Post by The Rising Dragon on Sept 8, 2011 22:38:56 GMT -5
"We are sending our forces to secure the block. The local militia is in an uproar, but we cannot allow the Harbinger to escape," DuValle informed the Knight-Commander. "Have your forces evacuate all non-combatants from the area. Kill anyone who resists; his Majesty will take no chances when it comes to the Harbinger. I will arrive shortly--I will deal with the Harbinger personally."
The communication window shut off abruptly, returning to the emblem of the Empire before disappearing completely.
Post by Steinerman on Sept 8, 2011 22:51:13 GMT -5
Beside Michael, Kevin snorted derisively. "We're saved." He said with a half-grin. "The big bad guardian of the Emperor is coming to save us from the Harbinger."
Michael shook his head and gave the operative a half-smile. "Lord DuValle is a fearsome warrior by all accounts, it will be a boon to have him in the area."
Again Kevin snorted. "Right." He replied sarcastically.
"Kevin . . ." Michael chided his friend. "Some days it seems your tongue will be the end of you."
He turned to the surrounding Hospitallers, "Lord DuValle wants the civilians cleared out of the area." He shouted so as to be heard over the commotion of the city in turmoil.
One of the Hospitallers lifted the visor on his combat helmet, "Knight-Commander, DuValle mentioned killing anyone who resists. Are those our orders?" The soldier questioned worriedly.
Michael shook his head, "Defend yourselves as necessary. If any resist, pacify them. Non-lethal methods unless you feel that you are in true danger. You're wearing armor, and they're not. Let's not have the Harbinger escape, but I won't have our blades stained with innocent blood."
The surrounding Hospitallers nodded gratefully and then set about their task of clearing the area of civilians, working easily in squads of three.
Kevin chuckled. "Did you just rescind Lord DuValle's kill-order?"
Michael shrugged once, "If he doesn't like it, that's his prerogative. I won't become the Korin just to beat them."
Last Edit: Sept 9, 2011 0:36:53 GMT -5 by Steinerman
The moment the fireball had been launched, Khordus had proceeded to launch himself several times upward through the shadows until he had reached the rooftops. He supposed it could be possible that they could have lived, but the chances were low to say the least. Nevertheless, even if he had failed then the rest of the Korin would finish the work soon enough as well as retrieve his axe blades; leaving them behind had been careless, but the daggers were dangerous enough on their own in his hands.
He had released his wall of stone the moment he had left, but fleeing the area altogether was still a short way off. Stamarin himself would not be fool enough to enter the area, unless there was something Khordus did not yet know about, and so the Harbinger would wait for DuValle, the Emperor's close guard, to come in close first. Killing DuValle would, of course, be the optimal outcome, but his loss of credit with the Emperor when he failed to capture the enemy would be a worthy enough victory in Khordus's eyes. Stamaria would fail after all.
On the ground, several Korin operatives disguised as a medical dispatch unit were now roaming the scene of their leader's deft escape. It was slightly surprising that few had been injured in his leaving, but what was left could easily be cleaned up. Splitting up, three of the six men moved for the Order's medics.
No accents to speak of, skin hardly marked, and plenty of planted reputation amidst Stamaria, these men had enough experience sabotaging Stamarian operations to last them a lifetime. While three took care of the "patients" the other three would be roaming the area, supposedly looking for harmed civilians and instead placing charges set to decimate the area. Ground zero for the Harbinger sighting, the location had immediately become the center of the perimeter now actively being formed, and the Korin would be sure any departing troops had nowhere local to retreat to.
Now striding up to the Order's medics, the first of the three spoke plainly, brandishing an authorizing mark of his superior position, "These two men - Vran and Burke, have been transferred under our care by order of Lord DuValle. He will take no chances in anything escaping notice." It was a common enough practice among Stamarian soldiers who were in critical condition. Often enough the wounded did not survive the questioning they received while they were already near death, much less the extensive physical search. The information that could learned before these men died was simply more important than their lives altogether.
The lead Order medic removed her helmet to glance at the authorization sheet, revealing a middle-aged woman with a heavily freckled face and fiery orange hair tied in a pony-tail. She stared hard at the regular Stamarian medics, a frown upon her face. "You regular infantry boys are willing to give up your own men on the off-chance that DuValle will find something interesting in their deaths?" She said, clearly taking offense.
"We're healers," she added angrily, "Lord DuValle will have to wait for these men. I'll not risk their lives for some pointless search. One of them has a bloody axe-head buried in his gut for Light's sake. You can have them once we've stabilized them."
