War for an Emperor: Chapter 2 - The March to War

  • A crash and thud woke me up, followed by a groan of pain and a few choice words that may have sounded a little bit like “trucking Talos”. That is how you start your day when bunking with Bjorn Isvind. Sighing, I rolled out of bed, flinging an arm out to smack Bjorn upside the head and to steady myself while I blinked the sleep out of my eyes.

    “Shut up Bjorn, it’s not even dawn yet and you’re thumping around like a Mammoth in an Inn.”

    “Ishyofaulamawake,” Bjorn mumbled, stumbling to gain a footing before following with a clearer: “It’s your fault I’m awake...Bloody oaf couldn’t even get us promoted without screwing something up.”

    Ah, that was what he’s pissed off about this time.

    “We weren’t promoted, simply moved across to our own division. Where we’ll be officially considered Legionnaires and be sent off to a dirt-poor town to protect the local cows. An honour that none should pass up.”

    “Sure Galmar, an honour, my one true dream was to guard cows for the mighty Legion. Now come on, someone needs to wake Rikke up before she oversleeps again.”

    With that, we both crossed the hall to the room of our other companion. I’m still a little uncertain why she got sent along with us after her first War Game but from what I heard of her battle she kicked a whole lot of ass so I’m not really going to complain. A quick call and knock were all it took to get Rikke out of bed, literally dragging her legs behind her as she left to grab something to eat. A normal morning so far, Bjorn scaring the shit out of me, Rikke dragging herself across the room and Justianus out, somewhere...I honestly have no idea where he goes during the morning.

    “So Bjorn. I hear we move out next Loredas, are you excited about our new post?” Asked Rikke.

    “I’m excited for sleep, Rikke. This magical thing that exists within the realms of Daedra.”

    “I… I’ll just take that as a yes then.”

    “Take it as whatever you want.”

    “You know, you don’t have to be so much of an ass, Bjorn. Seriously we’re all up early here Bjorn, and it is a great honour to be promoted so quickly.”

    “Well...quickly for you, the rest of us were in the Third Legion much longer than you. Galmar here has been a member for an entire year while Justianus and I have been here for 8 months. Dunno why they let you move up with us, probably to nag the enemy to death.”

    “Oh, for the love of Talos Bjorn, you’re like this every morning, I-”

    I had to cut their argument off there before it progressed to actual insults being thrown, well that and the tiny fact that the door had just been ‘forcefully’ opened by General Axius, and I’d rather not have him shout at us….as much as he would already.

    “Recruit Rikke, Recruit Bjorn, would the two of you mind being a tiny bit quieter in the morning,” chided the General.

    Bjorn and Rikke both immediately tensed to attention, faces blushing with embarrassment as they snapped into a salute.

    “Sorry Sir, won’t happen again Sir,” both chimed in unison.

    “And Legate Galmar, what the hell have you been doing while they blabbed on. You are responsible for them now,” said Axius towards Grulmar.

    Right, Legate Galmar now, not just Recruit. Honestly, I’m still really getting used to that one.

    “Well sir, I guess eating breakfast wouldn’t be the correct response, so instead I’d have to give blocking them out as my answer.”

    “That is expected of course. We might as well use the those two as our special weapons against the Thalmor, they’d annoy them to death within an hour. Alright Recruits, Legate. The movement towards your new deployment has been moved forward to today, warm up and then meet me at the gates within two hours.”

    “Yes sir, consider us ready to move out”

    After the General had left, the three of us quickly packed before moving to the training grounds. Hoping to get one good fight in before we left. As always, it was Rikke and Bjorn against me, sadly Justianus was a tad busy, so I couldn’t fight the three of them at once. Ah well, a challenge for another day, for know it’s just dealing with these two.

    Rikke, started out the fight, rushing forward in a vortex of metal armed with Shield and Sword. A simple sweep of my axe caused her to pause for a second, which gave me a chance to at least initiate combat. I twirled my axe around her, smashing into her shield and pushing her back further, each spin left her stunned temporarily, only allowing her to block my attacks. To an observer, I’ve been told it would look like a whirlwind of glinting steel as each hit only lead to another and another. As I went in for my next strike, I nearly managed to miss Bjorn literally slide around Rikke, striking out at my leg with his axe, dealing a heavy (but blunted) blow my upper arm, no doubt leaving a bruise for tomorrow and numbing it. When this blow connected, I couldn’t help but drop my axe, giving Rikke the chance she needed to bash me upside the head rendering me unconscious.

