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About Literature / Hobbyist Ian Chisholm27/Male/United States Groups :icongrammarnazicritiques: GrammarNaziCritiques
Truth can be harsher in a Crit
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This is a system modification for the D&D or Pathfinder systems. The idea for this is a world where no one starts out with ability bonuses. It's a world where 1st level mages can't cast 1st level spells, where the only bonus to attack most 1st level warriors get is their base attack bonus (if that), and having a +5 ability bonus means you are 10th level or higher. Here's how it works:

Ability Scores: All characters start with ability scores of 10. Race ability adjustments that are negative remain. Race ability adjustments that are positive get replaced with these race features:
  • Instead of +X Strength, gain High Strength: “Your carrying capacity is increased as if you had +X Strength, and X times per day you may add X to a strength-based weapon damage roll.”
  • Instead of +X Dexterity, gain High Dexterity: “X times per day you may reroll a Reflex save and take the better result.”
  • Instead of +X Constitution, gain High Constitution: “X times per day you may reroll a Fortitude save and take the better result.”
  • Instead of +X Intelligence, gain High Intelligence: “X times per day you may use the ranks from one skill for a different skill for one skill check, or learn a new language for one hour.”
  • Instead of +X Wisdom, gain High Wisdom: “X times per day you may reroll a Will save and take the better result.”
  • Instead of +X Charisma, gain High Charisma: “X times per day you may reroll a Charisma-based skill check and take the better result.”
  • In a system where most race ability adjustments are +2 or higher, use “X divided by 2 rounded up times per day” instead of “X times per day”

With each level - including 1st - all characters gain some number of ability points, depending on how difficult the DM wants to make things. 1 per level would be very challenging, 2 or 3 per level is fair, while 4 or more per level is inadvisable. This replaces the usual ability upgrades at staggered levels. There is also a strict ability score maximum of 10 + level. If a character is 5th level, their ability score max is 15, even with magic items or spells.

Alternatively, characters gain 0 ability points per level, and items and magic that raise ability scores are common. Heroes would go on quests to earn permanent ability raises from powerful wizards / genies, and get temporary bonuses beforehand to increase their survival chances, and use items for permanent bonuses that can be changed. They might find bracers that add +2 to Strength but -1 to Dexterity, and after amassing enough of these 'benefit and penalty' items they would have to decide between what bonuses to gain at the cost of what penalties.

Spellcasting: To cast a spell, a character needs a spellcasting ability score modifier equal to the spell's level. Cantrips (0-level spells) can be cast with an ability score of 10. When a character has 12 points in their spellcasting ability score (at 2nd level or higher) they can cast 1st level spells. When they have 14 points in a score they can cast 2nd level spells, when they have 16 they can cast 3rd level spells, and so on. Note that a character might know a spell / have it in their spell book, but not be able to cast it; refer to the classes as normal for what spells a character has.

Skills: Because the Intelligence score of many characters will be changing, I recommend using Skill Training (idea from Star Wars Saga Edition). A class' skill points per level are replaced with the same number of trained skills chosen at 1st level (or whenever the Intelligence modifier changes) which grants the skill a static +5 bonus. Also, all class skills gain a bonus of one-half the character's level in that class, rounded down. Example: If a character has three classes through multiclassing, with class levels of 2/2/2, they would add 1 point to each class' specific class skills, with overlapping class skills gaining 2 or 3 points in total.

Other Ideas: Start at 0 level with minor class features (weapon and armor proficiency, skills, half hitpoints) and gain one-thousand experience to reach 1st level. Make combat more forgiving with max hitpoints per level. Or decrease hitpoints if it is harder to hit in combat.

Benefits: An ability score of 10 is the average for a human, meaning that characters would start out average and become literally super-human through adventuring, not by starting out that way. New importance on carrying capacity, only high-level Strength characters can easily carry a lot of stuff around. Armor means something at lower levels, as does the encumbrance. A 1st level warrior with the Weapon Focus feat has the best attack compared to everyone of the same level. 1st level mages will have to get by with cantrips, weapons and good playing. Every class experiences the same feeling of being good with weapons at low levels (because a good score is smaller) and so they might keep using them longer. Spellcasting anticipatory effect where the player's character knows a spell and they want to cast it, but can't yet.

Problem: Every monster and NPC from official sources and pre-made adventures would have to be retrofitted for the new system. Or they could be left alone, and the heroes might have to fight rats for a level or two before they can fight kobolds and skeletons from the Monster Manual. When setting up an appropriate encounter by challenge rating, remember that the player characters essentially start out weaker than normal, but reach normal power after a few levels. At high levels they become either very well-rounded, or very powerful with big weaknesses.
Ability Score Leveling
This is a system modification for the D&D or Pathfinder systems. The idea for this is a world where no one starts out with ability bonuses. It's a world where 1st level mages can't cast 1st level spells, where the only bonus to attack most 1st level warriors get is their base attack bonus (if that), and having a +5 ability bonus means you are 10th level or higher.
After spearing the cracked eye of a MEK with her earth lance, Teal stomps her foot. A spike of earth pierces the other cracked orb, and both go dim and fall. The MEK begins to fall apart, the Beastmen around it retreat, and she turns to check the fort’s wall.

