This is a story I wrote when I was in Year 11 for a creative writing assignment, thought I'd share it with you lovely people
Fury and Lightning, Fire and Faith
Caspia, the City of Walls. Caspia, the crown jewel of the proud kingdom of Cygnar. Caspia, the great city that had stood for centuries. It survived the Orgoth occupation of western Immoren and the rebellion that drove the Orgoth back to and across the Sea of a Thousand Souls back to their own lands. It survived the Cygnaran Civil War, when the Menites of Caspia rose up. They were once a great power in Caspia, but had been reduced to a shadow of their former glory with the rise of the god Morrow. The war resulted in Caspia being split in two. The western half of the city retained the proud name of Caspia, while the eastern half of the city, which sat on the opposite side of the Black river was renamed Sul by the Menites in honour of their fallen hierarch.
The Protectorate of Menoth was formed in the aftermath of the war as a province of Cygnar, and was subject to taxation and could not maintain a standing army but the Protectorate was free to govern its people without interference from the throne of Cygnar. Over time the Protectorate began the slow construction of a standing army in direct defiance of the laws imposed on them by Cygnar. Amongst this new army was a large amount of warjacks; giant metal constructs which dominated the modern battlefield.
Warjacks are the descendents of the colossals that fought the Orgoth, are humanoid in shape and stand between seventeen (heavy warjacks) and eight feet tall (light warjacks) and weighing anywhere between two and twenty tons. The â€œbrainâ€ of a warjack is called a cortex, which gives the warjack a semi-sentient intelligence, making it able to engage the enemy without some one having to keep a close eye on it. A great many weapons can used by warjacks, ranging from hammers and swords to cannons and grenade launchers and sometimes just empty hands so they can pick up opponents and toss them away. While they operate well when responding to bellowed commands from their controller, warjacks truly become terrors on the battle when under the control of special mages called warcasters, who can lend a warjack some of their arcane power to unleashed a flurry of crushing blows, or to fire with inhuman accuracy.
Now there is open war between Cygnar and the Protectorate. The great wall that once shielded Sul from Caspia has been reduced to rubble by the order of the newly promoted Lord Commander Stryker, who is intent on wiping the Menite faith from the face of Immoren and will do any deed, no matter how cruel or evil, to see it accomplished. The symbol he once wore on his armour with a sense of pride, the golden swan of Cygnar, has become a black emblem of his wrath, and Protectorate forces know that they will receive no mercy when they encounter it.
While in the defence of Sul is Grand Exemplar Kreoss, the leader of the Exemplar Knights and a shining figurehead for Protectorate forces. His mere presence galvanizes wounded soldiers to fight on, even as their vision begins to darken and their strength leaves their limbs. He brings the hope of victory to the people of Sul, and he intends not lets their faith in him go astray, drawing upon it in battle. If anyone can lead the Protectorate forces to victory, it will be Kreoss.
The result of the war in Sul will shape the whole of Immoren.
* * * *
A lone figure stood in the shadow of a ruined building that had been shattered in the opening Cygnaran attack on Sul. The figure glanced around the corner and quickly ducked back as a patrol of long gunners passed by. After they passed, the figure darted across the dark street and into a narrow alleyway, her footsteps unheard over the crack of distant rifle fire and the odd explosion. A faint smile appeared on the figureâ€™s slim face, as she knew that her quarry was close by. She slid down the alleyway and rounded the corner with her crossbow at the ready. Her quarry stood across from her amongst a large quantity of ammo crates. She took aim with her crossbow and fired. The bolt only just missed its target and thudded into the wall behind the Cgynarian captain. The captain jumped as the bolt flew past and quickly pulled his pistol from its holster and started scanning for the shooter.
All of a sudden the rifle fire was a lot closer, she realized and she backed down where she had come from, blending immaculately into the shadows around her and fled. She missed her target this time, but there would be other opportunities.
Just as dawn broke over Sul, a stray rocket slammed into the supply depot where her quarry was stationed. She watched from a distance as the whole area went up in a spectacular explosion, shaking the foundations of the building she was in. She smiled to herself as secondary explosions ripped through the surrounding buildings and she knew that her quarry was now dead.
As she left the building, a patrolman just happened to see her sprint across the street, but he had little time to ponder what he just seen as a crossbow bolt slammed into his chest and he fell to the ground, trying to call for help.
