Burning Winter Snow

A settlement east of Rynmere across a stretch of water called 'the eastern trench' broken into three regions: Welles, Oakleigh, and Berwick.

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Malcolm
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Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:03 am

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23 Zi'da 716
They had planned for this day, scouted, and made arrangements to capture as many of the Qe’dreki alive as they could, make the according arrests, and carry on. But things didn't always go according to plan, and though Malcolm had set systems in place for contingency, there was always bound to be something that hadn't been thought about. This morning it was the weather, snow to be precise.
It had fallen during the early hours of the morning before the first fingers of light touched the sky. Some of the tents were surrounded by the stuff, at least a foot high, and deeper in places. The trees shivered under the weight of the white, heavy dusting, and as the men made their way through the woods, sizeable dumps of snow would fall from the trees, crashing into them. Any traps that had been set beforehand were ruined, even the iron bear traps had been set off under the weight of winter’s blanket.
Travel had slowed down, made difficult, especially amongst the trees where the undergrowth had been flattened, burying obstacles and pitfalls. One of the squires had tripped over a buried log and broken his arm. The medic team had been able to set the limb and bind it, but suffering anymore accidents like that was going to shatter the group's morale.
“Your orders, Warden?”
Malcolm snapped out of his daydream and looked across at the captain that had questioned him. Murphy Webb stood with his arms folded, still unconvinced that Malcolm was the man to lead them no doubt. “We send the skyriders up with the oil Captain Coat’s men collected last eve. They make the drop, our archers come in, and once their camp is burning we pick them off from a distance.
“You said minimal casualties,” Murphy reminded him.
“And I stand by that,” Malcolm assured the man, “you forget too quickly that these men were once wearing the same cloaks as us. They know the Iron Hand’s terms of surrender. Any man or woman face down in the snow with their hands behind they head is not to be harmed.”
Murphy snorted. “You think they will honour a code? You're dreaming if you think these men have any honour.”
“It matters not what they have, we have to live with ourselves after this,” Nathan Coats spoke up.
Then you'll be the first to die,” Murphy scoffed.
Malcolm scolded the captain with a look. “Webb you and your men will take the east side along with Stone and Oswald’s units. Henderson, I want you, Whitelock, and Coats to take the north. Remain hidden but make sure your archers are ready, they are bound to come towards you, away from the mountains at their backs to the south. Burhan, once you've made the airdrop, land at the foot of the mountains and sweep north. You will be closest to their encampment, and the brothers Morgan and Ashley Radon will be waiting for you there. Steele, Beaujeu, you and your men are with me, and we attack from the west. They know the woods this way, so it's likely some of them will foldback. I don't want any heroes, you stick to the plan, and if you're forced to retreat, use the smoke salt, it works in water and snow and will put up a wall they won't be able to follow you through. All front men should have tower shields, that goes for everyone!”
The warden was met with a collective ‘yes, Ser!’ and a less than enthusiastic, “you're the boss,” from Murphy.

The men went their separate ways, their departures staggered throughout the morning to give all of the individual units time to get into position. Their scouts remained scattered about the trees in the makeshift lookouts they had built and disguised amongst the tall branches, and enough men, women, and squires remained in camp to make sure they weren't leaving the place empty. Malcolm didn't want to return after a hard day's battle, or fingers crossed, an easy arrest, only to find that the camp and their belongings had been destroyed. The stockades would keep them safe as long as enough of them still remember how to shoot.
“Atashi,” it was now the eighth break, and Malcolm’s team was ready to move out. Benjamin Beaujeu was helping the last of his men gear up, and Gregory Steele was briefing his ranged fighters. “I need you to lead the way through the snow in those woods,” Malcolm cornered the half-man, “you're the heaviest, and I suspect you’ll be able to clear a path for the rest of us, I'll be right behind you,” the warden promised, lifting Atashi’s shield towards him.
He looked around for Kylar then and his new chemical expert, Padraig. He hoped the pair had more sense than to drag their women along with them. There was only room for trusted and trained fighters on this expedition. “Kylar, time to put that crossbow of yours to good use,” Malcolm smiled, “you're with me, in fact,” he paused, “you're with him,” Malcolm gestured to Padraig, who as he understood had very little formal training when it came to combat. “This man and his things are important, I want you to keep him safe at all times. Come, it's time to get going.”
Malcolm gave the signal for their group to move out, but before following, wandered over to Elyna and her team of skyriders; she would be the last to leave with the shortest distance to travel. Malcolm stood next to the woman and waited until those near them were out of earshot. “Have a safe flight today, captain. Don't let any of your crew get too low, and as soon as the drop has been made, I want you up in the clouds and heading for those mountains to offer support to the Radon brothers. There are none quite as good as them with a shield.”
The warden knelt down to inspect the swollen goat stomachs they had tied off and filled with a highly flammable, black oil. Most of them were bound to explode on impact, and the archers with their fiery arrows would take care of the rest. He glanced either side of him and stood up in front of Elyna. “Return to me,” he smiled warmly, and raised his voice, “in one piece! That's an order, captain!” Malcolm turned towards the woods and followed after his troops then without a backwards glance.
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Atashi
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Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:42 pm

