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 Chapter 25: Short Notice

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Red Blizzard

Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-05-30
Age : 25
Location : Elsewhere

PostSubject: Chapter 25: Short Notice   Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:42 am

“Mezkiel is resilient to deception, though it’s not impossible to trick him. He can think better than the average clan leader, and has a fast-moving mind that’s always exploring possibilities. He’s also not afraid to resort to brutal methods in order to dominate his opponents. However, he lacks the resolve to maintain a long fight, and is incapable of controlling his soldiers in a losing situation. All-in-all, I think we have a good chance to win this if we strike quickly and overwhelm his defense.”

“Just like you did last time, huh? How well did that go?”

“Accidents happen.”

A jet of steamy breath filtered through the frosty night air as Seth peered from behind a rocky outcrop at his second Fallen Angels’ base in as many days. Next to him, various members of Requiem, old and new, surveyed the hastily-constructed camp, eyes glinting in the darkness as the snow fell all around them. The Fallen Angels had refused to give up control of the pass that separated the coastline from inland. If Saint was to successfully complete his rescue mission, they would have to open the way for him. Forcefully.

“The way I see it, we could have an initial strike force hit them from right here, sliding down the ledge into their camp. The walls should be easy to scale, provided one doesn’t impale themselves on the wooden stakes. Meanwhile, Dye and Blizzard can lead separate charges from the left and the right, crushing them in a pincer formation.” This came from Merci, who had crawled forward to view the enemy base in its entirety.

“That would be a good tactic for the daytime, but since it’s dark outside right now, I think we can stray from the book a little bit.” Blizzard stepped forward to join Seth and Merci. “Why don’t we set fire to their walls first, then concentrate a fast-moving task force to hit them from the left side? That way we can flush them out, and send them into a larger force on the right side. Make them do a little running, rather than allow them to hunker in behind their defenses.”

“And what about an initial strike force?”

“We don’t need one. If we send in anyone now, we’ll ruin the element of surprise for later forces.”

“But we would have them occupied inside their base, so the pincer formation would still catch them by surprise and overwhelm them once it arrives.”

“But then we wouldn’t be able to set fire to the base with our own troops scattered all over inside it, and they would be able to defend themselves inside their own buildings…”

As the two bickered, other members of Requiem stepped forward to survey the base. It had a fairly tall, wooden wall surrounding the camp, made from large logs with the tips sharpened to a point, as to deter any who would climb over them. There were two entrances, one on the right and one on the left, both patrolled by four guards each. Inside, soldiers were gathered around a camp fire, feasting, while others had retired early to go to bed. Mezkiel could not be seen, but it was assumed that he would be in the main tent, away from his own men. The situation wasn’t ideal, but it was the best shot they had.

“Hey, do you guys have a plan yet?” Blizzard and Merci looked, up, along with a small huddle of other people who had joined the planning. Dye walked over to them, eyes glinting. He needed some action to forget everything else that had been on his mind lately.

“Yeah, we’ve got a plan now.” Blizzard and Merci both glanced at a dark figure in thick armor. Staitus, eager to prove himself already. At least they had something to go on now.

“Oh, and Blizzard, did you do that yet?” Blizzard raised an eyebrow, then grimaced and nodded as comprehension took over.

“Yeah, it’s done. Anyways, let’s do this guys. Here’s the plan…”


Two figures stepped out of the snow, walking towards the eastern entrance with the staggering step of wanderers lost in the hinterland. The guards at the gates immediately snapped to attention, massive halberds pointed at the newcomers. Not that it mattered: the two figures had their hands up the moment they could see the guards.

“Hey, hey, we’re friends. We just want to join your clan, that’s all.” The guards grunted. In this weather, with the snow cutting visibility down to almost nothing, anyone could say anything just to get shelter.

“What do you have to offer?”

One of the figures stepped forward. “Please don’t panic.” A second later, a knife sang through the air, embedding itself in one of the wooden beams of the base’s entrance just inches from one of the guards’ head. The guard instinctively took a few steps back.

“Alright, alright, we’ll take you guys. Follow me in.” The two figures followed one of the guards in, leaving the other one all alone out in the snow. The lone guard shivered. Without anyone for company, he suddenly felt vulnerable. He could die, and no one would ever know…

A fireball roared through the air, roasting the guard where he stood. His armor clattered to the ground on top of a pile of ashes as various members of Requiem extracted themselves from the snow and crept towards the entrance.

“The idiot would have been better off if he didn’t stay behind.” Dye kicked over the guard’s helmet, scattering charred remains everywhere.

“At least it makes the job easier for Cool and Darkest. One less man to take care of.” Staitus admired his own handiwork, watching black embers smolder in the guard’s remains. Around them, other members slowly gathered, old and new faces mixed in with expressions ranging from eagerness to apprehension. Dye turned to the waiting crowd.

“Alright, according to the plan, we’re supposed to sneak in and wait for the signal before burning everything to the ground.”

Jake looked at Dye with a funny expression. “Was this your plan?”

“No. But we’re running it anyways. Move in for now, and when you see the signal…”

Suddenly, the sounds of fighting coming from within the camp.

“Never mind. Burn the hell out of this place.”


The two figures were led by the guard up to the largest tent in the camp. “Wait here, I’ll go get Mezkiel.” He disappeared inside the tent. “Mezkiel sir, we have two new recruits wanting to join up!” Inside the tent, the conversation continued, muffled but present. Outside in the snow, the two figures shifted restlessly.

