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RP:Siege of the City

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Part of the Siege of Gualon Arc

Greux walked onto the scene. The orc was followed closely by several other orc and two ogres that called him the new champion of their homeland known as Gualon. The small force of brutes were merely wondering around the city, perhaps hoping to find a next meal, perhaps to happen upon someone that many need protecting. Every night they marched the city’s streets declaring that they shall protect what was theirs, this night was no different. However each night they did this more of the citizens would join them. This time there were several parties of Orc and Ogre wandering the city in the name of protecting the city they called home. Though none of them suspected they would find anything.

Tristram was on guard the minute a red-faced, breathless orphan was shown into the study of the politician’s grand estate. The urchin managed to huff out the news of a black dragon sighting before promptly fainting into Tristram's manservant's arms. He was on his feet in an instance and cutting across backlots and through businesses to get to the arena. The change from human to dragon wasn't an easy one and the longer he put off doing it, the harder and more painful it became. His body twisted and contorted in gruesome angles while bones popped and shattered, extending to fit the framework of his saurian state. When the smoke from his acidic breath cleared, and the powerful arcane aura wore off, there was left a brilliantly large, gleaming black dragon who extended his wings with a mighty whoosh, which cleared the barn owls nesting in the upper levels of the arena stands and small animals from their burrows for yards in each direction. After beating those two immense leathery appendages thrice, the saurian was airborne and streaking over the wooden and stone-cut buildings of Gualon.

Helich :: Image was important at times. Be public relations or an army of undead greenskins - sometimes it was the tiniest details that could make the difference between high morale and low. So it was in full form the dragon flew in the skies above an army traveling en masse at a rapid pace. Unorganized it would seem - but enough so that at the front lay blade wielders and in the back were archers - each carrying an easily disposable horse bow that would certainly be tossed aside as battle truly began. Yet. Yet it would seem they were on a straight-shot route toward the gates of the city itself until they arrived within the swamp that was the sinking city. Instantaneously they halted - massive group stiff as statues. From just outside the first building down the main pathway - arrows were nocked, scythe-like blades unsheathed. The saurian could smell them on the wind. The groups. Soon behind that group another appeared - organized in tight rows three wide. Mayhap three hundred pike were marching toward the very spot the greenskins had halted. Yet they paused in the trees - mayhap several miles away - and were really nothing more than illusions. Helich hovered over the disorganized lot of 'zombies' and turned his gaze toward Gualon. Mental strain was not that difficult when what you controlled held no will but - but these illusions were a constant distraction. He could practically sense Tristram though. Sense the males rage, anger, unease. Back in the trees the illusions would change suddenly - into something he could create and release. Three hundred wolves suddenly stood like statues at the forests' edge - a quick fill of rage and hunger set them seeking the closest living things they could find - the groups of orcs in Gualon. Helich released them - they would fade after a time, of course, and were not terribly strong but -- they would do for now.

Aelfulf enters into view; a lone soldier, garbed in shining mithril armor. In his hand lies his moonblade, the beautifully-crafted weapon alight in a white glow, the same aura that surrounds the high elf himself, but far brighter. Strapped to his left arm is a round shield, painted white and with the symbol of Arkhen centered in blue. How this paladin knew of the battle is unknown: perhaps a citizen mentioned it, or perhaps his god sent him. At any rate, he is here, and ready to fight. Aelfulf stops, keen gaze darting about to assess the situation.

Tristram | An alarm went off outside the city and moments later it was duplicated from within the gates. The sighting was genuine. The intricate pattern of chimes that followed from deep within the swamp provided the information that the black dragon soaring toward Gualon was not alone. Citizens sprung from their slumber and poured into the streets. Many of them poured toward the arena as if a current carried them there, and when they emerged, it was with weapons - weapons upon weapons. Tristram had provided for his people. He had helped train them, prepare them for war. He had prepared the women and children as well, the former of which were scurrying toward the clinic and unfolding cots that lined the walls. Children, with fear and pride in their eyes, were hurrying toward the orc parties that streamed from the grog house and places of hunt. They thrust weapons into the orcs' hands and stood at the ready to go and find more, or carry messages through their ranks. Gualon had an army; Tristram wouldn't be caught unaware like last time, when the Empire had swept through his little kingdom and planted its flag deep within his trenches. It had taken months to rid the city of Vuryal's influence. The orcs headed toward the gates of Gualon, following a shadow of a black dragon above, to join their brethren already at the ready just outside the gates.

Tristram | Greux was happy to see his brothers, faster of which were already forming ranks outside the city gates. More orcs and ogres were lining the wall that surrounded the city, and archers were dipping their arrows in tar before setting them on fire. It took only a word for them to pull back at the ready, bows growing taut, eyes squinted as they took aim at the hordes of their brainwashed, undead brethren just within the tree line. Not a finger trembled on the line, nor did a face reflect anything but grim determination. Greux urged his orcs forward while Tristram streaked overhead on a collision course with Helich.

