Michael saluted briefly and then summarized the situation for DuValle. "The Harbinger has been sighted in the area, units are attempting to track him down. Possibly more dangerous at the moment, though, is the infiltration of regular Stamarian units by Korin operatives. I am unsure if they've also infiltrated the Order. We're checking on that now."
As he spoke, the last of the local civilians was herded out of the area, though not without many harsh and angry words against the Stamarian presence. Already the populace was starting to take on the beginning aspects of an angry mob.
Michael acknowledged a hand signal from one of his Hospitallers and quickly added on. "This block and the surrounding blocks are now as secure as we can make them, sir."
Last Edit: Oct 9, 2011 2:27:23 GMT -5 by Steinerman
Post by The Rising Dragon on Oct 9, 2011 13:39:25 GMT -5
"Good. I have reports from a Knight Dragonheart that they've managed to turn Jorin around and he's headed this way. He was probably waiting for my appearance."
With his free hand, he gestured to the elf beside him, and the man nodded. His eyes flashed a bit as he prepared some magic. "Ready your men," the Emperor's bodyguard ordered Saint. "I'd hate to disappoint the Harbinger for coming so far."
DuValle opened up a holographic screen and forwarded a message to Saint, itself encoded in Order encryption, and detailing a quickly formulated plan.
Michael gazed over the plan quickly, and then nodded once. "As you command." He said simply. With that, he turned to the surrounding Hospitallers and Templars. "Fall back to defensive positions." He called out loudly.
The surrounding soldiers moved instantly, their trust in the Knight-Commander so complete that with those few words they followed the orders without question, knowing there was more to the plan that he would reveal in due time.
Michael placed his greathelm firmly upon his head and motioned for several squads of Templars and Hospitallers to follow him to one of the more central buildings. From there he would respond as best he could to whatever tricks the Korin through at them.
"Welcome him with open arms, then," Khordus replied quickly, scaling the building to its highest level a moment later. Planned to the meter, Khordus stood just beyond the perimeter of the Stamarian, impromptu base. While he was now fully visible on the rooftops, it would be relatively inconsequential when put next to the distraction that would knock many of the Stamarians off their feet, some even to their graves.
The explosion shook the ground violently, sending tremors throughout the entire city with its force. Delicately placed charges in building after building that guarded the Stamarian camp was bombarded from the inside as waves of destruction from each consecutive charge melted the supports to dust. Most buildings collapsed on the spot, and the explosion left the rest teetering on the brink of destruction as they lost the integrity to hold themselves up.
As instructed, his operatives would have already retreated beyond the explosion zone, though if they had not been fast enough then they likely would have perished atop the roofs when they exploded. It was of little consequence now, though, as Khordus knew his blades had been secured already. The dust from the explosion obscured almost all vision, and the sound still practically registered his ears useless. Nevertheless, the Harbinger was quite adept at hunting.
Leaping through the shadows quickly enough to gain position on the Stamarians without a unified response, Khordus' final dash landed him behind the White Devil himself. His next movements were crucial, for history could be written to how he acted. Slashing out with his daggers to weakest joints in DuValle's armor, Khordus attempted to land the first blow on the heavily armored man before he could react. On time with his step forward to strike, though, Khordus also unleashed a powerful tremor through the earth with his magic, radiating in a circle from him where he and DuValle stood. Anyone caught in the path of the tremor would be thrown off their feet and away from the epicenter, securing Khordus a reasonable amount of room to duel the man before him, should his strikes fail. Finally, Khordus called upon the powers of flame as well, lighting the edges of his quake with a tall, incinerating flame. If done properly, he would lock all those he had knocked away from the duel by means of a towering wall of fire.
Post by The Rising Dragon on Oct 13, 2011 1:49:16 GMT -5
As screams rose up between Stamarians within the secured block and the nearby civilians, DuValle spun around from his waiting place, quickly catching sight of Jorin as he rushed out of the rubble. With almost inhuman reflexes, the White Devil sidestepped and backpedaled from the Harbinger's knives, bringing Flamereaver up off his back in the same motion. The tremor seemed to do nothing to the knight--his footing held throughout the quake. It really was as if he was a devil.
Flames burst up from the ground as Kalia rushed forward, causing both her and Amatlan to stagger back in surprise, with the wyvern releasing a frustrated shriek. "Damn!" Kalia cursed as her remaining men caught up. "Find a way around this mess!" she ordered as she swung herself up onto her mount's saddle. "Make sure the Korin aren't playing anything nasty for the others!"
