Battle at Ambermill
Evening begins to descend upon the battlefields of the western shores of Lordamere Lake. There is a brief hour of near silence as both sides move into position.
Upon the walls of the rebel city of Ambermill, the Kirin Mora magi under Grigori Dosantos and Court Wizard Thomassy issue orders to the local battalions. Though inferior in numbers, the Ambermill armies have the advantage of walls and terrain. To the north, Port Ambermill is clearly preparing for the brunt of Dalaran's first decisive attack.
On the opposite end of the battlefield, Archmage Augusta and several of her elite spellcasters ride out to accompany two flanks of cavalry. From behind the lines, General Marius sits atop his steed, musing and pondering, plotting and planning. He can see that the struggle with Saadhal's ships has cost him dearly, but the dent in his ranks is barely enough to cause him to worry. After all, it is half of Dalaran's might that is on his side in this battle. Ambermill will surely not stand against him in this.
"It's time." Thomassy murmurs. For once his relaxed approach is replaced by worry. Grigori nods at him reassuringly. "You do what must be done, Thomassy. See us through this." Just beneath the walls of Ambermill, Thomassy leads a circle of Kirin Mora magi in a detailed ritual. A circle is drawn, and Thomassy sits in its centre, preparing his mixture of Dreamfoil to inhale it for the spell he prepares to cast.
Still standing on the walls, Grigori Dosantos spreads his arms wide. His worried soldiers look up to him for support and words of encouragement. "Look to the east. What do you see? I will tell you what I see! I see my brothers in arms. Those men before us were comrades from Dalaran. But now they serve a dictator; a man who uses pagan heresy to attain power. A dictator who would take from you all that you love and replace it with imperialism and madness! So stand tall, and remember that tonight, you will fight for Dalaran as it should be, rather than Dalaran as it is now!" The soldiers raise a semblance of a war cry, though it is clear that they are afraid.
Then a horn is sounded; but it is the horn of General Marius. The cavalry of Dalaran charge towards the meagre defenses of Port Ambermill. The Port is exposed and vulnerable, as the rebel army is poised at the city rather than the shore. Grigori knows that the Port will not hold. "Forward! March!" he calls.
The rebel army moves to intercept the Dalaran ranks. Meanwhile, Thomassy continues his ritual. He remembers one thing; he must not cast his spell before the Witch Hunters do their work.
Meanwhile, the hills above the battlefield are host to a silent company, moving stealthily towards the rear lines of the Dalaran army. They are the Witch Hunters, sent by Archbishop Marden of Lordaeron to reinforce the Kirin Mora. The time has come for them to prove their worth. Under the setting sun, they are concealed; figures in black, with rapiers, razors and crossbows of every kind. Their target; the magi at the rear of Dalaran's army. Captain Olsen of the company swears silently to himself as he sees that most of Dalaran's magi have set off on horseback to attack Port Ambermill in the distance. The number of available targets that the Witch Hunters can take are at a minimum.
Fortunately, on the field of battle, the rebel forces seize the advantage. They crash into the ranks of enemies that were marching on the Port rather than the city, catching them unprepared. The Port seems to be safe, for now.
Then Captain Olsen and his Witch Hunters creep down from the hills. The Dalaran rearguard is positioned in formation, with several large tents set up around the beaches and hills. This is the basecamp that was hastily set up during the hours of the day. The Witch Hunters can smell their targets. They move undetected, and can see lines of magi focused on the battle ahead. Taking cover behind a set of crates and supplies, the Witch Hunters load their crossbows and take aim. The magi do not expect the volley, and are helpless to defend themselves against it. Several of them fall immediately. This rouses the attention of the entire rearguard, however. General Marius reins his horse, and calls out. "Assassins! Slay them!"
Captain Olsen draws two swords that were strapped to his back, and takes a wild gamble. The rearguard magi have been crippled, but the prime target remains. Olsen charges at General Marius. The General returns the favour, and spurs his horse towards the Witch Hunter captain. Olsen jumps just before collision, swinging his rapier at the General's exposed throat. He does not expect the General to punch him in the face midair. Olsen lands with a crash into the dust, as Marius wheels his horse around. "Rebel scum."
Olsen lifts his head to see his comrades being slaughtered by the rearguard. They are making a last valiant defense with their backs to heaps of supplies. In their last struggle, they set fire to the supplies, but are cut down just after. Finally, Olsen rises to make a last stand, but Marius' horse kicks him back, and the General runs the captain through.
Back at Ambermill, Thomassy can feel the lull in the magical defenses of Dalaran's main army. Now is the time. He inhales the Dreamfoil, and begins an incantation as he begins to fall into a trance.