Helich :: They were a few miles away. The wolves. Every one of the feral illusions - real in every aspect other than the fact that...you know...they weren't - was charging toward the undead greenskins. Perhaps another ten minutes, twelve, and they would be upon the scene no matter how they were received. Helich heard the gongs toll - and would have smiled if he were capable of it in this current form. The dragon's gaze narrows in such a way it would suggest that he was at a point of timid confidence - yet confidence won over as a roar that would echo for miles escaped his toothy maw. Bells of his own? Perhaps. So now free of illusions to concentrate - he unleashed a black hell. His head arced back - maw angled at eleven o'clock or so - and a spew of acid shot out of his mouth. As it reached the climax, rather accurate really, it would arc downward and start littering the walls of Gualon with acid. The archers were obviously in danger. While this occurred he would occasionally pause to lower his head - so his eyes could fall on walls - and ensure he had targeted the top of the wall. The fumes were noxious. The acid was searing and would kill after several hours. It was an assured death. The group of greenskins, every one of them breathing not and staring like statues with blank lifeless eyes was a mix of goblins, orcs, and ogres. It seemed that orcs numbered more than any other, the occasional juggernaught of an ogre, and it would appear as if every goblin of the entire horde were the ones wielding those short bows. Helich relinquished his attack and curved himself back toward the group - and took up another hovering stance directly behind the large horde.

Keslin stood among the warriors, red leather armor standing out amongst the crowd. Her long hair, braided, was tied now around her neck, making it harder to grab. Her violet eyes watched the dragon overhead for a moment. She smiled, for the briefest of moments seeing her true prey. Then her mind focused on the task at hand. She raised one hand to the ruby pendant around her neck and said a soft prayer. Her elemental blade, was ready in her hand. The battle she had come to join, and the bounty she had come to collect, was both close at hand.

Aelfulf moves down to join the orcs that flock to battle, knowing full well that alone, he will fall. He stands out like a sore thumb among the hulking, fur-and-leather clad shapes of the orcs, but they seem to recognize his purpose, and accept his help for now. As the wolves speed in, illusionary teeth snapping, Aelfulf springs to action. His sword flickers here and there, slicing through fur and flesh easily as the magical onslaught continues. With the rough shouts of one used to commanding troops, the high elf bellows at the orcs nearby, bidding them join him in a shield wall. After some hesitation, a number of them comply, locking the edges of their shields together to make a defensive wall, through which the wolves cannot penetrate. Now protected, Aelfulf and his unlikely fellows begin to advance, forming into a wedge of locking shields with the paladin at the point, pushing out toward the mass of enemies.

Tristram | There was no dragon above, protecting the warriors from their first douse of acidic breath that caused their armor to hiss and sizzle, and then the same to their skin. They were led toward the clinic by the street urchins, blind ogres led by hand to the stream that ran behind it while the nurses took turns bandaging their green, melting skin. There were more to replace them, though, lines of seasoned soldiers ready to fight and defend the city. Suddenly, from the perpetual fog over the city, descended a dragon, claws extended and maw agape, atop the interloper. Helich was a great deal larger in diameter in he, but if Tristram could cut off his means of transportation, this could become a landlocked battle, and there, he knew he would achieve the victory. The dragon descended rapidly and began to claw at the other dragon's wings, trying to rip those webbed appendages apart while a serpentine neck unfurled and snapped at the other dragon's, to keep him from retaliating and snapping back at him, mid-flight. Below, a single arrow set off a procession of hundreds, arcing into the forest surrounding the swamp, and into creatures they had once called brothers.

Aelfulf moves to join the orcs, arriving just after the acid blast from above. When it is clear that he is here to assist, he is accepted among the ranks. He spares a moment to peer out, watching the dragons in flight. Shaking his head, he turns to his immediate neighbors and, with the expertise of an experienced general, begins to form them into a wall of interlocked shields, ready to defend should the enemy launch an answer to the storm of arrows that hurtle through the air. They seem reluctant to follow the paladin, but eventually are swayed, the stink of sweat, filth, and leather filling the air around them as they form up, waiting until the time is right.

Keslin uses a nearby orc as a living shield, taking cover behind him as the rain of acid washes the lines. She knows she is lucky even then that she is unscathed though the orc before her is bellowing in agony. She lets him be taken away, feeling for a brief moment her move was that of a coward...then she dismissed it. Where she larger she is sure that any number of them would have used her in much the same way.

Helich :: The procession of arrows began to accrue. Wave after wave would land on the horde - and yet they would of course pierce flesh, render bone as sinew in some cases shattering them with their broad heads yet -- yet not a single one of the undead minions seemed to notice. Still as statues. Quiet as ghosts. The archers pulled back an arm in unison releasing a volley of arrows at the walls. These arrows though - they were a tad bit more..disturbing. Broad-head, nay, so they would only meet flesh through those special tender spots - the neck, armpit - but each was tipped with a minute amount of empathic energy. Of the few of Gualon's orcs that -were- going to get hit by the arrows, they would instantly be driven into a state of bloodlust - all mental capacity lost and would quite possibly turn on their brethren. Helich's enjoyment of this first volley - which was soon followed by another, and another, and more even that reached over the walls and into the city itself - was short lived as his focus shifted to Tristram. He was here. He heard the sound of wings cutting against wind just a moment before the male was upon him - his response was a rather lazy spin to the side that had Tristram madly clawing at his left wing. The black's claws did meet with the leathery hide but not enough to incapacitate him - not yet at least - for he soon rolled on his back and just before he was out of range as gravity took hold his own claws sought to dig into Tristram's belly while his neck was wildly cutting inward to avoid the male's maw. It was difficult at best - a hit or miss - yet arrogance told him he could easily beat his own brethren without resorting to magic.

