2021.11.27 10:53 PepsiButItsMilk C’mon bitch im tryna do an oil change
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2021.11.27 10:53 Black_knight96 [PS4]H:BE25 tesla W:Q50c25 and Qffr25 10mm pistols
2021.11.27 10:53 FrontpageWatch2020 [#13|+6602|542] I think it's a good idea [r/WhitePeopleTwitter]
2021.11.27 10:53 TheOnlyAssMan Glory to the CCP
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2021.11.27 10:53 -en- @AP: Solomon Islands police found three bodies in a burned-out building and arrested more than 100 people after violent protests sparked by concerns about the Pacific nation's increasing links with China. https://t.co/57yD4s3S6j
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2021.11.27 10:53 darksideofpotato Appa did not want to sit down, did a blop instead
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2021.11.27 10:53 Y-Bob I think I'm about to be an internet 'star'
My eight month old Great Dane Mastiff just managed to get out the front door. She's stubborn at the best of times so just ran when she was called back, straight into the road.
So. Cue Benny Hill music, my American wife running after her screaming at her and me running after her in my pants, while all the time the cars are pulling up in three directions and we weave in and out of them...
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2021.11.27 10:53 lindseee628 Readings Available ✨
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2021.11.27 10:53 my_asshole_brother Internet on bail
If a person is banned from using the internet outside of work while on bail, does this include Netflix/smart tv?
Context: person has been banned from using the internet except for work due to a child porn charge, has been watching Netflix, someone in my family is his surety and i want to make sure they don't lose their house because of this person's actions. The Netflix use cannot in any way be attributed to work.
Thanks for any info.
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2021.11.27 10:53 -en- @AP: A host of countries are imposing travel restrictions on southern African countries to try to contain a new coronavirus variant. Dutch officials are checking for the new variant after 61 people on two flights from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19. https://t.co/ASkfCyWd3C
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2021.11.27 10:53 usernameoridk Ginger haired Sasha
2021.11.27 10:53 ScitechX Bluetooth tracker. Watch:
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2021.11.27 10:53 dviricik fun Cousin party
2021.11.27 10:53 AlleenEenVrouwtje Balea Med Ultra Sensitive Tagescreme & Vaseline rosy tinted lip balm
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2021.11.27 10:53 Blue-Canarie Who was I with last night?
Oh man, Marina's party last night was a total rager, yeah? I don't remember much about last night AT ALL, but I woke up with a mystery this morning I hope you can help me solve. I remember being all excited after David Dorman's seductive arms class, and Lavender planning to stay the night at Ayla's treehouse so I could have the Murphy bed and, ah, a little privacy if ya know what I mean? Clearly I took advantage of that, because there was a very interesting note by my bedside table this morning. Trouble is, the most important part is smudged! Here's what it says:
𝑆𝑜 𝑠𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑦 𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑢𝑛 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝐴𝑀𝐴𝑍𝐼𝑁𝐺! 𝐼 𝑐𝑎𝑛'𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑝 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑠𝑒𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑠. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑜ℎ, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑦 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑏𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑜𝑠! 𝐶𝑎𝑛'𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑖𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛 -- 𝐶𝐴𝐿𝐿 𝑀𝐸!!! 💋
Anybody have a clue who I left the party with last night? Or is this another one of Ayla and Lav's silly pranks?
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2021.11.27 10:53 L0STSOUL26 Resource help
2021.11.27 10:53 two_in_the_stink Fried lemons, suuuuure
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2021.11.27 10:53 Happy-Gas8449 I just watched Star Wars for the first time in my life and...
I loved it, which is a problem because now I have a LOT of catching up to do.
I've watched the first four so far in my journey and I already know I'm gonna wanna learn all the lore so my question is what is considered canon? I already plan on watching the 9 main movies and I heard the Mandalorian is good so I'm gonna watch that regardless but is stuff like The Clone Wars show canon? And is the lore in it important enough to sit through? Are the comics Canon? Also wtf is Rogue One and Solo? Is Lego Yoda canon? Why is no one bringing up the fact that Luke and Leia kissed? Who wrote Jar Jar Binks?
I stayed up all night watching four movies and I just wanted to discuss it but please don't spoil anything major for me!
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2021.11.27 10:53 cub_htf5 I have a gift for flippy
2021.11.27 10:53 redredwine4 Daily open gifts. Add me 8325 7289 8554
2021.11.27 10:53 sluggggggggg Never had this much hair before. What do I do with it all? I kinda wanna see if i can make it good at this length
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2021.11.27 10:53 TreyTrey23 Looking to make friends. Join my meetup group (Nerds of Norfolk)
Hey everyone. I (25M) just moved into my own place in Norfolk back in July and I'm trying to be not so much of an introvert and get out and make some friends. So I started a new Meetup group. It's called Nerds of Norfolk. I haven't decided as to what the first event is going to be but most likely it's going to be a simple movie and lunch event. I'm literally winging it at this point so if anybody who runs a Meetup group has any tips for me please let me know. Thank you in advance and hopefully I see you guys at the first event
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2021.11.27 10:53 godofwar235 I have a stack of awardee karma.
