Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volume 1 - Chapter 9 - Isolate


An arrow cuts through the air from the top of a guarded gate, burying itself in front of a mounted horse. The horse bucks as its rider struggles to keep it under control.

"Get lost! No one's getting in or out!"

"We just need to buy some supplies!"

"Imperial orders, all immortals from the western borders are to be turned back! You lot could be carrying the Reaper for all we know! Archers!"

Two squads of archer appears on top of the 4.5 meter high walls, notching their arrows.

"Damn it! Retreat!"

The rider turns his horse around, ordering the wagon, its passengers and other riders back.


"That's the 27th group since last week, none of them look sick."

"Well, the rumour is, a refugee that's heading to his in-law's home in Feia collapsed bleeding from his orifices. Some immortal tried to help him and ended up seriously sick. They were forced into quarantine and is stuck in the Forest of Illusions."

"Isn't that a death sentence? Won't the immortals come back for revenge?"

"That's just how serious they are treating this. So avoid getting touched by anyone from beyond the walls."

The guard started the chitchat out of boredom, but ended up with a tinge of fear. He double checks his bow string to make sure it is in optimal condition, just in case he needs it.

* * * * *

"Don't you know who we are?! We are the Dawn's Moonlight!"

"I don't care if you are your daddy's fleshlight! No one is getting in!"


The mounted rider with the [Murderer]'s symbol unexpectedly slashes down with his polearm, the blonde youth backs away quickly, with space to spare.

"Shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT! Die already!"

*shiuu shiuu shiuu*

The blonde youth with a large pack is dancing awkwardly in front of the gate, dodging multiple strikes from a bearded horseman with a polearm.

"Dude! Don't touch me! I don't want to get infected!"

"Let us through, we need supplies! And we are not infected with anything!"

"I'm authorized to sell to you! So stop attacking me already!"

"That dinky pack is nowhere near enough!"

"Go elsewhere then! We don't care! Bring that damn curse away from here! What are you morons waiting for?! These guys aren't looking to trade with me... SHOOT ALREADY! These guys are Murderers anyways!"

A guard whistles, waking up the rest of the guards from their daze, before releasing an arrow at the rider that's targeting Rick.


"No one is touching my child's godfather! Release!"

*pyu pyu pyu pyu*

The archer dodges gracelessly, holding an awkward half-bridge position before backing away as the rest of the archers release their arrows.


The rider's horse is hit, bucking him off before running into the woods. The spot where he and the horseman were looks like a porcupine from the incoming volley save for the part where the horse took the arrows.

"Make sure you don't get their blood on me! I don't want to get infected!"

"Shut the hell up! None of us are infected with anything! Break our way in, boys!"


A dozen mounted [Murderer]s move up toward the gate, a few of them are even [Villain]s. Two large wagons full of their allies that consist of a similar mix hop out as well. The horsemen were about two dozen paces back while the wagons are lined up right behind them. There's easily about three dozen users wanting to get in.

"Archers ready! Don't let even one of them in!" The guard in charge wastes no time and prepares the next attack.


The guards reload their bows, the confused users on the wall follow suit.

"2nd volley, release!"
*pyu pyu pyu pyu*

"«Fire Bullets»!"
*bo bo bo*

"Protect the wagons!" One of the mounted [Murderer]s gave the order as soon as the spells were released.

*ga ga shu ga ga shu*

The riders beats a hasty retreat from the walls to get away from the arrows. A few of them fall down as their mounts panic from arrows that managed to bite into their flesh.

«Earth Pillar»

"Shit! They have mages! Keith! You are on offence!" One of the [Villain]s wearing a robe exiting from the wagon raised an earthen wall to intercept the fire [Spell]s.

