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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Laurel Crown - Act 3, Hornets Nest


James
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Throughout the night and until the early hours, men and women within the Council of Nine's palace prepared themselves for the break of dawn.  They had what could be their last meals, they took what last moments of sleep they could, they mourned those who had fallen because they might not have the chance when the morning came.  There was a certain measure of fear for what the morning would bring, how many of them would survive and if they would win the day against one of the Forsaken, but the leaders of the diverse groups within kept the spirits of their men high.  If they had any private doubts amongst them, they remained exactly that, private.

 

The early hours of the morning as the sun touched the horizon was when the final act was ready to unfold.  Everyone with a green armband to name them friend, everyone ready to do what needed to be done.  The great gates of the Hall of the Council opening, they made their way out in good order onto the Square of Tammuz, rather than rushing across blindly and trampling their own.  They would preserve their numbers and ensure the Asha'man with them were safe as they were the key to opening up the Palace and giving them entry and a way to the Usurper.  The sensible thing to do, but a mistake nevertheless.

 

The defeaning boom that rolled across the Square was without warning as the ground around them detonated, sending shards of rock flying through the air that killed and maimed with equal ease as the ground shook and knocked others to the ground.  Those who didn't die lay bleeding on the ground, some unable to pick themselves up from the severity of their wounds.  The unseen force ravaging their ranks, it was followed by ambush as the gates of the Royal Palace opened to spill forth men in black cloth that was lined in silver while other soldiers wearing Illianer livery spilled from the other streets that fed into the Square of Tammuz.

 

What would have been a quick defeat was salvaged by the counterstroke of the Asha'man that were present, fire and earth tearing through the ranks of the enemy.  As many and more of the Darkfriends falling as had those who fought for the true Queen, but they kept coming nevertheless as saidin exacted a bloody retribution upon them.  Any thought of retreat was non-existant as there was nowhere for them to go, and it was that knowledge that kept the ranks steady as the darkfriends crashed into them, a different thunder rolling across the Square as steel and bodies collided and the lines of battle met and proceeded to dissolve into a shifting frenzy of chaos and death.  The Archers of the Band and those amongst the Illianer sent volley after volley of missiles into the crowded enemy from their vantage point upon the walls where several of the Asha'man helped keep them safe.

 

Yet even as the battle raged, the sky above began to darken as clouds gathered and a wind that barely stirred now began to gather in fury. 

 

*    *    *      *      *

 

The gates of the Council Hall opening in a ponderous swing, Con turned to his fellows garbed in the plate mail he had worn as a Child of the Light.  While others weren't as heavily armoured as himself, most were wearing armour ranging from leather to chain to segments of plate.  Everyone looked ready, no hesitation left in the faces of those who were to follow.  They were committed now, and victory was the only acceptable conclusion of what was about to follow.  Raising a particularly fine flanged mace he had taken from the armoury as a signal, he said nothing as he turned about and led them onto the Square of Tammuz. 

 

Having the sun at their backs was favourable, and at this time the sentries of the enemy would be slow to react.  By the time they had managed to get more men onto their walls, the Asha'man would have already ripped the gates off the Royal Palace and they would be flooding in while other Asha'man swept the walls with fire.  The reserve force they'd left on the Hall of the Council's walls of Asha'man and archers would ensure that any reinforcements that were called to the Palace would never get inside.  It had also taken a bit of talking to keep Arette on the wall, but he'd told her that she could follow once they'd cleared the way inside with others to aid them, though if all went well then everything would be done by the time she reached them.

 

The Square of Tammuz was a vast area of many hides, great pillars of marble rising from the pavement underfoot to tower over them.  At the other end, the Royal Palace loomed before them with its pure white walls and towers that were capped with ceramic tiles of a deep purple hue.  The home of the Stepaneos, the place that the usurper had taken for her own, the Forsaken who called herself Ja'varan.  They would rip her down from the throne and in her place they would restore the rightful Queen, freeing Illian of the Shadow's grip and freeing her people.

 

BOOOM!!!

 

Dimly aware of being dragged back along the ground by several people, he tried to shake his head and focus his senses but all he could hear was a roaring in his ears and his vision was blurry.  A stabbing pain from his left arm that burned and another in his right thigh told him he was wounded, though his thigh stung more than ached.  It took a moment for him to reason out what had happened between his memory and common sense, a bright detonation and a shower of rocks that had knocked him off his feet, his kite shield and mail taking the brunt of it and being knocked back.

 

His vision returning as he was hoisted to his feet by Andular, Con shook his head and staggered a few steps forward towards his mace that he'd dropped and picked it up.  Still unable to hear a thing, the sight of the gates of the Royal Palace opening to spill forth those Companions who had turned Darkfriend would have robbed him of hope if not for the fire that blossomed through their ranks and the eruptions of earth that split their ranks until the solid line became a disorganised stream of warriors that sought to close in so that the power could not be unleashed against them without risk to both friend and foe.

