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General Dwight Striker was standing atop the gate wall in Birth Harbor. The Imperium's forces were able to take the battle ravaged port from the overlord's army. It was a grueling battle, two-thirds of the Imperium army was slain, but the horde suffered more casualties. After seven hours the minion hordes were forced to retreat into the forest surrounding the western half of town. It was a victory, but not without a cost. Striker knew that this wasn't the last they'd be seeing those horrid imps. The army Striker commanded was some of the finest he'd ever fought with. They were battle ready and willing to sacrifice their lives for the common good. But they were too tired and bloodied, and they couldn't take another attack. When they received news that reinforcements would be arriving at midnight, they were overjoyed at the hopeful turn of events. But Striker knew that the wait would be hard, supplies were low and so was morale; and yet the horde had not returned. Strange he thought this would be a perfect moment for a surprise attack. The enemy was being unorthodox. Every time Striker tried to think from the enemy's point of view, he failed to think of anything. This is what made him most afraid. Striker turned to his loyal lieutenant, Leepwood.
"What time is it Leepwood?" he asked. The elf soldier looked at the nearest moon dial and turned back.
"I'd say about… ten minuets to midnight sir." He responded. Striker grunted and looked back towards the woods. He began to stroke his five week old beard and pondered. Could they just be waiting in the shadows? He knew they were out there somewhere, perhaps he was staring right at them and didn't even know it. But if that were the case, what plan did they have in mind?
But unknown to Striker, the horde was indeed in the woods. In fact they were staring right back at him. In a nearby tree not too far from the gate, sat Head Blood Captain Bonesnap, gazing at Striker rubbing his chin like a fool. He thinks he is safe, thought Bonesnap; But if only he knew how much in danger he really was. The brown leader silently chuckled to himself at the whole irony of the situation. Normally he would fire an arrow right at the commander's face, the opportunity was so great, but now was different. Bonesnap had received direct orders form Gnarl that they only "toy" with the Imperium army until midnight; he said the overlord himself gave the command.
Since when has Dominion ever done anything but lounge in his throne? He thought. But he was the overlord and Bonesnap didn't want on be on the receiving end of a Shades wrath. Bonesnap shuddered at the thought. But then, he heard a giggle from his right. He quickly turned his head with anger at who laughed. An army of reds and browns hiding behind bushes looked up to him in fear. Bonesnap looked down and slowly a maniacal grin spread across his face and the minions responded in such a way, as if over a thousand mirrors were directed at him. He looked at brigade of greens hiding behind the main army, and spoke.
"Go; be silent as the dead soldiers that will soon be at your feat." They chuckled and began to paw at the ground. They dug so fast and so silently no one would have noticed, if had not been for all the dirt begging kicked up all over the army. Some reds began to boil in their temper but the blood captain calmed them.
"Save your anger for the humans and elves." Bonesnap chuckled; he then looked back at Striker, who was looking over the field that separated the gate from the woods.
"Just wait you wretched human." he boasted. "By the end of the night you will know the name of Bonesnap, right before I ram my blade through your delicate neck."
Bronwise Spite, grand elf mage of the Imperium of Light stood atop the mast of the ship The Crying Spirit. He looked on to see the lights of shore ahead. Finally with these troops they could gain solid ground in the overlord's territory and fight against his evil power. After pervious siege attempts by the Imperium of Light yielded weak results, the council decided to send Spite in order for the troops to rally behind a good commander to boast morale as they dig into the overlords land. Spite had personally volunteered for the mission, for him a personal quam was present in this holy quest as well. The overlord had enslaved his people and forced them to work in mines with unbearable conditions, and those who didn't were sent into slavery. The only thing that Spite hated more than the overlord was the cruel practice of slavery. Elves lived in fear from the overlord's power, people were encouraged to bigot and harass them; as they were considered "the weakest link" in the overlord's empire and must be "strengthened through pain and suffering". Such ethics disgusted both Spite and the Imperium. Spite greatly hoped he would live to see the day the dark tower falls into the black pit that spawned it, and its ruler fall with it. Suddenly a man in the crows nest shouted.
"Birth Harbor in fifteen minutes!" he called. Spite looked off toward the harbor town; he was ready, ready for anything the overlord could throw at him. But then he felt it, that twinge, a sudden feeling of coming dread. He heard dark cackles overtake his mind, as the screams of the innocent strained his psyche. His eyes widened when he realized what was about to happen. He turned around and looked at the captain at the steering wheel.
"Captain, increase speed we need to dock imminently!"
"Why? Is there a need for such haste?"
"Yes captain, there is. Increase speed and ready the crew and the fleet for battle, now!" Spite commanded. The captain nodded and gave the order.
"All hands to battle stations!" The ship began to cluster with soldiers and ship hands running across the deck. The first mate lit a lamp alerting the nearby ships of the situation. The message quickly spread to the other ships until a long line of orange dots could be seen from the port. Spite readied his staff and looked on towards the endangered town.
"Spirits guide us."
Striker kept watching the forest when he heard a call coming from downtown.
