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Blood on the Ground - Saldea - Pitched Combat RP (Open)


Myyrth
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Over the Mountains of Dhoom a high wind howled down out of the north.  As it went it kissed the sharp mountain peaks racing down towards the southlands.  It crossed the blighted lands of the north, the sickly sweetness of decay clinging to its speeding currents.  As it entered into the northern kingdoms it grew colder, the unnatural heat of the Blight leeching out.  These were human lands, and within these lands an enemy stalked.  A raiding party of shadowspawn marched, the northern wind tugging at them urging them onwards.  Down into Saldaea they marched looking for blood.  The foul Trollocs snuffled at the air emboldened by the smell death carried on the wind.  The Great Lord walked with them, watching, always watching.

 

Among the ranks of the hulking Trollocs lithe figures road atop black horses, cloaks hanging dead in the high winds untouched by the gale.  The Myrddraal watched the darkness around them, eager for blood.  The dark ones, eyeless gazes hungry gripped their swords tightly.  Eager.   They, the horse mounted ones, numbered few, yet among them was more of their ilk.  A dozen or so fadelings unmounted walked isolated from the rest.  They did not speak their youth plain to see as they stood apart under the watchful eye of their elder overseers.   Among them Myyrth walked, clad in crude leather armor but holding a sturdy iron blade scanned the line of the trees watchful.  In these hostile lands, the slightest shadow could be a human drawing a bow for the kill.  He lightly touched the suppurated twin scars that marked his stomach, the memory of their barbed arrows returning to him.  The humans would not surprise him again.  Through the night his eyeless sight could see as keen as an eagles.  He was a Myrddraal and the darkness was home.

 

The sound of metal rasping against leather, swords clinking and boots and hooves thumping rose as a muted rustle over the trees.  They were on the hunt, yet it was impossible for so many to move in silence.  Yet according to spies within Saldea the border patrols should all be farther east, far away from their location.  Still, in the pit of his stomach something felt wrong.  He could feel it in the old wounds, reminders of past carelessness.  Something was going to happen that was unexpected.  Well so be it, he thought to himself.  Gripping his sword more tightly still he prepares himself for bloodshed.

~~~~~

OOC:   The shadowspawn are not in the Blight, they are they are currently crossing sparsely wooded highlands, the terrain is rough.  It provides a great deal of cover in the shallow dips and rocky terrain.  A forest is to the west and I would place the current location of the force as north and east of Maradon just above the Plain of Lances heading south into central Saldaea.  Link to a map below.

 

http://www.sevenspokes.com/images/wallpaper/map-1280-24.bmp

 

At this point I leave it to the first poster who is accompanying the Borderlanders to set the scene for their side of the conflict. For the Shadow if any Dreadlords are coming with then it would be nice to see some small part dealing with the distinct separation of the shadowspawn from the channelers.  At this point I imagine the force consisting of this.

 

5 Myrddraal (1 Shadow Walker, 4 Task Masters

20 Fadelings

300 Trollocs

1 Pack of Darkhounds

 

So if anyone is bringing an evil channeler you will need to insert them in.  Any other questions can be directed to me through the planning thread in the RP Community Board.

 

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Saline turned her mount inland, toward the mountains, and at once had a strange feeling of enclosure, almost menace. The cobbled path was narrow with high grass banks and gnarly trees reinforcing either side. Ahead, as bends in the path showed gray skies briefly through the trees, the green-brown bulk of hillsides reared up, disappearing into the ragged clouds. As they rode, she saw a higher fold of grey hills looming in the distance. For all her years, Saline felt she was in a part of the world like nowhere she had known before, a place with secrets in its shrouded centuries which she could not begin to imagine. She shivered—suddenly glad for her hood after the chill wind blowing drizzle into her face.

 

With total disregard for Saline’s hood, the wind brought an unexpected metallic tang to Saline’s nose. When she straightened for a better whiff of it, the wind shifted and the scent was gone. She reined her mare up and raised a hand to signal the others to slow down.

 

“Maybe trouble coming.”

 

The guardsmen immediately swung back to her, circling her in a sphere of protection. Their hands rested on the curvy swords at their hips, although she knew they would not show actual steel unless it was to fight.

 

They had gone another mile when a spurt of wind shoved the tang of sweat, oil and iron into her path. Her horse jerked away, and feeling herself slipping she fought with the reins. A few hard tugs and pulls later, her mount was in danger of running without a rider, but the breeders back east had trained the beast well.