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Lash was a godsend. Worth every nel he'd spent on her, he dreaded to think that he'd otherwise have to slither through the snow. He continued to march with the troop, it felt cheaty to go on horseback, but he reminded himself that the two-leggers have shoes. There was a very good reason for not being able to find snakes in cold climates! Trying his best to keep morale high, he hummed a happy tune, just loud enough for the person next to him to hear. In response, the man who walked on foot shot a glare to Atashi, the sort of glare that said 'Easy for you to be so jolly riding on a horse in this weather, bastard'. He immediately dropped his humming and looked to the front, expression shifting to a more serious look.

This wasn't the time for humming, not at all. 'Wake up, it's time to get serious. We might have an encounter at any given moment.' - Agreed. He'd made a nasty habit of talking to himself. Shaking his head, he remained alert and focused as the troop pushed onward. A few feet ahead of him, Ser Malcolm raised his voice, giving instructions for all men to hear, Atashi paid close attention but hadn't heard where he was addressed. Perhaps he was intended to be with the tower-shields on the front line. 'Whatever it takes' he assured himself.

By the time everything was set in place, Atashi was gathered with Benjamin's troop as they set about the final preparations, he couldn't see Kylar. He did however see the Warden approach. He immediately straightened his posture and saluted. "Ser!" He spoke before Malcolm addressed him. He wanted him to what? Lead?! And why? Because he was the heaviest and had a big shield? Fair enough, that was actually a smart Idea. It was comforting to know that Ser Malcolm would have his back anyway. "Yes, Ser! As you command it, Ser!" he spoke with enthusiasm. he hoped that the warden wouldn't have him charge through the snow - It would be difficult enough to keep pace with everyone else without Lash at a brisk walk, let alone a run or charge.

Once in position, he gave a short prayer to Ethelynda for the safety of their forces for Kylar and for crimson, where ever they might be. He had his shield drawn and hammer at the ready, he wore his black leather armour over his chainmail. He hadn't brought his cloak - it would only get in the way. With malcolm's order, he set off, leading the way through the woods. The snow parted as he moved, making an obvious enough path for those who followed.
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Kylar
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Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:58 am

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Kylar wore his black leather armor, that the skyriders wore on a daily basis. He felt out of place among Knights and not with the Riders, but he belonged here. So long as Malcolm was with him through this, he knew he was safe. His life was in Malcolm's hands now, and there was nobody he trusted more.
He checked his bolts, making sure he had them all. Five. Hardly any, but if he didn't miss a shot that was a fair few enemy casualties - if not deaths. Their prey would surely be weak, having been trapped in the cold for so long, and the fact Kylar didn't bring a lion this time meant all of his food was consumed by himself. He was healthy and fit and ready to fight - and he was positive the Qe'dreki were not. Should all be as planned, this operation would run smoothly.

Kylar's eye looked over the crowd, a group of people he didn't know. Apart from a few. He knew, somewhere, Atashi was waiting. Padraig was in his sight, to which he gave a small and polite smile. The two hadn't spoke insane amounts, but he had taken a huge interest to the man. His bolts were fascinating, possibly revolutionary. As well as that, he saw Ser Malcolm - busy as usual. As was expected before an attack. Despite not knowing all of the people he was working with, he felt safe and comfortable. To add to that comfort, Malcolm was approaching. Kylar saluted.
"Ser Malcolm, how may I help?" he asked politely, keeping his posture formal. Malcolm went on to tell him that he would be working with him - and guarding Padraig. A small smile went across his face. "Yes Ser, I will guard him with my life should it come to it. But I should hope the practice I put in will be enough."

