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Author Topic: Arraxia Rising: The Circles of Fire  (Read 1693 times)

Sabrath_Kell

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Arraxia Rising: The Circles of Fire
« on: April 21, 2015, 09:12:42 AM »
2. ARRAXIA RISING: The Circles of Fire

For over 500 years, the Arraxian Crown has plotted and schemed to bring about the destruction of the nations of the world, through whatever means necessary.
ARRAXIA RISING is a chronicle of its stories, plans, and machinations, played out across Etheria and the Dark Realms.



Infernia, Chamber of Embers
And so Infernian eyes watched the unrest that continued to play out across Etheria, unrest that was already in motion, even without the nudging of the Arraxian Crown or the plotting of the Demon Lords.

Through the coalescing mists of the Chamber of Ember’s scrying table (http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15389.msg49608#msg49608), they watched as the Blood Wave moved south under command of the warlord Trokoth, swelling with a daily influx of orcs, trolls and minotaurs. Once it passed the Bloodcrag Mountains, the force split into two units — one, barreling directly at Victoria, Westlock’s capital, and the other hugging the coastline, pummeling its way south into Westmarch, the breadbasket of the nation.

Meanwhile, far to the east, Ivarium’s forces mobilized as well — but not to aid Westlock against their northern invaders. Instead, the forces of the Seventh Legion swept across Selenia, annexing the city states of Atticara and Iklosas. (For more: http://www.arcanewonders.com/converging-fronts)

“Now is the time to set Taranis’ plans into motion,” growled Abbadon, Lord of Destruction. He eyed Bael and Adramelech, searched their faces for alignment, and found it. “Are your operatives ready, Grethmane?”

“They are, Lord” the fat demon said. It was his responsibility to coordinate the machinations of the Arraxian Crown in Etheria with the will of Adramelech and the larger Council of Embers. “From Sortilege to Djer-Tet, Ivarium to the Anvil Throne, the warlocks of the land wait for word to rekindle the embers of Arraxia.”

“Good. Then let it begin.”

***

Westlock, city of Elbereth
An explosion of stone, sparks and flesh punctuated the night sky as one of two enormous Blood Wave catapults pummeled the battlements onf the inner wall of Elbereth, largest and most fortified of the cities of Westlock’s western province. The huge seigecraft had already ripped a hole in the city wall, and many Blood Wave attackers were swarming through.

The slow moving machines (politely referred to as Akiro's Hammers) had gained a reputation for destruction ever since they had punched through the walls of the first Westlock city that stood in the path of Trokoth’s advance. That city had withstood an assault by a pair of the machines for little more than twenty minutes before it fell prey to the invaders. Since that time, the two seigecraft had been nicknamed Destruction and Woe, and their arrival heralded what was to follow.

However, apart from the siege engines, the Blood Wave army was primarily just a collection of orcish and goblin foot soldiers, fortified with ranks of hardier trolls and minotaurs from the Bloodcrag Mountains. The Orcish Warlord Trokoth had wasted no time in capitalizing on his forces’ core strengths — raw power, superior numbers, and a driving desire for conquest, and had opted to put little stock in calvary, or air superiority. His strategy was straightforward and brutal: batter down the walls of whatever city his forces came to, crush the city’s defenders, and continue his conquest of the Western nations.

While Trokoth himself was thought to be with his eastern forces (http://www.arcanewonders.com/converging-fronts Chapters 7-8), the horde that assaulted Elbereth was in capable hands. The orc Gurmash, known by his troops as the “Warmaster”, had long campaigned with Trokoth. He was known for being as relentless and unstoppable as a hail of stones, and his promotion from Sergeant to Second General was proof.

Since taking command, Gurmash had planned all his attacks under cover of darkness — and this siege was no different. The overcast sky covered the waning sliver of a moon, and the stars were all but blotted out — bad news for the primarily human defenders. Orc and goblin sight was not as keen as other humanoids, but their night vision was just as clear as it was during the day.

Blood Wave soldiers streamed through the city through the gaping holes in the outer walls like a writhing mass of shadows, the red glow of torches and firelight glinting off their piecemeal armor. More heavily armored Warlords waded among them, throwing up walls of earth and stone behind the onrushing defenders, separating them from their support, and trapping them against the onslaught. It was far less of a battle than it was a slaughter.

Gurmash stood atop a summoned watchtower and surveyed the shifting movements of the soldiers below. The siege had lasted little less than an hour, but the signs of the city’s fall were eminent. Siege warfare was swift when spell craft was involved, and so was rank and file fighting. This was the lesson first learned in the Elemental Wars, and then again during the Infernian Interregnum.

It was time for the final hammer stroke. The Warmaster lifted a massive warhorn to his lips, and gave a series of carefully scripted blasts. At the base of the watchtower, a squad of Warlords he had held in reserved summoned phalanxes of Iron Golems to advance on the left and right. Though slow, they would drive any remaining defenders to the middle of the field, where his main force stood ready to crush whatever little resistance they had left. As they advanced, Warlords accompanied them, slinging spells and summoning boulders and hails of stone to clear their path of any resistance. The green glow of their Earth magics painted strange reflections on the polish surface of the golems’ skin, and struck even more fear into the overmatched defenders.

It was not long until the end was near for the beleaguered forces of Elbereth. The remaining knights, archers and impromptu soldiers of the city that were left huddled close, sent up fervent prayers to Asyra, Bim-Shalla and the Dawnbreaker to protect them from the unprovoked aggression of their foes.

***

The answer came in the smell of sulphur and the afterglow of Mass Teleportion.

