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Michael_OMalley
07-20-2010, 01:39 PM
I swung my heavy Stormglaive again and again, as fast as I could, smashing Thralls to the ground one after the other. This was bad and rapidly getting worse. Cryx were still stacking up at the base of the ramp, more than I could conveniently count.
I could see bonejacks escorting a Helljack and I groaned when I realized the Helljack in question was a Seether, a particularly malevolent necro-terror that was so evil not even the Iron Liches of Cryx could consistently control them. Turning slightly, I spotted Sergeant Galvan and his Long Gunners cracking away into the solid wall of undead flesh, dropping thralls with a speed that promised to put Galvan’s Trencher rivals to shame.
“Galvan!” I shouted. “Kill that Seether! Hurry! Kneecap it!” Galvan bellowed an acknowledgement over the deafening roar of rifles, battle-cries, screaming steam boilers, and the thunderous blows of the two Ironclads and the Hammersmith I was guiding. Seconds later, ten rifles leveled at the Seether and blew its legs apart. The evil chunk of Cryxian iron continued to drag itself forward with its arms, but for the moment, we were all right. “Arcanum Infernos!” I shouted, making a circle with two fingers of my left hand. Blue lightning erupted from my fingers and immolated a quartet of Bile Thralls before they could spray their incredibly caustic payloads into my few soldiers.
Where is General Adept Nemo? I thought wildly, slashing into another fresh wave of thralls, parrying the strokes of their mechanical limbs. I urged my two Ironclads up to strike the ground with their Quake Hammers, tumbling dozens of thralls to the ground. My Stormblades and Sword Knights rushed the prone creatures, dispatching them once and for all, but I saw two go down, victim of a group of unseen Bane Knights, and I swore as a pistol shot smacked into my breastplate. I jerked my head away just in time to avoid being drilled by the second round from the Pistol Wraith.
“Captain Wallis! Kill that Pistol Wraith before it tags one of us again!” I pointed to the Wraith. It was temporarily corporeal, vulnerable, but only for a moment. Captain Wallis, an Adept of the Order of the Arcane Tempest, closed his eyes for a moment, and, encircled by glowing blue runes, fired, his projectile silencing the twin guns of the Wraith once and for all.
Still, I looked about and knew that this breakout was not going to work. The fortress had been nearly impossible to hold to begin with, but then I had been set upon by four Cryxian Warcasters and at least five thousand Thralls. I had managed to get a Swift Sergeant of the Cygnaran Rangers out to Highgate to call in reinforcements, but I had no idea if General Nemo had gotten my message or not. We had held out for four days, but we were running out of coal, ammunition, water, men, everything that we needed.
And the Cryx did not take prisoners. Not living ones, at any rate.
Our advance had been a desperation maneuver, break through the enemy lines and make a run for it, get across the river and make for Highgate or Wes****ch. Looking about now, I watched as my Hammersmith engaged a Slayer Helljack and a half dozen Bonejacks. The poor machine was already teetering on the edge of dysfunction, and it didn’t have much left in its furnace. Without the Hammersmith, my two Ironclads wouldn’t be able to handle the hordes of the undead, and my four light Warjacks, two Lancers, a Sentinel and a Charger, were scrap metal forty yards behind me. Our advance was stalling, and once we ceased moving forward, that would be it. We’d be encircled and surrounded.
Surrounded....
