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The king signals and he, his retainers, and the black dragon depart the scene.


Later, in a council chamber in Berholm's citadel, the dwarf and his generals are discussing the forthcoming campaign. His head intruding through an arch from a nearby much larger hall, Smagnavast is also present.
So what do you think, dragon? one of the generals looks askance at the dragon. You have been strangely silent during our debates.


I think that you should be cautious, the dragon responds. The information that that creature gave seems to me likely to be accurate, but also to be in some way misleading. I do not trust it. I doubt that things will be entirely as he made out. I would say more were I freer to speak, but I am under an obligation of silence in this to another of my kind.


We will certainly be prepared for greater strength and power to deceive from the suspected murderess than the informant suggested. Berholm considers. I have no doubts as to the informant's ill will in this, nor that by making her out to be less than she is that he might hope he to cause great harm to us, if we attempt to take her whilst underprepared.


The dragon shakes its head in some frustration, but remains silent and the council continues.


Over rolling hills hundreds of portals appear. Most on the ground, but scores in the air. The vanguard of the ground troops are dinosaurs, some with riders, with eagle riders appearing above them. They fan out and move to protect the rest of the arrivals.

A singular portal opens and a huge green dragon appears with the green humanoid form of a rider. He holds two swords, one of flame, the other of white light. As he raises his hand, sunlight breaks over the field of battle. He lowers it and the sun hides.


Emperor7 wrote:
Over rolling hills hundreds of portals appear.

A small white wolf slips through a portal just before it closes, unnoticed by the scores of other creatures that followed E7. He slips into the hills quietly, staying within a quarter-mile of the assembled army of forest creatures.


Thousands of armor-clad animals arrive through the many portals E7 has opened. They begin to set up a defensive camp, the badgers digging trenches, the squirrels gathering supplies.

Spring Sapling and the animals' general Beren Fishfinder set up a headquarters. Spring Sapling spends some time communing in the grove where her grandfather had planted her after her death.


Using quickened spells prepared long in advance the Army of Life continues its preparations. Move Earth is used to bolster the animals' work, Hallows used to protect hospital zones, acorns planted that spring to maturity in minutes. Ents begin walking thru the new trees, and fey dart between them. Streams change their courses to provide water to the assembled masses. Zones of anti-magic are guarded by dire creatures.

Though his face is hidden in the formless green the Emperor exhudes sadness.


Jorel begins casting epic ironwood spells on the Ents. Windwalker circles the battlefield with hosts of eagles, vrock, and rocs with talons that glow white. Upon the backs of the rocs, squads of elven archers can be seen. Dire avians fly above their modern counterparts.

The dinosaur legion assembles in a similar manner, with velociraptors providing skirmishing, fey archers riding upon the backs of larger beasts, and triceratops practicing wedge formations.


A large wolf strides into the area, nodding to it's occupants as he passes them. He looks like he is searching for something or some one.


Ghostly kittens begin flying in, led by Frogskin.


Nearby...
A small grey marble and a cloaked figure stand arguing.
"I don't like this..."
"You have no choice, Kobold Cleaver. It is a direct order."
"But...this is insane! How can you make me do this?? You used to be--"
"No longer. This is the only way."
"Listen, we--"
"No you listen to me!! We're fighting a war! Sacrifices must be made!"
"No. Not this. This goes against everything the Protectors stand for."
"Very well..."
"Thank you."
"...the sub-order of the Protectors of the Board is hereby disbanded."
"What?!"
"The Protectors are a weak branch anyways. They are far too sentimental. You will be moved to the Blackguards."
"What--why? The Blackguards are..."
"I know. But, as I said, we're fighting a war."
"What about Meepo and Esmerelda? And Frogskin and Plant?"
"They have been disbanded long ago. They were treacherous. Associating with lesser groups. As did you. You used to understand. As I recall, you wisely killed Frogskin. But you wavered, as you waver now. You brought him back."
"How dare you!"
"I have issued my order. Unless you wish to leave the Servants?"
"...."
"I did not think so. Go, and perform your duty. That is an order."
"Very well. But you shall hear more from me, J--"
"That's enough. Finish that sentence, and you will be punished."
The cloaked figure vanishes, leaving a brown marble. Then, the marble changed to black.
"Then it's time."
The orb disappears. The spot of grass on which it had been resting is burnt to ash.