The one who had thrown the knife earlier turned to his companion. “Who gets the kill? You or me?”

The other one just shrugged. “Depends. If you can hit him with your knife throw, by all means, do it. I’m just here for…”

“Hit who?” They both looked up to find a man standing in the tent’s entrance, black wings splayed, a nasty-looking scythe in one hand.

“Wow, that wasn’t sneaky at all…” One of the two muttered under their breath. And then, in a louder voice. “We were just talking about some deer we saw earlier. I plan to kill one of them for dinner.”

“And you referred to the deer as ‘he’?”

“Well, yeah, one of them was a stag, looked like he could make a good meal and all…Anyways, we’re here to join your clan. We’re both good at fighting, we just need a place to stay and all that.”

“I can see that. Why’s he sweating?” The winged figure gestured to the knife thrower, who seemed paralyzed by the thought that he had almost been caught before everyone was in place. The talking figure glanced at his partner, then let his eyes wander around the camp. He couldn’t keep up the string of excuses much longer, and he felt out of place talking so much. He had probably spoken more here than he had in the last week, and his tongue was going numb in the cold air. Then, above the faint howl of the wind, he barely made out the sounds of guitar strings plinking. To him, that was good enough.

“Oh, he’s just exhausted from getting here. He sweats a lot, even in the cold.”

“My guard didn’t notice him sweating earlier.”

“Yeah, well, your guard didn’t notice a lot of things.” An explosion ripped through a nearby tent. Mezkiel involuntarily jumped, eyes flashing wide for one moment as he felt control over the situation slide from underneath his fingers. In that moment, he experienced the beginnings of panic, slowing his movements and clouding his senses. If he had just maintained control, he would have seen it coming sooner. He would have been able to avoid it, and escape the battle unscathed, looking after himself until the time was right for him to return the favor. If he had. But he didn’t.

There was a flash of white hair, a glint of steely eyes, and then four metal spikes came driving towards his face. Mezkiel leapt backwards, eyes shut, scythe swinging upwards to belatedly deflect the blow. He could feel four icy pinpricks digging into his face, just below the eyes, could feel the first drops of blood pouring from four parallel holes gouged by the attack. Then, the icy sensation was gone, leaving only the burning feeling of the four wounds silently frothing below his eye level. A swish from the left brought Mezkiel’s eyes open again, and his scythe came up, handle quivering as it parried a blow from his opponent’s other weapon. Allowing himself time to survey what he was up against, he glared furiously at the two figures that had been invited inside his domain. The closer of the two, one hand streaked with red, held twin knuckle-dusters: daggers with oversized handguards, four spikes protruding like claws. The one farther away had unfrozen from his spot, cold air plastering sweat to his face as he toyed with something in the palms of his hands. Red snakeskin covered the rest of his body, giving him the appearance of a flayed human being.

A glint of silver, and Mezkiel’s scythe whirled to deflect a knife thrown at his head. Buying that moment of distraction, the closer one lunged forward, a dagger arcing upwards from below, a set of spikes coming in from the side. Mezkiel blocked both at once with different parts of his scythe, shoving his opponent into the way of another incoming knife that the snakeskin figure had tossed at him. The dagger-wielder heard the knife singing through the air and twisted out of the way, knife missing everything and burying itself in the snow. Three more knives shot through the air even before the last one had stopped quivering, forcing Mezkiel to back up, scythe whirling. Above the clang of each knife being blocked, he could discern the swift crunch of footsteps as both figures now lunged at him, the snakeskin man using his last two throwing knives as melee weapons rather than using them up.

They moved swiftly to surround Mezkiel, who found himself suddenly caught in a maelstrom of whirling blades. His scythe moved quickly to block the attacks, wondering why no one else had come forth to help him. Allowing his eyes to slide away from the immediate battle for the moment, he saw tents on fire, wooden walls of the camp charred black, bodies pinking the freshly fallen snow. Then the harsh clang of blades forced him back to the task at hand. He could expect no help from his clan. So be it. With a vicious swipe, he knocked back the fighter with the knuckle-dusters, then aimed a kick that send the other fighter sprawling into a burning tent. There were yelps from inside the tent as the snakeskin fighter extricated himself from the flaming mess. The other figure, down on one knee and breathing hard, glanced over at his partner.

“Are you alright…Cool?”

“Just kill him already Darkest!”

Darkest managed a grin in spite of himself, and dove right back in, daggers flailing in a deadly dance that Mezkiel, for all his skill, could not keep up with. Two cuts appeared on Mezkiel’s dominant arm, one slicing clean through a tendon. Another bash with the knuckle-dusters drove four new holes into Mezkiel’s stomach, and yet another stab with his off-hand dagger went deep into Mezkiel’s hamstring. The leader of the Fallen Angels stumbled backwards, wings ruffled, robes trailing blood. Darkest allowed himself one moment to admire his handiwork, noting in particular the four holes now bored into the leader’s face. They had drawn long, crimson lines down Mezkiel’s face that, in spite of everything, improved his general appearance. There was some satisfaction to be had in humiliating someone in the name of someone else, neither of which Darkest particularly cared about. Losing himself in the fight for the first time in years, he dashed forward, daggers flashing, going in for the kill.

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Chapter 25: Short Notice
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