The Grand High Magister (Kreska & Valentyne)

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  1. Mageia. A nation long ruined, an empire toppled by the hand of the people united. A nation of magic, of secrets lost in its destruction, secrets still buried deep. Even since magic has re-entered the world, many intricacies of the Arcane have not been regained. The creation of artifacts was a stride forward, but Megethos still has much to learn. Many powerful items are still archived in the rubble. Many wellsprings of magic are still unknown.
    But, months after the beginning of the War of the Magister, one such font of power is rising.
    It was early morning when a great pillar of blue light arose in the west, seemingly spontaneously. It was of incalculable height, its peak rising above the clouds, and it stood for almost an hour, visible all across the continent. Many people watched its rise. An exiled Estillian knight from the battlements of an Arandish fortress. A young girl with a gift from a town in rural Alixies. A blonde woman, cloaked in tattoos as much as fabric, from an unnamed citadel. A wizard of great power, robed in blue, from the highest point of a floating city. And a black-clad scholar, from a complex of practical buildings in the Silver State. Just as quickly as it had appeared, the pillar of light vanished, fading back into the ground. But it left all of its observers with a question.
    What is it?


    Vance "Fen" Velts was up early.
    The sun had only just risen when the scholar and co-founder of the Scales climbed out of his bed. He occupied the first few moments of his wakefulness with the organization of his laboratory, which was only a room away from his bedchamber. He had worked late the night before, and left things in rather a mess. He chided himself mentally as he stepped into the workplace and gazed at the parchment strewn across the desks and even floor, as well as ritual components. Even the circular glyph drawn on the floor in the center of the room, which was a secure gateway to his dimension, had research material scattered over it. So he set about cleaning up, stacking papers, shelving components, re-tracing the glyph to retain its integrity, and repairing the temporary enchantments about the place which needed daily maintenance to stay active. He had been at this task for almost an hour when a glint from the west window caught his eye. Curiously, he set down the lump of refined silver he was holding and strode to the window. What he saw was...startling. A great pillar of blue light, almost too bright to look at, even from this distance, burned from distant Mageia, known now as the Fragments. Vance was stunned. His first thought was Magus. Was the archmage performing some ritual? But that was unlikely, the scholar decided. The famous Tower was now bound physically to the capital of Kosma, Darriusell. If the Magister was performing a ritual on such a grand scale, it would surely be from the flying city. But then what? He wracked his brain, searching among his knowledge of magical phenomena to find an answer. Then he came to something. A detail he had noted years ago, when he was excavating Mageian ruins. He had found traces of magic in practically all of them, of course, but they were stronger in some than others. In one, the weave was surprisingly intact, leaving the shell of a complex magical formula hanging invisibly in the air to be read by anyone capable. It had been far beyond his ken (and still was even now), but Vance could tell enough to formulate a theory. The spell had a trigger to it, tied to pure magical energy, or Essence, the very stuff that made the Arcane possible. It was waiting for a near immeasurable amount of Essence to exist. The scholar had hypothesized that the spell had been set to trigger when the world entered another age of magic, although its purpose was impossible to tell. By the time he had found it, the magic had eroded to the point that it was never going to trigger anyway.
    It was a wild possibility, but what if a spell like that had remained intact? To be the size it was, the Pillar had to contain an incalculable amount of magic, and there were only two things Vance could think of that could create that much Essence in one place. Magus (already likely ruled out) and the spells of the Mageians.
    There was only one thing the former spy knew for certain.
    They would have to investigate it, and it would be a race against everyone else. Including the Magister.


    In a lonely office sequestered in one side of the Scales' headquarters, a pink-haired woman slumped in a harshly plain wooden chair, behind an equally mundane desk, scattered with several stacks of neatly organized parchment (and a few not so neatly organized). Her head lay on the desk, her nose on top of an important-looking paper. Contrary to appearances, she was awake, but only barely. Her eyes were closed, but her mind was active, making sense of the dozens of reports she'd spent the night taking in. I'm going to have to organize a better system... Lavender thought. She'd never needed to delegate before; her operations were always small enough for her to handle everything. That wasn't so anymore, and the former crime lord desperately needed someone to reduce her work-load. Only a fraction of these reports were actually worthy of her attention; most could be handled by lower level clerks. But the ones that were important, well. They were interesting, to say the least.
    A knock on her office's door brought Lavender's head up from her desk. "Come in." She said in a ragged voice fraught with exhaustion. A tall, dark-skinned woman wearing a plain linen outfit stepped inside, closing the door behind her, as was Lavender's policy. "Ma--" The messenger cut herself off, biting her lip as she remembered that her boss preferred to skip the formalities. "Mr. Vel...Vance is calling a meeting."
    "Early today, I see." Lavender noted with a hint of irritation.
    "He said that there was something important the council needed to know as soon as possible."
    "There always is. Tell him I'll be along." Then the messenger left, softly shutting the door behind her. Lavender leaned back and stretched her arms, yawning. She shuffled her papers around, sliding a few key ones aside to be read at the morning's meeting. Then she stood and slipped into an unadorned side door which lead into a small dressing room with a cot shoved in a corner. The assassin was used to shoddy accomodations, and she didn't sleep well on posh beds, so she'd insisted on these quarters. "All I need is a corner without too many bugs." She had commented sincerely months ago when this place was being set up. The Scales' councilor looked at herself in the mirror hung haphazardly on the wall. Her eponymously coloured hair fell in a tangled clump about her head. Her skin was flushed. Her hard blue eyes were half-shut and had prominent dark circles beneath them. Her clothes were a mess. She slipped out of her outfit, dropping her jacket on the ground, sliding her shirt over her head, and pulling her leggings off. Behind her was a closet that contained several other sets of clothing with only slight variation. Lavender believed in uniform attire. She selected a shirt at random and set about getting dressed, which took but a moment. The assassin looked back at the mirror, staring critically at her hair. She muttered a few words, and an extremely soft surge echoed through her mind as her lavender tresses flit about and brushed themselves out, tightening into a neat ponytail held up by the magic. Good enough. She still looked like a wreck, but now she was an orderly wreck.
    Then she left for the meeting.