* * * *
Fire. Screams of the dying. A village aflame. A man stood in the middle of it all. He watched as rockets tore buildings apart. He watched as those whose lives he had sworn to protect died around him. Innocents fled in all directions, only to be cut down by the followers of Menoth. A small child reached for him, trying to talk, her body horribly burned. â€œWhy didnâ€™t you save me?â€ She asked. She died right in front of him, hand still out-stretched.
Fury burned within him; the man drew his blade, and strode towards the nearest group of Menites, slaughtering all of them in an orgy of bloodshed. Caked in gore, he looked for more Menites, his fury; his bloodlust would not be slated until they all were destroyed.
* * * *
Lord Commander Coleman Stryker stood over the map table in his makeshift headquarters in Sul, his brow furrowed in frustration as he tried to figure out a plan to bypass the Menite scum in this part of Sul so he could move his forces to capture the Temple of the Creator, the oldest temple of Menoth in Sul. As he continued to glare at the map a huge explosion knocked the table over and knocked him off his feet. As he rose to his feet, cursing and staggering he pushed through the door, and into the street. A column of smoke rose from the western part of Sul, which was under Cygnaran control. â€œWhat the hell just happened!?â€ He yelled at a lieutenant that just showed up. â€œI donâ€™t know sir,â€ the lieutenant replied â€œI think the western supply depot just went up.â€
â€œWell why donâ€™t you find out what happened lieutenantâ€ Stryker barked at the officer, who seemed more afraid of Stryker than the explosion. With that the lieutenant saluted and ran toward the smoke. Stryker walked back into his command post and quickly donned his warcaster armour and picked up his sword, Quicksilver. He went back outside and started shouting orders â€œSergeant Gifford,â€ he shouted at the trencher; â€œI want you to find Captain Strangewayes and bring him here on the double!â€ the sergeant quickly left at a run.
The distant crack of rifle fire could be heard coming from the site of the explosion. â€œChief Jenkinsâ€ he called to the mechanic â€œI want those â€˜jacks fired up and ready to move in twenty minutes,â€ pointing to the dormant warjacks under cover on the opposite side of the street. The mechanic nodded and shouted at her small goblin-like assistants to get the warjacks ready for combat.
* * * *
Grand Exemplar Mikael Kreoss was deep in prayer when a huge explosion shook the temple, sending great clouds of dust from the rafters. He jumped to his feet, angry at the interruption and stomped over to the door, his footsteps echoing in the empty chamber. He pushed open the doors of the temple and squinted at the harsh sunlight. Panicking civilians were fleeing from a huge column of smoke that was rising high into the sky. The civilians in their desperate flight to get away from the source of the explosion trampled many of their comrades to death.
â€œSTOP THIS!â€ Kreoss bellowed at the top of his lungs. Every member of the crowd stopped and stared up at him. He could see the fear present in their eyes as they looked at him. â€œGo back to your homesâ€ he said to them â€œdo not fear the heretical men and women of Cygnar, for we will drive them from our holy city and then burn Caspia to the ground!â€ Suddenly the fear was gone from the crowdâ€™s eyes and in its place an unbreakable resolve to stand against the invaders. The crowd turned and the people started to return home.
Kreoss turned to Seneschal Donovan and said; â€œgather the Knights Exemplarâ€ Donovan offered praise to Menoth and strode off. Kreoss walked back into the temple and put on his warcaster armour, stoking its furnace until a thin trail of smoke came out of the smokestack. Grabbing his spear, called Justifier, from its ornate rack he walked back outside and called to a nearby priest, â€œPrepare the warjacks for battle.â€
* * * *
â€œFIREâ€ roared Sergeant Mills over the shouts and screams of those around her. A volley of bullets slammed into the oncoming Knights Exemplar and three fell as bullets hit them in the unprotected parts of their heavy armour. The remaining three kept on charging at them, hatred burning in their eyes as they closed in. Corporal Eglitis knew that they didnâ€™t have time to fire another volley at them. He drew his sword from its scabbard but knew it would do him no good, he was an indifferent swordsmen at the best of times, and he was about to try and engage some of the best swordsmen the Protectorate had to offer. He heard a loud thump and the sound of a shell screaming through the air and the remaining knights disappeared as the shell passed through each one, turning them into a fine pink mist.
