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Cerestal
Cerestal
Posts: 48
Joined: April 4th, 2014, 8:43 am
Cerestal

Warriors of Tanaan. (Open)

Postby Cerestal » July 9th, 2015, 4:47 am

"My last coherent thought was craving a chimera steak. Of all the things you can think of whilst charging an enemy, I wanted that steak. I wanted it so bad, my blood boiled with rage that I didn't have one."


Sergeant Cerestal Falah'serrar smashed into the first spiked barricade along with a score of bloodthirty Alliance and Horde soldiers. Even with a kaldorei's height, it was too high an obstacle to step over. On the other side in thrusting reach were scores of orcs, iron-clad and just as eager for blood.

The advance was checked for the moment. Shells screamed overhead as orcish cannons and draenei ballistae duelled one another. Gryphons and wyverns dared to strike out against the enemy riflemen. Footmen, grunts, vindicators, warriors of all shapes and sizes thrashed it out in the middle, slashing, hacking and thrusting in a charged melee. Attrition wore on both sides.

Eventually, the Iron Horde line buckled.

"Push!"

"Charge!"

"Lok'tar ogar!"

Cerestal half clambered, half fell over the barricade, weighed down by his cumbersome armor and shield. Soldiers left and right found their way through, pressing the enemy, assisting allies over or outright clearing obstacles for the siege engines to advance. The enemy line withdrew to the next row of defences, dug their heels in again and dared the Alliance and Horde to follow.

They were fighting uphill. Funnelling as the ground to their flanks rose up as impassible fortifications and the colossal gate neared to their front. The enemy fire grew more intense with every yard gained.

Still they pushed on toward the Gates of Tanaan. Into the maw of death.

Cerestal crashed into the next barricade with the others, hot on the heels of a human footman. A few moments after the leading warriors cleared it, they were struck by a counter-charge. Another deadlock.

He stabbed an orc in the abdomen, used his might to haul him up and over the barricade into the waiting blades behind him and retrieved his sword as a half dozen others fell onto the unlucky enemy. A Horde grunt nearly made it over but was struck by a round, slumping over it instead. Vital minutes passed until Cerestal heard cheering and saw pointing.

Fatigue was setting in and he was still closed with the Iron horde, but he dared a glance. High upon the battlements on the left flank, the orc riflemen that had rained death down from their perches now had their attention turned inwards. In moments they were overpowered by the Rangari and the enemy flank became an allied flank.

"-ies! Love 'em!" a human shouted. The dim conscious in the back of Cerestal's mind said he looked familiar.

"What?!" the night elf shouted back across a distance of perhaps two feet, half-deaf from rage and battle fatigue.

"Cannon fodder for hire!"

"Cannon what?!"

"Fod-"

An Iron Horde cannon behind the barricade exploded, perhaps thirty feet away. Everyone staggered, some fell over and a hole was carved into the Iron Horde line. A Frostwolf warrior was the first to seize the gap, carving half a dozen orcs down in a reckless charge forward. The human vaulted over as if he weighed nothing. Cerestal was less gracious, tumbling over and fighting his way back up.

The gate loomed menacingly. Less than a hundred yards away yet may as well had been halfway around Draenor.

The last obstacle may as well have been impassible. The sheer weight of enemy artillery and rifle fire risked bogging them down, even with their own foothold on the walls. The gryphons and wyverns overhead were being shredded by fire, taking the heaviest losses.

More minutes of fierce fighting and no purchase. They were stalled and the Iron Horde were simply too numerous.

They heard a war horn. Just like that, orcs began withdrawing off the walls, off the gate and off the path. They were winning! Morale flared back up and officers roared for a renewed push. Behind them, men and women started shouting.

"MAKE WAY! MAKE WAY!"

Behind them and flanked by two ballistae, was the biggest, deadliest piece of siege equipment Cerestal had ever seen. It rolled into position as the front line was clearing the last barricade. Any orc caught between the Alliance, the Horde and the impassible Iron Gate were cut down mercilessly. One threw his rifle down and tried to surrender to a vindicator as she crushed his skull with her hammer. The time for mercy had long passed.

It was a brief respite, and Cerestal nearly collapsed from exhaustion. He felt a hand grab his pauldron and half-turn him.

"You!" the human said. He looked familiar.

"Have we met?" Cerestal asked a moment too soon. Recognition soon followed.