    --------------------------

    After a quick 10 minute spar, we finally managed to take down Galmar. So far in our 20 spars this week -We really haven’t had anything better to do- we managed to beat him for the second time. Honestly, this man is a complete beast in a fight. Well, now that he’s been knocked out we’ll need to do something with him. I sure as hell won’t be carrying him myself so…

    “Bjorn, get over here and help carry your friend.”

    “Awww, Rikke can’t we just leave him here. He’ll wake up before we need to leave and it’s not like a little humility won’t do him some good. Bloody idiot always kicking our asses. Fine let’s move him along.”

    Suppressing a sigh, we heaved him up together and started hauling him back to the barracks. After the good 20 minute walk, we finally reached the place where instead of our peaceful empty room like we were expecting, a group of people (including the General) stood outside.

    The two I recognised were Justianus and the General, it was the three others that I didn’t recognise.  One was an Orcish man, as tall as Galmar but far skinnier than anyone else here. He was clothed in robes but carried a massive Hammer. The strangest thing about him was his war paint, from what I’ve gathered, Orcs apply their paint for a very similar reason to Nordic warriors, it is ceremonial or related to their clan. This Orc however, had a large collection of tribal designs nearly covering his face.

    The other was a fairly common-ooking Imperial man. He was rather serious looking I suppose and was dressed in, well a General’s Armour and armed with something similar to an Imperial Sword, but just different, a pure black sheath accompanied it and the hilt seemed to be made out of Ebony and Steel...An odd sword.

    “Ah, Recruit Rikke, finished with your daily spar. I need the three of you to meet our guests. They’ll be working with Galmar to lead the Fourth Legion, so we may need him to be conscious.” the General spoke at me, breaking me from my thoughts

    “Ah, yes sir. He won’t wake up for another half hour or so. ”I responded with a salute  

    That was when the Orcish stranger stood forward, his hands lighting up with a bright magic and moving them over Galmar’s head. Bjorn and I both jerked back from it, nearly dropping Galmar as soon as his magic started, that reaction stopped when Galmar started stirring from his, rest.

    “He should be fine now,” grumbled the Orc.

    The Orcish man was apparently one of little words. With Galmar rousing himself to consciousness we both sat him down nearby as he gained his bearings more.

    “Sir, uh, um. What’s happening now?”

    “These are the two others who you will be working with. Meet Legate Murlock, he will be directing his own Berserker-Mages [1] sent along from Orsinium.”

    General Axius gestured towards the Orc, who Galmar couldn’t help but seem a little hesitant of.

    “Ah, good to meet you, Legate. Sorry if we’re a little... nervous around you. Not much magic in our circles.”

    The Orcish Legate nods towards Galmar, seeming to accept his answer before speaking.

    “You Nords are always so wary of magic, much like many of my own people. I am used to it, Legate so do not worry about offending me.”

    General Axius introduced the Imperial as soon as they were done talking. “And Legate, this here is your commanding officer during your station. Meet General Tullius, our newest General promoted just a month ago,”

    “A pleasure to serve with, sir. Good to meet you.”

    “And to you, Legate,” replied the less experienced of the two generals.

    The 7 of us simply stood around then. Nobody uttering a word as we simply waited for the sign to move out. As soon as the sun started rising, General Axius gave the command and we headed off to the Front Gate.

    There, we finally saw the forces we would be joining up with. Legate Murlock and General Tullius must have arrived here with 400 men each because our force was at least 1000 strong. We had Mages, Warriors, Archers, Scouts and Healers all gathered under the banner of the Imperial Legion. My thoughts were cut off, however, once General Axius started addressing the gather soldiers.

    “Alright, Legionnaires, listen up. You will now be placed under the command of General Tullius and his two Legates. Berserker-Mage Murlock of Orsinium who is responsible for the protection of Bravil until just recently. You will also have Legate Galmar who is one of the best fighters and tacticians that Bruma has ever seen. These men will be your leaders, they say run, you all run, they say kill you kill. It is simple, and it is Imperial War. You fight for them and each other.”