Almost every fusion MEK on the field has reached the wall. They slam against the black stones, thrashing their tentacles toward the top and slashing with their sword-legs. In the middle of the field a few more MEKs wander around, aimless without their Beastmen herders. The rest are fighting with Zarah, Rolf, Joyous and the Drunk, all of them busy with two or three MEKs at once.

Teal shouts and points her earth lance at the wall. The nearby soldiers and priests look where she is pointing. She yells over the battle, and waves the earth lance back and forth. The unit looks at her, nods, and salutes. They go running toward the gateway, and Teal charges for the wall’s end.

A figure appears and slips in behind her, Rusty running low to the ground. He is calm, focused on the paladin’s back. She is running at a full sprint in her bark armor, unguarded and unwary, her bare weapon handle bouncing in its holster. He smiles.

The air around him shimmers. Black fur sprouts from his body, covering him as his armor melds into the growing skin. His arms and legs grow longer, he falls forward to gallop on four limbs, and bone plates slide from his skin. The large black ape remains silent, shadowing its prey as she reaches the edge of the battle.

The soldiers up on the wall shout and point behind her, but Teal does not look back. She reaches the bare cliff where the wall ends and turns, still running as she follows the wall. Ten helms behind, the black ape leaps at her, its mouth open and teeth bared. Thirty helms before her, a MEK has its tentacles reaching for the top of the wall.

Shining white scales flow up Teal’s arm from her hand, and she grows. Her legs snap together and combine, pitching her forward, and she grows larger. The scales cover her body as the bark armor melds in, and she grows larger still. Her torso expands longer and longer and longer. In place of her arms she grows five large claws spaced equally along her body, growing farther apart as the body lengthens.

The snake-like body explodes toward the first MEK, two long whiskers trailing out behind like banners. The five claws flex their black talons. Any Beastmen in the way end up crushed beneath. Each claw slashes the MEK once on the way by, causing one eye to go dim and fall, and the other to crack. Colorful stripes in numerous colors appear where the talons cut, and slice around the MEK to give it a brief rainbow pattern. When the colors fade, the other orb goes dim and falls.

The black ape skids to a halt, its palms flat against the fort wall. The snake-like body is still growing longer from the torso, leaving a white tail thrashing in place. The ape looks at the tail, glances at the giant creature, and grabs the tail with both hands. With a grunt it digs in its feet.

The dragon follows the wall, and slashes its talons across every MEK there in passing. It stops growing when its giant whiskered snout reaches the middle of the wall, but the dragon continues slithering forward. The black ape holding the tail is pulled off its feet and dragged along behind, its face sliding through the dirt.

Beastmen yelp and leap away, escaping the dragon’s advance and leaving the space in front of the wall empty. As the MEKs dissolve into dust, ropes drop from above and soldiers climb down the wall. The white orbs await them, opening to reveal the children inside.

Reaching the other end of the wall, the dragon begins to coil up. It opens its toothy jaw and lets out a piercing roar, then begins to shrink. The black ape loses its grip on the tail and stops face-down in the dirt. The last dragon claw slashes the last MEK along the wall, and the shrinking dragon collapses into a human-sized shape.

On the ground in a fetal curl, Teal grunts. She pulls off a bark gauntlet, rolls to her back, and raises her human hand into the air. Up on the wall, soldiers shout and yell and cry. The few Beastmen around her whimper and turn to leap away. They get tackled by black-eyed Beastmen and held down with their hands behind their backs. Teal’s hand closes into a fist.

The red robed mage in the center of the valley nods its head. It turns, lifts a bone hand, and beckons to the skeleton wearing a short red cape. The skeleton tilts its white skull forward and bends down on one knee in front of the mage. The mage’s bone hand rests atop the skull. Skeleton and red robed mage both glow with a faint red aura.

All across the field, the bones of dead things rustle and shake. Corpses split open, skin peels away, and the tendons and joints snap free of the bones. They wriggle free and crawl across the ground, all moving in the same general direction. Rolling and sliding and flipping, the bones form a white wave to gather around the red robed mage. Half start collecting into a circular enclosing wall, and the rest form up into skeletons with bone sabers for arms.

The Drunk crashes down into the bone saber skeletons, scattering many of them. He bashes a few more, one steel shield still on his left hand, and turns to face the red robed figure.

The mage stares at him. The glow around its body dwindles, and a bone hand points a finger at the Drunk. The Drunk stops fighting, and his mouth flaps open. He looks both ways, then back to the mage, and points a finger at his own chest. The mage nods. It reaches up and lifts aside its mask, revealing large ruby eyes set in a skeleton’s grinning skull. The Drunk blinks, and shakes his head. The mage nods and drops the mask back into place.

