A Bard's Tale

The armies amass on either side of the pallisade walls. Te wood looked flimsy as it paled before the emerging Cult army. Tyreal would see the Fellowship of Gnome Kind put down ths day! He espied his stunted foes as his bristling army seethed. They were veterans and hungry for victory. This gnome force was large, but untested. That was about to change.

Two mighty booms erupted from the towers and vicious explosions tore assassins to pieces as the cannons unleashed their deadly arsenal upon the Cultists! Seventy poured out their lives in ash and sulphur and a giant cloud went up as roars from the battlements were met by howls of pain from the assailants. The surge was on! But the Wizards acted fast. From their vantage point on the wall tops their cast their subtle magics upon the Fallen Angels whoseaspect shrouded the whole army in fear; their crystal blades as tall as themselves able to cut any man or beast in a heartbeat. But the Angels' wits became dulled and their movements slowed. The Wizards proved powerful indeed! Able to overcome even the greatest of their fallen foes..

Unable to act, the Angels were befuddled so the Drakes flew over to engage the spell casting foe, their fiery breath setting alight to the battlments and incinerating one spell caster before it could erect defences powerful enough to stop the Dragon-like beasts whose flame-breath affected Wizards, Tanks and Warhogs alike! 32 of the hogs ran squealing in their flaming death throes, sending up showers of acidic blood which damaged the Drakes badly, and one Tank - tough as old Gnomish boots - recieved a terrible scorching.

The Assassins, seeing the Cannons unassailed sent their poison dipped shafts their way, Master Forged equipment giving them terrible power and range that saw a Cannon - Yes a Cannon!! - felled by their incredible might! And then, just as the Cannon was readying its next volley, the crew succumbed to the Assassins' horrifi poisons. Desperately they tried to fire the shot, but to no avail. The Cannon and its crew was no more!

The orders come from above. The Master Forged special forces move in swiftly - deadly teleporting combatants - they bring the drakes to their knees. Darting across the battlements they cut down four and leave the last badly wounded. Enraged the beast retaliates and incinerates ten along with eight more warhogs. The Spectres glide eerily forward, their incorpreal nature turning gnome stomachs, but the Wizards are unimpressed. Calling forth the power of thunder and sound, the Wizards tear magical bolts into the magically-hardened Dark Priests, dealing large swathes of damage, but only killing thirteen. The Priests were tough, and the Wizards move was perhaps the first mistake of the battle! Perhaps. The Riders eagerly seek to charge the Spectres, but the undead were still out of lance-range so they turned to the final Drake and trampled it down, returning to their starting location - an uncanny ability! But the specialists make up for an sort of error. Here true power lied! They really were specialists - long ranged power houses whose accuracy and rate of fire was second to none. In two volleys that showed a peerless skill they struck down all the remaining assassins... just as the Dark Priests began to chant.

The Dark Priests incant powerful magics and bring lightning bolts down upon the special forces - the one way to kill them!! - to devastating affect. The losses were colossal, but how many spells did the Dark Priests have? The dead on both sides were rising substantially. The Tanks defend the wizards stalwartly while the shattered Special forces regroup. Stoic Spectres continue theirpassage across the field of battle, unstopped and untried, such is the fear they eminate and slam into the tanks in an attempt to get to the Wizards! Together they manage to bring an armoured tank down, nearly two, though they are tough Iron. The Tanks retaliate as best they can but their damage is minimal against their incorporeal foes. And then the Nephilim, hulking brutes, begin their march across the field. Slow to act, they will pack a literal punch when they get the chance.

The Warhogs defend the Specialists like stubbon pigs wile the Fanatics do the same for their Priests. And then the Angels glide forward. Flightless their footstes corrupt the earth beneath and they spring up the battlements to engage the enemy, towering over all their foes, Crystal blades singing songs of destruction as they slice Warhogs apart to the sound of terrified squeals. Acid blood and the Angels' life draining ability cancelling each other out in a queer flux of regeneration. Over fifty hogs die! And the retalliation is poor, terribly poor, from so many hogs. But they are doing their defencive job.

Tyreal climbs the rope attached to his grappling hook, seeking to duel his opposing general, confident of success! Seeing the gnome snapping out orders he knows he can beat him to a bloody pulp! Dragging his great sword from its sheath, he charges..

Tyrael lets loose a bestial law as he spies his opponent, spurred on by the death and chaos that spread as far as the eye could see. It was battles like this that he lived for, close battles, battles against worthy foes. His first blow carries all the force of his battle lust as he literally leaps through the air to reach his opponent.

Eli fights bravely but is no match for the ferocity and skill of Tyreal. Quickly he falls, battered and beaten and barely alive and his army groan at the loss of their leader while attendants hastily drag him to safety. Morale suffered on the Gnome side while shouts of exultation greeted the raised blade of their leader from the cult masses! More blood would be spilt this day.