 

One of the guards said hopefully, “Can I help?”

 

She turned, relenting, and looked directly at her companions for the first time. Saline looked down at the guard who spoke: at the shining blue eyes, and eager face beneath the thick, blond curls. Although they were nothing alike in looks, his exuberance reminded her somehow of her missing best friend and lover.

 

“Yes,” she grinned suddenly “how do I stay balanced?”

 

“Hmm, try not to saw on your reins” he said, “your knees and legs should be the only cues the horse follows; it leaves your hands freer. Plus tugging on the reins is hard on your mare’s mouth. Were I you I’d throw away the reins and learn to ride, properly.”

 

“Wow . . . thanks.” Why did I ever compare him to my beloved? Saline slapped her mount’s withers pointedly with the reins, urging the horse into a trot ahead of the group. If I don’t use my reins, I’d fall! Besides, they were expensive. She justified her riding away from the group, ignoring the fact that guards were following her perfectly on their powerful warhorses, though they kept a little space out of respect. It was amazing how they could steer the broad steeds through the pathways like it was open fields, and she had seen these horses clear gates the height of a grown man before.

 

As she crested the ridge alone, she noticed a hunched figure, sitting lonely on his rock. He sat in a small, crumpled heap, his arms across the harp on the ground at his feet.

 

But before she bent down to touch the prone boy, the guards became a sizable line in front of her, blocking her vision. She signalled for them to make way, but none of the guards clambered aside obediently. Instead, some of the guards with bows aimed their sights on the stranger.

 

“Do as I say” she told them quietly, “and stay out of my way.”

 

The guards flinched at the sound of her voice. They reluctantly kneed their horses to either side to open a passage for the Aes Sedai. After seeing her earlier demonstration at the gate, nobody cared to question her power.

 

She drew on the Source, and quickly delved the boy.

 

“He’s alive, but I don’t think he can move.”

 

“There’s something else here too!” cried the same guard who had given her pointers on riding. Following his gaze, Saline looked down at the sack by the boy . . .

 

She had wondered what that smell was.

 

 

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“Wake up.” Brand threw a rock at Tanith.

 

“Huh?” Tanith’s eyes snap open; he looked around as though expecting arrows to spring out of the trees at him at any moment.  “What?”

 

“I said wake up.” Scowling Brand breathed warmth into his hands, “Bloody ashes boy, you know what a forward scout is?”  Stamping his feet he glares at the forest, rubbing grimy fingers through a rough salt and pepper beard he kicks the young man.  “On your feet.”

 

“Oh give it up; we’ve been out here for hours.”  He stood up, shivering in the brisk air.  “I bet they’ll start cooking the evening mess soon.”  He glanced hungrily back towards the main company, barely a league to the west of them.

 

“You can barely grow a decent set of whiskers and you think you know when enough is enough.”  Brand chuckles to himself, his rough voice laced with humor.  “You’ve got a lot to learn boy, someday a trolloc I’ll come and grab you in your sleep.  Then you’ll be on the menu!”

 

“You think they’d actually come down this far?”  The hint of fear in the young soldier’s voice assuaged Brand’s growing annoyance.  It seems the lad did have some respect for their job out here.  Unlike most of the rest of the land, who thought that Fades and Trollocs and other foul creatures of shadow were merely myths conjured up to frighten children, the borderlanders new that sometimes stories could be all to real.

 

“I’ve never seen the beasts this far south before, but I got a friend on the northern march that says that raids have been picking up.  When the blight moves, it’s best you keep your eyes wide open.  You never know.”  Both men stared out intently into the dark, the shadow of fear resting lightly on their backs.  Tanith jumps when a chuckle erupts from Brand’s throat.  “Bah! Lets move.  Orders say we need to hit the highlands before too long.  Let’s get out of these damn woods.”

 

Untying their horses from a small sapling tree, its leaves withered and sickly they depart at a brisk trot.  The ground was rocky and uneven, often dipping down into small ruts and ditches that forced them to take routs that lead them away from their patrol.  At one such point they were forced to divert almost a quarter mile to the north before coming up onto a low rugged hill.  By this point they were almost a mile north of their intended destination.  Brand lit a small oil lamp and scanned a rough map of the area.  He turned a dour expression on the landscape scanning for an easy path south.  He froze.

 

Tanith, preoccupied with fixing a lose buckle on his sword harness jumped with a curse when his partner grabbed his arm.

