Prehendo Victoria

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Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:02 am

Chapter 1: Birth of a Hero

Regus opened his eyes to the bright light of the sun shinning down into the courtyard. He was surrounded by more than a dozen people. A flood of information entered his brain as he saw their names and stats. The King, Sixtus the Seventh was present, as was his heir, Duke Rarington. Both of them, along with the five warlords also present, seemed very disappointed.

“Another one,” sighed Rarington. “Father, we will try again, luck should shine on us soon.”

“I cannot keep wasting shmukers on luck and chance when both have failed me,” King Sixtus retorted. He was a short and stocky man, as most royals were. “Had I just hired a thinkamancer from the Magic Kingdom, we would be done with this foolishness.”

“Lord, a thinkamancer would cost an extraordinary sum, eventually we will stop popping warlords, and get a caster or two.” Lady Anex said. She was level seven, and a fierce woman with dark hair with a large sword at her hip with a strange metal ring hung near it. “In fact, we should be getting one very soon, and perhaps several in a row instead of warlord.”

“That’s what you said last time!” The King yelled at her. He was turning red. “Leave. Now! And take that pitiful excuse for a warlord with you,” he jabbed a finger at Regus. “A level one…the only thing worse than him being a warlord is him being a pitiful level one warlord…” Rarington grabbed Regus by the arm and started to lead him away. “No! Not you! I will have a word with you, Duke.” Rarington sighed, and released Regus, only to be captured swiftly by Lady Anex’s strong arm around his shoulder.

“Leave them to sort out family business. You are lucky he didn’t disband you outright.”

“What is going on? I am thoroughly confused.” Regus said. He finally got a chance to look down at himself. He had a short, curved sword at his hip, and could feel the weight of a shield on his back. He knew how to use them competently, as did any unit that was popped with such equipment. Lady Anex remained silent on the matter until they were well away from the King and his son. The shouting could still be heard.

She led him to a small garden within the first ring of the city. He sat on a short wall that bordered a fountain. Water splashed out of the hands of a half nude female statue. Regus felt uncomfortable seeing it while in the company of a woman, especially a woman who was his superior and no doubt sizing him up at the moment. He forced his attention away from the art, and back to her.

“I realize I haven’t answered your question, I’m thinking about where to begin. So much has happened that I’m not even sure that I understand it all. Please hold any questions until the end, I’m sure you will have many.” She sighed heavily. Regus realized now that she looked absolutely exhausted, as if she had not slept for days. “You’ve been popped to the Kingdom of Vatima. I’m sure you realize that you have met our king and his heir, no doubt you noticed their stats as they were arguing over you. We once were a great kingdom, but we have dwindled since then and now this is our last city. This is Romotican City, named after our side’s first King, Romo the Spearlord. It is level five, with special wall defenses, no tunnels, and an upgraded tower. If you look over there you can see it.”

She pointed up above the wall that enclosed the garden. A tower of white marble pierced the sky, taller than it seemed possible. “That was made during the reign of Julo the Builder. He spent a fortune hiring master class dirtamancers to improve our cities. It kept us powerful for a long time, but now it seems hardly worth it. He decided that this city should have three rings of walls as well, which explains our heavy defensive bonuses. This city is a fortress, and a tough one at that. We still exist because of it, and have been under a loose siege for the last five turns.”

“I’m skipping ahead, forgive me. Thirty turns ago we were at peace. We had just finished a war with Gala, subjugating them and forcing their remaining forces into barbarism. We were redeploying to face the threat from Espang and Tottom, should they end their war with one another. We were safe and secure, with twenty cities and a core of seven that were well defended and booming. We had a master class thinkamancer, Artemina. The King gave her leave to travel to the Magic Kingdom to do some mercenary work while we were at temporary peace. It wasn’t unusual for him to do so, it provided good intelligence as well as shmukers for the treasury. Five turns later, she stopped reporting in. We figured she was working across the world somewhere and would get back to us soon. That was when five of our cities came under siege in the same turn. We heard nothing from our scouts, nor our lookamancer. Artemina was ordered back to the capital, but she never showed. The lookamancer, I don’t recall his name, was sent into the Magic Kingdom to find out what happened. He also did not return. After we lost ten of our cities to different nations, the King started trying to pop warlords to get a caster, any caster. With the loss of the two we had, we were without any magical support, and the enemies were packing heavily.”

“I was a quickly promoted field unit, used to hold one of the border cities…Castillion it was called, though the Espangians changed it to Arogus after they captured it. During a fighting retreat I leveled from one to five. The Espangians had a dollomancer leading heavy golems, a carnymancer leading Taurons, and a shockamancer leading a full stack of thunderlizawds…a full stack! One is terrible enough, but a full stack with a shockamancer bonus! I’m surprised I survived. My battered stack barely made it back to Milannin. We had a stockpile of accessories there from when we had a dollamancer. That’s where I found this magic discus.” She taps the ring on her hip. “It can hit multiple units with one strike, wonderful weapon.”

“What is…” Regus started, but Anex glared at him.

“Wait to ask your question,” she said. “Millannin was reinforced by the third legion. Our best troops, all high level. Archers, cavalry, legionaiwies, which are a version of heavy spearmen. Some of our best units. Our old Chief Warlord, Sperficus, led the defense. It was a total route. All those casters, and their bonuses…it was too much. We were all but wiped out. I led a full stack of forest capable archers out, and managed to harass the enemy stacks as they came towards the capital. It gave a chance for the Pwebs to set up what traps they could…they are our natural allies, fairly weak, but they make decent sling units and have natural dirtamancy. Any city with them inside has a reduced maintenance for all improvements, which is wonderful.”

“How did…” She stared hard at him again, and Regus stopped his question.

“We lost the rest of our cities, but the traps held off our enemies from sacking the capital. The King has been trying to get a caster so we can use a strategy other than brute force against our enemies. These stacked casters make our job almost impossible. That is why you were popped, we were hoping for a caster. A lookamancer or dittomancer would be wonderful, but we’ve had nothing but warlords. Most have been fairly high level, and so useful even though they aren’t casters, but you…you are obviously not. The King feels he has wasted good money on a worthless warlord, so I would make sure you contribute to this war effort quickly, and level up, or else you will be disbanded to save on upkeep.” While she was talking, a little blue bird flew over and landed on her shoulder. It squawked loudly.

“At AnexWP Get new warlord outfitted and stacked. We need a probing counterattack. Figure out what is going on. KingSixthesev.” It squawked again, staring at Anex.

“Send reply. At KingSixthesev as you wish, highness, will begin as soon as possible. Send it.” The bird squawked a third time, and took off flying away. “I can’t believe what we have to resort to without a thinkamancer.”

“What exactly was that thing?” Regus said, figuring that since the story was over he could risk asking at least one question.

“That is a Twit. They are non-combat units that have a form of natural thinkamancy, though it is severely limited. It doesn’t seem to have any range limits, but it can only communicate very short verbal messages. Plus they can only be sent to one person, whereas thinkagrams can be manipulated a little more. We will have to get you your own twit. You’ll need to think up a twusername.”

“Twusername?”

“A phrase so the twits know who to give the message to. Mine is AnexWP, and the king’s is KingSixthesev. The Duke’s is Raredone. Come on, let’s get you a twit.” She led him out of the garden down a flight of stairs. He briefly could see beyond the outer walls. The city was surrounded by a thin forest, spotted with open plains. Even without a scout report or lookamancer he could see the dire straits they were in. Fires burned through half the hexes he could see. Every hex was full of units, and he doubted any were friendly. He swallowed hard. The King was sending him out there this turn. He didn’t know the odds against him surviving, but he guessed them at slightly longer than the King popping six warlords without getting a caster. It was going to be a long turn.
Last edited by tigerusthegreat on Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:00 pm

He had decideed to use Regus as his twusername. Anex had advised him against it, or at least to add some numbers or initials after the title for security reasons. He didn’t see the need to and that is why she was laughing in a heap while he batted away dozens of the little blue birds.

“*squawk* At Regus, refinance your home loan now. Low interest rates.”

“At Regus, get a five turn supply of healomancy vitamins for only sixty shmukers.”

“At Regus, find your soulmate at dateamancy dot com.”

“Can you convince the King to just disband me already. This is torture.” He yelled at Anex.

“I told you,” she was sobbing with laughter now, “to pick something different.”

“Is there any way to fix it?” One of the birds smacked against his shield, crumpling in a heap on the ground.

“At….Regus…..you may have already…won” the little bird stopped talking.

“Sure, I’ll just disband your twit.” She concentrated for a moment, and one of the twits disappeared. The rest stopped squawking and flew away. “See, easy enough. Now,” she concentrated again and another twit flew out of nowhere, landing on Regus’s shoulder, “I am going to give you a twusername. Twit, register this user as Regusthegreatfool.”