[Narrative]

Slashes of gold appear on the right flank of the Army of Life. Dwarves in mithral chainmail hurry out of the openings holding loaded crossbows, with bolts of glowing white. They secure the portals as hosts of dwarven soldiers pour forth upon the battlefield. They number in the hundreds, and their battle banners wave in the breeze. Alongside each of their various clan banners a second banner waves. A fist of stone holding a hammer aloft on a field of white.

The dead may wake, but this stone won't break. We bring our might, to aid the Light. We are the StoneHammers!

Upon the left flank of the Army, thin slashes of green appear. Wood elves flow out of the slashes, bows drawn and arrows knocked. Their numbers rival those of the dwarves, but they don't form up into ranks. They flow outward in an ever-growing sea of green and brown. The small battle banners they place upon the ground name them the elves of the Weeping Wood, a people rarely seen in lands frequented by other races.

E7 nods to each of the arrivals, then turns to await the enemy. Whatever form they take.


Beren ambles over to the massive treant

All is in readiness Tree Emperor. The Army of Life is ready for battle.


Beren Fishfinder wrote:

Beren ambles over to the massive treant

All is in readiness Tree Emperor. The Army of Life is ready for battle.

As ready as one can be, friend.

If you can spare a look now and then, pls watch my granddaughter. She tends to let the heat of battle overwhelm her. And this is only her second. The foe we face is much stronger than the last.


Meepo comes over to the Emperer.
"The dwarves and kobolds lie in wait for the enemy, sir. The Kittens are ready, I think they just turned invisible. It's gonna happen soon."


A circular cloud of brown fog forms in the hills opposite to the Army of Life. I covers a square mile in diameter. It cannot be pierced by any sight, nor can the winds move its mass. From within the cloud primal screams echo forth, growing louder with every passing moment. The ground shakes with the beats of thousands of feet and hooves. Blood-curdling horns peel thru the air, moaning their calls for assembly.


Mirathan appears on the battlefield, looking lost, and searching for a familiar face. He heads closer to the wood elf flank.


Hidden by the fog, trees, flowers and vines begin to sprout. Twisted forms of their natural counterparts.


The Army of Life stirs, but E7 calls for calm and patience.

The true Enemy is not yet here. Save your strength.


Mirathan wrote:
Mirathan appears on the battlefield, looking lost, and searching for a familiar face. He heads closer to the wood elf flank.

Nimora follows, still a little off balance from hitting the omniportal at a dead run.

"Honestly, I do not be thinking it would be such a hardship once in a while if someone would be waiting for me to catch up when I is saying I is coming too. I is get very tired of being run into omniportal. That is being at least the third time this week!"


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Mirathan wrote:
Mirathan appears on the battlefield, looking lost, and searching for a familiar face. He heads closer to the wood elf flank.

Nimora follows, still a little off balance from hitting the omniportal at a dead run.

"Honestly, I do not be thinking it would be such a hardship once in a while if someone would be waiting for me to catch up when I is saying I is coming too. I is get very tired of being run into omniportal. That is being at least the third time this week!"

Apologies, Nimora.

...have you ever seen so many animals?...they are as many as the fish in the sea.


Granddaughter, could you make sure that those 2 sea elves do not wander too close to the dinosaurs? Truly they are like fish out of the water, but their hearts are pure.


Mirathan wrote:


Apologies, Nimora.

...have you ever seen so many animals?...they are as many as the fish in the sea.

...in the middle of a very large coral reef. she adds, her eyes going wide as she finally takes in her surroundings.


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Mirathan wrote:


Apologies, Nimora.

...have you ever seen so many animals?...they are as many as the fish in the sea.

...in the middle of a very large coral reef. she adds, her eyes going wide as she finally takes in her surroundings.

