GLOBAL STORYLINE UPDATE: Part 5 - Flower of Fire Feb 26, 2017 15:34:02 GMT -8 Mitah Val Karem, Lord Silver, and 2 more like this
Post by Sir Caelan Munro on Feb 26, 2017 15:34:02 GMT -8
NEW GLOBAL STORYLINE UPDATE, continued from Part 4: A Little Night Landing
—————————— ~ A Path We Were Destined to Follow, Part 5: Flower of Fire ~
Builds by Kingdomviewbricks and Ayrlego
Story by Sir Caelan Munro
“Thousands of them! Perhaps we should go around.”
Prince Mark of Falworth laughed off Sir Thomas of Torith’s caution, “They are just termites, Tommy. One or a thousand, no worries here.” He turned to his friend and joked, “Unless you are made of wood?!”
Sir Thomas was still staring at the huge mound of earth that lay in their path, with insects crawling all over it. The advanced parties of the small Loreesi-Garhim army had already passed through the jungle here, disturbing the creatures. The dense green jungles of the Great Western Isles were full of insects, all kinds, many of which the Loreesi had never seen before. And while Sir Thomas was valiant to the bone, he hated insects, and the sight of so many creepy-crawlies was not to his liking. Fortunately, the flora he had seen so far more than made up for the insects.
“If I am wood, sir, I am Ironwood,” he declared, recovering from his momentary revulsion and continuing forward with Falworth.
Mark grinned as they continued through the dense jungle, “Spoken like a True Loreesi. You know my friend we are doing something here most adventurous, yet most noble. This treasure is not why we are here. We seek to recover what has been lost, but not some musty metal in an ancient ruin; no, we seek an entire Province, the lost lamb of Lenfald back to the fold. Most noble indeed. And, I must say, most adventurous as well. Look around us; is there such a jungle in all of Roawia? No, and few have trodden before us here. That is adventure for you! As for myself of course, I get to slay a vicious wingless dragon, which has ruthlessly slain brave men. Not many can claim that honor. Such adventure! Are you not glad you came along Tommy? ….Eh?”
Mark had been leading on the path, and now when he looked back, no Thomas of Torith. His men-at-arms were marching there, and they continued on by him as Mark looked back, wondering. “Montaigne,” he called to one passerby, “have you seen Sir Thomas? He was right here a minute ago.”
The gruff sergeant from Toberg thumbed over his shoulder, “Flower Child is back there, sir.”
Mark frowned momentarily, making a mental note to chastise the less-than respectful sergeant later. He would have done so that very moment, but Montaigne was one of his best on the battlefield, and a highly capable leader as well. It could wait.
Gazing where they had just come from, Mark caught sight of Torith and worked his way back as his men passed him. “What on earth are you doing man,” Falworth asked curiously as he approached him, “have you found more of your infernal insects to horrify yourself?”
But Thomas was standing to the side of the path, staring wondrously at a flower…an amazing flower. Intricate and complex, it stood out brilliantly from the surrounding greenery by the intense fiery red color of its large flowing pedals. In the center, the stunningly golden androecium and gynoecium were unlike anything either of them had ever seen in flora in Loreos.
Prince Mark smiled to himself, “At a time such as this, you stare at flowers my friend!” He then chuckled, “Perhaps I brought along a botanist instead of a fellow warrior?”
Sir Thomas countered, “Do you not see it, my determined prince?”
Mark responded, as if it was all too obvious, “Flower.”
Thomas sniffed in good humor, “So mission-minded, one forgets the actual Mission above all others: Loreos. You see it? The red and gold, the courage and brilliance, thriving beautifully in a sea of green nothing — a symbol of Loreos itself!”
Now Falworth did see it, upon further thought. “A good sign! Perhaps it is a sign that we belong on this Island of Fýrdraca. Now back to the mission at hand my friend,” and he started to move away.
“Let me cut this beauty and take it for a trophy,” Sir Thomas started, but Mark stopped him.
“It will not last that way. And will get crushed on our mission….the wingless dragon, remember? Better still, leave it, and upon our return we shall uproot the entire thing and re-plant it back home as a tribute.”
