Spoiler: Ambience The march of Regalian troops barraged the ears of all in the same heavy drone that they felt within themselves. Eyes peered forward, shoulders touching shoulders, and the chorus of armor and weapons combined into the ballad of war. Banners did not dance in the wind in the mesmerizing promenade they might have portrayed some months ago. Now the air was tense, for even the sky was not so forgiving to the soldiers below; beneath a sun which glared past curling clouds. Murmurs occasionally aroused between those gathered in their respective branches. Even the positioned tents did not offer any sort of respite from the restlessness that washed over all. Some entered the front knowing that what awaited was indecipherable, others awaited a doom which did not rear its head yet. Amidst it all, the darkness sprouted by a tucked away sun cascaded shadows down on the shoulders of the Regalians. The chill of winter winds greeted them first when they arrived. The armies had fortified their positions south of Merkars’arh for the coming battle, digging in against the onslaught of Kathar the scouts had reported were coming. The command tent was eerily quiet despite the dozen or so individuals inside. The entire Marshal Cabinet had been instructed by Imperial Command to be present for the battle and to ensure the security of the Regalian State by ensuring the battle did not end in defeat. Such an outcome could only mark disaster for both the Elven and Regalian Empire, as the Moors would most certainly be used as a launching point for invasion of Regalia itself and more of the Altalar states. The Moors themselves were equally as quiet, save for the lonesome shouting of commands between the various columns by their respective Field Commanders. Goosebumps littered the skin of officers and soldiers alike as they stared out over the hills, just waiting for any signal that the enemy was approaching. None so far were forthcoming. Even out off to sea, the three Admirals experienced nothing more than the cold sting of the weather upon their faces. Each strolled up and down the decks of their ships, spyglasses out and yet, nothing. Perhaps the scouts were wrong and the Kathar retreated? Hardly, why would they bother destroying Nuthotehk only then to retreat back behind the Black Mountain Pass? Speculation amongst the ranks of both the land based Marshals and Admirals stirred but was soon disrupted by a loud bestial roar from over the rides in the distance. The Generals stepped out from their tents, adjusting their fur laden uniforms to protect them from the cold weather. “I presume you heard that,” General Aldwyn Howlester inquired, eyeing the others who were just exiting the tent. “Oh that ear-piercing roar, Ser Aldwyn? Not at all. Absolutely not. Daft prat,” General Hengest Harhold replied, mounting his horse that was tied to a post and riding off to convene with his column. The time was coming and that roar unmistakeable for anyone present during the Dragon occupation in the Capital City. Mutterings of “Dread Dragon” and “Rikirra” could be heard amongst the soldiers who looked to be on the verge of deserting. Fear began to engulf the ranks until their respective Generals took a handle of the situation. Each gave a rousing speech to their soldiers and levies which calmed the majority down but there was no mistake that uncertainty still lingered in the air. The Regalian Land forced had created a steadfast line of defence, starting from the shoreline and ending at the entrance of the Jungle leading to Lurlavan. From the far left the General’s columns went as follows: Field General Aldwyn Howlester, Imperial Marshal William Howlester, Field General Reimar Typhonus, Field Marshal Dietrich von Drachenburg, Field General Hengest Harhold, Field Marshal Ardige Viduggla, then to Hengest and Ardige’s rear, Field General Deo dei Termini, acting as an auxiliary support force. Approximately 77,000 Regalian marked soldiers of varying races stood ready to fight amongst the collection of Marshal Cabinet Officials. No expense was spared in ensuring their defensive position would remain unbreakable, and included Altalar archers, Dragenthal Cavalry, Darkwald Knights, Dwarven units, Pavisas and many more. Specialised soldiers littered the ranks of predominantly tenpenny units, each prepared to lay down their lives for their people and the Empire. Inside of Merkars’arh was no different. The Altalar prepared themselves for the worst, arming themselves with makeshift weapons and whatever the Regalians allowed them to carry in hope that should the Kathar Force decimate the Regalian defences, they’ll at least have a fighting chance at repelling or escaping. A token Regalian ‘City Watch’ had been left behind to assist in manning defences, but this role was delegated to the less savoury of the Army that the Imperial Marshal or the respective Generals did not want jeopardizing their plans. Archers and Artillery units readied their munitions at the