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Friday, December 23, 2011

A Day at the Plateau of Forever Part II


Cade was not disappointed. As he had strode across the grass towards the mustering field men seemed to appear out of the wind. By the time he had made it to his customary spot, nine-tenths of his company had appeared. Cade ignored them as they milled around and jostled into position to his right. Keeping his eyes straight ahead he studied a simple square of dressed stone, cut with spiraling whirls of rune etching. Lieutenant wasn't in place yet. He peered out of the corner of his eyes to the left and sighed inwardly. The men were milling about like a bunch of like traipsing green-eyed fae.

Cade barked out an order. Without thinking the men to his right snapped to attention. Cade felt an inward sense of satisfaction that didn't touch his face.

Stone faced he marched forward two steps, made a sharp right turn and marched a few more steps to be about center of the company and turned sharply toward them. For a moment he let his eyes glance over them. Over a hundred men...well, men in a general sort of fashion, the Arduin army meaning of the term. The company was a mixture of races, of which men were a component but others were in unequal portions as well. Burly Urukks with long weapons, a brace of Throons for the heavy weapons, some Elves for arcane support and even some of the newer gnomic mind mages that had migrated out of Falohyr a decade ago. The usual little bit of this and a little of that.

Cade opened his mouth to bark out the order for them to open ranks when the peals of a bell sounded across the plateau. He sighed. Inside of course. Wouldn't do to show his irritation outside to the men. Speaking of, not a single of them twitched. That made him smile, a trace of which he let show for a scrape of a second.

Looking past them over their heads he could see the blue-black pillars of the monolith were lit up, strobing in rhythmic blasts. A number of the cavalry group were already in the air around them, wheeling in circles on pegasai and one on a baby wyvern. Green fire burst from the air shimmering between the monolith's pillars and rolled down the pitted basalt steps that led down to the dirt of the plateau.

Cade quirked an eyebrow. He looked left and saw the pennant for his company rise above the headquarters tent. He glanced back towards the monoliths just as the air exploded outward from them, pushing out, buckling the air like water. The alarm grew shrill and soldiers began scurrying around the camp.

Cade looked at his men, who to their credit had yet to blink even a single time. He smiled broadly, showing all his silver teeth.

Men”, Cade said, “It looks like you get out of muster once again. I hope your equipments in good form because you are about to use it. Now fall out and get to it!”
Past the lined up orderly queue of men, a mass of blood red tentacles had followed the buckling of the air and were snaking their way down the basalt steps. The company dissolved into action, several taking to the air while others ran, jumped, and strode towards the monolith and the bizarre, blood red tentacles snaking from it. The air between the pillars groaned and cracked, and a harsh, biting purple mist issued forth.

Cade looked at the chaos, occasionally adding to it as he barked out one order or another. He watched the tentacles wrap up several soldiers and just as many others cut them free. It seemed like their was no end to the writhing red things. Magic, lasers, lightning, bullets, blades and claws seemed to destroy them but a wave of more gushed forth.

Ripping away a mass of them that attempted to circle him, Cade used his blade to call out several razor edged wedges of air. They satisfactorily sliced through more tentacles and Cade used the pause to gauge the situation.

A Cthonic, I'd bet, Cade snorted to himself.

I didn't get enough coffee for this kind of work.

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