Warden was already sending operatives after us. The fighting was thick. My Marshal claws went through at least six operatives before them made a total retreat. I didn't leave wounded. Marshal blades came in pairs, a four claw glove, or a single blade claw. I loaded up on as much weaponry as i could before we were forced from the armory, but Dee was able to get us the highest quality armor she could. Any less and we'd have been dead. With Dee en-route to the Roost Fortress with Mafic and Felsic, I took the two Warden's with me on the air. We loosed the Great ravens in the escape and made it clear in the confusion."
-Personal Note: Marshal Verner-
Avisland: Robin Territory, Outside the Festung.
A heavy patrol of Roostmen arrived from the fortress. Kaiser’s banner in tow. “Goldfaust!” One of them shouted.
“Lord Kaiser sent us to help you, we’re at your call?” They announced. The ten rallied to stark and his fourteen keepers.
“These traitors will know the lance.” Stark shouted.
“Kaiser is up to date, leave the armor Gold we have to move!” He shouted out. Gold disengaged his bulky plates and the thick weight. The suit was in no danger of being damaged or stolen, it’s sheer weight guaranteed both. The troops had fresh armor and spears waiting by the gate and twenty more keepers join him as he rode out.
This put his fourteen to twenty for and then it moved his twenty-four to forty-four.
Black figures rushed out alongside the Keepers. Twelve Rabenites and Rabenesses sprinted at pace with the keepers between their formations.
“Armina, Diener, My Lord and Lady, Lord Folter has moved a number of our southern units back to the Festung, they’re arriving soon. No warden operatives were among them.” The Rabenite informs them as his unit stands ready.
Armina took command as Diener moved the wounded into the fortress. “You are to follow the roost charge, we are dealing with a mass betrayal, protecting Robin is your primary objective, lethal force, yes. But watch yourselves, we can expect enemy air.” It hurt her inside to call her own tribe the enemy.
“Where you roosters going… without us?” Narr and his squads shadowed Gold’s forces.
“What took you so long? Stick behind the keepers, help them if Wardens jump at them. Move between our charge and our rear. Use our force as cover, our armor is thicker. And watch the skies.” Gold bellowed out.
The force moved west just off from the main road, Gold was not foolish enough to take the most predictable route. Roads were suicidal against an enemy that relied on ambush. Raben would have to try harder than that.
A clearing met the force as Robin families and Rabens alike ran for their lives. Great Ravens swooped down swing at Roosts and Rabenites scattered from the Corvus castrum exodus. A few desperate farmers had emergency weapons at the ready but didn’t know who to shoot and are holding down a trench crowded with people.
The irrigation trench was dry but men and women fled in panic.
The Wardens and traitor Roost were moving supplies out of Robin and attacking any in their way.
Stark reached into his saddle back and pulled a horn free. He breathed in as the keepers charged directly into the plains before the farmland. The clamor of metal armor, ringing mail, rattling plates, and scrapping claws queued the blast from his horn. A wail of eerie, and ominous sound floating over the fields. The pursuing Raben Wardens and turn coat Roosts saw the gallivanting thunder approaching.
“Flares now!” Gold shouted. The shoulder pads on each rider fired off four flares, two forwards, and two into the sky at a sixty-degree angle to keep the light above them as they charged. The great ravens circling were blinded and retreated back to higher elevation.
Rows of lances reached torso level as the tips gained speed. The lances spark up as magnesium ignited just below the edge. A cry ran out along the charge and the first spear punctured a Rabenite’s chest hoisting his broken form off the ground and flinging him into his clansmen and women. The splatter erupts out from him over his comrades.
Eight more are immediately impaled on the charge as the cavalry clashed with the raiders.
The chaos and crimson blood exploded along a line of the charge. Spears and blades sparked on armor and hooks and chains fly and whirl.
Gold thrusted down and lanced a Traitor Roostman down his chest and out his back. The spear lodged in deep, he ignored it and droped th spear for his sword.
A Traitor warden lassoed a rider of their keeper with a chain. The curves in the metal whipped and snapped around a Roostwoman and plucked her from her stead. The traitor’s talons plunged down. The armor caught the talons and trapped them in the metal. The traitor tried in vain to twist them free, but the metal thickness worked with its softness. The talons cut in but couldn’t penetrate all the way through, instead she found her weapon had betrayed her as the Roost woman plowed a metal fist into her attacker’ face.