 

Turning around to his men that were still on their feet, Con tore his broken basinet off to reveal his face and waved his mace at them, yelling at them to hold their ground before turning around to face the Companions who were closing and lifted his kite shield before him.  The darkfriends closed the distance and as Con's hearing returned they were at thirty feet, then twenty feet, then ten...

 

The sickening crunch as bodies and blades collected rolled over the combatants as their lines met, Con receiving the first attacker on his shield even as a spear wielded by someone behind him caught the man squarely in the face.  Shoving the man off his shield and the spear at the same time, another crashed into him as the man's fellows pushed him forward.  Taking a step back as he absorbed the shoulder charge, his mace claimed its first victim as one of the fins drove through the man's skull by virtue of the sheer force of impact.

 

Catching the next man's attack with his cudgel, Con punched the man with the rim of his shield and caught him in the throat, a killing blow as he moved on to his next opponent.

 

 

OOC:  Basic plan is this.  If you're a melee, you're down on the Square, as are any Asha'man that want to rip through enemy ranks up close.  Archers, Asha'man that will be killing Ja'varan (like Arath), and Arette, you're on the wall.  Arette will locate Ja'varan by her channeling and break her light bending weave, a short exchange will pass between those two of the Power before the Asha'man, seeing where Ja'varan is, blast her, Arath is handling that :)  If you're bored and want to write a TPC from either side, go for it.

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Brandeis offered a prayer to the Creator as the tide of Dark Friends swept its way towards them.  Unlike Con, he found plate mail too restrictive and wore chain instead. He too wore the vestments of his time with the Children, though they were stripped of his tell-tale insignia and commendations. He hefted his hammer, stretched his shield arm and braced from impact.

 

Or at least that was his plan up until the last moment when he stepped forward to flatten his first opponent with his shield. His hammer found the man’s skull as the impact from the shield knocked him from his feet. That was easy. Maybe he was in for nice enjoyable time of it; then again, maybe not.

A sword blade slid along the rim of the shield, forcing him to duck behind while pushing forward with his shield. He then swung the hammer in a horizontal arc, aiming for face height. His aim was fairly precise judging by the spray of blood that splattered over the shield edge. That had probably been a nose, no, had definitely been a nose.

 

There was no sense in being cute about it; the crush from the pressing line of darkfriends meant that any opposition found it difficult to avoid the lethal blows from the flat head of his weapon and he could swing with varying degrees of carelessness and still break something vital.

 

It did not take long for his grasp to falter upon the bloodied handle of his weapon, and right when he needed it most. It flew off somewhere over head and he had no time to search as the smart fellow opposing him decided now was the right time to attempt to kill him in earnest. A volley of heavy strikes landed against his shield so hard that he was knocked to his knees.

 

His shield arm was numb from the impact and the strikes kept coming—he knew he had a dagger somewhere.

Aha, there it was. How he was going to use it was a mystery but he was sure he would think of something. Yes, that would do nicely. Rolling—or collapsing sideways to avoid the last strike he jammed the point of his dagger as hard as he could into his enemy’s foot; he could feel it scrape the stone beneath it. Utilising the tactic he had discovered in the fight outside Nelamar Manor, he pulled himself to his feet and the edge of his shield crashed into the throat of the other fellow, who fell like a tree.

 

It was going to be a long day.

 

 

Emelia, on the other hand, was having a ball. She had no idea why but people where running to and fro, leaving all sorts of things behind. She had managed, effortlessly, to raid an ale house and steal more ale than she could possibly drink, not that technicalities would dampen her spirits, as well as set the establishment on fire and then sit out front to watch it burn; she loved this town!

 

When the flames really began to burn she would enter the house; her cheeks began to redden at the thought. Until then she'd stay outside and share a cold one ... with herself. Emelia had been all over the Westlands; why had it taken her so long to become aware of this paradise? She realised it didn’t matter; she wasn’t going to leave—ever.

 

A group of men, eight of them, approached. They were each carrying a pail that looked suspiciously like it was filled with water. They wouldn’t do that, not today, not to her; not in this town. She had convinced herself that the lawlessness here was normal, but decided to query one of the men just in case. She selected the last of them to arrive. “Excuse me, err, sir. What are you doing?”

“Are you mad? We’re going to put the fire out!”

“... This fire? This one right here?” She pointed.

“Yes, now let me past!”

 

The sudden gust of hot air at their backs turned the others about the other, quite obviously alarmed. Though there was a puzzled frown on every face, only one of them spoke. “Excuse me, ma’am but was there a man standing there just before?”

