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Justin OOC

Level 2: Might and Magic

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The Imperial army was the best equipped, best trained and singularly most powerful army the world had ever seen.   Imperial Princess Marina frowned.   All of those were true, but This expedition to war was frought with peril.   Conquering the newly established nation on her border would have been a great boon, but a week ago, just one unit, a Magical Sky Knight had attacked her own air forces, and slain them all.  It would be a month to get replacements from the rookeries on the northern coasts, time she didn't have, so they pressed on.   After that, she found why the new nation hadn't expanded into her own.   Unknown to her forces, there were heavy concentrations of shadow and chaos beasts.  Packs of wolves, Tigers, and even  land dragons sapped the strength of her army as they marched, and for a solid week there wasn't a day where there was an attack.   

Worse than that were the large sinkholes making the area virtually impassible.   Only a relatively narrow pass existed to the Nation's border, forcing her to keep her armies in that pass or risk losing even more troops.  There were some who thought it all to be a trap, but the church had destroyed all the Chaos magic users, so there was no chance of that.  

They pushed on, Getting to the border with just over 210 thousand troops, still three times what Nation could muster, and from there she sent forth a messenger, even as her troops formed up in battle lines.  Her forces' morale was the lowest it had been, but with Battle coming against an opponent they could see coming it would reform quickly.  Her mages would bombard the enemy and break their spine at range.  The  antimagic corps would hunt down the enemy mages and make short work of them.

Everything was ready.

Everyone was assembled within the border Fortress to receive the messenger, as in a formal Court.  "Her Majesty, the Imperial Princess Marina commands you to surrender your lands, crest, and people to the Empire, Theo Cornaro, if you wish to live."

Theo shook his head.  "If that is all she has to say, then return to her with this.  "Come and Take them, if you can, but we will never surrender to Tyrants."  The Messenger bristled but bowed curtly and left.

Once he was riding off, he looked to the gathered allies.  "So it begins, my friends, now we see how much our preparations have truly affected them."

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The last week had been... oddly nice for Yuuki. She hadn't been camping in, well, a long time, and sleeping rough after a long day of exercising her powers in cataclysmic eruptions of earth and wood between hours of watching for danger while 'her' squad worked under Daizo's supervision. They were good men, and in the quiet moments after sunset while they ate their rations, talked about their lives. The shrine maiden listened and asked questions and talked a little bit about her own, adjusting for the filter of the science dominated world she came from compared the magic dominated world they lived in. The darkness wasn't an inhibitor to her eyes, and any light could draw fatal attention, so she pulled watch during the darkest hours. 

Apparently, telling stories to pass the time was a thing here, and after the soldiers got over their initial deference after a few days, it was her turn to tell stories, too. Yuuki drew from her treasure trove of Shinto folklore, and, yes, the manga she had once collected to cover her turns. They seemed to like her stories, and perhaps not entirely because of the Gamemaster's... improvements.

That made what was going to happen next so much harder. If her little squad of eleven had so much to live and strive for, what about all the others? So many of them were going to die.

"Daizo and my volunteers planted a few last lines of seeds where you said you wanted the battle to be. Say the word and even less of them will be making it to the fight quickly," she offered from her corner of the room, not sounding happy about this being all she could do to limit that butcher's bill, "Give you more of a chance to end it with less blood. Hopefully. Master Izona taught me a spell for flight, so I can get wherever you need me to be, maybe take down a few leaders?"

Gold eyes looking conflicting, she hugged herself, trying not to think about it all. 

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Vesper, looking a bit pale even for her since conducting her night-time raids, looked at Theo dully. Their preparations. What a nice, clean way to put it. She shook her head and looked away.

"So what's the plan for me? Am I going to try to get to the generals or whatever? I'll have trouble with a lot of soldiers at once, but there's a lot I can do with important people."

There were spells, of course, but her best magic just wore her out too fast. She'd need to keep practicing to build up her tolerance before she could toss spells off as easily as Izona.

