forced the soldier to leave, but that was an impossibility. The need to defend the wall meant every soldier had to be used, even those that had become unstable through the practice of open battle. Tor'Gal intended to keep an eye on this warrior, to ensure he didn't threaten their chances at protecting the wall from the evils that roamed freely in this place.

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The respite of Tor'gal and his men would meet its inevitable end with the deafening, thunderous sound of pounding hooves. Tremors shook the ground around the area, thus making it fully obvious what was about to come... and indeed, four Saevion came charging over the hill, heading directly toward the group of defenders. If there was any mercy to be had, it was that they were alone, without any accompanying Chhitten like the ones that had been with the previous waves. Perhaps Yh'mi was currently lacking in the nasty little buggers, and all the ones in the nearby area had been eliminated... but there was going to be more, inevitably, as it was simply Yh'mi's nature. But there were far more immediate concerns. If the defenders managed to exploit the charging beast's inability to quickly turn, perhaps they could pass through this wave unscathed. All they could do was take it one wave at a time, until the tide could be turned...


Gormaric walked along the workers, asking each of them questions, though giving no visible response to their answers. He sought to determine who among them he could trust to appoint as an overseer over the others, to keep things running smoothly and efficiently in the ebon knight's absence. Gormaric intended to take to battle, after having a report that the wall's defender had taken their first casualty against a trio of Fallen Knights. He recalled the one he had faced in the tunnels beneath the Broken Plains... well, granted, he hadn't fought it directly, but he had still witnessed their power firsthand. They were not foes to be taken lightly, by any means, and it seemed that Yh'mi was at least starting to get serious. Gormaric intended to get even more serious. He finished talking to the workers, analyzed the offers he had been given... and appointed his overseer. Not the man who insisted who carrying the heaviest loads. Not the diligent, fastidious man who ensured that every stone in its proper place. No, he appointed a woman who had snuck away from cooking duty, and was putting in just enough work to not be seen as slacking, but not enough to be considered as real effort. Even she was surprised by the appointment, but she didn't dare question the intentions of the ebon knight. She simply watched with wide eyes as he unsheathed Shadowfang and climbed onto the back of his wyvern, which took off into the sky and glided toward the battle outside of the walls.

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At first Tor'Gall thought a storm was coming, but Gaia was not going to be so merciful to them this day. Instead of weather phenomenon, they were greeted with the sight of charging Saevions, their hooves near deafening in their wake as they headed straight for the defenders. Every moment that passed meant they were getting closer and closer to them, the commotion making communication near impossible for the fledgling warriors.

"We need spears!" He shouted, but the others could not hear him, many of them holding their ears, screaming in agony.

Something had to be done, or else they were going to be trampled by the frenzied beasts sent to end their lives. Blood was pumping through his veins, threatening to burst through his ear drums if the trauma continued, and his anger was reaching its boiling point. The rage was going to break through, it was going to consume him, and he had no idea how to stop it. Everything was so loud, all he could hear in his mind was that question, the one that has haunted him for years now.

Are you a man, or an orc?

A man or an orc. That has been the defining force of his entire identity since he was found near that river. He never chose to have this life, to be this freak, this abomination of both races, with no real place in either. No matter how hard he tried, he could never be accepted, never truly be seen as an individual, only a sum of so many parts. Red colored his vision, and he felt the darkness that had been seeping into him since arriving at this damned place.

Roaring, blood, and the screaming of so many things. When the dust settled, and the world around them quieted, Tor'Gall was shaken to his core at the aftermath of this battle. How did this happen? he wondered to himself, surveying all that had happened around him.

In his rage, Tor'Gall had summoned forth a small trio of earthen spikes to impale the Saevions as they were charging them, but things didn't go according to plan. The speed the Saevions were going, along with the fragility of the hastily made spikes caused an incredible mess of things. All three of the beasts had crashed through the barrier, dying by the impact against the ground than by the piercing damage of his attack. Dirt was kicked up, turning the green field brown, and as the half orc called out to the others, he was able to get a head count of their warriors.

"We're all fine, just really uh...battered." The impact from the beasts had thrown some of the mercenaries, bruising and scraping them, but otherwise they were fine. Had this been an encounter of any other kind, he wasn't certain they would be so lucky. "Hey, what happened to your arm?"