She glanced around helplessly, knowing that her bluster couldn't do much against an official seal from DuValle. "Blast it, Thomkins, go find the Knight-Commander. Give him the brief, I'm not releasing care of these men, especially when one is from the Order." She told one of her partners. The man nodded once and sped off down the street for the last known position of Knight-Commander Saint.
The woman then turned back and locked a furious glare upon the regular Stamarian medics, taking up a protective stance in front of the stretchers as her team continued working on the wounded.
Last Edit: Sept 9, 2011 0:55:42 GMT -5 by Steinerman
The Korin operative dressed as a medic forced his composure, though his eyes rolled internally. He changed his mode to appeal to her militant side, though, "You dare suggest we are under-qualified to handle these men? The Order of the Blade lost its credibility because it stood for itself, not for Stamaria. You've been granted a gracious second chance, and still you choose to stand on your own. Risking the life of one of your dying men for the lives of all your men is ignorance at it's highest level. You have received your orders: stand down."
Post by Steinerman on Sept 9, 2011 17:22:48 GMT -5
The woman's eyes grew furious as the man opposite her spoke. "I . . . I . . ." she sputtered angrily. For a moment it appeared she was about to raise a fist and strike the man, and a nearby Hospitaller moved closer, read to keep her from doing something she'd regret.
But at that moment there was the heavy sound of armored footfalls and Knight-Commander Saint calmly walked up to the small confrontation. "Stand down, Sergeant Lyon." He gently said, a sad smile upon his lips. He'd come to know the medic well during his time in the Order, she had been one of the few to survive the purge, and it had nearly broken her. However, her loyalty to the Order was pure, though her loyalty to Stamaria itself was more suspect, seeing as she'd lost nearly all of her friends to the Empire's purge of the Order. And though he hadn't believed she'd strike a fellow Stamarian, he didn't want to chance it.
Michael gazed intently at the seal, and then nodded once. "Medic," he said, addressing the regular Stamarian medic and his comrades. "We of the Order are naturally inclined to protect our own, and the good Sergeant was quite understandable in her bid to have a higher officer oversee this encounter."
He shook his head sadly, "But this seal is official, and I cannot stand in the way of DuValle's direct orders like this. You may take the men." He turned to the Order medics, "Sergeant, release the patients to these medics and then move to aid any wounded civilians."
Sergeant Lyons grimaced, but nodded once. "Take bloody good care of these men," she hissed at the regular medics before taking her team and moving off.
Before the wounded could be taken away, however, Michael raised his hand to halt any progress, "Where are you ordered to take these men?" He questioned, eyes locked on the medics.
Last Edit: Sept 9, 2011 17:24:33 GMT -5 by Steinerman
Only the central speaker paused at Michael's gesture, the other two grabbing Burke's stretcher, quickly bringing it inside an enclosed building. The remaining of the three spoke simply, "Rest assured they will be treated locally." He gave a doleful glance at the remaining stretcher now being lifted as well, "I fear they would not survive the trip back, Knight-Commander. Now, if you'll excuse me, I do believe the life of the man you're hunting is much more important than peering over our shoulders. Good-day." And without another word, he turned his back on the Order member, retreating into the building that now held two stretchers and three Korin.
From one of the others, though, a message came in through the Korin communication network, "Location secured -- sending surprise on your mark."
On the rooftops, Khordus shifted his direction steeply, doubling back and dropping down to street level again in an attempt to lose the wyvern that had been chasing him. His voice broke over the network, quite calm despite his pursuers, "Not until DuValle arrives. Not until my mark."
An acknowledging grunt responded to the Harbinger before the line was shut down once more, and Khordus resumed his flight. He had full confidence he could outrun his pursuers, even if they were tracking him quite feverishly, but his prize was bigger than mere escape. He'd already won, really, but more pain for Stamaria was always welcome.
Post by Steinerman on Sept 10, 2011 23:49:14 GMT -5
Michael stared contemplatively at the medic as he retreated to the building. He was so deep in thought that operative Rivers had to speak twice to be heard.
"Hmm, sorry, Kevin, was thinking." Michael said apologetically.
the commando nodded sharply, "they're probably special forces, sent to question the people who saw the Harbinger."
Michael shook his head, "Then why didn't they request to speak with you? It makes little sense. They're not taking the wounded away, and they could have easily seen to other wounded and let our medics handle the situation here. Why'd they butt in?"
Kevin shrugged, "DuValle's orders. The White Devil has his own way of working."