"Imperium ships inbound!" a soldier called. Striker turned around and looked to see seventeen orange lights in the distance. The soldiers around him began cheering and declaring triumph. Striker watched the ships coming in, with uncertainty. War had taught him to always be cautious, but when he looked over at his lieutenant Leepwood, who nodded with confidence. He let go of his alert mindset and let a warm smile reveal itself across his chiseled face.
But unknown to him, while all the other soldiers were cheering and embracing each other. Down by the drawbridge a small brown-green color was emanating from the brick ground. Then a faint hissing sound was herd and steam began to rise from the glowing bricks. The steam and green glow grew in noise and color until a melting sound overtook the enigma. Then the bricks melted away into the ground, revealing a seemingly constructed tunnel. Then snickering and gurgles escaped the hole. And if anyone was around the peculiar sight they would receive a foul odor rising from the tear in the earth. Suddenly a pack of greens sprouted up from the hole and scanned the area for any soldiers. When the coast was clear the motioned for more greens and silently leaded them towards the drawbridge control. Two guards were standing by the chain device that lowers the drawbridge. They didn't have much time to react to the swift assassins that fell upon them. After that the greens took out bottles of bright green liquid. They poured the substance on the chain holding up the drawbridge. After a few snickers and snorts the chain began to melt and dissolve. The greens laughed and took off towards the bridge to welcome their fellow war beasts.
General Striker was still looking on when her herd the sound of his men getting their throats slit. He looked down to see packs of green goblin creatures running under the wall toward the drawbridge.
"We've been infiltrated!" he shouted at his loudest voice. All the soldiers stopped cheering and looked at him. Leepwood gazed at his commander with fearful eyes.
"Enemy spotted, sound the alarm!" Striker yelled. The soldiers dissolved into shouts and cries. Men ran toward their posts, grabbed their weapons and hastily began setting up defenses. Leepwood nodded at an elf in hunter's clothing. The elf nodded back and blew a large horn in his hand.
Sprite heard the horn and looked toward the captain, who showed signs of worry. Sprite looked back and began to become frustrated. They needed to be there. They had to get there, to save their allies.
General Striker was just starting to equip his shield when the drawbridge suddenly fell downwards leaving a wide open doorway for anyone to get in. The commotion stopped as everyone looked on at the disaster. Striker looked at a sergeant running up to the wall from the bridge controls.
"What the hell is going on?" he shouted. The sergeant face was a mixture of confusion and fear.
"I don't know sir, the drawbridge just fell!"
"I well bloody know that, but can we fix it?"
"No sir!" called another sergeant who ran up to Striker.
"The chains have been melted with an acidic substance; we would have to make a complete chain replacement to fix it."
"Damn!" Striker yelled. But before he could gather his thoughts, a great roar penetrated his eardrum causing him to shake to his core. It was the sound of a battle cry, all the activity stopped as every soldier turned around to see where it came from.
Standing there proud as ever was Bonesnap, holding his dragon fang sword in his right claw, and standing atop a large rock in the center of the field between the castle and the woods. All eyes were on him, just as he wanted it.
"Low and behold, you feast your eyes upon the coming darkness. For I am General Bonesnap, high commander of the blood pack, Butcher of Blackgate, and the harbinger of your death! And these," he pointed toward the woods with his sword. "are my reapers!" Suddenly the forest sprang alive with hordes upon hordes of minion forces screaming their war cries and death wishes. The Imperium soldiers began to gather their arrows and aim. Bonesnap pointed his sword at the open archway.
"Kill them all!" he commanded. The minions charged into action and swarmed the door. Any guard who tried to defend the position was easily killed. Striker looked down at the horrible carnage with a new unparalleled fear. They must have been throwing the whole army at them! Striker looked back at lieutenant Leepwood, strong decisive leadership was needed.
"Ready the archers!" he shouted. Leepwood nodded and relayed that order to all the archers on the wall. They made positions and pulled back their bows to tight lengths.
"Fire!" commanded Leepwood. A rain of arrows descended upon the minion army. A mass of bodies were pierced by the sharp projectiles and stacks of corpses lay in front of the arch way. But they were quickly covered by more imps hurrying to enter the town. The bowmen couldn't keep up with the rate of minions pouring in at on time. Striker looked at Leepwood.
"Have the reinforcements arrived yet?"
"They're just pulling in sir."
"We have to fall back and regroup, or else we'll get slaughtered!"
"But sir if we do that then they'll gain the downtown area, and the western wall!" Leepwood stated. Striker looked at the incoming army; more were hammering in through the wall. Striker gazed at Leepwood.
"You go then; I will stay here with a squad to buy you some time."
"No sir you go, the elves and I will hold them off."
"That was not a request soldier, now go!"
"No sir!" Leepwood shouted. Striker stared into his eyes as if he was insane. But the look he received was one of sadness.
"This army needs you more then it needs me… sir." Leepwood solemnly said.
"I can hold them back sir, but you need to rally the men. Show them what it means to be an Imperium soldier!" Leepwood continued. Striker looked down in sorrow; then back up showing no emotion on his face, but his eyes betrayed him. Leepwood stood tall and saluted his friend.