 

“Bloody ashes Brand wha-“

 

“Shhh!” The expression on the old soldiers face as he quickly snuffed out the lamp light was something Tanith would never forget for the rest of his short life.

 

Carefully dismounting Brand hunkers down, he motions to Tanith to take the horses back down the hill, confused and concerned the boy complies.  The old soldier, rubbing his beard lays flat on his belly and stares fixedly north.  He couldn’t be sure, he couldn’t be.  It was true what the boy had said, the shadow was never seen in this rough and open country.  But for a moment he could have sworn he saw a man astride a black horse on the crest of a nearby hilltop.  For what seemed a year’s time he laid there and watched.  His eyes dry with fatigue and strain blinking little.  It was quiet on the hill, only the howling wind for company.  He felt like he was drifting, he was sure that he had seen the man.  A man clad in black, riding a black horse.  Yet his mind didn’t want to reach the inevitable conclusion.  A halfman.  No, more likely a delusion of a mind that spends too long in the wilderness.  In the night one could dream up anything.  He spent another few minutes watching the hills, but he was sure now.  It had been nothing.  In any event, if he had seen what he thought he had seen.  Wouldn’t something more have shown itself?

 

“Boy!” he calls, perhaps a little softly despite his certainty.  “It’s alright come on up.  Bring the horses.”  Patting himself down as he stands up he yawns despite himself.  “I think it’s about time for us to head on back.”  When no response was immediate the gnawing worm of fear crept back into his gut.  Rushing down the hill he stumbles back in horror. 

 

There was blood everywhere, spread across the rocks in what seemed like a carpet.  In the darkness it appeared black, but the old soldier knew blood.  He could taste it in the copper tang on the air.  He knew that Tanith was dead.  Why hadn’t he heard anything?  How could this have happened?  What could have done this?  Where was the body?  All of these questions failed to touch the horrified mind of Brand, for he had only one thing on his mind.  Escape.  He had to get out of there.  The horses were gone, perhaps some of the blood was theirs.  So much blood.  So much.  Yet it hardly mattered, he was three miles from the rest of the men.  Even with a horse on this rocky ground he wouldn’t be able to cover the distance quickly.  Mind paralyzed with fear he leaves the bloody ground behind, hoping against all probability that whatever had killed his friend would not find him.  He struggled through the dark night, stumbling over rocks and pushing through thorny hedges as he makes his way west.  Unaware, or perhaps in denial of the gaze that followed his every step.  The eyeless gaze that pierced the nights murky veil and hounded his steps with suffocating fear.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

OOC: Nobody else seems to be coming, so I'm moving on.

 

Someone was calling him; that was how he awoke. Si’ half expected to wake up in the orphanage but this was somehow worse. Saline had the guards tie up the boy to one of those tough bushes nearby and now the boy was hungry and upset. By the sun, it was mid-afternoon.

 

“Who are you? And why did you tie me up?” He demanded as one of the guards loosen the knots in the blanket. But the guard retreated and a woman came forth.

 

“You started sleepwalking when we took the harp.“

 

“I was?” Si’ looked at her suspiciously. “I want my harp back.”

 

“We are not thieves. I am Saline, Aes Sedai of the White Tower, and these are the Saldaean guards. Your harp is safe with us.”

 

“Aes Sedai? One of them witches? Did you cause me to sleepwalk?” He swallowed hard.

 

“This caused you to be in deep sleep,” she nodded at the guards, then suddenly produced the jawbone Si’ had been carrying. She held it in front of the boy’s face and Si’ flinched, raising his arms. Even after Kandor, one would not easily tolerate the smell of rotting flesh. The boy's face was pale and miserable. He avoided looking at the half-rotted artefact. “Since you’re awake, we have some questions. How did you get this object? ”

 

“I don’t know . . . “ he said, trying to think “I can’t remember.”

 

She pressed on “where are your parents? You look as though you’ve been through a lot. For a moment there I thought you weren’t going to come out of your coma but then you started a series of unconscious twitching.”

 

“They said they’d come back, I’m looking for them . . . If you aren’t a witch how come you’re fine?”

 

“I can use the Source,” said the Aes Sedai “that is how I knew the jaw for what it was, spelled. Some of the more skilled Aes Sedai, like my sister, can read the residues of these weaves. For me, it’s just instinctual. That, and” she paused, “well, seeing you in trouble.”

 

“Source . . . Can it hurt you?” he asked curiously.

 

“It never has,” she said, conscious of the evasion.