“A man?”

“Yes.”

“About this high; this wide; kind of handsome with a moustache?”

“Yes!”

“No. Sorry. Haven’t seen him. You uhh. You aren’t going to try and put that fire out, are you?”

“Of course we are.”

“Yes. That’s what I’d thought you’d say.”

 

That one hadn’t even managed to turn around before a column of fire removed almost all traces of his existence. The others, seeing this, were very quick to drop their pails and run. Not that this would help: Emelia had found a game she enjoyed more than watching the alehouse burn and she wasn’t prepared for it to end just yet. Hoisting her ale, she followed.

 

The ale had been stronger than expected and ten minutes after giving chase, Emelia was swaying as she walked as well as having a lot of trouble remembering who she was following, why she was following them and where exactly her ale had gone. Having decided that a little occurrence like intoxication wasn’t to spoil her fun she set about blasting everything that moved and a lot of things she thought were moving when they weren’t. Stopping often to admire her handy work, clap her hands, giggle and hum, the wilder swished her skirts and pirouetted for the viewing pleasure of the flames.

She loved this town!

 

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Arath awaited atop a building overlooking the Square of Tammuz, watching the troops cross toward the palace.  The plan was simple.  He would wait high above with the archers from the band, and make it impossible for reinforcements to help inside the palace, while the foot soldiers and most of the other Asha'man stormed the forsaken's stronghold.  But like most well laid plans, it only lasted until the first blow was struck.

 

The building rocked alarmingly beneath him as the explosion ripped across the square of Tammuz.  A few rock shards ricocheted off the walls directly beneath them, but for the most part the destruction was contained below.  Arath and his companions atop the walls looked down on the devastation.  Nearly everyone had been knocked to the ground, and far too many were not standing up.  Screams and shouts from the wounded and dying filled the air.  And now, soldiers began to stream into the shattered plaza, eager to slaughter the seemingly defenseless and stunned men all over it.  In an instant, Arath seized Saidin, letting the molten ice flow through him, and began to channel.  He extended both arms forward and let fly two large fireballs.  Even before they struck their targets, he prepared lightning which forked down into the attackers and left several charred, smoking bodies in its wake.  And Arath was not the only to unleash hell upon the would be butchers.  A pair of dedicated on the ground working in tandem sent a wave of flame and shattered earth outward into the main body of their foes.  A pair of soldiers were busy barricading the streets with barriers of solid air.  An Asha'man tended the wounded while another defended him, wreathed in flame and incinerating any enemy that dared come near him.

 

Where is she? he thought as he unleashed another fireball on the largest group of attackers.  They needed to find Ja'varan soon, or the cost of victory would be far too high.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In the square, Caelen looked around him with a strange look of awe consuming his features.  He had never been in the middle of a battle before, even though he had been training to be in one for some time now.  The instincts had been well honed in him though and even as she world began to shatter around him, he pulled the One Power into him, ignoring the struggle and the taint that threatened to make all his kind mad.  Even as shrapnel began to pelt towards him, he pulled a shield up around himself and those nearest him.  He released the shield then and began his next weave.  Something of the archers though he doubted they would like his comparison once they saw his work.  Picking up stones and debris from the ground with weaves of air, he worked his threads around each, fire and earth and spirit, then sent them into the army that fought against them.  Worked as they were, each exploded on contact, leaving dead bodies behind.

 

Fire next and more rocks, shields and weaves of spirit and air soon blurred.  The more he worked the more enemies just kept coming.  The work changed though and instead of mass killings it was down to man to man.  Fire blades riped through his foes, water drowned and air bound men in place as his new found friends could stick something pointy into them. 

 

Light, this was butcher's work.  He looked up onto the wall when a moment allowed and saw his brother's up there, doing their own work.  A smile touched his lips as he did so.  "Finally!  About time there was some properly dramatic setting!"

 

Caelen... Dedicated

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It was a disaster, really and truly.  It had been one thing before, to sneak in among fleeing servants and work her knives, but this was a different monster.  And it truly was a monster they fought.  One of the Forsaken, controlling her homeland and sending Darkfriends into their midst to cause chaos and disorder.  Things had always been bad in the Perfumed Quarters where Jatasha had been born and raised, but it had gotten worse under it's current rule.  She had joined the Band of the Red Hand to help spy out an area she knew well and had ended up doing far more than she had ever thought to.

 

She tried not to think of the Band now.  She needed her mind on what she was doing, not on the man that had found and led her to the Band.  He was in the middle of it all she was certain, getting himself bloody and not noticing any wounds that might hit him.  She'd seen it before with him and she feared she'd see it again tonight... if she saw him tonight.  Light, but she was a blasted fool for thinking about him at this time.  Carnhain was a big boy and could handle himself far better than she could.  In just about every way that mattered. 