“Twusername is too long. Shortening. User can be contacted at Regusthegreat.”

Regus let out a guffaw. “Looks like that joke backfired on you.”

“Don’t be so sure. Now you have to live up to it. Twit, at Kingsixthesev have Regus equipped. Contact info at Regusthegreat. Sending him to the field now.” The bird flew off. “While we are in the same hex they will all fly around like that. They don’t need to, they have natural thinkamancy and can communicate with one another, but they still fly around like….well twits. In the field yours will stay on your shoulder or at least nearby.” She walked towards the central gate of the third level of the city. “Come on, let’s get you some units, the counter-attack will begin soon.”

They walked down through all three levels of the city. Anyone invading would be fighting uphill for a very long time, and it was doubtful that siege could effectively more through the streets. Between every third row of buildings was a chokepoint, where units positioned on the roofs could cause mayhem to any units below. The city was a defensive marvel, and Julo the Builder was clearly a military genius. While he was looking at the architecture, seven swordsmen, light legionaiwies, equipped similar to himself, except for a much larger shield, had started following him. The King was sending a level one warlord with a stack of level one troops to their deaths it seemed. It also seemed a total waste of units.

“The plan is simple. The Pwebs have set up a sizeable trap on the hex outside our gate. They are waiting to set it off. It should clear the hex. More pwebs will build a quick fort out there, and then the warlords will go after the caster units. Croak the casters first, by any means. If we can eliminate those force multipliers, we can turn this battle. Your target is the Dittomancer in the archery stack.”

“You’re sending swordsmen after archers with a dittomancer? We won’t even be able to hit them before we are croaked!” Regus exclaimed.

“Now why would I do that. If I wanted you dead, I’d just have the King disband you, or do it myself. Are you forgetting that these are legionaiwies? Watch this.” She turned around, and the troops halted. “Form the shield wall.” The legionaiwies grouped closer together, locking their large shields together. Three shields formed a solid wall in front, while two more protected them from above, and one from each side. “It works best with eight of them, but seven still provides a significant defensive bonus against ranged units. Now that I think about it…” She looked around, and stepped into one of the side buildings. It was apparently an armory, as she stepped out with a legionaiwy shield. “Try this on, and join the shield wall.”

Regus doffed his small arm shield, handing it off to Anex. The larger shield was heavy, but it felt as natural as his other shield. The stack opened up its shield wall, and he stepped into the center, adding a third shield to the upper protection. They were still vulnerable from behind, but that hex should be protected by the fort. If they could get to the stack, they could decimate the archers, not to mention the dittomancer. “Okay, I feel a little more confident about this suicide mission. When do we start?”

“They are waiting on you…and me of course, but mostly you. They don’t need their Chief Warlord, but the warlord she’s babysitting is very important.” She winked at him. He could tell the troops around him were holding in their laughter. At least these soldiers knew the seriousness of the mission.

“Well, then lets get going so I can relieve you of your babysitting duties.”
Last edited by tigerusthegreat on Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Prehendo Victoria - My first erfworld story. Comment thread

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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:20 am

Regus was amazed at how fast the Pwebs had built defensive walls around the camp beyond the front gate of the city. It was an impressive feat of natural dirtamancy, and reinforced the weakest point of the walls. Unfortunately, he would not be remaining within the walls for very long. He could see the archers and their dittomancer in the next hex. Anex, and the other warlords were already on their way to fight the other casters, leaving Regus and his legionawies to take down that stack. He wasn't eager to start what would certainly be a massacre of his stack, even with the natural defensive bonus they had against archers. He could feel seven pairs of eyes watching him, waiting for his order.

"Let's go." He said, pumping the confidence he didn't feel into his voice. As they left the fortifications, he gave the second order. "Form the shield wall."

In the defensive cocoon of shields he could barely see anything. He heard the occasional thud of arrows after they crossed into the next hex. There were far fewer than there should have been. He looked to the sides, and to his amazement saw other units of legionawies, in shield walls, approaching the stack as well. These were bearing the brunt of the arrows, but their shields seemed to take them well enough. He didn't see any fall at least.

"You fools, it's a veil!" He heard the dittomancer shout, but he was too late. The shield wall burst open like a flower, with each legionawy heading for a different archer. Regus went for the caster's throat. The shock of the abruptness of his attack overwhelmed him, and a surprised look was forever frozen on his face, Regus's blade sticking out of his throat. His troops had similar success, wiping out the rest of the archers. Regus had expected higher level archers, but these were very basic soldiers.

"We should return to the fort." He said. He noticed something on the caster's body, and picked it up. It was just a spell scroll, useless without a caster, but he thought it might be useful. He looked over his troops, surprised to find they had all levelled. At that time he realized that he had as well. They walked back into the fort, and his blue twit stared at him.

"At Regusthegreat. Explain yourself, how did you do that? AnexWP."

"How did I do what?" Regus said back to the bird. It looked at him dumbly, and Regus sighed. "At AnexWP. What do you mean? I just attacked the archery stack." The Twit concentrated for a moment, then spoke again.

"At Regusthegreat. The Foolamancy veil that you used to cover your attack. Haven't told the king yet. Need to know your method."

"At AnexWP. I didn't realize i had done anything. When I attacked I saw other legionawies attacking, and I thought it was just another stack attacking with us. I am not sure what happened or how." The bird stared at him confused. Regus sighed yet again. "At AnexWP. Didn't realize I had done anything. Saw other Legionawies attack, thought it was another stack."

"At Regusthegreat. Stay at the fort, will be there soon to discuss this. Congrats on levelling."

He felt less than relieved that Anex was coming back to the fort. What did she mean that there was a foolamancy veil. Who had cast it? This morning it had seemed hard enough just to survive his first battle, and now he had to deal with questions about things he didn't understand in the least.
Prehendo Victoria - My first erfworld story. Comment thread

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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:09 am

The returning soldiers slowly poured into the base camp. Many were badly injured, and there were far fewer than had set out. They were joyous, though, as many of the battles had been won, and the enemy would surely retreat after such routes. One warlord, Cleshera, a massive strongman, and his stack did not return. Rumor was that they had stumbled across something huge, and tried to take it out. There were always rumors, and they would remain so until the Chief Warlord returned. Regus was exhausted, even after such a short fight. He felt completely drained, and went to lay down in the barracks the Pwebs had constructed.

It seemed as if he had just shut his eyes when Lady Anex was shaking him awake. "Rise and shine, sleeping beauty, we have another mission."

He got up out of bed and stretched. It was already the next turn. "Why didn't you wake me when you entered the hex?"

"I tried, you were completely out, which is even stranger than the foolamancy. I spoke with your soldiers. They say that the veil just appeared, right at the critical moment. They also said that if it weren't for that veil, you would all be dead, and that dittomancer would probably be raining arrows down on this camp now." She sat at the foot of the bed while he gathered his gear. "Its clear you aren't a caster. Warlords can't be casters, after all, and casters can't be warlords, but you are something. I've kept this under wraps for now, I suggest you do the same until we figure it out. I believe the King would act rashly if he knew what has occurred, and that is not good for him or the kingdom."

"Indeed not, especially if I cannot do it again." Regus stared at the wall. "I didn't even try to do anything. I just looked at the situation and realized that without some help we would all be croaked. I just wanted so badly to succeed, not to mention survive, and that's when I noticed the other soldiers...the veils." He sat down on the other side of the bed. "If I can't control this, it is dangerous. If we had a caster, I could discuss this sort of thing with them, but without...they may not even have any clue about what this even is."

"Casters always have theories about things, especially the good ones." Anex mused. "Of course, they may not believe that a warlord could cast, even if they saw it."

"That reminds me." Regus said, digging through his pack. He retrieved the spell scroll, and handed it to the Chief Warlord. "I found this on the Dittomancer. No idea what kind of magic it is, but I'd bet dittomancy....if I'm able to cast spells, shouldn't I recognize them as well? Shouldn't I feel some connection to that scroll?"

"That depends. Magic is a complicated thing. The few casters I've spoken to about magic theory have told me that it all depends on your discipline. If you're a foolamancer, then you have some insight into thinkamancy and lookamancy, but dittomancy would be a mystery to you. Now, many casters study at least the basics of a couple other magic types, so they can use scrolls and magic items of those disciplines, or at least expand their capabilities. There was one tale of a master-class florist and dirtamancer who made whole cities out of flowers and plants...the sort of magic that is only theorized about and thought only possible with a link. You're just dipping your toe into an ocean of things you probably should learn."

Regus took his head in his hands. It was all too much. After one battle he was now expected to become an expert on magic, while still performing his duties as a warlord. It seemed to him a hopeless endeavor. As hopeless as him ever recognizing the spell scroll that was two feet away in Anex's hands. He stared at it for a minute. So much power in one tiny vessel. If the dittomancer had managed to use it, its magic would have ripped through their walls like butter. Regus started. How did he know what the spell would do?

