Elynsor - The Battlemage

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
#1
On the Western Continent, there are four nations; Grem in the north, Elynsor in the west, Brevnia in the east, and Grisalesca in the south. They sit at a peaceful truce, with each kingdom having well-defined borders. However, these boundaries didn’t always exist as such. These lines were drawn in the sand by leaders and kept with the sacrifice of warriors, both knight and conscript alike. These borders were forged by war.


BORDER OF ELYNSOR AND GRISALESCA
776 AR (~150 years ago)
Stronghold of Vantalsen


To the mage named Reylia, it was deafening. The rhythmic, seemingly inexorable beat of the march made by the approaching Grisalescan troops could be heard by the defending Elynsorians, a third of whom had been slain or captured by now. It was a cadence that proved rather slow compared to the racing heartbeat of the fledgling lightning caster, who had the misfortune of being stationed there when the siege began.

~~~~~​

The southern fortress of Vantalsen was nestled in a place of relative safety when the girl graduated from Elynsor’s Royal Magic Academy, as a Lightning Major--one who specializes in the casting of, as the name implied, lightning magic. With the kingdom’s level of technology, there was little use for this element other than combat, and so the girl, possessed of great natural talent, did her paces in the military academy afterwards. With long blue hair that was prone to looking disheveled at times, an unassuming appearance, and a generally quiet demeanor, she was not what one might expect of a strong, reliable, sturdy military mage--but at the very least, she was physically capable, enough so to pass the trials and tests placed before her, even if she didn’t particularly excel in them.

As a result, she was sent to guard Vantalsen in a stunning amount of time as one of the outpost’s only mages. At first, her nervous energy, which she had no shortage of--a trait often attributed to Lightning users like herself--kept her looking out the window of her chambers and towards the horizon, where she expected the Grisalescans to appear at any moment. As she studied, she would often stop and check. Nothing. Whenever she woke up, she would look. Nothing again. And the next day, and the day after that, no invaders arrived. The commander of the post, Cadruth, a stern-looking man of good repute, warned her and the other two mages that an attack could come at any time, and so she practiced her casting daily, simply going through the motions for maintenance. But such talk seemed more and more like hyperbole after a while, as days passed without even a hint of an assault. No figures ever seemed to emerge from that horizon looking south.


And so, many boring, peaceful days were spent at Vantalsen. Before Reylia she knew it, it was months. Still, she received a more than livable wage here, for having to do relatively little. She got up in the morning, ate breakfast, received a briefing from the superiors, and went on watch--which, of course, meant fairly little to her as nothing ever appeared on that horizon. Then, after her shift, she would eat dinner, practice casting, study, and sleep, only to repeat the same cycle day after day. Still, being stationed here had its perks. Reylia had spent no small amount of time exchanging smiles that were meaningful--or were they?--to one of the better-looking guardsmen, an officer named Firenn, but found herself too nervous, too anxious to escalate their interactions to something more than a polite greeting. On the other hand, most of the men she had to spend time with--including a prankster named Jeal, a quiet one named Orvion and a noisy one named Prefik--were the ones that Reylia had to encounter by way of being stationed around the same posts. Some like the healer Benser were easier to deal with, but she saw them much less often, as she managed to avoid the injuries that guardsmen often acquired during sparring.



Such were her challenges at the stronghold. She had sometimes wished that he would extend the conversations with Firenn a little further every time they met, but like the imaginary invaders that came riding over the horizon, perhaps that day would never come.

~~~~~​

But now, that day--the day of invasion--was here, and it was far too late for Reylia to concern herself with other such things at this point. The majority of the guard had retreated into the main keep as Grisalescan forces pushed forward. The enemies’ plate armor, crossbows, and arming swords made them a formidable force. Every single Grisalescan soldier wore a metal facemask, stoic and unmoving. Whenever one fell, they would not stop to help, but continue forward, seemingly single-minded on conquering this fortress.

