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The Petal Throne • View topic - hlucha


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 Post subject: hlucha
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:54 am 
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The story of R'y [an excerpt from the d20 rulebook]


A skirling of trumpets answered by the thunder of drums and the day began. For some it would be their last. For Hlucha hiTlakotani, Kerdu of the 41st Imperial Archers it would be a test of her command and the weeks of preparation leading to this moment. She exited her pavilion and looked about her.
The armor of a general chafed, and she reminded herself to see the armorer for some more adjustments. Standing before her were the command staff, papers and accoutrements at the ready. Her Molkar nodded greeting, an old soldier to another. She nodded back and walked past them to the viewing stand. It had been hastily erected the night before as they prepared for the enemy advance.
Atop the stand she could see the massed ranks of the enemy to the South. They outnumbered her small army by at least 3 to 1 odds, but she had faith in the preparations of the veterans in her command. They had been driven over the mountains once; they weren’t going to back up again. The rest of the command staff took their place. A meager lot they consisted of a kasi in charge of the battle magic contingent, a couple of scribes, a standard bearer, a musician and a bodyguard.
The Molkar, really her second in command remained on the ground below. He saluted her and waited. She smiled and said “ It all comes together here doesn’t it Balesh?”
Balesh hiSsaivra, Molkar of the 41st Archers saluted with a ‘Yes Kerdu, your orders sir?”
“Move them out “she said gravely and raised her sword so that all could see. The blue steel glittered in the morning light and the great standard beside her seemed to nod in approval. This was the ‘Sword of Janule’, an ancient weapon that had been used in the battle of the Gods on Dormoron Plain. None could fail to recognize it among all gathered there.
Trumpets sounded, standards raised and the Molkar led the troops to their fate. The cohorts of archers moved downhill in perfect step. They took up their initial positions about halfway down the hill behind the sea of stakes they had erected the night before. Each row of stakes had trenches between them running across the hill line, and auxiliaries began to fill the shallow trenches with oil.
With only 3 cohorts of Imperial Archers supported by around 1000 peasent levies, the situation looked grim. She looked over the dry brown fields toward the South and saw the enemy. Crazed hordes of religious fanatics, cannibals, painted savages in the thousands.
Each of her men was fighting for a home, family, and the man beside them. Some of them had been at the defeat nearly 4 years before. The ones that had returned were in charge of the newest farm boys. They had trained without ceasing. She had pushed them and she was proud of how they had responded. They were drawn up east of the city they had sworn to defend, daring the enemy to attack them or face their flank attack were the city walls attacked first.
It would give the city defenders more time to prepare, more time to get the women and children on the road north should they need to. She had seen the city of Hekellu fall and sworn not to be part of another retreat like that in her lifetime. For her as for her men it would be do or die.
Looking to her right she saw the catapults ready. To her left stood another platform with a small magical contingent, a favor that she had called in and hoped would turn the battle. The high priest there nodded at her and gave her a signal. Even though he had a captain or Kasi to relay orders, he knew that his general had experience in the command of his contingent and could understand his hand signals. She nodded.
The enemy advanced at the run, at least half a tsan away. They would be tired before they arrived and would stop to regroup. She didn’t intend to give them that and called ‘load artillery’ as she raised her Kaing standard. Orders flew and the artillery creaked.
The enemy was slowing now, regrouping on the run. She dropped her Kaing and a number of things happened at once.
The artillery fired and a devastating volley of stones and boulders flew screaming overhead. Down slope torches were applied and officers yelled ‘light your arrows’ as the men bent to the shallow trenches of flaming oil. Farther down the oil served as a smokescreen and the enemy advance slowed at the entire legion faded from clear view and the rocks hit them. Shortly after, a volley of flaming arrows flew into the Khomorg charge and men screamed, flaming arrows burning into them.
A second volley of catapult fire flew overhead as the archers dropped behind their shields to reload. The enemy threw what they could, fired captured bows and slings, danced and yelled in the burning fields and generally milled at the base of the hill. Another fire arrow volley met them as they charged into the stakes and burning pits. They wavered as the archers drew swords and readied shields.
