Archive, 2005

The first Chronicles of Narnia movie was good for us. We netted 400 new recruits on opening weekend, drawn by the "glory of battle". Mostly warriors and archers, we also pulled in 3 fire mages, 2 of which are still with us, currently in training under the Woman in Red. We've only lost 20 or 30 of the others so far. Then again, we haven't yet had a major battle. Even if we lose 100 ("lose" meaning they perish in battle and do not return to us), we're still in much better shape than we were previously. I spent a few nights touring the grounds, watching them practice, and so far, I've been fairly impressed. They're green as far as the Realms are concerned, but most of them have a degree of natural skill, especially when it comes to the archers. No complaints from this end of the table.

Something stirs, and forces gather. Our watchers close their eyes, or turn away, but our guardians stand stoic and wait. We need others to open their eyes, to become aware. Our forces are dwindling when they should be growing. We must all work to gather more before it is truly too late.

What we have been planning for the past few weeks has now come to pass. Several nights ago, the attack came, and we were ready for it. We stood as planned, myself on the front lines, and drew back slowly, as if they were pushing us to do so. This gave our stealthier allies time to slip in behind and take some key positions. We thrust back, and they were destroyed between us. This took 3 nights. This morning, Trick and I, bloody and exhausted, looked out over a field of bodies, and sighed. Some of those fallen would never come back. Some would. And then we'll do it again. We hope it'll be less and less, but it seems it's our side that grows less, as our ranks learn what it is to die and return.

Well, Trick and I will always be there, anyway, and Heather as well. There are others. We won't give up on this world, on this existence. One day people will see. Hopefully before it is too late.

SC and I did some exploring a few nights ago, on one of the mid-Realms (neither high nor low). It started out as a relaxing jaunt through some little-known territory, and evolved into a small adventure. We flew over plains of long grass, and soon landed, to walk among the long, unmoving stalks. It was very beautiful, and calm. After several hours of walking, a dark forest came into view, and about the same time, a warm wind sprung up, blowing from our left, out over the plains, making the grass bend and wave. Also at this time, we became aware of another presence among us, one who visited in the form of a large sword, with a long, jagged blade (its most used form). The presence wasn't welcome, but it was more of a hassle to get rid of it, so we let it stay along with us (I carried the sword; leaving it behind was not a valid option).

We entered the forest, which was less sinister within than it appeared from without. It was quite pleasant amongst the trees, refreshingly cool, and slightly damp. We journeyed through it for an hour or so, before emerging on the far side. Before us, on a small hill, stood the ruins of what was once a small castle. Gray stones lay tumbled in all corners, many covered with moss or other plantlife. SC and I both felt there was something important there; something we needed to investigate.

As we ascended the hill towards the ruins, I felt a prickling along my spine, and looked up to see a number of large, winged creatures descending from the skies. They came down fast, and we were undoubtably their targets. The creatures resembled a merging of men and ravens; their bodies were thin and covered with a dark fur, they had long, black- feathered arms, and their heads were dominated by massive, sharpened beaks. Their eyes were black, and filled with a deep hatred. I don't take their hatred personally; I believe they were charged with guarding this site, and for ones such as these, hatred is a powerful ally in powering their vicious attacks.

SC and I, with the help of our unwanted (but now-helpful) companion, fended off the first wave of attackers, but there was no way we were going to get to search the ruins that day; even as we struck down the strange bird-men, we could see many more approaching on the horizon, and we were forced to flee back to the forest.

We will return, hopefully soon, but under cover of darkness, if possible, and more stealthily than previously. It will also just be the two of us. Our unwanted companion has returned to where it "belongs". I suspect it may have had a hand in calling the guardians down upon us, just so it could taste their blood. Hopefully I'll have something more to write soon.

We ran two successful operations a couple of months ago. Both resulted in the destruction of prominent nesting sites of our enemy. The first operation was small - 5 dragons, 5 riders. The dragons bathed the nest in fire while us on the ground took out the outlying defenders. We were surprised at the speed that more defenders arrived (they were able to burrow; I learn something new every time I'm out), but they finally fell to our weapons. We suffered no casualties during that first op, though Bret did bring home a poison stinger in his leg, and SC received several painful scratches on his right flank.