Thomassy is the best illusionist in the kingdom, if not in all of the Eastern Kingdoms. This will be the hour to show Grigori Dosantos what he is really capable of.
He focuses, envisioning the numbers of the rebel army increasing. To the enemy, it will appear as if the Kirin Mora have two, no three times more the number of soldiers than they have actually deployed. Thomassy grins as he feels the magic take effect, spreading in a gust across the battlefield. Then he focuses again, as his mind frees itself from the restrictions of the flesh. To the enemy soldiers, the Kirin Mora will appear as fellow Hesperians; they will not be able to distinguish friend from foe.
The battle is raging on. The Hesperians, already taking heavy losses from the rebel advance, are suddenly forced to lower their guard before what appear to be their fellow soldiers. Confusion sets in, as it seems that they are suffering friendly fire. The illusion is taking affect.
Thomassy can sense their outrage and despair, and continues to amplify the illusion. Victory seems certain.
And then he feels it; a shockwave of frustration and anger. It rocks him to the core.
A mile away, Archmage Augusta, chief of Marius' magi, is blasting aside the defenders of Port Ambermill. Having been absent from the rearguard, she survived the Witch Hunters. She can easily see through the illusion cast by the enemy magus. "What a disgrace. Do our soldiers have such weak minds?" she calls out to her wizards around her. "Janine, Yolda, Henrikos, dispatch a message to Marius! Tell him that our rearguard is to focus on dispelling the illusion! Go!" Three of her magi ride off to deliver the message.
Then Augusta focuses. She traces the source of this illusion, and shuts her eyes.
Thomassy hears her in his mind. "I am coming for you." Thomassy flocks to her call. "Then come, old hag. Let's see how you do during a real battle." Augusta feels her senses assaulted by a sense of subtle horror; the illusionary magic of her rival magus tearing into her sensibilities. She regains focus, and looks to the magi around her. "We have work to do."
General Marius dismounts and looks over his blade, drenched in the blood of the Witch Hunter captain. He cleans it on the corpse of one of his enemies and turns to his men. "First of all, put out that damn fire before our supplies are history! And second!" he grates. "Somebody tell me how those men got in here, before I really lose my temper!" One of Marius' aides frantically tries to restore order, before returning his attention to his General. "They used the highlands to get behind our lines, my lord. That is the only explanation. It's a good thing we stopped them when they did; they could have done a lot of damage."
Marius sighs and dons his helmet, just as three of Augusta's magi ride into camp. "What word from the front lines?" "My lord!" one of them says hesitantly. "Ill news... the enemy is using illusionary magic to confuse our forces. It's - it's a slaughter. We need to redirect our magic from offensive to dispel the illusion."
The General kicks the corpse of the Witch Hunter captain in frustration. "Damn them!" Nervously, the magus continues. "My lord, we have several options. Augusta seems bent on taking the fight straight to the caster of the illusion, to take him out. She also advises that we pool our magi here to dispel the illusion." "Our rearguard magi were assassinated." Marius hisses. "Well." the emissary mutters. "Then we are at your disposal. General; the illusion can be broken if we take out the source of the illusion, Augusta is right. However, our forces are already suffering heavy losses. While they have understood the machination and are adapting to it, we may lose many men tonight."
Marius takes all the information into account. "I see. Well then, it is a gamble. We can push and drain our numbers, and hopefully take them out in one fell swoop. Or we can wait." "Wait, my lord?" the magus asks. "Yes, emissary. For you see, it will not be long before Count Dorian of Nevezia arrives with his army. We may be fractured now, but if we wait, we can avoid casualties and then take Ambermill. On the other hand-" Marius considers. "We will lose time, and that will allow the Kirin Mora to regroup, or retreat. We can sacrifice our vanguard, or perhaps retreat-" "Augusta, my lord." the emissary presses. "What of her?" Marius responds. "I believe she is indeed going to attack the source. Shall I stop her? What orders shall I relay to the troops?"
Kalabrond's eyes glaze over as Xanthus gives him his choices. "But lord, I have served for-" "Be quiet, Kalabrond." Xanthus commands. "The charade is over. Begone from my sight, or be executed!"
The former Vizier makes a low bow, and turns to leave. Before exiting the chamber, he looks back one last time. "What I've done, I've done for Kul Tiras. Whatever you may believe, I am loyal to Admiral Thaumas. I do not know why Phorcys spoke of me so. But-"
"Get out!" Xanthus spits.
Kalabrond halts whatever he was going to say, and vanishes from the court.
I'll post the rest of the updates tomorrow.