"Yes ma'am!" one of them affirmed. "What about you?"
"I'm going in after him!" Kalia told him. "Cover me as soon as you can!"
Kalia gave Amatlan a kick, and with a snarl, the beast lunged, using impressive strength to leap off the street and through the flames with his wings extended.
Ready to face Stamarin's prized man, Khordus made to advance immediately, though he broke off to the side a moment later as a wyvern shriek cut through the other cries of despair from outside his arena. Despite the heat of his flames that would have barred most intruders, the wyvern's natural resilience to flame combined with its speed proved his fire ineffective. There could be no chances with DuValle, though, and Khordus released the smallest of tremors into the ground once more, signalling some of his men in the sewers beneath the street. Without so much as a moment's delay, two sets of incorporeal hands closed in on both wyvern and rider, the ghastly, withered fingers latching onto each of their bodies and sucking them into the ground, separating their bodies from the physical for enough time to drag them into the Korin-infested sewers.
Still on open ground, though, Khordus strafed his way into the location the wyvern had just been so as to leave no doubt that she was, indeed, gone. Strengthening the intensity of the flame so as to stop anyone else from breaking through, Khordus finally focused solely on the fight now. If he had his way, DuValle would be staying on the surface, even if he did feel the wrath of the Korin mages below from time to time. DuValle's execution at the hands of the Harbinger was to be a public spectacle.
Activating the magnetic signal on his gauntlet, Khordus summoned the two axe heads that were now directly behind DuValle to come to him. The speeding projectiles would be moving more than fast enough to penetrate DuValle's armor, if he let them, though should they miss then the Harbinger would find himself armed once more. Their duel to the death had begun.
Beneath the surface of the street, though, the spectral hands that had grabbed Kalia and Amatlan relinquished their grasps, leaving them separated from each other in the dark labyrinth. Amatlan was caged, but Kalia would find herself free. Well, her bars would not be made of iron, anyway. The hands left the Stamarian officer in a damp rectangular room hardly boasting any size to speak of and barely illuminated by a dying torch, located deep within a dead end. It was the Korin's intention to terrify their prey before brutally annihilating them.
While the Korin are most frequently defined by their speed, agility, and trickery, there are a few that distinguish themselves among each other by different means. Standing at 2.3 meters and weighing over 200 kilograms, many thought this Korin operative to be the offspring of giants. Head covered in a metal helmet and face by a barred grill, the man was clad from feet up in steel, he wore a slightly modified set of Stamarian power-armor that had been repainted and refinished for Korin use. Carried relatively lightly in one hand was what used to be a mounted heavy machine gun, the ammunition line trailing to its reservoir in its metal carriage on the massive man's back. One of the group called the Manu'mitter's of Korinus, this man was referred to only as Tom.
With each step he took in the confined tunnels, the echo of metal slamming into stone boomed in every direction. The man's deep, thundering voice filled the halls of the sewer, "Now, Stamarian, you will understand what it is like to fight with your back to a wall against impossible odds. Prepare for death, you ignoble wretch."
Some of the Korin, though, argued that staying on the surface may have been a crueler fate for Kalia. A short distance away from the area Khordus had walled off, one of the sewer grates shuddered and buckled outwards to Korin magic, and a metal crate a little taller than a person emerged into the light of day. The crate shuddered, the bolts having been weakened beforehand, and a moment later the entire enclosure burst open, a Blind Harvester that had been trapped by the Korin flying out and letting forth a terrible screech. Assault rifles immediately lighting ablaze, the mechanized demon launched itself on the Stamarian troops.
Post by Steinerman on Oct 17, 2011 22:50:10 GMT -5
Michael coughed as the smoke slowly began to clear, taking in the destruction that the Korin had unleashed. The building he had stationed himself in was one of the few left standing, just a little ways outside of the wall of fire now surrounding DuValle and the Harbinger. Though by the look of things, even Michael's building was teetering. But for the moment, it would hold.
And that was a good thing, considering that the Korin had just unleashed a Blind Harvester on the area. He glanced around, some of the Templars and sturdier Hospitallers were standing, obviously aware of what was going on. The younger Hospitallers were terrified, having only ever heard of Blind Harvesters. The veterans were grim-faced, realizing it would be a hard battle. And the Templars? They looked ready to kill. Michael nodded, many of the finest soldiers of the Order were here with him today, and he thanked the Light for that.