“Yes of course,” Sir Thomas agreed, putting away his knife. “Let life live.” he stated finally, and resumed their progress.
They had delayed there long enough that the Garhim contingent had caught up to them. And an unhappy lot they were. Fierce men, strong as iron and full of courage and valor, but they were already done with the Great Western Isles. The relentless heat, the relentless humidity and the remorseless insects were getting to them. Garheim was wide open, with fresh air a continuous pleasure, often brought in with the strongest of winds into one's face and through even the thickest of hair. The jungle they were marching through however had little to-no-airflow and steam hung heavy in the air from all the moisture. The dense canopy overhead let little light in, and together with the ever-present mosquitos created an oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere. “Give me a frozen mountain pass in the dead of winter over this,” they heard one corporal state, with the others heartily agreeing.
Mark and Thomas energetically worked their way back to their own troops in front, but were immediately beset upon their return by Sergeant Montaigne, who was clearly concerned. This alone was enough to get Mark’s attention.
“My prince, our advanced scouts never returned from the ruins. So we sent four more ahead, and they are late reporting back as well. What are your orders?”
‘Have the war elephants come forward while I investigate the matter myself," Mark passed to him, deliberately sounding confident. He found that exuding confidence gave the impression to the average soldier of competence, and that was a priceless commodity for a leader. As he watched Montaigne head off to send a runner back to the elephant drivers however, he leaned closer to Sir Thomas and wondered aloud, "Our wingless dragon, perhaps?"
Thomas nodded, "Remember that thing took out half a dozen men in minutes."
"More than that, actually," Falworth noted as he motioned for eight of his best fighters to accompany himself and Thomas forward. As they got closer they passed Loreesi in fighting positions and one motioned at them.
“Sir, the scouts were last seen in through there,” and he pointed at a path ahead where light was flooding in like a tunnel through the dense jungle. Ruins could be seen through the tunnel, so they were very close to their objective.
As Mark and his men moved forward toward the path however, there came a sound, an unexpected and unmistakable sound.
In the lead position, Falworth barely had time to jump sideways and pull one of his men with him as a ballista bolt shot passed both of them and slammed into some trees behind the Loreesi, scattering splinters everywhere. Immediately there followed the sound again, a dull twang off in the distance. A second bolt now shot in, this time unfortunately finding its mark, splitting a tree and felling several Loreesi. Shouting and confusion followed.
Mark glanced at the fallen, and everyone now got very serious; death had visited the expedition….
Sir Thomas shot him a concerned look, “Ballista? Here? That can only…”
He was interrupted by a deadly rain of arrows which shot into their position, rapidly felling three men and wounding two others. Someone cried, “Scout Snipers! The Lenfels are here!”
Yet in this noise and fury, Mark also picked up in his ears horrendous sounds emanating somewhere forward, from some sort of creature. He quickly drew his elegant gold-trimmed longsword, Sir Thomas and his followers doing the same. It was time to take the fight to their antagonists...but just before they started to advance, a runner called his name desperately and Mark motioned for him to join them where they stood behind a large clump of trees.
The winded Garhim barely managed to get out Goði Holmstrom’s name and that the fleet was engaged in a fight.
“Engaged? With what, the dragon?” Mark asked, but the runner shook his head.
“Fleet’s engaged sir, with the other fleet,” he huffed.
Mark and Sir Thomas exchanged shocked glances. “Other fleet? What did the Walrus report?”
The man made a face of sorrow upon mention of the caravel. “No report came — right off, sunk with all hands...”
As the weight of this came upon the group, the stomp of elephants approached, and through the trees four of the most welcome of animals came into view. “At last, some good news,” Mark breathed, regaining his confidence. “All men, form up on me," he called to those within earshot, "the elephants will smash through the jungle and we shall advance along with them!” They obeyed happily, their morale lifted with the mass of the fearsome beasts, and the thought of being led by a man who had never lost a fight in his entire life.
“But sir,” the runner protested, “Goði Holmstrom is calling for a full retreat and evacuation!”
