Not really a battle report as the battle it describes never actually took place, but I didn't know where else to put it.
Somewhat inspired by the story in the rule book, I decided to have a crack at writing one of my own involving my two preffered factions.Chance MeetingAlberia, September 12th, East of Belfort
The Inn was unusually quiet. Ambrose, the barman, took the opportunity to clean some glasses. A stopping point between Belfort and Eron, the Unicorn was usually a busy Inn, though few customers stayed long. There were regulars, but regular travellers, men and women always on the road, not the sort of people who would stop for news or gossip. On the other hand, there were always new people and Ambrose liked meeting new people.
Occasionally, they had unusual customers. Tonight there had been three. The first was a tall, dark haired man with a stern expression and a military bearing. He was wearing a long, dark and weather-beaten cloak, but the bulk of his armour was clearly visible underneath. It would have been impossible for him to conceal the enormous broad sword, almost as tall as he was, so the man had made no attempt. It was slung across his back quite openly. Ambrose was amazed the man could carry it, much less wield it in battle. Generally, Ambrose liked to keep weapons out of the bar, but decided it was better not to complain in this case. The man had ordered a drink and sat down quietly in a corner.
A Mercenary soldier? Ambrose had considered. A weapon like that surely couldn't have been for show, but it was odd to find a soldier of fortune travelling alone. Some kind of bounty hunter perhaps? Ambrose preferred not to consider the possibility that the man was an Imperial Agent, that could bring the kind of trouble he didn't need.
Shortly after the man's arrival he was joined by the second unusual traveller of the night - a young woman, barely more than a girl, brown haired and remarkably beautiful. She was also wearing a travelling cloak, though it was noticeably cleaner and in better condition. Her light demeanour, smile and unworldliness seemed wholly out of place in the dimly lit Inn. Ambrose had been surprised when she gave the grim faced man a smile and a wave, and even more surprised when the man had returned it with an almost imperceptible nod.
She had almost skipped over to the bar and ordered a drink. Ambrose had been about to offer her a friendly warning about the kind of attention she was likely to attract, when an oversized man-ape, clearly the worse for drink, proved his point for him. Leaning over the young woman he had made a decidedly improper suggestion. Ambrose glanced at the man in the corner, but he sipped his drink and didn't move. Ambrose decided he should say something, when in a flash the young woman had the drunk's arm up behind his back. Ambrose saw that with the tiniest of movements she could have snapped his arm. But instead she let him down, took her drink and joined her grim-faced companion in the corner.
The third arrival had been the strangest of all. An elderly man, with a grey beard and another weather-beaten cloak, though not as weather-beaten as his face which carried the scars of a life lived long and hard. The strange thing was that Ambrose didn't see him enter or walk across the bar. He simply appeared at the table with the grim-faced man and the young woman. More disturbing, he had somehow acquired a drink that Ambrose was quite certain he had never served. He sipped quietly in the corner, while the young woman talked and laughed.
A very mysterious trio indeed. But Ambrose decided that it was better not to know any more. These looked like the kind of customers that could cause trouble. Better to leave well alone.
* * *
Daniella Meris laughed. “Vayl that was mean. The poor bar keeper's eyes almost popped out of his head.”
“I don't like waiting at bars,” Vayl said, by way of explanation, his expression didn't change, but Daniella knew him well enough to see the smile behind his old-looking eyes.
“Now that we're all here,” Janus Faith began, ignoring his companion's distractions, “are we prepared.”
“Three horses stabled outside,” Daniella said. “Do we have our destination?”
“A few kilometres east of Eamon Forest,” Janus replied. “The local Imperial forces have stumbled across something. The Lord General is on his way, but he has says he has reason to believe we may encounter resistance.”
“So we're there to provide backup again.” Vayl sighed. “The Lord General is jumpy for a man of his rank. At least it isn't far away.”
“We have to make a detour first,” Janus said, “to collect some kind of specialist. The Lord General believes her expertise will be valuable.”
“An Imperial Agent?” Daniella asked.
“Some kind of freelance.” Janus snorted with disdain. Daniella smiled slightly and stifled a giggle. For all his haughtiness it had only been a few months earlier than Janus himself had been little more than a Freelance operator. Daniella didn't say anything. She knew how sensitive her commander was about his return to Imperial service.
“We leave at first light?” Vayl asked.
“No, I want cover of darkness,” Janus said. “Better we are not seen on the road, I want out movements quiet.”
“So another night of riding in the rain,” Vayl grumbled. “I'm too old for this.”
Daniella giggled. “Why so grumpy this evening Vayl?”
Vayl looked at her. For a moment his intense grey eyes met hers. He spoke softly.
“Leaves fall, slowly turning,
As gentle reminder of things passed,
Once green and growing now lifeless and discarded.
Brief lives lived and cast aside.
No memory of their passing.”
“A new poem?” Daniella asked, with a smile.
“I don't know how to finish it.” Vayl complained. “It needs another line, but I can't think what it should be.”
“When you two are quite finished...” Janus didn't complete the sentence, but stood up. In spite of his chiding of his subordinates, it felt so much better to be travelling with them again. Daniella's optimism combined with Vayl's cynicism, without them a part of himself had been missing. The three made their was to the door.”
* * *
During the Cerberus division's meeting another customer sat silently observing them in the corner of the Inn. He did not hide in the shadows, but somehow became part of them. So much so that a customer had almost sat on him, before quickly apologising. The pleasant grin he had received had somehow been more disconcerting then any angry glare could have been.