"Are you alright? You look like you've seen your own death."

"That spell...I don't know how, but I know what it does. It's a dirtamancy spell...it would rip apart the walls of the city somehow." Anex looked shocked, and handed it back to him.

"Keep it then, maybe we can use it. Get ready, we have to move out in a little while. One of our stacks was croaked by a second assault force that was coming to reinforce the siege. Scouts report that there aren't any casters with them, which means a straighter fight than we've had." She walked to the door, and turned before stepping through. "Regus, I am glad the King didn't disband you outright. Don't make me regret that feeling."
Prehendo Victoria - My first erfworld story. Comment thread

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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Fri May 06, 2011 2:07 am

They were searching for Cleshera, and his missing stack. Lady Anex seemed confident that they hadn't been croaked, not yet at least, but they were in some sort of dire trouble. There were no responses to messages sent by Twit, what Anex had called Tweets, an absurd name for an absurd thing. Regus's stack of light legionawies was kept close to Anex's Amazons, fierce battle-hardened women who seemed at home in the forest hexes they walked through. This gave the two a chance to talk at length.

"if I concentrate on it, I can't grasp even the faintest bit of it, but if I let my mind wander, I can see things." Regus said. "Like the Pweb's stonework. If I focus on it, I just see the stones, and the defensive bonus, but if I look beyond it, or look at it from the corner of my eye, I can see a weave of energy. i can tell how they pulled it together. Then I try to look more into it, and it fades back into a defensive bonus and nothing more."

"You are definately a strange one, Regus." Anex laughed. "I just hope whatever you can do will be useful. Be on your guard, the next hex is where Cleshera last reported in."

They crossed into the next hex, and a strong smell of burned flesh and charred wood greeted them. The forest here was badly damaged, but there were no bodies. Combat that had happened last turn would have left no bodies this turn, but the damage to the terrain would last for a few additional turns.

"This is not a good sign," Anex said softly. Her eyes darted around, and her Amazons spread out. Regus's legionawies stayed close together and in formation.

Regus ignored the Chief Warlord, and ran his finger through one of the dark scars on a nearby tree. It tingled with....something. A sharp taste was on his tongue, the flavor nagging on the back of his mind like some long forgotten memory. "Natural shockamancy," he muttered.

"What was that?" Anex asked. She had practically snuck up on him while he mused, though it was unlikely she was trying to hide from him.

"This was done by natural shockamancy. Probably those Thunderlizawds."

"The shockamancer was Cleshera's target. I thought they would have pulled him back to charge up air defenses or something, but I guess the final push needed everyone they could muster. Now we just need to find them."

"Leading type units in an attack like this uses juice. A full stack would leave him drained, even if he didn't cast another spell. He has to be nearby." The puzzled look Anex gave him made him stop short. "I don't know how I know that, I just do. He's in the next few hexes, probably somewhere defensible."

Anex cringed. "There's a ruined tower north of here. I was hoping they didn't know about it, but I doubt they could miss it. Let's hope Cleshera took out a couple of the thunderlizawds."

They marched north, and burnt forest turned into open grassland, dominated by a crumbling wreck of a masonry tower. They could feel it as they entered the hex, a hum of energy in the air. Then bolts of lightning struck near them. They were too far away for it to do any damage, or even hit, but the warning was clear.

"He's scared. Low on juice and probably with wounded units." Anex said, smiling grimly. "Let's make sure he doesn't stay scared. Dead men know no fear." Her amazons formed up with her, and they all let out a battlecry. "Aye ya ya ya ya ya ya!" The women surged forward towards the tower. Anex dodged left and right, a bolt barely missing her. One of her amazons was not as lucky, crumbling to the ground, shaking with the energy of the strike. Regus looked at his men, and ordered the charge.

The Legionawies were not as good at charging as they were at formation marching. They ran awkwardly in heavy armor with their large shields. The thunderlizawds seemed to think Anex and her Chief Warlord bonus-led stack were a bigger threat, leaving the legionawies alone. Regus picked his way through the tall grass towards the tower, smiling grimly. Finally, he caught a glimpse of the thunderlizawds. They were massive beasts with horns on their noses where bolts of lightning sprung. Already one was flailing about, sparking at random, both eyes pierced by arrows. Anex threw her discus, and sparks shone as it hit the rock behind the shockamancer. It seemed to richochet, flying back to Anex at blinding speed. Regus expected her to dodge out of the way, but instead she plucked it out of mid-air as if it were sitting there and waiting for her. She flung her arm back to throw again, and as she released the discus, a bolt from the outstretched finger of the shockamancer struck her chest. She disappeared in the tall grass.

Regus didn't have time to think about it, as his charge had carried him to the tower, and its denizens. He flung his shield forward into the face of one of the thunderlizawds. It cracked loudly, and vibrated. The lizawd's eyes rolled up into its head, and its monstrous bulk thundered as it hit the ground, stunned but not yet dead. A swordstroke down into its brain fixed that problem. His legionawies and the Amazons kept working on the other lizawds, but Regus was focused on another target. On the top of the ruined stairs hunched a man in robes. The shockamancer that Anex had tried to kill. Regus stepped up the stairs one at a time, carefully...cautiously, but the caster didn't move. Regus got within feet of him before he heard the rasping breath, and then could see the glassy eyes.

"I'd....I'd....I'd...caaa....call them off, but I...I cannot think straightly. Forgive me, it...it is war." the shockamancer said. Regus noticed his hand clutched to his chest, spurting blood from a stump where his wrist should be. The caster's eyes lost their shine, and it crumpled into a heap. Looking down, the remaining thunderlizawds were dead, and his units and the Amazons were helping their wounded to their feet. That is when he looked around, and saw Anex was not there.

"By the Titans, no." He leaped off of the tower, landing hard on the ground, before running to the spot where Anex lay. A smoking hole burned over her left breast, the shocking blast had blown through her armor, striking near her heart. She stared up at him, eyes glassy.

"Did...did..." she coughed hard, and then yelped in the pain of it. "Did we...get him?"

"You did. Your discus cut off his hand." Regus took off his gauntlets, wiping his sweating hands on the tabard he wore over his armor. Anex reached for his hands weakly, and he took hers, holding them tight.

"I....I can die knowing I did my" she coughed again, squeezing tightly onto Regus's hands. "Duty." Her eyes seemed to focus beyond Regus. "The Titans...they know...they've put you here....for some great reason."

"Don't talk like that..." Regus said, thinking desperately for anything that could save his Chief Warlord. He wrested one of his hands away and brushed the hair from her face. It was thick with sweat, blood, and dirt, but he couldn't help but notice she was a beautiful woman, if not also a hardened warrior. "We still need you in this fight, Anex. Stay with me."

"I...can see..." Her voice got soft, and Regus could not hear her. He leaned in closer to her, his face inches away from hers. "I can see why you are what you are. I was an archer now I am Chief, you were a warlord now your are a caster. The Titans pull our strings, and we must follow." Her breathing was getting shorter, and her grip on Regus's hands was loosening. A single tear fell from Regus's eyes. Anex closed hers, her breath shallow.

Regus kissed her.
Prehendo Victoria - My first erfworld story. Comment thread

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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Fri May 06, 2011 9:17 pm

He felt a jolt to his lips, like one of the thunderlizawds had hit him directly on the mouth. It wasn't painful, in fact it felt wonderful, as if the jolt was full of life, beauty...all the good things of the erf. Anex's eyes flew open, and she let out a muffled cry of shock. Pushing him bodily off of her, she sat up, fingers probing the burnt hole in her armor. She winced as she did, then turned on Regus.

"If you ever tell anyone about *that* I will disband you myself." She stood, and strode away, leaving the young warlord dumbfounded. He wasn't sure what had happened. One moment she was dying, and the next...it just didn't make any sense.

He walked to where his legionawies stood, carving up the remains of a thunderlizawd. The meat smoked, the beasts apparently cooked themselves when they died, which meant something more interesting than iron rations tonight. Anex and her Amazons were a bit away from the legionawies, they had a fire built, and the other women tended to their warlord. The one that had been hit initially was not there. The shockamancy had probably croaked her, as it almost had Anex.

"My kingdom for a caster." Regus muttered. The irony of the statement never hit him. The King was indeed sacrificing the military might of his kingdom to buy time to pop a caster, and had been for some time. There was something to that, something strange and unnatural.

"My lord." One of the legionawies approached him. His name was Marius, and though he did not have any leadership, he was the de facto leader of the stack when Regus was not present. "We found something on the caster." He handed over a folded parchment, stained with blood. "They are maps of the nearby country. They include notes of troop movement and concentration from twenty turns ago. These troops have been around here for some time, sir."