“Absurd,” Mark called to him, and said, “tell the Goði to hold the door open for us, we’re coming back once the mission is accomplished.” And with that they charged forward using the elephants to smash and stomp anything ahead of them, and as mobile shield walls for protection against the Snipers.
As they crashed through the last of the trees and moved forward amongst the outer stones of the ruins, the full temple complex finally came into view. It would have been a welcome sight....had it not been for the army before them.
Emerging from behind stone walls and from other hidden places, and forming up on the side of the temple, hundreds of green-clad men in armor took their places or charged forward, depending on their positions. A dark green and yellow banner was unfurled at the top of the temple which confirmed everything; a Lenfel army.
“How can this be?!” Sir Thomas stated to no one in particular, his tone a mixture of incredulity and frustration.
Having heard the bizarre creature noises earlier, Mark expected to see a wingless dragon amongst the Lenfels as well, but it turned out to be something else entirely, something he realized might be even worse: there in the distance before them were multiple war beasts, last seen by the Loreesi at the Battle of Maldrake’s Fortress two years ago. They had two archers atop their fighting platforms, and each of them was flying a black and red flag, the colors of none other than Baron Locklear. At their feet, moving in concert with the beasts, were swarms of more men, clad in black; Outlaws. These additional forces were in a field to the south of the temple complex, adjacent an ancient crumbling tower.
“Impossible!” Mark blurted out with unintended dismay, “An alliance? Here?”
The Loreesi-Garhim army had only one advantage on their side; there was a swift moving narrow river channel which separated them and the Lenfel-Outlaw horde before them, with only two bridges upon which to cross. The chute of rapidly moving water ran passed them to the south where the ancient tower split the flow into two separate waterfalls to the sea. There, on the left, which formed the Lenfel-Outlaw right flank, the defenders were vulnerable. A small plain on top of the cliffs, empty of any fortifications or forces, would allow a mass charge to the southern bridge, and that point appeared to be lightly defended. With the Garhim positioned at the rear of their column they could swing left, and once through the trees form there and attack the enemy's right flank.
Prince Mark immediately halted the advance, directing his men to form their own defense amongst the ruins on their side of the river. He then sent Sergeant Montaigne off to relay the attack instructions to their allies, the Men of The North. Meanwhile the Loreesi quickly formed a shield-wall and used other obstacles present as shelter.
Although the Loreesi defense held their enemies off, they were taking casualties, not the least of which was from the combination of the effects of both ballista and deadly arrow fire from the Scout Snipers. While Mark made haste with his instructions, Sir Thomas studied the Lenfal-Outlaw position. He could also see some of the naval action taking place just beyond the cliffs, and it did not appear as if things were going well at sea. He turned to his leader and said with regret, “Perhaps Goði Holmstrom was right. We could have rear forces hold them at the bridges while we make haste for the ships.”
“We are not undone,” Mark responded in his ever positive manner. “I have faith in our Garhim allies. See,” he pointed, “here they are emerging from the trees with nothing to meet them. They will tear into their flank like furious bears!” As he finished speaking, the Garhim did indeed come forward and began forming up into powerful rows of armored angry warriors. But they too became targets of those deadly ballistas, of which the Lenfels apparently had more than originally estimated.
“Where did all these enemy forces come from?” one of the Loreesi near them marveled.
While waiting for the Garhim charge to begin his own attack in concert, Mark had a few moments to take it all in. For the most part, the Lenfels took the right, forming their own left flank against the steps of the temple and the cliff beyond to Mark’s right. If they could be pressed, they would have nowhere to go but down the cliff. In the center were the war beasts and a few hundred Outlaws, and on the left forming the enemy’s right flank were more Outlaws he could now see mixed in with the ruins, wearing red capes and appearing not-entirely human. Still, he believed the Garhim could take them.
Further studying his enemy to find another advantage for his forces, Mark realized something that stirred his memory, a report he had read on the Battle of Maldrake’s Fortress. Nearly all of the Lenfel infantry here were wearing uniforms of sort, dark green capes matched with a particular style of helmet and armor….and then he realized who they were: the Emerald Wolves. Lenfel mercenaries, ruthless, brutal, and deadly in hand-to-hand combat.