"Order!" He bellowed, his loud, sure voice carrying across the field. "Defensive positions!" Around him the aware soldiers started helping the others up, moving quickly and efficiently.
Michael ensured that his helmet was firmly in place, and then stepped out into the dust-covered world, drawing Fidelis as he did so. A whispered prayer later and the holy blade burst into fire, shining brightly through the haze. Using the sword much like a baton, he started pointing out positions and bellowing orders.
"Templars, secure the central building and outer ruins, form a defensive line and for Light's sake don't get caught in the machine's fire." He ordered. Behind, the shouting of the Order Templars grew more regular as their squad commanders repeated his instructions, moving to secure the half-shattered building that would become the center of a new defensive line against the Harvester.
Michael kept bellowing orders over the next few seconds, forcibly dragging his soldiers back into a cohesive fighting force. Wounded were dragged to the safest areas while Templar squads alternated attempting to draw the Harvester's fire with their assault rifles.
Michael took cover for a moment, realizing that they didn't have the heavy equipment needed to damage the monstrous evil the Korin had unleashed. Quickly he spoke into his radio, "Sergeant Uban, this is Knight-Commander Saint. We're under heavy attack by a Blind Harvester." He spoke clearly into the radio, knowing he might not get a second chance to clear things up if he misspoke.
"We need heavy weapons to take this monstrosity down, form a relief force and get here as quickly as you can. We will hold our ground. For the Empire!"
With that, he stepped out into the open and began walking calmly towards the Blind Harvester that threatened not only the soldiers under his command, but the entire city full of innocents. To let the machine win would mean the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands. That was not something he was prepared to live with. And so he would sacrifice his life to stop it, if need be.
Last Edit: Oct 17, 2011 22:54:29 GMT -5 by Steinerman
Post by The Rising Dragon on Oct 20, 2011 1:19:08 GMT -5
Kalia felt the oddest of chills course through her, giving her a brief moment of confusion against the searing heat of the ring of fire. Things seemed to slow as her magic senses fired off on her synapses. And then, with an otherwise-comedic "urk" from both her and the wyvern she was atop, the Knight felt the queer sensation of disconnection from the world, followed by blackness as the ethereal hand yanked her into an abyss through the ground.
Amatlan disappeared beneath her in an instant, and with a shriek, Kalia felt herself reconnect with the physical plane, just as she reconnected painfully with the ground. Her vision swam from the impact, and she had to shake her head a bit for it to clear as she got to one knee. The smell of mildew was strong in her nostrils, and the dampness of the stone floor was soaking through the exposed cloth of her uniform beneath her armor.
When she heard the growling voice, though, the woman's head snapped up, and her hand quickly went for her sword. She could barely make out the hulking brute hidden in the edge of the shadows, but she had a rough idea of what she was facing. "I don't think you'll find me easy meat, butcher," she spat at him, standing and drawing her sword in one smooth motion.
The magnetized axe blades hurtled through the air, parting the flames for the briefest of moments and leaving a hollow whine through the air. There was no chance for Lord DuValle to dodge--he didn't even seem to bother.
The blades sheared right through the White Devil, but the only effect was the curious and damning wavery distortion of his armor as they passed through. DuValle halted in midstep, flickered, and disappeared.
As the illusion died, something burst out from the rubble of the building beside Jorin. Reddish-orange light danced off the white plates of the real Jordan DuValle's armor, and both hands quickly whipped Flamereaver around in a wide arc to try and send the Harbinger's head rolling across the street.
Beneath the surface of the streets, Kalia's returning cry struck Tom's ears. It would be good that she still had life left in her; despair was all the more potent after hope had been ruthlessly destroyed a moment before. Revving up the chaingun in his hand, Tom broke into a slow, lumbering run that would have outpaced most people, his helmet occasionally striking against the ceiling with a chilling screech. Now pouring ammunition into the small room Kalia was trapped in, Tom charged toward it, filling the air with the acrid smoke from his weapon.
Khordus, on the other hand, found himself slightly at a loss. He was quick indeed, but DuValle was not known as the White Devil of Stamaria for petty reasons. Throwing up his axes in defense, there was little he could do but hope to be in time as DuValle took him by surprise from the side. The force of the two handed weapon crashing into his two, much smaller axes was enough to throw the Harbinger off his feet, sending him rolling across the small arena he had created.