*goa gogaa*
*doon doon doon*

The fireball explodes into the hastily erected wall, completely destroying it. The fire bullets that followed hit an unlucky [Murderer] in the head, killing him. It is pretty much an one-sided affair as the defenders unleash waves of attacks, pushing back the attackers. The attackers only have one mage who is desperately defending against magic attacks, they merely have a handful of archers since they brought mostly warriors to help with transportation.

"Aim for the walls, they can't shoot you properly if you are directly under them! Those still mounted, help me with this son of a bitch!" The bearded [Murderer] that was bucked off gives orders as he gets up from the muddy ground.

The first guard reacted quickly. "Archers! Aim for the riders and their mounts, don't let them near Rick! Immortals! Don't let them scale the walls! Mages! Aim for their wagons! Wipe out any cover they have!"

As the two sides continue their skirmish, Rick and the bearded man faces off against each other. The [Murderer] is half a head taller than the youth, with heavy armour from head to toe.

"You are so dead you lousy kid." The man pulls his face guard down and takes a short swing.

Dodging the polearm easily, the youth waves his index finger at the man. "Go home, grandpa, you are becoming senile." Rick drops the bag on his back and throws a dagger in a smooth motion.


The dagger bounces off the breastplate, leaving behind a small dent. The man pales slightly beneath his mask when he notices the dagger is made of wood.


Not wanting to lose in initiative, the man charges in with a wide, horizontal swing.

"Oh come on, I know a little girl that can aim better than you." Rick simply limbos the man's strike before springing back upright.

*shiuu shiuu shiuu shiuu*

The man swings wildly while the youth side steps, jumps over or ducks under the polearm with ease. This went on for a while before the man finally starts slowing down. At the gate, the fight has mostly ended. The defenders suffered light injuries while the attackers are dead, dying or seriously injured with a mage and 2 mounted warriors hiding behind their second wagon. The first wagon is a burning wreckage that's smashed to bits.


"Geez, you aren't even on par with an average guard, how the hell did you guys cause so much trouble anyways?" The youth reaches behind his back with both hands before returning with a pair of ice and fire daggers. The left hand in front holds a wooden dagger coated with ice, constantly giving out a stream of white vapor, the right hand behind holds a wooden dagger surrounded by a small flame, both of these are giving off green auras. "Guess you will do as a punching bag." He switches both daggers into reverse grips, brings his hands up to a height just below his chin and starts to bounce in place.


*fiuu fiuu fiuu*

The heavily breathing man rushes again with powerful slices, too angry to reply, but this time Rick sticks close to him as though they are dancing.

*ton ton*

The blonde youth stabs at the man's armour with his ice dagger whenever the man swings his polearm. A jumping stab follows a sweep, a step-in slash following a chop, a side step stab after an upswing. Counterattack upon counterattack land relentlessly on the man's armour, shin guard, pauldron, helmet, breastplate, everything was targeted. Although there were numerous strikes, it seems to cause no damage as the exchange goes on for about a minute.


"«Ice Shell»!" The man's armour is now completely covered in ice, the seemingly harmless strikes were to build up Ice mana on the surface of the armour. The man can do no more than waddle pathetically as all his joints are frozen solid.

"RRAAA!! Get me out of this thing!"

"Are you stupid? Would you let a dumbass enemy go?"

"I will god damn kill you if it's the last thing I do!"

"Yeah yeah yeah, whatever, grandpa. Now, I have a very interesting experiment for you! What happens when you put something very hot into something very cold?"

The man stops struggling, his eyes darting wildly behind the face guard. "Please, mercy!"

"Geez, I wonder how many tried that with you before you cut them down. No go, «Antipode»!" Rick's fire dagger flares up into a white flame before he stabs it into various points of the armour.

*shuu shuu shuu*

Steam comes off from every stab, with spider web cracks forming right after. The man is completely numbed by the ice, so he doesn't feel the pain yet, but he's still scared nonetheless.

"Ahhh! Nooo!" The man screams as the fire dagger flies toward his face.

"Rick! Duck!" The youth drops flat onto the ground upon recognizing the voice.


