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Found 1 result

  1. The Fog of War

    The drowned morass beyond the ruins of Tideskorn Harbor clamored with the sound of battle. A warband of mortal warriors had descended from the Valarjar post of Valdisdall to cull the Kvaldir which perpetually amassed throughout the fog ridden marsh. They had waded deeply from the cliffs and toward the mire until the tower from whence they had come was lost to sight within the mist. The Kvaldir were not long to emerge. The fighting was brutal and swift with the tide turning in favor of Helya's foul servants. The formation of the warriors had broken, and retreat was sounded. However, not all could answer or follow suit with how scattered their band had become... One such left behind was a Knight, Rorrek Therrien, bearing Valarjar armaments of bronze and gold. Within his gauntlets were held apart immense cleavers which were wielded with peculiar ease that was belied by their size. The runes and stones upon his weaponry shone fiercely through the chilling fog. His sabatons waded through the water in silence whilst he kept wary watch upon his surroundings through the restricting view of his helm. His course was clearly made toward the cliff face beneath Valdisdall as to regroup, but this was not to be. Looming shadows within the fog soon halted his steps. The Kvaldir were closing in on his position and soon would have him surrounded. He was forced then to retreat further into the marsh in the hopes of evading the marauders, lest he be caught alone. The warrior eventually came to an outcropping of stone jutting from the water and mud. With effort he hefted himself atop this formation, thereafter surveying the fog downward and around the rocks. He could faintly still hear the sound of far off blades clattering from distant skirmishes. He was not the only one that was unable to follow the retreat, and yet such echoes were quite far from where he stood now... He waited and considered his options. The fog was dense and brutally cold. It had a way of seeping into one's skin, through clothes, through armor. Without either, it bit into flesh and hung there with dripping moisture. It would be easy to lose grip of a weapon in the dense fog, but fortunately for Vilmah Bloodborne, her plate mail covered gauntlets were padded enough to keep hold of the enormous Valarjar sword she used to fight off the Kvaldir around her. She'd been sent to help thin Helya's servants, along with many others from the Horde who fought for coin and glory alike. Clad in what most would have considered an indecent amount of armor, the orcess splashed through the foul seawater and fought with the speed and ferocity of the Blademaster she trained with. She wore only plate covered pants, boots, and gauntlets. Her left arm, mechanical from mid-bicep, was held to her body with a series of leather straps across her chest and back. Her torso was, for the most part, completely bare save for the fabric wrapped around her chest. Like most Blademasters, she would forgo upper body armor. Unlike most Blademasters, however, she was female. Quick though she was, the Kvaldir soon outnumbered her. Vilmah sped between them, hacking at their bodies with her weapon and taking down enough to clear a path toward what looked like a decent place to lick her wounds. Sinking her sword into the meat of a Kvaldir's shoulder, she kicked him into the water and ducked through the mist to make her escape. There were a few wounds on her side and shoulder that she could bandage, though she cursed the fog and its tendency to make everything wet. Moist bandages were even more uncomfortable than wet boots. Rorrek crouched low as he heard the distant sounds of combat resume, his sight honing in upon the direction from whence came the splashing and hurried approach. His muscles grew taut beneath his armor whilst he stared piercingly to glimpse any impending silhouettes nearing his position. The outcropping of stone he had found purchase upon afforded him both the high ground and cover should he desire. The footfalls hastened and soon a shadow emerged. The Knight immediately dropped from sight, concealing himself by the angle of the rocks opposite to this impending presence. The footsteps were not as heavy as any Kvaldir he had encountered. He pondered for a fleeting moment if it was another that had been caught within the mists, severed from any possible retreat. He slowly began to rise until he stood atop the stones and in view once more. His stance was bent, cleavers held at the ready, should he need initiate the attack with urgency. However, the sight beneath him led to a wary pause. Through his helm the man watched warily the orcess in silence, observing every facet of their person as to glean all that he could. She was not among the warband of mortal Valarjar that he had accompanied. Her garbs seemed to be vaguely familiar to him, but Rorrek could not place exactly that she resembled. He stood wordlessly while poised for battle should they prove foe and waited for them to take notice of his person above them. Vilmah caught sight of a rock formation in the water. Somewhere dry to