"It's been an honor to fight with you, sir." he said. Striker saluted back.
"As I am honored as well; to call you my friend." he said. Leepwood nodded and ran off to regroup the elves. Striker looked on as his fellow comrade departed from his view, for the final time. Striker then grabbed his sword and headed for the docks. The retreating horns blew in the distance.
Spite's ship was porting into the docks when the crowd of soldiers came running toward the port. He jumped down as the ship lowered its anchor, a sergeant ran up to his side.
"What is the situation sergeant?" he calmly stated. The sergeant was out of breath from running in the think armor he was covered in, but he caught his breath and explained.
"Sir, we've been hit hard by the enemy forces, they've broken through the wall and are heading here as we speak, some elves stayed behind to give us time to regroup. But we don't know how long they will last." Spite cursed under his breath, his fellow elves had to die in vain. He had to see the general in charge.
"Who is the commander of this army?" he asked. The sergeant blinked a moment and looked around. Then he turned back to look at Spite.
"Uh, that would be General Striker. I don't know where he is at the moment though." he said.
"Then he's probably dead soldier, alright everyone gather round me!" he called. The army gathered around Spite as he issued orders. Then a soldier in the distance shouted.
"General Striker approaching!" Spite and the rest of the army looked to see Striker running in from the downtown area. The army cheered except for Spite, who jogged up to Striker.
"Are you General Striker?" he asked.
"Yes, and who are you?"
"I am Bronwise Spite, grand elf mage, and servant of her majesty the elf queen Nazara Wildwind, and your superior officer."
"I am honored sir, but now is not the time for an argument over who's in charge."
"Evidently not or else I wouldn't be here. I have already been briefed on the situation, gather your men." Spite ordered. Striker and what was remaining of his army met with the reinforcements. Spite began his plan.
"General Striker will lead the main force directly at the enemy, to press them out of the city walls. A second force, commanded by me, will sail down the coast, bypass their army, sneak into the woods, and engage them from the back. We will sandwich them into the open field where they will be cut down. Any questions?" he looked up. There were some mutterings about "cowardly elf" but no opposing ideas were said.
"Alright then, get to your positions!" Spite shouted, as everyone got in line. A huge militia formed on the docks while others got on their ships. Striker stood at the helm of the militia and waited for orders. Spite walked up to him and took hold of his left arm.
"You need to push then enemy out of the city as quickly as possible. Or else we can't corner them into the field, then we'll lose this battle." he said. An explosion sound radiated in the distance as the militia shifted in agitation. Spite looked on for a moment then back to Striker.
"You're a fine commander, Striker; I sense the good within you, as well as the fear, but do not show it. Lead these soldiers well, for they are in your hands now." He said. Striker nodded and Spite left for the ships. Striker looked ahead and placed his helmet on his head. He pulled out his sword and held it to his face. He then pointed it outward.
"You are soldiers of The Imperium of Light, whatever threat you face tonight, you will face with honor and courage. Now will you follow me?" he shouted. The army answered with positive shouts and screams.
"Very well then." He said. He looked at the army then forward.
"Charge!" he shouted. They all charged ahead with valor and bravery in their hearts and minds. Through the dark streets they headed, straight to the Horde.
In the Dark Tower, all was quiet. The minions stood silent, motionless, waiting. Thousands of minions gathered around the tower, all watching the tower. Gnarl was sitting in his private quarters, near the window overlooking the barren land. His eyes were fixated on a small candle flickering in the darkness. The overlord said at midnight he would "rise from the darkness". Gnarl had wondered what he meant by that. Would he strike the port town, destroy the Imperium, lay waste to the civilians, ascend to another world? Gnarls thoughts were interrupted by a loud gong. Gnarl looked up from the shadows, it was midnight! The overlord's time was at hand! A second gong rang throughout the tower, the minions shuffled and whispered to each other.
"What happens now?"
"I don't know, but I hope there's smashing involved!"
A third gong rang, the tower quivered from the force of it. Inside the throne room, the gong caused all of the lanterns surrounding it to suddenly expire. Silence crept back into the room, only to be swept out by small whispers in the darkness, almost as if spirits were speaking in a forgotten language. As the forth gong rang, the room began to tremble, the whole tower shook. All of the minions went deathly silent, every single light in the tower went out. Gnarl looked up, sudden fear came over him. His nerve went cold as the lantern he had flickered away. In the throne room a fifth gong rang and it stopped shaking. Not a sound was herd, not even the whispers anymore. Then the overlord's eyes opened. Two bright blaze of deep red filled the room; a snarl formed across the overlord's lips. Then in just a flash the overlord shadowed mass bolted from the throne and out the window. It was as if he was almost swimming through the darkness as he moved. A dark cloud formed around him and he began to fly away through the night, leaving a trail of dark smoke behind him. Gnarl looked out his window; he saw the cloud fly off into the night. His complexion turned to a sinful smile. The minions began cheering of the overlord's departure. A demonic roar boomed throughout the sky, Dominion had risen like the phoenix; and he was heading for the East.