 

“I wish I had a gifted sister, but my parents are all I have, and I think somebody’s stopping them from coming back to me, so I’m going to find them” he stood up, wavering, but remained standing.

 

Saline half rose, her face a shadow of concern, and then she settled back. “You and I are similar in quest, then. I am looking for my . . . sister.”

 

“Was she pretty? This sister of yours?”

 

“She was beautiful.”

 

Si’ made a non-committal grunt. He didn’t remember what his parents looked like.

 

The Aes Sedai sighed and thought of how it had been—the evenings in the great hall, hundreds of richly clad figures moving through the slow, steady waltz steps, with Rory Sedai on her arm, her eyes brighter than precious gems. It had been six years since she had left home for borderland patrol, and the main reason the Red Sister kept moving throughout Saldaea was to find her beloved.

 

"I have to go." She said, brushing off her breeches.

 

Fear flashed on the boy's face. "You're leaving me!"

 

Saline just looked at him.

 

"No, I suppose not," Si' muttered. Then he brightened, “are we looking for your sister?”

 

“Yes, we are. Can you ride?”

 

“No.”

 

“That makes two of us,” Saline suddenly smiled for the first time. “I’ll give your harp to one of the guards, and I promise they won’t nick it. Aes Sedai cannot lie, boy.”

 

“Si’. I’m not boy, I’m Si’. The folks at the orphanage called us by numbers or boy. I’m called Si’, and it was my parents who gave me this name.” Si’ said indignantly.

 

“Very well, Si’. Welcome to the party.”

 

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Estean rode amongst her homeland, towards the estates her family owned.  She would be visiting them for the first time since she left for the White Tower.  That was so long ago.  Almost a hundred and fifty years, to be exact.  In her right hand was a staff she used to aid her for such long physical journeys, and her left hand patted the horse she was riding.  Her packhorse was led behind, tied to her other horse.  She was making good progress so far, she was halfway through Saldaea, nearing the central area.

 

Today however, she was travelling faster than usual.  Both she and her horses felt it too.  There was something wrong about the atmosphere today.  A sense of malevolance hung about in the air, as though the wrong person at the wrong time would feel the true extent of the word.  Something was about to happen, and Estean did NOT want to be a part of it.  So she and the horses were literally trotting along the plains, even as the scarce vegetation made her obvious targets.  The good thing was, scarce vegetation would allow her to see any predators coming.

 

Or so she hoped.

 

And so, as the feeling of dread increased, she embraced the power, ready for anything, preparing several nasty weaves to be used on the instant anything arose.  Life welled into her, and her senses became enhanced.  Scanning the land around her, she looked, and looked again.  Then her eyes fell upon a man, who was cloaked in black, riding a horse that was also black.  Embracing more of Saidar, she looked more closely, and wished she hadn't.

 

It was a Fade.

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The fade reined in his black steed, his cowled head searching the horizon.  The strange sense that all Myrddraal possessed was telling him that somewhere nearby a channeler had embraced the source.  His smooth eyeless face turned and faced the distant woman astride her horse.  His hands gripped the leather reins tightly and he glanced back down at the trail that snaked away into the gloomy afternoon.  The sun was falling towards the horizon, soon it would be night.  The time of creeping shadows.

 

The trail that he had been following continued on west for a ways, the scout had moved on as expected.  Turning his steed around he sets off at a gallop to the northeast

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The main host moved briskly now, spurred on by the whips of the Task Masters.  Word had come down from their forward scouts, an enemy patrol had been spotted.  No doubt they were connected to a larger force.  Stealth was abandoned, speed was no the goal.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Myyrth jogged alongside the other Fadelings, his sword gripped in hand.  The stir of battle griped him.  Blood would be shed.

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Saline and her group came upon them earlier than expected; they’d been following the shadowspawn spore for a day and a night before it suddenly veered in direction. A group of twenty disshelved, exhausted trollocs. They’d hardly been any sport. The Saldaean guards had overcome them quickly, using a thicket to remove the trolloc advantage of size and strength. Even so, three of their own number had perished. They were now an even score.

 

Cavil, the leader of the Saldaean troop explained the behaviour to Saline, who had no real understanding of the situation: “No Myrddraal see. It’s fear that keeps them in order. They were sent to do something and by the Creator they went at it avidly enough until they were exhausted. We can assume a Myddraal sent them but is now too far away to reinforce his commands. I think we would be wise to double back and follow their original course.”