    General Axius paused for breath there, before continuing in a slightly more formal tone than before.

    “You will be stationed at the old abandoned fortress of Sancre Tor, this will be one of the pivotal stopping points between a possible attack from the direction of Skingrad or Hammerfell, a direction we know the Dominion has previously sent forces from. That will be all Fourth Legion, move out.”

    --------------------------

    This shall be Legate Murlock’s first entry on the road to Sancre Tor, it has already been many days and I have not documented this well enough.

    These Nords are all so strange. Bravil is full of Imperials, the Warriors there are much like my kin, bound in duty and honour, these Nords though. They are different, they gather together, laughing and insulting each other while remaining ever vigil. They are strong warriors no doubt, and yet many of them aren’t as disciplined as the Knights of Orsinium. I simply cannot wrap my mind around and them, and I suppose that is what makes me so intrigued in them.

    This Galmar is one that I have spent much time with lately, he is a mighty Warrior, who would no doubt fit well within Orsinium’s Pits but he is so different from any leader I know. He is of equal rank to me, and yet sits with his men as if he was still one of them, he does not stand above them, nor does he lord himself over them. It is a refreshing change compared to what I am used to, but still unusual. His fighting style is what makes him different. His fighting style is quite similar to mine, though his weapon is quite different from what I prefer.

    Speaking of Galmar, he is...friends (A concept I am not entirely sure of) with these two Nords, Bjorn and Rikke. Bjorn’s style is very effective, moving in and out of blows and finishing with decisive strikes. It does not work well against this Rikke woman  who simply blocks these attacks, and Galmar, he just sweeps through. Bjorn and Galmar are very close, they are almost like Blood-Brothers, they will protect each other to their dying breaths (or so I can only guess) and will always be together. I hope that this bond between them does not break, for it is that bond that has allowed the gods to grant them their happiness so far.

    I pray to Stendarr that these soldiers shall help defeat the damnable Aldmeri Dominion. May his light shine ever on his faithful and grant  us passage to be with our Ancestors above or below.

    - 5th day of Sun’s Dawn, 4E 171

    --------------------------

    Legate Murlock once again reporting. The last week has been very enlightening. My Berserker-Mages and I ran a mock battle against the General’s Imperials and Galmar’s Nords and it was an incredibly strange battle for me.

    The General’s men fought well, exactly as I expected them to, but well. They were defensive, moved forward as one and fought as a single unit. My Berserker-Mages tore them apart (mostly with Earth magic, we had no reason to harm them). [2]

    It was the Nords (predictably I would say in hindsight) who very nearly gave us a challenge. They fought strangely, using techniques we had no idea how to overcome, and some others that we simply didn’t expect. The main one was for so many of them to simply charge at us. They saw what happened to the other soldiers and simply did what they could to distance themselves, get out of the way of any large scale attacks. A smart plan, but a useless endeavor that ultimately just led to them weakening us more than we expected.

    That was when that Bjorn friend of Galmar’s attacked with his troops. They were primarily archers who rained arrows on us from behind (blunted of course) they took down many of my Berserker-Mages before we returned fire, it was a slow win but still a win.

    He certainly earned my respect there, as did Legate Galmar, an honourable sacrifice against a foe he knew he couldn’t beat so his fellows could do better. Certainly a worthy sacrifice in true battle. I shall have to keep a better eye on those two.

    13th day of Dawn’s Sun, 4E 171

    --------------------------

    Two long weeks. That’s how damn bloody long it took us to get to Sancre Tor, this old abandoned fortress is what we came to defend but it looks like it would cave in on us before we could even muster a defense. Bah, Galmar has been bored shitless this entire time, the daily spar isn’t even enough for him. Justianus and Rikke were more restless than they usually were, pacing around the camp, engaging Galmar more often and just being more alert. With all their fretting and nervousness we rarely had time to talk anymore. Ah well, I guess I might as well talk to Legate Murlock, he’s quite the serious Orc, with little sense of humor.

    I headed through the camp, moving towards the Legate’s tent, moving through crowds of Legionnaire’s as they ate their midday meal. The Orc sat in his tent, working over papers of some description, with his attention focused there he barely noticed me enter.

    “Legate Murlock, how’s the afternoon been so far?”

    “No complaints, Legionnaire, was there something you needed?”