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2021.11.27 10:53 Beneficial-Ear2364 Sumatra mandhling roasting help !!
Hi guyes , can i get some advice how to roast 400 gr sumatra beans ?. Currently roasting with drum electric roaster .
Charging temp 190c First crack 195c @ 9:57 Eject 217 @ 12:11
These beans seems to bee so dense so i need help with energy adjustments .
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2021.11.27 10:53 TokamakFox Adelaide, a Basitin legend - Prologue
Like many of you, I thoroughly enjoyed Farfener's story about everybody's favourite basitin lovebirds, Sieg and Marien. This story here is an idea I had floating around for a while, but it was reading Sieg and Marien that gave me the motivation I needed to actually write it, so I of course must thank Farfener for that!
So, this is the first part of a story set approximately 17 years prior to the events of the comic, and will tell the tale of how Jade Adelaide became the basitin king. Expect action, intrigue, romance, and rebellion! The first three chapters are ready to go, and will be posted shortly after this part (after editing and formatting are complete). I am anticipating 20+ chapters, possibly more.
I must thank Farfener again for allowing me use of one of his characters for a small cameo.
Thanks also goes to Dogfoxxo, aka. "Spear", for his editing prowess.
It is told, by those who have experienced the unpleasantries of war, that there are three types of soldier, and in each you will find a different answer as to its most damnable aspect. For Basitins whose first battle is upon them, those with peaked ears and bristling fur, they are so often inclined to walk away with the sheer terror of the experience weighed so heavily in their mind. Fear of their own mortality so readily laid bare as their comrades and enemies fall. Fear, it seems, is perhaps the most primal of instincts.
Then come those who have seen battles that one may count on a single hand, though no more. By now, those that have survived have steeled their hearts, and found that bravery comes quickly when there is little else that a soldier may rely upon. With fear conquered, that which comes next is disgust. Not at the sights or sounds, though those surely bear mention in the tales that the old veterans tell. No, not the sights of the maimed and slain, nor their screams, but merely the smell. The smell of charred flesh, or burnt fur, of the putrid rot that sets in mere hours after the conclusion of hostilities. It hovers over the scene, they say, never leaving until the last corpse is buried or burned. Those who survive are known to spend hour after hour bathing, scrubbing their fur until they bleed in a vain attempt to rid themselves of the stench of death. Even then, the memory remains.
That is, until such a memory is pushed to the farthest reaches of the mind. This is where the veterans of dozens of battles find themselves. For them, there is no fear, and perhaps no true bravery it could be said. Nor is there disgust; a heart steeled becomes a heart made stone, and even the foulest of odours washed over them like so much rain off their oilskins. For such Basitins, it is merely the ever-present mud. Be it the season, the churning of the ground under armoured footfall, or merely the natural abundance of soil and loam present on the Basidian Isles, any battlefield, no matter how picturesque or serene, will inevitably turn to mud.
Mud, thick, damp, and inevitable.
It stuck to everything. To fur, to skin, to armour and to weapons. While it may in part hide the smell that the less venerable found so repulsive, it was cold and wet. A gleaming suit of armour, buffed to perfection and accompanied by a well-maintained sword and shield looked little more than the equipment of a trainee under such conditions. Far be it from any Basitin soldier worth the lacquer on his spear to place form above function, there was nevertheless a pride to be had in the presentation of arms. Hours spent polishing and shining indicated routine and discipline, both attributes highly valued among such a martial society.
And yet, mud. It ruined everything and reduced the most hardened of soldiers to a weeping mess. It turned a battle from a day into a week, and a week into a month. It twisted melancholy into despair, or worse. Even those who had seen combat one hundred times would find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer inescapable nature of it. Rain would come. Feet would tread and march, the ground churned by the passing of company after regiment after legion, and all would be stained and tarnished. Such it was, such it is, and such it would be until East and West no longer felt the need to put steel to bone.
Today, it was raining.
Though the inclement weather, typical of the season, had the tendency to dampen even the most hot-blooded of spirits, it did nothing to quell that self-same desire to fight. Simple, brutal, and the focus of the lives of so many who now stood before a barrage of Western Empire munitions. Fight. Fight and die. Fight or be killed. Fight and earn glory and honour. Though each soldier would find their own path, each had a single-minded desire, the lone urge that overwhelmed almost all others, such that even the torrential downpour could not wash it away.
And so they did, though few with the determination of a certain young Basitin soldier. Not so fresh as to be counted among the spritely young faces of the yearlings, nor so blessed in seasons as to be considered a veteran, he nevertheless had a fair number of battles to his name. Accomplishments worthy of braggadocious recounting in a tavern, along with a head of striking hair and a solid, chiselled jawline, he commanded a noted degree of respect among his comrades.