    Aaron parried his foe's smaller blade with his own greatsword, adeptly sliding the weapon down his own to lock their hilts together. Then, using his superior strength, he pushed the immobilized blades toward his opponent's chest. One hand left his sword's hilt to draw a dagger from his belt, which was quickly thrust toward a chink in the other swordswoman's armor. It stopped an inch before striking her. "Stop." The Arand said. He pulled back his blade and let the tip clatter to the ground as she lowered hers. The more experienced knight sheathed the dagger and said. "You're still too aggressive. A stronger foe can easily do exactly what I did, especially with a larger blade." He slid his claymore into the loop on his back. "Use your speed to your advantage. When your reach and power is outmatched, wait. Dance just out of their range, and wait for them to make a mistake. When they do, that's when you attack. And make it count; you won't get many opportunities, so you need to disarm or kill them as soon as possible." He critically examined the freckled young woman standing before him, her feet still set in a battle stance. He reached out and nudged her leg backward. "Your stance is too tight. If you parry a blade wrong it could knock you over. Set your feet a bit farther apart, and your left backwards a little." The knight glanced around at the other trainees, sparring with each other or with other knights. It was up to the Arands to teach their new recruits. The mercenaries frequently had sloppy technique, and the Estillians didn't have as comprehensive martial experience, being more focused on battle magic. He was about to say something to his trainee, but at that moment was interrupted by someone running up to the pair. He was dressed in simple attire--that of a servant, which was strange to see on the training ground, where armor was usually worn. He saluted smartly to Aaron. The knight recognized him--Luke, former Alixien military. His background as a soldier made him good at following orders. Aaron rather liked him.
    "Report, Luke." The Arand told him.
    "Sir Velts is calling a meeting, sir. He requests your presence immediately, sir. He said it is very important, sir."
    "Very well. Tell him I'll be there as soon as I change out of my armor." He looked at the Estillian girl. "Lena, go take off your armor and wipe the sweat off. I think it's time you sat in on a meeting." The aspiring knight had a unique and effective combat style that combined magic and weapons in a way only an Estillian could manage, and she was a charismatic personality that was well liked among her unit. She had promise, and Aaron was considering her as a candidate for a future promotion. He'd just have to drill a sense of tactics into her first.


    The council room was only just large enough for the usual attendants and a few more people sitting in, the oval-shaped table in the center taking up most of the room. As their architect, Vance didn't believe in wasted space. The chairs were arranged evenly; there was no "head of the table." They had agreed that no single person led the Scales, but that they all had equal authority. The banner hung on the far wall reinforced this. A Scale bringeth Balance. As a council, there was a balance of power that would threaten the organization if it was disrupted.
    Vance was the first to be there, of course, as he had called the meeting. He sat in his usual spot, to the left, near the end of the table. Next was Natasha, a Velarian who was the commanding officer of the mercenaries, just under Aaron. She was a rough, brown-skinned woman with a penchant for violence, but she had a real talent for logistics, able to manage large groups effectively. The old Arand didn't really have a secretary, but Natasha was definitely the closest thing to it. She sat casually, leaning back, her feet on the table, her hands flipping a dagger skillfully through the air. She was always punctual, and rose early.
    Next was Hawke. Demi and Taras had only met him briefly on their journey to the Tower, but Vance and Lavender had known him before that--the scholar as a research partner, and the assassin as a target. But the old man was forgiving; he overcame his distaste for Lavender nearly instantly when Vance had told him he could assist in the creation of artifacts. He had brought a parchment with him--likely a formula for improving the artifact ritual--which he reviewed while waiting for everyone else to show up.
    After Hawke was Sameen, a pale woman perpetually cloaked in black, whom Vance loved dearly, although not in a romantic way. She was one of the Scales' few Velarian spies, and the most skilled of them, taught by the scholar himself so long ago. She didn't talk much, and sat with a stiff, formal stance.
    Then came Kad, a quiet, troubled man who was a leader of the Estillian knights and former squire to Brandt, an infamous Blue Knight who had betrayed Skye and Taras over a year ago. Kad had arrived later than his companions, informing them that Brandt had vanished without a trace, leaving all his possessions and holdings behind. While he didn't exactly admire the man, the squire didn't see Brandt as the evil figure the rest of them did. He said that what he did was ultimately for the good of his country, even if he was misguided sometimes, and that his disappearance couldn't be good.
    When Lavender arrived, it was clear she had gotten no sleep. There were dark circles under her eyes, and her hair was magically held up--obviously a quick-fix job. She carried a sheaf of papers, as she always did to meetings--reports.
    That just left Aaron, Demi, and Taras. The Arand made it before the latter two did, and Lena was with him--his star pupil. Vance gave him a questioning look when he came in, and Aaron said. "I thought she should sit in on one. We don't keep many secrets from the troops, so it should be alright?" The last bit was posed as a question. The scholar glanced at Lavender, who noncomittally shrugged her shoulders. He looked back at the knight. "It'll be fine."
    Finally, Demi and Taras, the remaining founders, arrived.

    "Moving right along." Vance said. "Let's get to the topic at hand. I know it's very early, and I apologize." It was indeed only a couple hours after sunrise. "Those of you who were up an hour ago probably know what I'm talking about, though--a blue pillar of light appeared just after sunrise, rising from the Fragments in the west. From Mageia. It was massive--more than visible from here. It was likely visible all across the continent."
    "Right." Natasha said. "Bloody thing was huge. Any ideas, Vance?"
    "I'm afraid I didn't see it." Aaron said. "I've been in the training yard all morning, and it doesn't have any windows facing west."
    "Yes, Nat." The scholar answered the mercenary. "I encountered a spell that was supposed to trigger when magic grew prominent again in a Mageian ruin once. It was too old to function, and I didn't give it too much thought, but I believe it's possible that that's what this pillar was. Even for Magus, only a Ritual could have released that much Essence, and he would only perform one in Darriusell."
    "Hmm." Hawke said. "I remember you speaking about that spell. I think your theory holds merit. But it will have to be investigated, of course."
    "Definitely." The scholar concurred.


    ((Due to lack of interest in this as a group RP, I have converted it into a 1x1 because we were unwilling to give the story up.))
    #1 Valentyne, May 11, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  2. Demi and Laurelle: the two best friends sat next to each other on a craggy shoal in Vada, the hot spring's bubbly waters licking at the bare legs that lazily dangled from their robes. In spite of anything that they did, to relax after a long day and talk endlessly until her words became tired murmurs was still Demi's favorite activity to partake in by far. She could never imagine herself getting bored of it, aware that a stupidly content smile rested on her face because to make any other expression at the moment was impossible. Letting out a blissful sigh, she leaned on her friend and—

    What had they been talking about again?