He turned to see a Defender heavy warjack fire another shot from its heavy barrel into a knot of zealots taking cover behind a low wall. The wall exploded and bodies and limbs showered the area. The long gunner squad cheered as Captain Arlan Strangewayes strode past, yelling commands to the Defender and Sentinel warjacks under his control. â€œSergeantâ€ Strangewayes called to Mills â€œprepare to move up to that alleyway over there, weâ€™ll cover you,â€ pointing to an alleyway further up the street. â€œYes sir captain,â€ Mills replied â€œalright you lot, you heard the captain, get ready to move,â€ she shouted to her platoon.
* * * *
â€œCommander Stryker sir,â€ said Sergeant Gifford as he entered the command post, snapping off a quick salute. â€œCaptain Strangewayes is engaging Protectorate forces in this sector hereâ€ pointing at the map. Stryker looked to where the trencher was pointing. â€œHow are they faring?â€ he asked. â€œItâ€™s a stalemate sir, the captain has them bottled up but he doesnâ€™t have the manpower to kick them out of thereâ€
â€œWell gather your platoon sergeant; letâ€™s go kick them out of there.â€ A faint smile appeared on Strykerâ€™s face as the trencher left. â€œTime to show these Menite scum who rules here,â€ he thought. He powered up his armour and an eerie blue glow surrounded him. He strode outside and yelled orders for everyone to form up. He sent a mental command to the three â€˜jacks under his control; a Centurion, Lancer and his personal Ironclad, named Olâ€™ Rowdy. They all stomped over to Stryker, ready to do his bidding in the battle ahead. â€œMove out,â€ he ordered to the gathered troops.
* * * *
Kreoss looked upon the scene of the explosion. The supply depot was gone and in its place a huge crater appeared. The buildings nearby all had chunks missing from them and many had collapsed as debris hit them. He offered a silent prayer to Menoth for destroying the depot. Its destruction would have shocked the Cygnaran commanders and now he had a chance to strike a potentially fatal blow on the invaders, Menoth willing. With the depots destruction a gap had appeared in the Cygnaran line, a gap that Kreoss intended to exploit.
He turned around to face the gathered Knights Exemplar. â€œPraise be to Menoth,â€ he shouted. â€œPraise be to Menoth!â€ the knights called back. â€œMenoth has given us an opportunity to strike a blow against the heretics,â€ Kreoss said to them â€œthey will regret the day they came here, and we will send them to the afterlife with fire and steel!â€ He turned back around and the knights started to march past him, towards the site of a skirmish nearby.
Kreoss stoked his armourâ€™s furnace to full power so a noticeable column of smoke arose from it while sending mental commands to his warjacks, ordering them to move up alongside the knights. He watched as the four warjacks stomped past, the ground shaking as they walked by.
Under his control there was a Repenter and a Revenger; both of them light warjacks and a Castigator heavy warjack and his own personal Crusader heavy warjack, which was called Fire of Salvation. He followed in their footsteps. As they drew closer the sounds of battle grew louder and he was able to discern the distinct thump of a Defenderâ€™s cannon and the chattering of a Sentinelâ€™s chaingun. â€œOnward,â€ Kreoss shouted â€œIn His name we will destroy these heretics!â€
* * * *
Stryker parried the first sword that came at him, stepped aside the second and then drove both of his attackers back with a flurry of blows from Quicksilver and then finally ending the lives of both Knights Exemplar by decapitating both of them with one brutal swing. Four more knights closed in on him, blades flashing in the sunlight as they swung at him. Stryker grabbed the first sword, grunting in pain as it bit through his gauntlet and into his palm. Gaining a surge of strength from his armourâ€™s electrical generators, he hurled the knight into a nearby wall, where the knight fell in a crumpled heap. Stryker felt a blaze of pain as the generators overloaded and blood dripped from his nose.
He felt swords clang off his armour as the remaining knights tried to find a way to penetrate it. He turned and pulled pistol out of its holster in one fluid motion and lets off two quick shots with it. The first shot went clean through the chest of one knight, the force of the shot throwing the knight back. The second shot bounced harmlessly off the shoulder of the other knight, who retaliated with a brutal downward stroke.