Once Malcolm had gone, Kylar turned and approached Padraig. He gave a small smile, almost certain that Padraig unaligned to any militant force. Even if he wasn't, he was among a friend, and formality didn't have a place now. Instead, he put out his hand ready to shake Padraig's.
"Ser Malcolm just informed me my job is to guard you, no matter what. So, my crossbow is at your service" he said formally, but with a playful tone. "It's a pleasure to be working alongside you. My bolts will be put to good use, as will your somewhat better bolts should it come to that."
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Padraig
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Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:29 pm

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Leather armor, a coat over that, gloves; both the fingerless ones Faith had made him and leather ones pulled over that. A hat pulled down over his ears and it was still damned cold out. He was a scholar by trade, if such could be considered a trade, an alchemist, a chemist and physicist. Not a soldier, armed as he was. Not accustomed to being out in the elements, unless he wanted to be. But as long as the lot of them remained on the move, it was tolerable.

Padraig was armed well enough with his sword at his side, a good dagger, his crossbow no matter how little his experience with it. More importantly, he'd brought along in his leather sack, the creations that the warden had deemed critical to making sure, or as sure as could be, that they won the trial against numbers far greater than their own. He'd brought what he needed, and as for the rest, he'd made those arrangements before they'd left camp. Materials and instructions in the proper hands, that was.

Separated from Faith, wasn't exactly where he wanted to be. For a number of reasons, shortly after they'd arrived he'd resolved not to leave her side for the duration. And he continued to believe that there were as many dangers to her back in camp, as there were out here on the march. Or at least an equal one. But Padraig also recognized the need. He had skills and no how that were required out here if they were to prevail, and all, or most of them come out unscathed. He hadn't liked it though and it had taken some convincing by both Faith and others. It was only being reassured in no uncertain terms that she'd be kept safe from harm, that had convinced him to leave her behind. Should those reassurances come to be hollow ones, there'd be the devil to pay for it.

So it was Kylar who was assigned to be his keeper. Just as well, he wasn't a fighter in spite of being fairly handy with a sword. Better someone more qualified to help keep him in one piece. He didn't know the man well, but he liked him. More importantly, he'd previously come to Faith's defense, and Padraig believed he could trust him. So as they moved on, he smiled and nodded. "Good job, good company," he said. "I've got the hollow tipped bolts with me, but if you need more ordinary ones, I've got three to spare. They're yours if you need them." Better the other man than him after all. He carried the bow, the bolts, but he was far from handy at firing them. One fired bolt just clipping the edge of a target, a lucky shot, did not an archer make.
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Violet
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Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:47 am

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Violet had left early in the morning on the thirteenth trial with the Knights accompanying Malcolm and the rest of his men. There had been a horse shortage, she didn’t have her own horse, and she was of lower rank than several of the men. This meant that she had found herself on foot during the journey, her broken in knee boots easy on her feet through the long trials of walking. She had decided to save her nel and not buy a new pair particularly for the campaign. Besides, she was running particularly low on nel at this point, not having yet received her season’s wages.

Her thick woolen garments helped keep her warm beneath her oiled black leather armor, and the fur-lined black cloak certainly staved off the wind, but there were piles of snows and the chill in the air was relentless. Despite the protection of wool and leather and cotton, she had found herself shivering in the cold when they traveled and her toes going numb despite the black leather on her feet. She would wiggle her feet and couldn’t even tell if her toes had moved at all.

It was ten trials later, and Violet had been watching Malcolm in his post as Warden from afar. As much as she liked to toy with him, she knew that this was serious business and there was no time for play. She milled about the camp, casually listening in to scout reports and the conversations of captains and commanders. She knew the rough plan for the day. Burn the camp and take as many Qe’dreki alive as possible. It was a good plan, but plants in warfare never seemed to play out quite like they were supposed to. There had to be back ups. Back ups for back ups.

Violet was standing nearby when Malcolm had ordered his particular captains into their various roles. She had been assigned to Steele and it seemed that their unit would be traveling with Malcolm to the west and blocking and retreat into the forests that were, apparently, well-known to the Qe’dreki. She had been wiping the sheen of one of her steel daggers on the cloth of her cloak when Steele had spun about and started barking orders at them for formations and getting their things together. She sheathed the blade back at her hip and fell in with the rest of the group.