Bone caved in and her visor shattered. She fell to the ground and the Roost woman heaved her sword to her neck parting it off her shoulders.
Shrouded Wardens move with chains on blades. With the scatter from the keepers, a Rabenite sword weaved among them and caught one in the jaw. Teeth and tissue fled away.
Wardens were preyed upon from the darkness they relied on. Narr, Verza, and Nadel moved into the chaos unnoticed as the flares and shining cavalry caught the eyes. Even in the dark of knight with their flares. None were weary of the loyalists advancing just behind the first wave.
A tripwire sent three Keepers into the ground from the first wave. Swords and claws from Warden clashed against the armor and feathers as their backs hit the floor. Now the Rabens of Gold's force counter attacked. As the enemy lept onto the Roosts and their keeper mounts, Verza's unit tore them off and gouged them.
A talon lunged to tear and rip at Roosts but solid gauntlets would catch the talons. A gauntlet held it firmly and the destroying force of the Roost armor bents the wrist and with full pressure, the bones in the Rabenite’s hand snapped and muscles tore. The skin ripped and the Roostman twisted his gauntlet mangling the hand beneath the talon and a Roost sword met their neck. All the speed in the world was hopeless.
But the ground battle showed a pattern. Gold and Stark charged in a wave, sowed discord, then moved back around. Roostmen who were dismounted would bog down the Wardens and Raben loyalists would move in a break up counters.
Only as the air flares died down the Great Ravens adjusted. Traitor air power swooped down and lifted keeper off the ground like fish from a river. Only to drop them from heights.
Keepers pounced like feral animals rending man and woman alike with their legs and razor beaks. Their beak plating snapped and ripped the armor off the traitors like snails in their shells.
Javelins twisted and spun from their throwers as they impale the giant birds of carrion. Gold led a charge to a downed Great Raven as his keeper lept upon it with its claws. Gold lunges forward and impales the rider with his sword at high speed. His keeper slashed at the black form in the dark. The great raven croaked out in shrieks and agony before it’s death.
Narr caught two Rabens fleeing towards the Robin territory and unleashed fire from his Jezail. The metal dart struck one in the back passing through, the second shot picked one to a Robin house.
More warden forces advanced from the Robin territory to meet Gold's force. Wardens lept up to close in, Fate countered by throwing them off the keepers and falling upon them.
Golden spears skewered black capes, and armor buckled under keeper claws. With the chains from the fallen, the fates weaved nooses and knots and attached them to the saddles of Keepers. As the wave of cavalry moved back to cycle charge, the chains were fit to combatants and they were dragged back into the waiting Fates. Six were yanked back by their necks with a snap as the chain was fitted to a moving Keeper. Others left knots between the few trees, just narrow enough to miss from the air. Upon the dive, great keepers jerked and and crumble into the metal chains, breaking their neck and collapsing with their riders. Once on the ground some lash out in panic as their collided into the chains. Their feathers and blood joined their ground forces.
Unbeknownst to the combatants, Robins in the dark hurried from their trench along the outside of the battle and unleashed their trap. A wall of fire became a total blaze of vengeance. Oils from their supplies as well as fuel for their machinery was dosed around the battlefield and the retreating forces were caught in the flames. The fire didn’t creep toward the main battle but lingers on the outside. Having already watered the fields the battle occupied, a ring of fire formed quickly around the center where the land was driest.Robin homes were safe, with long trenches and irrigation lines their blaze moved into the traitors with predictability, and with efficiency.
As surprise faded from the initial engagement, Great ravens arrived once more with chains hanging from their saddles. Great hooks and blades were tied to the end and arched with whip-like speeds as the ravens circled and strafed the battlefields. Gold’s cavalry was corralled back from the retreating foes as a second force of Ravens moved in. The first Great ravens swooped low as Traitors grabbed the hanging chains and are carried off.
As victory nearly turns to defeat, the Great Ravens collided and blasts from revos and jezails snapped and echoed the sky into a numbness. Void was filled with smog from black powder weapons as the Wardens retreated through the fire. Most screaming out as they sprinted through the blaze with no more Great Ravens to carry them out of the fighting. Too desperate and too broken to receive rescue from the air, all who fled had to brave the fire.
Loyalist great ravens had arrived to equalize the sky.
Fire did not allow one to pass in peace. Fire coiled and tortured the human form until the voice cried out it’s last. It was not a quick death. Fire claimed thirteen Wardens and many more escaped with flames licking at them.