 

He answered her unspoken question, “Myrddraal and trollocs are linked. I’ve no idea how it works and I don’t care; all I know is a Myddraal can kill a trolloc without touching it. I’ve seen it happen in . . . captivity.”

 

Saline found it highly entertaining that a man named Cavil (petty objections) would be raising points finer than his curved sword. She agreed wholeheartedly, promising to stay at the back and take care of Si’, who had been her idea in the first place. They continued on their way, riding slowly and cautiously among the rocks.

 

They slept at dusks and rose before dawns, the Saldaeans becoming more agitated with every step. Saline had tried work out why but couldn’t think of any particular reason. She’d asked Cavil, who had replied the only thing in this direction was a vale, perfect for ambush. They didn’t know of any other patrols in the area, but if the trollocs were making for it with such haste . . .

 

They camped several hours before the edge of the vale, wrapping hooves, weapons and armour in cloth. The danger of a horse slipping was less than having your head bitten off by an alert trolloc--they had spare horses: three precisely.

 

Si’ was a liability for what came next but nothing could be done for it. Were Myrddraal around they would feel any channelling Saline did to protect the boy, which could jeopardise them all. They took him with them, commending his survival to the Wheel and the Creator . . . and loosely to Saline.

 

Their suspicions were confirmed as they crouched at the lip of the vale, Si’ and horses tethered a short distance away. In the very centre of the vale was a campsite. We’re talking about thirty metres below, which is around eighty feet. It was difficult to see specifics and Saline daren’t not draw upon the source to aid her.

 

The camp below had horses; this much was obvious. There were too many swags for campers, even stupid ones, and no wagons for a merchant (notwithstanding the difficulty of getting wagons into the vale). They had to be military but if so they were very lax to leave their fires burning long after sunrise.

 

Saline felt a rough hand knocking into her shoulder then pointing to the opposite lip of the vale. She stared for a moment, unsure of what she was seeing. A thick wave of black rolling down the side of the vale. She gasped as she looked around the vale, seeing numerous columns snaking down the rocky walls . . . heading straight for the sleeping camp. The vale trembled beneath their weight.

 

Instinctively Saline grasped the Source, vision leaping forward and bringing the black masses into focus. Shadow spawn: hundreds of them trollocs spewing down the vale rim towards . . . Borderlanders? Who looked haggard and exhausted. Hiding in the vale? Chased there? It didn’t matter, unless they were alerted it would be their grave. Upon the rim in different locations stood Myrddraal; they were watching, commanding, circled by darkhounds.

 

This was not going to end well.

“Shadowspawn!” hissed she, standing quickly, and “close your eyes!”

 

She didn’t wait to be obeyed but pulled the sweet song of the source until she vibrated in harmony with the vale. She could feel the trollocs through her feet, through her connexion to the earth.

 

The vale lit up like the sun reflected through a mirror directly into your eyes, a standard intermediate weave. Rocks of the vale sides began to leap and groan, rolling like the ocean and throwing trollocs too and fro: not so standard. Finally, as the masses began to close upon the Boarderlanders, the air erupted like barrels of gasoline, heat waves and flames scorching and blistering.

 

The sounds had woken the Borderlanders who scrambled to defence. The shadowspawn were too close, Saline could do no more from a distance, but she had barely made a dent; the trollocs swarmed over her ‘distractions’.

“We have to get down there!” she said louder than she intended. Tower etiquette could stow it.

 

OOC: Right. Sorry if I’ve tread on toes but I wanted to get the ball rolling. I’ve assumed the reason the trollocs didn’t just overwhelm the borderlanders is because they were herding them to a more suitable ambush spot. I also assumed the borderlanders would eventually tire and maybe seek refuge in desperation in the vale, or be pushed there. I further assumed the Myrddraal split their forces to surround the borderlanders and crush them from multiple directions so there are no survivours or escapees.

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There was a loud boom and a flash of light even as the sun dwindled on the horizon.  Startled, Estean looked around.  To the south, and with her Saidar enhanced vision, she saw weaves flowing around what seemed to be a Saldaean borderland patrol group.  And about to crash into it was a literal tidal wave of trollocs.  Or at least it was, in her opinion.  Cursing under her breath, she knew that nowhere was safe if shadowspawn had penetrated so far self.  So she decided to join the fray anyway.  There was a friendly channeler about there somewhere, that was for certain.  Where else could those protective weaves have come from?

