[Vfw-times] MK Winter assault part 12b

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Fri Aug 17 23:53:30 CDT 2001


Rickkter's ears rang with the peal as his sword connected with the cheap 
steel of a Lutin sword. The Lutin swung again and Rickkter blocked again. 
This time, though, he was able to get his sword past his opponent's and bring 
it down right into the Lutin's little green face. The jarring feel of 
cracking the thick skull was still lingering in Rickkter's arms as he pulled 
the blade free and ducked another attack, using the katana to slice open that 
Lutin's belly. 

The guts of that one steamed on the fresh snow at the raccoon's feet as 
Rickkter straightened up. Around him were the bodies of almost ten Lutins, 
but also three keepers. Fortunately he was able to catch his breath and make 
a quick survey of the battle. And his only impression was that it was turning 
into a slaughter; for both sides.  The snow was swift returning as well, 
beginning to reduce visibility once more, the cold wind howling against the 
unyielding stone of Metamor's walls. 

Growling, Rickkter threw up his arms and cast a quick lightening spell into 
the enemy horde. It was both a good and bad thing that he didn't have to aim. 
The strike arched from his fingers and into the Lutins, throwing up bodies 
from the impact. But this was a special lightening spell, a particularly 
nasty one. Instead of just hitting once, it kept bouncing along in a line, 
further devastating the opposing army. He couldn't admire his work any 
further, as a group of seven Lutins demanded his attention. Growling curses 
in human tongues and as a simple raccoon, Rickkter fended off two of them as 
the rest attempted to circle. A feline growl behind him heralded the arrival 
of a cheetah morph, who took on three more himself. The cat's lighting 
reflexes and light sword were probably what saved him long enough for 
Rickkter to come to his aid. The two proceeded to finish off the last Lutins 
without a great deal of difficulty. Nodding to each other, the two soldiers 
departed for new battles. 

Drawing in some more manna, though not even close to what he would have 
liked, Rickkter cast off a half dozen fireballs. His reasons for using fire 
were twofold: first that burning soldiers created wonderful disorder amongst 
an attacking army, and second that he needed the light. What that light 
showed him was that his own forces were being totally and utterly 
overwhelmed. He saw a burly keeper drive his sword into the chest of some 
poor Lutin only to have a much larger Lutin come in and cut off his arm with 
a battle axe. Not more than ten feet away a stallion was dueling a human 
mercenary. The mercenary managed to work his sword above the stallion's and 
drive it down through the horse's muzzle. With a horrified scream, the keeper 
dropped his weapon and sank to his knees, his hoof-like hands reaching for 
his shattered face and past the crimson waterfall that had sprung from it. 
The stallion's screams were quickly silenced as the merc's sword plunged into 
his chest. Turning his head to the other direction, Rick saw a mink dueling a 
Lutin with a pair of swords. Aiming high with one sword, the Lutin forced the 
mink to block and one, allowing him to stab into the keeper's side, between 
the plates of her amour. She feel to one knees with a shriek that was cut 
short when the Lutin yanked free that sword and used both to cleave her head 
from her body. The head had not even bounced twice before he was dropped as 
well by a bolt of pyrokenetic magic launched from Rickkter's fingertips. 

The raccoon shook his head at the scene, his feet taking his backwards over 
the crimsoned snow.  No, no, this was all turning into one monumental 
foul-up. Damn near tripping on a body, Rickkter looked down to see the face 
of captain Marcusson. Her breastplate had an ugly gaping wound made by a 
battleaxe. A curse wuffed past his lips before a Lutin battle cry snapped his 
head up. Bracing his katana horizontally with both paws, Rickkter blocked the 
blow, then dropped his right arm and swung the blade around, angling right 
between the lose plates of his attacker's hardened leather armor. That was 
it, no more. 

Turning, Rick grabbed a woman by the sleeve as she ran by him. He made out 
her rank, two arrows, one facing up the other down. "Corporal, were you are 
you going in such a hurry?" 

"To the east front," she replied. "My lieutenant ordered it." 

Rickkter shook his head. "No, negative. Your orders are now changed. Continue 
on, but pass on word of a retreat to all those you see. Fall back to the keep 
as fast as they can. Most of the command has been killed and the rest of us 
are about to follow suit, do you understand?" 

Her eyes were huge as she nodded her head. 

"Good, now go!" Rickkter waved out his arm, a monstrous tongue of flame 
leaping from it to engulf a good fifty feet of the enemy army and leave the 
ground flaming in its wake. Taking the cover for what it was, the corporal 
ran off, shouting her new orders to any she encountered. 

Snarling, Rickkter did something he had done often enough in his life: he 
turned tail and ran, vanishing into the darkness. 


There's certainly more than a few Lutins around the Inner Gate when they get 

"Not far now!" Jono cries to the children, some of whom are stumbling 
occasionally but always helped up by his or her fellows. "The bad guys are 
over there, but we're almost at the end!" 

The kids keep running, many of them very frightened now. This must have been 
what Derek felt like, many of them think, when he was getting away from the 
bad guys with Jono. Running as fast as he could to get to safety. Nobody is 
questioning the King of the Snowfields' courage now. 