Aelfulf 's small band is quite well protected from the arrows, their shields absorbing those missiles that threaten them. However, when the less-organized orcs around them begin to lose control, the paladin orders those with him into a ring, keeping the shields laced together as they strike out at their deranged companions. With clubs and axe hafts, the orcs begin to knock their new foes about the head, the blunt force driving the bloodlust from them little by little, so that the ring of defenders grows more and more, the new arrivals being hustled to the center to have their wounds bandaged before they are thrust back into the defense. Many more are left unconscious, but the fighters' goal is not to kill their own friends. Rather, they are simply trying to stay alive until the enemy's infantry is close enough to engage.

Tristram bellowed in pain as Helich connected with his tender underbelly, the sound reverberating throughout the forest and possibly as far as the nameless desert miles away. The dragon was released with a final tear at his wing and Tristram circled upward, disappearing into the smoggy atmosphere again. Blood sprinkled upon the denizens below, and Tristram had no real sense of what was occurring down on the land front. He trusted his soldiers, however, and with Greux at the helm, he knew they would do whatever it took to win, because they hadn't the sense to know when to quit. Of course, they were a bit short on the tactical side of things, but he could tend to that when he finished off this blowhard invader. Tristram descended once more, predicting the larger black's flight path to cut him off from access to the city and snap at his neck once more with a great, gaping jaw and razor sharp teeth. This needed to end. Below, the archers had taken up swords and the call was heard all along the wall. "Forward!"

Keslin quickly finds herself surrounded by battling Orcs as brother turned on brother. She is reluctant for a moment to fight her allies, the less she had of them the lower their chances were of success after all, however after several near misses with axes, she finds she has little choice. If she can, she takes her blade to non-vital locations, knowing that preventing the demoralizing effect that was the attacks true intent was impossible. She killed quickly when incapacitation could not occur. A blade through the heart, or neck. Her speed and agility her only true allies. And the rain off arrows continued to fall about her. Some of the blunt heads struck her, leaving painful welts under her armor, but fortunately not pierced her flesh.

Kain , hearing the sound of battle, approached slowly, trying to figure out who was fighting who. Clad head to foot in dull black armor, he kept to the outskirts, not wanting to get sucked into a battle without knowing who was on what side.

Helich :: They were an unruly lot, these wolves. These feral beasts - as black as the saurian himself - were mayhap two minutes away right as the call to forward was called. It was beautiful timing, such beautiful timing. Nothing more than luck. They sought the blood of the living, and so they passed by and through the assorted horde of greenskins at a full-charge toward the onslaught of orcs pouring from the city. Now these beasts - illusions as they were - were quite susceptible to death. They were a quickly made thing that was dismissed, of free will but with only one purpose. To kill. They charged ahead of the horde now, three hundred strong galloping straight toward the city gates and as contact was made with these Gualon-kind those at the front leapt for the first defenders they encountered - and aimed by instinct straight for the sweet spot. The neck, where death was quick. They met head on attacked at will any enemy they encountered. Precisely one minute and three seconds after this cavalry charge the horde burst to life per se, burst into motion and speed that would not be considered clumsy. His sister had amassed him the perfect army, emotionless, painless, mindless - but agile and strong. They began to trot toward the gates of Gualon - not charge, but quickly advance while the wolves tried to push through the mass of orcs and get closer to the walls. Still the goblins fire arrows even while running - inaccurate, but each volley was sent into the fray of wolf and orc taking down even the illusions in the process. The Ogres now formed on the outer edges of this horde, a sort of wide box formation - the orcs formed a triangle and from the flank the goblins formed into a mass. Suddenly the disorganized lot of mindless minions was as organized as any military institution. The saurian was in control of them. The archers fired until the square of ogre reached the very rear end of the wolves - they opened up the formation at the front and the undead orcs charged. Full-sprint, no holds barred - they were out for blood and nothing more, A few Ogres remained at the forefront of this second wave of attacks, and a third soon followed - the archers fired against the walls. Still they pushed. Still the remaining wolves sought to just make it to the gates of the city - the horde was twenty feet behind them now, the orcs only ten and closing in quickly. If his luck was in, if this timing was perfect the orcs would continue the wolves charge straight into the city. Helich was rather preoccupied for a few moments arranging the formations - enough time for Tristram to disappear from his view into the muggy fog above. The saurian's eyes were constantly in motion, intelligent mind attempting to predict his opponent’s next move - but he was hovering only - not pursuing a target he couldn't see at the moment - but he was ready. Prepared.

Aelfulf is injured in the wave, knocked down by a blow to the head. Thankfully, he is ushered back inside the walls.

