- 1 5th June
- 2 19th June
- 3 21st June
- 4 26th June
- 5 27th June
- 6 30th June
Summer Evening - Tepmona
Rowan looked around the battlefield. Every single one of his men was dead. They held the ground, and not one ran away. He was proud of them.
Summer Day - Gethsemene
Clouds and mists
They are midair transformations;
Above them eternally shine the sun and the moon
Summer Evening - Hirzmet
Into a soul absolutely free
From thoughts and emotion,
Even the tiger finds no room
To insert its fierce claws
Summer Day - Hirzmet
"Alan, that makes you look academic. Get over here."
"How may I help, my Queen?"
"Translate this, boil it down, and give me a one sentence summary that a working stiff's daft cat would understand."
He putzed over the Grandmistress' letter, making a few notes. Then he smirked, as he cleared his throat.
"Do whatever I say, or we'll kill you all, because the Padre in the sky said so."
"Thank you. Most eloquent."
"Happy to be of service, my Queen... Although couldn't that new pet of yours done this for you? If I remember, he was quite skilled with his wordplay."
She smiled wistfully. "No. He's been spying in the deep South for a time now. Haven't heard much until the other day. He does pen these dire messages in the most lovely script though."
Summer Evening - Hirzmet
Erasmus spoke unto his halfbreed warriors
"You are gifted with the harvest on this day! Feast!"
He then turned and faced the bloodied battlefield to all men of all realms.
He bellowed in a voice that echoed far across the camps:
"...For you my children will be gifted with the harvest of my body and blood.
My beastly cattle will plague the lands. Those who tame and consume, shalt find their place in my temple; Those who deny, shalt succumb to the devastation of their sins....
May the Lord Zraath show no mercy to the sinful!"
"Feast!", before retreating from the field.
Some distance away from the carnage of battle and the swirling magic energies that had been unleashed, away from the hordes of snarling monsters that had been called forth, Heimar stood at Lord Kilhorn's shoulder, still shaking from the adrenaline of battle and the sudden terror that had followed.
The Angmarite lord seemed half-crazed as he gesticulated and shouted at the monstrous host. "May the Lord Zraath show no mercy to the sinful!" he cried as he finished his ranting and moved away toward the southron camp.
Lord Kilhorn stood stock still for a time, his rasping breath steady and slow. "...Zraath..." he croaked at length, his voice hushed, like a man in contemplatiom, and shook his head slowly.
Heimar was loath to ask questions of his liege at the best of times. After too many years of serving the bloody Nightblade of House Dodger he had learned to perform his duties as a Captain - what few there were with a liege like Kilhorn and soldiers like his silent and ghoulish Revenants - and to keep his mouth shut.
But after what he had just seen, he had to know.
Still, he hesitated and coughed, the words seeming to catch in his throat. Kilhorn turned to him with a jerk of his neck, yellowed eyes sparking from inside the deep folds of his hooded cloak as if surprised to find Heimar standing there, his sharpened teeth bared in a snarl.
"Speak," was his rasping command.
"Lord..." Heimar began nervously, "What is this Zraath he speaks of?"
Kilhorn snarled again, a sneer curling the rough and cracked corners of his savage mouth. Slowly he turned back to watch the monsters as they began to stalk off in all directions, seeking prey from the wounded stragglers of the battlefield.
He was silent a long time, and Heimar settled into silence as well, figuring he would not get an answer. When Kilhorn turned to him again, he gave a start of surprise.
"Zraath..." Kilhorn rasped. "It is a daimon lord of the Far East... What is Zraath and what it desires, many men have been killed trying to find out... There was a place in Azros... The Temple of the Black Sun... What was in its depths would blister a man's soul to see... If Zraath has come to the Beluaterra..."
"There will be much killing..."
Rufus Exterus Esotericus
At the southeast edge of the allied campground where the host had been gathered, sat the Nothoi contingent.
Proud pennants still billowed from several of the tents though Rufus saw one come down even as he watched.
The Nothoi camps and those of all their allies were being struck with an unusual amount of haste and the noise and near chaos was a sight to see.