Stryker raised Quicksilver to block the blow, but he was too slow. Before the sword hit him, the knight was smashed aside by an enormous wrench; the knight flew through the air and landed amongst a squad of long gunners, who jumped in surprise. Next to Stryker stood Captain Strangewayes, with his mechanical wrench called Fixer. He gave Stryker a grin and said, â€œYou should know by now that getting hit by swords isnâ€™t good for your health commander.â€ Stryker mumbled in reply and turned to survey the battle. The Protectorate forces were heavily outnumbered, with only a handful of knights and two-dozen zealots remaining to fight against the fresh Cygnaran troops.
â€œLooks like this battle is as good as won commander,â€ said Strangewayes, watching as his Sentinelâ€™s chaingun spat bullets at a group of zealots, who threw firebombs in reply, but the blasts just washed harmlessly over the â€˜jack. The zealots tried to break cover and run, but were torn to bloody ribbons as the Sentinel fired at them. The knights started to fall back, cutting through any Cygnaran who stood in their way.
â€œYou are indeed correct cap...â€ Stryker was cut off by a roar and then a jet of flame that incinerated part of a platoon of trenchers that were firing on the retreating knights. Then, out of a wall of smoke, strode a Repenter â€˜jack. The warjack charged into the few trenchers unhurt by the searing flames, sending them flying with great sweeps of its flail. One body landed not more than five feet from Strykerâ€™s left boot. Stryker recognized the trencher as Sergeant Gifford, with his legs mangled beyond any medicâ€™s talents. Gifford looked up at Stryker, and tried to speak but only managed to cough up blood. Stryker stepped past the trencher as he died and sent a burst of arcane lightning from his fingertips streaking towards the Repenter.
* * * *
Kreoss watched as the smoke cleared to see lightning burst from Strykerâ€™s fingers and hit his Repenter. The lightning tore one of its legs clean off and the â€˜jack fell to the ground. He urged the rest of his â€˜jacks forward and yelled for his knights to charge the enemy. A volley of rifle fire hit the downed Repenter, ripping into its hull and turning its internal systems into unrecognizable scrap. Kreoss turned to look where the rifle fire had came from, hatred burning in his eyes as he spotted some long gunners in a two-storey building. He sent his Revenger rushing forward, to be in a good position for him to channel his divine magic through its arc node. The Revenger moved behind a ruined building with a clear line of sight to the long gunners, and then Kreoss sent a ball of fire from the arc node into the long gunners on the bottom floor of the building.
They screamed as the flames engulfed them, and some ran from the building and dropped to the ground, rolling to try to extinguish the flames. They turned to ash before his eyes, and a grim smile appeared on Kreoss' face as they screamed their last breath away. One group of the knights that had charged forward were now engaging another platoon of trenchers in hand-to-hand combat, while another was rushing towards a Sentinel, which turned to face them and its chaingun started spraying bullets at them. Two fell under the hail of fire, and one was knocked aside by the â€˜jackâ€™s shield, but the remaining three tore the jack to shreds, first taking the legs out from under it, then severing its shield arm and finally pounding the hapless jack into a pile of smoking metal.
* * * *
Strykerâ€™s frown deepened as he watched the long gunnerâ€™s burn and the Sentinel being destroyed by the knights. He hadnâ€™t been expecting any Protectorate infantry reinforcements, let alone any warjacks. Now he was going to have to fight his way through these troops to reach the remains of the depot. â€œWell no sense standing around here,â€ he thought. Urging it forward, his Lancer charged the knights that had destroyed the Sentinel, running one through with is long spear and swinging its shield arm at another, but missed as the knight dodged the blow. He then ordered his escort of Stormblades to assist the hard-pressed trenchers on the left, as they wouldnâ€™t hold for long against the Knights Exemplar.
Stryker turned his attention to the battle as a whole, seeing that the long gunners hiding in the two storey building were once again raining fire on the enemy and that Captain Strangewayes and his Defender were giving covering fire to the retreating trenchers. Lending his warjacks some of his arcane power, he urged them to engage the enemy and try and punch a hole to where their warcaster was, striding through the rubble and felling anyone who came against with blows from his spear or sending their souls screaming into the afterlife with arcane fire.