Tristram | There was no poetry here, no lines of men angling for position, or generals tracing invisible paths along a worn map. There weren't barks of directions or streams of communication flowing throughout the battlefield. Here, there was chaos, and only chaos. Here was bloodthirsty orcs turning upon brother, only to be cut down by that brother and left in the streets. They had only one purpose -- save the city. Wolves, streamlined and quick, managed to get through the narrow gates and poured into the city streets. A shout went up among the numerous urchins lining the backways and alleys, and soon, heads were peering out windows, and new archers were taking aim. Rocks fell too, smashing the wolves' heads for the urchins with especially good aim. Citizens ducked inside and shut the doors. Through windows, they battered and clobbered any canine foolish enough to come within arm's reach. For those left on the streets, survival was not likely; the men on their way to or from the clinic were picked off especially easily. The gate was left open at a call from Greux. He would not leave his brothers stranded outside the city gates while the battle raged on. The orcs, ogres, goblins, and humans huddled together, and partially under direction from Aelfulf defended themselves in pockets of shielded units that moved together. They would work to take down the greatest and closest threat, and then move on to another. Above, another battle was being fought entirely. Tristram collided with the larger black and instantly sought to tangle his neck with the other's, twisting and curling it around so that he when he exhaled an immense breath, it was filled with acid and smoke and aimed directly for the creature's snout and eyes.

Keslin tore her blade from a freshly downed ally and turned, hearing the snarl of a wolf behind her. Her blade flashed, cleaving the image from the air on instinct as she turned. That turn forced her to see what was coming towards them. For an instant, and only that, she allowed herself to fear. Then she forced it from her being by sheer force of will. Her cry of battle was as loud and primal as those orcs around her, but her path was not forward. She turned and ran to the city’s gates. There she stopped, trying to stem the tide of creatures entering the city. She also knew that if the lines broke, she would close the gates herself, even if she died doing it. A Ruin was useless to her.

Helich :: There weren't many of the wolves left - twenty, thirty? Somewhere in the middle but they had no idea of strategy or priority - they were as mindless as the horde now trying to press the orcs back into the city. The wolves wandered aimlessly. Unsatisfied, thirsting for blood - they would truly attack any they found regardless of the chance of success. What had once been a box of Ogre around the spearhead of Orcs now shifted, transitioned - the saurian found himself distracted again making a few minor adjustments - into the frontline of orcs being combined with the ogres. It was not pretty. For the entire horde mayhap ten of the ogres managed to join the battle before Helich found himself attacked by Tristram - and those Ogres immediately set to slamming huge two handed black-iron hammers, the heads of which were twice as wide as any of the orcs easily, sought to cause complete havoc. The rest were trying to get into the fray but - of their own accord - as Tristram dug his claws into his form again and entwixt his neck around the black's own. He couldn't really predict Tristram's move but he wasn't surprised - the only reason he was caught off guard was that he had just finished the formation changes and it was in that moment that his eyes narrowed into determination. Just those few moments before Tristram unleashed his attack those eyes narrowed - his neck entwined - and they closed in preparation. The blast scoured away layers of scale. Smoke kept those eyes closed - along with a fear of another attack - and he released a tremendous roar of pain and struggled to keep in the air whilst supporting half of Tristram's weight. It was in this moment of agony he responded for the first time through this entire battle with illusions. Rather abrupt and brash - and therefore all the more raw and powerful - the attack was an attempt at overwhelming Tristram's very senses. Not only sight and sound but touch as well - to make the world go black for the dragon. As his blood dripped down to the battle below his maws sought the males neck - if they found them after this blinding empathic attack he would try to throw the dragon off of his form and to the ground sixty feet below.

Kain , keeping his identity cloaked beneath his full armor and faceguard, recognizing Keslin, sprang forward into a sprint. and plowed shoulder first into one orc, while Bad Attitude tore into another. Unaware that there were supposed to be illusionary wolves, the wolverine targeted the closest hostile flesh and blood enemy it encountered. Wielding a dense black staff, the stout warrior shattered the skull of the orc he had plowed into, and turned to help Keslin close the gates.

Tristram found himself surrounded in black nothingness, only blackness upon blackness. It would be a lie to say he wasn't the least bit fearful. Had Vuryal teleported him out of time and into space? Was this some sort of delayed retribution? He couldn't feel his own limbs or his own wings. He flung his neck from side to side, in an attempt to restore some equilibrium, but he couldn't find it; the next instant, he found himself reeling downward, unable to make his wings beat as they should, or stem the flow of blood suddenly springing from the neck he couldn't feel. As he spiraled downward, he heard a shout -- then more. The fog began to clear and once his vision began to clear, he realized he was much too close to the ground. Wings beat urgently and he managed to avoid a cruel reunion with the ground and lift himself up and away at the last minute. Of course, he was closer to the battle now, and he couldn't help send a plume of fire and acid into the row of orcs forming the third wave of invaders. With blood still massing at the wound upon his neck, the saurian abruptly turned his sights upward with a roar, and nimbly streaked after the larger dragon. His maneuverability would surely provide the tactical advantage. Below, after seeing a wave of orcs nearly incapacitated with a breath, Greux shouted to rally his brethren. Ogres stepped over bodies to fight Helich's large champions, and orcs keeping the gates would look on in confusion as strange creatures sought to close the gate he demanded be kept open.

Keslin wasn't actually trying to close the gate, merely hold it. It was after all, the only form of retreat for any that dared it. The gates would stay open as long as the lines before them held, but she and her newest ally could not hope to hold, she knew that, to save the city, she must close them. She dared not waste her breath with speech, even when a new ally joined her in her fight, his stature betraying only that he was a Dwarf. She redoubled her efforts. There would be no innocent blood shed if she could help it.

Zeke sits on one of the cracked roofs, snickering and watching those around him.