In many ways the simple soldiers had the easiest time of it as their own kips tended to be very simple and packing their equipment for the march was by now second nature to them. Of course, after packing their own they were then required to work together with the drivers and loaders to get the rest of the train loaded and ready to go with all their equipment, weapons and spares, and partial palisade loadouts.
Still, compared to the obvious headaches occupying the minds of those in charge of the nobles' quarters the soldiers had it easy. Despite the haste which rode foremost in all their minds, the nobles refused to lose or leave behind even a single item or trinket and could have the head of any who had the misfortune of being the poor to misplace something.
The noise was great and compared to the familiar sounds of the battlefield it was chaotic and annoying to Rufus. Walking to the edge of the camping area to avoid the crowds he had found a small rise that had been just a little too tall and just a little too small around to be a good fit for any noble's tent and as such had been left unoccupied.
Now, as he stood at its highest point he let his gaze reluctantly turn to the east, and the reason for the nearly frantic pace with which the armies attempted to strike their camps.
In the distance could be seen portions of the larger battlefield where the enemy forces had clashed, although the entirety of the battles had spread across a surprisingly large area in maneuver and counter maneuver.
Somewhere past those blood-soaked acres were the remaining enemy forces, those who had come to claim the lands of Nothoi's allies and friends. Those who had come and threatened to spread their unholy and suicidally dangerous Demon worship. Evil? Possibly. Dangerous? Certainly.
But they lay too far in the distance to be seen. Besides, their takeover had been stopped. With enormous losses on both sides yes, but they no longer posed an immediate threat to the region.
No, the immediate threat lay close enough to be seen, though still a distance away for now.
At the fringes of the battlefield and throughout the area could be seen flashes of motion, some evidence of movement where none should be seen. There were none left on that field but the truly dead and they were unlikely to be moving.
Yet that was exactly what was happening.
In order to ensure the retreat of the enemy forces and their reinforcements, magic had been done.
After any large battle it was well-enough known that some of the dead may somehow become animated again with a dark semblance of life, returning to motion and with a hunger to kill any actually living creature it detects. They are typically dealt with promptly by any competent military force.
Sometimes the aftermath of a battle can draw in more dangerous scavengers from outside the battle itself- orcs and trolls, men sometimes called them. These orcs and trolls, dangerously intelligent beasts, were sometimes attracted by the overwhelming stench of blood and entrails that inevitably littered the ground after a battle.
But this time, magic had been done.
Scrolls had been read that would project the stench of death outward from the battlefield into the scattered camps of the blood sniffing beasts, bringing them from much farther afield than would otherwise happen.
Other scrolls had also been read that would ensure that more of the dead would rise again to threaten any creature that strayed too close.
The goal of this magic had been to ensure the enemy would indeed be driven from Hirzmet altogether.
Magic had been done.
Perhaps, too MUCH magic had been done.
Rufus had never even heard STORIES that told of the enormous numbers of Orcs, trolls, and undead shambling beasts that even now began to congregate out on the swampy much of yesterday's battlefield.
The speed with which these creatures had begun to swarm the battlefield after the scrolls had been read had been disturbing to all who saw it. The fact that the monsters were STILL coming in, the numbers still growing and with no sigh of letup, was frankly terrifying.
What have we wrought?!?
A runner swiftly appeared at his side.
"My Lord, the Tentmaster reports your supplies will be loaded within the next quarter hour."
None too soon.
"Bring me my horse, boy."
Summer Day Haji
Eleanore squinted. Even the dim light of the tent hurt her eyes, and her head. Her mind was clouded, and her thoughts moved like they were slogging through mud. "The medicines, mistress. They'll do that sometimes. It should clear in a day or two."
"Did I say that aloud?"
"Thoughts slogging through mud? Yes, miss. We had to keep you from thrashing about. Couldn't have you tearing open the sutures before they'd had a chance to start healing, could we? So we gave you a tincture to keep you still for a couple of days."
"You kept me still for a couple of days? How long have I been here?"
" Near five days, miss."
"Five days!" Eleanore jumped from the cot and stumbled out of the tent. Off in the far distance, down the slope of a long ridge, she could see the torn turf of the Hizmet battlefield, still ringed with a handful of camps. Even from this distance, she knew that they wouldn't be the Goats or her own realm mates. She turned to the healer, confusion in her eyes.
"Where is everyone?"