Quickly scrambling to his feet, Khordus realized that one of his axes had been loosed from his hands in his tumble. There was not enough time to truly spar DuValle, though, and he was confident that the man before him was of the flesh. Sprinting toward his lost weapon located between him and his enemy, Khordus grabbed at its handle while shifting the earth beneath his feet. The rocks below him groaned as they elevated themselves some three feet higher than they would have been before, giving Khordus a springboard into a leap attack at DuValle. With a roar, the Korin Harbinger swung his axes before reaching DuValle mid-air, unleashing twin arcs of fire from his weapons fueled with enough heat to melt flesh, bone, and armor alike.
Post by The Rising Dragon on Oct 21, 2011 22:22:54 GMT -5
Kalia also moved forward as the Manu'mitter began his charge, her free hand shooting up to the clasp of her cape and freeing it from around her neck. The cape drifted and pooled behind her. Now with the weight on her shoulders gone, she sprinted, closing the distance, and ducked.
She slid across the stone floor, using her momentum to fly past the behemoth, underneath the screaming minigun. Her armor left a screeching sound as it was ground against the floor, but she was past the Manu'mitter, and she quickly shoved herself onto her feet and bolted away--this was not a fight she planned on fighting. It was not a fight she could win, and she still had a goal to achieve.
Where are you, Amatlan? she wondered, her footsteps loud in the sewers as they splashed against the foul waters.
If DuValle felt any satisfaction or disappointment from his blow sending the Harbinger to the ground, but with life still left in him, his helmet did not betray it. Effortlessly, he brought Flamereaver back around and swung again, but this time, it left only scorched earth as the sword carved through the pillar of rock that was suddenly jutting from the ground. His head snapped up as Jorin became airborne, and hopped backwards, gathering magic into his body.
A sweeping miasma of light swarmed up from the ground around the White Devil's legs, drawn upwards by some unseen force before it flared brightly, giving birth to a twisting runic circle beneath his feet. A blue-white glow encompassed his white plate armor, and the man roared as Flamereaver swung up around and into the hurtling flames.
The fires burst and raged about in a horrific explosion, blackening and melting the stone beneath DuValle's feet. Just as quickly as it appeared, the flames were blown away, revealing the knight still standing, his armor singed and scorched but intact beneath the protective aura. Flamereaver was still held aloft in both of his hands, sweeping up to meet the Harbinger's axe.
Tom released the pressure from the trigger as Kalia neared, attempting to stop her with his free hand but failing to match the much smaller opponent's speed. It was indeed wise for her to avoid a full fight, but the Korin did not bring her down here to let her escape alive. Revving his weapon again, Tom broke into a galloping run after her, spraying ammo down the tunnel in the hopes to wound her.
Khordus grimaced slightly as his attack proved in effective; this man really was the devil in human form. With a cry, the Harbinger aimed a foot toward the man's helmet, swinging both of his axes toward his massive torso on either side in the hopes that his triple strike could not be completely countered by the man's weapon and his clear prowess with it.
"Trooper, report!" smoke and dust filled the area surrounding the battleground, screams and shouts permeated the air, almost a physical force.
And yet, Trooper Nicole Riley felt calm, assured that her training and her comrades would see her through the day. She shook her head, "No good, Sergeant. The Korin collapsed that building up ahead, and it fell into the road. No way are we getting the Humvees over that mess."
Behind her a small column of four Order Humvees was spaced at even distances, wary gunners manning each of the turrets while the dismounts surveyed the wreckage ahead. These were the relief troops Sergeant Adams had pulled together when the word came down that a Blind Harvester had been unleashed. They'd rushed to the combat zone, prepped to take down the vicious machine, only to now have a giant pile of rubble stop them cold.
Adams growled, his face a pure mask of Sergeantly fury. "Right, if the Vee's can't go over it, we'll grab our heavier gear and get over on foot." The Order dismounts quickly began grabbing the few heavy weapons they'd stacked in the Humvees. Adams grabbed a tube-like weapon and tossed it towards Riley. "Trooper, you're qualified to use a HARP-E, right?"
Nicole caught the heavy weapon easily, letting her arm take the brunt of the weight. She eyed the armor-piercing rocket-launcher calmly and nodded once. "Highest marks in the unit, Sergeant."
"Right, then use that lovely mechanical arm of yours and clamber over this rubble pile, there's a three-story building up ahead, looks ready to fall down but I want you in it. Get there on the double, Trooper!"