dump the water from her boots and bandage her wounds seemed almost too good to be true. She glanced back to make sure that the Kvaldir behind her were gone, and ran for the tallest of the rocks to climb. She was a small orc, smaller than many humans, though her green skin and tusks were a dead giveaway for her race. Using her good arm for most of the work, she grabbed hold of the cold rocks and scrambled her way from the water. Once finally done splashing, she took stock of her situation; momentarily safe and hidden behind the fog, but for the most part, surrounded by Kvaldir. Muttering to herself, she slid off her boots and emptied them of the water she'd collected while running. A fish fell out of one and splashed gratefully back toward its home. Vilmah wasted no time and went about bandaging herself, though the wet air dampened the thin strips of fabric almost immediately. They weren't deep cuts, but they would eventually scar. Additions to her growing collection, which covered most of her bare torso and cris-crossed her throat. "Well this isn't the afternoon I expected," she said to herself in Orcish. The Knight, seeing as he had emerged upon the higher stones whilst Vilmah began tending herself, remained unnoticed. He continued to patiently observe downward as his brow furrowed in thought as to translate the brief muttering of Orcish. Rorrek did not relinquish his prepared stance or guard in spite of the orcess' vulnerable state. Eventually, after piecing through the foreign words, he responded aloud in a measured tone in common. "Yes... unexpected." Vilmah jumped at the sound of another voice, slipping precariously close to the edge of her rock. She managed to catch herself before splashing after the fish, and hanging on with her mechanical arm just long enough to regain her balance. Carefully, she approached the origins of the sound. Your typical orcess may not have understood Common, but Vilmah had enough experience in her short lifetime to understand and communicate a few words. Looking at the Knight, she raised her eyebrows in surprise and gave a careful wave. "Sorry," she said carefully in Common, the rest of her words somewhat muddled and broken. "Not know there. Kvaldir run. Wet. Bad." He made certain that there remained a respectable distance between them as he judged Vilmah's person. The sudden amount of surprise the orcess displayed was certainly not expected. Rorrek straightened himself as combat did not seem imminent, lowering slowly his great cleaving blades. He turned the handles within his gauntlets so to hold the weapons downward and rest their curved ends against the stone. Yet, his plated hands did not rest against the pommels and instead remained gripped as to indicate the ability to immediately return to action if need be. After a short time of contemplating an answer again came from his otherwise statuesque form. "Surrounded," he spoke simply. His hidden eyes then glanced toward their large sword for a moment. "Foe?" he inquired toward them now that they stood face to face. His knuckles shifted atop where he gripped his blades should the answer be unsavory. Vilmah blinked, searching through her vocabulary as he spoke in simple terms. The Knight's body language certainly helped. Shaking her head quickly, she lowered her own sword in a show of good faith. Time would tell how foolish a move it would be, but she was used to being wrong. "No. No foe," she replied, using her mechanical hand to hold the sword as her good hand pointed toward her own face. "Vilmah. Sanc-ury. No foe, All-ance. Honor." Rorrek's helm tilted slightly to the side as his thoughts caught upon one word within their broken speech. "Sanctuary?" he spoke clearly and with gradual enunciation. There was a shift in the atmosphere about him as if the orcess was then regarded much differently. However, this subtle change did not dispel the apparent wariness which girded him. "Twilight Empire," he stated. He did not return his name. Vilmah blinked and digested the words. They were familiar, but unknown to her. She gave a helpless shrug and shook her head, smiling in spite of the situation. Despite her scarred and somewhat dischevelled appearance, the orcess seemed even more young as her tusks helping to deepen the dimples in her cheeks. "Okay, Twi-li. You okay fight?" She asked, nodding toward the mists, where the Kvaldir could still be heard a short distance away. "Find here, very bad," she attempted to explain, using her good hand to illustrate the situation by sliding her thumb across her scarred throat. The Knight understood. He shifted the cleavers within his hand from their resting and unto a more readied position at his sides. His person indicated no injury as of yet, though the grand armaments were riddled with shallow cuts and indentations. Yet, he did not seem to agree with her explanation. He lifted one cleaver in the direction he assumed Valdisdall to be. "The way is shut," he affirmed. The cleaver was moved to gesture as well toward the mist around them. "Surrounded," Rorrek repeated. He then tapped the end of the cleaver against the stone beneath them. "High ground. Wait." Vilmah cocked her head as