"I wish you wouldn't refer to him as that." Michael chided solemnly. "Not when so many non-order personnel are around to hear."
Kevin flashed a manic grin, "please, Michael. I'm getting too old for this job to bother with things like political correctness. That's my partner they just took into that building, and you're suspicious about the whole thing. Which has got me worried now too."
Michael shook his head, "You're not suspicious as well? They didn't take the wounded back to HQ, and I don't recall even clearing that building to be used as a field hospital, for all we know, it could be full of Korin."
"I'm always suspicious," Kevin replied easily. "It's hard to tell when something is fishy or just me being paranoid. But if you're worried, that's got me really worried. Want to go into the building and see what they're up to?"
Michael frowned deeply. He'd already personally rescinded DuValle's kill order against the civilians in the area, and was treading on dangerously thin ice as it was. If the "medics" turned out to be special forces or some such thing sent by DuValle to question the wounded who'd seen the Harbinger, then bursting in on them would crack that ice.
But if not . . . then he'd just allowed hostiles to break away with two wounded Stamarians who couldn't defend themselves. His face hardened. "Blast this, I much preferred an enemy who was honest and open about their motives. Not all this dancing around and suspicion." He raised his hand and signaled a squad of newly arrived Templars in full platemail, at their head a Knight of the Blade.
"Knight," Michael called loudly, catching the warrior's attention. The Knight jogged up to Michael, slinging an assault rifle over his shoulder as he did so.
"Knight-Commander?" The heavily armored man questioned, lifting his visor. In a few brief sentences, Michael explained the oddities of the wounded soldiers and the transfer. The young Knight listened carefully through all of it, and then nodded once. "You wish me to check and see if the wounded truly are being cared for, or if some trickery is at play." He stated, his tone eager.
"Indeed. I haven't had time to confer with Knight-Commander Lightshield though."
The Knight shook his head, "no need, sir. Knight-Commander Lightshield instructed us to obey you as we would her. We'll see to this problem, sir." With that, he slapped down his visor and motioned his squad of four to prepare for a breach of the house into which the wounded soldiers and three medics had disappeared.
A moment later the young Knight unslung his assault rifle, couched it against his armored shoulder, and then dashed forward as a second Templar kicked in the door with a heavy footfall.
Post by The Rising Dragon on Sept 11, 2011 1:25:00 GMT -5
A darkened shadow swooped overhead, blanketing the Harbinger in a short-lived shadow before something heavy and reddish-brown crashed down onto the road ahead of him. Amatlan's talons skittered for purchase and quickly latched on, letting the wyvern whip around and screech menacingly at Khordus.
There was little anyone could do to shake off the shock and fear of a wyvern, and Khordus did his best to negotiate with his own surprise. Peeling off from his current street, he slammed his way into a long-since evacuated set of apartments. It was a war of attrition for the Korin, really, and if his enemies caused more damage to this city by him acting as bait then so much the better. Taking a flight of stairs up to the second level, he aimed for long hallways in the buildings to come, reaching their ending windows and shadow leaping into adjacent buildings. For what he lost in speed he gained in discrepancy from that damned winged beast.
As the bolt on the door gave way to Stamarian boots, a high pitched whining noise filled the air for just a moment as the proximity charge was set off, detonating the entire doorway moments later with a heart-stopping explosion. In the adjacent room, the three Korin operatives stirred immediately at the noise. The speed in which they had given into suspicion was surprising, but leave it to the Stamarians to act under constant paranoia. Well-deserved paranoia, but paranoia nonetheless.
Immediately two of the operatives injected a lethal concoction into the dying Stamarians, sealing their already short lives to now a matter of seconds. The lead of the three re-opened the communication line, reporting for all Korin, especially their leader, the situation, "Package slipped prematurely. Proceeding to mobile methods." With one deft movement, the speaker leaned over the Order member, wrenching the two bloodied axe heads out of his body and dropping them into a bag. The building would be surrounded in moments if it wasn't already, and if the Stamarians had survived the shock at the door then they would already be readying their charge through the rest of the house. Shouldering the bag, he signaled to the rest of the men, now taking flight up the nearby staircase to ascend to the highest levels of the building and reach the rooftops.
Post by Steinerman on Sept 15, 2011 23:07:51 GMT -5
The Knight Templar reacted with amazing agility and forethought as the breaching Templar was engulfed in the explosion of the proximity charge, lunging forward to catch his fallen comrade and drag him backwards with terrific speed, smearing blood along the ground. A quick roar of "MEDIC!" and then then Knight Templar and his three remaining comrades entered the building with careful precision, sweeping it room by room.