Well, I thought ruefully. Time enough for one last measure. We’ll make ‘em pay dear for a win today. I raised my Stormglaive, artifact of my past history as a Stormblade, and felt its electricity pour down over my heavily modified Cygnaran-blue armor. I smashed my blade through a Brute Thrall, sending him flying into the unit it was leading, and cried out with every ounce of energy I had, straining my armor’s Arcantrik Turbine to the limits as I called upon the last depths of my arcane power. “POUR IT ON ‘EM, BOYS! FOR CYGNAR!” A vast ripple of Arcane distortion pulsed out, wrapping my soldiers in a cloak of shifting colors and accelerating their movements Sergeant Galvan’s squad pulsed out twice their already-formidable volume of fire, and Sergeant Trajan’s Trenchers blasted deep into the ranks of the Thralls, combining heavy Military Rifles with Rifle-launched grenades and furious Chain gun fire while the blades of my Stormblades and Sword Knights blurred and flashed, sending Thralls flying. My Hammersmith trampled forward, crushing Bonejack and Thrall alike under foot. My Ironclads swung mighty blows with their Quake Hammers and fists, smashing iron and rotten flesh as swiftly as their own pistons and frames would allow shrugging off the return blows of the thralls as if they were no more than a gentle spring rain. The smell of ozone flared as I heard Lieutenants Zion and Kildaire cry “Lightning, Strike!” and the Stormglaives of their battle brothers launched devastating bolts of tightly controlled electricity deep into their ranks. There were only fourteen of them left, now, battered and torn, but they fought on like mad Goraxs, tenacious and efficient. My own blade whirled and my Radliffe Firestorm repeater spoke its harsh bark of death again and again, until the hammer clicked down on an empty shell.
It wasn’t going to be enough. The river was still too far away... Oh, Morrow, I prayed. Spare the lives of my boys. Don’t let them replace the thralls they fought so hard to destroy. Let them go home to their families. Take me, if you like, but spare my boys, please.
I glanced up to direct my soldiers into the next wave of thralls, and was stunned to see the Cryx pulling back. “What in Urcaen? What in blazes are they up to?” I asked myself.
Sergeant Trajan jogged forward, leading his Trenchers forward to help secure our right flank and cover Sergeant Galvan’s vulnerable Long Gunners. Lieutenant Zion linked his squad with Lieutenant Kildare, and Captain Brasher moved his company of Sword knights into tight formation around my left-most Ironclad, Rowdy. With a gesture, I brought my right side Ironclad, Buster, up even with Sergeant Trajan. “Hello, Sergeant! How are you doing today?” I asked Trajan conversationally. I absently searched for my Hammersmith with my mind, and felt its cortex slowly dimming. The Thralls had managed to take it out, after all.
“Hello, Captain,” Trajan replied, his scarred face grim under the dark steel of his helmet. “It’s not lookin’ too good, sir, not at all, a’t’all.”
I grinned tightly. “Well, we just have to rack up some numbers then, old friend. Forward, boys! Forward!” I raised my Stormglaive, and, under covering fire of Sergeant Gravan’s Long Gunners and Trajan's Trenchers, I prepared to lead one last, glorious charge.
Before I could push myself forward into the charge, however, I heard the sweetest sound in the world, the deep-toned baying of a clarion Cygnaran War Horn. I snapped my head to the right, not daring to believe that relief had arrived.
Miraculously, I saw the tall figures of who could only be General Adept Nemo and Lord Commander Stryker at the top of the hill. They were soon joined by the brilliant lines of the Cygnaran Heavy Cavalry. Laughing aloud, I directed my men into fire patterns designed to hold any enemy at bay long enough for relief to arrive.
The Cryxians were wheeling to meet the threat of our fellows, and I watched as the sun burst over the ridge, illuminating the valley. As one, I watched the brilliant burnished steel and white tunics of the 21st Sword Knights and the deep blue and shining gold of the Seventh Storm Battalion flood down the hill, flanked on either side by thundering, smoke belching Warjacks. My heart swelled as my countrymen smashed through the lines of the Cryxians, obliterating all before them.
I turned to my men, and gave one last order. “Onward, men of Cygnar! Forward! For Morrow and good King Leto! To victory!” I tensed my legs and charged forward, Stormglaive held aloft.

Turbulence
07-20-2010, 07:32 PM
Very good. At first I thought your central character was a Stormguard unit leader because of the weapon acting as a 'Jack Marshall, but as I read more it became evident that he was a Warcaster instead. The story flows well but you might want to break up you paragraphs to make it physically easier to read. I had to do a second take at you Captain Wallis, as I have written several stories here with my lead character being a Captain Adept Willis. Overall very entertaining and I look forward to reading more from you.