Almost forty of them stood at one end of the valley. Sheer walls of ice rose up on either side a mere couple hundred yards apart. The floor of the narrow valley was tightly packed snow and stretched out several miles in the distance. One man stood in front of them pacing back and forth. He was a tall dark elf dressed in a full suit of planes armor. Clearly he was the leader of the group.
In the distance, perhaps a half mile down the valley, a huge dragon had just awakened and was beginning to stir. Her wings were a dull leathery gray and tucked tightly against her side -- you couldn't tell just how big they were. Her body though, stretched almost forty yards from nose to tail. She was a very large dragon.
A dark-skinned woman dressed in a shimmering green robe broke out of the crowd and walked up to the dark elf, touched him lightly on the cheek, and spoke to him. "Kinamoor, it is good to see you here again, Hun."
"And you," he replied, "Has Tunare been with you in your journeys, Darellma?"
"Indeed she has," and glancing down the valley towards the large dragon, "Klandicar has woken, we should move soon." Then in a questioning voice, "Are we strong enough?"
He looked at her, the sun reflecting off his planes armor and simply replied, "We are Destinati, we will conquer." His voice carried the calm assurance of one who had been in a great many battles, who had lead many to victory to have any remaining questions about what could or could not be accomplished. If Kinamoor said, "We will conquer," then victory was within their grasp.
She looked deep into his eyes, her face steeling to match his and replied, "We are Destinati." Then she turned to the crowd and shouted loud enough for all to hear, "Destinati, give ear to our leader Kinamoor that he may guide us to victory against Klandicar this day." She melted into the crowd and all eyes turned to Kinamoor.
He stood and faced them all, "Men and Women of Destinati, today we will conquer the dragon Klandicar."
A shout rose up from the crowd, "Destinati Conquerors!"
Kinamoor waited for them to quiet and continued, "Very well, listen to my words, for this is my battle plan. Damieean, Jardain, Jaedegar, and Beegun are the lead tanks." As he spoke, four men stepped forward. Damieean, like Kinamoor was a dark elf. He moved with the grace only an elf possessed, and drew his two twin swords of Lamentation, swinging them in an intricate pattern that moved so fast it was hard to follow. An evil gleam was in his eye that spoke of a thrill of the blood that would be spilled on both sides. Jardain and Jaedegar stepped up. They were barbarians from the north and well used to the cold of this land. Long shaggy hair fell around their shoulders and no one dared laugh at the kilts they wore. They towered above Damieean and came and stood at his side. There was no show or flare here, but the dragonslayer swords, easily a yard or more long, held in front of their wielders with points resting on the ice, spoke of the damage they were capable of dealing. No emotion showed on their faces except the slightest smile when they exchanged glances with Damieean. Beegun walked up and the earth beneath trembled ever so slightly. He towered above the twin barbarians and was half again as wide. Beegun was an ogre. He carried only a large club, but you had only to glance at him to know he was capable of dealing out and enduring significant damage.
Kinamoor continued, "Damieean is the Main Tank, the rest of you are secondary tanks. Make sure you all keep the agro." It was important to keep all of Klandicar's attention focused on these four lest she walk through the entire force and trample them like so much unpacked snow. Damieean's slight stature compared to the others would not make him an obvious choice, but it was equally obvious his speed and lust for blood gave him the honor of being the most dangerous. They were in fact called "tanks" because of their unique ability to deal out and endure massive amounts of pain.
"Clerics, target these four and keep them healthy. Make sure they do not die." Four to one side, Sabbatha, Cylia, Itheo, and Fhaldark said nothing. They merely bowed their heads and whispered softly. The air around the four tanks began to glow and shimmer and all four smiled, knowing a divine aegolism had just been bestowed upon them, increasing their health two fold. The four clerics, in fact High Priests and Priestesses of the most holy Tunare, remained with bowed heads praying.
"On my command, when Damieean has agro, Enchanters slow Klandicar." Two small high elves, Sarya and Bainwright smiled with the condescending look so common to their race, and nodded their heads. Unrequested and with a flourish of their arms they cast a spell and the air around the tanks again shimmered. Damieean let out an evil cry as he swung the swords around his head. If he had moved fast before, now he was twice a blur. The enchanters had cast a haste upon the tanks and they moved with a speed that was unnatural. Damieean was ready for battle, eager. A glance from Kinamoor quieted him, if reluctantly.
"When Klandicar's health begins to drop, Mages, engage your elementals and the rest of the warriors attack, wait for my command." Feber, Incarcerator and Diox spoke a single word and tossed small shiny stones on the ice. Three towering ice elementals rose from the ground. They were mindless, faceless creatures capable of dealing significant damage. It was apparent they were difficult to control, for it was taking all the concentration of these mages to keep these frenzied creatures in place.