Why, then, he now found himself face down in that diabolical mud, in some unremarkable ditch on a wholly unremarkable stretch of open ground, before what had proven to be a tougher than expected western defensive line, was a thought entirely lost upon him.
Instead, he reached inside his cloak, dirty hands releasing his spear as he fished about for a few brief moments before producing a small square of canvas bearing a rather eye-catching image. The work was of exquisite quality, as would be expected given the price he had paid in its commission, and displayed before his eyes a smiling young female, with flowing locks and kind, round eyes. He clutched it to his chest, muttering wordlessly to himself.
His mind wandered, dreaming of greener, and drier, places.
The cry jolted him back to reality. He scrambled to replace the canvas inside his cloak, though with sufficient care to avoid dirtying it.
There. Safe. Safe and dry.
The sound of his name pricked at his ears, and he rolled over, coming to face the source. Upon seeing the figure looming over him, potentially more encrusted with mud than he was, the momentary abatement of his typically stoic demeanour passed, and he hauled himself to his feet.
“Tomas.” His voice was ragged, courtesy of the smoke billowing about them.
“Ha!” came the response, the intonation entirely too casual. “Has yer mind wandered again, Conrad?”
Conrad’s neck stiffened. He had grown accustomed to his friend’s bold mannerisms, though each time they came required no small effort on his part to stifle what would no doubt be an aggressive rebuttal.
Instead, he cleared his throat. “Corporal, report.”
Tomas sauntered a few steps towards his commanding officer before depositing himself upon what may have once been a tree stump. The son of a fisherman and father of one too, the sea ran thick in Tomas’ veins, a fact as apparent in his voice as it was on his weather-beaten face. With the tips of his fur bleached to a brilliant white, he looked almost a northerner, and possessed the seafaring skills to match.
“Of course, sergeant,” he started, removing his helmet. “Westerners have got themselves all bricked up nice and pretty just along tha’ ridge. Lost Paul and Deckard along the way. Bad way to go. Haven’t seen Jonas either, but I’m reckoning that idiot found a way t’get ‘imself killed.”
“Plenty of that going around today.”
“Aye,” Tomas said with a wry grin, “and it gets better, it does. They have firebombs.”
“As in. . .”
Tomas simply shrugged. “At least we know who th’ real enemy is now, don’t we? That is, of course, if we live long enough to report this. If any of us live.”
Conrad took that opportunity to raise his head up and above the lip of the ditch he had come to rest in. Perhaps it had once been a small stream, or an irrigation channel for what may have been a farm. It didn’t much matter, to ponder such a nicety was a task best left to the poets. Truthfully, there wasn’t much cover to be had at all, just a scant few feet, though it had served sufficiently to see both him and Tomas protected from the worst of what the Westerners had been serving up.
And what they had been throwing, was fire.
The scene before them was one which Conrad had found himself increasingly familiar with as his military career entered its second decade. An open field, dotted here and there with the remains of trees, their trunks either toppled or simply pulverised, along with torn, uneven ground characteristic of some three months of near-constant fighting. Whatever greenery had once been present had long since ceased to be, and all that remained was brown and grey. The rain only made it worse, and when the smouldering ruins of siege equipment was added to the mix, visibility was reduced to perhaps two or three hundred feet.
He didn’t even register the bodies. East and west alike, crumpled and broken.
“What’s that?” he quizzed, jabbing his finger out.
“Oh, that little thing?” responded Tomas. “Guard tower. It was on th’ maps, but we didn’t get all that close so I really couldn’t say if it’s the same one. No matter. By my reckoning they’re got a pretty good view from up’n there, even in this rain. Still not good, mind you me, but better than we’ve got down here at least. I’d bet two weeks of rations that they’re using it to keep those firebombs on target. That, and they’ve got hell knows how many archers behind th’ ridge. Pretty little line of barricades, too.”
Conrad strained his eyes, attempting in vain to resolve the defensive positions Tomas had described. Though his senses were sharp, all that came to him were indistinguishable grey shapes, little more than smudges lost in the downpour.
“How many?” he asked, turning back to his friend.
“I didn’t get good eyes. At least two dozen by my count. Maybe more.”
A fusillade of arrows peppered the ground not five feet in front of the two basitins, causing them to madly duck back into the relative safety of the ditch.
“Ah! Almost certainly more!” Tomas remarked, unable to resist a chuckle.
“So it would seem.”
“With all that said, I’m thinking we jus’ sit on our tails for a while. No sense in getting ourselves shredded. Aye, sit here and wait for reinforcements.”
“We’re going to need them,” continued Conrad, risking another peek out of the ditch. “If this is to be our day, that tower has to go. We need to take that ridge. I’ll warrant that their camp is just beyond.”
“Makes good sense t’me. But later, later. Let’s just enjoy this pretty little cubby hole you’ve found for us. Got any food? Maybe a bit of ale? Could certainly use a tipple to take th’ edge off.”
The ever-present stiffness in Conrad’s neck solidified to the point of a shiver, his fur bristling along his neckline.