Then from out of the fog, smoke and mists there sounded a trumpet. the Khomorg hesitated and looked about. A mass of men were approaching from the nearby city. They marched in perfect formation, their standards high and voices singing their victory songs. None less than the First Legion of Ever-Present Glory advanced to support the beleaguered archers. The Khomorg wavered, a group of witches with them yelling and hitting them to get them in order to meet this new threat. Another volley of arrows and catapult stones flew into them.
Hlucha could see a problem. She handed her Kaing to the Kasi of magic and said “Take this and tell the Kasi on the left flank to charge his men when the Khomorg move.” He saluted and left at a run, then almost immediately fell dead from a crossbow bolt to the head.
“Stray shots” she muttered and leapt off the stand to run and pick up the Kaing and carry it herself. Her men seeing her standard first waver then rise anew cheered, keeping up the fight. She glanced to the right to see the effect of the First Legion but smoke obscured any decent sight of the area.
Running up to the left most troops, she yelled ‘follow me!’ and charged down slope past the trench and fire work areas. The Cohort charged as a man, cheering. At the bottom of the slope they stopped yelling and started a grim fight with Khomorg who had been retreating from the sight of the First Legion and threatening to out flank the hills of archers. There was no time to form up, no time to do other than raise shield and sword as they barreled into the scattered enemy with full force.
Night had nearly fallen. The corpses of the dead lay on the field, looking lonely and vulnerable. Hlucha walked slowly up the hill, her limp noticeable to all. She had not been wounded this day, but still suffered from an old war wound that she had received a year previously. The men stood silent, live enemy nowhere in sight.
She walked past the peasant levies as they piled enemy bodies, averting their eyes from the general. Her own troops stood quietly and proudly in their units, some nursing wounds and others leaning on their shields with fatigue. She nodded to some as she passed, patted the shoulder of one or two vets and received salutes from men and commander alike. They had won.
As she reached the top of the hill she saluted her high priest. The old man smiled and leaned on his staff of power, tired to the bone. ‘Commander’ he said.
“You chose a very auspicious legion for your illusion old friend” she replied. I had to move the men quickly before the enemy figured anything was amiss.”
“Your lines held” he said. “The illusion is real to those who believe, there were many dead believers today’.
She nodded and limped toward the camp. There was much to do yet, they had won a victory over an ignoble but overwhelming foe, and it was a good start.
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 Post subject: Re: hlucha
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:49 pm 
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Not bad at all. :) Of course I have no idea who the Khomrg are but I take its some barbarians and it was set in western Tsolyáni - couldn't find the city Hekellu on the map.
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 Post subject: Re: hlucha
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:31 pm
Posts: 76
East side of the empire.
Hekellu is in the mountains.
R'y is where the battle happens, the army has one flank covered by the necropolis.
Salarvyani fanatic cannibals are khomorg.
See 5th novel for more fun, so far the professor and myself have determined that hlucha is kerdu of the 41st archers.
This story is a version submitted with the d20 rules for approval.
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 Post subject: Re: hlucha
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 3:05 am 
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Joined: Sun May 22, 2005 4:17 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Rü (known as R'y in the days before computers that could easily put in umlauts, see also Hry'y) is in the extreme southeast of the Empire, in the Kerunan Protectorate, very near the border with Salarvya. There was a notable battle there back in 2347 as well, when mighty Kettukal hiMraktine, later First General of the Empire, defeated a force of Salarvyani.

The Khomórg are presented in Dr. Barker's last novel, A Death of Kings. They are mobs of drug-crazed fanatics, formed and inspired by the Temple of Shiringgáyi (the Goddess who is the primary deity of western Salarvya). Their main fight is with the ruling families of Salarvya (the Temple seeks to eliminate them and become a theocracy), but the Khomórg are rabidly xenophobic, and object violently to the Tsolyani notion that Shiringgayi is really just a confusion of their goddesses Dlamelish and Avanthe.
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 Post subject: Re: hlucha
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 10:19 am 
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I see, and when looking at the map of Tsolyáni I behold the city of Rü and Hekéllu! Stupid me who didn't see it from the start and it shores up my initial confusion over the matter as I was looking in the west.

Thanks for the info regarding the Salarvyani fanatics. Sounds like some fun fellows and that there's plenty of action all around Tékumel as always. :D
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