"Any indication of where their stacks might be? The last thing I want is to be counter-attacked."

"None, sir, at least not that I can tell. The coast is a few hexes to the east, and there is an island nearby with a level one port city on it. It was never much use to us, so when they rebelled a hundred turns ago, we never recaptured it. There are notes around that hex, but nothing I can understand. That might be where some of their units are, there is still a unit of Taurons led by a Carnymancer that is on our objective list, sir."

"Good work, Marius. Reform the men and get ready to defend this tower. I don't want to loose anyone, especially not because we aren't prepared." He walked up the ruined staircase and perched himself on the uppermost part. Something told him it wouldn't collapse under his weight, but it was hardly stable. He stared down at the Amazons and the Chief Warlord. Perhaps her brush with death had been too stressful for her to handle, but a woman like that made such thoughts unlikely. A little blue bird flew up to him and perched on his shoulder. The twit leaned its beak into his ear.

"At Regusthegreat. What did you do? AnexWP." It whispered softly enough that Regus could barely hear it. Regus started to respond, but realized he did not know how to make the bird deliver its message quietly. The bird stared at him, waiting, its little eyes boring into his soul.

"At AnexWP. Not sure. I have no control over whatever this is. I just didn't want you to croak." Satisfied, the little bird flew off, only to return moments later.

"At Regusthegreat. Don't think I am ungrateful, I am just unsure of what to think about the events. You are a mystery. AnexWP."

"At AnexWP. I understand how you feel. I am more confused that you can imagine. You should get some sleep, tomorrow will be busy."

"At Regusthegreat. Thank you. Goodnight. AnexWP."
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Wed May 25, 2011 2:52 pm

The night passed quickly. Regus was uneasy, and barely slept. Far too much had happened far to quickly for his tastes, and he had far to many unanswered questions. From the heights of the ruined tower he could see the sea. The coast was three or four hexes away, but his eyes were drawn to something out there. Something beyond sight. Something...familiar.

"We are quite fortunate that you are not Chief Warlord," Anex's voice startled him from his revelry, almost sending him off the edge of the ruined staircase. "For you would sit and ponder all day and never take any course of action."

"I'm just following my orders, Chief," Regus said with a grin. "Which at the moment are none, and so that is what I am doing; nothing." He fished the stained map from his pouch, and handed it to her. "I do not know the significance of this, but we found it on the caster. You probably can make more sense of it than I can."

She looked at the map, and muttered something to herself, before shoving it into her own belt pouch. "We should consolidate with the others. Now that there is no chance at finding our lost comrades, we need to regroup and work towards our next objective, which the king will..." She was cut off by a loud squawk.

"At AnexWP. Popped a caster; dirtamancer. No thinkamancer but better than nothing. Sending him to the front. Push to Mediol. KingSixtheSev." The twit perched on Anex's shoulder, waiting for a reply.

She sighed heavily. "At KingSixtheSev. Good news. Will push to Mediol with all force. Be advised, Shockamancer killed, no eyes on Carnymancer." The bird concentrated, then twipped happily, and flew off. "Stupid twits." She muttered.

"A Dirtamancer is a good thing," Regus said. "Give us someone to give this blasted scroll to, and I can stop worrying about this foolery of magic."

Anex rounded on him, almost pushing him off the stair with the force of her voice. "There is something strange, unique, and useful about what you can do. Gaining a caster might give us some insight, and you should talk to him, but under no circumstances are you to give up on this foolery." She turned and stormed down the steps.

"So I take it we aren't going to talk about what happened yesterday?" He called after her. The glare she sent back told him that they were done talking, and he had said something to offend her deeply. Any thanks she had for him saving her life were used up, and then some, by whatever slight he had done to her.

"Women..." He sighed, and gathered up his legionawies for the march to Mediol.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Wed May 25, 2011 9:16 pm

They moved away from the coast in silence. The hexes went from forested to clear farmland. Regus felt that they were leaving something important behind, though he couldn't place exactly what. Anex barely looked at him, and when she did it was a glare. Turning to Marius, Regus tried to pass the time with a little idle talk.

"What do you think I said to make her this way?" He asked to the soldier. The latter merely shrugged. "Surely you must have some idea."

"Sir, I know two things very well. One does not question a Chief Warlord, and one never questions a woman. In either case, it ends poorly." Regus snorted at the comment, but one look to his subordinate showed the seriousness of the joke.

Regus stared at the long hair of Lady Anex, and wondered at the puzzle that was his chief warlord. There was no denying that their kiss had done something to change their relationship. At the moment it seemed to make her hate him, though last night she seemed...bashful? It wasn't a word that readily applied itself to a woman of her innate ferocity. Regus was pulled from his thoughts, nearly trampling over one of the amazons that stopped ahead of him without his notice. The warrior woman glared back at him, imitating her warlord's mood towards the young commander. Stepping gingerly through them to Anex's side, he waited for her to speak.

"You should speak to the dirtamancer about your mutual interests. It is prudent that the King not know about your abilities until we fully understand them, lest he try to use something in a plan and it fail miserably. I trust you can do such a simple task, after all your erf-breaking powers are mere foolery, so this should be no more difficult than healing a dying comrade."

She started marching with her Amazons without a thought, leaving Regus with his mouth agape. The pieces were starting to form into a picture, though a lot of it was missing. She was clearly mad because of his dismissal of the magic he could barely use. Yet twice now it had turned the tide of a battle, once leading to the death of the Dittomancer, and then saving the life of the Chief Warlord. She was right that whatever power he wielded in his own crude way was indeed mighty, if only he could understand and control it.

"Sir? Are you coming?" Marius called back to him. The rest of the stack had left the hex, except for Marius and Regus. Without a word, Regus followed.

The next hex showed the hard work of the Pwebs. Even without the dirtamancer, who was not in the hex yet, the fortifications were significant. Lady Anex was huddled with several other warlords, looking over the map that Regus had found. She did not look his way. Before he could puzzle his mind further about her, a whirl of hooves sounded, as several mounted soldiers rode up, the caster in tow. Dismounting near Regus, the dirtamancer looked much worse for the journey.

He was dressed in drab black, a rapier at his side, which was strange for a caster. His dark hair and white palor seemed more in line with a croakamancer than dirtamancer, and it hardly looked like he would survive long in the field. He seemed at times to address himself, as if none could hear him. Odd that the king should be so grateful for a cracked caster.

"Captain of our mighty band, Lady Anex here at hand. The popped, new and old, ready for orders told. Shall we their fortifications see? What fools the Pwebians be!" In a moment of lucidity he looked at Regus. "See now, fair Regus stands, brave with shield wall man'd. What seeks he to know? From lowly, meek Hamratio?"
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Thu May 26, 2011 11:45 am

Regus stared at the clearly addled diratmancer. Leading him off to a more secluded area of the fortifications. Sitting upon a loose stone, Regus stares at the caster. Hamratio looks down, and picks up a roundish rock. Turning it over and over.

"Alas, simple Norite. I know it, Regus; A stone of infinite uselessness, of most excellent weight for papers. It bears our weight all around, yet never bears our praises. The bile rises in pity for this useless stone; and mind wanders to who today will be as poor Norite. Where will our jibes and jokes be then, dear Regus?"

"I do wish you would speak more plainly." Regus said. "It is enough to deal with warrior women who do not speak as they mean, perhaps two men can have a conversation without need of a translator."

"Dear Regus, what would you know?
Why the sun and stars do glow?
No, the mysteries of fate you seek,
the answer to your powers meek.
King and court ignore your glory,
but they know half of the story.
Birds see birds upon the wing,
A warlord you appear to a king,
but to a caster's trained eye,
more than that within you lies."

The words washed over Regus, and he understood what Hamratio had said. "Then what do you see within me? What is it that others...and I...cannot see?"

"Nona spins in you a mighty web,
Morta will declare your final ebb,
but Decima will make your measure.
To Lachesis your mind must attend
though Atropos decides your end.
We are all bound within time,
to pop and croak, birth to lime.
Once a caster, always should be,
the exception is before me.
First a caster, then a lord of war,
now somehow both at once you are."

"Morta? Decima? Nona? Who are these, and how do they control me? I thought the Titan's will alone bore out our destiny?"

Before Hamratio could open his mouth again, a little blue bird floated over his shoulder. "At TheLard. Report to me immediately for assignment in the invasion. AnexWP."

The caster said nothing to the bird, but stood, placing his hand on Regus's shoulder.

"This turn, and the next, and the next.
Creeps this petty pace from hex to hex.
To the last titan's turn of recorded time.
And all the turns past have lighted fools,
The way to dusty croaking, Out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale,
told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing...

"But last turn, and the last before it came,
Fate has changed, answering to your name.
One killed, and another has been saved,
You alone the fates have not chained."