Must counter them with the elephants, Mark thought to himself…and then he remembered another fact from that report, about the brutal man who led the Emerald Wolves…
While absorbed in thought, Mark had momentarily lost his situational awareness, and was vulnerable from one clear angle across the river.
And that’s when Corporal Graeme Blair spotted his chance, the chance of a lifetime, to bring down the great Prince Mark of Falworth. The Scout Sniper drew his shot, aimed with appropriate windage, and let fire….
Only Sir Thomas of Torith saw it coming, and with no time to spare he lurched forward to protect the prince. And so Corporal Blair's arrow found a different target.
Sir Thomas collapsed in shock, and as Mark snapped out of his thoughts, he saw the arrow sunk deep into Thomas’ left side in the vulnerable gap between armor and armpit. Catching his friend and lowering him to the ground in horror, Prince Mark saw life leaving Torith from the fading light of his face. Thomas whispered something to him, something critical, a few final words which mattered so very much to him, and then Thomas just stared off into the distance…
Stunned, shocked at the loss, overcome with sudden grief, Mark looked up to see Corporal Blair nock another arrow and draw bead on him, all taking place in that strange world where time slows down and every sight is burned into one’s memory forever. But the Corporal was suddenly shoved harshly to one side and his shot missed badly. Blair was shoved so hard he flew sideways and off his feet entirely. The brute who shoved him was a giant, a huge barrel of a man in thick plate armor, with jet black hair and a visage of pure disdain.
The huge man now stood across the river opposite of Mark, not even glancing to see if he had hurt his own ally Corporal Blair. And Prince Mark realized who the man was: the leader of the Emerald Wolves himself; Lord Hans Zarkan.
“Falworth!” Zarkan bellowed at the top of his lungs from across the narrow river, “You Desert Peacock Princess, come taste Death upon my sword!” He held up a brutal great black-hilted broadsword as if to help Mark make the decision.
But the decision was already made. Beyond fury, the prince snatched his longsword and charged forward. His men picked up on their leader's move and all charged with him along with the war elephants. As one of the beasts came up even with him in the charge, Mark grabbed hold of a strap for the elephant’s fighting platform and rode along with the animal, intending to use it to cross the swift river and take his revenge upon the mercenary Zarkan.
Back further into the Loreesi lines of defense where he fell, his heart fighting to produce its final beats, Sir Thomas of Torith was seeing the last of this world. The fight disappeared to him, the sounds very far off in the distance. His eyes finally came to rest upon something intensely red not three feet from where he lay. He reached out awkwardly to it and tried to take hold, but failed in his final effort. His eyes slowly faded while resting on the red object.
Unknown to him, the object had an official name: the Fýrdraca Fire Flower…
————---------------Coming soon: A Path We Were Destined to Follow, Part 6
Special thank you to The Brothers of Torith , who volunteered to allow this story to have more meaning by sacrificing his player character. Please thank him in the comments below.
If you have questions….all will be revealed! But first, for the next update….are you ready for an epic fight?
While you are waiting for Update Part 6, please participate in:
The Mini-Global Challenge: Build the Fýrdraca Fire Flower!
To go with this Global Storyline Update, we have a great little mini-challenge for you: build a life-size model of the Fýrdraca Fire Flower in this story. For those of you who like sculpture this should be fun, but for those who have never tried modeling with LEGO, challenge yourself by taking a shot at it….
Last time we did this, we only had one entry, but it would be fantastic to have a few for the competition.
- Remember the details from above when creating the flower. It needs to be eye-catching but as beautiful as you can make it.
- Post your entries here, and also in your main faction thread so that you get the personal points.
- You can build a full jungle background for it, or use a neutral background if you so choose.
- Entries will earn 3 personal points, only 1 entry per builder.
- If we get more than 2 entries, a poll will be taken and the winning faction will get 3 points.
- Suspense date is March 26th, midnight your time.
- If the winning model passes the "Thor's Hammer" test (it must be "worrrrrrrtheeeee") then it will be used in a future Global Storyline Update.
Good luck everyone, and happy building!