 

She seemed to be nearer to the combat than the Aes Sedai who was standing, quite a distance away.  Pulling her packhorse and kicking her own into a gallop, Estean rode fast and furious towards the scene.  The patrol had arisen to the occasion and were fighting bravely.  However, it was quite clear that they were severely outnumbered, and would require as much aid as they could get.  Estean was not really strong, but she had indeed considerable talent for the One Power.

 

Drawing upon as much of the power that she could handle safely, she channeled Air and Fire.  A large ball of fire erupted from her hand, and she flung it right at the charging horde.  It whirred and whined in the air, causing a slight commotion as several trollocs saw it and turned back.  However, the ball fell, and with a deafening explosion, ten were killed.  Eshara panted slightly as she loosed another one.  She could only make such large fireballs one at a time, and it was tiring.  She had not been engaged in a fight with the One Power for over 10 years.  Fire swirled around her fingers, gathering into another large fireball that shone like a miniature sun, landing with a massive boom, taking out a round dozen.

 

She was several hundred paces away, and some of the trollocs broke around the main patrol to come charging at her, roaring and bellowing infidelities she could only assume were being spoken in their hideous language.  Changing tactics on the spot, she discarded her first weave and threw up a strong shield around her and her horses that the trollocs ran into.  They ran unseeing into it, and bounced back, even as they clawed at it, hacking at it, trying to break through.  They snarled at her and she dismounted, they leaped for her, attempting to burst through the barrier that was holding fast.

 

Fat chance of that happening.

 

Tying off the shield, she channeled as thick a weave consisting of Air and Water that she had ever woven for this purpose.  The flows were cable thick, but were still woven dexteriously and quickly.  Immediately, a wind blasted down the area, hard and fast, scattering those in front of her like ninepins onto their companions back in the fray.  They disappeared then, carved to bits by their companions' weapons as they landed on them.

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The battle had started with a sudden fury that took Myyrth by surprise.  Months spent in solitary training and small group exercises suddenly exploded into open combat.  They had reached the cusp of a hill, beneath them a haggard band of borderlanders far from where anyone had expected them to be lay camping in the small valley.  Without even a word or moments hesitation the whips of the Myrddraal cracked down among their monstrous servants and with bellows of blood-lust and fury the three hundred Trollocs charge down the hill in long loping strides.  Among them and around them came the shadowy horsemen, black blades held high, their eyeless gaze penetrating the growing twilight.  And at this horrifying hosts feet ran fadelings, quickling youths their pale maggot skin ghoulish in the half-light bared their teeth in preparation for blood.  The Great Lord's Ravens would feast well tonight.

 

Myyrth ran alongside his fellows, it was an exultant feeling.  Their enemy was surprised and caught off guard, like predators smelling weakness the shadowspawn go in for the kill.  The ground seemed to tremble in terror at their approach.  A cruel grin split his face as he sprinted down the hill.  The sound as the front line of Trollocs collided with the defenders was like thunder.  It echoed through his head and his mind exulted on thoughts of trampled bodies and the splash of spurting blood.

 

Then suddenly a bloom of reddish light fills the sky.  Followed quickly by another flare of sun bright fire.  A secondary explosion rocks the ground and the charred body of a trolloc lands heavily in front of Myyrth's feet forcing him to leap to avoid taking a fall.  The humans had witches among them.  Darkness gathered over the battlefield as roiling storm clouds appeared over the battlefield.  In the crush it was difficult to know even where the thick of the battle was so chaotic had the melee become.  Suddenly a man crashed into him, scuffling he kneed and punched soldier, it took him a moment to realize that the man was dead.  Shoving him off he scrambles to his feet.  An axe swings in front of his face nearly ending him right there.  Stumbling back he swings his weapon wildly in a defensive arc.  Around them the battle roared, a wind kicked up howling across the battlefield.  The screams of the dying filled the air.  His foe, a brawny bearded man clutched his axe fiercely, an expression of deep resolve on his face, he wore a round wooden shield on his left arm.  Myyrth was not without defenses of his own, he wore an iron gauntlet on his right hand it's ridged finger plates and reinforced forearm guard making it a subtle yet effective offensive and defensive weapon.  His blood up he darts forward determined to kill this man and move on to join the fray.  He meets the man's eyes letting the weight of his eyeless stare fall on him.  The soldier flinches averting eyes and nearly dropping his guard as though he intended to flee.  Without a moment of hesitation Myyrth presses his advantage, with feral quickness he stabs brutally at the mans exposed torso.  The soldier jerks attempting to bring his shield across his body to ward the blow, yet it was a feint allowing Myyrth to redirect his momentum into a rising slash that caught the mans weapon hand.  A fast right hook from his gauntlet smashes into the mans face as fountain of blood spurts from his severed thumb, with a cry of pain the axe drops to the ground and Myyrth finishes him off with a slash across the throat.  Exultant he watches his enemy fall bleeding to the ground before once against being swept up into the chaos of battle.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Caught by surprise and disorganized the Borderlanders reeled from the initial charge, but you didn't patrol the borders of the blight without being blessed with great resolve.  With discipline and courage those officers in the camp not killed in the charge forged a fighting force out of the chaos.  Their hope bolstered by the presence of the Aes Sedai they fought fiercely.