    “Well, not so much needed as wanted. I’d like to learn a little more about Orsinium and the Orcs there, we’re taught very little of your people but you’ve always interested me as Warriors. Perhaps we can patrol the camp while we talk.”

    “I suppose I can indulge your fascination, not many of your people desire to know about my home,” he nodded and began explaining. “Orsinium is unlike any city that I have ever been in, it is unlike any Orcish Stronghold, and it is just entirely itself. It has been passed around  from location to location, leader to leader as our enemies in High Rock and Hammerfell have attacked us throughout the years, but the most recent Orsinium is the most unique of all. In the past, we have been incredibly firm in our worship of Trinimac or Malacath depending on the generation. Those two are gods you may not be familiar with, are you?”

    “Ah, you’d be correct. I have heard a little of Malacath but not much.”

    “Well, Legionnaire, I would regale you further with tales of Orsinium, but it looks like we have wandered too far from camp, I suppose my tales are longer than I thought. By Stendarr, we are not alone, look Legionnaire Bjorn at the old fort.”

    We gazed down upon the forces who held Sancre Tor, clad in black robes and armed with daggers and staves. They simply wandered between checkpoints, patrolling their stolen fortress and protecting their lands. It was then that one of them spotted us, and a great cry rang out across their ranks. They gathered to face us, perhaps 200 strong, a paltry force that we would crush. We felt a massive pulse of energy flying away from Sancre Tor, and what it created was a complete horror.

    A vast hoard of undead as far as the eye could see. Reanimated corpses, skeletons, even summoned ghosts all between us and Sancre Tor. These bloody mages were necromancers, fucking disgraces, disrespecting the dead this way. They shall taste my steel for this offense to the dead.

    We ran back to camp to alert General Tullius who immediately started issuing out battle command. The plan was simple, Galmar and Justianus would attack the left flank while Tullius attacked the right, this was all after Legate Murlock and his Berserker-Mages devastated the hoard. Rikke and I, along with a good 50 Legionnaires would protect the Orcs. These Necromancers shall fall to our steel.

    --------------------------

    A massive explosion rang across the battlefield. The Orcish Berserker-Mages had devastated the undead with their most powerful magics and it took a toll on both them and the field below. Burning Missiles, Explosions, Icy Spears as large as my arm and Storms of Ice  flew across the field, all while this was happening the winds grew stronger, the earth shook and rain, quickly turning to hail flooded the enemies. This was what a force of Mages could truly do and it was terrifying. Hundreds of Undead were ripped apart, limbs flying, bodies being torn in two and countless others being reduced to mere ashes. [3]

    We thought victory was surely ours, and yet the Necromancers didn’t falter. A pulse of pure dark energy ripped across the field covering all the undead we had felled. Some were stitched back together by this magic, new ones summoned and worst of all was the giant beast that was formed. It stood nearly 8 metres tall, massive towering and made completely of bone and discarded limbs. My fellows beside me trembled at the horrible sight and I might not be acting so differently. We had to fight through a seemingly endless horde of undead and their dark masters could summon up more whenever they wanted.

    The Berserker-Mages changed their targets, unleashing waves of magic onto the Necromancers and ending them once and for all. And yet these undead monsters didn’t fall, they instead limped or charged forwards towards our lines, ready to kill.

    Legate Galmar and I spurred our forces towards the left flank of the undead army, swords and axes swinging into bone and rotting flesh as we fought our way through the hoard. For every undead abomination we slew, it felt like a dozen more filled its place.  Without a summoner surely they would have fallen by now but they still kept flooding in.

    I swung my sword in a clean arc, cutting two skeletons in half and taking an arm off a third but they still attacked, mindlessly pushing forwards as we destroyed their bodies, limbs flailing and weapons striking out. Only destroying their heads seemed to do any good but that wasn’t always easy. Helms adorned many skeletons, and the zombies had tougher skin that I thought. Each fight was quick yes, but not as quick as we would have liked. Legate Galmar was in his own world, axe twirling as he decapitated enemies, sliced off limbs and just generally crippled them without a single one touching him, a field surrounded him of his fallen foes, each cut into so many pieces that we could no longer see what remained of them.