Hamratio ran off to answer the summons, leaving Regus puzzled.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Fri May 27, 2011 11:03 pm

After pondering by himself what Hamratio had said, and coming up with nothing, Regus saw a little blue bird flying for him, and he knew what it would say before it reached him.

"At Regusthegreat. Report to me for your assignment. AnexWP."

He headed off to the edge of the fort. He saw Hamratio leading a group of pwebs towards the front gate. The dirtamancer gave him a wry grin. Turning back towards the command tent, he locked eyes with Anex. Her eyes hardened quickly, but there was something there before she had noticed him looking at her...a softness? Impossible in the hard heart of the warrior woman. Regus said nothing, but met her gaze and smiled.

"You took your time coming here. I hope you had a chance to talk to that fool of a dirtamancer before I had to whisk him away. He was necessary for the King's idea of a plan." She walked into the tent, and Regus followed. On a small table was a map of the immediate area, showing the city of Mediol only a few hexes away. "We have no intel on what forces hold the city, nor if they have any reinforcements nearby. We have met with some success, but we cannot afford any losses. One or two stacks will be the deciding factor of this breakout, and we need to establish a defensible perimeter sooner rather than later. The King disagrees, but I am hoping he leaves those decisions to me. Your role will be to protect the dirtamancer and his stack of pwebs. My amazons will lead the attack on the main gate as a diversion, you will be forming a breach in the walls where our forces can force their way into the courtyard and hopefully take the garrison while most of the troops remain defending the walls. I am not sure what will be waiting you, but expect to be reinforced quickly, as we will break off the attack as soon as we have another avenue of attack. Questions?"

"Why are you so angry with me?" Regus said bluntly.

"Any *tactical* questions, Warlord?" She said. Regus could not tell if she was holding back a smile, or was truly angry.

"None, Chief, though I do apologize for implying saving your life was a foolish bit of magic." He said quickly. "If there's nothing else?" He ducked out of the tent and took a step forward, before feeling her strong hand on his shoulder. She bodily turned him around.

"I did not dismiss you." She pushed him back into the tent. "You are such an insolent, aggravating, fool of a man." She moved close to him, until they were nose to nose. "You continue to be disobedient to my orders, question my judgment, and insult my very existence." She poked a hard finger into his chest. "Yet....yet...." The rage was failing fast in her countenance, and finally broke. "I owe you my life, and I find myself drawn to you somehow. You don't allow me to be dishonest to you, and I don't need to be strong around you all the time." She looked incredibly tired, and drawn, like a marathon runner at the end of his race.

"Why do you push me away, then?" Regus asked.

"I..." She looked away, and Regus touched her chin with his fingers, and turner her face back to his. "You know what they used to call me, right after they promoted me? Fighting through the forests, loosing unit after unit...they said I could keep my composure as well as nobility, and never let it get to me. They called me the warrior princess. They...they didn't know that I remember each of those men and women I lost. Amilia, Gwenalyn, Olivia, Mia and Tia...and Lauren, she was killed by that shockamancer last turn...and dozens of others. I'm a Chief Warlord, I can't let on that others aren't expendable to me, especially when I have a King who thinks that they are expendable, and should be expended to the man if need be." Her warrior shell was fully broken now, and tears streamed down her face. "You don't see me as expendable...you fought fate and the titan's rules themselves to keep me alive, and for that I am eternally grateful, but I can't be grateful to you for that. If I am...it means I am not fit to do this job. I don't want to send you and Hamratio into that city tomorrow with only your stacks, but those are my orders, and it is my duty to see them out. I do not know what I would do if you were croaked tomorrow."

"Whatever the titan's will is, I do not know." Regus said. "You will have many more names to remember tomorrow, but I doubt they have brought me all this way in such a short time to have me croaked tomorrow. As much as you are worrying about me, I will worry about you."

She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Time seemed to stand still...
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Tue May 31, 2011 7:41 pm

Regus stared at the walls of Mediol. They were built in the Pwebian style, white marble and mortar, and very strong for it. Hamratio said nothing, but stared at the fortifications. After several long minutes, trumpets sounded, and the few archers that patrolled the section directly ahead of them ran for the gates, where Anex, and her stacks were attacking.

"Thick walls wax poor when defenders prove unwise." Hamratio said, motioning the pwebs forward. "Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war." He ran forward with them, and knelt near the base of the wall. Regus brought up his group of Legionawies.

"What say you, dirtamancer?" Regus said. He was looking towards the main gate, hearing loudly the sounds of battle there.

"It is a wall. A wall hath not eyes. It hath not hands, organs, sense, passions...it needs not food, nor weapons, nor fear disease nor bloodying. Suffers warmth and cool, weathers poison and age better than any soldier. Poison it, and it will not die. Wrong it, and it cannot seek revenge. Prick it and can not bleed."

"You prattle on, dirtamancer." Regus said. "Get to the root of it."

"Patience, dear Regus, for I am almost there. Magic has resonance, and here I have seven pwebs. Seven pwebs and a dirtamancer raised these walls, and so they are beholden to me. To kill a man or a wall takes but one pound of flesh or stone. I will have my pound of stone." Hamratio took from his side a small spade, and a length of rawhide. Scraping the blades of the spade from side to side on the rawhide to sharpen t he blade. "Walls, remember your makers. ANTONIO!" He struck the earth, and a small shard of rock fell from the base of the wall into his hand. The wall seemed unharmed.

"That was..." Regus started to say, but then large cracks appeared in the face of the wall. Marble and mortar split and crashed around them. Soon, a breach in the wall between the two nearest towers was visible, and Marius and the legionawies surged forward. Regus followed after them. With a thought, a little blue bird appeared. "At AnexWP. Wall is down. Heading for garrison." He looked behind to see the pwebs and dirtamancer hard at work rebuilding the wall. "What are you doing Hamratio?"

"To build or not to build, that is the question.
whether tis noble in the mind to plunder
and take arms against a sea of enemies
and by opposing end them? To die, to sleep
no more; and by a sleep to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
to sleep, perchance to dream - aye there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause- there's the respect
that makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of turns,
the oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
the pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
the insolence of office, and the spurns
that patient merit of the unworthy takes,
when he himself might his quietus make
with a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
to grunt and sweat under a weary life,
but that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.
Duty to our King prevails first of all,
Duty to my friend curtailed lest I fall."

Hamratio's last words floated over the wall, and Regus understood. The realization that the plan had already been changed by the King's desire to keep his caster out of harm's way, and that Regus was very much alone with his stack. Alone, and in a hostile city with Anex's diversionary attack soon dissipating. A rock sunk to the bottom of his gut, and the realization came that he and his stack did not stand a good chance to survive. Unsheathing his sword, he caught up to his troops, looking towards the tower at the center of the city. There the garrison awaited to be captured.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:09 pm

"Quickly, we must take the garrison." Regus said, hustling with his troops. "It is only a matter of time before they realize we have infiltrated, and that the attack is merely a diversion."

The city appeared deserted, though the dying sounds of battle could be heard from the forward gates. The garrison loomed closer. They would be upon it in a minute.

"Hurry hurry hurry! Step right up and see the amazing Running of the Taurons!" A voice called from a side street. Regus's will to conquer wavered as his curiosity took the best of him. So too did his legionawies stop and turn to see a gaudily dressed man shout in front of a pen full of large horned cows. "See the amazing power of these cud-chewing quadrapeds, think you can outrun the stampede?" Looking up the man saw the stack, and smiled. "You, sir? Think you can match paces with a herd that each has twice the feet as you? Ten shmuckers to prove it, and win a luxurious prize." He waved behind him and a stall along the cage had an assortment of large, even guadier stuffed animals. "Perhaps there's a lucky lady in your life that would enjoy a prize, won by her handsome beau?"

The pull was too much. Waving off his stack, he handed over ten shmukers. The man smiled, and Regus waited. After several long minutes, he asked "So, when does this race begin?"

"It's customary to give you a two minute head start." The man said.

"So when do I start?"

"Two minutes ago." He pulled a lever, and the pen opened. The Taurons looked at him, and snorted, pawing at the grass.

"Oh..." Regus said, and took off down the alley as fast as his legs would carry him. Soon the whole city was full of the stamping and snorting of cattle, and the ground shook with their violent force. The carnymancer was rolling on the ground, laughing at the fleeing commander. His troops were powerless to help, as the pen door had opened in such a way as to trap them against the side of the building, and their combined strength was insufficient to move it.

Alleys blurred by and Regus was soon panting hard. The Taurons behind him showed no sign of letting up, and so the young commander had to keep his legs moving. Certain death was always underfoot, or rather under hoof, which is where Regus would be if he slowed or stopped. He heard a harsh laugh, and looked back. The carnymancer was riding one of the lead bulls, cracking a whip to goad them on faster. His yelling and commotion has raised the alarm of the other troops, as they came to watch the race. One poor archer got too close to the action, and was trampled by a Tauron that veered into the alleyway.