    "Come on, Demi. Up and at 'em."
    That wasn't Laurelle's voice, and all at once Demi realised that she had only been dreaming. She forced her eyes shut in defiance, but no matter how much she willed herself to remain in the fantasy it was a futile endeavor. Vada's mist gave way to colder, thinner air, the shoal with the water creeping up and down went back to being a sparse, disturbed array of blankets, and the delicate touch of Laurelle's face rubbing against Demi's own— the best thing she could imagine— vanished all too quickly, replaced by the lumpy pillow that her head had been rested upon.

    "Taras," Demi murmured tiredly— of course she was still tired. She felt like she was always at least a little bit tired these days. The flame-haired young man pulled her up by her shoulders as he had done so many times before as she studied him. He was wearing his jacket but not his armor, which meant that he wasn't headed to battle but still needed to look presentable. "Meeting?" Demi guessed, rubbing her eyes. "Why?"
    "Vance called it," Taras replied: although he could guess at the meeting's purpose, it was no use wasting time explaining things here. "Now hurry up and put something on."
    "Yes, father," Demi replied sarcastically as she got up and stretched. "Right behind you," she said with a pat to Taras's shoulder and a step towards where the few garments she kept here were located. Taras nodding and leaving the room after Demi's movements confirmed that she wasn't about to collapse back into bed as soon as he turned his back, she leafed through the hanging robes for a moment until she decided on a purple one, draping it over her undershirt-and-shorts-clad body and following it with a white scarf whose warm tails lightly pressed the amulet— her focus— against the base of her neck as she pulled it to fit snugly. Her stockings, boots, and fingerless gloves came afterward to frame her limbs like so many cocoons as she pulled them on one at a time. Co-founder of the Scales though she may have been, Demi loved getting dressed as much as any stereotypical young woman her age: her clothing's embrace was as warm as the blankets' had been despite her shoulders remaining bare to display the faintly-inked lattice of flowers that had adorned them for some time now. Bundling up her hair behind her, she finished with a simple hairband coaxing it into a tail and a pin buried on each side to hold it together— it had gotten longer than she used to care to keep it. Her past self would have chided her for letting it grow to this length, in fact, but as she had found less and less time to attend to such matters as cutting her hair she had grown used to forcing it to conform to however she needed it. Brushing a few strands from her face before rubbing her eyes once more, Demi gave herself a vigorous nod and bounced on her toes a few times in an effort to get her blood pumping before finally exiting the room to follow after Taras.

    Lena's heart rose a bit and the two short swords hanging obediently in the air next to her wobbled as her concentration was temporarily faltered by the excitement of the privilege that Aaron had granted her. "Understood," she said, her girlish voice a bit too loud as usual as she sheathed her primary sword on her back, clasping a fist in a hand in a salute before holding her hands out to let her other two blades float into her grasp and sheathe each at either hip. As soon as she was out of Aaron's sight, she made haste to her corner of the barracks, unstrapping everything holding on her weapons and armor and wiggling out of it not unlike a snake shedding its skin. Already having splashed her face from the nearest water basin, she dried herself with a cloth before throwing her dress on over her shirt and shorts and fastening the ever-important sleeves that served to hide her decidedly markèd arms. She still kept The Art of the Flying Sword with her, usually under her mattress when she wasn't reading and re-reading it, although having gone through it several times she'd been wondering if there were any other tomes of swordfighting here that she could barter for... But that could wait. Lena briefly considered doing something with her hair that wasn't the usual nest of pins binding it up— but no, there was no time, she decided as she made her way to the meeting room. When Aaron explained her presence to Vance, she simply bowed respectfully: she wasn't about to screw up this opportunity.

    Taras sat in the meeting room: it seemed that he was the second-last arrival and Demi was to be the last, much to his frustration. He thought for sure that he'd given them enough time to be punctual, but it couldn't be helped. Bored, he stared into nothingness as his thoughts wandered until they naturally found a subject that interested him: Demi and his relationship with her. A lot had changed over the past time, with trust gained, lost, and then re-gained. They both had each others' backs quite solidly, covering for the other's duties when one was in need of rest or a brief respite from management, though the latter was rare and only becoming more so these days. He had been there for her ever since her dearest friend had so rashly let herself be torn away from her in a heroic sacrifice, and she had been there for him ever since he had deceived his countrymen, posing as the up-and-coming strategist Taras Ashur— his own father whose name he conveniently shared. The mundane things, too— he was there to pull her out of bed and lift her up from bouts of detachedness and she was there to make sure he ate enough and talk him down whenever he found himself frustrated. It would be perfectly understandable for anyone to assume that they were lovers if they did not deny it as constantly as they did. Some of the lower-ranking and fresher Scales probably still believed so anyway, but neither Demi nor Taras could find themselves caring enough to dispel rumors beyond their usual denial of romantic feelings every now and then.

    At least one of those constant denials was false, however. After interacting with each other on a daily basis for so long, Taras's desires only burned hotter inside him. His heart pounded at the sight of her face and the earth itself seemed to shake whenever she returned his gaze. Whenever she found her way into his embrace on those days when a dark cloud hung over her, her form seemed as if it had been made to fit perfectly in his arms, her heart beating in harmony with his own.
    But Taras was racked by guilt each time he caught himself thinking of Demi this way, for he knew that each time she woke up she did so with a heavy— if not downright broken— heart. He thought of Laurelle again: though he had always thought her an odd match for Demi, there was no denying that there was a certain charm to Demi's optimism combined with Laurelle's deadpan attitude. The two would light up in each others' presence, all their most likeable traits magnified several times. So much for that, Taras pondered, shaking his head.

    A Scale bringeth Balance, read the bold-brushed calligraphy upon a banner that adorned the wall of the meeting room. As we the Scales bring balance to the land and justice to those who seek to subjugate it, Demi mentally finished the abbreviated slogan as she always did when she entered the meeting room. It was worded a bit strangely, but she had designed it using as many words as possible that had similar pronunciations across the languages of Megethos. Being an aspiring writer, she had happily taken the helm for propaganda-writing, and her comrades were usually thrilled by whatever she wrote, but as nice as the praise was it wasn't for them that she composed the flowery catch-phrases and documents: it was for those who had not yet been convinced of the Scales' plight. Speeches, treatises, and even the scant local newsletter that Demi delegated to anyone who wanted to write a piece for it: they were ultimately a means of recruitment.
    Demi wondered if Laurelle had read any of them... wherever she was now.
    She took her seat next to Taras at the great meeting table.