"Wait! Serge-"

"FIRE!" someone shouted too late. The great machine of death fired on the gate with scarce warning, a shot so powerful that many of the soldiers toppled from the shaking earth. The Iron Gate groaned as its midsection was torn apart by the shell.

When they were both back up, they grinned.

"Sergeant Windrest!"

"Sergeant Falah'serrar!"

He hadn't seen this man in years. Not since Northrend. Cerestal went to sheath his sword, only to puzzle himself.

"This isn't my sword." he said, bemused. "How the..?"

He looked around. When did this happen?

"Loose grip was always your problem." Windrest chided.

"My grip is fine!" Cerestal retorted. "This just isn't my-"

No warning this time. The second shot knocked everyone down again and sundered the gate completely. It seemed to fall away in slow motion as soldiers cheered on. An Frostwolf with a wolf pelt for a cloak led the charge. Conversation was done and everybody poured into the gate.

Beyond loomed Tanaan Jungle. Cerestal didn't have time to take it in. They covered fifty yards before they were counter-attacked by more orcs. Fel orcs.

They scarcely held. The assault had already taken a third of their number as casualties. Cerestal and the others fought for their lives against this new onslaught as they waited for reserves to be brought up to relieve them.

"They're fel orcs!" Cerestal cried out, almost happily. He loved killing demons and demonic enemies. His old comrade Windrest vanished into the melee. Behind them, the reserve force rushed in as relief. Sharpshooters were manning what was left of the Gates of Tanaan, and the draenei ballistae slowly filed through one at a time.

The new pressure began to press the fel orcs back through sheer attrition. The reserve assault group pushed past them, into the jungle.

By the time Cerestal was clear of enemies, he sank to a knee and struggled to keep his rations down. He was exhausted. Soldiers streamed past him and what was left of the assault group. Officers and commanders called for charges.

"Well we're in, I guess." Windrest said, appearing out of seemingly nowhere. Cerestal caught his breath and eventually stood back up. For all his strength, his shield weighed a ton now.

"That track is called the Path of Glory." Cerestal said hoarsely.

Windrest shrugged and they looked back down through the gate they assaulted. "Seems appropriate."

"Aye. My thoughts exac-"

Up ahead, explosions tore the new assault force apart and the road became a killing ground. They had charged onto a pre-sighted artillery position.

"DOWN!" the night elf shouted automatically, throwing himself face-first into the mud. Most didn't need prompting.

"Nothing's ever simple, is it?"

The advance was checked again. A ballista was dismantled by a direct hit, killing soldiers with flying debris. Within half a minute, the assault had routed. A Horde Captain rallied Cerestal and the others forward to relieve them. No time for rest. The fel orcs pressed back and the combined Alliance and Horde pressed forward.

Another deadlock.


(( Hi. This thread is open to all of you hapless grunts and footmen stationed throughout the Tanaan Jungle, Alliance and Horde alike. The intent here is to incite RP between (ICly) estranged members in the zone for better or worse as the fight progresses. Open each post with a quote or commentary about battle from your character. ))

Tirien
Tirien
Posts: 157
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 4:51 pm
Tirien

Re: Warriors of Tanaan. (Open)

Postby Tirien » July 10th, 2015, 3:05 am

“You’re only free as long as the battle continues. Also you get to show off a little. I like that part.”




“Wah-Hoo! Mercenaries! Love ‘em!” Thomas cheers after pulling his sword from an Orc.

“What?!” Cerestal manages to get out over the roars in the melee. It’s been awhile since he’s fought alongside the Elf, so Thomas clarifies.

“Cannon fodder for hire!”

“Cannon what?!” Cerestal yells in question. Thomas parries an axe into the barricade, trapping it. A quick swipe at the crook of the Orc’s arm and a flash of steel to the Orc’s flank renders the brute helpless to stop Thomas from using him as cover. With a renewed vigor, Thomas tries again to get the message across to his deaf Elf friend.

“Fod – “ An explosion behind the barricade staggers the combatants away with the Iron Horde taking most of the force and shrapnel of one of their cannons. While the plate-clad warriors fall and stumble, Thomas rebounds off of a footman’s shield behind him and vaults over the barricade in the scant moment openings form. It appears the blast hit them harder than he thought. Even Cerestal manages to tumble over the barricade in the time for a grunt to stand and take the Elf’s sword as he fights through his…graceful recovery.

