Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dawn of the Dragonsworn-Part 11

Homsar knew that the Dragonsworn would erect lines of defense, and that they would focus upon withering firepower provided by semi-portable projectors backed by infantry forming a shield wall. He also knew that there would be an officer, at this point one of the few human-like leaders, in command and that if he could break or kill this man then the entire line would rout. He'd seen it, and done it, so many times that he no longer considered it possible that anything else would happen- and he would be right.

Brilliant Shield stood ready at the first line, a company of lizardmen at his command with semi-portable projectors backed behind a shield wall, with his own considerable abilities reinforcing them for he stood at the center of the wall. He heard Homsar coming, armored boots pounding the cavern floors with the rapid cadence of a thunder lizard on the charge, and as soon as Brilliant Shield caught sight of the abhorred foe he order the gunners to open fire. The handful of projectors lit up the cavern as their beams of death-dealing power fired forward in jets like torrents of rushing water, but to their horror they saw Homsar's armored form advanced unabated- his personal defense screens held, despite the violent display of discharge, and his pace slacked not, but rather increased!

Homsar ran at a sustainable pace, but as soon as they opened fire he broke into a run and charged the line. He knew the screens would hold long enough to make contact, and once in melee those guns were worse than useless to them. The screens held, and then he smashed into--and through--the shield wall. He broke through not where Brilliant Shield stood, but (as one would expect of a veteran) at its weakest point: where the shield wall met the cavern wall. With a ferocity of violence, Homsar cut that lizardman open from breast to crotch and then kicked the cooling corpse away to free his space axe. Now in the moment, Homsar broke the Dragonsworn formation before they could react. If not for Brilliant Shield swiftly engaging Homsar, all of them would have died under that keen-edged axe head within a minute.

Armed with a sword and shield, armored in quality approaching his foe's own, Brilliant Shield tried to wear down the Patrol Agent and disable the man's screens, but his youth betrayed him and found every attempt to feint or disrupt the veteran warrior avoided or blocked. Instead, he soon found himself undone; falling for a false opening to disarm Homsar, Brilliant Shield let slip a hole that Homsar exploited. Seizing Shield by the throat with his off hand, Homsar rapped Shield with the flat of his axe upside his head; by reflex, he looked at Homsar and found his eyes locked with his foes. Homsar's driving will bore through Brilliant Shield's thought screens and seared his mind, which inflicted great agony upon the man. Homsar kicked the disabled man away with contempt, and finished routing the lizardmen. Those not slain fled, with their leader soon with them, and the projectors either destroyed or taken over.

Meanwhile, General Zuzu and the Dark Spear marines--riding Homsar's boat--fought their way into the Dragonsworn fortress. Resistance, while furious, was futile; those that were not blasted died by axe blows. With the boat resting just inside the massive doorway, the marines dropped down and followed Homsar's beacon until they caught up with their man- the trail of carnage made it easy. They met up just as Homsar finished with the projectors.

"Homsar!" Zuzu said, saluting, "Good to see you, man!"

Homsar returned the salute. "You didn't miss much. This is just the first line, and I say that they have two or three more before we reach The Dragon."

Homsar pointed to the remaining projectors, and Zuzu detailed their assignments with a nod, wordlessly issuing orders.

"These Algolian remnants and recasts are barely experienced and not well trained." Homsar said, "You've seen their quality. If we kill or cripple their leaders, and drive off or kill their master, then they'll surrender."

Zuzu nodded. "These scaled scum suck. No wonder this is so easy. We must've come upon them well before they were ready."

"I'd say so." Homsar said as the marines finished appropriating the projectors, "Let's finish the job."

Zuzu grinned that wicked grin that made him such a famous friend.

"What do we bring, men?"

"WE BRING THE PAIN TO THEM!"

"Move out!" Homsar said, and as a single unit Homsar, Zuzu and the Dark Spears attacked the remaining Dragonsworn lines one-by-one. They blasted their way through with ease, each taking moments to rout; veteran marines against mostly untried and shaken recruits is not a fair fight, no matter how indoctrinated the latter may be, with predictable results. The leaders--Brilliant Shield and the Blessed Lord--managed to fall back as they'd planned, but their men often did not survive.

"Master!" the Blessed Lord said, telepathically, "We are routed. The Agent has marines supporting him now. Are we ready."

"NO!" The Dragon said, panicked, "Deploy the prototypes. All of them."

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