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Siege of Vengeance

StoriesbyJurixe Feb 24th, 2015 (edited) 258 Never
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  1. The heels of Jurixe's sandals tap audibly on the marble floor as she moves to the centre of the room, turning to survey the crowd for a moment.
  2.  
  3. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "It has been an interesting year, Mhaldor, one dedicated to reminiscence and, of course, reflection. Logosmas is a time to appreciate and pay homage to that which is more important - and for the West, that is the Seven Truths."
  4.  
  5. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "For months now you have exemplified six of the seven, and we are gathered today to honour the first and greatest: Truth One."
  6.  
  7. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "What is called evil is simply the drive for advancement, for greatness. We seek, through discipline and pain, to spur the advancement of nothing less than sentient life."
  8.  
  9. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "You are here today because we are united in our common goal. To eradicate the weak and leave only the strong, whether that be within ourselves or without. For it is the natural order of the world that the prey serves only to strengthen the hunter; and we shall not be the prey."
  10.  
  11. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Mourn not those that fall by the wayside, for they would only have hindered us in our unceasing march forwards to greatness. Does the tree bemoan the fallen leaf? No, and neither should you."
  12.  
  13. Jurixe clasps her gloved hands together in front of her, half-obscured by the curling wisps of incense smoke that snake sinuously through the still air.
  14.  
  15. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Ever has it been our shared love of bloodshed, the desire to bring death and destruction to the festering mass of weaklings that comprise Sapience, that has united us like little else can."
  16.  
  17. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "This month, I will tell you a story. I will tell you of a battle to end all battles, where we fought outnumbered four to one on the streets of our own city; we fought for pride, for strength, and for His glory. We fought with one purpose, one mind, with a burning intensity never seen since."
  18.  
  19. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "I will tell you of the Siege of Vengeance."
  20.  
  21. Jurixe spreads her hands forwards and to the side, as if an unspoken command.
  22.  
  23. Without warning, copious plumes of silver-grey smoke spill from the braziers, the flickering light filtering through lending a ghostly quality to the area.
  24.  
  25. Almost completely hidden from view now, Jurixe's voice resounds eerily through the hazy surroundings.
  26.  
  27. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "You know, or should know, that the myriad Divinities of Sapience collectively comprise the Garden of the Gods. Currently, there are nineteen in total; but almost a complete Dance of the Vault ago, there were nearly twice that number."
  28.  
  29. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "The members of the Garden had not changed drastically for decades, centuries, millenia even. Occasionally, events would occur in the realms; the balance of power would tilt a little towards one God or the other, Gods and Their followers would war between Themselves, and very rarely, a new God would materialise to join Their ranks."
  30.  
  31. Jurixe says decisively in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "However, all that changed with the coming of Bal'met."
  32.  
  33. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Our Master, then known as Lord Shaitan, God of Oppression, struck a deal with the alien entity known as Bal'met. This was a being of great power, worshipped by the ormyrr and Dala'myrr, ancient foes of the Dragons. We had assisted them in bringing Him into existence, and He agreed to assist our efforts in eliminating the weak."
  34.  
  35. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "The rest of the Garden underestimated Him at first, not knowing His true strength. The first to run afoul of Him was Lord Hermes, God of Luck, who so foolishly tried to cheat Bal'met out of His domain."
  36.  
  37. A vision of a golden coin spinning in mid-air materialises amid the smoke, before a great blade cleaves it in twain and the halves fall to the floor.
  38.  
  39. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "But He was not the first to fall. The Twin Lords banished Lord Hermes to Krenindala, the realm over which Bal'met held sway. Enraged, Lady Kastalia and Lord Lupus set out for the foreign land to retrieve Him - but of Them, only the Wild God returned alive."
  40.  
  41. The ethereal smoke churns and solidifies into a hazy representation of two figures.
  42.  
  43. One is a beautiful woman, sprawled across the ground, and the other is a hulking mass of seething shadow, who reaches forward-
  44.  
  45. A scream reverberates in the large chamber, and the scene dissipates abruptly into formless tendrils once more.
  46.  
  47. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Henceforth began the feud between our Lord and the Lady Ourania, who was grief-stricken at the loss of Her daughter and vowed revenge."
  48.  
  49. Jurixe says gravely in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "The slaying of a fellow member of the Garden was unheard of, particularly by an interloper who wished to usurp Their power. A Council was convened, in which some Divine urged caution, and others cried for battle."
  50.  
  51. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Eventually, six Divine set off for Krenindala: Lords Pentharian, Aegis, Matsuhama, Daedalus; Ladies Miramar, Ourania, and Pandora."
  52.  
  53. Jurixe laces her fingers together, surveying the room.
  54.  
  55. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Though They and Their loyal servants caused great destruction to the ormyrr, neither Bal'met nor the Lords met Them on the battlefield, much to Their displeasure."
  56.  
  57. Jurixe says softly in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "It was not until They found the imprisoned Lord Hermes that They knew..."
  58.  