***

The sound of teleportation is distinctive, and even in the chase of battle, soldiers note the strange pitch of Voltari magic. And that is but the sound of a single mage — not the sound of hundreds, appearing in formation. In the briefest of seconds, in the middle of the carnage, standing atop the bodies of Elbereth’s fallen — were hundreds of Warlocks in three concentric circles.

Male and female, the warlocks gave a fearsome shout in the momentary silence. Male and female they stood, a force forged from all the nations of Etheria, each wearing the distinctive armor of their homeland.  Members of the outer circle were each armed with fiery whips.
In the ring’s center was a tall man with shoulder-length white-gray hair, red-rimmed eyes and ornate blood-red armor. Even among the inhabitants of Elbereth and the other cities of Westlock, he was known by his dread reputation — this was Sabrath Kell, veteran of the Shackled Frontier and General of Ivarium’s legendary Sixth Legion.

Well wasted no time; he raised his legendary longsword Sectarus high. Even in the chaos of the battlefield, the unnatural blade projected a fearsome presence — rumor was that the sword itself was alive, and that it was a tactician of a level of Kell himself.

“Warlocks of Etheria!” Kell called out from the center of the rings. His voice was harsh, commanding, accustomed to obedience. “"Unleash hell!”

And so they did.

***

As one, each of the Warlocks blasted outward with a Ring of Fire, joining their spells together to weave a massive rippling wave of flame. It radiated outward, engulfing the Blood Wave soldiers on all sides, spreading fiery woe deep into their ranks.

“Again!” Kell commanded. As the next wave of flame burst outward from the ring of mages, he paused long enough to conjure a grotesque statue made of Infernian basalt. Its appearance was that of a tortured soul, twisted through pain and lacerated by a collection of wicked spikes. Kell laid it at his feet; as he did so, the idol’s face flared to life, stone eyes searching the field. Soundlessly, it opened its mouth and a crimson mist poured forth, growing and expanding as it blanketed the battlefield within the city of Elbereth, cutting off all who touched it from the healing power of Celestia.

“General Gurmash!” Kell said, his voice carried on the winds of some Dark magic. It was clear he knew already who led this army of Blood Wave forces. “Your march on the Western nations is over. You may surrender now, and I will spare your forces. If you refuse — and I certainly hope that you do — we will turn your amy to ash, and light up Infernia with an offerings of their burning souls. I have heard you value honor in the Blood Reach; if so, take solace in that — for you will take solace in little else here today. What say you Warmaster?"

The fighting stopped. A silence slid across the city, punctuated only by the crackle of flames. Knights, orcs and warlocks waited for the response.

“General Kell!” Gurmash replied from across the field. “For my part, I am glad we have met. I know little of the politics of this land, and even less of Ivarium. But I know this from stories told around campfires and on festival days — the Arraxian Crown was crushed once before, and that was with the Gate of Fire open, and the demons of Infernia at their back.” He paused and let the echo of his words die away.”I see no army of demons helping you today, General. What I see is my battle-forged forces, surrounding you on all sides. So light your fires, little mage, and fling your curses. Victory is not enough. Today, we will write history in blood, and break the Arraxian Crown once more. Surrender or not as you will. It will make little difference to the crows come first light."

Sabrath Kell nodded grimly. “We shall see.” Turning, he addressed the orcs and goblins that surrounded the rings of warlocks under his command. "Soldiers of the Blood Wave — hear me now. Your souls have been forfeited by your leader. By the dark of the night and the fire of the flame, this city belongs to its people, and the blood that will be spilt here to Taranis. You will find no quarter from us. Fight or flee or die. It makes no matter.”

He raised Sectarus. “Warlocks of Etheria! Westlock needs us, though they could never ask such a thing. This day, Arraxia chooses to be the savior of Etheria, to break its foes and drain their souls. Let us show them the power of the Dark!”

And with that, the city erupted in a scream of sulphur, swords and death.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2015, 01:10:55 AM by Sabrath_Kell »
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Re: Arraxia Rising: The Circles of Fire
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2015, 09:57:08 AM »
 (Ima) FANtastic! Love the bad guys coming to rescue the good guys from the other bad guys. Oh what a wicked web we see being weaved!
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Re: Arraxia Rising: The Circles of Fire
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2015, 07:50:40 AM »
(Ima) FANtastic! Love the bad guys coming to rescue the good guys from the other bad guys. Oh what a wicked web we see being weaved!

I don't know who first said it, but, "There are no good guys and bad guys in war. Only better guys and worse guys."

The Arraxian Crown politics and social hierarchy appears to be more nuanced than just "because they're evil!" I like it. I wonder why the denizens of Infernia (or at least the higher ups plus many of the warlocks) hate Etheria so much. I bet it's for revenge for some perceived past wrong. One of my favorite novels, Embers by Vathara had something similar. It was an alternate universe Avatar the Last Airbender fanfic, where Ko, the face stealer was the main antagonist, and the reason he wanted to destroy humanity was because (SPOILER ALERT) he felt abandoned by his parent, the World-Spirit (basically the Avatar Spirit) and was jealous of the attention humanity got from the world-spirit, AND he wanted revenge on them after the Order of the White Lotus killed a corrupt Avatar.

It's a really good story (much better than the original show, IMO). You can read it here: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5398503/1/Embers
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Sabrath_Kell

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Re: Arraxia Rising: The Circles of Fire
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2015, 12:58:12 PM »
(Ima) FANtastic! Love the bad guys coming to rescue the good guys from the other bad guys. Oh what a wicked web we see being weaved!

When you say "bad guys" you really mean "bad ass guys" right?  ;)
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