she attempted to decipher the meaning of his words. He didn't seem to be in any rush to move, which she understood as his signal that they shouldn't attempt to fight their way to freedom just yet. Nodding, she tapped her sword against the rock and pointed down. "Wait," she repeated, rolling her eyes and smiling as if to suggest that she did not enjoy waiting. "Wait cold. Wet. No good," she explained, indicating toward her bare torso, shoulders, chest and arm. "Blademaster bad clothes pick." The warrior could not relate, fully armored as he was, nor had he any articles to offer the orcess. The softly smoldering runes which were engraved throughout his armor and cleavers seemed to further attest to his person being far more suited to venture unto the unforgiving cold. He shrugged his pauldrons with brief sympathies as naught could be done. Rorrek made to speak again, but he then abruptly ceased his words and listened. A slow tide of shuffling could be heard approaching from all sides of the outcropping of rock. Intermingled therein could also be heard the clattering of chains and the dragging of nets. "Kvaldir," he spat under his breath. He crouched slighty once more and stared out into the mists. "Blademaster, hrm?" He pondered aloud. "...Good." Vilmah's ear twitched at the sound of nearby water being disturbed. It was followed by deep voices, which she quickly recognized. With her back to the rock formation, she crouched down low and held her sword in an angle above her head. The lack of armor allowed her to move in such a way that she could position herself close to the stones, making her small body even smaller within the rock's crevices. Turning her hazel eyes to the human, she flashed him a grin with almost impossibly white teeth and tusks. "Good," she repeated. Rorrek glanced back toward the jutting stone where he had concealed himself briefly before, though the musing was dismissed as soon as it had come. His gaze craned upward to the farthest end of the outcropping. The stones were steep and tall, enough to perhaps halt the Kvaldir entirely from approaching from behind. The Knight's armaments did not afford him likewise usage of the rocks as Vilmah displayed and so he stepped forward and prepared himself for that to come. The shapes slowly emerged in a semi-circle before where the two had made their stand. Yet more silhouettes shifted in the fog toward the farther sides and back of the stones. The Kvaldir grinned as their brackish line formed with cruel instruments kept in hand. However, they halted in the distance and did not immediately approach. Their prey held the high ground and with two present it would be difficult to overwhelm either at once. None of the cowardly drowned men were eager to be cut down as the vanguard assuredly would be. Vilmah looked toward Rorrek and pointed toward the human before she slammed her fist against her chest, a gesture she hoped that he could translate. Larger and more covered than she was, he would be able to take the brunt of their attacks while she picked off the Kvaldir individually. "You go," she mouthed silently, then pointed at the approaching enemy, then dragged a thumb across her throat. "I kill." Rorrek watched Vilmah's gesturing and understood at once. Yet, the Knight again found himself at odds with her reasoning and instead but stared with eyes that shone of disagreement through the opening of his helm. It was in that moment that he began to regret his former words as he remembered exactly why so few Blademasters remained. Admittedly that she proposed called to his heated blood as to cleave unto foe despised, striding boldly forth with wrath in hand; however, his experience combating the Kvaldir reined him back to his senses. He remained firmly where he stood, refusing to surrender the high ground and wade unto the marsh just to be overwhelmed at the hand of giants. It was this hesitation that provoked the Kvaldir as they saw their opportunity. A frail sounding horn was blown and the coral encrusted vrykul surged forward. Though, some purposefully fell behind in the pace of the charge as to allow others advance before them. Rorrek cursed beneath his breath as the splashing figures forced his attention forward again. He lifted one cleaver forward and pointed it toward the incoming enemies. The other immense blade was held near the hilt of the former with ease in spite of the length, attesting to the enchantments therein. He waited for the foremost Kvaldir to begin his ascent upon the stone outcropping and leveled his swords at the vrykul's eyes. It was then that the warrior struck along the edge of the former sword with the latter as one would strike flint. An eruption of flame ensued as the oils which coated the cleavers ignited. A cascade of embers were thrown forward, blinding the Kvaldir which formed the front of their advance and forcing it to stumble back into the water below. The others gave way and stepped back before the display and shower of flames. The air became suffused with the pungent scent of blazegrease that emanated from his weapons, an odor perhaps familiar to Vilmah as the tactic originated from the Blademasters themselves.