“Corporal,” he said through gritted teeth, “I am not sure I find your comments entirely appropriate. You are speaking to-”
Tomas waved his hand upward. “Sorry, Sergeant, don’t mean nothing by it, just trying to take my mind off, that’s all. Paul was a good kid. So was Jonas, even if he didn’t have much between his ears. Deckard. . . aye, he was a bit of a grumpy old bastard, but he had a good heart, he did. Like this sergeant I know, come think it.”
In spite of himself, Conrad found the expression currently spread across his face twisting into a grin.
“And by the king’s tail,” continued Tomas, throwing his other hand up, “does he ever have a pretty little wife! He likes to act all big and tough, he does, but we all see him sneaking glances at this piece of paper he keeps tucked inside his tunic.”
“Come again, Sergeant?”
“Canvas,” repeated Conrad. “It’s canvas, not paper. And her name is Kara.”
Before speaking again, Conrad sat himself down next to the younger basitin, his hand falling upon his friend’s shoulder and his grin morphed into a wide smile.
“. . .and yes, she’s the hottest little piece of tail you’ve ever seen. Aaaand. . . she’s pregnant.”
Tomas' eyes went wide.
“P-pregnant?” he stammered. “But. . . joining week was almost six months ago, do you mean to tell me. . .”
Conrad nodded. “I thought it would be best to have more than one to carry on the family line. That, and you know how it is, I could take an arrow to the skull any time. So could you, for that matter, and with a forehead like that, it would be hard to miss. Even a Westerner could hit it.”
Tomas’ hand shot to his head, rubbing across his less-than-impressive hairline for a moment before again returning his gaze to his friend.
“Well, good for you, Conrad!” he beamed. “Is wee Renner going to have a brother or a sister?”
“I don’t know,” replied Conrad. “We haven’t even discussed names.”
Tomas engrossed himself in thought for a while before responding. “How about something in the old tongue? Hell, if we get out of this alive, name him for our victory here, should we have it.”
Conrad tilted his head, his brow furrowing. “What makes you think it’s going to be a him?”
A laugh from Tomas. “It wouldn’t be in his grumpy old bastard of a father to spit out anything other than a litter of grumpy little bastards.”
“How lovely of you to say. I am truly blessed by your friendship.”
Tomas slapped Conrad across the back, his laugh increasing in volume before dropping off. “So, what’s yer pick? How do you say ‘victory’ in the old tongue?”
“Well, I think it’s sie-”
With the benefit of hindsight, it should have been obvious from the cessation of the otherwise constant bombardment of rocks, arrows, and firebombs that something was amiss among the Western ranks. Though it would also be fair to say that when the mind was subject to the cacophonous sounds of battle for days on end, it had the tendency to block them out, relegating them to little more than background noise.
A noise which had now stopped, replaced instead with a deafening silence. Conrad again peered out from his hiding spot, eyes scanning the enemy lines.
“Anything, Sergeant?” asked Tomas, replacing his helmet.
“No, nothing. Not yet.”
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. I. . . wait.”
He heard them before he saw them. Wolves. Hundreds of them. Mercenaries which the Westerners apparently had the coin to employ, though without the pride so common of their eastern counterparts to otherwise hold them back from fighting alongside keidran. Baying and howling, sporting a motley mix of crude weapons and cruder armour, they charged. Where the Eastern Empire may employ a disciplined line with well-equipped and trained troops, and the easterners a loose yet effective skirmish formation, the wolves simply moved en masse. No thought was given to correct and proper tactics, nor the use of cover or terrain. A target, a straight line, and a blood-lust sated only by the flesh of their enemies and the gold of their masters was all that factored into their rampage.
“Lads!” It was Tomas who spoke, rising above the lip of the ditch and drawing his sword. “The enemy are upon us. Make ready!”
There was a shiver, an electric sensation that rollicked down Conrad’s spine as he heard those words. This basitin, his friend of many years, though still subordinate to him in rank, had seen fit to be the first to rise, barking his order loud and clear to any who hid nearby. Hiding, perhaps, though not cowering. Around them, the pointed ears of some three dozen of their comrades emerged from an assortment of craters and divots in the landscape. Firmly clutched in their hands were spears and swords, unwavering in determination and pointed towards their common foe.
“You heard him!” Conrad found himself bellowing as he leapt up to join his friend. “Stand! Stand and fight!”
With his own cry came those from across the field, both friend and foe alike. In unison the eastern basitin shouted, clashing their weapons against their armour and facing, as one, the charging horde. Conrad drew his sword, and the pair exchanged a knowing glance. Tomas chose yet another smile - an eclectic mix of fear, fortitude, and fang - whereas Conrad set his face in stone, his steely gaze sizing his friend up one last time before turning his attention back to the rapidly approaching violence. His hands darted across his battledress, checking the buckles of his armour one last time, ensuring the various plates and maile he had adorned himself in were in the correct location, ready for the fight.