"Finally, when the health of Klandicar is down by half, Sorcerers engage and help us finish her off quickly lest we all perish." Four tall Erudites far to the back stood saying nothing. Sivo, Darellma, Nanu, and Philleep merely nodded their heads.
"Everyone remember Klandicar casts a powerful area of effect damage spell that we cannot resist. If we do not finish her within five minutes, we will all perish. Take your postitions. We attack on my command." The force quickly arranged themselves into ranks for the impending attack.
Down the valley, Klandicar had stirred and risen to her feet. She was slowly awakening and therefore it was apparent the time to attack would soon be past. Kinamoor took this in and spoke loud enough for all to hear. "Tanks, attack."
The four let out a battle cry and rushed down the small hill towards the dragon. Klandicar heard the cry for the first time, and looked sleepily to see where the noise came from. Still not awake, she did not see the attack had commenced. Damieean, with his now unnatural speed was in the lead. They met the dragon with Damieean going for her soft throat.
In an instant, Klandicar was completely awake, but not before some real damage had been done. She cast her first spell as her tail whipped around hitting Beegun, knocking him off his feet. He was up again in an instant. Ten more seconds passed.
Kinamoor shouted, "Enchanters, slow the demon quickly." Sarya and Bainwright incanted and cast; nothing happened, the spells were resisted! The four tanks were getting chewed up, all four were bleeding in spite of the clerics' best efforts to keep them alive. They were seconds away from losing the four. Bainwright cast again and the air around Klandicar glowed a dark blue, a sign the slowing had taken. The four tanks saw this, and jumped back to recover a second while the dragon, now moving noticeably slower raged towards them.
Kinamoor saw this and shouted, "Warriors attack, Mages engage your elementals." The three lumbering elementals moved down towards the dragon along with twenty or so warriors. They all met and engaged the dragon. Sensing that she could no longer effectively physically attack so many she began to rain down waves of magical damage upon the group. They were hacking away and again were seconds away from disaster.
Kinamoor was the picture of calmness taking all this in. He watched and waited. He saw the tanks were all alive still, good. No, Beegun had fallen, so had a good five or six of the warriors. He studied Klandicar and saw her health waning. Was it enough? He held his hand up towards the Sorcerers, who had moved near him, and spoke softly, "Be ready," and seeing four more warriors fall -- but more importantly Klandicar stumble -- shouted, "Now!"
The four sorcerers swung their arms in wide graceful arcs around their heads and began casting Porlo's fury, a difficult spell that could only be mastered by a high Sorcerer and was designed especially to harm Dragons. Fire rained down on Klandicar in wave after wave, even as she tried to maintain her own damage spells. The force was weakening, but they were maintaining the pressure on the dragon. They were well-trained and would do so to their death. The force was seconds away from a rout, though. The clerics were exhausted from the effort of keeping the tanks alive and had little left, when Klandicar fell to her knees and could not rise. A shout rose up from the battlefield, "Destinati!"
The Sorcerers in that moment ceased casting and collapsed to the ground from the effort of their casting, knowing the battle was over for them. They let the Tanks, and the warriors, finish it.
Kinamoor walked down the hill to the scene of the battle. The whole thing had taken a mere three minutes start to finish. Blood was everywhere, much of it Klandicar's and much of it from his force. The clerics were kneeling by the wounded, beginning the process of healing them all. He walked up to Damieean, covered in blood and smiling. He had some deep wounds, none grave though.
"Well done, Damieean," he said, "again. Your lust for blood has brought victory to Destinati." He spoke the words loud enough for everyone to hear.
Damieean looked around and basked in the honor Kinamoor had given him by this praise. Praise which he knew he had well earned. He replied, "Tru that."
He turned to face the band and spoke, "Destinati, again we have conquered." A tired cheer rose up from the men and women.
Everyone was healed, the loot from the dragon was awarded, and the band was preparing to break up. Darellma came up to Kinamoor and spoke. "I go to the Dungeons of Sebelis and seek adventure. Why don't you come with me?"
He looked at her and said, "You did well today, Darellma. Without your help we would all have been vanquished."
"Thank you, victory was ours today, just as you said," she replied bowing her head slightly.
"I journey to the Temple of Veeshan; we will meet again tomorrow," he said smiling and gently touching her face. "Safe journey, Darellma," he said.
"And Tunare be with you, Kinamoor," She replied.
The scene ended abruptly with Kinamoor vanishing into the air. Darellma looked somewhat surprised.
Carole was shaking him. "Honey, I'm home. Can you quit your little game for a minute and come spend some time with me?"
To be continued ...