Our second operation was not much larger - 7 dragons, 7 riders this time. Two of our riders were planars, and unknown to me, but they were subordinates to a trusted individual, so they were allowed to come. Our attack on the second nest was more difficult, as it was connected to other sites by large tubes, made of living matter. These tubes would allow all connected sites instant awareness of an attack made on any of the sites, and would also allow instant reinforcement of the attacked site. Our first order of business was to cut this connected tube. If done correctly, none of the other sites would know it had been cut until we were long gone from that place. The two planars carried long, curved blades, specially designed for cutting the tubes. They snuck into the planned location, and got to work immediately. As soon as the rest of us were notified the tubes were severed, we advanced and sprung upon our unwary foes.

The battle was long and bloody, but in the end, we again prevailed. There were numerous injuries, and we also suffered two casualties: Bret and one of the planars. Bret's body faded, as our bodies are apt to do in the Realms (he returned to us a few days later). The planar's body remained, as it was the only body he had. We gave his body a proper send-off, and I have received word he was buried respectfully, in whatever place passed for his home. We do all we can in these situations.

The nests destroyed, we expected strong retaliation, but that attack has not yet come. I feel it on the horizon, though, ever-present, ever-possible.

An important meeting took place 2 nights ago. Its subject matter cannot be posted here quite yet; it'd be a lot like the media posting our Iraq tactics on the national news, as they have done in the past. A plan was put forth by me, and accepted via a majority backing. We will proceed as soon as we are ready. I am excited by this development, and look forward to putting the plan into action.

Quite the battle this night. We had some monstrous creatures helping us. Two of them. They resembled large spiders, 20 feet tall, 40 feet long, with 8 hairy legs and a long, sectioned tail, tipped with a heavy, non-poisonous stinger. They were our only heavy hitters during the first day. This was good, as the rest of us were infantry. Our opponents were more of the same as mentioned in my last update - humans bent to the will of our enemies, or who have joined them of their own volition. They had only infantry at the battle site during the first day, but they outnumbered us. Our monstrous allies, large as they were, fell by the end of the day, as they were primary targets.

I was called back just after dawn on the second day, but I was able to view the armies before I left. Our cavalry arrived early, before first light: heavy warhorses and warponies alike, all mounted by heavily armed warriors. Our enemies were joined by a force of 5 large scorpion creatures, with human-like torsos. Their bodies were covered in chitinous plating, and they moved about on 6 powerful, armored legs. The torsos had large pincers in place of hands, and the faces were those of females; savage, monstrous females. As scorpions, each was also armed with a powerful, flexible tail, tipped with a poisonous stinger. These creatures proved to be deadly in battle, as one would expect. I did not get to find out in person; at this time I have heard only stories, but I suspect I will come into combat with them before the end.

The battle lasted 3 days total. We were victorious in the end, though many "losses" were suffered on both sides.

Combat came upon us a few nights ago, and it was furious and bloody. Our adversaries were none other than humans themselves, as were most who fought as my allies. They dressed mostly in loose red tunics and robes, over leather and chain. Their weapons were simple, and their combat abilities lacking; they seemed determined just to take down as many of us as possible with their numbers, rather than actually work towards winning the fight. They seemed ready to die for their cause, with no hope of actually defeating us. Still, we suffered some injuries, and their losses were great. Our side consisted of 4 small groups; I did not so much lead this time around than was just part of one of the groups. We tried to bargain with our adversaries before cutting them down, as they were obviously no match for the combat skills possessed by our groups. The enemy just charged recklessly, and we were forced to slay them. Even when their numbers dwindled, they did not retreat, and soon all lay dead, more than a few by my hand. I know this is just the beginning of what we will face in the near future. I still cannot comprehend why any human would fight for the other side.

I met up with a few of my fellow warriors a few nights ago. They are roommates here on this plane, and I met them at their apartment, in the dreamworld, for some relaxed hanging out and conversation. One was big-boned, blond, with a lumpy face and deep-set dark eyes. The other was of fair skin and smaller body than the other, with short black hair and bright eyes. I know neither of their names. We spoke of the things to come, and reinforced our belief that we are not lost. The larger of the two has developed his sword skills to the point where he can fight effectively while blindfolded, and he and I sparred for a bit. He was blindfolded, I was not, and he was a match for me even then. Quite impressive, though perhaps a little humiliating for me :)