 

A man came at her and she dodged.  She slipped slightly on the gore underfoot and just as a knife was about to slice her, it stopped suddenly. 

 

"Well, stick him!  I can't hold him up there all day." Came the amused voice. 

 

Caelen had looked over just in time to see the pretty little thing in some serious trouble.  He had enough weaves going that it was hard to focus much more, but a simple bind wouldn't hurt anyone if he had managed to snag the wrong side.  The cute blond didn't wait for more instructions and the fellow was dispatched with a certain vehemence that he hadn't thought a young lady could have.  Then again, he'd learned a thing or two in the Perfumed Quarters about how some women behaved.  It was a far cry from Far madding, that was for sure.

 

"You do be having my thanks dedicated." 

 

Ah... Illian.  That would explain it.  "Caelen.  The name's Caelen my beautious warrior." He said over the noise of the death that surrounded them.  "You would be?"

 

Another explosion and more debris came flying their way.  He reached for her and pulled her into his shield.

 

"Jatasha.  I be with the Band of the Red Hand." She said as she looked up.

 

He smiled.  With them, but not 'of' or 'in'.  That was interesting.  Not really a time to discuss the matter now though, as the world seemed to be exploding or dieing around them.  He let go of his shield and got his weaves moving again, a blade through one rank would help some of their friends on the right.  "Stick with me beautious warrior Jatasha, and I think we just might make it through this one together."

 

She stared at him for a minute, then smiled.  "Alright Dedicated Caelen.  I do be working with you today it be seeming."

 

And they did.  She did her knife work and kept people off his back and he did his best to help out their Green banded friends as they destroyed their enemies.

 

Dedicated Caelen & Jatasha, BotRH

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Blood.

 

It was all he saw.  All he wanted.

 

Red gore dripped from a particularly nasty gash across his forehead.  His helm, dented and crushed from being knocked to the cobbles and bombarded with debris from the initial explosion, had been the only thing that saved him.  Now it was simply in the way.  Besides, Carnhain wanted nothing between his eyes and the delicious red liquid being freely spilt over everything.

 

That explosion had not only knocked the young man to the ground, but it had knocked the few vestiges of sanity left to him.  The unsatiable lust for blood had been an unwelcome companion over the few hours since his uncle's death.  With so few family members, one would think they would be easy to keep track of.  Not so.  Two relatives and now one was dead.  Carnhain may not have had much of an education, all his arithmetic was done with fingers and toes, but two subtract one meant half his family was dead.  Dead.  Never coming back.  What could a simple soldier do to honour the life of a man who took him under his wing?  He wasn't one for songs and being illiterate, he was incapable of poetry or the like.  Having neither the access to materials nor the imagination to erect some sort of shrine, the blonde was left with the only thing he knew; blood and war.  Light help him, he would bathe his uncle's corpse in the blood of those who took Rowul from him.

 

Bereft of his mount and lance, a shortened spear with a lance tip was clutched in his left while, with the right, he brandished his broadsword.  Screams of fury unitelligibly scratched his throat raw, turning his features demonic.  Any sense of pity or disgust at the rampant waste of human life was non-existant; every bit of humanity in him was forced away by the blinding rage consuming him.

 

The enemy advanced and his vision turned red.

 

Heedless of every danger, Carnhain met the oncoming charge giggling as one man met his end on the tip of the short-lance while another found his left leg separated from the rest of his body.  The next met his end when the butt of the short-lance crashed into the back of his neck, snapping skull entirely from spine.  Had he been capable of his usual wit, at that point, Carnhain might have laughed while his broadsword gave the other man a partner to die with.  However, feral grins are rarely conductive to humour.  A sharp, but otherwise ignored, pain twisted the cavalryman around and a particularly viscious thrust tore the short-lance's tip through mail and flesh, snapping the shaft.

 

With a laugh, he spun in time to block an overhand swing that left his swordarm numb.  But while the man tried to disengage, Carnhain destroyed the man's throat with his gauntletted left fist.

 

Six.  A good start, but not nearly enough.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Worry gnawed Arette as she watched the first column of men emerge through the Palace gates below her. The archers kept their distance to her as she hadn't allowed any of the regular soldiers to accompany her to the wall. She knew that Ja'varan was more than likely to target her and there was nothing non-channelers could do to protect her. She wasn't quite so certain about the Asha'man with her either, almost two handful of them. They would have her back, she didn't doubt that, but they could not see whatever it was that Ja'varan attempted. Nonetheless, any extra protection and wards could save her life. But it wasn't herself she worried the most as her husband was riding in the forefront of the men and he would be in the middle of the furious melee.