orders of their respective Field Commanders. Even out at sea, the Admirals and their respective captains began sailing into formation; a tight maneuver to say the least given the number of Anglian Nautknights and frigates so close to the shoreline. Amazingly, and to the note of any Naval enthusiast, this had been the largest conglomeration of Anglian Nautknights the Empire had seen in decades. Nevertheless,Division Admiral Christopher Black along with Wing-Admirals Karl-Gustav av Nystrom and Horatio de la Riviere ensured no collision occurred, aiming their broadside cannons toward the shoreline flank to assist the army in the battle to come. The Admirals had certainly thought about their tactic, having employed Dwarven Oceans of Fire in the battle to create a barrier between the fleet and any incoming naval hostiles. After all, memories of the Kraken that had attacked weeks before had not soon left their minds and by now any wounds it had inflicted would most certainly be healed. The clap of white caps against the hull of ships reminded every naval body that there was a harsh anticipation among them. Even the tints of the sea were a boding, murky black as if an endless realm awaited beneath the surface. As the sea breeze whistled through sails, the occasional, estranged cry of a corrupted, deep ocean creature swirled around their feet. The floorboards creaked from the vibrations. Everyone knew that the war was about to begin--by these sounds intermingled with the blaring of horns on the land. The suspense was building back on land also. At least twenty minutes had passed since the roar had been heard and to this point, no sign of a single enemy troop had been made. All eyes were on the skies, including those of the Prince Marshal who undoubtedly had a major role to play in the upcoming battle. The tirade from Field Commanders and Generals met a swift end as their voices began to harmonise by the rumbling of land and the clattering of steel on the horizon. The drums of war began to blare from the Regalian side and all units stiffened up ready for battle. Eyes fell upon the hillsides eagerly waiting for the first Kathar unit to appear to mark the start of the battle. The noise grew louder and louder, growing ever closer until nothing. The noise ceased to exist, utter silence stilling the overcast landscape. Sharp breathing and uncomfortable shuffling became the consonance while officers uttered to their troops to steady. Hands reached for their swords, bowstrings and shields suddenly as the very same draconic roar bellowed, though this time much closer. Every man and woman on that battlefield looked to the sky, eyes paling in horror as, breaking through the clouded horizon soared the beast they had been dreading: Rikirra. The underside of the draconic beast was all that could be deciphered first. A lengthy hue of violet shrouded overhead mixed with dark, light-blocking wings. Her corrupted form, more sleek and slender than those familiar to the image of the Imperial Dragon, could almost have been coined beautiful were it not for her treacherous intentions. The very beats of her wings cast gale-like winds down upon those Rikkira soared over. Her cry was as menacing as stories foretold: dark and merciless, piercing the veil between safety and terror, and diving into war. She carved a line through the skies with a sharp swivel. Within a blink, her fanged maw opened and no sooner did a cast of lightning blaze from her mouth. She spit her lightning-like dragon fire towards the sides of the armies, causing the ground to burst into rubble as if hit by explosions. Those who were caught in any portion of its range were sure to meet a terrible fate. Rikkira’s lightning-breath path suddenly became all the more ensnared by disaster, for soon the gravity weighed heavier around the outer portion of the branches of armies nearest her, making them nigh-impossible to run and were privy to her demise. Even when the lightning ceased from her jaws, her cry arose again--only this time, it was joined by an ensemble of Kathar warriors who climbed down the hills in swarms, down every surface the Regalian soldiers could witness. Dots of grey-skinned soldiers flooded the land, with Silver Tear Paladins, Golem Constructs and Harpies littering their numbers, growing larger and vast as they neared the Regalian forces. They seemed endless. They emerged more and more, hundreds and hundreds more, until it was clear that this was no small force the Regalians would wrangle with. The air, heavy by Rikkira’s gravitational manipulation, now became thick with the promises of death and destruction by the wails of the bloodthirsty Kathar who rose to fight with the Dread Dragon. This is the first of a few posts to come detailing the Battle of the Elven Moors. Each part of the battle will be dealt with in segments so please be patient as this write up may take some time. Stay tuned for more tonight and may the rolls be high and the maims be merely aesthetic.