    And then suddenly they all fell. Every undead, skeleton or zombie collapsed as if the last of their powers were drained. Even the hulking Flesh Behemoth fell as it’s binding failed. Apparently the power of those necromancers had run its course.

    --------------------------

    “ 53 Legionnaires and Orcs dead, another 329 injured. 12 of those are critical and only the healers General Tullius brought are helping them. This is the cost of this fight, what these Necromancers did to us. Legate Murlock, your magic was powerful and very useful during this fight, without you, my troops and I wouldn’t have been able to devastate the hoard like we did. Well, this is just going to shit already isn’t it, what if the Dominion attacks now or there are more Necromancers left, we’re fucked if they attack-”

    “Legate Galmar,” the General interrupted Galmar’s speech quickly as his tone grew heavy with despair.

    “Yes, General?”

    “We will survive this. Our arms are still strong, our weapons are still in working condition and our heart still yearns for battle. Nobody shall take the Legion down as long as we still draw breath, you understand me.”

    “I...I do, General Tullius, my apologies.”

    I couldn’t help but listen in to Galmar, Murlock and General Tullius as they talked in their tent. Galmar was right, this battle was stupid and costly. Bloody Necromancers. But we did win, and most of us are fine.  That was when the General started speaking again, and I pressed my ear closer to the tent.

    “Before this war is over, we shall fight in worse battles. This was merely the start on our march to war, Legate, and let me tell you, it will get worse from here but we will still prevail. Now, ready your men, for tomorrow we delve into Sancre Tor.”

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Magic of the Great War

    By Legate Murlock of Orsinium

    [1] Berserker Mages are fearsome mages of Orsinium who use destructive magic in it’s purest forms. They do not alter the shapes of magic like many Bretons and Altmer, but instead harness natural elements to create devastating spells. Because of this they mostly use Earth and Wind spells but they can harness Fire from sources of heat, Ice and Water from the sky. They rarely use Lightning Magic, simply because it is a rarer element but when a storm hits a battlefield, they will destroy any enemy with Winds, Water, Lightning and Ice.

    [2] Earth, Wind and Water magics from the days of old were recently discovered by the Synod after the collapse of the Mage’s Guild. These elements aren’t as heavily researched and used as Lightning, Ice and Fire but are still very powerful in the right hands.

    [3] Magic has changed greatly since the Oblivion Crisis, no longer are the days where Magic is contained to a small number of spells and a new branch (not school, there is a very significant difference) of magic called War-Magic has been established. War Magic is much more powerful than most (but can drain a Mage to the point of death) and is used mostly as a large scale attack on enemies. It is however, wilder than the more precise spells used previously and can be blocked much easier by any mage.

Comments

13 Comments
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  January 6, 2016
    No problem, thanks for the like Lissette 
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  January 6, 2016
    Haha! Forgot to like. My bad. 
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  January 5, 2016
    Thanks Loka, I'm glad you find it interesting 
  • LokaCola
    LokaCola   ·  January 5, 2016
    I really like what you've done thus far, and I especially like your take on the Orcs and the war magic, I think it's really interesting.
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  January 5, 2016
    Aye Berserker-Mages, because what could possibly be more awesome than an army of Orcish Mages 
  • A-Pocky-Hah!
    A-Pocky-Hah!   ·  January 5, 2016
    Mmm Berserker Mages...or should I say Magezerkers? 
    Nope that just sounds awful...too much Borderlands 2 for me.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  January 5, 2016
    I wouldn´t say it would be crappy, DB. The good thing about this editing that you can get some advice how to improve. Some wise words. Well, and what are wise words?
    “Wise words are like arrows flung at your forehead. What do you do? Why, you duck o...  more
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  January 5, 2016
    Ah thanks Lissette. I tend to find myself leaning towards including letters. journal entries and other similar things in my stories because it's just something I find easier to write, and I really enjoyed writing up the little Magic of the Great War bit, ...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  January 5, 2016
    Yeah, great to see this up Dragonborn and I liked this chapter very much. Like Karver, enjoy the war-magicks. I use magical elements from all three games, plus the Requiem overhaul, so it's nice having an extended palate to work with. I'm glad you had fun...  more
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  January 5, 2016
    Huh, that is a cool idea, Orc Shock troopers. Yeah I'll definitely try and add it in later, it does make a lot of sense. Thanks for the idea