Derek, for his part, is keeping up admirably. This is now practically old 
hat; he's been here before. He knows that none of the grownups are going to 
leave him behind. Inexplicably, though, he's still frightened, and he wonders 
about that. Aren't the grownups going to keep them safe? 

Then he realizes just how hard that would be for them when he sees the 
platoon from before. Coming RIGHT BACK AT THEM. 

He turns to Uncle Jono, to warn him, but Jono's already seen them and is 
shouting to someone. "Perry! Jo! The platoon over there, need them dealt 

Jo and Jono have prepared for this, of course. She's already reaching for one 
of the vials. 

Joanne is, of course, ultimately a kind of alchemist. Not a true mystical 
alchemist like Pascal, but she can do similar effects with various 
combinations of natural ingredients. One of the most potent she's ever 
discovered involves something that she found quite by accident when 
researching into something that would be much more effective at creating a 
smokescreen (smokescreens are useful tools to a showman like Jono). The end 
result Did produce smoke, ultimately, but only after a spectacular show 

Take a bit of Daemon's Ash and add a tiny amount of powdered Northern 
Fireleaf. Add a small amount of liquid as a mixing base, close up so no more 
air gets in, shake up to mix, and then get it as far away from you as you 
can, unless you want to be singed by the result. 

Said result is a wildly colorful display of lights and flashes that can very 
easily temporarily blind at least anyone looking directly at it. It won't 
really injure anyone unless you're touching it as it goes off (in which case 
you might get mildly singed), and in this case there's the additional danger 
of getting cut by shards of flying glass as the vial explodes, but beyond 
that it's a psychological weapon, meant to make the enemy think that they're 
just about to die spectacularly. 

It is one of these that Joanne tosses at the approaching platoon when they 
get within ten yards, causing the Lutins to temporarily vanish under a 
maelstrom of loud crackles and bangs and flashing lights. 

...But these Lutins have already faced down Kirk, and are no longer that 
easily intimidated. Or at least that's what has to be assumed when it's clear 
that they haven't stopped coming. 

"PERRY!" Jo screams, stopping to pull both her daggers and let them fly, 
cutting down two of the approaching Lutins. The hedgehog is already going to 
work, though, barreling into them at high speed with a battle cry in his 

He leaps, starts to roll, and manages to get about ten or so feet before the 
snow stops him, right in the middle of the Lutin platoon, of whom about four 
start hacking away at the quills while he stays curled up, unable to uncurl 
without getting stabbed. 

Joanne curses loudly, putting her dagger through one of the pairs approaching 
her. "Jono! Trouble!" 

Jono turns, curses as well and starts running past the kids, yelling to them, 
"Keep going! Follow Kirk, he'll get you to safety!" 

Jo manages to take down one of the four assaulting Perry with another toss 
before the Lutins close, five of them left for her. Her first move is to leap 
and somersault backwards, gaining a little more space to toss both her knives 
again, dropping two as the other three come on. She fakes to the left, then 
starts for the right and throws again, dropping another Lutin and then the 
other two pounce. 

Jono is too busy heading for Perry, whose spines still haven't taken much 
damage but who himself is beginning to look a little worn; the heating spell 
is getting taxed, and he can't keep warm if he's staying still. So Jono helps 
him out by pouncing on one of the Lutins, keeping it occupied, freeing Perry 
to make his move. 

And quite the move it is - he uncurls just enough to get his feet on the 
ground, then somersaults backward, impaling the Lutin behind him on his 
spines and rolling back before the one in front can strike at his belly. By 
the time the front Lutin has caught up with Perry, he has his own sword out 
and is swinging. One blow, and the cheap metal of the Lutin's sword breaks. 
Perry's sword doesn't, even as it goes through the Lutin's windpipe. 

Joanne during this time is dropping down and leaping forward, going between 
the two Lutins to try to neatly evade them. They're not That dumb, though - 
one of them catches her with a blow - but they're not swift enough to take 
full advantage, either - the blow is merely with a fist, not a sword. She 
goes down into the snow, but manages to right herself, flinging one of the 
daggers again as she turns and dropping another Lutin. One more left, 
stabbing down at her... she rolls to the side, quickly gets to her feet and 
somersaults forward to avoid another swing of the blade, which gives her just 
enough time to throw again - and the last Lutin goes down. 

Total elapsed time of battle, about forty five seconds. 

Kirk finally gets to the door, and tries to pull it open; unsurprisingly, 
it's locked. "This is Captain Kirkland Russell from the South Gate 
detachment!" he bellows in the most powerful voice he cam muster. "I command 
you in the name of Duke Thomas to open this door!" 

The door opens. "Get in! Hurry!" yells one soldier; he looks something like a 
rat, but Kirk isn't taking the time to watch; he's directing the children 
into the tower. "Hurry up, c'mon! You've almost made it!" 

And then one stray arrow from the battle off to their collective right flies 
and strikes Jeremy in the back before he can react. And he falls to the 
ground, too shocked to keep running. 