    "I saw it as well," Taras said of the beam-like phenomenon, adding a barely-audible murmur of "you needed the sleep" in anticipation of the inquisitive glance from Demi. "While I was tempted to dispatch a crack investigation team as soon as I saw it, it is magical, so I figured someone like Vance would want to send a scholar to properly pinpoint where the... beam came from."
    "If this thing is as big as you've said it was, any investigation we send should be now or never," Demi added, immediately segueing from Taras's speech with almost no pause in between their utterances. "Magus probably has his goons on the way already, so..." She nodded: it was obvious what she and Taras both were saying.
    "A few of our best, a handful of amateurs, and a scholar," Taras said neutrally, composing a hypothetical investigation team to test the waters. The experienced members would get the job done, the amateurs would get real experience, and the scholar would do what he did best.
  3. Vance nodded. "I'm very tempted to go myself and test my theory." He contemplated for a moment. "It could take weeks to recreate the spell from memory to show Hawke, and we don't have that kind of time." He looked at the other scholar. "You can handle the research while we're away." Then he turned to Sameen. "And I'm sure you can take over my other duties."
    The two councilors nodded. They had equal authority to Vance, so they could object to his commands if they saw reason to, but they knew they were the best ones for the job as well as he did.
    "Right, so that's settled." Natasha put in. "But what divisions are we taking the troops from?"
    "The Estillians have the most practical combination of magic and martial prowess." Aaron said. "I've been in Mageian ruins before; if Vance is correct, there's no telling what assortment of magical threats the party will encounter."
    Nat thought for a second. "You're probably right. I'll get them rounded up." She glanced at Kad, who hadn't yet spoken. "If that's fine with you?"
    The knight leaned back. "I have a few soldiers in particular who should go, but I'll give you a list and let you handle the details."
    "If we're sending Estillians," Hawke said. "shouldn't Kad be in command of them?"
    "I have duties here at our war magic classes." The former squire objected.
    "I'm sure Eleanor can pick up for you. You need to stretch your legs, Kad." Aaron told him. "You haven't left HQ since you arrived."
    Reluctantly, the Estillian relented. "Alright, I'll go."
    "Thoughts, Lavender?" Vance asked the assassin.
    "Not much. I'm not qualified for this one, and none of our covert divisions are really necessary. I have some stuff to bring up after we've settled this, though."
    "Right." The scholar assented.
  4. "I'll go with you," Demi added her support. "I've got defense magic if anyone's waiting for us there." Though Taras raised an eyebrow at first, he knew not to be surprised. His companion's interest had obviously been piqued. Demi hadn't been out on a mission in a while, and she could only do so much at the base writing letters. Taras, however, knew that he would likely be better off staying.

    "Sir, if I may," Lena meekly interjected with a request to Aaron, "I'd like to accompany them." She shrunk in the spotlight, many eyes now on her (including those of the "great strategist", Taras!) as soon as she spoke. "I... have much to learn on the training ground, I know. But I want to serve. As a representative of our Estillian knights." Her glance cycled between Taras, Aaron, and Kad as she hoped she had not done wrong in speaking up.
  5. Aaron leaned back and thought for a moment. "I'm fine with that. She could use the field experience." In reality, he was pleased she had had the courage to speak up to volunteer for a potentially extremely dangerous mission. "Alright, so we've got Vance, Kad, Demi, and Lena, accompanied by an escort of Estillian knights. The party will make the trip to the capital and use the anchor there to travel as close as possible to the beam, to investigate its location and origin. Preperations will begin as soon as this meeting is adjourned. All in favor?"
    All hands went up.
    "I'll make the arrangements." Natasha said. "Lavender, you had things to discuss?"
    "Correct." The assassin answered. "There's quite a few startling reports." She drew a sheet from her stack of parchment and set it on the table. "One of our Arands just got back from a leave--he was visiting his family. He noted they had a rather peculiar guest. ...An Estillian, who bore herself like a knight." Lavender let that sink in for a moment. The council had put out a notice among the Scales to look out for a certain Estillian woman. "I think we've found Skye. The keep--that of the Farenheart house--is on the east coast, far from Magus's armies. I believe she went there for asylum, although why the Farenhearts specifically is unknown."
    "...Next is something concerning a rumor we have all feared was true. We received a magical sending from one of our spies in Kosma. He found a bluecloak, and confirmation that they do have artifacts. The man wore an elaborate red bracer, like the face of a demon, and manipulated objects near that hand--as if by force magic--without causing a sound. The only real possibility is that it is an artifact. It can be assumed, I think, that all of the bluecloaks have artifacts."
    She paused.
    "The last report is the most dire. The Velarian border fortress Kine fell to Kosma. They now have a direct route through the mountains into central Velaria, and after that, into Alixies. None of us are prepared for an open confrontation on that scale. We have to take back Kine before they're ready to move their forces into Velaria, and then hold it until reinforcements arrive; we don't have the manpower for a protracted siege."
  6. Taras perked up at the mention of Skye: that was a person for whom he had quite a few questions. "Farenheart?" he echoed idly to his self. Why would she be there?He contemplated furiously as he grimly nodded to the news of the bluecloaks being confirmed to be in possession of artifacts... but that mention was little in comparison to the news of Kine being overwhelmed by Kosman forces. He wasn't so much crestfallen as he was downright /irritated/ that he could not personally march into the Farenhearts' estate to demand answers from Skye. Depressed though his former fellow knight had seemed during the last time he had seen her, Taras could not imagine Skye doing absolutely nothing of note for the better part of a year. I'll send Demi— no. She's already committed to heading toward that beam. "I'll attend to the counterattack on Kine," he said out of instinct in the middle of all this, resolving to talk with Demi about visiting Skye after she had returned from the site that the beam had come from. "Those who aren't headed to the... beam, or aren't actively guarding the base: we'll be discussing our approach immediately after this meeting."
  7. "Aaron and I are heading out to Kine too." Natasha said, leaning forward and pulling her feet off the table.
    "I'll start gathering the troops while you put together the beam party." Aaron said. "between the two groups we're not going to have very many soldiers here, but that shouldn't be a problem. We'll need all hands on deck for Kine."
    "You're forgetting something." Lavender said. "You can't just march through central Velaria with an army; the nobles will protest. Loudly."
    Sameen spoke up. "I've already negotiated passage. I still have connections there, so I only had to pull in a few favors. I've charted out a route. It's a little roundabout, but I couldn't convince one baron, so it's the fastest way we have."
    "Good. What Anchor are we coming out of?"
    The Velarian drew a parchment map of the continent from her cloak, laying it on the table. It had small blue circles to mark known Anchored gateways, for quick dimensional travel. "This one." She laid her fingernail on a gateway in southern central Velaria. From there it's only two days, on horse back, to Kine."
    "It'll have to do." Natasha said. "Do we have anything else to discuss right now?"
    "I don't believe so." Vance said. "Adjourned!"