Nicole saluted hurriedly, "Sergeant, yes, Sergeant!" She shouted before slinging the heavy weapon onto her back. Once sure the weapon was secured, she turned and ran for the rubble pile, using her mechanical arm to bodily pull herself upwards and over obstacles, easily outdistancing her comrades. She sped for her target building, noting that much of one side was simply missing.
Again, using her arm to haul herself up, she speedily scaled the outer wall and pulled herself up into the second story window. She then dashed across the creaking floor and to the other side of the building. Sure enough, she'd guessed the direction correctly, the building overlooked the debris-strewn combat area.
She clamped down on any awe-struck reaction at the blazing inferno in the middle of the pock-marked area, instead she quickly recognized and focused on her beleaguered comrades, who were fighting a mechanical monstrosity just a little ways outside of the inferno.
Blood spattered the ground in giant swaths where the Harvester had caught a squad of Hospitallers in the open, their torn bodies littered the nearby area. A second squad was running with all speed for a central building from which Templars were trying to give cover.
The Harvester dodged to the side while at the same time raking the building with fire from its on-board weaponry, causing the Templars to duck down or be shredded by the high-powered rifles the Harvester wielded.
Once sure that the building would stay silent for a few more moments, the Harvester quickly tried to close the gap between itself and the fleeing Hospitallers, only to run headlong into the suddenly interposed forms of Knight-Commander Saint and a bloodied Knight-Templar Raddick. Both soldiers were bleeding from several dozen small cuts where the Harvester's scythes had shorn through their armor in previous encounters, but both flung themselves into its path to save their fleeing comrades.
Without even pausing the Harvester leapt to the attack, weapons whirling and arcing.
Nicole took in everything with the blink of an eye, realizing her rocket was useless for the next few minutes unless she got creative. "Right, this is going to be harder than the textbooks give it credit." She murmured, unslinging the heavy weapon from her back and bracing it against the windowsill.
Post by The Rising Dragon on Oct 23, 2011 17:03:52 GMT -5
Hearing the telltale whine of the minigun revving up, Kalia threw herself down a side tunnel as Tom fired, but not before one of the bullets grazed through the side of her skirt and her thigh beneath it--the round was more than enough to punch through her armor.
Gritting her teeth, Kalia slapped a hand to her thigh at the sting, realizing how bad a position she was in. Bastard's using armor-piercing rounds...
Forcing herself through the pain, she picked herself up and kept running. She'd have time to bleed later. She opened up a magic screen and began tracking her mount, knowing that all of the Empire's creatures had tracking chips from Tsuminar implanted in them.
The sudden kick from Jorin rang against DuValle's helmet, jolting him aside for a brief moment, but it took him little to recover and bring his burning sword up to catch the incoming axe blows. Heated metal rang against each other, leaving a shower of sparks to dance across the slagged boulevard.
With their weapons locked together, DuValle took a step forward and pushed his considerable strength into the duel. "You made the mistake of seeking me out, Harbinger," he spoke to Jorin. "Now you will die for it."
The White Devil exerted, throwing all his strength forward, trying to knock the Korin leader off his feet.
In a heartbeat, Khordus let go of his weapons and let the flame at his back grow immensely, casting a long shadow over both himself and DuValle. As soon as his weapons were fully free from his hands, the Harbinger was gone, now directly behind DuValle and standing in the huge man's shadow. With one deft movement, Khordus' right hand dipped close to the ground, his earth magic gripping the stone and pulling it to his fist like metal particles to a magnet, and he swung the immense weapon straight for DuValle's exposed lower back. The force would be enough to sever a normal man's spine in half, but there was no telling just how effective it might be against a man of this size and strength.
Post by The Rising Dragon on Oct 24, 2011 13:23:58 GMT -5
Suddenly the resistance was gone, and Flamereaver swung through the air, striking nothing as Jorin used his superior speed to maneuver behind the White Devil. Unperturbed by the change, he twisted the flaming sword around and was spinning about to attack the Harbinger behind him, but the improvised weapon struck too quickly, smashing into the side of his armor and fracturing it.
The blow actually managed to throw the larger man off his feet, hurtling him several feet back. He landed in a pile on the ruined street, Flamereaver clattering beside him. Beneath his helmet, DuValle's face twisted in a mirthless grin at the sudden counterattack.