Helich :: Did not release the hold, the advantage he had at the moment over Tristram. As the fellow black would head back in the saurian's direction, he would feel the blackness returning. The numbness, lest the male had a counter - and it was with this advantage that Helich kept a careful presence of Tristram but moved into the city to assist his undead horde. In a rather brash move all the Ogre suddenly charged the gates that were now beginning to close, trampling over their fellow undead brethren in an attempt to delay something that was not quite yet inevitable. The saurian himself joined in - eyes opening once more unharmed while the majority of his face held permanent burns. The acid was just as deadly as his own - yet his own blood was combating this invader and keeping it at bay. For the time. The saurian released a deadly stream of acid, made it spray instead of squirt, at the creatures trying to close the gate and anything else hit along the way, including the Youngling's housing - that which was nothing more than collateral damage. The acid began to eat through wood quickly - stone slower - but the building was on a sure-course toward structural failure if he kept it up for long. Which he did not - arrogance returned and he dropped the illusion within Tristram's mind instantly. The black may feel a bit overwhelmed, suddenly returning to the screams and chaos of the battle below. Complete sensory overload, pain would smack him like a wall....Helich rounded at a curve and was now heading straight for Tristram

Kain noticed the black preparing to breathe at the gates, and roughly shoved Keslin to the side, then hurled his steaming, acid-splashed shield at the closest of the rushing ogres. While he had lost his shield, he now knew which one of the dragons was his enemy, and his mind went into overdrive as plans raced through the dwarf's mind.

Sargos :: An old man might be seen in the distance, should someone decide to risk taking a good hit while looking off in the distance during this battle of epic proportions. This old man would fit the typical appearance of any "elder." His beard was long and white, his back was hunched over, he walked with a stick in hand and his hands were shaky. What would an old man want with this place that had as little of humans inside its walls as possible? Whatever his reasoning was it would have to wait. The elderly man would take a slow and steady seat upon the dirty moist ground beneath him. Perhaps not the smartest thing to do but, he was old, he couldn't stand forever. From his viewpoint he could see most of the war zone while still maintaining a more than safe distance from it. At first a chuckle may escape his lips then it would soon be followed by a few brief coughs. "I'm far too old for this." Another few coughs would be forced out involuntarily. This man seemed to take quite an interest in this battle. He couldn't see the ground forces very well, but two fully grown male dragons would be hard to miss for even his old eyes. He smiled, very much enjoying what was happening so far. If one happened to be close enough to look directly into his deep blue eyes that seemed to hold the pure essence of wisdom, they may see something more to this man...something more...strange.

Diyuir :: A high pitched screech echoed high above the shouts of war in Gualon. The sound of wings slicing through the wind became more apparent as from the East a trio of large avian creatures made themselves known. At the head of the Trio was the Mythical Sage Roc Uviour, with his beast master Diyuir at his helm. The Elven Mud cast his soulless gaze down upon the city of Gualon and couldn't help but feel a pang of regret in his heart that he had not been able to evacuate the city any faster. Reaching to his back the pale male quickly untangled his sturdy willow fletched bow from its hold on him and pulled it forward. He stared to the sea of undead minions and thought it to be a petty waste to fire such a meaningless round into the skull of a single infantry. Thus the sight of Helich breached into Diyuir's vision and without true knowledge he couldn't help but take this being to be his rival from the drunkards’ inn board. Quickly flicking his wrist behind his back Diyuir pulled forth two Iron Forged arrows from his quiver and aligned them to his sights. The wood creaked as Diyuir drew back his bow-string and without hesitation released a skillfully aimed duel shot towards the figure of Helich. Whether the blow would land was not of importance as Diyuir released a clicking noise from his vocals and Uviour dropped into a fierce descent. The Elven man figured it best to help hold back the tide of undead for now in order to allow the civilians of Gualon to seek refuge. The other two bands of rocs followed on his command and as they approached the ground a large steel cage became visibly between them. The two beast riders called to their mounts and released the sturdy cage to the ground directly on top of an advancing platoon of undead orcs. As the beast riders fell back to the North away from the fight obviously unwilling to stay and risk their lives Diyuir simply hailed a salute as the cages bars dropped. Before the raging battle now stood a monstrous being. An eleven-foot Ogre held his ground firmly and released a blood churning roar from its throat. The beast held no weapons but instead had four appendages neatly fitted to its torso and wasted no time to begin ripping undead minions apart. The Wood Elf smiled and leapt from Uviour landing in a roll before the army and quickly pulled his bow into two separate holds revealing it to be a bow-sword. He began to hack and slash his way against the tide and was on the opposing side of the gate from Kain and Keslin allowing them more opportunity to simply close and lock the gates as Uviour turned and headed towards the Ancient Black Dragon himself. The Legendary Roc hungry for Dragon Blood.

Zeke simply sat by, enjoying every moment as it unfolds in front of him. Zeke said to Kain, "You would pick from the corpses?"

Keslin finds herself shoved out of the way as the acidic spit sprays over the area. The lines before them break even as she regains her feet. She nods, grim determination marring her features. "Hold the Gate!" She yells to the dwarf even as the cage falls into the enemy ranks. She makes him a silent promise to return to his side before rushing to close the gate. If the gate were held up by a chain, she would empty one of the small vials of Dragon Blood she had on her purpose and scoop some of Helich's acid to use on the chains, hopefully weakening them enough for her to break the links and slam the gate down, hopefully on the enemy, and not allies.