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Several hours later, the Nation's army is positioned for the attack, Yuuki and Vesper are at the front.  Theo had met privately with  Vesper, providing identification for the various troop leaders.   If she could take them out it would further serve to demoralize the Imperial army, and she'd be given free reign on how she did this, save for injuring the Princess, or using her chaos magic.   As the army marched forward, the battle began when They had Yuuki trigger her last line of seeds.   

At that same moment, Izona, sitting nearly a kilometer from the border wall, virtually alone save Ryan, smiled.   

Hear my words, you who governs the world of Magic.   By the sacred contract of Legios, I, Izona of Archalia command thee.   Seal the magic of this place, that those who are my foes can cast no spell, nor know the blessings of mana."   A massive magic circle came into being beneath her feet,  easily twenty meters across.  'Now, Ryan, see to it that no one disturbs me, and no one but our allies shall use mana."
 

it began when the first magical shields began to wink out of existence.  The Imperial forces began to panic, as mana failed them, and the Metal knight appeared in the sky, raining death down upon them with veritable impunity.   Arrows filled the sky, along with boulders from catapults, and flaming bombs blasted the landscape, even as the ground revolted beneath them.   The Imperial army was in chaos, but through it all the Princess grit her teeth, and demanded her forces charge.  They'd never call down this sort once they got to the wall, and the gate would never hold against them. 

She still had several aces to play, after all, and the information she'd gotten, well it was interesting, and obviously true.  One person was shutting down there magic, one person, left alone in the care of an otherworlder.  if she could remove them, then she'd break this upstart nation, and not stop until all bowed before her.

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Focus on the small things that are right before turning them into ways to fix what's wrong. Yuuki's mother had taught her that, and it had worked on everything from trying to budget for a new refrigerator to planning a spring festival. This was... bad. So so so soooo bad, but there was one bit of good as the dust began to settle from the explosive birth of new trench and the roar of hundred of men charging forward: Yuuki loved flying, and this past year she had taken any excuse she could while training to 'practice' with the spell.

"Spirits of Earth and Sky; Hear this speaker's yearning cry! Spirits of Water and Fire; Lend me the steam to indulge the most ancient desire! Break the chains of the World's Hold; Let me dance among the cloud's Fold! Order Sign! Flight!" called the shrine maiden from her place just behind the front lines, mana flowing into the gleaming circle of light beneath her feet, green hair blowing up from her own private windstorm. The light pulsed one, two, three times before bursting into a rainbow of bubbles that coalesced into a pair of translucent butterfly wings on Yuuki's back. She paused for a heartbeat, smiling faintly over her shoulder at the magatama-like spots gracing her topmost wings.

The wings weren't real, more of a visual declaration of her magic, but she liked how... light it made her feel, and as a bomb threw Kami knows how many men through the air to injury or death... She was going to need every bit of light she could muster.

The first men of the Imperial Army began hurling themselves down into the trench opposite her position, the soldier's in front of her readying their weapons.

"Ready... Looose!" shouted a Captain whose name she didn't know, and the archers around her did so with the sound of thousand beehives at war. She took that as her signal, too, shooting straight up from the ground trailing light with every flutter of her wings, gaining altitude enough to take in her flank of the battle and be out of ready bow range. Apparently, some of Theo's troops took *her* rise as a good omen, yelling defiance at the approaching enemy. She could only hope that she was worthy of that emotion.

Spoiler

HP: Full EP: 150/170 One Flight spell in effect for the duration of the battle, I think.

 

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Vesper left.

It was easy to do...one small girl, quiet and unassuming, edging around the hustle and bustle of soldiers making ready for war. Yuuki with her wings and spells kept all eyes on her, those who weren't busy with duties. And of course there was just her. Groups were everything in war...an individual, unarmed, meant nothing, and Vesper was alone.

Well. Not really. Not ever really.

She moved out away from the castle before the first ranks of soldiers closed in, though she was still close enough to hear the buzz-whines of arrows from the walls when they fired.

There was a plan at work, kind of, though calling it a 'plan' might be overgenerous. It was far more likely a set of assumptions that would get her killed. But wasn't that really all most plans were?