 

She watched the soldiers to cross the Square of Tammuz and her eyes widened as all the sudden thick cables of Saidar emerged out of nowhere. Her scream of warning was drowned by a deafening explosion of pavement and ground that moved across their ranks reaping death and injuries as it went. Praying fervently that Con was still alive, she scanned the area to find the vile woman behind this all. But there was nothing to be seen, no nimbus of Saidar to point Arette to her target. Still, weaving was being done and the gathering storm above them was a clear testament of what the Forsaken was up to. She feared that soon lightning would rain down on them all if the woman wasn't stopped. But there was a source of the weaves, a starting point and somewhere close stood the barrier to sight that kept Ja'varan hidden.

 

The Asha'man would take care of the Shadow's lackey once she just revealed her to them. In two eyeblinks she opened herself to the warmth of Saidar and let it fill her to the brim. The sweetness bordered pain and she shivered from the intense feeling of being alive and the heightened sensory input rolling over her. But there wasn't a moment of hesitation before she lashed out with all five elements and guided them to shatter the illusion surrounding the Forsaken.

 

Arette Stavros

Playing her part

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Destruction, hence, like creation, is one of Nature's mandates.

 

Ja’varan was not pleased. The so called silver lining that encased this little bubble of discord was a pitiful thing, bearing little power. A storm of bees, nasty stinging things that she could no longer perceive as fetching were swarming through the Square. Her eyes scanned the surroundings, perusing and evaluating with speed that was she was more than just familiar with, although time allowed bare seconds for it, even in her invisible state. Occasionally as she weaved, she would take note of a space that had not been taken advantage well enough, areas glinting like sharp arrows in her mind as the training of both the White Tower and Serashada urged her to turn the tide of the battle.

 

It was the black-coats that she disliked the most. Asha’man, were they? Whatever their name, Ja’varan knew them as trouble. Their gathering, their number, was trouble. She had already been directing most of her weaving at them, but had quickly realized that it would take something bigger. Eyes narrowing in concentration as she drew more Saidar, Ja’varan’s pulse quickened as she rearranged her flows. Channeling thick threads of Air and Water, and then wrapping them neatly with finer strands of Fire, she created a mental image of the weaving, shaping it as required. The sky darkened. Clouds rolled into the horizon, dark grey and viciously well endowed in nature. She hoped that it would provide the promise of a ‘storm’ that would stir those who called themselves noble, revealing true faces in mirrors people often believed were nonexistent.

 

Saidar. A luxury she was frothing in, with its sweetness rolling inside her in amounts she had rarely taken on before, both in this life and her previous one. Sweat rolled down her cheeks, dripping from her face in large drops as she pushed and pulled, calling for more. Indeed, if they were to win this, it would require much, much more. Besides, it wasn’t even hurting as yet, which as always, was a good sign. Raising her hands in a mental image and then moving them as if they were light breezes, Ja’varan smiled as a soft zephyr tugged teasingly at the clothes of the perished man lying ahead of her. Few people had noticed the wind thus far, but that was easily changed.

 

Even as the wind bellowed through the Square, Ja’varan had set her focus on the final act.

Ja'varan

 

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The Forsaken felt a set of eyes was watching her. That uneasy nagging that tensed up a person’s muscles and made their movements careful and deliberate, while all else proceeded to become very still. Ja’varan, was no mere human. She was one of the Forsaken and she’d be damned if someone was ‘curious’ enough to spoil her fun today. Could they not leave her alone? Could they not sense that evidently, something was at work as time went ticking? She had always lusted after the roar of battle, but now that she had it right where she needed, the sickening feeling of eyes unknown kept her straying. As a young Sister, she had often practiced running through the weaves step by step in her mind, but even as she attempted it, Ja’varan knew it was not enough. Sighing, she began to weave once more, pulling together all five elements as she became creator of what people would later describe as, ‘hell, unleashed.’

 

It was at exactly that moment of marveling at herself, that someone found her vulnerable and struck straight through her illusion. Her mouth opened to let out a gasp, almond shaped eyes widened in shock at the unexpected attack and her body had instinctively closed itself in a defensive stance. Who had known? Who could’ve possibly…?

 

She felt it then. Sensed her then. Even as her eyes narrowed, she searched the masses. What a female channeler outside her own circle was doing here, was something that birthed no interest in Ja’varan’s mind. She already had her share of toys in the cells. Right now, she wanted nothing less than explanations and indeed, nothing more than to find the woman.

 

There. The woman had the gall to look straight at her, studying her with her intentions clear on her face. And she was so very plain looking, so common that-

 

“You!”