Hanging limply from his left side, Tor'Gall saw the true cost of losing himself to his anger. It was broken in several places, blood dripping onto the parched ground, the pain only recently starting to flare up in his mind. "Damn it." He grunted. "Must have happened when I called upon the earth, I put too much strain on myself. How long will it take to heal?"

"Even my best spells will only cut down the healing process to a few days. There's no way you're gonna be able to hold your sword with just one arm." The medics prognosis was grim, causing Tor'Gall to grimace.

"We'll see." The paladin said, allowing the healer to work as he sat against a nearby rock. "Just focus on keeping your guard up. Let me worry about my sword arm."

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Yh'mi's nigh-ceaseless assault continued on, offering little respite to the defenders of the breach. Nevertheless, perhaps their spirits would be lifted by the excited message they received: Gormaric was coming. The dark knight's feats in the battle against Remissio were somewhat well-known, so surely, surely, his presence would ensure that Yh'mi would be held back, at least for a while longer...

The wave following that of the Saevions came after some delay. The reason soon became apparent: one of the large Cyclopes specimens approached the defenders, followed by about ten Chhitten and a duo of Fallen Knights... who seemed intent on bringing down the huge, powerful beast. The defenders would be best served by using the creatures' infighting to their advantage, in whichever manner they chose to do so. The creature's battle spilled toward the defenders... and a shadow sped by above.

Atop his wyvern, Gormaric dived down toward the battling creatures, Shadowfang firmly in hand. The fell blade seemed to quiver in anticipation as its ebon wielder dived down, closing in on the large Cyclopes. The dive came to a stop as Gormaric plunged Shadowfang into the gargantuan beast's eye, causing it to strike out wildly and send the duo of Fallen Knights and several Chhitten flying. The dark knight extricated his blade as quickly as he could, then pulled back upwards to survey the battle below. After a few moments, he moved to engage one of the Fallen Knights, which were now laying stunned on the ground. At the same time, the enraged and blinded Cyclopes charged forward, toward the breach's defenders...

Edited by EpicRome23

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At the sight of the raging Cyclops, Tor'Gall called for the defenders to scramble, hoping to avoid the clumsy swings of their blind enemy. It was all they could do to keep from getting squished underneath it's massive feet, but one of their own wasn't lucky enough to keep from getting swatted at by a meaty fist.

There was the sickening crunch of metal and bone, the mercenary skidding to a stop as he lay still on the ground. Despair coursed through everyone at the sight of another one of their own being slain, but the immediate requirements of the battle kept them from being distracted. They had just been thrown into a massive frenzy, and needed to stick together if they wished to live to see another day. Tor'Gall himself was embroiled with constantly shifting enemies, each one out to end his life.

First came the Cyclops, whose mad swings were dodged by the paladin, allowing him a chance to slice at the back of it's knee. Roaring with pain it swung backward, nearly falling on the half orc before he ran out of the way. Before he had a chance to catch his breath, a Fallen Knight was charging at him, sword at the ready as it made an attempt to pierce his heart.

 

Swords clashed, and once again Tor'Gall tapped into the inner rage of his barbaric genes, pushing back the corrupted warrior before swinging with such savage might that he could have cut him in half, had he not been interrupted by a Chitten. Forced to drop his sword, Tor'Gall struggled against the monstrous insect, snapping mandibles ready to fill his veins with their accursed venom. Roaring with anger and rage, Tor'Gall ripped the Chitten apart with only his hands, all manner of wretched viscera and gore showering him. He attempted to pick his sword back up, but was stopped by the Fallen Knight who he was fighting earlier, now holding a dark blade to his throat.

"I die knowing I fought in the grace of Gaia herself." He expected the next moment to be his last, when instead the knight was grabbed by the downed Cyclops, who used him as a savage club to destroy the remainder of the Chitten, killing the former paladin in the process. Finally, the last spear man ended the fallen beast with a precise stab to its neck, opening the arteries and causing a fountain of blood to shower upon them. The fight was over, and they were victorious, but they were now weaker than ever.

Panting, nearing the limits of his endurance, the paladin sat upon the blood soaked earth, groaning in pain and misery. "Do you have news of the wall? Please tell me it is finished."

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