"JEREMY!" Kevin screams! "Gods no... Jono! Get Jeremy!" He starts to summon 
up another fireball to fling at the Lutins... but... "It's not working? 
...Oh, gods, the blizzard," 

"Get in! We have to get in now!" the mage then screams as Jono runs by 
Jeremy, scooping him up as he does so, Jo and Perry in last pursuit, the last 
few kids right in front of them. Two more arrows land among them... "no... 
the lutins are Aiming for them..." 

And then Josh and the last three make it in, then Jono and Jo and Perry, and 
Kevin can rush in while Kirk throws the door shut once more. 


With the acolytes faithfully obeying Raven's instructions, it took slightly 
less than half an hour to move all of the townspeople to the first two levels 
of the Archives.  Half an hour after that, the acolytes had taken stock of 
the supplies available to them and distributed blankets to those most in need 
of them. That task completed, Raven called Merai and the temple assistants 
together in the now-empty temple hall. 

"The larders are nearly full and well-protected with preservative spells," 
Celine reported. "We can feed these people for as long as a week, if we 
ration it properly." 

"The cisterns are all clean, as well," Merai added. "We have plenty of 
drinking water, if the Keep's plumbing should somehow fail." 

"We have enough clothing and blankets to go around, perhaps twice over, so 
some can be used as bandages if we need them." One of the other assistants 
offered, "We've also got a good stock of medicines and herbs collected this 
past fall, and soap.  With snowmelt we should have enough water to actually 
bathe." At the odd looks she received from some of the other assistants the 
young ocelot hunched her shoulders and frowned, "We are all going to need to 
bathe, or we'll start getting sick." She said quietly, defending her 

"She's right." Raven countered quietly as she placed her hands upon the 
altar. "Excellent," she continued with a small nod of satisfaction. "We are 
well-prepared, as I had hoped.  You have done well, my friends, all of you." 

"Mistress?" Jonathan Caroway raised his boyish hand, an uncertain expression 
on his face. 

"Aye, Jon?" 

"What shall we do if the battle lasts more than a week?  Or if the rest of 
Metamor falls?" 

Raven bit her lip in a solemn frown. "Metamor shall not fall," she said 
firmly. "Kyia will see to that. No army has ever occupied this castle 
uninvited for long. If the battle lasts for more than a week, we shall have 
to look for provisions elsewhere -- but we'll cross that bridge if we come to 

"Will we truly be safe here, Mistress?" an older-looking horse-woman asked. 
"You know what befell us the last time Nasoj attacked." Her expressive ears 
twitched, backing as she swished her ornately braided tail pointedly. 

A sudden chill fell on the circle of Lightbringers. Most of them remembered 
all too well how the priests and acolytes left behind in the temple had been 
slaughtered while the survivors were out working as field clerics. No one was 
quite sure how it had happened, but it seemed likely that a wraith had 
somehow eluded Kyia's watchful gaze and snuck inside the temple chambers. 

"We're safer than anywhere else we could be, Mabel," Raven said with a sigh. 
"Make no mistake, we will all be targets in this battle. The wards Kyia has 
placed around the temple this time are powerful, and should be enough to 
discourage any opportunistic wraiths or other fell creatures. Merai, you and 
I will place protective blessings on the acolytes as an added measure of 

"As you say, Sister Raven," Merai agreed, nodding. "Mayhap we should also 
place a watch on this level, since this is the only place that an enemy could 
enter. A wraith is easily dealt with if it is spotted in time." 

"A good idea," the wolf-woman said. "Celine, appoint someone to draft a 
schedule of guard duty, and see what we have in the way of weapons. Schedule 
acolytes to serve meals to the congregation, as well." 

"Aye, Mistress.  I'll have a schedule for you before dawn." 

"Thank you.  After Merai and I have finished the blessings, I'll be giving 
her charge of the temple for the time being." 

"Where will you be?" the younger priestess asked, frowning. 

"In my chambers. I shall consult with my sources and do my best to gain a 
clear picture of what is happening. If possible, and the gods willing, I 
shall summon aid for Metamor, as well." 

Merai nodded, clearly not quite understanding the specifics of what Raven had 
in mind but not wishing to debate the matter further in front of the 
acolytes.  Of course, Raven had not yet told her of the secret lines of 
communication used by the Lightbringer High Priests, so she did not expect 
the young cat-woman to grasp all of it. 

"Are there any other questions?" Raven asked, looking around the group. 

Some of the acolytes exchanged glances. "What should we do when we are 
off-duty?" someone asked. 

"Pray," the high priestess said firmly. "Spend time with your families, if 
they are here. Comfort and console those who need it. See if there are any 
storytellers or other entertainers among the congregation that can keep the 
people distracted to some degree.  There's more than enough reading material 
in the archives to go around.  Most of all, keep an air of optimism about you 
-- those people down there need to see your strength, not your fear. Anyone 

There was a moment's silence. "Very well, then -- everyone line up. Merai, 
let us see how quickly we can do this." 


End part 12b 
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