(Setting: Sage’s Tower, Falcrest, Sessenne)
Mila and Viera moved their way out of the city gate, and into Sagetown. The wards that Ashen had earlier reinforced seemed to be holding well, and there was little damage inside the smaller walls that protected Sagetown from the forest outside.
“I must see that the initates are well protected, Lady Mila,” Viera told her once they had reached the gates to the Sage’s garden. “They are my responsibility, and I will not abandon them.” She flicked her wrist at a fire that was smouldering on the grass inside the garden, snuffing it out with a splash of water. As she reached the doors, an initiate came running from them, nearly knocking Viera over in his haste.
“Apologies, Lady Viera,” Traven gasped between breaths. “We have been instructed prepare for a battle. What is going on?”
“I do not know for certain, initiate,” she replied, “but I do know that this night will be long. Go and prepare. And let Maso know that I need to speak to him.”
“Yes, magai,” Traven responded before running off in the direction of a nearby building.
Moments later, Traven returned with Maso, a large man dressed in verdant robes. Maso bowed to Veira, then began to speak in a deep toned voice. “Lady Viera,” he began, “I have a group of mages ready to assist in the city.”
“Very well, Maso. May the gods watch over you this night.”
“And you as well, magai.” Maso tapped his staff on the ground, and a number of sparks flew from the tip, toward various buildings in around the courtyard. “I will send word of any developments,” he told Viera, and began the walk down the courtyard toward the city gate.
Mila kept her head down as they walked, remaining silent as she spoke of protecting the initiates. She almost draws her blade on the man who comes stumbling to them but restrains herself. As they speak she takes a look around the area, noting the walls and any entry ways and exits that could potentially be weak spots. The deep voiced man brings her attention back to the conversation and she gives him a small nod as he leaves.
“You should know, Lady Viera, that I do not have any magical abilities…but I will do everything I can to help you protect your initiates and the precious material you hold here.”
She steps forward and looks up into the night sky, the smell of armaments and smoke reaching her nostrils even from so far away. ‘I hope the others will be okay…’
“I understand that, Lady Mila,” Viera assured her. “We are not warriors here, we are scholars. Any help you may be able to provide if the battle spills into the gardens will be graciously accepted.”
The sounds were unmistakable, arrows being loosed, the occasional scream of pain or battle fury. But something unexpected happened next: a storm appeared over the city. There were no clouds in the sky mere minutes ago, and now a torrential downpour had started.
A crack of thunder draws Mila’s attention back to the city as the sudden storm began to downpour upon it. ‘Must be that Magai’ she thinks to herself, not feeling any harm in the storm but not necessarily wanting to get caught in it.
“If I may, Lady Viera, any warriors you do have within your ranks I would suggest you have them stand guard here, here, and there.”
She motions to two entry ways and an exit that looks to lead out to the woods.
“At least they could sound a first alarm should the battle reach us here. As for everyone else, I suggest we take refuge in the tower for now and ensure your scholars and secrets are well guarded. I can take the post there.”
Viera nodded, and began handing out assignments to the mages and initiates nearby. When she had told each of them where to go, she turned back those who remained. “The rest of us will set up in the tower.” She then led the group to the tower, and opened the doors..
The atrium of the tower was beautifully ordained with marble and silver. However, near the door the students had turned up three tables to make a makeshift halfwall in front of the door. At this point, Viera, Mila and the others could do nothing but sit back and wait.
Mila moves towards one of the tables that hadn’t been upturned and removes her cape, quickly hiding her ears in her messy locks once more. The crack of thunder makes her jump and she quickly looks around to ensure nobody saw such a weak gesture. She makes eye contact with one of the initiates who appears far more nervous and gives him a small smile.
“The storm seems to be getting worse, Mellon. Perhaps we will get lucky and it will simply wash all of the scum away.”
The initiate returns the smile and simply nods. Mila lifts herself onto the table and sits- her eyes focused on the door and her hand resting near her sword.
This sounds of steel and magic filled the courtyard outside. There was only a small amount of defenders outside the tower, and they quickly retreated to the interior.
“They are rushing the tower,” a green robed warrior-mage told no one in particular. He then turned and cast a spell on the doors which shimmered for a moment and became partially translucent. Though them Mila could see the group of 40 or so orcs, goblins and ogres that were looming in the courtyard. A large ogre marched up the steps to the dais in front of the door and raised his club. Viera quickly cast another spell onto the doors, and as the club came down for its first bash a violent fireball exploded outwards obliterating the club and the ogre that held it and blowing a number of the creatures off their feet. The warrior-mage fired another spell off through the now open doorway and the rest of the assembled mages followed suit as the creatures scrambled into the tower.
The storm had hidden the sound of their approach and it wasn’t until the chaos of retreat and shouting began that Mila realized the creatures were already descending upon the tower. She leapt off the table at the first sighting of them through the transparent door and whereas the initiates rushed away from the door, she moved to it.
“Tira ten’ rashwe! Move away from the tables!” she shouted at the few left behind them as the creatures started to swarm over the makeshift hold. A goblin bared its teeth at a female initiate, paralyzing her in fear. Mila came at it from the side and unsheathed her sword in one smooth movement, swinging it at the creature.
With a throaty laugh the goblin brought his curved sabre up, deflected the swing away from his body, and thrusted forward in a counterattack. Mila moved as quickly as she could to defend but hit one of the tables, losing her concentration and balance for a moment.
“Amin feuya ten’ lle!”
