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Avenger VIII: Betrayal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by MutantMaggot   
Sunday, 22 June 2008
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Avenger VIII: Betrayal
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As the Dark Elves begin their fight with their High kindred, Coreaux struggles to survive in the wilds, pursued by an unseen foe. Meanwhile, Jacques attempts to free his former master from the pits of Nagashizzar, and Jean hurries back to the cursed city of Mousillon. And as Coreaux struggles to regain command over Mousillon, it becomes clear there is a betrayer in his force’s midst. But who is it, and why has he chosen this moment to strike?  

Before I begin, however, I would just like to provide you with a brief foreword. VIII has taken a while, and is the longest so far. It is really the first chapter where I've introduced a good plot, so any feedback would be appreciated. It has been a hard rocky road to create this, but overall, I think VIII, at 34 pages and 16032 words, is the best so far. Hopefully, this will be a prelude of things to come!

 I hope you enjoy reading Avenger VIII.


Jacques' footsteps were the only sound in the deserted passageway as he crept towards the pit, keeping in the shadows of the ornate passageway. In his left hand he held an ancient ring of keys.
    Another undead guard marched past, and d'Eperon crouched in the shadows before hastily sneaking up behind him and slitting his throat, stabbing him for good measure as he carefully placed the body on the floor. There was no sound to be heard.
    Jacques quickly jumped onto the wall as he heard more footsteps approaching, clinging to its rough surface with all his strength.
    The time it was a skeleton, and d'Eperon didn't attack: bone made more sound than flesh when it hit the floor. Instead, he waited until it was past, and then swung himself across the thin passageway, using the other wall to propel himself forwards in a wall run that evaded the guards and traps he knew existed in this section of the passageway.
    It had taken him years to learn this much: subtle hints and questions dropped in Mallobaude's ear, information from the all-too-willing source of Nagash's herald.
    Jacques was an expert. A combination of expertise and experience made him the perfect spy, combined with his newfound vampiric strength and agility.
    Another leap. This time, he swung from a brazier, propelling himself in spinning leap to a platform on he wall opposite, presumably once used for a guard post. It was abandoned now, though.
    There was another just below this one, and then one a little way along. Good. These could be used as the perfect platforms to survey his next moves.
    But his perspective had failed him. He leapt too short, and fell to the floor with a crash as his armour hit the floor. Damn. Someone would have heard that. And as soon as they found the destroyed zombies, it was all over.
    Which meant he had to hurry. He didn't bother to jump or hide, but ran onwards, racing against time.
    He slowed, panting lightly as he saw bars. A prison. Good. He had reached Arda.
    The vampire was scarred all over, and bruises littered his thin form. To think that such could be done to even a vampire was horrific indeed.
    His voice was filled with bitterness as Luc spoke to d'Eperon. "Have you come ... to taunt me?" he hissed through cracked lips.
    Jacques frowned. "No, Master. I have come to free you from this torment," he declared, holding up the keys.
    Arda smiled; as much as was possible considering the horrible deformations of his face. But his eyes suddenly focussed on something behind Jacques, and his eyes opened in fear.
    D'Eperon slowly turned, to see a heavily built prison overseer standing behind him.
    "I'm sorry, d'Eperon?" the head guard said, raising his whip. His face split into an evil smile, showing filed teeth and twisting the many piercings he had on his face.
    Jacques drew his sword, and unleashed a swipe that nearly took the overseer's head from his shoulders.
    Barret was no longer smiling as he raised his spiked whip. "You're dead, vampire."

+++++

Fire rained from the sky, the eternal vengeance of the gods against elfkind for their mistakes.
    So had spoken Kalas, Arch-mage of Cothique, during the war of vengeance between the High and Dark elves, in the time of the Sundering.
    And now it seemed to have come to life. Mousillon's streets were narrow, with dark paving stones covering the ground. It had never been suited to war, however many battles had taken place in its cramped streets.
    The docks were in a state of disrepair, left undisturbed by generations of rulers and peasantry. Ancient rotted timbers were strewn around the area, and rats scuttled through ancient cabins filled with boats that would likely never see the light of day again.
    Yet now, elves rushed around, hacking down any who stood in their way, an orgy of bloodshed and violence.  It was a chaotic battle: skilled raiders, the Dark Elves knew they would never win simply by attacking in formation. Instead, they moved in skirmish formations, attacking the High elven formations from all angles and casually dismembering their defensive formations.
    It was clear the Dark elves were winning, and this way only the first wave. The High elven ship was a wreck, sinking after having been holed multiple times by the rams of the corsairs.
    Great blasts from sorceresses filled the sky, every blow drained the High elves of life as the sorceresses danced around in a frenzy of blood-fuelled rage and magical fury.
    In fact, the battle was already won, even though it had only just begun.

Bardanas watched from his ship and smiled. It was going well. Already the High elven corpses had made a mound of the dead, whereas the Dark elves had suffered fairly few casualties.
    The High elves fought with a fury born out of reckless anger and desperation, but they were outnumbered and dying rapidly, the death toll enhanced by the sorceries of his magicians.
    He drew his sword as he watched another contingent of High Elves emerge from the citadel. These were more ordered, and were fighting with their backs against the walls. Their spears held banners draping from their silver spearheads.
    The Commodore smiled, watching them kill the first wave of corsairs, and then drop the sarissa, to draw their long swords. It was clear these were specialist infantry: none others would carry sarissa - long spears designed for use in a phalanx formation - as well as long swords. Obviously they were some kind of honour guard.
    As he watched, a figure swathed in white robes emerged, and the bodyguard formed a defensive circle, still slaying any Dark elves that came too close.
    Any magic directed at them seemed to dissipate in a white mist, and Bardanas cursed as he watched it. High magic! He hadn't expected any mages here. His sorceresses had no methods to deal with opposing magic: it rendered one of his greatest advantages useless.
    The figure in white robes surveyed the docks, and his eyes met Bardanas'. In that moment, the commodore sensed intense hate in the mage's eyes as he glared at the druchii. The commodore dived aside as a blast of white magic devoured the ship he had been standing on.
    With a curse, the commodore drew his long draich and charged into the fray.

+++++


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