Vesper knew the layout of the enemy army from the nights she'd bedeviled them. Back then they'd teleported to get past the sentries. This time...well, getting past the sentries would kind of defeat the purpose.

"You there! Stop!"

Right on schedule.

Vesper stopped and turned to face the voice who'd called out. A man wearing Imperial colors with a crossbow in hand. "You're a sentry," she said. "Making sure no one can slip into the, uh...support people and officers and stuff."

He frowned and raised the crossbow to aim down the bolt. "Who are you and what are you doing here?"

"I'm a spy," was her reply. "I'm turning myself in. I surrender for questioning."

The sentry's frown turned from suspicion to confusion. "What?"

Vesper's eyes bored into his...deep and dark. He almost felt he was falling into them; like they were expanding to cover the world, blot out the sun. When she spoke again, all other sounds were silenced in his ears.

"I surrender. Take me to the mages for questioning. I can tell them what's wrong with the magic. You'll be a hero."

Yes. Yes of course.

"Come with me," the sentry said dreamily, lowering the crossbow a bit. He didn't need it; she'd surrendered. "You have to answer the mage's questions."

She put her hands behind her back, crossing her wrists so it would look like she was restrained unless someone paid close attention, and let the sentry lead her towards the enemy camp.

Over her head, a tornado of wrath churned invisibly. Vesper wasn't sure how much the Therion really understood of what was happening, but she knew that in the end it didn't matter. He would do what she told him to, and then fight on in the chaos that would inevitably erupt. She wasn't sure if anyone would have the presence of mind to attack her...it was a huge gamble. Her non-magic powers didn't require incantations or hand waving like this world's spells though, so...Vesper figured there'd be a good chance they wouldn't get that she was behind it. Not at first. Not before it was too late.

Best plan ever.

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Death reigned on the battlefield.  Soldiers from both sides were struck down, though far more from the Empire fell than the new nation's forces.  Above them yuuki was in the air, inspiring the troops.   If Tori had been available it would have been even more crushing to the enemy, but the Banshee was heavily damaged still.  

 

Vesper was brought brought before the head Mages, and found herself there with two of the Infantry division leaders as well.

"So this is the spy?  why not just kill her and be done?" 

"She knows why your magic has failed..."

"So do we, it's why we sent the Black Shadows to handle it.  Soon, they'll end that troublesome witch, and her guardian, and we'll blast this nation to rubble."

The two Infantry leaders looked back to Vesper.  "Well, it sounds like your usefulness, and your luck have run out then."  Both of them drew near to her, even as half a dozen soldiers were blocking her escape.   Clearly, they weren't just planning on her death, she'd be made an example of.

 

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"You're wrong," Vesper said, just to buy time. When they paused suspiciously she went on. "It was Therion. Therion. Therion."

A cold breeze picked up out of nowhere, carrying the smell of charnel. Similarly from nowhere, a shadow fell over the mages. A shadow in the shape of an immense figure in a tattered, flowing cloak, bearing a scythe of black iron.

Even as she summoned the spirit of devastation, Vesper concentrated on defending herself. Dust and grit whirled up around her feet, pulled into a sympathetic orbit as she cloaked herself with telekinetic force.

Meanwhile, the Therion's scythe descended in a vicious sweep, as if reaping grain.

Therion Scythe Attack or Defense: 2d6+8 14 2d6+8 17

The first stroke cleaved through robes and flesh, sending blood flying in a broad arc that sprayed out garishly across the tent and earth. With speed that belied his size, and the size of the weapon, Therion whirled then and brought the scythe down again from the other direction. The three mages were bashed against one another from the force of the strikes, and then...came apart. Their bodies, faces frozen in horror and anguish, collapsed into one another...forming a grotesque slurry of innards, with heads and arms and legs seemingly poking out at random points.

Without touching the ground, without making a sound, the shadowy spirit advanced on the half-dozen soldiers nearest Vesper then, interposing itself between her and them. Its smoky shadow fell over them then, unnaturally chill.