Satisfied with the situation, or so he told himself, Sergeant Conrad Kolvest leapt up and over the lip of the ditch and charged headlong towards the enemy.
“Up n’ at ‘em!”
Despite his insistence on the proper conduct of battle, Tomas’ words spurred Conrad to scream something unintelligible as they, along with thirty or forty of their fellow soldiers, sprinted across the shattered earth. Conrad kept low, his sword gripped tightly in his hand and tail shot directly backward for balance. He was quick, covering seventy feet in a few short seconds. The frantic dash had brought himself and Tomas, and a few other of the quicker basitin soldiers, to the gutted husk of a farmhouse. Sitting squat on stone foundations, the walls and roof were reduced to embers, smouldering and smoking, and denying them a clear view of the keidran.
“Around the side, now!” bellowed Conrad, his sword flashing out in a large, sweeping arc.
“Aye!” chimed in Tomas. “Two by two, heave and ho!”
“Cut ‘em down like dogs!”
“Corporal! Eyes to the right, they’re almost-”
The roar was barbaric. Savage and wild, and certainly not produced by the vocal cords of a basitin. The scream that followed, however, most assuredly was, and the sickened wet crunch that cut both sounds short had Conrad grinding himself to a sudden halt.
“Men! The left! ON THE LEFT!”
The smoke was thick. It choked him, obscured his vision with its dense clouds and the tears it had caused to well up in his eyes. Yet, he saw it. A flash of grey, bolting to the left.
And then two more.
“There!” he screamed, panic rising in his voice.
They had been fast. Far faster than expected. The wolven opponent, he had been taught, was little more than a rabble of independently minded simpletons, not fit for soldierly duties, nor capable of any manner of tactical manoeuvre. Easy prey for a well drilled spear wall, and easy pickings for those who could hold their nerve.
Reality, it seems, had different ideas. There was no breaking an army for which formation meant nothing, no shattering of morale of an enemy too caught up in their own bloodlust to know when they had been beaten, and no time to think when that wretched mass of fur and steel was upon you.
“COME AND GET IT YA’ BASTARDS!”
Tomas leapt, leading two further basitin soldiers, directly towards the formless grey shapes. His sword was high above his head, facial features twisted into a vicious snarl as he expounded upon each and every colourful term for keidran his life at sea had taught him.
“I’ll make a rug out of ya’, I will!” Mangy hound!”
His blade flashed down, a swift, powerful stroke. Easy to block or parry for a trained swordsman, though the sheer, bloody-mindedness caught his lupine foe unawares. The first figure dropped, crumpling to the ground with a whimper as steel met fur where neck met shoulder.
It was Conrad, finding his footing and hurling himself forward, who made the trio a quartet and added his own sword to the fray. To his side, the pair of soldiers jabbed and thrust, their well-practiced strikes dropping an additional two wolves as they charged out of the smoke. A further three keidran presented themselves almost immediately, this time to the rear.
“They’re in behind us!” yelled Conrad. “Three of them!”
He dropped to his knee, a flashing stroke taking the legs out from under the first keidran. As his enemy fell, he caught the briefest glimpse in his eyes. Where he had expected hate, he saw only surprise. Wide-eyed and scared, much like he had been on the eve of his first battle.
The thought passed him by as quickly as it had come. His sword again cut through the air, this time downward, delivering the point of the blade directly into the sternum of the now supine wolf. A crack sounded as metal pierced bone, and his enemy’s eyes glazed over, jaw hanging limp and tongue rolling out, coated in spittle and blood.
“Two!” shouted Conrad. “Though I’ll guarantee there are more. We saw hundreds.”
“Aye, they have us surrounded, the poor bastards.”
“I hear them.”
“You want a piece? Come and get it!”
“At them, lads!”
The two keidran emerged, the gap between them now closed to a mere six feet. Panting and growling, it was the first time Conrad had seen such a savage beast up close. Westerners may have been a sore sight when compared to the polishing ranks of the armies of the Eastern Empire, with their customary mismatch of armour and weapons, and an adherence to the methods of war which could be described as loose at best. These two wolves, however, towering over the shorter basitins, made their Western counterparts look the epitome of professionalism. Gaunt and ragged, with fur that hadn’t seen shears in months, each held a rusted, gnarled sword, serrated and mean, with a jagged point and a pommel ending in an equally nasty spike. Armour? There was none to speak of, nor was there clothing, save for a tattered and worn loincloth.
Four more wolves appeared.
And then a further six.
And then one more, standing a head taller than the others, his weapon of choice a cruel looking axe, blade encrusted with gore and chunks of fur. This one looked different. While his eyes bore the same yellow colouration that the rest of his rabble possessed, his was a cunning found so lacking in the expressions of his comrades. A desire, it could be said, a drive or a will beyond gold and coin. Something personal. Something nasty.
“Mine,” the wolf spoke. His Basitin was crude, though intelligible even through his thick accent.
