THE DAY OF RECKONING
A POV Post of the Rear Guard from Gaius Rosius var Ruthern
7th of Peter’s Glory, In the Year 41 BA
The ashes covered the city of Atrus but its citizens were more than ready to defend their beloved city from the oncoming onslaught of the necromancers and their pet, Cloudbreaker.
Gaius Rosius var Ruthern awoke early that day. He read his prayer book and murmured a soft prayer as he signed the lorraine before donning the armor of House Ruthern. He had only one mission in his heart and mind, to defend Balian. Breakfast was merely an afterthought as he exited his home. He first went to the square to check on the preparations the Balian Army and its allies had made for Atrus.
Next, he made his way through the streets of the city and around the walls to ensure the walls were all properly defended. The young Baron of Marsana made further plans to properly ensure the wellbeing of the cannons and ballistae, helping the Lord Seneschal Ledicort Vuiller deliver the black bolts to the defenders tasked with manning the ballistae. He then set around cauldrons with water for the cannoneers to use. All of this was done through help from his good friends and comrades Kasimir Sarkozic and Hreidunn Fehn.
Once the final preparations were done, he and his comrades made his way back to the square. From there he met his sister, Eryane de Rosius who came to see him, fearing it would be the last time she would be able to speak to him. The two exchanged words and assurances that their family will be together again before she departed with the other citizens of Balian in their evacuation to Castle Renduzzo.
“Are you ready?”
Kasimir spoke to him as he donned his helmet.
“Da. Y am.”
Gaius would respond as he too then donned his own helmet.
The call from Drako Darkwood, Count of Renduzzo, to the defenders of Atrus to rally was heard by all of the descendents in the city. Gaius and his comrades made their way to the rear of the city, they climbed the ladders to man their station at the rear walls where a certain orc shaman that went by the name Borok delivered an inspiring speech to his comrades from Krugmar and Nor’Asath.
The descendants tasked with the rear defense of Balian soon went to their respective stations upon the rear walls. The humans made their way to the middle and right side of the wall whilst the orcs and mali’ker stayed at the left side. Gaius, Hreidunn and Kasimir manned the rightmost cannon. The three of them checked the health of their cannon and the proper supplies were ready for use for the artillery.
The three comrades were soon joined by Drako Darkwood and Cardinal Teodosio, ready to keep the right flank of the wall secure.
Soon enough, the Haelunorians and the Aaunites arrived to offer their assistance in the rear. The Aaunites took hold of the ballistae at the right hand side whilst the Haelunorians and the Paladins took control of the one at the tower.
Among the Aaunites was a familiar sight, Gaius’s Raev brethren, his cousin, Jan Ivanovich.
“Yam here to help cuz.”
Gaius smiled underneath his helmet as he then nodded,
“Da cuz. Jest dobry to see you. Come stand with us.”
Now they were all ready.
After a few hours of intense anticipation and small talk among the defenders crimson lightning broke through the skies above. It was soon followed by a distant roar of a dragon. Cloudbreaker was coming.
King Alexander I of Balian stood at the center of the wall calling for his human brethren and his fellow Balianese citizens to offer a quick prayer to GOD. Gaius and his comrades joined in the prayer.
Another streak of crimson lightning followed, battering the skies.
Now was the time to fight, the defenders manned their cannons, aiming it beyond the wall towards the field. The ones who manned the ballistae in the rear kept their focus upon the sky. As for the others who were not stationed at the artillery, they drew their crossbows and potions, ready to wreak havoc upon the Iblees worshippers and their undead minions.
First came Cloudbreaker, distant roars and shouts from the front gates of the city could be heard as the defenders at the front walls of Balian scampered to shoot the dragon as it approached Atrus. Gaius tensed his shoulders but he kept his torch ready to light the cannon as his comrades loaded it with powder and a cannonball, focusing on the impending invasion from their side of the wall.
The Baron of Marsana took a deep breath as he waited for the oncoming onslaught at the rear.
Finally, the shrill laughs of the necromancers could be heard from beyond the rear wall out towards the trees. They were coming.
A certain descendent shouted,
“Ready your cannons!”
As soon as that was said, the voidal obelisk that was built upon a roof of the building close to the rear wall exploded behind the defenders, the concussive force caused some who stood there to fall from the roof of the building whilst others were knocked back. The shrapnels pelted many of the defenders. Fortunately, their plated armors shielded them from the shrapnels.
Gaius felt his own body being pushed against the cannon as he regained his balance. He was fortunate to not be too close to the explosion radius.