    Preperations began immediately. The bulk of the army was ready to move on a moment's notice just for situations like this, but it still took the rest of the morning to get them mobilized. Aaron, Lavender, Taras, and Natasha assembled the bulk of the three primary fighting divisions--Estillians, Arands, and assorted mercenaries--and left for the capital, where the closest Anchor was located. Plans were being formed on the way, the commanders poring over detailed maps of Kine one of the spies had acquired. It was decided that the Estillians--led by Taras---would set up a siege against the south wall while Aaron, with the Arands, Arands circled the keep to form a blockade, thus keeping the Kosmans from getting away. Natasha's forces would serve as an adaptable unit, going wherever they were needed, while Lavender would lead a smaller contingent looking for a crack in Kine's magical defenses. If they could find one, things would be over quickly, but if the Kosmans were able to set up comprehensive shields before the Scales could arrive, the battle could take days.

    The group going to the beam was able to prepare quicker, as it was a smaller force of only Vance, Demi, Kad, Lena, and a force of fifty Estillian soldiers. They could travel quicker than the larger army, reaching the capital by sunset and lodging there. When they rose early the next morning, the beam shone in the sky again at the same time, which would make it easier to locate. Their Anchor was in Kiva, one of the larger and better organized towns in the Fragments. From there, they traveled north-east toward the approximated location of the magic. They were surprisingly close when it rose again the next morning, and a slight course correction brought them there just as night was falling.


    Aaron surveyed the collected army of the Scales as he looked out from the ridge. Lavender and Taras stood next to him. The force was over seven thousand strong--not enough to fight a war, but hopefully enough to take back Kine. They were camped some leagues away from the fortress, around a bend in the mountain. It was likely the Kosmans had already detected their presence through clairvoyance spells, but they were never going to get the drop on them anyway.
    "I didn't realize we'd get here this early." Aaron said as he gazed at the edge of the sun just as it passed below the horizon and out of sight.
    "We made good time." Lavender agreed.
    "But we can't fight in the dark. Fighting a fortress full of skilled mages is bad enough, but doing it while trying to maintain large scale light spells? Let's not." The knight sighed. "Tomorrow's going to be a hectic day."


    Vance hadn't quite expected what they found at the location of the beam. Indeed, what they saw in the distance leagues before they reached it.
    It was a city.
    As massive as the capital of Alixies and sheathed in marble, it was magnificent. The architecture was sweeping and graceful, the curving balconies and whimsical spires seemingly held up by magic, but he knew it was most likely just clever building techniques.
    "A restored Mageian city..." The scholar said in awe as it came into view. "It's incredible! That's what the spell caused? The beam must have been a beacon, or some such. The Mageians wanted this to be discovered. There was nothing in this area before; it was just wasteland. But there was a cave system near here. It must have risen out of the ground and been rebuilt. How much Essence...?"
    As they rode closer, the group began to feel a perpetual buzzing noise, like a magical sound. The entire city was radiating magic so intense it caused audible (well, in the magical way) sound.
    "There's no way we can wait until morning." Kad said. "We have to investigate now--who know's what's in there. If the Kosmans aren't already there, they're right behind us."
    "I have to agree." Vance said. He raised his voice. "Prepare for battle! We could encounter Kosmans or other potentially hostile parties ahead!"
  8. As they arrived at the Mageian city, Demi thought of the city that she had walked through with Taras, Skye, and Laurelle some time ago. It would be so easy to think of Laurelle and drown in reminiscence, but Demi took a breath and willed herself to stay afloat in the metaphorical sea. This wasn't the same city, besides, and it certainly wasn't underground as the one before had been. She almost winced at Lena's yell of "Yes, sir!" behind her... What a character that girl was. The apprentice knight had offered her comrades meals even when their rations had all been the same, and she answered just about everything with a shout no matter the circumstances. Demi knew that if she were to look, she would see Lena tightening each strap on her armor, testing each of her swords to be sure that it left its sheath in the right manner, pushing hair out of her face, and various other rituals that would ensure that when the time came for battle all she would have to do would be to remain concentrated— not an easy thing in itself. Demi was a bit more laissez-faire: she trusted the integrity of the light metal armor that adorned her frame... or rather, she didn't care enough to question it. After all, it would be her magical prowess, not a simple plate of iron, that would save her should she find herself in a confrontation.
    Holding her staff tightly, Demi made her way to the front of the group.


    "We should spread out until then," Taras contemplated aloud regarding their plans for assault. It would certainly do no good to attack in the nighttime, but concentrating their forces as they rested was like asking to be obliterated in a single well-placed magic spell. "The plan remains the same. We attack from several directions come sunrise and then concentrate on wherever's weakest." Frighteningly powerful though they may have been, the Kosmans could only do so much to defend multiple fronts equally. Eventually, one part of the defense would collapse under pressure, and that would be their end. Taras was pleased at how much manpower the Scales' own forces had— though it was not a proper army by any means, it would be enough. Only just enough, but... He hadn't imagined a year ago that he would soon be on a real battlefield commanding real troops, but that was about to become a reality in a matter of hours.
  9. As the party rode closer to the restored Mageian city, they could make out figures at the east gate, their point of approach. Vance cast a quiet sight enhancing spell, knowing the sound would be drowned out in the hum of the city. "Kosmans." The scholar reported. "I think there's about seventy of them, there at the gate alone. That's a lot to take on." It didn't look like the enemy had spotted them yet; the moon wasn't sillhouetting them, and they didn't have a marble city reflecting light behind them, or any magical lights.
    "Darkness." Kad said. "If we shroud the area we can come on them with the advantage, then cast powerful light spells when we're right among them. We'll be ready, but they won't be able to see through the glare at first. Then we can lay about them with spells and swords and hopefully rout the group without casualties."
    "Alright, we'll do that. I'll handle the shroud, but we can all cast lights. Demi, can you relay the order to the knights?"