She was not the typical ranged fighter, most of them choosing to use bows or crossbows, but there were a few like her that threw daggers. They may not have been as effective as a crossbow bolt, but were certainly still useful. Violet fell in with her ranged comrades when her eye caught Malcolm wandering over to the captain of the skyriders. She wondered silently if this was the partner he had spoken of, as they seemed to exchange an informal conversation. The woman looked so familiar, but Violet turned her head away.
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Elyna
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Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:47 am

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Snow had been threatening for enough days, that the dense covering was not a surprise. It was unfortunate and would make the trial more difficult. Having only a few breaks of sleep the captain had been awake during the main flurry, working with Rafa to ensure that the Volareon were kept warm beside the fire. Feathers oiled to protect them from the worst weather. All of the skyrider’s equipment over the past few trials had been thoroughly cleaned, oiled and reassembled. Without the help of her Shadow, it was a task that couldn’t have been completed in time. For his hard work, Elyna was grateful. No matter how anyone else in the camp felt about his presence.
Dark breeches met boots that clung her calves, fur tufting at the tops. A long tunic split on either side of her hips but carried past her waist to mid-thigh. Another way of keeping warm. She wore her leather jerkin pulled snug against her body, the skyrider’s plated armour over the top. The metal was cold, but she was unwilling to forgo it’s protection, even if it mean losing some flexibility. Around her neck, she’d wrapped her deep blue scarf, tucking it beneath the armour where possible. As they waited for their briefing, she shifted her weight from foot to foot, feet in danger of growing too cold too fast. When the Warden began to share his plans however, she stilled. Her eyes fixed on Captain Webb, daring the man to step out of line so that she could put him back into his place. An exchanged glance with Benjamin, told her she wasn’t the only one waiting for such an opportunity.
Drop the oil over the encampment, Elyna nodded. They’ aim for tents, for equipment stashes and the firepit itself. They’d avoid, if possible, dropping the oil on the people. Though there was bound to be someone who was caught in the drop. Her stomach felt heavy at the thought of someone she knew, catching light in the oil, but she shook the sensation off. She was a soldier, she couldn’t afford to be ruled by fear. As she’d told Sinith, and Kylar – they were members of the Iron Hand. Their duty to Rynmere was more binding than any personal tie, even the strongest.
Elyna was knelt in the snow, once more, checking the ties of the smelly sacks. It wasn’t the most glamorous job but it was important. Heavy boot steps crunched through the snow and she looked across at the Warden. In that moment, more than ever the woman wanted to reach out and lay a hand on his arm. She wanted him to know how much she loved him. If this was their final parting…lips parted, the words held on her tongue and instead she smiled in return. Let it be a happy memory, if this is what they would take.
“I always follow my orders, Ser,” she replied with more than a note of teasing in her voice, “no heroics,” she offered her own soft plea as he stood, “I need you.”
He strode away as though the wind was at his back and the skyrider straightened up. She brushed the snow from her legs and gestured for Kit to help her with the sacks. He and Rosa shared the burden of oil as they returned to the Volareon.
“We’re dropping these on their camp,” Elyna mounted up onto the creature and settled on the wide saddle. Legs tucked against the body, she felt the heat radiating from its skin and wondered if in future, some kind of blanket might benefit the animals in cold weather, like a horse rug. With a sack of oil attached to either side of the mount, Elyna warned each of the skyriders about their timing when it came to the drop. Dropping one sack and holding onto the second for too long, would cause the Volareon to battle the imbalance. With the army moving off, the flying riders had time to check and double check their plan. Listing all the preferred targets. With enough time for the scattered army to move into position, the Volareon took to the sky.
The ground slipped away and vanished almost instantly beneath a cloud. Wound with adrenaline, Elyna found that she was warm enough, despite the chill. A warm hat had been covered over with a metal helmet with an exposed face. As they were in the air for the majority of time, the ability to see clearly outweigh the need to protect her features. Frost froze, coating her lips and eyelashes. The crew was silent. Death approaching the camp with the steady whisper of wings through the air.
The captain had determined that they would circle once, but no more. They needed to obtain their targets, but too many sweeps of the campsite would allow archers to ready arrows. There was no mistaking the flock of large, dark beasts as the volareon dropped through the clouds in rapid descent. The shouts of alarm broke through the gathered crowd beneath as the creatures swooped. In a clear arrow shaped formation, they were able to glide over the centre of the campsite. Positioned over the central fire, Elyna couldn’t believe her luck and cut through the first bag of oil on the initial sweep. It dropped, crashing into the snow beside the fire. The impact enough to split the bag.
The oil exploded as the volareon left the campsite. Practised now at splitting up, the crew divided into three smaller parties. Four circling to the west, three to the east, Elyna and Kit speeding towards the north before wheeling around. The young woman forced to lean dangerously forward, arms wrapped around the creatures neck as she hung to the side, balancing out the additional weight of the oil bag. The volareon were excited and the element of surprise was last. Below, she could still see the rebels running through their camp, diving to snatch up weapons. Their shouts rose in fear as the flock returned, screeching and snarling like harpies. Whether the animals understood what it was they were doing or not, they seemed to enjoy being put to a purpose. The shriek of Emily’s creature caused an echo through the mountains that caused even Elyna’s hair to stand on end. Racing to attention along her arms and down the back of her neck.
Approaching the camp, she sent a silent prayer to Vri, to protect his son. The volareon she’d chosen, Myst, descended. Explosions rose up from several of the tents, it was with dispassion that she saw rebels fleeting from their temporary shelters. The scent of soot and smoke filled the air as columns of black smoke rose suddenly. Canvas burned fast where it had caught alight. Many of the targets though were simply covered in the inflammatory liquid. It had its own bitter scent that lined the back of her throat. Elyna nudged Myst with her knees, still leaning to the opposite side, she guided the Volareon over a cache of weapons.
The crew knew their orders and once the bags were dropped, clung to the volareon’s neck and soared skyward as fast as they possibly could, out of range of arrows and bolts. It left the archers shooting blind at the remaining captain as she skirted the edge of the camp, drew her knife along the string of the sack and watched it drop. Covering a neatly collected pile of weapons and supplies. An arrow zipped past her shoulder and Myst banked. Gripping his neck, her fingers curled into the warm fur. Another arrow forced them to bank again instead of climbing through the air. They twisted over the tree tops, showering anyone below in white powder.
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Malcolm
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Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:34 am