Olâ€™ Rowdy charged forward, with the Centurion right behind it, smashing their way through the line of knights shielding Kreoss, and trampling those unlucky few too slow to get out of the way. An ornate looking Crusader moved to protect Kreoss, catching Olâ€™ Rowdyâ€™s hammer with its open fist as it came down and then retaliating with a blow from its massive flaming mace. Olâ€™ Rowdyâ€™s frame buckled under the blow, and then flames leapt from the mace to spread onto Olâ€™ Rowdy and within a few scant seconds the warjack was ablaze.
The Centurion slammed into the Castigator, and amazingly it stayed on its feet, skidding across the ground before coming to a stop. The Centurion followed it, and started to strike it repeatedly with its massive position-driven spear, tearing out huge chunks of metal and piping. The Castigator struck back at the Centurion with its flame-wreathed fists, knocking the Centurionâ€™s shield arm off with a howl of screeching metal and sending the eight ton warmachine flying, flames sprouting from the blows the Castigator dealt it..
The Protectorate warjack closed on its Cygnaran counterpart, ready to pound the hapless Centurion into molten slag. Just as the it raised a fist to strike, the jackâ€™ was knocked to the ground as the centurion rose up and head butted it with a blow that would have turned any human, living or otherwise into a pile of broken bones. The Centurion rose from the ground, great rents in its iron skin, spear levelled at the Castigator, its eyes ablaze from a surge of arcane power from Stryker, quickly finished the helpless machine.
* * * *
Kreoss strode towards the flaming machine that was held fast by the Fire of Salvation and readied Justifier to destroy the heretical machine. The flames danced upon its once gold and blue frame as the paint blistered and fell away. Suddenly the flames guttered out, as though someone had doused it in water. He mentally ordered the Salvation to release its burnt counterpart. It instantly responded by forcing the other to its knees, and then slamming it further into the ground with a blow from its mace.
Oâ€™ Rowdyâ€™s gears whirred nosily as it tried to rise to its feet, but its legs werenâ€™t responding to its or Strykerâ€™s will. Kreoss struck with Justifier, piecing its shoulder plating and pinning its arm to the ground. A blue blur whooshed towards him, knocking the knights who moved to intercept aside with its crackling blade. Kreoss snarled and pulled Justifier free of the downed warjack and turned to meet the Lord Commander in combat.
The crackling blade flew at his head, but he parried it with the shaft of Justifier and tried to kick Strykerâ€™s legs out from under him, but Stryker nimbly pulled back and aimed another blow at his chest. Again he parried it with Justifier, but only barely, the force of the blow jarring his arm. He saw Stryker grin darkly as he unleashed a flurry of vicious cuts and stabs at Kreossâ€™ torso but his blows hit thin air as Kreoss was pushed aside by the charging Fire of Salvation.
Stryker ducked as the blazing mace came towards his head and rolled back out of its reach. The ground shuddered and cracked and caving in on itself as the fallen, but not quite wrecked Cygnaran â€˜jack slammed the ground with its oversized hammer, knocking Kreoss and the Fire of Salvation off their feet as the ground heaved up and came crashing back down.
* * * *
Stryker walked towards the fallen warcaster, Quicksilver humming in his hands, ready to do his bidding. He raised Quicksilver to deliver the killing blow and was sent flying through the air as a rocket impacted on the ground behind him. He hit a nearby wall, and grunted in pain as he felt his ribs crack under the impact. Rising unsteadily to his feet he saw a huge amount of Protectorate reinforcements, including a large amount of warjacks. More rockets impacted around him, sending his men flying.
He yelled to the trenchers to pop smoke to cover their retreat, as they couldnâ€™t hope to survive against the overwhelming forces arrayed before them. He watched as his Lancer was struck by multiple explosions as it moved to his side, sending scrap all over the street. He urged Olâ€™ Rowdy to stand, and was slightly surprised when it strode towards him, with a slight limp. Strangewayes followed behind it tossing a small piece of metal to the ground as he walked. Strangewayes Defender was firing blindly through the smoke to try and deter anyone who might pursue. His Centurion also joined them, although its shield arm had been torn off at the shoulder. Stryker looked back at the smoke as they retreated towards their own lines and grimaced. He almost had Kreoss, and if he had killed him then the war in Sul might just have tipped entirely in Cygnarâ€™s favour. With that thought he limped slowly along side his men, his rage building as he pondered his defeat.
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