Tristram | It didn't take long for the fog to clear, and his senses were overwhelmed -- but chemical won over emotional, and the adrenaline surging through his veins would clear up enough of the confusion to get him airborne and cognizant again. Nothing could be done about the orphanage; it was indeed, collateral damage. But the occupants within, were not. They had evacuated the building because it was under construction anyway, and most definitely not the location to seek shelter from the battle. Tristram was angry now, infuriated even. Two beats of immense wings later and he was tearing toward Helich with the same fervor Helich drove at him. Tristram spun, over and over, to avoid a lock on his position and sent two streams of acidic breath at his opponent, one on each side of him, so that he had nowhere to go when they would eventually collide. Straight into his own acidic breath, Tristram traveled, momentarily blinded but on an exact course to meet with the larger black's own underbelly, and he snatched and tore at it in an effort to distract and disembowel -- anything to stave off the attack on the city. That was when something hit him -- two of something hit him, to be more specific. The dragon howled in pain and snapped at his own underbelly and the two iron-forged arrows that had lodged there. His head swirled around to stare at the creatures below him, to see who was responsible for this unexpected attack. Mayhem ensued below, and all the saurian could see was a large ogre, and an even larger cage. Who was he bloody trying to get into that thing? The orphans were cheering along the watchtower; it seemed that despite whatever was going on above, tides were changing below.

Kain returns to Keslin's side, nodding in agreement. The gates had to hold if the city was to survive the assault. He frowned behind his faceguard, seeing the wrong dragon get hit by the arrows, then turned his attention back to the threats in front of him.

Helich :: The cage fell over an entire battalion - things were getting out of hand and he was too distracted to make adjustments. Wild changes were made, sloppy - Every ogre the horde contained now rushed toward that single, four armed beast - each raised their giant two handed hammers above their heads when in range and each sought to decimate that particular foe. It was sloppy, but surely numbers shoulder overwhelm a single ogre - and while this occurred all the saurian could do was signal the remains orcs and goblins to push and charge, push and charge, slash and shove - until a small stream was darting between the battling ogre and entering the city at least. They were as coherent of the situation as the black was - still on the war path, they didn't take Keslin and Kain into consideration at all. A few did, a few rushed them - but such skilled warriors would certainly find them no challenge. Helich on the other hand soon found himself forced to focus on Tristram - the rage, the anger - and from what? It took a moment for it to connect. For him to realize - this saurian was...caring. The puzzle was solved. He had barely a moment after the plan had formed to react to Tristram's attack. He tried to dodge the acid - tried to avoid something inevitable but a steady stream of it took his entire left side - from his shoulder, all along his back, and finally to his back leg. His wing took light damage - the blunt of the breath attack had followed a line right along the left side of his spinal column. Pain was something he could not avoid. It was not dull. It did not grow slowly. It overtook him in an instant. Overwhelming. An overbearing reminder that he was not a demi-god. His thoughts raced - Tristram's claws missed his underbelly by mere -inches- as he rolled in his own right on to his back, allowed gravity to pull him downward, and finally rolled upright and began retreating...into the city. It had occurred to him. Tristram cared for the citizens of this city. Held emotions like kindness and love, something Helich was sorely lacking. Yet his injuries were severe - some areas over his ribcage had so severely deteriorated by this point that the final layer of muscle was the only thing keeping his entrails from spilling - if he were to roll. The situation was precarious. Pain was overwhelming - so it was with tremendous effort his eyes darted about the city searching - The Roc was right on his tail, thirty feet behind and he hoped Tristram would confuse him for the enemy. At any rate he found them. Where they had run. The city hall. Hesitation was non-existent....his mouth opened, and acid shot toward the roof of the building. A large amount was applied, it would surely burn away within a minute or less. He circled around again, preparing for another attack.

Tristram roared in victory, the sound echoing throughout the marshes and swamps, stilling the battle below for seconds before the sound of spear and shield was taken up again. His maw snapped open and he bellowed again. Below, things were certainly turning in his favor. Diyuir and his Roc had descended upon the hordes, and Helich's forces didn't know upon which front to fight first. The time it had taken for Helich to direct his forces had been costly indeed, and Tristram delighted in the chaotic spectacle below. His attention shifted back to the black. A second later, and his eyes were filled with horror - not the town hall. In an instant he was streaking toward Helich, knowing full well he would never reach the dragon in time. Greux roared his own warning, but it wouldn't be in enough time. Even if the building were able to be evacuated before the roof caved in, not everyone would make it out - certainly not the motherless babies, or the infirm and elderly. The saurian had only once choice. With an expression that could only be likened to a grimace, he charged - straight for the path of the acid on a direct course for the building. He rolled at the last minute, so that the majority of his bulk took the attack and spared those below. The pain was unlike any other he had experienced. Thick scales were the only thing that kept his skin from falling apart altogether. They slid off his hide as it were, great black plates becoming nothing more than bits and pieces of melted flesh. The roar that came now was not one of victory, but one of pain. Struggling to stay airborne, the dragon twisted his head upward to observe Helich's chosen path of flight. If Helich went again for the city, Tristram didn't know if he had the strength to stop him - and now the gates were closed preventing any outside aid from rescuing the citizens within. He had only one choice.

Tristram shouted, "Wait."