A scimitar slices through the spot where Rick's head was at a moment ago. The mounted rider ignores the youth on the floor and grabs the shell shocked man, dragging him onto the horse. Another rider rode by and grabs the pack that Rick had taken off, not even looking back.

"You bunch of cowards!"
"Run back to your momma's tits!"

Jeers fly from the top of the wall as the attackers retreat. The lone mage on the attacker's side had used «Icicle Storm» against an incoming fireball before setting up an «Earth Pillar». Using the resulting steam and smoke, he used «Mist» to provide cover for the two remaining riders who rode off to the man's rescue.

Rick slowly gets back up, giving the guard that warned him a thumbs up with his left hand. Putting his hand to his right ear, "Dawn's Moonlight have also taken the bait."

"Excellent, are you or anyone hurt?"

"Nah, well, maybe Sammy, kids won't leave him alone now after watching him play with me."

"Hahaha, that's good to hear, we will switch targets then. Keep up the good work."

"Alright Kun, you guys be careful out there."

"You too."

* * * * *

The group had put their plan into action a few earth days ago. Rick, along with the Feian forces, arrived in Ashentor. En route, they would spread some rumour about some epidemic coming from the west. After the Feian forces met with King Einwil, they departed to Orllewintor, spreading the rumour all the while.

There are 4 major cities, 11 towns and numerous villages within the kingdom of Sardon. Ashentor, located in the south, southeast of the kingdom, is the imperial capital. Guarding the northeast part of the kingdom is Niwltor, the northwest, Glaswelltor, and lastly the southwest, Orllewintor. There's only 2 possible routes to enter from the [Field of Ashes], so the Feian force volunteer themselves to be stationed there. With Rick holding station at Orllewintor and the captain patrolling the town of Orllewinwell slightly to the south.

Using their own funds, the group had Rick give the guards some monies to request aids from users. It is not that they needed the help, but it's to spread even more misinformation as those users helping will overhear bits and pieces of the rumours and spread it themselves. With both users and non-users talking about the epidemic, even some people within the two guilds will no doubt start to believe it.

Combined with the imperial decree to seal the western borders without much explanation, the rumours will combine to make it seem like "there is an epidemic from the Field of Ashes". The only thing worth noting within the [Field of Ashes] is the [Barghest Dungeon], so it didn't take long for the rumours to become "there is an epidemic originating from Barghest Dungeon". This causes everyone to stay away from the area, including merchants, and to have other kingdoms close their border to [Field of Ashes], isolating those inside and anyone that had contact with the [Barghest Dungeon].

At the same time, Bell, Dosnak, Kun, Till and select students have been doing night raids against forts and keeps held by [Dawn's Moonlight] and occasionally [Monochrome Blades]. Using the maps and blueprints provided by the kingdom that had been using them until recently, the group infiltrated by air, hidden passages, waterways and so forth to kill members of the two guilds and to plunder their supplies. With the news that "no one is willing to come into Field of Ashes due to the epidemic", the two guilds will naturally suspect it had been the opposing guild that raided them, deepening their animosity.

With no supplies going in, they will of course try to acquire supplies from neighbouring kingdoms themselves, but if the kingdoms are willing to mobilize and completely seal their borders, there's nothing the two guilds can do. This will of course escalate until something breaks. To push the two guild into a "fight to the last man" scenario, the night raid group sent certain items plundered from the guilds to Rick. He is to either sell them at ridiculous prices back to the opposing guilds or to "lose the items to them" if trade fails. This is so that the opposing side will eventually see each other using their stolen items, changing from "suspicion" to "confirmation". When the two start to actively raid each other, they will no longer have the ability to attempt to clear the [Barghest Dungeon].

The fight was the second such encounter. As soon as the two guilds start fighting day and night, the next part of the plan can proceed.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the chapter!
    Wow, that plan is devious and well detailed to how the guilds will react. I like it! :)


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