Stumbling backward, Mila used her momentum to spin around and flick her sword out at her attacker, all the time with a devious smirk on her lips. The goblin hopped backward just out of the reach of the blade, growled menacingly, and raised his sword overhead, intending to cleave Mila in two.
Mila strafes at the last minute, the blade slicing a lock of her hair but nothing more. She charges the Goblin full on, intending to finish it with one powerful strike. Her swing catches the goblin on the side of the neck, digging her blade two inches into the flesh. The goblin jerks once, then falls to the floor; blood pooling beneath its nearly severed head.
Mila barely has time to react before another goblin bounds over the makeshift barricade, lunging his spear at her. She easily avoids the spear and moves from the goblin’s path, grabbing onto his arm as he flies past and, using his own momentum, smashes him into the backside of the heavy table.
A sword swings out as Mila turns back toward the doorway. Mila caught it out of the corner of her eye, and brought her sword up to defend. The block was just enough to avoid being skewered by the blade, but the blunt side of the sword caught Mila against the side of the head, knocking her down to one knee.
Mila shook her head to clear the shock, and rose back to her feet as the orc approached. Steeling herself against the pain, she put all her strength into a giant swing of her sword. The orc met her steel with his, and laughed. “Garroshka me taru. Your death will be mine.” He pushed her sword away and swung again, hatred seething in his eyes.
At the last possible moment, Mila dropped to the ground and pushed her body flat on the floor and waited for the swing to pass overhead. The orc, caught off guard by the fall, took a large step out of instinct to avoid stepping on her, and nearly fell anyway for his effort. It didn’t matter however, because as he steadied himself, Mila brought her sword up, cutting into the breastplate of the orc, rending the flesh and slashing open its left lung. The orc coughed blood and tried to curse at Mila, but only a groan escaped his lips. Mila wrenched the sword back toward her and the orc fell into a heap at her feet.
She turned back to look for another attacker, but found herself almost 15 feet from the barricade. Orcish bodies were piling up in the doorway of the atrium, and from what she could see there was only one injury in the group of mages. The spells continued to fly as Mila looked down at her bloodied sword.
“Tanya farnuva sii’.”
She manages a smile despite the pain her head radiated. It felt good to fight again. She looks around at the mages and sighs with relief while she can, knowing more will come as she starts to contemplate her next approach.
But, to the surprise of the mages in the atrium, the orcs began to from ranks outside in the courtyard.
“What are they doing?” an initiate asked from Mila’s left.
“Are they cheering?” came the reply from another.
Suddenly the air was filled with a roar unlike anything Mila or the mages had heard before. There was a moment of silence afterward followed by a loud cheer from the orcish lines.
Mila looked out to the courtyard with as much confusion as the others.
“Cheering from the enemy is never a good sign.”
All at once, the tower shook as if something very large had struck the side of the structure. Viera’s face turned pale, and she ran to the nearby staircase and began to climb.
Mila caught herself at the last moment from falling over as the whole structure shook, causing many unprepared to fall to the ground. She moved to help an initiate up when she noticed Viera’s face.
She followed quickly behind Viera and up the stairs, glancing through the windows on occasion trying to see what struck the tower. “What is it?”
“I do not know, but I must ensure the safety of the Sage,” Viera replied.
The pair made their way up the stairs, and when they opened the door and stepped through into the sage’s chamber, Mila’s mouth dropped open at the sight of a brown dragon, now perched on the side of the building, ripping the stones away with its claws.
Mani naa tanya nat’…?
The sage lie against the wall of the room, burning welts all over his body. There was a fine mist of sand strewn about the room. This fact registered as odd to Mila, but she didn’t have time to voice her confusion before the creature breathed out, filling the room with hot air and more stinging sand.
Mila just barely managed to avoid a direct hit of the stinging sand by dropping to the ground, though the hot air made it difficult to breathe. She looks to Viera and the Sage as she stands and tries to hide her panic, unsure of what to do with the creature that would soon tear the entire tower down. “Get him out of here, now!”
Viera jumped, startled back to reality by Mila’s command. An pair of initiates grabbed at the sage’s robes and dragged him outside the room, while Viera turned her attention to the creature just outside the wall. She screamed a spell, and a ball of flame appeared before her, hovered for the briefest of moments and slammed into the dragon’s face.
Mila unsheathed her sword and moved to the window of the Sage’s quarters, stepping onto the ledge and balancing herself as she stared at the beast outside. She raised the blade and stabbed straight down towards one of the giant clawed hands that continued to assault the tower, but the blade skipped off a hardened scale and impacted harmlessly on the stones.
Both attacks seemed no more than minor nuisances to the creature, and the dragon lunged its head forward and bit at Mila who didn’t move as quick enough to avoid the bite. The teeth caught her right leg and pulled her off the ledge. She cried out in pain as her armor parted like butter and the teeth ripped into the flesh of her leg. She managed to grip the ledge with her left hand and swung with all her strength again in a desperate attempt to strike it’s eye.
She missed the eye, but caught the creature flush in the face, a line of crimson blood marking the spot where blade fell. The dragon reeled backwards and shook its head, then roared again, hot stinking breath washing over Mila as she held on for dear life. The dragon’s claw raised a claw to swing but rather than hit Mila, the giant fingers moved into the room smashing down on a stone table set up in the middle of the chamber.
“He is taking the galanti!” Viera yelled as another spell ricocheted off the dragon’s natural armor. “Stop him!”