Outside the area was in a commotion. The charge had confirmed Michael's worst fears, and he was now moving to contain the situation. "Double-check every medic's ID, now. Even Order medics. Then move on to regular personnel, ferret out any more of these spies!" He shouted to squads of Hospitallers and Templars, knowing that the infiltrators could have had time to set any number of surprises for the true Stamarian forces.
Back inside the building, the Knight Templar briefly checked for the pulses of the two fallen Stamarians, and gave a growl as he realized the Korin operatives must have injected the men with something, ending their lives.
The faint thuds of footfalls from above gave clue as to where the dastardly Korin had fled, and with short, angry movements, the Knight Templar led his squad up the stairs after their prey, eager to avenge the dead.
Last Edit: Sept 15, 2011 23:10:07 GMT -5 by Steinerman
Post by The Rising Dragon on Oct 4, 2011 0:52:52 GMT -5
With a challenging roar, Amatlan ducked his head as he charged after Khordus, his tail whipping back and forth with each step. The creature's superior leg strength meant that within moments, the wyvern was nearly upon him, and only diving into the building saved the Harbinger from his bite.
The wyvern shrieked as it got caught in the doorway and quickly backed up, slashing a claw at the retreating Korin leader and missing. Amatlan snorted and looked around, soon spotting his mistress and the soldiers following her. He shrieked again and stretched his wings wildly as Kalia approached. "In there!" she ordered, noting the creatures frantic movements. "He's ascending and trying to escape! You two, in after him, and watch your backs! You three, we're going to flank the bastard. He is not getting out of this city block, do you hear me!?"
Still hurling himself through one corridor after the next, Khordus paused briefly once and a while to make a turn or break into another room for a better jump into the next building. It would be nearly impossible for them to track from outside, but if they could see his movements then his destination would also be revealed. Indeed, he was quickly progressing back exactly to where he had started. His men in the area had been compromised, but he had enough faith in them to believe they would get their tasks completed regardless. Things had not gone perfectly, for they never did, but he still hoped DuValle could be pinned to his grave once all the pieces were where they should be.
Upon reaching the top of the building, each man knew it would be time to separate. The Harbinger would be with them shortly, but until his command they were not to leave the area. There had been a designated safe area, though, where the other three were likely, and each man dove off into a different direction to escape the incoming Stamarians.
The Knight-Templar and his squad reached the rooftops in time to catch sight of two of the fleeing Korin operatives heading off in separate directions. The lead soldier angrily whipped out a communications device, "Knight-Commander, this is Knight-Templar Raddick. The Korin killed our wounded and have split up on the rooftops, I do not have enough men to pursue, your orders?"
Down below, Michael grimaced as he heard the news that their wounded were dead. Behind him he could feel the Sphinx operative's fury at the loss of his partner. This day was shaping up to be a bad one indeed.
"Pull back, Knight-Templar. They know this ground better than we do. Pull back and we'll reform."
Up on the rooftop, Knight-Templar Raddick nodded his helmeted head in grudging agreement. To chase the Korin across the rooftops with only three Templars at his back was tantamount to suicide when the Korin knew the area and he did not. "Acknowledged, Knight-Commander. Pulling back to your position."
He turned to his men, all three of the heavily armored soldiers were obviously agitated about their ordered retreat. The Order Templars did not retreat lightly, considering it a point of personal pride that if they retreated, it was only after leaving hundreds of enemies dead on the battlefield. Raddick knew that they were thinking if Knight-Commander Lightshield had been here, she would have continued the pursuit to the ends of the world. But Raddick also knew it was the smarter thing to reform and head out with a more capable force.
"Right, back down to the street. We'll regroup and then teach these dogs the meaning of Templar fury." He ordered icily, his words promising pain for the Korin.
Post by The Rising Dragon on Oct 9, 2011 1:16:12 GMT -5
Soon, a quartet of of men, each clad in the distinctive navy-blue uniform and polished armor of the Knights of Stamaria, arrived on Commander Saint's position. They were escorting a pair of men between them. The first, an older, balding elf with a tattooed face, wore the robes of the Order of Taron Magi, and clutched a slender staff in his hands.
The other man was unmistakably Lord Jordan DuValle, and he purposefully strode up to Saint, Flamereaver already in his gauntleted hand. "Report," he said coolly through the faceplate of his helmet.