"Titans...." Regus panted. "If....you...have....a....plan....now...is....a....good....time." His breath was ragged, and his lungs burned. He had to have nearly run a full circuit of the city. Soon he would be back at the start, where his penned troops were. Maybe they would have freed themselves by now, and then they could...

Regus tripped over a loose rock, and flew through the air. He tumbled end over end, landing hard, face-down in the sweet smelling grass, waiting for the feel of hooves crushing the life out of him...

Grass? Why was there grass in the dirt paths of the city? Forcing himself up to his knees, he looked back to see a group of the Taurons chewing their cuds quietly, no longer the mad stampede they were a moment ago. Taking a blade of the grass, he nibbled on it. It tasted of honey and sweet wines, much better than half the meals he had had in the last few turns. He almost laughed at the poor carnymancer who was trying to whip the cattle into a frenzy again.

"I believe I have won your bet. I will take my prize, and your surrender as well." Regus said, drawing his sword.

"That was not the deal, you may have your prize, but not me." The Carnymancer said, laughing. He ran right at a nearby window, jumping through it. Regus ran to the window, and looked inside. The room was small and full of broken glass, but no carnymancer. Regus sighed, and walked towards the pen to release his comrades. He was getting decidedly tired of magic, and its effects on the world.
Last edited by tigerusthegreat on Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:32 pm

The Taurons were the least of his worries, it turned out. Not long after freeing his troops, Regus and his legionawies met a group of stabbers. They weren't much of a match for the experienced legionawies, but injuries were still taken. Not one of his troops was at full hits now, and trouble kept looming. Ahead of them in the road to the garrison were a full compliment of pikers. Their long steel lances glittered in the sun.

"Well, Marius, this is looking like more and more of a suicide mission."

"Indeed, sir, but a good death is better than a poor life."

"Javelins for Vatima." Regus cried, and his troops unsheathed the short iron-tipped throwing spears Lady Anex had seen fit to give them before the mission. Pikers are death to stabbers, even elite ones like legionawies, but a hurled javelin can weaken the ranks and make the fight more even. Eight of these weapons flew through the air, and two pikers went down, one each to Marius and Regus. Following their javelins, Regus's stack charged.

The javelins evened the fight, but these were no mere pikers. These were high level pikers, and in good armor. Another went down, but then so did a legionawy. The stacks traded hit for hit, the fierce fighting going on for an eternity. Finally, Regus began to gain the upper hand. His sword found the throat of the leader of the stack. Julio, one of the legionawies, started a cheer, when he was silenced by an arrow. From above, a handful of archers, left over from Anex's attack on the gates, rained death upon the legionawies. Engaged in battle, they could not use their shields to much effect.

Regus grabbed at a discarded spear, and snapped the haft in two with his boot. Taking the shortened spear, he scanned the rooftops. There he found an archer pointing and giving orders. With a mighty hurl, the broken spear planted itself in the archer's chest, dropping him from the roof. The other archers scattered for cover, buying his stack much needed time. If they could finish the pikers, they might have a shot at regrouping and taking on the archers. He only had six legionawies left.

No, now five, a familiar voice screaming informed him. He turned to see who, and ice filled the pit of his stomach. From behind them a stack of stabbers had come up. While normally not a problem, now he was engaged with three stacks, and none of his units were at full hits...far from it. His soldiers fought back-to-back, and did so bravely.

"This is certainly the reaping of a poorly sowed plan." Marius said, taking position guarding his commander's rear. "If I make it through this, I shall advise the king on proper farming methods of a campaign."

"I hope you get the chance." Regus said. An arrow flew past his nose. The fight was hopeless. Another of his stack went down, there were only four left...

Another arrow, three.

A lucky stab of a sword, two.

An impaling thrust of a pike...just him and Marius now. He could feel the heavy weight of his comrade on his back. Knowing how sorely pressed he was, Regus turned to help him, and the corpse of his lieutenant fell to the ground. He was alone now, and desperately low on hits. Each blow drained the vitality from him. He could feel his life-blood pouring from him, but still he fought fiercely. He battered a piker down into the dust with his shield, only to have it grabbed and pulled from him. An arrow sprouted from his shoulder, its barbed point sticking out. A stabber slashed him across his back, and he fell to his knees. He heard something...something beautiful...

It was the war cry of Lady Anex and her Amazons. They were near...in the city. He could feel her Chief Warlord's bonus now. What a shame, she had come to his rescue...but was too late.

"Goodbye, my dear Lady." He said, and fell forward into the dirt of the wretched city.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:32 am

"It was a good fight, Regus. You shouldn't be ashamed of it." A voice called to him out of the blackness. "Twists of fate are cruel, but your soul should be used to such things by now." Regus opened his eyes, and saw a glowing man standing in front of him. He seemed to be made of steel, and smoke or steam bellowed from his mouth when he spoke. His eyes glowed a fiery red.

"What...who are you?"

"A shame you do not remember...it would make things so much easier. We have met many times before." A particularly large bellow of gray steam streamed forth, and reflected on it were images of battles. Every one showed different sides fighting, but always there was a male and female commander leading allied stacks. "You are Regus now, but once were Odyssion, Perius, Jeaon...I could name a dozen incarnations of your physical form, but your spirit is known to me...so too is the lady you know as Anex. Forever star-crossed you two are, until the final incarnation where the Titan's purposes will be known."

"You aren't answering my question...who or what are you?"

The flame burned brighter in his eyes. "I will be patient with you, for you do not remember. I am Dewey X...the mechanical servant of the Titans...the Machine God, as some call me. Made of immortal steel and metals whose names and properties would wreck your mortal mind, and animated by the physiques purita that turn the world itself. I watch for those events that were not meant to happen, and tweak the world so the Titan’s will does not depart it.”

Regus shook his head. “So what happened. Am I dead?”

Dewey X looked away, as if he were staring into the steam that billowed about him. “No, not yet. The Lady Anex managed to rescue you before you were croaked. You are in a state that your kind refers to as disabled…unconscious…asleep. If she can heal you, you will live.”

“I doubt it. She is no healer, nor are any units we had with us…” Regus thought back to his now-dead legionawies. “Marius is dead…as are the others.”

“My dear Regus,” The Machine God turned back to him. “They are only units. Not even special, or commanders. You will loose many more before this war ends. You should take comfort in the knowledge that they died so you have a chance to live on.”

“I do not find that comforting.” Regus said coldly. “If you are here to keep the Titan’s will in place, why have you drug me before you? Surely this isn’t necessary for Fate to work itself out?”

“It would boggle your feeble mind.” Dewey X said. “But you did ask that the Titan’s Will be done to you, and this is how I have interpreted your request. You wish to know why you are able to do things that usually restricted to casters or magic items?” Regus nodded. “I will not tell you such a grand secret, to do so would prevent the growth and struggle you must undergo. You must become the man that can wield this power you do have, and come to control it.”

“Can you at least give me a hint?”

“I can give you a name: Delphine. Find her, and she will provide you with the path you seek. Beware the lies of Homero, he knows of me and will use my form to fuddle you, though it is a poor device.” The red eyes shifted back and forth. “Your time here is at an end. Your Lady seems to have a talent you do not know.”

“What?” Regus started, trying to see into the mist. A burning pain spread from his chest. The Machine God disappeared, and all was replaced with a blinding light.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:07 am

“Awake, sweet Prince. There are no flights of angels to send you on your way.” The voice of Hamratio rang in Regus’s ears.

Regus sat up slowly. Sharp pains rang throughout his body, and the scene around him was one of immense carnage. “What…what happened? I thought…I dreamt…”

“That your lady came and found you dead?” Hamratio smiled wickedly. “She almost did, but luck had it that one of the commanders you killed had on his person a scroll of healamancy, that I was able to use.”

“Luck…” Regus said slowly, trying to hold on to the rapidly fading memories. “Or fate.”

“If it were fate, then you are lucky to have such a fate.”

Regus stared at the caster, then shook his head. “My mind is not in any shape for you to twist it now, Hamratio. Help me up, and lead me to Lady Anex.” With some effort, Regus was helped to his feet. He carefully stepped over the bodies of his fallen comrades. “Today has cost us much.”

“And almost cost you ultimately.”

They approached the keep at the center of the town. It was deeply cracked and scarred, with a whole wall missing, and its towers thrown down. At the gate, Lady Anex stood with a handful of archers, looking over scrolls. Her eyes glanced up, and saw him. Her happiness could not be held in check. She rushed ahead, and embraced him hard, sending a wave of pain through Regus’s battered body. Her passionate kiss tore the pain from his body.