Meanwhile, as Vesper dropped back away from the soldiers, she focused her eyes on the toughest-looking one and assaulted his mind with nightmarish images...a hellish montage of her own imagining, culled from horror movies and boy band footage.

Mind Blast (drain Mind 2, ennervate 5, stun): 2d6+6 18

Maybe it was the sudden danger she found herself in, but her power seemed to explode out of her, crashing into the soldier's mind with almost physical force!

(40 damage, drain Mind 2, drain 25 energy; damage is nonlethal)

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For a second, Yuuki stopped breathing as she took in the sheer breadth and volume of violence on display. This was awful, needed to stop. But armies that outnumbered their foes three to one didn't surrender, not immediately, not with hundreds of thousands of men with fires in their bellies... So she'd have to temper that fire.

She dove over the massed ranks of her flank of the battle, gathering green light in her hands and eyes, letting the pressure build until she picked the point where she'd drive them.

"Bounded Field Blooming!" she called over the cheers of the soldiers, a dark-clad fairy suddenly exploding into a pillar of green light that arced into the ground in all directions. The upturned soil of the trench suddenly rebirthed her titanic trees on either side of her as far she could reach, an effort of will angling them towards the Imperial force. The chaos of the eruption prevented them from forming a perfect wall like before, but hopefully all but the most overarching shots would be slowed, formations disrupted, the promise of more sinkholes when these trees too vanished.

"Sacred Bamboo Ramparts!" The green-haired shrine maiden added, winding her arm back to toss the seed of the protective barrier to encompass the formation of spearmen around her. Creaks and groans of phantom foliage rose in a circle around her. She hovered in the dome of bamboo, bracing for first wave of struggling infantry reached melee range, the violence to become up close and personal.

Spoiler

Plant Control Roll

Technically, can't hurt anyone with it, but it wouldn't do me any favors to have giant trees popping up out of nowhere...

http://orokos.com/roll/729429

2d6+13: 18 [2d6=2, 3] 

 

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Things happened very quickly, as The soldiers backed away in fear after seeing Therion gruesomely slay the Mages, including the heads of two orders.    One of them dropped to the ground without a sound, unconscious from Vesper's psychic assault.  The two Infantry captains weren't so weak-willed and drew swords and attacked, though Therion let nothing through to harm his mistress.   Still the two of them were armored, and both seemed to be capable combatants.

Outside, there was a commotion drawn from the yells of the soldiers within, and Then Giant trees, a veritable forest sprout in the midst of the battlefield.  Dozens were slain by the explosive vegetation spearing through them, or flung into the air only to land roughly.   Some were spared as the trees took attacks that would have slain them, and then the bamboo field rose up, shielding Theo's soldiers, and yet they could still see the carnage of the battlefield.   The soldiers cheered and redoubled their efforts, moving to take advantage of the confusion.   "Forward, while they cannot form ranks,  hit them with everything you have!"  Soldiers charged forward and arrows were loosed again.

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Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. 

She forced herself not think about the bloodshed done by and enabled by her hand so that she could focus on doing and enabling more bloodshed. With a flap of her ephemeral wings, she rose out of the bamboo thicket, already glowing green again, lips flitting through her magic words, reaching out with her thoughts to the foliage she had already claimed as hers. "Bounded! Field! Blooming!" she declared, a wave of green racing ahead of her soldiers and, ironically, caused the titanic forest to shrink back to seeds, taking the ground with it to cries of panic and discord with the partial restoration of the sinkhole under the feet of the Imperial army.

The shrine maiden immediately started gathering green light again, arms pointed straight down, staring directly at the nearest clumps of hostile men as they struggled against the press of Theo's formation and the slope behind. "Surrender. Bounded. Field. Blooming," she intoned, discharging a second wave of light that caused everything green beyond her front ranks to return to their titanic proportions, a sea of towering grass and weeds interspersed with monstrous trees, the earth in explosive, entangling revolt against the Imperials.

Spoiler

Plant Control Twice, once to shrink the foliage, and again to restore it.

