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.”
“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.