With his personal space reestablished, Thomas glances along the top of the battlement at his right. A thin blue smoke trail wafts up from where the Iron Horde marksmen used to be. He tries to get Cerestal’s attention with an energetic finger point, but the Elf is occupied and nearly bumps into him as the soldiers around make a poor attempt at a unified cry to make room for something. Thomas could barely keep his sword from cutting a friendly target when his personal space vanishes.

As the armies press onward, Iron Horde grunts are cut down left and right. Thomas is sure he’s proving to be too much for them to handle and with a gigantic siege weapon near him no less. It’s no wonder their morale shatters like glass. While easy, the rout’s anticlimactic finish leaves Thomas with something to be desired.

“You!” He singles out Cerestal, grabbing and spinning the taller Elf. The big guy nearly stumbles and it’s clear he’s feeling the fatigue set in.

“Have we met?” Cerestal asks with a look of recognition following. Thomas loves it when people make that face. “Wait! Serge – “

“FIRE!” Whoever hires the spotters for these siege weapons needs a nice dagger in the side. The warning comes too late and everyone near the gate falls down. The tremendous force propelled into the Iron Horde’s gate rends chunks of true steel to rain on the combatants which lay in wait beyond it. Thomas steps on a footman’s hand and bumps someone’s shield as he regains footing. Both he and Cerestal smile immediately.

“Sergeant Windrest!” Cerestal bellows.

“Sergeant…Falah’serrar!” Hearing Cerestal use his old rank adds an awkward tone on his end of their reunion. With the battle going on he’s confident Cerestal misses it. Also the Elf’s hearing remains in question.

“This isn’t my sword.” Cerestal puzzles the foreign object now snug in his sheath. A man’s sword is something he’ll never forget. To lose it is like losing an arm, or at least a finger. Thomas grins, sensing an opening.

“Loose grip was always your problem.” Thomas chides.

“My grip is fine!” The Elf retorts. Thomas finds Cerestal’s candor charming and confirmed ability to hear relieving. It’s a nice refresher from the wily tongues of the crowd he’s been hanging around recently. “This just isn’t my – “

Another massive shot echoes and the gates cave in. Before the last boulders of metal hit the ground Durotan leads the charge through into Tanaan. It seems Cerestal did have a comeback, properly denied of course. Thomas checks a point in his favor with an assist to the siege machine. Good job, siege machine.

What awaits their gainful entry is a sight to behold. Lush jungle ripe with fruit and bugs, open skies lined with camp smoke and torch light, allies in arms rushing forward into a new battle all contrast the sickly green and blood red bodies of Fel Orcs charging to crush their invasion head first. Several are at the size of a Tauren with only one a handful feet taller. That Orc wields nothing save iron claws and barely a trace of armor. Mundane weaponry rebound as readily as gunfire and arrowheads from his demonic skin. Thomas singles the brute out and dances through the renewed melee, taking a stab here and a swipe there whenever the opportunity shows.

This is what they hired him for. These are the opponents he was promised and the ones he loves to take out.

Drawing his shortsword, Thomas plunges his dual wielded weaponry into the Orc's bicep, lodging them there and keeping his grip. The thing reacts as expected and swipes his tree-trunk arm up, sending Thomas into the perfect position for a dive. He draws two daggers and plummets, the blades leave a blue trail of energy as they slice resilient flesh and sinew with ease. After landing into a brief roll, Thomas secures the daggers and retrieves his swords from the dead Orc’s arm.

Scanning, he finds Cerestal on a knee and makes way to him. The swarming Alliance and Horde armies take care of the smaller Orcs as their will buckles at the sight of their biggest and baddest’s defeat. With the Orcs pushed back he catches his breath.

“Well we’re in, I guess.” Nailed it. Thomas upholds the aloof ‘cool guy’ persona as he rejoins his friend who also appears to be enjoying a brief respite kneeling in mud with ragged breaths.

“That track is called the Path of Glory,” Cerestal adds, still regaining his strength.

Thomas shrugs and they look back through the freshly torn gate. “Seems appropriate.” Thomas debates adding a bored sigh, but decides against it.

“DOWN!” Cerestal grabs Thomas’ shoulder and shoves him face first into the mud. Stunned, Thomas has no idea what is happening right now as Iron Horde artillery fire peppers the ground just yards from them. The space between them and the Iron Horde is pre-sighted and why wouldn’t it be? Now that a good chunk of Alliance and Horde fill it, it becomes a perfect killing ground and no-man’s land.