Keslin looked on in horror as Helich attacked the city hall. Her anger grew in that instant to a rage. Her voice rang out above the battle, directed at the dragon above her. "Helich! Your head is mine!"

Kain hissed in anger, then hustled away from the gates, knowing they would be closed within a few more minutes at most, to help get the evacuation of the building underway. Once the occupants had begun moving out to a different place, he hustled back toward the gates to rejoin Keslin and Bad Attitude, hoping the gates would either be closed, or at least not breached yet...

Helich :: The flame that had once been bright white was now extinguished in full. They were out of the city - only a handful had made it in. The saurian heard the black's voice just as his maw opened for a devastating attack upon the hall - instead he landed atop a roof that did little to support his large frame. Each breath was heavy. Every moment another agonizing breath - his horde rashly hit the walls, the gate, trying to push them open. To no avail. They focused instead on the Roc. Helich spoke - a voice spoke rather - "Yes?"

Tristram struggled to place himself between Diyuir's Roc and the dragon, newly settled on a roof which began to rain dust and splinters of wood onto the occupants within. It was hard to stay airborne, but he didn't want to settle on the ground - not yet. His voice came as a rasp as he spoke, and he spoke in the ancient draconic tongue. Having the citizens hear, and understand, his next few words would be devastating, and they would do foolish things to stop him, or to hurt the larger dragon. Maybe they would succeed. He had no doubt they could do it - he had trained them himself, after all, and they knew how to take down a dragon. But many of them would be killed, instantly, slowly, all painfully. Entire generations could be wiped out in a single breath. A low rumble echoed throughout the city, and the dragon made his offer.

Tristram said to Helich, "Me for the city. Spare the people, and I'll surrender."

Keslin was running through the city streets, her eyes on the dragons. Doing something stupid had always been her strong point, and rushing to attack a distracted dragon on a rooftop definitely counted as stupid. She moved with a speed only anger could give, rushing through the streets like a red comet. She made the roofs through ruins, mindful of the acid still clinging to it, then raced across them towards the two blacks, her eyes watching Helich intently.

Helich managed a rather pained snort out of his nostrils - nostrils that were flaring with each hard-taken breath, "You would die rather than see them harmed?" His gaze settled on the hell at the gates - he could hear the roar of his greenskins trying to breach gates that did not budge a hair. Keslin was sensed but ignored - the presence was a tickle in the back of his mind. "Agreed." Diplomacy was a swift thing at times. "The guise of a human should do fine. Transition now." Emotionless was this illusionary voice - it did not sound tired or strained in the slightest.

Kain looked at the gates, determined they would hold, then picked up a spear from a fallen soldier, and moved toward Helich. While he held the weapon properly for a throw, Kain had never used a spear before, but Helich couldn't know that. Moving to what seemed a reasonable range, he seemed prepared to launch the weapon, should the black make any wrong move.

Tristram said to Helich, "Get off the damned roof."

Helich said to Tristram, "Transform first. Your allies concern me little." The male seemed to disappear into thin air. The angle Tristram stood at was the only one that could see him. He gently landed upon the streets - for the sake of confusing Kain and Keslin - and repeated himself. "Transition now."

Tristram turned and dipped behind a building. Another bellow was heard, echoing throughout the land, and a few tense moments later, a human emerged, bedraggled and with his teeth gritted. Anyone could see the pain in his eyes, aside from the blood flecking his skin where wounds - too deep to heal by the arcane nature weaving together his human form - transitioned into his flesh. He held his arms loosely at his sides and stopped in the middle of the thoroughfare that ran through the city. He appeared relaxed, assured for the sake of the orphans peeking out the windows and beginning to develop an understanding of what was occurring, but the muscles along his jaw were tense, and his fists balled at his sides.

Keslin slows her approach and then stops all together. She moves near to where the two were, her guard raised as she looks for them. All she can see is a lone man, injured, standing in the street. "Bloody dragons." She mutters to herself watching for any sign of any form she has seen of Helich.

Helich didn't hesitate. Too much hesitation would be his demise. He charged down the throughway - a bit clumsy with injury and exhaustion - but his head ducked low to the ground so that his forehead lined up perfectly with Tristram's form. A crushing blow it would be. Certainly if Tristram spoke truth then the black-in-human-form would get rammed - but the saurian would stop. He did not wish to kill the male. Not yet. Only severely injure - to send Tristram flying through the air to rather harshly slam into a brick wall and break a few bones. Pass out. That was his intent - he gauged the power of the attack rather perfectly. His gaze rose to survey the scene that followed.

Teeh and Heeh come flying into view from the East, the duo spotting the group decides to see what's going on, thinking they need to be more social they first look around the group, spotting Kain and remembering him from a few days ago decides to fly down and lands just a few feet from the group. They wonder around away from the group before going a closer little by little. Although it would seem like suspicious act, they aren't here to do much of anything. "What's goin' on?" Heeh finally asks the group.

Kain watched Helich disappear from the roof, then heard a voice. Working toward the source of the voice, he kept the spear up, but in a more relaxed grip now, as the violence seemed to be concluded. Using the residents of the city as a guide, he continued forward toward the dragon's new location. Satoshi exits east.