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The men were quiet, sharing pointed glances and uneasy looks. Malcolm walked with his longsword drawn and his shield arm relaxed. They had a way to travel before they would encounter the Qe'dreki forces, and even then their scouts had put the small group at no more that fifty, if that. The warden had the numbers, and he knew his troops were healthier, but Qe'dreki had proved stubborn throughout their hunt. They were, however, sloppy, and had clearly grown tired of seeking out whatever it was they were looking for, having discarded most of their heavy gear to the road.
The men moved through the trees after Atashi, and once they were in position, fanned out and prepared for the battle that was to follow. Those at the front had tall tower shields which no arrow could penetrate, and stationed behind them were the archers. Some of them chose to climb trees while others got low, seeking the best vantage points. Malcolm stood at the back, he had little care for ranged weapons, but was happy to pick off any who chose to charge into one on one combat. His place was to observe, knowing this battle would prepare them better for the bigger ones still to come.
Ready now, all they could do was wait for the air team to fly overhead and light up the clearing. Four of the archers worked on preparing a fire, digging out a pit to build a wall up with snow, disguising the flames. With arrows ready to light, it wasn't until the familiar shadows of the skyriders volareon passed over the canopy that the excitement hit. Adrenalin flooded the man's form as the first bags of oil fell and the chaos began.
“Now!” Malcolm ordered and the archers sent their fiery arrows towards the camp, catching it alight.
The flames hissed as they raced across the tracks of black oil, burning everything they came into contact with, including the trees. The Qe'dreki forces scarpered and raced for their spears and shields, picked off by Malcolm’s archers. As arrows were returned, the warden realised that they too had built a makeshift watchtower, though it was little use in such a secluded area. The arrows thudded dully as they struck trees or disappeared into the snow.
As the main bulk of the Qe'dreki men charged, Malcolm held his hand raised just above the height of his elbow, and as they grew closer, waved, signalling for his stealth unit to raise the ropes. They pulled and the boundaries of the Qe'dreki camp became a minefield of confusion, galloping men falling over each other as their feet twisted and caught on the ropes, trying to find stable footing. Some of the men raised their hands, tucking them behind their heads before going to their knees to lie face first in the snow and surrender, while others refused to be taken without a fight.
Malcolm saw one of his archers shoot a prone man, two more following suit after him. His brow knotted as he looked about the line, confused by the blatant disregard for procedure. He had told them not to kill if and when possible, and their shameless disrespect rattled him.
The warden shoved one of the archers and yelled, “Only the moving targets!”
With that more of the Qe'dreki forces flirted with the idea of surrender, but seeing what had happened moments ago to their comrades left them unsure, leading them to attack instead. Malcolm raised his shield to defend against a two handed, overhead swing of a bastard sword, and took his opening, slicing through the front of the man's legs just above his ankles where there was little in the way of armour. The man rocked backwards and cried out in agony, his life cut short seconds later as the edge of Malcolm’s blade cut clean through the man’s neck on the reverse swing, decapitating him.
As the forces of the Iron Hand closed in, the Qe'dreki were left with no option but to back up, huddled together like sheep herded by wolves. There weren't nearly as many numbers as they had anticipated, and while the effort they had gone to seemed like overkill at the moment, careful preparation had meant far fewer casualties.
The warden looked around him to make sure his team were all still standing, tempted to step in here and there, but also curious to witness how some of the newer additions stood up against the veterans. He stayed near Atashi, as promised, watching the half-man's back while also keeping an eye on Padraig, throwing blades close at hand if needed.
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Kylar
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Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:20 pm