The descendants recovered from the explosion quickly, returning to their posts as the undead army now began to March towards the rear wall with only one goal: the destruction of Atrus.
Gaius quickly ordered his friend Hreidunn to aim the cannon towards the right flank of the marching undead. Once Hreidunn had done so, the young Baron then lit up the fuse with the torch. After a few seconds the cannon was fired towards the mass of necrotic bones at the right flank, pounding them into the ground.
The other cannoneers continued their work at the middle and left flank.
Cardinal Teodosio filled a bucket with water from the cauldron beside the cannon and passed it to Gaius who immediately poured it over the barrel to cool it down. Once it was done, they prepared and loaded another cannon ball for a second shot.
Jan Ivanovich and Drako Darkwood used their own personal ranged weaponries to give Gaius and his fellow cannoneers cover as they continued to prepare the cannon for another round.
However, the second shot did not arrive. The cannon began to malfunction as soon as Gaius lit up another fuse.
He cursed under his breath as he stepped away from the cannon, about to call to his cousin for another bucket of water until he heard a familiar roar followed by a flapping of wings and a streak of lightning from the clouds. This time, it was close.
Someone in the rear defense shouted those words. Immediately the Ruthern looked up towards the sky to see Cloudbreaker circling above them before diving downwards. He then opened his mouth, ready to breathe whatever horrific harm it could bring upon the descendents.
Immediately Gaius brought up his shield, stepping in front of Hreidunn to protect him. As he did so, he called to the Cardinal, Kasimir and to his cousin Jan Ivanovich to form a shield wall.
The three of them quickly stood shoulder to shoulder with their shields raised towards the Dragon.
As Cloudbreaker breathed its gorey substance upon the descendants, the shield wall protected Gaius and his comrades. The dragon then flew away to terrorize the front gates again.
A sigh of relief escaped Gaius’s lips as he brought his shield down for the moment, only to hear shouts from the tower. It turned out that the gorey substance had formed into undead corpses that were now terrorizing the people who were manning the ballistae. Some went up the ladder to help whilst the others focused on the undead who were still marching towards the walls.
Amid the gorey chaos, Gaius turned his head towards their cannon, only to see it had been destroyed along with part of the wall in front of them.
Cardinal Teodosio immediately shouted,
“Form a shield wall here!”
Immediately, the former cannoneers complied. They raised their shields forming a wall whilst Gaius withdrew his crossbow, loading it with a slayer steel bolt as he stood behind the shield wall.
The undead archers were readying their bows, aiming towards the middle of the wall. As they did so, the field trembled slightly. Behind the undead army lumbered two giant behemoths of flesh, blood and gore making their way towards the walls.
Amid the potential doom that was spelled by these flesh giants, the descendants however, did not lose their morale. Rather, they were further emboldened to fight when one of the paladins had managed to cast a form of holy flame against one of the giants. The shamans had begun casting their own spells.
"DO NOT LET THIS WALL FALL!"
A defender shouted amidst the oncoming second onslaught.
In the midst of this fight, Cardinal Teodosio attempted to raise the morale of the group at the right flank by coining their shield wall, the ‘Shield Brothers of Ablution’. The name was befitting for the sons of Exalted Horen who took up their shields and arms to protect a bastion for humanity.
The shieldwall was soon accompanied by the Haelunorian phalanx at their right flank, protecting the descendents stationed there from any other potential volley of arrows or projectiles from the undead monstrosities.
Gaius continued shooting his slayersteel bolts towards the giant and the undead archers, managing to hit the giant a few times while downing some of the undead archers. He grit his teeth under his helmet however when he saw the giant readying a cart full of dead cattle carcasses.
Soon enough the cart was flung towards the middle of the group of defenders upon the wall followed by a volley of arrows at the same location. The Ruthern turned his head to see some of them hit by the carcasses whilst the arrows bounced off their armors. However, a few soldiers felt the arrows pierce through the joints of their plate armors, leaving injuries. Drako Darkwood himself was almost hit by one of the carcasses, until he was quickly dragged out of harm’s way by another soldier.
Nevertheless, Gaius focused on the battle before him. The shield wall was protecting them from the volley of arrows so far and that was a good thing. Both giants were downed finally by the ranged weapons and spells from the defenders. However, there was no time to celebrate. More undead reinforcements joined the ranks of the invaders. They were now scaling the walls, ready to climb. This did not look too good. Gaius prayed to GODAN in his mind that the descendents tasked with destroying the Phylactery and the reinforcements at the canyon would be victorious. Who knows how long they can hold down the city for?