“Then come and take us!” spat Conrad in response.
He shifted his weight to his back foot, sword held directly in front, and eyes moving from wolf to wolf.
“Four against thirteen, Corporal,” he muttered. “Chances?”
“No worries, Sergeant, we’ll have their hides tanned and strung up in the mess hall before this day is out! CHARGE!”
And so, four met thirteen. That number was immediately cut to eleven, with both Conrad and Tomas landing the first blows as keidran and basitin devolved themselves into a ruthless, bloody melee. Ducking a frantic blow from one of the wolves, Conrad again lashed out with his weapon, the blade finding the neck of a second, followed by the gut of a third, further reducing their disadvantage in numbers. The remaining nine wolves stared them down, the initial thrill of battle dampened by the resistance displayed by their supposed prey.
A scream sounded to their right. “Help! HELP!”
Sidestepping the descending blow of a maul, Conrad again removed a wolven head from its shoulders and wheeled about to face the source of the anguished cry. The plaintive wails were interspersed with the ringing clash of steel upon steel. The cadence suggested a thoroughly aggressive attack, relentless and brutish, and one in which the suddenly seized advantage of the two basitin soldiers had been reduced to nothing.
Thrice their own number of wolves had descended upon the pair, the jabs and swings of their weapons coming thick and fast, threatening to overwhelm the defence of the two soldiers. Three against one, or more accurately, six against two, was a fair fight if the two had appropriate equipment - polearms and shields would have been ideal. Swords, though, were personal weapons, more at home sinking their sharp edges into the fur of a singular opponent.
Conrad sprung forward, his weapon slashing left and right, though catching nothing but air with his frantic swings. Each step saw him dodge a counterattack, too mindless in its aggression to pose a genuine threat. A few further thrusts of his sword had him finally strike true, the tip catching one of the wolves in their midsection as he raised an axe above his head. The keidran let out an ear-splitting shriek and dropped his weapon mid-swing.
Conrad, though, was too slow.
Despite driving home the blow, all but sinking the sword to the hilt, the two basitin soldiers found themselves overwhelmed. A final effort on the part of the five remaining wolves and their defences were cast aside, a momentary cry of surprise all the sounded before five blades found the flesh of two bodies, slicing from gullet to groin. Blood and innards spilled out, staining the soil red in spite of the ceaseless downpour.
“BASTARDS!” With a feral yell, it was Tomas who again rose to the fore, swinging his sword with one hand and wildly grasping with the other, hellbent on seizing the enemy who had so cut them down. Again, Conrad felt the electrifying urge to act, the sense of duty to his kingdom, that in-built biological urge he had honed and cultivated his entire life driven into retreat for a split second. A moment in time, with the blood of his countrymen soaking the ground before him, in which he felt only rage.
He snarled. He bit his own lip and added a few more drops of blood to the already grisly melee. A wild cry escaped his lips as he and Tomas felled the next two with mad, barbarous swings of their swords. More hacking than slicing and driven by a fury which had built to a flaming crescendo. Slick with blood and drunk on the single-minded desire to see their foe put in the ground, the two friends made good on the sudden swing of initiative, dropping the last two wolven mercenaries into maimed, crumpled heaps at their feet, blood oozing for a dozen vicious wounds.
“YOU!” Conrad snarled.
One remained. Just one. The large wolf who had spoken to them. He now stood alone, flanked by the shattered remains of his troop and covered in blood and dirt which even the rain could not wash away. In the smoke, his white fangs were clearly visible, muzzle twisted into a cruel smirk as he slowly paced toward Conrad and Tomas.
“You fight well.” His speech was a butchery of their language. “You die better.”
“You’re done, beast!” Conrad shouted in response, matching the wolf’s advance with his own. “We’ve cut down your brood, and we’ll cut you down too. Like lumber to the logger’s axe, we’ll-”
“SHUT UP!” The space between them was perhaps a dozen yards when the wolf simply hurled his axe in a single overhead motion, joining to the motion a barked curse to silence his two opponents. The crude weapon sailed through the air, droplets of rain splashing from it’s battered metal head as it filled Conrad’s vision. He thought to duck, to turn and dodge, or to simply run, but instead he froze. What followed was a crack, and a blow unlike any he had felt. Sky filled his vision, black-blue clouds bloated with rain continuing to disgorge onto the battlefield, and then mud. Pain shot through his right shoulder, and a few movements of the joint confirmed that something was broken. Conrad gasped, and reached out to where he thought his weapon lay, though his fingers found only more mud.
“Tomas,” he croaked, “get. . .”
Though he could not see, he could hear, and as clear as he could hear a heavy set of armoured footfalls rapidly approaching him, the never-ending tirade of curses and expletives erupting from his friend filled his ears as basitin and keidran did battle.
“I’ll see yer head on me wall, I will! Strike down me mates and I’ll strike down yer whole rotten race!”
“Aye, die we shall, but I’ll see ya’ bleed for this! You run back with yer tail between yer legs an tell ‘em I made ya’ bleed!”