Be wary, lest you become a snack for those oversized seagulls. He points above them.


Mirathan wrote:


Be wary, lest you become a snack for those oversized seagulls. He points above them.

"I is never imagine there could being so many creatures in one place. Gozreh's Breath, what are being those?" she says pointing to the dinosaurs.


A large wolf strides toward the pair, shifting into Kiba when he is aonly a yard or two away.

"Those are being dinosaur little sea elf. Creatures who have walked the Earth and swam the Sea since before the time of dragons, though those drakes will say otherwise. How are you liking the terrain where I live? There is a stream to the East if you wish to feel water sliding over your skin again. Be careful though, it's fresh water, and you are sea elves."

Kiba looks around obviously searching for someone.

"If you see a young white wolf can you come find me? I told him to go home but I do not think he did so."


"I is thanking you Kiba. It is being good know where there is being water. I is not being bothered at all by fresh water, although Mirathan is find it a little uncomfortable. We will being sure to being keep and eye out for this little wolf."


Yes, time to try out my demon again!

Unnoticed by all, a cloak figure floats eeriely over the vines. Slowly fear slides from him, working into the minds of animals and allies of the Green. Fear of Fire courses through their bodies as images of charred bodies fill their minds. A laugh no one can hear echoes throughout the hills for miles as the cloaked figure fades from the area.


Above the plains, the light is temporarily cut off as masses of celestial eagles, starhawks, and air elementals fly overhead. They circle overhead, examining the scene below them. A few stay in the air to keep a lookout, but the majority of them find places to land.

LJ lands next to the Tree Emperor. "We have come to do our part." She looks tired and sad, but she looks over the field determinedly. "When I fall, my herald, Sky Cloudgather, will become the next Champion of Wind. If he should fall then Djuhah will become the Champion. If you would be so kind as to keep an eye on them? I have already instructed my people to keep an eye out for your granddaughter among certain others."


lynora-Jill wrote:

Above the plains, the light is temporarily cut off as masses of celestial eagles, starhawks, and air elementals fly overhead. They circle overhead, examining the scene below them. A few stay in the air to keep a lookout, but the majority of them find places to land.

LJ lands next to the Tree Emperor. "We have come to do our part." She looks tired and sad, but she looks over the field determinedly. "When I fall, my herald, Sky Cloudgather, will become the next Champion of Wind. If he should fall then Djuhah will become the Champion. If you would be so kind as to keep an eye on them? I have already instructed my people to keep an eye out for your granddaughter among certain others."

:If you fall mi'lady StarSong.:


Sky Cloudgather wrote:


:If you fall mi'lady StarSong.:

She sighs and turns to her herald. "No, Sky, I'm afraid not. When I fall. Sometimes there is no easy way. I have known this for some time now. I tried to fight it, to find another solution. There isn't one. You must be prepared to take leadership when I fall. I am depending on you."


Barbas, Demon of Fear wrote:

Yes, time to try out my demon again!

Unnoticed by all, a cloak figure floats eeriely over the vines. Slowly fear slides from him, working into the minds of animals and allies of the Green. Fear of Fire courses through their bodies as images of charred bodies fill their minds. A laugh no one can hear echoes throughout the hills for miles as the cloaked figure fades from the area.

Esmerelda stiffens.

"Begone, Barbas, before I send you back to the Dreams. And this time, you won't be coming back."


A whisper floats past Esmerelda.

"You couldn't keep me in that Realm forever, Essie. And I've only grown in power since then..."


Barbas, Demon of Fear wrote:

A whisper floats past Esmerelda.

"You couldn't keep me in that Realm forever, Essie. And I've only grown in power since then..."

"I ain't been around this long to let some fear demon get the better of me. I'm warning you. Leave this war, before I show you what fear really is."


lynora-Jill wrote:
Sky Cloudgather wrote:


:If you fall mi'lady StarSong.:

She sighs and turns to her herald. "No, Sky, I'm afraid not. When I fall. Sometimes there is no easy way. I have known this for some time now. I tried to fight it, to find another solution. There isn't one. You must be prepared to take leadership when I fall. I am depending on you."