The morale of the soldiers however were slowly diminishing. Reports of a breach at the front gates and the burning of Saint Lothar’s Square and the church seemed like a grim omen for the defenders of Balian. The Duke of Minitz had now begun to argue with Borok the Shaman about retreating back towards Eternal Sun Square and continuing the fight there. However, the orcs and most of the defenders on the wall preferred to stay on the wall and hold it down until reinforcements from the descendents arrived.
As the descendents prepared themselves for the potential breach of the walls, infighting began to develop. The orc shaman who was arguing with the Duke of Minitz kicked him off the wall and down into the city. Fortunately, the Duke of Minitz did not die but was severely injured. King Alexander I and King Charles Alstion of Aaun immediately rushed to save him. The actions by the orc now sparked a fight between some Aaunites and the orc of Krugmar. However, this fight was soon settled by both sides when they realized that dealing with Cloudbreaker and the undead were more important at the moment.
It was at this moment that the cavalry had finally arrived. The soldiers who had ventured to the canyon had come back victorious, cutting off any future undead reinforcements, they were now charging with the thundering hooves of their horses towards the undead horde in the back, cutting down the archers one by one.
Some of the undead, however, had now finally managed to climb the walls and reach the top. The descendents, with their newfound morale, however, were ready. Gaius sheathed his crossbow as he then equipped his shield and mace. He charged forward with his comrade Hreidunn, using his mace to deliver a blunt impact on the undead and force them to stumble backwards and fall back from the wall, back down to where they came from.
As the breach from the top of the wall was taken care of and now that the reinforcements had arrived on the ground, Cardinal Teodosio, having heard news of the church burning, wanted to save it. The Shield Brothers of Ablution followed him as he climbed down the wall and back into the city towards the church. Unfortunately, they were too late, the Church was beyond saving. Cloudbreaker demonstrated its wrath of its malflame throughout the square and the Church.
Gaius, Kasimir and Hreidunn gently guided the Cardinal towards the Arena, promising him that Atrus will be rebuilt and its house of GOD will look better than before.
It was then that Cloudbreaker now arrived, right in front of them, atop the roof of the library. Immediately, the Descendents clambered down the walls and made their way to the square either to escape or go forth towards the Arena and into the evacuation tunnels. King Alexander I himself manned the singular cannon in the Eternal Sun Square with some others, aiming it towards the skeletal dragon of ruin.
However, there was something odd. The dragon was unmoving, immobile even. Within a short minute, it then flew back up towards the sky, before crashing down, landing outside of Atrus with its head severed. The soldiers that had gone to destroy the Phylactery had succeeded, Cloudbreaker is no more. The help from the paladins and the other soldiers who fought it until it was gravely injured only further nailed its coffin. Its severed head rested upon the mesa desert in front of Balian. The descendents now made their way towards it cheering in victory. They have felled the great necrotic dragon and amid the chaos, the raining fire from the sky melted the remaining undead, forcing many of the necromancers to flee whilst the others were slain by the blades of the descendants.
It was then that Worm, the devourer of realms, appeared. It let out a screech before burrowing itself deep into the ground, causing a small earthquake. Immediately Gaius called to his comrades to flee to Renduzzo, knowing Atrus might collapse completely if the Worm made its way to the city.
The remaining descendants, having defeated Cloudbreaker, now fled towards Renduzzo Castle to regroup and rest. The injured were quickly taken to the clinics whilst the others conversed with one another and embraced their family members and friends, happy to see each other again. However, they all knew that many lives were lost during this siege. Many of whom do not know their names yet.
Gaius and his comrades returned to Atrus after all was said and done to find any stragglers, injured or corpses of their fallen compatriots. It was there, among the ruins and bodies of the deceased that Cardinal Theodosio led the soldiers of GOD to sing “Non Nobis Domine” to honor them.
Gaius returned back to Renduzzo that night wiser and more learned from this siege. He had defended Balian, his home. The descendants were victorious against the necrotic Cloudbreaker and its masters. Atrus will be rebuilt soon, its citizens determined to bring their beloved city back.
However, this pyrrhic victory and the sighting of the Worm made Gaius wonder what the future holds for Almaris. If the descendents were to save themselves they must work together for another reckoning is on the horizon for them. Hence, as Gaius entered within the gates of the castle he thought to himself,
What jest next?