“Coward mutt! Have at me!”
“Is that all you’ve got? By you me I could fight better with. . . ARGH!”
A body landed beside Conrad. Hard. With a groan, he rolled onto his back, catching the sight of Tomas lying next to him, both hands clutching at his head. The wolf loomed over them and dropped something onto Conrad’s chest. Something warm and wet, which Conrad didn’t need to inspect to determine it was one of Tomas’ ears. His friend made no sound, no wails of pain or cries of agony, though whatever blow had been struck had put him out of the fight. With his own shoulder damaged, Conrad could do little but stare into the mad eyes of hate.
“Fuck you!” He spat a muzzleful of blood at the wolf’s feet.
The wolf took a knee beside the two fallen Basitin. “No. I leave that for your women. Maybe they fight better.”
“You cannot win. Our army is coming. You’ll be skinned and strung up by your tail!”
“No,” continued the wolf, now producing a dagger. “My friends, more coming. Your friends. All dead. Dead like you!”
It is said that one’s life flashes before their eyes in the moments immediately prior to their death. For Conrad, these were memories of the first time he picked up a spear at the tender age of seven, as was required by the laws of his country. Following that were years of instruction, drill and lessons. He had been taught tactics, strategy, techniques for combat and fieldwork, and received tuition in matters of history and diplomacy, should such a need ever arise. What had been missed, he now understood, was the nature of the enemy. Human, keidran, or basitin, he realised he knew scant few facts about those who he had been instructed to put to the sword.
One fact, though, he learned, laying there in the mud.
Wolves, for all the brutish nature, wore their hearts on their sleeves. Their tails wagged when they were happy, and their ears drooped when they were sad. There was no hiding it; a passionate people, and seemingly able to put up a good fight, or so Conrad had come to understand.
However, when a wolf knows that he’s overstepped, when he knows the odds are against him, there is a very specific set of motions he will go through, motions which this particular specimen now displayed. Ears flattened to the sides of his head, and his tail tucked up between his legs. His arms, suddenly finding themselves no longer holding weapons, withdrew to his chest and clutched tightly against his breast, just as his eyes went wide with shock.
A whimper escaped his lips.
He lifted off the ground, as if by magic, legs also tucking up, trying desperately to make himself as small and unassuming as possible. And then, he simply disappeared. Tossed aside, a dozen feet in the air and three times as far, landing with a distant thud.
“Excuse me, are you hurt?” The voice was kind and soft, with a gentle inflection sounding as a mother might when putting her kits to rest.
“Who. . .” Conrad tried to ask, though succeeding only in sending another jolt of pain coursing through his body.
Who, or what, replied. “Hush, hush. You are safe. Reinforcements are half a day behind us. I have been sent to help. The westerners are coming, but I will protect you. Here.”
Something was gently pushed into his hands. A waterskin, cool to the touch and full of fluid.
“Please, drink,” the voice continued, “and save some for your friend. It’s juice. I took it from the general’s tent this morning. It’s very nice!”
Despite himself, Conrad raised the skin to his lips and drank deeply, gulping down mouthfuls of the tangy, sweet liquid. With a cough, he found his voice returning.
“Thank you,” he said.
“You are most welcome!” The voice was full of warmth. “Rest here for a while, and please make sure your friend is comfortable. I don’t want anyone else to get hurt today. I will make everything better.”
The figure from which the voice had come stood up, allowing Conrad for the first time to glimpse he and Tomas’ saviour.
He spoke no further words that day. Nor any the day after.
Whoever this was, they wore a suit of armour of the thickest steel Conrad had ever seen, a full inch of metal polished to a brilliant, golden shine. Armoured boots and gauntlets accompanied the suit, and grasped about the haft of a colossal hammer. While polearms were the king of the battlefield, and the sword spoke to the skill and honour of the wielder, the weapon held in the hands of this basitin was beyond anything Conrad had seen. A head a full two feet long and a foot across, it was huge, and though it must have weighed hundreds of pounds, the figure carried it with the ease of a child carrying a toy. While the weapon alone commanded equal parts dread and respect, the figure carrying it inspired nothing short of undiluted awe. Six feet was tall for a basitin. Very tall. Seven feet was absurd. Unheard of. Seven foot two - Conrad had never seen anyone so large, be they human, keidran, or basitin.
Though the most striking feature, the single most notable fact apparent, beyond the absurdity of the weapon and armour, was that this. . . was a girl. Female basitins tended to be an inch or two taller than the males, that much Conrad knew, but not by this margin. Not even close. Not simply tall, but elegant. Long, flowing hair cascaded down and over her shoulders, with no helmet to befoul it. Her face, though coated in dirt, was still smiling down at him, her features delicate and alluringly feminine. There was an almost carefree innocence in her expression, as if she were simply helping a friend.
“Wait here,” she spoke. “I will be back.”