 

Her memories were fading, but she was not so changed as yet to have forgotten the woman. Rage surged through Ja’varan in blinding white heat, rushing through every fibre as it battled against Saidar’s calm. Now that she was free of her illusion, she didn’t have the hindrance of having to control her movements. Raising her hand as she shaped large threads of Fire together, J’avaran spoke with her teeth clenched.

 

“Why does every little chit think it her business to come find me?”

 

As the last word left her lips, Ja’varan flung a series of fireballs towards her Little Sister.

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Through her Saidar enchanced sight, Arette could pick up that the Forsaken's lips were moving but she was too far to hear the actual words. Their eyes met for a moment and Serashada's gaze burned with intense hatred. She knew to be on her guard as the woman lifted her hands and weaves sprung to existance. So strong and thick and one after another even as the inhabitant of Ja'varan's husk was still focusing on calling the lightnings down upon them. She had to be as strong alone as a small Circle linked.

 

Arette's eyes widened with fear and she called the Asha'man to spring up domes against Fire. She had barely time to tie off her own shield of Air and Earth before a fire storm erupted around them. Her shield evaporated but obviously some of the Asha'man had been fast enough as the flames stopped above them. She could still feel the intense searing heat but even as the blackcoats struggled to keep them safe, she experienced a far more personal attack.

 

She was the only female channeler with them so they had been expecting that some of Serashada's attention would be focused on her. But even though she had been preparing herself that the Forsaken would be horribly strong, she hadn't expected this. It was as if a stonewall had been wedged between her and Saidar. She pushed against it with all her might and managed to keep the razor sharp edges a hair widht away from slicing her connection once and for all. A mere trickle of One Power flowed into her and cold sweat popped from her every pore. "Slice the weave, slice the weave", she pointed frantically and screamed with more than a hint of panic in her voice. Either the closest Asha'man did something or Serashada didn't bother to finish the job but the pressure was gone and she slumped with relief.

 

Arette Stavros

Almost Stilled

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A storm was roaring through the ranks. Lightning came spiralling down with every second gesture, pinning the helpless as they screamed their final words. Some would ask for mercy, some for Light as the shock ripped through their insides and some…some would smile, as if they were dying for a good cause. As much as this infuriated Ja’varan there was nothing she could do, except to keep going. She was panting as she weaved now, and her body shuddered under the weight she was carrying inside her. The situation was starting to grow dim, but the only thing to do was to weave more. Even now her men were falling, due to some surge of power that had swept her enemy into unwanted action. At the very least, she would leave the city in such devastation that the next country she took as her own would think twice before rallying against her.

 

Clapping loudly, Ja’varan made a loud thunderclap boom over the charging black-coats. The woman was still there to her side, desperately trying to fend for herself against Ja’varan’s weaving but if the men came now, she would not be able to taste victory or the relief of a quick escape. Panic gripped her as realization struck, ending with her letting loose one last storm of Fire from the skies. Breathing in deeply as she heard an anguished cry, she turned back towards the woman.

 

“Now to finish off with-”

 

Ja'varan

Forsaken, in fate and name

 

OOC: Asha'man, here's your cue. :) I will post after you've done your evil deeds, thus writing her final scene. :D

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So focused was he on trying to help those below that Arath almost didn't notice the stream of fire bearing down upon them.  Only Arette's warning yell and practice honed reflexes let him raise a shield of air and fire in time.  Several of the other Asha'man and Dedicated did the same as the massive barrage of fireballs erupted against the shields.  The heat wave washed over them, almost stifling in its intensity, but they were mercifully safe from the deadly blasts.

 

Arath was therefore surprised when Arette dropped to the ground pointing and screaming.  For a brief moment everyone simply stared at her, wondering what was wrong.  Then he felt it.  Or almost didn't feel it.  The prickly sensation of Saidar was nearly completely vanished.  If Arette was holding the power, it was by only the faintest degree.  Comprehension dawned on him rapidly as he connected the dots in his mind and lashed out with fire and spirit.  He felt the weave connect with the invisible shield and sever it.  Even as the Aes Sedai sighed in relief, Arath redirected his attention to where the attacks had come from.  A lone woman was unleashing hell upon the forces fighting below, raining fire and lightning indiscriminately on all. 

 

Time seemed to freeze for a while as Arath laid his eyes upon the Forsaken.  He he always imagined that seeing such a being would be a horrific, terrifying experience.  But she appeared ... well ... normal.  Another channeler.  Strong, but not unbeatable.  Just as capable of death as all those she murdered below. 