Reylia’s long-awaited debut as a combat mage had quickly been stepped over, as her first attempt to cast over the outer walls was quickly thwarted by the terrifying feel of crossbow bolts whizzing past her head. The other two mages were not so lucky, and while they managed to put fire and wind to good initial use in dispatching a good chunk of the Grisalescans, they eventually were shot down by well-placed bolts.

The lightning mage was pulled by Firenn and the other guardsmen into the inner keep, where the most elite of the Elynsorian military, along with the remaining civilians, had holed themselves up. The mage hurried down the main hall and around a corner when the haunting rhythm of the soldiers’ march finally stopped. A few yells, commands in a language that she did not understand, were exchanged. Then, a brief pause as everyone began to buckle down… followed by a startling THUD. Likely they were employing their battering ram, and the creak of the old wood, though somewhat reinforced by iron, told Reylia that this would not hold all day. The mage brushed her hair down with her hands, a nervous habit, and a few stray strands frizzed up once again. She looked at her shaking hands as her cohorts buckled down for the inevitable. THUD. THUD. THUD. The wail of the iron hinges filled her ears. It had been so peaceful, so uneventful up until recently--how did it all happen so fast?


Various yells from both sides could be heard, but for her, not understood. The most defined sound, or the one that stood at the foremost of her consciousness, was her own heartbeat, and of course, the slow rhythm of the battering ram striking the gate. Each powerful, resounding THUD caused a curtain of sand and dust to pour down from the ceiling, until finally an even louder crack was heard. The gate had been breached, and as soon as the path was clear, the rhythm of their march started up once again. The initial path from the gate to the first hallways was long, and split into two directions like a ‘T’. Reylia and a few others were waiting just around the corner, to the left side, while most were lurking to the right. A few conscripted crossbowmen had finished loading their weapons, but one of the youths couldn’t wait and peeked out, stepping out only halfway in order to loose his shot. As soon as he pulled the trigger, a return bolt found its way into his neck with a grisly ‘thuk’, and one of the guardsmen pulled him back by the shirt. The young man looked at his ally with widened eyes, which wandered down to his chest, where no small amount of blood had already spilled forth.

Am I… g-gluh… going to… die?

He was going to die here, Reylia knew. And so would she, most likely.

Another conscript did the same, this time barely being missed by the return fire. He yelled across the intersection at Reylia’s group. “Their armor is too thick! That’s why we’ve been having trouble this whole time! We need a mage!

Some of the guardsmen looked at each other, then to Reylia. Firenn looked to the mage. “We need a cast! Go! I’ll cover you.

Reylia opened her mouth in protest, but no words would come out. Every time someone even so much as peeked out into the main hallway, at least a half-dozen crossbow bolts would whirr by. This was real combat. No longer did she have the luxury of taking her time, relaxing, focusing on a warm, sunny day. She had to act, and fast. But seeing the deadly projectiles flying past gave her great pause--and for good reason. Though she wanted to say something, to explain herself, to make excuses, she couldn’t even say those words.

The other members of her squad began to yell in turn.

Hurry up!” cried Orvion, breaking his usual silence.

We don’t have much time. Damnit Reylia, what are you waiting for?!” yelled Jeal, his seriousness rare in the moment.

This is why I hate mages! Shit! Are we going to bottleneck them here? Split them up at this intersection by retreating?” asked Prefik.

No, this is the last chance to get them all with a bolt,” said Cadruth. “Reylia!

Firenn gave her a much harder look at this point. “Let’s go. We’ll cover you.” He made a gesture back to Cadruth, who was quick to translate it into an order. “Shields!

One after another, the guardsmen she had seen day after day poured out into the main hallway with their pavises held up. Some of them had taken shots to the feet as they moved, stumbling forward, but nonetheless they struggled to stand and set up barriers for her sake. Reylia could only stare as they fell and faltered and bled. She just wanted all of this to end. Her hands continued to shake--if she were to cast now, it would come out awfully, and she couldn’t even guarantee channeling the lightning into the right place. But now, she had no choice. Firenn grabbed her by the arm and pulled her behind the shield wall.

Cadruth’s voice could be heard. “Start casting!