Tristram could have defended himself. He could have dodged to the side, and maybe aimed a blow for the dragon's eye. He could have done something. But he didn't. The building didn't cushion him as he crashed against it, nor did the ground soften as he fell into it. The wall, now marred with cracks and a pretty obvious indention, belonged to his estate. Irony at its finest. Things became a bit fuzzy after he felt the frailty of his human bones and the ribs that were in a great deal of pain. Passing out seemed like a viable option. He was roused from his instinct by a pair of arms scooping him up and setting him on his feet, steadying him before they were retracted. A servant from his estate had helped him, saved him the humiliation of being carried from the city unconscious. And just to prove his point, Tristram groaned, "Is that all you've got then?"

Keslin picks up a piece of debris from the rooftop Helich had been standing on and hurled it with all her strength at the spot where the man had flown from. She hoped it would break any illusion, by interacting with the illusion. She also hoped that others would follow her lead.

Helich :: The scene projected above the city. A wondrous sight - a tiring thing to do. It played against fog, a rather detailed image of everything the male saw through his eyes. Tristram's injuries and the fact he was being held by a servant. "Come with me now. Leave your people." A very good choice of words - the male was up to a typical parlor trick and nothing more, just on a grander scale. The unintelligent ones would fall for it as easily as even the more intelligent. "We had an agreement. Do not let their deaths be for naught." Tristram's response would make the difference between a smooth transition of the city in his control - to a radical regime change. More radical than what had already occurred this eve. The horde that had been banging on the gates ceased - and resumed the lifeless stance Helich had become accustomed to.

Kain : Arriving at the location, as Tristram was being helped up by one of his servants, and he couldn't help but grimly smile at his comment. Closing the distance from forty to about thirty feet, he wondered if he could actually hit Helich at this range, though he didn't want to get too much closer. While he had used different odors to mask his natural scent, he knew that it would be unwise to tempt fate much further without just cause. The longer he could remain incognito, the more he could learn.

Helich :: The illusion shattered, and the male paid it no mind at all.

Tristram stared upward. There it was, for the entire city to see. The fighting slowed, then ceased. They all knew Tristram by sight, and to see him like this ... it was unheard of, really. Greux gathered a band of orc raiders, the most talented in the city and began to discuss what they were seeing. Their brains did not hold the capacity to understand the sacrifice that was being made. Tristram prayed that it did not appear as cowardice on his part, or he would lose them forever. Diyuir had mounted his Roc and was circling overhead, unsure of how to proceed given the new circumstances. He wanted the dragon, yes, but not at the cost of more lives. His ogre champion laid slain, and the cage he had brought to catch a dragon rattled as orc, ogre, and human alike bumped against it, each jostling for a better view of the panorama in the sky. Tristram could see those gathered closest, and steeled himself against the sudden chill that ran down his spine. "Come where?" The black was daft if he thought that the defeated saurian would let him take him just anywhere, and likely kill him there for undisputed control of the city he loved.

Helich flicked his tail in irritation. It sent a rather large chunk of stone, as chance would have it, directly at Keslin's head with enough force to knock her out.

Kain didn't really have much love for the city, but he couldn't stand Helich. Closing to about twenty feet, he hurled the spear at Helich. Doubting if his first ever lob of a spear would do much damage, he figured it would at least break the illusionist's concentration, ending the display. Bringing up the staff, he stood in a loose yet ready position, not wanting to be caught unprepared in case of a retaliatory strike.

Keslin notices the stone to late and falls unconscious. She rolls down the roof and falls to the ground, landing with a graceless thump near Kain. Her sword fell beside her.

Helich :: The spear was certainly there. In route, without doubt but -- it seemed to vanish suddenly. Where it landed, what happened to it would remain unknown for the time, at least, but it was easy to assume that the thing had simply missed Helich. Still Kain, Keslin were disregarded as annoying pawns in this rather life-size game of chess. "Somewhere far away from here. Per our agreement of course. You for the city." Which he hoped the citizens listening would interpret as 'your life saved for the city' oh my what a blow that would be~ The saurian allowed his illusionary voice to whisper a few words to Tristram - the location - and he of course hoped the weakened black would be so kind as to oblige.

Tristram didn't want to leave. He couldn't just disappear and have no way of knowing what was going to happen to his people. Dragons, especially blacks, were not especially renowned for their truth telling. Then again, when had he ever promised to tell the truth? If he could just get Helich away from the city, maybe he could transform again, muster the strength to make the change, and maybe he'd be healed. Maybe he could defeat the older black away from the city, when he had nothing to lose, and Helich had nothing to hold over his head. He subtly flexed his muscles, testing them, and immediately cringed. If he transformed, he sure as all that was unholy hoped that his ribs healed in the process. "Fine," he muttered from between teeth that were still clenched in a mixture of pain and fury. "Let's go." He limped toward the gates, which looked miles away from where he was standing. Mentally, Tristram began calculations. How far away would he have to be to make the transformation -and- catch Helich before he got back to the city? He paused next to Keslin and struggled to rouse her, get her on her feet and out of the street, perhaps his last good deed for a while. He staggered to his feet again, and with a grunt, began the procession down the street.

Helich begins to follow Tristram out of the city. By air. A slow hover - pained as ever - inching ever so slowly with each step the man took, and high enough up that he was out of range of even the strongest archers.

Kain shakes his head and mutters, "Ye hide up there Helich, but yer time be comin'. 'N it be comin' sooner then ye might think." He then turns his attention to Keslin, bandaging the wound on her head, then helping her stay on her feet.