“Nothing’s ever simple, is it?” Thomas gurgles out from the mud.
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Tirien
Tirien
Posts: 157
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 4:51 pm
Tirien

Re: Warriors of Tanaan. (Open)

Postby Tirien » July 11th, 2015, 1:29 am

“Then comes the fall. It leaves you with nothing. When the adrenaline’s gone, the fight’s over, and your life is secure, the real challenge begins: surviving the lull. It sucks. Trust me.”




Thomas struggles for air under Cerestal’s death-grip. With a wiggle and elbow to the Elf’s breastplate dirt filled air rushes in and Thomas erupts into a coughing fit. His eyes sting, a fire rages in his lungs, and something wet and hot seeps through the thin plates of his leather tunic. Flashes of artillery shells upheave the ground around them with more tiny shards of shrapnel slicing through his armor.

Watching is the only thing Thomas can do and it’s something he’s not accustomed to doing. They are caught on the fringe of the no-man’s land, unable to move and unable to escape. Cerestal maintains the resolved attitude of his occupation and the sight of it churns up something dark in Thomas. He turns away. The hopeless onslaught is more attractive and acts as a suitable distraction from the memories bubbling up to the surface.

A blast of mortar collides with debris from the gate lodged in the steep hillside and sets it free. The massive chunk slams into the earth. Thomas rallies and stumbles to it with Cerestal soon to follow. Behind cover, the two reassess their surroundings and Thomas questions the stability of their temporary haven. Beyond, the last vestiges of Alliance and Horde soldiers scatter and the volley lessens enough to impede any meaningful advance. Iron Horde Orcs filter through and finish off the wounded, making way to the invading armies before they can regroup.

Thomas motions to retrieve one of the small bombs from a side pack and slices a finger on something. In his waist is an impressive shard of blackrock iron. Each heartbeat thumps in his ears, Cerestal’s shouts are diluted and dull, and his peripheral vision blurs. When did he slump back down? Why does his abdomen feel lighter? Who’s putting a bottle to his mouth? Where in the Light’s name is the ringing coming from?

Everything snaps back into place. Cerestal tosses an empty vial down next to the blackrock shard and chugs a second vial.

“Hey, you owe me for those.” Thomas manages as the potion stops the majority of his bleeding. The pricks and rips of tiny left over shards threaten to rend the puncture again, but he manages to his feet. “Those were my only two, too.”

“You don’t remember our last bet? Consider it collateral.” Cerestal finally scores a point. Thomas curses Elves and their memory and himself for forgetting bets lost a decade ago.

Squaring his shoulders, Thomas resolves to ambush the passing Orcs. He’s worked with Cerestal before and the Elf picks up on his plan and grins. On his count the two spring out into the field, causing a minor melee to break out. With the flanking comes a silence from the artillery and soon to follow a rallying cry from their allies and signal to redouble a charge. Thomas vaguely recalls seeing more blue smoke out where the Iron Horde set their main stretch of siege weaponry.

This fight, without the aid of bomb shells, is solid in the Azerothian army’s favor. A swath of Orcs fall before their renewed might before the remainder give a valorous last stand before falling. The ground gained and fought so hard for pays off and is a dead zone for mortar and artillery. The terrain allows for natural cover and thus a safe spot for the forces to really dig in and establish a foot hold, which comes after establishing a line of defense.

With this leg of the fight won, Thomas collapses against a tree and looks out to the freshly coated killing field stretching all the way into Talador. As the adrenaline wears off, steady pulses of pain throb throughout his body. With the amount of shrapnel in him he seriously begins to question his choice in armor. Then again, what the enchanted leathers could stop on Azeroth and the Blackhand’s foundry can’t really hold up to whatever Gul’dan is doing to the iron and steel of Draenor.

Rest begs to take him and he considers it, anything to avoid being conscious for the lull of energy and whatever thoughts such a moment of respite may conjure. Thomas’ body goes limp and the last thing he sees is the veiled shape of an Iron Horde assassin stalking along the tree line toward him.
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Tirien
Tirien
Posts: 157
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 4:51 pm
Tirien

Re: Warriors of Tanaan. (Open)

Postby Tirien » July 11th, 2015, 2:44 pm

((Hey all! I don't plan to post again until I finish other stuff, so feel free to use the cliffhanger to get started in this thread if you'd like.