One Raven above the rest. He hung in a glide with foul winds whipping him like a lash. Both of his taloned hands held his reigns. Needles and razors were extended from them. The plated coils over his gloves flexed and the blades bent as he began his dive. His eye beamed the battlefield, his Raven gargles out a hiss that stretched into a croak. From just behind him, the fully tainted mask of a Marshal came into view.
A marshal motioned his bird to dive at the first. While upside-down, he swooped over the traitor in his keeper. His claws ripped as his arm. and his Raven flung around to lash out.
The commander in the sky departed, scared off by the Marshal. The Wardens in full retreat and the traitor Roostman made it to their keepers and fled.
Gold rode up at speed and his band formed up.
As dozens of great ravens landed.
“Remove your mask and state your loyalties. An advocate will need to vouch for you.”
“I’m a Raben Doctor, Frem Raben Kass! We have Fate prisoners freed and moving into the Robin’s territory."
Why the hell would you bring Raben operatives to take shelter with Robin civilians?" Stark barked.
"We wanted them safe, not among Roost, not among Raben. Roost patrols have been raiding and attacking Raben refugees. Robin would not hurt them and they would be left there!” Frem spoke out to the gore and gold armored Roost riders. Equally bloody Rabens peered at him.
Verza charged to him. Freed her hair from her mask and clung to him immediately.
“He’s my husband!”
“Verza!” Frem held her close.“You’re here.”
Narr gave Gold the all clear and he had the two of them escorted back to the fort. A second bird landed slower than Frem’s, the dive was pronounced. Behind him, three more moved down. Each a Rabenite or Rabeness mounted on their bird and landed to his rear. A marshal lept off as dozens of empty birds soared overhead, saddled but without riders.
“I am Verner, Marshal of murder 33. Who’s in charge right now? I must speak with them.”
“I’m Goldfaust. I believe we’ve met before. Where do your loyalties lie?”
“Ah, yes, you. I owe my loyalties to the Fate clan. Those behind me have loyalty to you and your peers as well.” He pointed at Verza and she approached him.
He whispered something to her and Frem.
She turned to Gold and Stark. “Gold, these man are honorable and devoted Rabenites. Marshal royalties are only bestowed upon them by other Marshals, and the Marshals form our council while the Knights organize our military. These men with Verner risked their families and their lives to join up with us.”
They were interrupted by the mourning cry of the Great Raven swarms that lurked over the battlefield. The birds pressed their heads against their fallen riders as well. Their voices like low brass, their throats eerie and their sorrow filled songs echoed out.
“There is very little your can do to prove our loyalties but we have pressing information for Diener and Armina. Folter’s force was moving in from the south. He brings caravans from Arbiter, survivors from some sort of ambush. So we can take the wounded back on our birds but we must hurry.”
“How many were lost Stark?” Gold asked his lieutenant.
“Eight keepers are dead, six riders are dead, two unaccounted for, likely dead. As for Raben, six wounded, two dead as well.
On the side, Gold and Stark discuss the conclusion as Robin finishes dowsing the flames. The smoke clouded and obscured the field and the valley. They began a full evacuation to the festung as the embers and ash settled.
“You brought the Great Ravens from the Corvus Castrum?” Narr asked. Just before Verner leaps back to his bird.
“Yes, and I need to speak with My Lord Diener and Lady Armina. My right-hand squad and left-hand squad were trapped and killed in the escape. My rearguard and vanguard scattered with more of the refugees. We have to inform Armina, she must know at once.”
“Right away, please, allow yourself a rest, we’ll have a complete withdraw towards the fort, and we’ll be asking the Robin tribe to follow us. Our traitors were not above attacking them." Said Gold.
"Thank you Roostman." Verner said with a great sigh. He'd seen the worst of the fighting in the Corvus Castrum itself.
Under his mask, Verner hid his troubles but he paced on the ground for a moment. He motioned to speak but froze himself. Only to pace again.
Only after he touched the ground did his defenses falter. He collapsed. Frem rushed to him with a series of examinations and poked two needles into his arm.
"I think they used a poison. But he'll make it. I've stopped it here. But he'll need more help." And as Frem worked on Verner, discovering many more wounds and cuts, the Robin tribe moved on the battle field with first aid and professional surgeons. The fire was quenched quickly as it was controlled and aimed. But many in the attack were nowhere to be scene.