:I have to try don't to keep you with the living though don't I? What kind of Herald would I be if I let you die?"


Sky Cloudgather wrote:

:I have to try don't to keep you with the living though don't I? What kind of Herald would I be if I let you die?"

She smiled sadly. "The right kind. It's alright to try to help me. I do need to survive until the right moment. But there will come a point during this battle when you will have to let me go or all of this was for nothing. I need you to trust me on this, Sky."


Sky Cloudgather wrote:
lynora-Jill wrote:
Sky Cloudgather wrote:


:If you fall mi'lady StarSong.:

She sighs and turns to her herald. "No, Sky, I'm afraid not. When I fall. Sometimes there is no easy way. I have known this for some time now. I tried to fight it, to find another solution. There isn't one. You must be prepared to take leadership when I fall. I am depending on you."
:I have to try don't to keep you with the living though don't I? What kind of Herald would I be if I let you die?"

Jay Frogskin sighs.

"Look, I hate to be blunt here, but we're in a war. Lynora is destined to die, it was written. Trying to vainly keep her alive will only get you killed."


Jay Frogskin wrote:

Jay Frogskin sighs.

"Look, I hate to be blunt here, but we're in a war. Lynora is destined to die, it was written. Trying to vainly keep her alive will only get her killed."

"For once the raven is speaking sense," she says with a wry smile. "I know what I am walking into. I have known all along."

She turns to Frogskin.
"If you happen to see Kobold Cleaver, tell him from me that there is always a choice. Hopefully he will understand what I mean."


lynora-Jill wrote:
Jay Frogskin wrote:

Jay Frogskin sighs.

"Look, I hate to be blunt here, but we're in a war. Lynora is destined to die, it was written. Trying to vainly keep her alive will only get her killed."

"For once the raven is speaking sense," she says with a wry smile. "I know what I am walking into. I have known all along."

She turns to Frogskin.
"If you happen to see Kobold Cleaver, tell him from me that there is always a choice. Hopefully he will understand what I mean."

"I will. I don't know whether he'll listen. He'll do almost anything to revive the Servants. That's what made him try to imprison Joe. He was killing the organization with his idiocy. So...I don't know.

"And I always make sense."


The screams of a dozen banshees fills the air. Heavy drums begin to sound,
shaking the nearby ground. Lastly, the heavy brown fog rises to the sky and blots out the little light that crept thru the clouds.

From out of the fog dozens of spirits fly forth to engage the avians. They wield flaming swords and carry shields of black energy.


So it begins.


"Now!" Frogskin shouts. The ghostly kittens appear behind the vast legions, led by the shaman. Kobolds and dwarves also appear from hiding, right under the enemy.
The Pigeons--or the Yugoloths--are also with the enemy.


Roughly a mile away from the Army of Life a huge portal opens and swarms of undead and carny freaks emerge, setting up defensive lines facing their foes. The Steel Tsar, riding his skeletal smilodon rides back and forth along the lines. Massive undead siege engines built of leviathan bones roll forward and dracolichs patrol the sky.

In front of it all floats Innocent Blood.


NOW!

All those airborne creatures who had landed take once more to the skies, rushing forward to do battle against the Black.


... wrote:

Roughly a mile away from the Army of Life a huge portal opens and swarms of undead and carny freaks emerge, setting up defensive lines facing their foes. The Steel Tsar, riding his skeletal smilodon rides back and forth along the lines. Massive undead siege engines built of leviathan bones roll forward and dracolichs patrol the sky.

In front of it all floats Innocent Blood.

Plantjack appears.

"Finally."
He grabs a small wooden disk and sighs.
"Finally."
He grabs something out of his pack. The Cleaver! But it looks weak, mostly dormant. While the disk glows with life.
"Goodbye. My affairs are in order."
He charges straight at Innocent Blood, blasting all in his way.


Two large starhawks fly above PlantJack doing their best to clear his way.


A harlequin cartwheels along the troops

Alack alay!
We kill today!
Be swift be sharp!
Cleave and don't stop!

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