Go on! We don’t have any more time!” Firenn gave her a much harsher, expectant look now, and the thought of how much she must have disappointed him crossed her mind. Part of her wanted to just curl up, but the sounds of battle all around reminded her that this was for her own survival above all else.

The intermittent ‘thuks’ of bolts piercing the shields ruined her concentration, but she began to tell herself familiar words as she summoned a gate from between her hands. It was not her cleanest cast--if anything, it had to be one of her ugliest, but she pushed on through it anyway, trying her best to widen the gate as large as she could before she moved it upwards. That would be the tricky part, as it would expose her to fire. But as she worked on summoning the gate, she began to hear a strange, odd sort of rhythm. While the bolts didn’t come in outright volleys, Reylia heard a brief lull, or something like it, in between each flurry. Apparently, she wasn’t the only one to hear it, as some of her fellow guardsmen began to strike the backs of their shields with their fists every time that window opened. It was her cue to go. And, finally, she did.

No longer was there nervous energy--perhaps she had grown too tired to even be able to store any up, or perhaps she had successfully channeled it all into her gate. There was only a cold, eerie calmness over her now, and slowly standing up, she raised the gate high over the shield wall formation. A series of bolts began to snake out from the interplanar aperture, striking the corners of the main hallway before finally jolting into the primary formation of the approaching Grisalescans. Their tempered steel plate armor did well in conducting the deadly current, which surged forward through the main body from soldier to soldier, causing the otherwise emotionless troops to gasp and writhe uncontrollably as the lightning caused their muscles to rapidly contract against their will. The snaking arcs of electricity brought forth from Reylia’s massive gate continued to strike, over and over, as the last few bolts that the opposition could manage to loose whizzed by her face.

A stray bolt soon struck her, grazing her neck and causing her spell to be disrupted. The gate dispersed as she fell. But by the time she was done, countless numbers of Grisalescan soldiers’ plate-wearing corpses filled the hall, the trail of bodies stretching out into the main bridge and then some. Their remaining allies in the back could only see the devastating onslaught brought forth by the lightning… and, for once, their march had come to an abrupt halt. That haunting noise that had plagued Reylia all throughout the day, finally, had ceased.




~~~~~​




Reylia’s eyes snapped open sa she woke with a start. The mage gasped loudly as she took in several deep breaths, knowing that something was urgent, but not quite knowing what it was. In sharp contrast to her inexplicable panic, however, were the relatively quiet surroundings. She was in her room, with the sunlight shining through her window. Gone were the incessant noises of battle, replaced only with a gentle breeze and the faint noises of construction. Was it a dream?

The throbbing pain on the side of her neck told her that it wasn’t. Reylia groaned, raising a hand to the spot, where it had been bandaged up. Even the slightest touch to the spot of dried blood caused her to wince and grimace. “O-Owwww…” she whimpered.

Don’t touch it, silly,” came a soothing voice. It belonged to Benser, the healer who she had so scarcely seen. “It takes a while for the salve to settle. And I’m already exhausted from all that healing… they just wanted me to watch over you since you’re kind of a special case.

A special case…?” asked the mage. “What… happened, exactly?

You saved us all,” said someone at the door. Reylia looked over.

It was Firenn. His arm was in a sling.

We seriously thought you’d never cast there, for a second, but when you did… wow. The next few Greybournians started tripping over their own dead, making them easier pickings. And when we rallied and took care of that squad, the rest actually ended up retreating. Basically, we won the day. We’re just trying to fix what we can now. Reinforcements are on their way.

O-Oh. I… s-see,” stammered Reylia in reply.

Anyway, they say it’s just the beginning, but we’ll be better prepared next time, with far more troops and equipment. Maybe a few more mages, too. But you’re our lucky charm. We’ll definitely be needing you for the next one… so hang in there,” he assured her with a slight smile, though it didn’t do much to ease all of the naturally nervous girl’s worries.

Um, alright,” said the Lightning Major in reply without even thinking, returning his smile with a crinkled, awkward one of her own. Even though she had nearly died, they weren’t done yet. What had she gotten herself into?

END​