    The plan seemed to go off without a hitch at first; Vance cast a dweomer of darkness, covering their approach. The party galloped toward the Kosmans, casting them into the ground with a furious charge. Then a series of white flares lit up the night, and the enemy mages stumbled back and covered their eyes, blood flying through the air as Estillian swords found their marks. But their opponents reörganized faster than they could have expected; the Kosmans backed up to the gate, collectively casting a spell that raised a wall of electricity between the two groups. Kad had to pull his horse back to avoid charging into it, and he shouted a command for the rest of the knights to back off too. Then the enemy party began to throw destructive spells into the Scales' group. "Scatter!" Vance yelled. The whinnies of horses filled the air as the riders spread out so fewer could be hit by the elemental spells. The scholar raised a hand and deflected a lightning bolt off of the force field of his ring. He drew two arrows and fired them in quick succession, speaking a spell even as his hands flashed through the motions. His projectiles were sheathed in lightning, crackling with electricity, and they shot straight through the barrier unimpeded, each one finding a Kosman head to bury itself in. Jolts of magic sparked through their ranks as the spells stored in the arrows went off.


    "The orders are already given." Natasha said. "I know how to handle an army, Taras."
    "Wait," Aaron interrupted. "What's that?" He pointed to a flare of blue light among the troops. Shouts went up. "Shit." The knight said. "Kosmans, somehow. That was a lightning spell." More lights cast out the darkness below them as further destructive spells were flung. The Arand turned around to see a man in a Scales uniform brandishing a bow, an arrow pulled back. Aaron ducked to the side just before the projectile was fired, and it sailed over the ridge. His sword was ripped from its sheath, but Natasha was faster. She ducked under the swing of a dagger and tore open the man's belly with her scimitar. Suddenly the two were glad they'd put their armor on. She grabbed a torch from a nearby sconce impaled in the ground and shone it over the dying man's face. His features were Velarian, which meant he could also be--and most likely was--Kosman. "Shit, I didn't expect an attack at night. And they've copied our uniforms. This could be a problem. We've got to get things under control; there can't be that many of them if they if they managed to infiltrate the camp." She jogged through the tent and quickened her pace as she made her way down the slope, followed by Aaron.
    #9 Valentyne, May 17, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  10. Lena frowned at the report of Kosmans as she fastened her helmet. "Flares at the ready," the command sounded from Demi in front of her. Lena nodded and told her comrades, readying a rudimentary light spell. It wasn't as strong as the others', but it wasn't her specialty.
    In what seemed like just a moment, Lena already had her two smaller swords hovering at her side as she held her main one in her left hand. With a sweep of the arm and one whisper, the right sword spun into one Kosman as she rode into their ranks. A snap of the fingers and another whisper sent the left sword towards another in a stabbing frenzy, forcing the Kosman to double back. It found its mark as the light spells activated and the Kosmans found themselves surprised all over again. Lena hopped off of her horse as the equines scattered in response to the Kosmans' counterattack: her fighting style would be more effective without a horse in the way at this point. She muttered an incantation to wrench the right sword from the hand of the Kosman who had grabbed it, and a scream sounded as it spun into her adversary's neck. Hearing a battle cry behind her, she leaped forward and whirled to parry with the sword in her hand at the next attacker.

    A sudden whirlwind knocked back several assailants that Lena had not seen: it was Demi. The lightning mage seemingly made a heroic entrance as she ran into the fray to follow the gust with a wall of lightning: the tattoo on her shoulders glowed faintly as she cast the wide-range spell with little effort. Several soldiers found themselves incapacitated as the electricity coursed through them, and Demi followed her first attack with a precision bolt to each of them, knocking them out cold.
    "Concentrate on the ones still standing," she ordered Lena, righting the young knight with a grab on the shoulder as one of her swords plunged into one of the men. Lena nodded in response after a quizzical look and went to attack another gout of Kosmans as Demi covered her.


    "Benefit of the doubt..." Taras barely had time to mutter his own mouthing in response to Natasha's mouthing when the Kosman assailant attacked the trio. "Курва..." He cursed as he followed after Aaron and Natasha, having no better ideas. This attack showed that the Kosmans were willing to be spontaneous: he hadn't expected them to reäct so quickly. Feeling himself grabbed around the neck, he instinctively threw his arms back to meet the head of the Kosman behind him. Wriggling out of the man's grasp after his gauntlets banging against him had sufficiently stunned him, Taras turned around to shove the enemy back and take his sword from its place on his back and slip on the magical cord anchoring it to his wrist. The reverse crab-walk that the soldier had engaged in was useless as Taras's sword smashed down upon his forehead, denting his helmet and probably doing a bit more than just knocking him out. Taras didn't dwell on the man's fate, however, and continued following his comrades, holding his sword close in both hands.
  11. "Riders! Spearhead formation!" Kad yelled, wheeling his horse around to begin a gallop back toward the electrical barrier. "Wards up!" The knights still mounted quickly collected into a formation that fanned out behind their commander, forming the characteristic shape of a spearhead; it was a common maneuver among Estillian knights. The well-organized force cast a massive ward spell in sync, encasing the entire head of the charge with a shimmering barrier of transparent force. The riders slammed into the wall of lightning, their force-field absorbing all of the magic as the defense spent itself attempting to exhaust their ward. The Kosmans hurled fire and ice, breaking down the weakened spell, but by then the Estillians were upon them, and they could not retreat any further; their backs were to the wall. Kad pointed his rapier at the front ranks of enemies, speaking a spell. The two knights next to him also took up the chant, it being an incantation learned by most Estillian soldiers. The magick was cast just before they reached the Kosmans, and a wave of force erupted from the three knights' outstretched weapons. It slammed into the ward spell protecting their front lines, instantly causing it to dissipate. Kad leaned over and struck to his right with his sword, catching an enemy in the neck. His horse's momentum carried him onward, and his weapon was violently pulled away, sending up a spray of blood from the collapsing Kosman's throat.

    Vance did not participate in the charge, instead staying back on his horse and firing arrow after arrow into the enemy lines. His vision-enhancing spell was still active, so he was able to pinpoint Kosmans whose hands were moving in the motions of a spell, and he cut them short with his projectiles. Occasionally he cast a spell to augment his attack, sheathing his arrow in fire or ice. Each time one of these magical arrows struck a foe, the effect chained onto everything nearby, disabling or killing several opponents with every attack.