 

"Asha'man!" he called to all those surrounding him.  "Unleash!"  The air filled with fire again, this time flowing away from the forces of the Light and raining down on a more fitting target.  But fireballs melted out of the air, cut to pieces before arriving.  Other's exploded harmlessly before coming anywhere near.  And a few flame arrows appeared to have their paths redirected midflight. 

 

Amidst the fiery chaos, Arath picked his weave carefully.  A mistake was likely to kill him.  But if it worked, it might just be a swift end to this light forsaken battle.  Heavy weaves of air, earth and fir coiled through the air around him in a tight pattern, causing his hair to tingle with static.  Timing was everything here.  Hurriedly he prepared the channel of air and fire and then-

 

Several flashes of silver-white light streaked out of the sky toward the weaves centered around the Attack Leader.  With a yell and a tremendous push with Saidin, all of those bolts of lightning were re-directed outward in one incredibly powerful bolt which screamed across the empty space between him and the forsaken. 

 

Temporarily blinded by the intense flash of light, Arath only heard the explosion as the bolt impacted; felt the stone chips rain down upon him and the others.  Blinking rapidly he tried to clear his vision.  Was it over?  Had his foolish attack worked, or merely angered the powerful enemy?

 

Arath Faringal

Only too happy to help :D

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The sky flashed with more explosions and colors than the grandest Illuminators’ wildest creation. Lightnings and flames splashed across the heavens, like instruments of angry gods at war.

 

Below this horrific skyscape, Forge enjoyed a momentary respite, a welcomed calm pocket in the midst of a cacophony of frenetic activity. The massive Ogier sucked in air like a gigantic blacksmith’s bellows, the fevered actions of hours of battle taking its toll on the twelve-foot tower of muscle. War is hell, he thought fervently. How in the name of the Creator did we come to this? The brief moment of rest giving birth to thoughtfulness, the morning’s events flashing through the Ogier’s mind like wildfire.

 

Unlike so many of his comrades-at-arms, he had been unable to find any armor that fit, which considering his size and frame wasn’t a surprise. He had found his twin axes, though, and that meant more to him than any armor. The story behind the weapons of Aes Sedai-wrought metal and sung wood was far older than any living Ogier, and he still hadn’t learned the whole of it. But losing them would be much like losing an arm.

 

At the thought of arms, the Ogier looked down at his own. The heavily corded muscles of his were covered in blood well past the elbows, and heavy with fatigue. Upon finding no armor, he had decided to go into battle bare chested and bare footed, hair blowing free and wearing only a loincloth like the Ogier of Old. The intricate tattoos of the trefoil leaves of Avendesora and wicked looking thorns that wrapped his arms from the back of his wrists up to his shoulders, augmented his muscles rather than hiding them, and apparently they were very intimidating to behold. More than one of his victims had made the mistake of staring at the massive tree-trunk like limbs instead of avoiding the axes they wielded. He was unaware of the vicious visage that his enemies beheld, however.

 

Even he might have been frightened could he have seen his own expression.

 

He had been at the forefront of the assault, and had been knocked to the ground by the BOOM that had revealed their surprise attack wasn’t. He shrugged heavy shoulders that still felt the impact with the ground as he had been heaved off his feet. But I was a lucky one, he acknowledged. Most who had been near him never stood again, their lives quenched by an attack of the Power.

 

That was the last individual memory that stood out in his mind. Everything after was a crimson wash of blood and severed limbs, of weeds he pruned from the garden of life. As a Gardener, he was good at what he did, his axes chopping through human flesh much easier than any wood. Ignoring the threat of more lightning strikes or fireballs, and trusting in the Asha’man to do their jobs, the giant Ogier had turned colder than a Shienaran winter as he laid waste to onrushing darkfriends.

 

Cold is the way when the wolf is at the door, Forge affirmed. It has always been my way. Soon, his body was pincushioned with arrows, but none had thus far hit vital areas, and he simply ignored the irritating pain like a bull ignoring mosquito bites, the adrenaline of war and the toughness of his kind allowing him to continue when countless men would have fallen.

 

Taking a deep breath, and shoving his thoughts aside, he again froze on the inside and strode back into the fires of hell, caressing the shafts of his axes as he did so. The heavily callused hands tracing the engravings that he knew by heart, their words never more darkly accurate than now... Though the burden is heavy, the work must be done. Have a care, for Death now rides on your shoulder.

 

“There’s work to do,” he growled, the bass booming like a mountain falling on your head.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Was it so that the words had died on her lips intentionally, was it so that she had understood the panic for the foreboding that it was, perhaps things would’ve been different. When she had been younger, when her eyes had still managed to shine with something, barely perceivable though it might’ve been deemed, she could not help but feel, follow some inexplicable intuition that told her that had the glimmer stayed within, it might’ve resurfaced today.