Her feet fell hard as she marched across the ground towards the western lines. Wolves continued to close in, numbering in their dozens, just as arrows rained from the sky. The few surviving members of Conrad’s unit scrambled about, seemingly drawn to the emergence of this towering figure. Some moved towards her, others simply hid.
She pivoted on the spot, taking in her surroundings, eyes darting from wolf to wolf, then to the western lines, and to their tower, still hurling arrows and directing what was no doubt another salvo of firebombs. Her gaze fixated upon it, and though all but imperceptible, Conrad could have sworn he saw her grip tighten about the haft of her hammer.
“Soldiers!” Her voice rang out loud and clear as she thrust her weapon to the sky.
A moment passed. Even the wolves stopped their mad advance. For a second that hung in time, she looked back over her shoulder to where Tomas and Conrad lay, still clutching at their wounds. Her face was glazed over, her once kind expression gone and replaced instead with a cold, hard countenance. Her lips fallowed into a frown, eyes now piercing and alert, as she turned back towards the enemy.
“SOUND THE CHARGE!”
With those words, she met the wolves head on. It was as a sickle was to wheat. A cyclone upon a harbour. Her hammer swung in giant, circular arcs, each time catching half a dozen wolves and sending them skyward, bodies shattered and rent. When the weapon could not be brought to bear, her fists jabbed out, each blow felling whomever was unfortunate enough to catch it. The wolves screamed and howled. She screamed louder. Though, from where he was still laying, the loudest sound for Conrad was yet the thunderous crash of her armoured boots, every step bringing her closer to the western lines.
Until she breached them.
Wooden barricades, though hastily erected to halt the Eastern Empire’s advance, were nevertheless thick and strong, built from the trunks of trees and fit to stop a dozen charging basitins. Like tinder they were cast aside, splinted by a shattering blow from her hammer, reduced to little more than firewood. The defenders, the Westerners, simply dropped their weapons and ran, choosing discretion over valour as their position was overcome by the one-woman assault. Fury and blood enveloped their lines as they scattered to all points of the compass. Those who were not quick enough found themselves struck down by several hundred pounds of steel. Others, perhaps the smartest, fell to their knees and just gave up.
The tower. Above the carnage erupting across the ridgeline, the tower stood tall, continuing to direct arrows and the munitions of catapults down upon the Easterners. The ridgeline, though its defences in disarray, held fast and served its purpose. Half a day would be too long, the remaining attackers would not last another half an hour.
A final swing of her hammer saw the last few defenders about the base of the structure put to rest, before a well-placed arrow embedded itself in her shoulder, striking a lucky blow between a slender gap in her otherwise impressive armour. She screamed, and in her surprise, dropped the hammer to the ground with a thud. Automatically, she reached up and tore the offending projectile from her flesh, the barbed tip trailing a line of blood behind it before it was cast aside. Pausing, she gazed down at her hands, soaked red and trembling. Her heart pounded in her chest, pulse thundering in her ears. Something inside, something primal, built up and burst forth. Weapon or not, there was one task that needed doing, and come hell or high water, she would see it done.
Three steps took her to the base of the tower. Another two, and she found purchase with her feet among the foundation stones. The ground was solid, the stonework laid centuries ago, having weathered every storm and battle yet thrown upon it.
All, but this one.
Her hands reached out, fingers curling and grasping firmly about two of the largest, most jagged rocks that formed the lowermost portions of the watchtower. The grip was good, and the ground did not budge as she tested her legs against it. Arrows glanced off her armour, fired from directly above, as she started to lift. Raw, seething power rampaged through her body, muscles contracting as she strained herself, her grip tightening further and face twisting into a grimace. The grimace then became a snarl as the first cracks appeared.
From his position, prone and some one hundred feet behind her, Conrad watched as the female’s armour twisted and buckled, the surge of strength running through her body crumpling it like paper. Her back shuddered, and her shoulders heaved, but still she lifted. The stones about her feet started to break and splinter, but still. . . she lifted.
The top of the tower swayed.
Another crack sounded.
And then another.
With a roar heard a mile in each direction, and with a final, titanic surge of strength, the female warrior lifted the tower from its base, stones crashing and shattering about her as the structure came thundering down. The only other sound heard were the screams of the defenders as they found themselves now plummeting towards the earth.
And then, silence.
For what may have been an eternity, Conrad simple stared, jaw agape, unsure if what he had just witnessed was real, or if that wolf had truly killed him and he now found himself in some sort of limbo.
The female, for her part, turned about to face him once more. This time, the kindness had returned to her face, though with the addition of a bead of blood forming at the corner of her mouth. Her eyes softly closed, and she beamed towards the two soldiers.
“See!” she said, the blood now running down in a trickle to her chin. “Everything will be okay, I promise! We’ll take the last camp, and then we’ll all go home. . .”
Without a further word spoken, a little over seven foot and two inches of basitin collapsed sideways into the mud.
submitted by TokamakFox to Twokinds [link] [comments]