    In moments, it was over, the martially inferior Kosmans crumbling against the organized Estillian force. Most of the dead lay in heaps against the now bloodstained marble walls of the city.
    Vance rode his horse at a canter toward where Kad and Demi were speaking to an Estillian knight.
    "...Five dead, seven injured, the rest of us got through with a few scrapes and burns at the most." The lieutenant was saying.
    "And the Kosmans? Did we capture any alive?" Kad asked.
    "Only a few, but most are critically injured, and we have to tend to our own troops first. The prisoners likely won't survive." The woman answered.
    "A total rout." Vance observed, sliding off his horse and trotting up to them. "Do we know how to get that gate open? I can't imagine that it's not locked or magically protected." He gestured toward the elaborate silver and pearl gate blocking their entrance to the city.
    "We haven't gotten that far yet." Kad told him.


    As they reached the edge of the tent, the party of commanders came upon a skirmish; four people in uniform all clashing blades. Natasha made a frustrated grunt. "It's impossible to tell who's who at a glance." She looked at the Arand standing next to her. "Aaron, stasis spell."
    The spell they spoke of was a tiring one to cast, but by pooling their efforts they could divide the drain between them. The pair held out their respective off hand and began the chant. By the time the battling soldiers turned to face them, realizing the danger, the last word was spoken. All four of them froze in their tracks, their muscles locked into rigidity by the magic and their position held up by force. Natasha stepped forward, scimitar in hand, and examined each of them. "This one is wearing a blue brooch." She commented. "Jewelry isn't allowed in the army. Shall we?"
    Aaron nodded. With a flick of her finger, the man unfroze. He immediately attempted to strike her with the morningstar he carried. The mercenary captain deftly knocked his blow aside with her blade, then kicked him in the stomach. He stumbled backward, but had no time to regain his footing before her weapon buried itself in his stomach. With a sickening sound, Natasha pulled it out, and he crumpled. "The brooch is how they recognize each other, I think. It wouldn't do for them to out a knife in one of their own." She leaned over and examined the chest of another supposed Scales member; it too was adorned with the same charm. "Shall we test that theory?"
  12. Demi frowned at the report that the bulk of the Kosmans has been mortally wounded. As far as she knew, the soldiers on both sides were just following orders. Maybe that'll change, she wondered with a bit of unease.
    "What is it?" she asked Lena as the apprentice knight returned to her with weapons stowed as if waiting for orders. "Help tend to the wounded and then refer to your commander," Demi ordered after a pause. She considered helping, but there were already medics trained to do that among the Estillian knights.
    "Hold still," Lena muttered as one of her cohorts who had suffered a burn wound squirmed under her. She started with an incantation of water magic, and although healing was nor her forte Lena grimly nodded as a smattering of telltale droplets appeared on the fallen knight's arm.
    "Stop crushing me... please?"
    Lena nodded again and moved to her peer's side. The young man immediately mewled upon a bandage making contact with his skin, kicking in protest.
    "Stop being so weak, will you?!" Lena's tone rose to a borderline yell as she slapped him across the face. "You're not dead, and your arm didn't get burned off either! So what's the problem?!?!" Lena's behavior would seem sudden to anyone who didn't know her, and she memorised her comrade's appearance as she resolved to eat biscuits with him later.
    "Can't you at least... apply some poultice?" the knight suggested through tears.
    "... Right." Lena readied a dab of vulnerary.

    Demi ran a hand alongside the lattice of silver on the city gate: there was always some specific way to open something like this. Starting at the bare minimum, she tapped her staff against it as she uttered a force magic incantation... and as expected, the bare minimum of opening methods was insufficient. "Silver carries electricity," she murmured to herself, her own staff containing a fair amount of the mineral. "Pearl... magical vessels?" Any mage worth their salt knew that pearls originally came from shellfish, so they were actually organic, and it was theorised that for this reason they could hold small amounts of magic provided there was a human caster to store the arcanum within it in the first place.
    Her next test of the gate's integrity decided, Demi's shoulders radiated for a split second once again as she held her staff in both hands, a purple jolt crackling around it as she charged the inset silver with an electrical spell designed to spread itself across a wide range. The pearls in the gate, and the circuitry of silver connecting them together, would do the rest of the work in activating whatever mechanism opened it, or so Demi hoped as she struck the tip of the staff against the middle of the gate, where an intense flash appeared in a silvery impression before dispersing itself across the gate's metallic veins, each of its pearls shuddering in sequence.


    Taras responded to the newly-unveiled clue of the brooches with a bracer to the Kosman spy's forehead: it was clear that he did not quite enjoy this situation. "Let's take them out before they know we've found out their little plot," he said, bereft of patience. "Come with me," he told one of the friendlies still present. With any luck, we'll at least have a few of their toys, he thought of the Kosmans as he eyed the morning-star now on the ground. "It doesn't take many spies to cause chaos. They've likely dispersed themselves as widely as possible," he observed as he gave the other commanders a nod and began heading to the site of the lightning spell that had started the whole hootenanny.
  13. Vance watched with interest as Demi discharged a spell of electricity into the pearly gate. The silver shook, shuddered, and rang like a tuning fork struck against a rock. Visible arcs of lightning danced along it, dispersing into the marble walls as the tremors grew more pronounced. The ground trembled, forcing the scholar to take a step back to maintain his balance. As the rumbling grew more violent, the spy knew something was wrong. If this was how the gates were meant to be opened, it would have been smooth and quick, not destructive. As a fine dust began to dissolve away from the metal, he took action. Vance ran forward next to Demi, shouting a spell even as his fingers flickered in the gesture of an incantation. He held up one hand and spoke the final word. "Maat!" A wave of golden light flowed from him, encompassing the wall and gates and seeming to pen in the energy; the earthquake ceased, and the shuddering of the gates began to subside. The electricity was also contained, settling into a pervading blue light. The metal still rumbled, and Vance watched in horror as the pearls themselves disintegrated, burning away into nothing. The force of Demi's spell instantly ceased. Tentatively, his hand protected by the magical barrier of his ring, the scholar pushed against the silent gates. They creaked open.

    "I...don't think they were supposed to do that." Was all he could say.