 

If only it had, in an anguished cry of defence, in deft thinking, in the resistant, determined rigours of training that had lead her so high. That glimmer that embraced endurance, streaking it in a bond so tight, so rigid, that when it had faded, something within her had fallen too, leaving only the shadow.

 

Energy crackled through her, fiery and devouring, thrilling her as it spilled into her veins. The Forsaken pulled at the lightning, elated as it arched her this way and that, elated that so much power could run through her. Faces came into sight again and then the sky; an angry red as she had promised herself it would be when her time came. Her last opponent was still beside her and as Ja’varan took one last look into another’s eyes, she gave a soft laugh.

 

And then, everything changed.

 

The same shadow, no longer masked under various façades, spread through her now. It clouded her face, rendered her eyes so that once sharp lines blurred into the surreal, spilling into dark shapes that she could not tell the difference between. She felt her knees give way and as she descended, any sense of what was occurring, was gone. Perhaps the fall would not be so great, if the height was not so large. Indeed, there was a bitter price to pay, when one faltered at the summit.

 

~The end of Ja'varan, Chosen.

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SHUNK!

 

A sword slicing into his shield, Con sloped it outwards slightly at the last moment so the blade would continue rather than allowing the brunt of the blow to stick to him.  Stepping forward as he did so, Con caught his opponent under the ribs with his cudgel with a practiced ease that knocked the wind out of the man.  Not even hesitating as the man leaned forward, a second underhand swing caught the man's nose, driving it into his brain in a shower of blood and cartilage that added little to the gore that clung to his armour.

 

There was little time to take in the thunder of hundreds of swords meeting stroke for stroke or the cries of those dying and being trampled underfoot by those who still fought.  There was no worry for the mess that garnished Con's plates, blood and bone and other things that remained unrecognisable clung to his form and his cudgel.  Garbed as he was, he naturally drew the most attention as he stood out, enemies converged on him and in doing so left themselves open to his companions who fought by his side though it was by no means an orderly line.  Rather, it was a chaotic melee where one could only truly recognise their fellows by the green armbands they wore on their arm.

 

Raising his shield to take another blow, it stuck solidly so Con's cudgel was more easily parried by the man before him.  The opponent on the other hand made the mistake of thinking that the shield was not a weapon, the rim of the shield catching the man in the throat as Con punched him, sending him back into his fellows.

 

The power lanced the sky as fire and more crossed from the Hall of the Council of Nine to the rampart of the Royal Palace.  A thunderous detonation ringing across those that fight, there was only a slight pause all who were upon the Square of Tammuz looked.  Only for a moment, and then they fell upon each other with renewed vigour.  Only now the tide was turning as the power was turned entirely on the darkfriends.  Instead of ripping into the ranks, it scored their flanks, driving them ever more desperately against those who fought for the true Queen.

 

The press of men tightening as the back ranks forced themselves all the more desperately forward, Con find it a little more difficult to use his cudgel but he still held his own.  Lashing out with it wherever possible, he bludgeoned any who came close enough to threaten him or his companions.  Nothing fancy, just ending them as quickly as possible so he could move to the next.  The soo-

 

His ears ringing from the blow, the sword had bounced off his shield unexpectedly and clipped him with the flat of the blade with tremendous force.  Staggering back, he lost his footing in the process on scattered rocks and blood, sending him on his back within a flash.  Raising his shield from instinct and training, it was the only thing that saved him from the vicious hack.  Not a second time as the shield was kicked away though, the blade descending even as Con raised his cudgel to block.

 

Then a black shadow passed over Con's vision and crashed into his attacker.  Using the opportunity to get to his feet, his head still trying to shake the earlier blow, it was a surprise when Con recognised who it was that had saved him.  Marden Veniso, ripping his broadsword out of one man's gut as he lashed out with a mace to clobber another man viciously.  A demon, he fought without any heed for himself as he simply focused on cutting down as many as he could.

 

Roaring Con charged to the gap that Marden opened only for it to close before him.  Hacking away at the line before him with his cudgel, there was little hope of chasing after the man but it was soon to be a secondary concern.  The Darkfriends, harassed constantly by the power and arrows while driven onto the Band and Sofia's supporters broke.

 

Leading the charge towards the Fortress as the channelers ripped down those who tried to run, one of the Asha'man amongst them blew the doors to the Royal Palace open and then they were in, overruning all opposition.  Within half an hour, the Palace was secured even as they rallied and travelled throughout the city, eliminating pockets of supporters for Ja'varan while spreading the news.

 

The Pretender was dead.  Long live the Queen.

 

 

OOC:  Can post if you want, wrapping your character's involvement in this up.  But essentially the RP is done, Laurel Crown is finished :)  Good work guys, all of you that hung in there.

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