  59. Reality shimmers around you through the silvery haze, revealing a vision: that of a tall, strong man running towards a bound, wasted body at the back of a cave.
  60.  
  61. A deep, ghostly voice echoes in the room, "I've found Hermes! Wait..."
  62.  
  63. As you watch, something seems to be expanding in the prone figure's body, and He moans and writhes in agony.
  64.  
  65. "It...it's a trap! Fall back! Fall-"
  66.  
  67. Light emanates from the Messenger's body, filling the cave. Suddenly, He explodes in a rush of searing power, so intense it blinds you for a few seconds.
  68.  
  69. Three figures materialise: a warrior, an austere-looking woman, and the tall man of before, each wearing identical expressions of horror.
  70.  
  71. Like a tidal wave, the blinding light engulfs Them whole. Tearful shouts and screams of "No!" ring in your ears as the scene dissipates.
  72.  
  73. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Lords Matsuhama, Daedalus, and Lady Miramar perished in Their foolish quest against the Masters' will that day."
  74.  
  75. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Sapience mourned; we rejoiced. For what better evidence could there be that Oppression would someday rule the world?"
  76.  
  77. Jurixe says quietly in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Their deaths, however, became the catalyst for the most ferocious battle that I have ever fought in - and indeed, perhaps the greatest battle of all time among the ever-feuding cities of Sapience."
  78.  
  79. The steady march of hundreds of armoured boots on packed earth resonate in the still air.
  80.  
  81. Jurixe says softly in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Besieged by grief, vengeance ignited in the void of their hearts."
  82.  
  83. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "For the first time ever in recorded history, not only did the cities of Sapience stand together against Mhaldor, they marched as one upon the Baelgrim."
  84.  
  85. A familiar sight coalesces into view: neat, orderly rows of black-armoured Mhaldorian soldiers, standing with drawn weapons before the large city gates.
  86.  
  87. Before them, separated by a short expanse of wasteland, stands a force of Sapients several times larger than the Mhaldorians.
  88.  
  89. The green banners of Eleusis, blue for Cyrene, gold for Shallam and purple of Hashan flap angrily amidst the fog, loud taunts and threats filling the air.
  90.  
  91. With a rallying battle cry, a Shallamese knight leads the charge towards the imposing gates, the earth trembling as the warriors surge forth.
  92.  
  93. Jurixe's disembodied voice weaves sinuously through the scene as the sounds of war begin to make themselves manifest all around you.
  94.  
  95. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "The first attack occurred upon the very gates of our city. I cannot even remember how many there were...at least sixty, seventy, maybe more. Forestals and alchemists standing shoulder-to-shoulder, Serpentlord and Dawnstrider united, Occultists working in tandem with Priests...it was a sight to see."
  96.  
  97. A rain of arrows from the Mhaldorian army strikes down the first wave of oncoming enemies, causing confusion in the ranks.
  98.  
  99. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Every present Mhaldorian took up sword, staff, and bow, not one turned tail and fled in the face of adversity...and despite the overwhelming odds, we defeated the first wave of raiders."
  100.  
  101. Jurixe says jubilantly in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "We had held the gates."
  102.  
  103. Suddenly, an explosion rocks the scene, and the Mhaldorian defenders turn back to see orange tongues of flame licking out of the Baelgrim Fortress.
  104.  
  105. Jurixe says grimly in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "However, our good fortune only lasted so long. The Ashtani, whom we previously thought we had an armistice with, had infiltrated the fortress and attacked from behind us, bringing the total raider count to over ninety. Essentially, we were pinned between a rock and a hard place."
  106.  
  107. Overwhelmed by the sheer numbers from the gates, the Mhaldorian defenders begin to retreat, swords clashing and arrows slicing through the air as they move.
  108.  
  109. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "We knew we were hopelessly outnumbered. Death was a guarantee. Our guards could not possibly survive the onslaught. Our city would be reduced to rubble, for we were fighting the combined forces of Sapience itself."
  110.  
  111. A corner of Jurixe's lips quirks upwards a fraction.
  112.  
  113. Jurixe says simply in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "We smiled."
  114.  
  115. Visions of desperate, impossible battles all around the city now surface in succession, each lingering briefly in your view before being replaced by another.
  116.  
  117. A tall Xoran knight crouches below a sewer grating, before suddenly exploding upwards onto the streets and firing off an arrow.
  118.  
  119. That single arrow is soon joined by scores of other arrows fired by unseen Naga archers; in the distance, a scream is heard as a body drops to the ground.
  120.  
  121. Streams of fire and light streak towards the knight, but just before they can hit him, a whip lashes out from the sewers and yanks him back to safety.
  122.  
  123. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "That month, each of us fought like ten men. It was far too chaotic for any semblance of order or directive, but it did not matter."
  124.  
  125. A robed human, one eye sewn shut, walks calmly into an enormous group of raiders, who stare at him bemusedly for a moment before descending upon him.
  126.  
  127. The human doesn't resist, but as his body crumples, he whispers "Vengeance!" and deadly shards of bone explode from him, impaling a few through the throat.
  128.  