First roll http://orokos.com/roll/730302 2d6+13: 19

Second roll http://orokos.com/roll/730303 2d6+13: 24

EP: 110/170

 

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Therion barely paused as new opposition marched forward. The dark metal of his scythe didn't even glint as he twirled it effortlessly around and brought it back for yet more reaping. He slashed to the left, crashing it through two of the guards, then reversed his grip and mowed down the other two on the right.

Therion Scythe Attack or Defense: 2d6+8 15 2d6+8 11

Meanwhile Vesper focused her will on the only soldier left untouched by Therion's attacks...his flaying was almost as comprehensive, but left no mark on him as he collapsed to the ground amidst the bleeding fragments of his fellows, eyes wide with a terror only he could see.

Mind Blast (drain Mind 2, ennervate 5, stun): 2d6+6 13

She put her hands to her temples and closed her eyes for a second, fighting a wave of nausea and fatigue. It was one thing to see Therion working on giant bugs...but these were people. Christ, what was she doing?

That wasn't all the mages, she thought, trying to force herself back on task, We can't stop now or it'll all be for nothing.

"I need to...I need to get clear," Vesper said, clenching and unclenching her fists. "Therion, go out that way." She points to the tentflap. "Let them see you, but not hurt you. First, cut me a hole in the back of the tent though, so I can get out while you're distracting them." After a second she added, "Disappear once they start trying to attack you."

The shadowy presence that nearly filled the tent was silent as always, then with shocking suddenness brought the half-moon of the scythe blade down very close to Vesper...slicing a neat vertical line through the back of the tent. His substance seemed to diffuse then, becoming even less solid than it had been previously...and he glided out through the front of the tent without so much as disturbing the tent flap.

As cries of fear and alarm went up from outside the tent in front, Vesper slipped out the back to find a place to keep her head down. She'd need to find the other mages...but she suspected they'd probably be called to look at this exact spot quite soon.

Stealth (divine intervention): 2d6+5 17

 

 

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More soldiers died as yuuki manipulated the battlefield, either being swallowed by the ground, speared by roots, or entangled then Killed by Theo's soldiers.  The imperial foot soldiers were starting to panic, and the Cavalry unit was already long gone.   Archers rained down arrows, and at least a dozen cam sailing at Yuuki, only for her to be protected by a Wall of wind.  Siluca was there back in in the rear ranks keeping her safe, but with the lines of battle nearing her, Yuuki was in some danger.   

Therion's appearance created even more chaos, though they were quick to dismiss him as illusion, especially once he vanished.   Meanwhile taking a mage's robe from one of the ones she'd simply knocked out, Vesper hastily disquised herself and was able to leave the tent unmolested, simply blending into the chaos.

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Harder. Hit them harder. If she could break them here, convince them they couldn't win no matter their numbers. Magic didn't win battles here, too slow, too limited in duration for the cost in power, but she wasn't using magic not as they knew it, so she must seem a devil or an angel to them. Yuuki bit her lip, trying to bury the sick conflicted feeling, unseeing of the projectiles deflected away from her by the invisible wall of magic. Well, until one bent away literally from in front of her face, and her golden eyes tracked it's new trajectory down and into the neck of an unsuspecting allied spearman.

Down went the man, his corpse trampled almost immediately by those pushing up from behind. Oh no.

She pressed her lips lips together so hard they paled. This was going to stop. If she pressed their front lines hard enough, this princess had to show herself to keep the formation from breaking entirely. Or something

"Bounded. Field. Blooming." came the incantation like a metronome of doom matching beat of her heart as she gleamed like a green sun, unnaturally boosted foliage losing and gaining branches and vines at random like the world's biggest iron maiden.

And again. A second incantation, a second wave of her arms, a second wave of biochaotic death ahead of her own advancing troops. Golden eyes darted around the battlefield she could see, looking for nodes of order, leadership to hit. Anything. Where was the Princess? Break the royal; break the army. It had to work that way. It had to.

Spoiler

EP: 90/170

Die Rolls https://orokos.com/roll/734814

Plant Control Result #1: 20

Plant Control Result #2: 21

     

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