After talking with Cerestal, I feel this thread has no major arc (yet?) outside the in-game story in Tanaan. So anyone posted/assigned/operating/fighting in Tanaan is more than welcome to add a short vignette of their struggles! Collaboration between artists is encouraged as well. Cerestal and I did to launch this thread, so just get in touch via PM or in game with whomever you'd like to do something on your character with.

As Cerestal and I mentioned, the spirit of this is to draw attention to the characters who face their own challenges and battles here in Tanaan and I can't wait to see snippets of what everyone's characters are up to! This is also a great place to launch a thread of your own if you need a safe place to start.))
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Chimreh
Chimreh
Posts: 5
Joined: March 28th, 2014, 6:36 am
Chimreh

Re: Warriors of Tanaan. (Open)

Postby Chimreh » August 16th, 2015, 7:45 pm

I hate this.

Chimreh leaned back against the tree providing her scouting point, and tried to think of something pleasant. Nothing came to mind. Not surprising. Tanaan wasn't a pleasant place. Oppressively hot, stinking, noisy. The instant she set foot at Vol'mar she wanted to leave. For anywhere. Even oppressively cold, stinking, nerve-shredding quiet Frostfire Ridge.

I hate this.

Nearly three hours' work of pit traps strung out like beads from a broken necklaces alongside the rough-cobbled road leading to Hellfire Citadel... that likely would never be triggered. Or if they were, triggered by money-happy idiots all too eager to lick the brass' boots at Vol'mar or Lion's Ass, or whatever the Alliance called their own base of operations here. No blame on her if it did. The idea had been a bad one to her mind and she'd said so. Her objections had been overruled.

Starskimmed groaned, an ursine whine. Chimreh scratched her ruff; Starskimmer lowered her head to her paws with a huff of contentment. Chimreh stood, jumped and caught the tree's lowest branch and swung up. Straddling limb she unslung her field lenses and scanned up and down the road. Nothing of note, not even a patrol. The Iron Horde had begun to randomize their patrol schedules.

Chimreh wiped sweat out of her eyes. She was about to drop down when an axebeak called three times from the large split-trunk tree north of her, then twice more. The other scout reporting via the day's signal. She gave her 'all clear' whistles, then jumped down next to Starskimmer in the barricade of brush to continue her watch.

At some point she must have fallen in the trance-like, loss-of-time state dull hours of sentry-go induced, because the sound of plate and hardened leather slapping the cobblestones echoed like cannon fire.

She grabbed her field lenses, scanning the road again. An Iron Horde patrol on her left.

She and Starskimmer were far enough away from the road to avoid notice, as long as she did nothing to attract notice. Next to her Starskimmer faded into the air, her presence only discernible by a faint shimmer.

The patrol drew closer. Chimreh waited. Any changes in numbers or rank or specialty had to be noted.

A manic chorus of battlecries sent axebeaks and hauntcries and other birds shrieking into the air just as Starskimmer's mental impression of the scent of human and night elf i flashed into Chimreh's mind. She whipped her head to the right. Horses, those large cats, rushed straight at the Iron Horde. As far as Chimreh could tell, none of them were in uniform.

The Iron Horde rushed straight at the Alliance.

Chimreh picked up her field lenses and focused on the ensuing battle. Her orders had been to observe and set the stupid pit traps, and even if they hadn't been, she wasn't interested in participating or stopping it. If idiots wanted to kill themselves, that was their business. She was tired of the stupid, endless, and most of all pointless fighting the Horde had done in the last few years. Rumor had it Gul'dan was defeated. If rumor was true, why the hell were they still here? And even if it wasn't, why the hell were they still here? The Dark Portal was destroyed --

More shouts from her right. Only not more Alliance, but Horde. Chimreh caught a glimpse of green skin, of orange hair done up in high braids, heard some fool claim this (whatever "this" was) for Quel'thalas.

There were nearly as many Horde as Alliance, and combined they outnumbered the patrol.

A patroller yelled into his hand before the sweep of a human's sword severed it from his wrist. Chimreh dug her gauntled nails into tree bark. Panic making him act crazy, maybe. Or a spell tucked away in a stone or fetish. Or --

The echoing boom-boom-boom filled the air almost in synch with the mortar fire, and muffled the screams of the dead and dying. The lingering stink of charred meat in her nostril's brought up Chimreh's lunch.

Chimreh sidled around the tree, ready to bolt back to Vol'mar.

I fucking hate this.

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