“I thought…the King changed the plan at the last minute…I didn’t know…” Her words were garbled by her shocked state, and the kisses she continued to rain down on him. “We need to find you a place to rest.” Without getting a word in edgewise, Regus was led away by the Chief Warlord and billeted in a house outside the keep. Until the next turn, it would be too unstable to keep units in, thanks to Hamratio’s shattering spells.

Sitting down on the bed, Regus was helped out of his armor by Anex. Her worried looks told him more than he wanted to about his own wounds. He was very tired, the combined wear of the battle, dying, and being brought back were all too much for him.

“You’ve leveled.” Anex said. “I wonder what that means for your abilities.”

“Even if it lets me remake the world on a whim, it wasn’t worth loosing my men. Pointless and senseless. What did the King hope to gain by that strategy?”

“He hoped to keep his only caster alive, almost sacrificing something better than a mere caster.” Anex said with a smile. “But then again, he doesn’t think you are anything but a low level warlord with a knack for getting out of sticky situations.”

“A good thing I am…a shame it doesn’t always spread to help my units. They deserve to live as much as I do.”

“I know…you and I share the pain of having hearts, prone to breaking and wounds suffered by death. The scythe that takes the mortal scars the hearts of the living.” Tears welled up in Lady Anex’s eyes, and she tried to brush them away. “I was worried that you had been added to my list. Today was a bad day for it.”

“Who else did you loose?”

“Cannasa and Arboriana. Both in the initial attacks. I don’t know how long I can handle this.” She sat down at the foot of the bed. “You must think I’m a weeping woman, unfit for this job.”

“You know me better than that.” Regus moved closer to her, and put his arm around her. “I would rather you cry in front of me, and let your guard down than have you wound so tight you make poor decisions in battle, or be heartless and waste valuable lives.” He looked down at the bed, and almost choked on his next words. “I have had a harrowing experience. If you don’t think I am too forward, I would like you to lay beside me tonight, so I can have an assurance I am still among the living.”

Anex snorted with a laugh. “As long as you don’t get any ideas.” Minutes later, they were in bed together, Lady Anex nestled against the battered body of Regus. He put his arms around her and held her tightly. As he drifted to sleep, he heard her whisper, “Thank you.”
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:30 am

Regus watched Anex sleep for almost an hour before she woke up. She had a faint smile on her face the entire time she slept, as if the dream world was a far better one than the vile reality in whose shade it rested.

“Good Morning, Princess,” Regus said, as she sat up and stretched. “What are your orders, today?”

“Until the King sends them, even I do not know. Luckily, he does not like early mornings, even though our turn is the first here.” She looked over at his naked chest and smiled. “No wounds on you today, love. How does being a level three whatever-you-are feel?”

“Strange,” Regus said, thinking about it. His peripheral magical senses had heightened since yesterday. They were more keenly aware of what it is he could not focus on when looking directly at it. However, that had started to change too. Now when he focused on something, he could at least identify its school of magic, if not something more about it. “I’m fairly sure I used Flower Power to save myself from the Taurons yesterday. They stopped because grass grew up all around them, and Hippiemancy is powerful in that way. What other magic can stop an enemy from being able to attack?”

“Croakamancy,” Anex said, tightening the straps of her boots and buckles of her armor. “Not the answer you wanted, I know, but true none-the-less. What about your juice?”

“I’ve only ever been able to do little things with magic, and I am afraid that will continue. One effect every day, I don’t see how that will change.”

“With time you should be able to do more than that, or at least more powerful things. We need to get you an uncracked caster to talk to, if only the King…”

“At AnexWP,” A little blue bird said, bursting open the door, “good job taking Mediol, need to keep moving. Rest and resupply then head to the coast. KingSixtheSev.” It sad on her bare shoulder, waiting for a reply. Anex sighed heavily.

“At KingSixtheSev, what is our target on the coast.” The bird seemed to think hard, and Regus worried it would hurt itself, until it squawked its reply.

“At AnexWP, target is Oracus. Small, undefended, bonus for building ships.” Anex cursed aloud, and quickly regained herself.

“At KingSixtheSev, as you wish.” The bird flew off, happily. “Oracus is a small level one off on an island near here. It has a active volcano, and about its only useful asset is its strong bonus to ship production. We’ve never needed many ships, with pwebs and a solid road network built and maintained by them. Still, ships provide tactical options, and the King seems to want those.”

“How do we get to an island without amphibious or flying units?”

“That’s why we have you, my love,” she tousled his hair. “You will think of something, and if not, I will have to.” Her expression was gravely serious. “Get dressed, get breakfast, and try to find a solution. I have to set things to rights here, and figure out what units to use for this battle, and what to leave here in the garrison.” She finished dressing quickly, and headed out of the building, onto the parade grounds.

-------------------------

Regus found himself on top of the tower of the garrison, not an impressive tower all things considered, but a tower, staring out into the sea. He could see the smoking mountaintop that was the volcano of Oracus, which the city was named after. He could also tell why it was only a level one, and a barbarian level one at that. That volcano could go at any time, and the larger the city, the more that would die in it. Why invest time and money to upgrade and occupy a doomed town? Still, it existed, which meant someone had wanted to found it…maybe that was before the volcano had erupted the first time…

“Methinks that youthinks yourself deeply into a puzzle, cousin Regus.” Hamratio said, ascending the staircase from inside the keep. “What troubles your twisted brain? Or perhaps it twists your troubled mind?”

“Oracus, Hamratio…how do we get to Oracus.” Regus was plain with the confounding caster, even though the favor was in no way returned.

The caster looked at the smoking mountain and shook his head. “ ‘Tis simple, we will merely become fish. For to a fish, water is land.”

“And how do we become fish, Hamratio? How is that possible?”

“You merely asked how we could do it, not if it was possible,” Hamratio smiled. “I would think a man of your talents would know what must be done. As a lady is dolled up for a dance, ditto to her lord. Goodday, Regus.” Hamratio retreated into the keep, leaving a stunned Regus.

“Perhaps he knows more than he lets on…” Regus said, and set off to find the equipment he would need.

-----------------------------

“Are you sure this will work?” Anex said, putting the shell to her face, where it covered her nose and mouth.

“I tested each one earlier, they all work.” Regus said, helping a group of fifty soldiers and amazons with similar shells. “It makes you amphibious and water-capable.”

“How long will it last?” Anex said, obviously doing mental calculations about the move they had expended.

“Rest of the turn. Would be longer, but I had to make so many of them, that they are only temporary.” He put his own shell over his mouth.

“What do you call your invention then?” Anex asked, as the small army entered the water.

“Spell-Shell Creating Unit Based Amphibiousness….or SSCUBA. I’m rather fond of it.”

“Because of the stupid-sounding name?”

“No, because I finally did something very deliberate with magic. It took all my concentration and juice to do it, but these were deliberate and they work.” They continued to swim, grim math showing they would end their move on the beachheads, just out of range of the city, where they would be vulnerable, and without magical aid to get them safely back to the mainland should anything befall them.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:37 pm

Chapter Two: Revelations

The battle for Oracus was a quick one. The fortress was pitifully undermanned, and being a barbarian city meant that whatever troops were stationed there when it went barbarian remained. They were easily outmatched by the elite force led by a Chief Warlord and a level three warlord. The real surprise came when they started to look through the lost city’s library, and found the strange war reports.

“I don’t see what is so odd about this,” Regus said, holding up a report. “It says that our side was reduced down to the capital, and then started to recover and deal massive blows to the enemy. Nothing strange about that.”

“How did they find out about it? They are barbarians, they cannot send out scouts, only sit in their city and respond if attacked. Most barbarian cities act like they are frozen in time.” Anex said, looking over other reports. “These tell of events that haven’t happened. Either they are mistaken or….”

“or?” Regus said, looking over her shoulder at the report.

“Or its predictamancy, and these reports have been written to tell our fates.” Anex said. “If they were all written before the city turned barbarian, it would make sense…too much sense. There have always been strange events related to this island. This is just one more of them I suppose.”

“What does it say about the future then?”

“A great hero will rise and lead the armies to great victory. He will be a warlord but not a warlord, skilled in combat, and skilled out of combat. His heart will control the Empire’s army, and his soul will guide it.”

“What is that symbol at the bottom?” Regus asked. He pointed to a small sigil, like a signet, at the bottom of the page. It was a O bisected by the letter D, designed as if made of fire.

“The symbol of the predictamancer, I presume. Strange that we have not had a predictamancer in recent memory, but sure enough here is the work of one.” She paged through several other documents, and laughed. “I don’t know if it is fate for us to know these things and follow them, or fate for us to try to overcome what is written. How I hate dealing with matters of fate.”

“….Delphine.” Regus said, thinking about the signet. “Delphine at Oracus. That is who Dewey X told me to find. Perhaps this is her signet.”