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"Should I run out of bolts, I may need them. But I doubt it should come to that" Kylar said. Then he reconsidered. "Perhaps I could take the bolts now, and any of the three I don't use will be returned when this is over. How does that sound?"
In truth, he was just scared he'd be out of ammo and someone's life would be at risk. That would be the worst situation to be in.

Kylar waited for his orders, crossbow loaded and ready to fire. He wasn't to launch a flaming bolt, his job was a much simpler one. First and foremost, keep Padraig alive. Then kill anyone that was able, and willing, to kill one of our own. But first and foremost, he had to keep his troops alive. But the Qe'dreki were people as well, and their lives mattered as much as ours. Hunt without hurt, just as he was taught.
While waiting, Kylar gave Padraig a reassuring nod. "Stay alive, we need you for this" he whispered to Padraig. He gave a small smile, then turned back to the camp with a serious tone. The shadows flew overhead - the riders. Then, Malcolm gave the order to fire. Kylar watched as the blazing arrows flew into the camp, and flames spread like a disease. Strangely, his thoughts fell to the creatures in the woods. Whatever was there, he prayed to Karem that they got out swiftly.

Then the attack happened. Kylar kept his eyes out for any men who came close to any of his troops. He saw a young knight being charged by a Qe'dreki, and the knight filled with fear. Now was the time to act. He turned his crossbow and aimed for as little time as possible, just under a second, before firing. The bolt, as intended, went straight through the Qe'dreki's ankle. He dropped his sword, screaming in pain as he plummeted to the snow. The man quickly put his hands behind his head. Kylar was happy that his plan had worked. 'For Karem' he thought to himself.
Then he saw a few heading their way. Kylar could only stop one in the time it took to load his bolt.
He placed the crossbow down and pulled the string back, then locked a bolt in place. He quickly raised the crossbow and fired at the man with little time to aim. The bolt hit the thigh instead of the ankle, but the shot was still a potentially survivable one. As the other two stepped forward, Kylar stood so he was ahead of Padraig. "Any second now Zi'da!" he said.

Once those words had left Kylar's mouth, a wolf ran out of the forest behind the army, seemingly from nowhere. It stood in front of Kylar, snarling at the men. "Took your time, didn't you?" he said to the creature. Unfortunately, only he could hear the wolf speak, so he looked near enough to insane.
"I thought I was fashionably on time" the wolf said in Kylar's head. The two men stopped hesitantly, a few feet away from Kylar. "Stand down and nobody has to be hurt" he snarled at the men. Sure enough, they did.
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Padraig
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Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:04 pm

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The bolts wouldn't be of any use to Padraig. But in the hands of a better archer, they could make a world of difference in the thick of it. "Take them," he said, and handed the other man three bolts which hadn't been altered for delivering poisons. Those he'd keep until, or unless they became necessary. He hoped they wouldn't.

It was hard going, but he still managed a smile when ordered to remain alive. "I'll do my best," he assured the other man. "I promised Faith I'd come back whole with some good sense intact. She'll be put out with me if I don't." The mention of Faith, thinking of her and hoping she remained safe behind at camp, threatened to compromise his focus. That too, he'd promised he wouldn't allow.