  129. A red light flares, and he is alive again; the enemies continue attacking, and he dies again, and again, and again. However, with each death, so do they.
  130.  
  131. Incredibly, their numbers begin to dwindle with each of his twelve deaths, until the human is the only one left standing among a sea of bodies.
  132.  
  133. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Ever has Mhaldor flourished when faced with adversity; the battlefield has always been where we unite in our thirst for heathen blood."
  134.  
  135. Jurixe says fervently in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "That fateful month, we -fought-."
  136.  
  137. Two fighters face off upon a rocky field in the Vashnarian wastelands; a Blademaster wearing a gi of the Black Lotus, and a Tsol'aa Maldaathi knight.
  138.  
  139. War rages all around them, but their focus is only each other. Without warning, they attack with a vengeance, blades whirling and clashing in a dangerous dance.
  140.  
  141. The skill of the fighters in every ringing crash, every closely blocked parry, is evident; but there can only be one outcome.
  142.  
  143. Soon, the Maldaathi rips out the sternum of his fallen opponent and savagely plunges it into his corpse, uttering a dark laugh of satisfaction.
  144.  
  145. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "We rose, and fell."
  146.  
  147. In the battleground, Mhaldorians begin to fall; pierced through by arrows, trampled underfoot by war steeds, run through by swords, and more horrifying demises.
  148.  
  149. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "And rose again."
  150.  
  151. "Burn!"
  152.  
  153. A malevolent shrine flares with power; nearby, a large group of raiders howl in agony, some crumpling to the ground as Oppression's wrath sears their souls.
  154.  
  155. "Fire!"
  156.  
  157. Mhaldorian defenders charge into the fray, hacking and slashing enthusiastically, arrows hurtling into the midst from unseen vantage points.
  158.  
  159. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Did they slay us? Yes."
  160.  
  161. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Did they burn our city? Yes."
  162.  
  163. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Did they kill our spirit?"
  164.  
  165. Jurixe says firmly in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "No."
  166.  
  167. The Xorani knight of before materialises again at the head of a group of Mhaldorian defenders, looking up at the burning fortress.
  168.  
  169. Baring his teeth in a strangely pleased snarl, he turns away and heads out to the gates as slaves put out the flames. The entire contingent follows in his wake.
  170.  
  171. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "From the ashes is a phoenix reborn."
  172.  
  173. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "From Suffering, came Strength."
  174.  
  175. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "And with Strength...came Vengeance."
  176.  
  177. Your vision fills with red as dead bodies pile up at your feet, each a participant of the massive assault upon the city.
  178.  
  179. In the distance, dawn fades into night, which lightens into dawn, and the mountain of bodies continues to grow.
  180.  
  181. The piles of dead-eyed corpses fade from view as the silvery mist dissipates into nothing, revealing the massive chamber and Jurixe in the centre once more. Her lips curl upwards into a cruel smirk, the expression devoid of true amusement.
  182.  
  183. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "A colony of ants is strong."
  184.  
  185. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "But a single ant is worth naught."
  186.  
  187. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "So were each of those that had dared to raise a hand against the city of the Lord crushed. One by one, in pairs, in groups, or alone, they were hunted. For days, months after that, no Mhaldorian enemy would know the meaning of respite, for no one can defile His city and expect to live in peace."
  188.  
  189. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "It was perhaps a defining moment for Mhaldor, and a rallying cry of our own. I have never seen Mhaldorians fight harder or with as much zeal as we did then. No city is without their differences, but in that crucial moment - when all was lost, and there was naught to fight for but our own pride - we cast aside all our disagreements and united for a cause that was greater than our own."
  190.  
  191. Jurixe says simply in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Strength."
  192.  
  193. Jurixe's gaze sweeps over the room, taking in every Mhaldorian present.
  194.  
  195. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "As we march forth into the dawn of a new Dance, Mhaldor, remember this."
  196.  
  197. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Battles will begin and end. Numbers will rise and fall."
  198.  
  199. Jurixe says resolutely in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "But the devotion in your heart must always burn as brightly and as fiercely as the day you set foot in the Baelgrim, and swore yourself as an eternal servant of Evil."
  200.  
  201. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Our brightest moments have been on the field of war, but it should not require bloodshed to stoke our faith in the Master, and in our cause."
  202.  
  203. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "I tell you this story, a true story, to show you that together, we can overcome the most impossible odds. A Mhaldor united is the most fearsome force in all of Sapience. Even Ashtan, for all its bravado, can never claim to have boldly faced down five cities on its own."
  204.  
  205. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "Remember the Siege of Vengeance, and remember what we can do together. Limitations and failings are all in the mind. Let go of petty grievances and minor disagreements, and work together to be the seamless force of Strength the Lord intended us to be."
  206.  
  207. Jurixe pauses for a moment, clasping her hands together once more.
  208.  
  209. Jurixe says in Mhaldorian in a low, silken voice, "With that, I pronounce the end of the Seven Reflections. I hope you have all used this time to properly reflect upon each of the Seven Truths and paid due homage to them."
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