Just after Cerberus division left, the strange man had quietly gotten up and disappeared through the back door. Once outside he checked carefully to see that he was not observed and then, quite casually, ran up the Inn wall before squatting down on the roof to watch the three Imperials as they walked down the street.
After a moment he was joined by a small dark skinned woman, wrapped in fur. “And what have you found, Cheshire, that is so fascinating that you failed to meet us at the appointed time.”
Cheshire turned, and gave her his trademark smile. “My dear Bael, I believe I have found something of great interest.”
Bael leaned over slightly and looked down at the three figures. “Imperials,” she said calmly. “Agents, possibly quite powerful, but entirely irrelevant to our mission.”
“Look again, sweet one,” Cheshire continued. “The woman...”
“Oh why am I not surprised,” Bael almost laughed. “It would be a woman of course. The eternal folly of Dark Cheshire.”
Cheshire stood for a moment and lightly putting his hands on Bael's shoulders. “I am offended Bael, surely no other woman could possibly distract me from your incomparable charms. But can you not smell it on her?”
Bael shrugged him away, but she did sniff the air. Then again, there was something.
“Can you smell it? Taste it? There is something about her. In her soul. Something unlike. Something other. We must investigate.”
Another voice spoke. “Although this discovery may be of interest, we must press ahead with our mission.” The voice was strong and imperious. It brooked no argument. “We cannot risk exposure at this time.”
Bael and Cheshire turned to see the pale form of Genma in her simple grey dress. The woman's voice carried a weight and authority that belied her light frame. Her face was completely emotionless.
“Please Genma,” Cheshire argued, “this is an opportunity not to be missed. Sometimes we must seize the moment.”
“And sometimes we must let it go,” Genma said, dismissively. “Our instructions are clear.”
“You are being short-sighted and foolish,” Cheshire said.
“Nevertheless, I am in authority here.”
Genma turned to leave, Bael followed. Cheshire stood for a moment, contemplating the situation. He looked back at the three Imperials, then at his colleagues. His smile spread and then he fell forward off the roof. The movement was so casual that it could have been an accident, but he turned it into a somersault half way down before landing and breaking into a run.
Genma looked after him. For the merest fraction of a moment her passive expression slipped into an angry frown, before returning. Although, in many ways Bael disliked her, she had to admit that Genma was completely calm in a crisis. No time for angry displays or futile gestures. The situation was what it was and she had to deal with it.
“Go,” Genma said, gesturing to Cheshire. Bael nodded and leaped off the roof. Genma followed, drifting casually into the street below.
* * *
Janus had barely registered that they were under attack when the dark figure was upon them, swinging his strangely shaped sword. The attacker was unarmoured and seemed to be wearing a ragged assortment of clothes with a feathered head dress. He whirled his blade around his head in a style Janus had never seen before.
In a moment Vayl moved, drawing the blades of Chronos and parrying his strikes. Daniella drew her bow and launched and arrow, but the dark figure somehow managed to deflect and still avoid Vayl's counter strike.
There was flash in the dark and Janus ducked. A second figure appeared, striding out of the shadows. This one was smaller, a woman apparently. She held out her palm and a blast of dark energy shot out. Janus barely had time to block with his sword.
A second arrow from Daniella, forced the woman to dodge.
Janus was about to launch his own attack when something else caught his eye. Another woman, slightly taller and more elegantly dressed was walking towards him. She was pale and slim, almost sickly looking. She looked as though Janus could cut her in half with a single swing. But he had enough combat experience not to underestimate an opponent. He approached carefully, his blade drawn.
The woman reached into her dress and threw something at the ground. There was a flash and the roar of flame. Janus guarded his eyes. At first he thought the woman had thrown some kind of incendiary missile. Fire burned all around. But then a shape formed out of the flames, an enormous humanoid skeleton, almost twice Janus' height, an Ignis. It opened its mouth and bellowed, before launching itself at Janus.
* * *
Cheshire was struggling. He should have been able to bring down the old man and focus on the girl, but somehow it had not worked out as planned. His opponent had caught him by surprise, Cheshire preferred to deliver surprises rather than receive him.
Every strike he made was being parried by an opponent who seemed to be everywhere at once. His strange golden blades dancing to intercept Cheshire's every move. But it wasn't only speed that was the problem. Wherever Cheshire swung his sword the golden blades seemed ready, as though his opponent knew where he would strike as soon as Cheshire did. What was more, in the golden glow of the blades, Cheshire thought that the old man looked much younger than before, as though the blades were reversing the flow of time.
Cheshire was confident that he was the stronger fighter, his opponent was defending not striking back, but Cheshire's target was the girl and time was not on his side. Loath as he was to request aid, he needed support.
“Bael darling,” he called out, “a little help would be greatly appreciated.”
“I do have my own problems,” Bael sighed. But she stopped darting from arrows for a moment and drew a symbol in the air.”
There was an odd buzzing hiss noise, and for a moment everything seemed to slow down. A strange pressure formed in the air. Vayl's blades fizzed and grew dark and the old man sank to his knees. Cheshire grinned and launched a vicious kick to his opponent's head before darting to one side and hurling himself at the girl.
Vayl quickly picked himself up. The blades of Chronos were dark and inert. A seal, he cursed. No time to worry about that, ironically. He turned to pursue his enemy when something caught him across the jaw. Bael advanced towards him swinging a morning star in her right hand.
“Poor thing,” she gloated. “Not so strong with your magic knives sealed.”
“Strong enough for you.” Vayl spat and leaped to his feet.