But then the archers lit their arrows and fired, the camp came alight with flame and there was plenty else to focus on. Don't kill them unless it was necessary, was what the warden had told them. Nonetheless, positioned somewhat behind Kylar, he drew his sword and swung his shield off his back. It appeared that others of the soldiers weren't abiding by the warden's commands, and it sickened him to see men, dropped into poses of surrender, shot through and killed regardless. Men did strange, sometimes inhuman things in the thick of it. But it wasn't his nature. Not to do it. Not to overlook it either.

But when two of their opponents managed to get close enough, he was faced with needing to engage, thrust into a likely scenario of kill or be killed. He was fully prepared to do it, kill, not be killed, when a wolf appeared out of nowhere and put itself between them. Padraig didn't relax any, though the wolf seemed familiar with Kylar and seemed no threat to him. Strange though how the men stood down so easily. It was a mystery, but surrendering then. "Drop your weapons," he said when they stood down. And he'd help Kylar round them up, so long as they did.
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Atashi
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:16 am
Race: Hyludin
Profession: Knight, Blacksmith
Renown: +36
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Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:08 am

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With his shield raised, he continued his push through the snow and by Ethelynda was it cold. The crunching snow beneath his tail stung like a thousand needles, it wouldn't stop him though. Movement became increasingly difficult, so much so that he had to lean his weight forward for momentum as his tail screamed for warmth. It felt as though he was being turned to stone as a notable stiffness built with his continuous pushing. He just wouldn't think about it, turning his mind elsewhere he let his body do the work. For the most part the tactic was effective, he could continue without feeling as much of the discomfort or pain. He re-emerged from his thoughts when he'd slowed down however, what was he doing? He should have been keeping alert! Putting his mind back into the game he continued his push, forcing his tail to keep moving. He'd never had frostbite on his tail before, but feared he would at the end of this.

Finally, the time came to halt and the legged-men behind him stepped out, carrying their tower shields and forming a line of impenetrable defence from the front. He was positioned dead centre, or so it looked as he glanced to the left and right. He couldn't feel the cold in his tail anymore, scratch that, he couldn't feel his tail anymore. He was thankful for which, the pain was growing to be unbearable and he was already exhausted from the force of pushing alone. Shadows flew overhead, presumably part of the warden’s plan. Shortly after, the archers fired a volley of lit-arrows for the camp, which erupted with flames upon contact. if that wasn't chaotic enough, the bulk of angry men charging toward them was. His heart sank - how were they to defeat so many? With a wave of Malcolm's arm, the enemy began tripping and falling over each other. How? Did the warden practise magic? He hadn't seen the stealth unit at work, this remained a mystery to him.

Some surrendered while some continued the fight, one man caught his eye while he charged the warden, he first watched in awe as he effortlessly disabled the man, then horror as he cut the man's head clean off with a single swipe of his sword. The snow changed to red as the body fell limp into it. Try as he might, he could not pry his eyes from the corpse - he'd seen death for the first time and it was hideous. The war cry of a charging brute snapped him out of it as he approached Atashi at a rapid speed, in a wild panic he dropped his hammer, raising his shield with both arms, blocking the heavy blow of the man's axe. He was shaking, not just because it was cold either. The man pulled his axe back for another swing at the snake man, not giving him that chance, he punched forward with both of his hands on his shield, hitting him in the face and sending him staggering, Atashi gripped hold of his armour and pulled him close while he staggered. Instinct took over and he bit into the man’s neck, sinking his fangs into his flesh and administering his venom.

The man fell limp as he gripped him, once satisfied, Atashi lowered the paralytic man to the snow carefully and picked up his hammer on his way back up. He spat before getting back into position, the excess venom had left a bad taste in his mouth. Looking to his left, he saw kylar and the other man involved with the Sintih incident being defended by a wolf? Did Kylar really need more vicious beasts in his home? Though the sight helped calm his nerves a little, he had still come to grips with exactly what he had gotten himself into when he joined the Iron Hand some thirty trials ago. The Tower shielded men in his line started pushing forward, forcing the Qe'dreki back. Atashi had the thrash his tail with all his strength to keep up with the other men, or it would have at least looked that way in ordinary weather. He instead moved at a slow pace, which wasn't that much of a problem considering the tower shields weren't charging.

Soon enough, the Qe'dreki were surrounded and huddled together - a pitiful sight. At least they would be safe, no longer would they shed their blood. He just hoped they wouldn't be stupid enough to attack regardless of their position.
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