 

 

 

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Estean's face grew harder and harder, even as the trolloc horde pressed forward, howling and cursing.  Even her fireballs were not deterring them any longer, charged and fueled as they were by the bloodlust that held them in the thick of the battle.  Estean herself was beginning to feel the effects of the adrenaline rush through her body.  She swung herself onto her horse again, and, binding her packhorse to the spot with flows of Air and protecting it with another shield, she tied off the weaves as hard as she could, knotting them together simply.  Then she made her horse gallop to one side.

 

Part of the horde broke off and charged towards her, yelling and shouting.  But she did not take any notice of the fact.  Neither did they chill her bones.  She had grown up in the borderlands, and despite the fact that she had not been there for most of her life, she had grown up surrounded by the dangers of a trolloc attack.  Her hair flying as her horse swerved around, she channeled Fire, and a jet of flame burst from her hand, striking one of the trollocs full in the chest, and it screamed as it was flung backwards into its companions, who went down in a heap after him.  It's chest was smoking horribly, and the stench of burnt flesh reached her nostrils.

 

Swallowing the urge to turn over and vomit on the spot, Estean channeled the same weave again, and fire burst among the trollocs who were still struggling up.  The heat was so strong that the air currents were playing havoc around her.  Dust was being stirred up by winds howling here and there, even as fire poured from her hands, illuminating the scene before her with startling brightness.  Her hair swirled and churned, dancing around her, threatening to obscure her sight.  She grabbed most of it and stuffed it down the back of her dress, which held it firmly in place.

 

Amongst the flames dancing upon the trollocs in front of her, a rider in a black horse came sweeping up, and Estean's heart came up to her mouth despite the heat of the battle.  She did not meet its eyes, but simply divided her flows two ways.  Even as fire continued blaze from her right hand, to swirl a path of destruction amongst the trollocs, light poured from her left, illuminating the very air.  Even if the Fade had decided to use the Shadow to come closer, there was no way he could do it now, with the darkness of the night gone.

 

She trembled with the amount of Power that she held, near the brink of burning herself out.  The power was seeking a way out even as she desperately struggled to control it.  It shone from her eyes, mingling with the light that was burning the very air.  The Fade turned, trying to escape the hold that the light had on its movement.  She gave it no chance.  A finger was leveled at it, and lightning seared the air, far hotter than even the heat of the lightning.

 

The Fade was thrown off the horse, a smoking rent where its heart had been previously, though it lay thrashing on the ground.  The riderless horse reared and galloped away into the night.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The patrol rode forward, watching the brilliant swordplay of the far-off lightning, white and purple, startling in the clarity of the night air. The going was slower than Saline would have liked. Their horses were fine, and the men were disciplined, fighting exhaustion with a calm and profession reservoir of will which Saline fully appreciated. They did not ask questions when she sensed the activities of another channeller, just as they did not talk much when the boy Si' had been placed in her path.

 

Cavil turned his mount toward Saline so swiftly that Saline's horse almost fell back a step--and then the both of them stumbled slightly as the rocks they had been making their way toward now decorated the new green several feet below.

 

"How did you know?" Saline said, between her teeth.

 

Cavil said, "our horses can handle themselves"

 

Saline looked through her magnified vision. The fade stared burningly up the vale, his hatred unveiled, a pinprick as bright as bood between where ordinary eyes should be. He parted his lips in the scariest smile Saline had ever seen before ruthlessly butchering the throat of a soldier.