    After a moment, he regained his composure. "Kad, get together the knights in the best condition who are ready to move out now and send them to me. Lena, Demi, we're taking a small detachment and going on ahead."
    "Is that wise, Vance?" Kad questioned. "There could be more Kosmans or other threats, and they could overwhelm you with a small unit."
    "Speed is of the essence, Kad. We can't move the whole squad out yet, but we need to get in there as fast as possible. You'll catch up, and we can fall back if we need to."
    "Very well." The Estillian reluctantly agreed.

    They took ten of the knights and advanced on into the Mageian city. The buildings, gleaming and marble-clad, were covered in blue sigils which traced across the entire expanse of each house and facility. They glowed with a faint blue light, and the magical sound that permeated the area was stronger around them. "I've seen runes like these before, although what I found was faded." Vance said. "When a spell needed to cover a large area and last a long time, they inscribed these on everything in the radius. They're written in ancient Mageian, and what they say is always an endless repitition of a single phrase." The scholar stepped up to a rune-covered door and examined it carefully. "'And when light returns, the..." He paused. "...WORLD shall appear.' Cryptic as always. I have no idea what it could mean. However, there's something odd about it. 'World' isn't written with the usual Mageian word--'dimenselas.' It's 'Lefay,' which can also mean 'book' or 'grimoire' with the right diacritic. The weird part is--it has both accent marks. I can't imagine the Mageians making a grammatical error like that. Do you have any idea, Demi?"


    Aaron ran the other brooch wearing soldier through with his greatsword even as the stasis spell released all three of them. He nodded at the two of them as Taras signaled them to follow. "You heard us. Target anyone with a brooch." They smartly saluted at his command, and the group ran down the hill. Natasha cast a nightvision spell on them as they made their way, so they could make out the telltale mark of a Kosman from afar. "There," She said quietly, pushing a hand toward a soldier in the middle of pitched battle with several others. A storm of sand and wind blazed up out of nowhere, rushing through the air toward him. It engulfed him and then vanished, the many grains of sand moving at high speed instantly tearing apart his skin. He fell, his exposed face shredded. Another man turned, his blue charm catching the light. Aaron ran at him, swinging his greatsword down in a tight blow even as his plate armor caused the Kosman's blade to deflect harmlessly. The Arand pulled the large weapon out of the twitching corpse's shoulder as the enemy fell backward. He scanned the others for jewelry, and nodded, finding none. "They identify themselves with these." He held up a brooch. "Target anyone carrying one."
    #13 Valentyne, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
  14. Demi watched the destruction of the pearls with horrified awe. At least it... opened, didn't it? She chose not to voice the thought as she proceeded onward. Well, "dimenselas" sounds like "dimension", she thought unhelpfully as Vance began puzzling over a phrase engraved into a door. "Double meaning, I guess?" She shrugged. "Book; grimoire; world... Book of worlds?" Looking around for duplicates of the phrase, she sighed upon finding that they were all written with the double-mark. "Could it refer to the dimensional framework— no, that doesn't make any sense..."


    Taras grunted as he grabbed a Kosman by the collar, the grunt turning to a sigh as the telltale blue brooch fell out of the Kosman's coat. "How many of you are there?!" he muttered angrily, not expecting an answer.
    "Too many," the Kosman whispered back with a grin before bashing his head against Taras's own. The swordsman found himself transported a fraction of a second into the future: time enough for his adversary to wriggle from his grasp and attempt to disappear into the chaos. With a growled incantation, an icy spear materialised its way into Taras's off-hand, rotating to point forwards as it settled into the hand and Taras loosed it at the fleeing opponent in a staggering throw. The Kosman stumbled with a cry as it grazed him, slowed down enough that Taras's sword soon came crashing down upon the back of the Kosman's neck in full force. Kneeling by his fallen opponent momentarily, Taras tore the blue brooch away and pocketed it. "How kind of them to give us a means of disguise," he mentioned to the soldiers following him, who had each mopped up an adversary of their own. They nodded in understanding and moved to stow away the brooches that they had already earned. With any luck, they could use the brooches to claim that they themselves were the Kosman undercover agents returning from a successful mission.
  15. "Perhaps we can find out more farther inside." Vance said, turning away from the wall. "For now, I don't think we'll learn anything from the runes." For lack of a better idea, they followed the main road, which was a series of marble stones set in a complex pattern. Several hundred feet ahead, they reached a second, circular, inner wall. this one, however, had an open doorway instead of a silver gate. After a brief spell to check for any magical trap, Vance led the way through. Beyond was an open pavilion with a gazebo in the centre. Three other pathways also led into it. There were terraced rows, like a garden, but instead of flowers shimmering, multicoloured lights drifted, flew, and twirled around them. Examining the gazebo in the center was a troop of Kosmans. A shout went up as the group entered. Vance ducked behind a terrace and unslung his bow, nocking an arrow. He stood up briefly to fire, loosing the arrow at a random foe. Looking carefully at the enemy forces, which he numbered twenty at most, he saw a stand-out--a figure shrouded in blue, carrying a shortsword and a round buckler. Kosman uniforms were blue, but the hooded cloaks were only worn by the elite of Magus' enforcers. "There's a bluecloak." He relayed to his own side as he ducked back down. They were similarly entrenched, tossing spells and throwing up wards. "We don't know what they're capable of. Let's keep the fight at this distance for now."


    "Look!" Aaron said, pointing to the right. Where he looked, there was a shimmering, opaque sphere of blue light perhaps forty feet in diameter and steadily growing larger. The troops around it had put a gap between it and themselves and were warily looking around for enemies. Looking closer with the aid of Natasha's spell, he could find no visible broochs. They were Scales. "They must be trying something. The noise coming from that spell is intense." He ran toward it, holding a brooch taken from a Kosman at Taras' suggestion. He had nowhere to pin it, though, on his full armour. Natasha had also acquired one and set it on her linen sleeve. When they reached the sphere, he quickly selected a soldier wearing the badge of a sergeant. "Do we know what they're doing here?" He asked quickly.
    "It's a defensive circle akin to a heavily fortified ward, sir." The woman reported. "We had identified the spies and surrounded them, but they cast this to keep us out. It burns if we get too close to it, and they're resisting any attempts to dispel it."
    Natasha looked around. The fighting seemed to be dying down, as there were less flashes of fire and lightning glimmering in the air. Hopefully that meant the troops were catching on to the broochs. "I'm no expert at counterspells." She admitted. "I'll do what I can, but you and Taras should lead the effort. If we're lucky this is the last pocket of them." She barked orders at the troops, who formed up around their commanders and began readying their spells.
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