“So maybe you should read through these and find if there’s anything useful?” Anex said with a smirk. She strode out of the room, leaving Regus with the reports. The young warlord poured over them, looking for any hint of what he needed to do, or needed to learn. The hours burned away until the darkness of night , and Regus fell asleep at the desk, the last of the reports under his resting head.

-----------------------------------------------------

A globe of green and blue spread below him. Strange, but familiar all the same. Then the green parts of the globe turned multiple colors, each marking the borders of a kingdom. Somehow he knew all of this, without being told. Off in the corner of his mind was an island floating in the darkness. It was multi-colored, and a place of much magic. He knew this to be the Magic Kingdom, though he had never visited it, being a warlord he wasn’t sure he could enter the portal without being disbanded. Somehow now he knew that he must find a way through the portal in the capital to see what the casters there would think of him.

“They will not welcome you. They will fear you, try to kill you, and all the world will be against your side…moreso than even now.” A voice called from behind him. Turning, he saw the speaker was a woman in a toga, one breast bare, and her eyes blinded by a strip of cloth. She sat behind a desk floating in the void, with a quill in one hand, and a handful of tree leaves on the desk. She was slowly writing on each of the leaves. “I have been expecting you Regus. Why have you taken so long in coming?”
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:36 am

Regus stared at the blind woman, dumbfounded as to what to say.

"Yes, I am Delphine. As I said, I have been expecting you for some time, casting my leaves to divine the future and writing it into means your mind can understand." She continued to write as she spoke, and a wind blew, taking the leaves and whirling them into patterns. The leaves danced elaborate routines before settling in a stack on the desk. "You do not know it yet, but you have made your first step on a long journey. Making those magic items has shown that you are truly more than a mere warlord."

"I don't even know what I am." Regus said. "My stats say I'm a warlord, but I can make items, cast a spell or two. My own ruler thinks me expendable."

"And that is why you will break the world." She said, and took out a new set of leaves. "My island should be unreachable by a side without ships or amphibious units. To reach it, you would need a caster of some sort. A dirtamancer to raise a bridge would work, but take a great deal of juice over many turns. A dollamancer could make items to turn units into amphibious units, or perhaps some fabricate some sort of boat. In either case, it should take many turns to do it. You did it in one. Sure it was temporary, but you made an item, then duplicated it. That involves two very different schools of magic."

Regus stared down at the world as it hung there. It turned into a bunch of number, representing troop counts, then shifted again to show sides and how they related to one another. Most of the world showed red, and he knew they were mostly hostile to his own side. "What is your purpose, Delphine?"

"Dewey X tweaks things to the titan's will, and makes things as they should have been. I set them so that they will be in the first place. He is a force of numbers, but I....I am fate." The last word seemed to reverberate through the void. This woman was the fate he had been struggling against this whole time...and he had been drawn to her like a fish to a piece of bait. He felt the little control he had gained over his life slip away in an instant.

"So those combat reports....are there to nudge us in the way we need to in order to follow what you want to happen?" He asked her.

"They are there to make you do what will happen. It is not what I want or will, but what the Titan's will. You will live or you will die by their hand, and what I write will convince you to take an action, or not, depending on their will. I only know that I will write what I write, and you will do what you will do."

Talking in circles made Regus's head start to ache. "Perhaps you can answer a question for me, then. What kind of caster am I? I seem to dabble in all sorts of magic, and can cast from two completely different schools at once."

"I will answer your question with another: What school of magic changes the rules?"

With that, the darkness consumed him, and he awoke with a start at the beginning of a new turn.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:16 pm

Regus awoke with a start. Lady Anex was violently shaking him awake. "Wake up, lover boy. The King has sent us new orders." He shook the sand from his eyes, trying to desperately cling on to the dream he had had...trying to recall every detail, but it was quickly lost to him. "You and I are returning to the mainland, leaving most of our forces here for defensive purposes. I've already ordered the shipyards expanded...we are going to build a massive fleet of warships...the enemy won't be expecting that...apparently this island is near enough to one of the major trade routes that we get a bonus for having a port here. You did well with this idea of conquest, dear Regus. The King is pleased with you."

Regus looked down at a bowl of porridge that popped in front of him. The battle reports similarly depopped, returning to the shelves where they were stored. "Did he ask any questions about how we crossed the bay without boats or amphibious units?"

"I....had to tell him that you did something to craft the SSCUBA gear. He asked more questions, and I was compelled to tell him that strange things happen around you, and it has been to the great benefit of our side." She said, looking out one of the windows of the library out to the sea. "He agreed with me when I told him we needed you on the front more than in the capital. He also agreed that I need to keep my eyes on you." She gave him a sly grin.

Regus grinned back. "Guess you fought hard against that last one. So tell me, how are we to return to the shore if I cannot make SSCUBA gear again?"

"Simple: we have a boat." She said plainly. "We found a serviceable one while searching through the city. Besides, I want whatever magic you can manage ready for when we have to fight."

Regus quickly ate his breakfast, pausing only for a moment to ask "Where are we going?"

"We're going for Arogus. Pushing hard through three cities to get there. We're going to cut off the enemy reinforcements from Espangian, and give them something real to think about. The King is giving us everything we could possible want: Heavies, Siege, even that dirtamancer and a few other commanders. I've heard Rarington is going to be leading a diversionary raid to the East against the Galans...the Espangians liberated their pitiful nation to help serve as a diversion for us, but it will make for easy pickings. Our next target is Milanin."

"Is that going to bring out bad memories?" Regus asked, concerned about Anex. Her professed memories about that town were painful...of a last stand and a fighting retreat that lost her many of her friends.

"I wish we could burn it to the ground, but its a level three, and we need every city we can get. We take Milanin, Tusconus, and then Arogus....and we stopper the Espangians. A few more turns after that, and we will destroy them outright." Her eyes glowed with a vengeful fire that scared Regus a little. They headed for the boat, and pushed off into the water, heading for the distant shore.
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Re: Prehendo Victoria

Postby tigerusthegreat » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:49 pm

Chapter 3: Momentum

He could truly call himself a warlord again. The stack bonus of seven heavy legionawies filled him with a sense of power he had not known since he popped. Led by a level three warlord and in the same hex as a level seven Chief Warlord, they were like a stack of knight-class heavies. They certainly made an impressive sight on the hilltop overlooking Milanin, watching as a line of Scorpios, giant ranged siege engines that fired massive steel bolts, set up to siege the city. They were at the outer edge of the city’s hex, out of range of anything but the most powerful engines firing off the city’s walls. Milanin had not had many such engines built in it since its fall, the Espagnians preferring to use it to pop infantry to use in the push towards Romotican. The decision gave Regus and Anex a decided advantage, with the support of the heavy siege units the King had sent in. Within moments of being set up, the massive ballistae scorpios fired their bolts, impacting hard against the white limestone walls, shattering and splintering the stone. The walls would not survive the pounding they were being given for much longer.

”If only we had these kinds of resources for all these battles. This would make the campaign much simpler.” Regus said, nodding to the scorpios.

”We won’t, the scorpios have too low move to use for anything other than this battle. If we wait for them, the initiative is lost, and the campaign serves no purpose.” Anex said. Her entourage was refreshed with a full stack of Hippolytes, knight-class amazons, none of whom looked friendly towards Regus, even nastier than the original amazons that were so overprotective of their mistress. With her bonuses, those Hippolytes were advanced heavies, whose massive spiked bows dealt out death at significant range. Had he been facing a score of Hippolytes on the walls of Milanin, the range of the Scorpios would mean nothing, and their shots would rain down on the siege before they had even been set up. ”Once those walls are softened up, we’ll go in. Your stack will lead the charge, and we’ll come in behind. Hamratio will bring in the Statuawies to provide additional support. As soon as they make a breach, that’s where we go in.” Her face was set in grim determination. Regus could tell that the long battle was over for her. She was no longer scraping and scrounging for every unit she could find, putting together forces piecemeal. Here she had a coordinated force. The least powerful unit she had were the statuawies, and with Hamratio’s bonus they were far more powerful than any standard infantry.

”You’re enjoying this too much,” Regus said, smiling at Anex. ”But I feel it too. The joy of a full stack, of full hit units…support units, full supplies and upkeep. It’s a wonderful thing.” The outer walls of Milanin crumbled in several spots. Enemy archers fell into the chasms opened by the repeated pounding. ”Guess that’s my cue.” Regus whistled, and the Heavy Legionawies began marching towards the city. As they got into range of the city, arrows started flying at them. Arrows thudded hard against their shields and armor. None of his units lost a hit on the approach to the city. Regus smiled, and hefted a heavy javelin, ready to throw it into the archers lining the walls. It was good to be on the offensive again.
Last edited by tigerusthegreat on Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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