 

"Let's make haste, then" she replied.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The seething mass of bestial creatures was held at bay by a ring of steel and stoic courage.  Horned trolloc brayed with stymied bloodlust as battle lines were formed.  What had just a moment ago been a rout had turned with such swiftness that the forces of shadow were left reeling and off guard.  The intercession of the Aes Sedai had turned the tide.  The fearsome spawn of the dark one gnashed their teeth and smashed their wicked curved blades against rough hide shields.  They formed a rolling sea of dark inhumane shapes against the night sky.  Their steaming breath rising in plums as they were driven forward by the cracking whips of their Myrddraal commanders.  Yet the human defenders stayed strong, the clear voices of their officers rising above the din of battle steadying the nerves of the men.  They were outnumbered but not beaten.  The one power was on their side.

 

Suddenly a howl.  It pierced night air like a sword stabbing into the heart.  For a moment silence followed.  Then on the right flank human screams sounded in the night.  The darkhounds had joined the fray.  The size of small horses and weighing three hundred pounds they burst from the treeline moving at full speed.  Their forms insubstantial as flickering shadows blended into the night, their eyes gleamed with a pale blue light that brought fear into the minds of men.  Yet despite their ephemeral quality they were all too solid.  They bore down on the terrified soldiers attacking from the rear.  In a moment they were through, shrugging off the hasty swing of sword.  They ripped and gouged, tearing out throats and goring stomachs leaving screaming bleeding men behind them.  They lived only long enough to fall to the sword of the fadelings.  Dashing amongst the hulking shadow hounds ran young eyeless.  They leapt and slashed at their terrified enemies with deadly precision.  Humans stunned by the surprise attack of the darkhounds were ripe for the killing touch of the young Myrddraal.  Myyrth darted alongside a darkhound the thick sinews of it's neck flexing as it bite into the head of a soldier who's screams turned to bloody gurgles.  His shortsword held loosely in his hand he delivers a final blow to the skull of a wounded human with his iron sheathed fist.  He turned his piercing gaze upon the channelers.  They stood opposite to the flanking attack.  They would respond swiftly to the darkhounds offensive, they needed to be kept off guard.  A sword narrowly misses his head, he leaps back.

 

"Come on you monster, come one!" The soldier says, a nasty gash furrowing his brow.  Myyrth was more than happy to oblige him.

 

The elder Myrddraal closely in tune with the flow of battle urged their monstrous warriors forward.  It took only a moment for them to overcome their fear of the channeling woman and her burning light.  Headless to their own wounded they pushed forward with renewed ferocity.  The line of men began to buckle.  Their morale was breaking, the darkhounds were sowing havok behind their lines.  The shadowspawn smelled blood in the air and like animals they moved in for the kill.

 

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Estean jerked as something like a dog leapt out at her, jaws open.  Her shield of Air, tied off, blocked it, but not for long.  It lept again at her, and at the corners of her eye, she could see still more dogs leaping at the borderlanders.  She herself was beginning to tire, for channeling at such a rate forced her to wield almost as much of Saidar that she could safely handle.  She dealt with the darkhound in front of her, fire turning it to nothingness on the spot.  Then she turned her fury to the sky.  Weaves of Air, Water and Fire flashed in the air, even as clouds gathered and churned.

 

Lightning started to play on the sky, forking and forming prongs, never flashing the same way twice.  Then, she gestured, and lightning blasted from the skies above, searing the very air and turning her vision slightly purple with the afterimage.  She narrowed her eyes to prevent it from blinding her, and started to pick off the darkhounds, and the shadowspawn that was swirling around.  Even the borderlanders were pressing in, their strength nearly gone, their energy drained.

 

But she herself was tiring, slowly but surely.  She knew that she couldn't channel to such an extent for much longer, or risk burning her mind to ash.  She lifted a hand, and the lightning playing across the sky ceased, and fire swirled around her palms again.  Flinging her arms as fast as she could, she started throwing fireballs, aiming for the fades and the darkhounds.  The darkhounds were easiest to take out.  They were mindless bodies built only to fall instructions and kill.  Her fireballs burnt away them one by one.  Even if she destroyed them partially, they still reformed, and she had to blast them to nothingness before they would die.

 

Even the other shadowspawn, the younger fades, were dying as she threw the fireballs.  If they missed the darkhounds, they took out the younger fades that were weaving in between the men and stabbing them.  Fire churned around her palms, and she started to direct balls into the horde.  The sudden barrage of flame and death from her palm caused them to retreat back several paces, howling, leaving behind an army that sorely required rest.  The very air about her was alight, for she had tied off the weave of light, and was now focusing all her energies on sending the horde back to their master in death.

 

But that certainly wouldn't be easy, and another thought crossed her mind that made her wonder.

 

Where in the name of the Light was the other bloody channeler?

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  • 4 months later...
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