The Wizards once again save the day for the Fellowship of Gnomekind. Calling on their arcane powers they breathe life back into the Dead cannons and their crews! Though by no means fully healed, both cannons are raised to life, and this surely changes the tide of the battle. The five master forged special forces teleport to the fallen angels and strike hard with their incredible weapons. One gets through somehow, piercing angelic flesh, but the retaliation was brutal and fatal and life draining.. though there was little life to drain.

The Cannons boomed and four Spectres were blasted into insignificance! Turning, the incorporeal fiends attacked the cannons, stopping them from firing and felling the injured Cannon! Success. Life Drained! It retaliated, but to little effect in combat. The Wizards then turned their magical attentions to the riders, increasing their attack potential with Righteous Might just as they charged the Spectres! Another three of the tough, incorporeal beasts went down, but it was not enough! The riders nipped away again as quick as they came, the Spectres not having time to retaliate. They were fast riders. Then the specialists had a crucial choice: Spectres or Dark Priests? With magnanimity they chose the Spectres, just about finishing the rest of the monstrosities off before they could deal any more damage to the precious Cannon! But once again, the ignoble Priests began their chant of doom.

They copy the Wizards, maniacle laugher echoing up to the Wizards' ears as their trick is outdone as the Assassins are raised to life before their eyes! But the Cannon is quick to respond and blasts the Assassins back to Hell - though not all. And the remainder fire their poison dipped shafts right at the Wizards! Though not enough to kill a Wizard whoseemed to have strange defences against ranged attacks, the poison would surely finish their work long after the Assassins are dead. The Nephilim then charge the riders. Now this was tactics at its best - the Nephilim, it seemed, were rider killers. Thie brutish shoulders and giant arms gave them just enough attack power to overcome the Riders' defences and so each of them pounded on a rider! Before the agile gnome cavalry could respond there was only one of them left alive. Still filled with Righteous Might, it managed to leave its bloody mark on a Nephilim, but the unit of riders was now no more..

Engaged in another area were the Warhogs and the angels. The Hogs gored at the Angels but it was a pitiful display of force and the Angels were unimpressed as their crystal blades clove down in response, killing another half century.

Not far away, a Cannon fired.

As the Cannon reloads, the Angels have other plans. Stepping over to the war machine, they loom over all creatures. Crystal blades rise once more and the crew are brutally slain. Life seeps into e Angels, but there still wasn't enough to be had. Measly cannon crew members were not enough to heal it fully. As the Wizards set about casting a spell, one of their number falls to the Assassins poison. It was a terrible blow.

And then a terrible thing happened. The Wizards called down powerful magic and smash both Angels to pieces. Huge Block of Ice fall from the heavens and down both of them, one's head has been utterly caved in.. And then there is stirring. And an Angel gets to its feet. Battered, beaten, broken in many places and yet somehow still clinging to its horrific life, more terrible than ever before! How could it possibly have survived? The Gnome army shuddered.

Even in their small numbers, the assassins were able to prove they deadliness. Over thirty Specialists fall to their Master Forged Shafts, and they had poison to boot. It was a successful round - they had avenged many deaths!

The Wizards had a crucial, potentially battle deciding choice to make. It all rode on this. Kill, resurrect, buff? What could they do? How many spells remained? Quickly they made a decision and resurrected their Special forces who shot off immediately, flanking the Nephilim with their shadowed teleportation. Nine of the hulking brutes went down, which was an impressive kill, but the Nephilim were made to kill troops like riders and Special forces and their retalliation saw all the Special forces fall under the weight of heavy blows! It was a devastating loss. But the lone Rider, filled with fury and Righteous Might charged the Angel, leaping from its mount and ramming its lance into the Fallen's chest. The Angel fell dead! A cry went up from the Gnome army and the specialists responded by bringing death to the Assassins once more.

The Dark Priests replicate their previous feat and raise the Fallen Assassins who quickly shoot down two more Wizards, and increase the poison due to their greater numbers. The Nephilim then charge the tanks, going for tougher foes. hree they manage o kill, for one was already injured and the tanks are crushed. The retalliation fails to fell a Nephilim, but goes well on the way towards it! The battle was drawing to a head.

The Warhogs, enraged by the Nephilim's combat ability charge them recklessly, trampling three beneath their trotters. The Retaliation slaughters over a hundred as the Nephilim plough through the piglets, unstoppable, thouhg acidic blood had its used and four more of the hulking brutes succumbed to death's clutches. Meanwhile the Wizards, terrified of what they see, move out of the Nephilim's charge range before casting any more spells.

The tide had turned for the last time. The assassins turned on the specialists and left none alive and the dark Priests encanted their last spell with devastating effect. Calling forth their last act of destruction, the Dark Priests wipe out scores of Warhogs while the Tanks pound two more Nephilim to death.

Both the Assassins and the Nephilim turn their attention to the tanks, each crushing two of the incredibly tough monsters, while the Warhogs continue their assault of the Nephilim. Killing two, the retalliation is once more impressive - as are the bursts of acid that follow. Far away, a Wizard coughs himself to death.

As the suphur ridden smoke clears, the Gnomekind are utterly vanquished. But at what cost? So many Cultists dead. But they would rebuild. They had to.