It reaches inside its red robe, and pulls out an obsidian dragon mask. The mage offers the mask to the Drunk. He shakes his head again. Then his hand reaches out, takes the mask, and sets it against his face. The mask stays in place, with his shaggy hair framing the mask in a black halo. He shakes his head, but the motion is small and slow.

The mage clenches its bone hand. The bone saber skeletons fall to pieces, and all the bones go to forming the enclosure, which soon becomes a hut of bones. As the roof covers the Drunk in darkness, he is shaking his head. The mage twists its bone hand like turning a key in a lock, and the completed bone hut disappears. The Drunk, the red robed mage, and the skeleton wearing the short red cape are gone.

After sending a bolt into the last cracked eye of a MEK, Rolf lowers his crossbow and looks around. There are no more MEKs in front of the wall. Only one fusion MEK remains in the field, with no Beastmen guarding it. Joyous runs toward that MEK. Zarah leans against her Cleaver and stares toward the fort.

Rolf lets out a deep sigh and walks away from the soldiers gathering around the opening orbs. He smiles and leans back.

Ragged and dirty, Rusty leaps at Rolf from the ground, claws out and slime covering him. Rolf backpedals, eyes wide. His arms go up to cover his face and neck, hugging himself so tight the arms press into his flesh. Rusty’s claws sink into his abdomen. Rolf’s body shudders and goes stiff.

The shapeshifter steps backward, pulling free from the hardening husk of his discarded carapace. His paper-white insectoid body bounces back to its natural shape. One hand checks his stomach, and the other plucks his crossbow from the rubbery hand holding it.

Rusty snarls and tears the empty carapace apart. Potion bottles and paper bags and crossbow bolts spill across the ground. The goo from his claws eats away at the rigid carapace, and various things within crack and burn, popping and producing foul smells.

Rolf hefts his crossbow. There is one bolt in the chamber. Besides the weapon, his hands are empty. The shapeshifter’s tongue flicks out and licks his multifaceted eyes, which dart among the items scattered on the ground. He points a finger at one, a small paper bag, and a thin line of red energy leaps from the tip of his finger to grab the bag.

A claw slashes through the sack when it rises into the air, spilling glittering dust on the ground. Rusty steps forward, crushing a potion bottle under his foot. He lunges at the shapeshifter, who opens his mouth and utters a few words. An aura of lightning energy flashes over the shapeshifter’s body, pushing the claws back and protecting him from three slashes before fading.

Rolf uses the moment of protection to turn the flat of his palm toward the human. His skin loses its shine and the light within him flows to his hand, collecting in a bright spot. A beam of light brighter than the daylight strikes Rusty in the eyes. The human stumbles forward, but catches himself.

With eyes shut tight, Rusty swipes his claws forward and around his sides. He hits nothing and no one. The human growls and wrinkles his nose, which extends to a wolf’s muzzle. He sniffs, and turns around.

The shapeshifter is behind him, picking up the scattered items. Rusty snorts through his new nose, pulls a claw back, and charges at the shapeshifter. A few helms from his target, his feet slide out from under him on a patch of glittering ground. The human lands flat on his back and spins around.

Rolf grabs one more bolt from the ground and scrambles away. The pores of his paper-white body secrete a thin milky substance, enough to stick the few remaining items to his chest and waist, like wearing invisible bandoleers. The shapeshifter turns around and levels his crossbow at the human.

Rusty sticks his claws into the glittering ground, slides away, and rises to his feet. His eyes open, and the pupils begin to widen. He flings out his arms and the goo washes down to cover his claws again. Crouching low to the ground, the human flexes his arms as whisker lines appear on his cheeks.

They stare at each other for a breath, no more than twenty helms between the human and the shapeshifter. Both are breathing hard, weapons steady, their knees wavering, feet planted firm. From across the field, the second bellow of a horn announces victory for the fort soldiers.

Rolf fires his crossbow. Rusty leaps to the side. The shapeshifter extends his pointer finger and thumb. Two small rift portals appear. The bolt flies into one, exits from the other, and pierces the human’s left arm. He cries out, grits his teeth, and pounces forward. The fingers of his right hand press the claws together, a spear aimed for the shapeshifter’s heart.

In a streak of blue, Zarah flashes in behind Rusty. The half-human’s Cleaver is held high over her head. She laughs, marble eye shining, and slashes downward, the blade coming for Rusty’s back.

A black cloak unfurls in the air between the Cleaver and Rusty. Sah appears mid-leap, black tower shield strapped to her back. She wraps her arms around Rusty. Zarah’s sword slams against the shield with a loud clang.

The two are slammed to the ground, fingers away from Rusty’s claws reaching Rolf. The Cleaver splits through the black tower shield and wedges itself in Sah’s back. She grunts, moaning as Rusty’s goo barrier eats away at the black armor and into the flesh of her torso and arms.

Rusty opens his mouth and sucks in the goo with one slurp. Trapped under Sah, he wriggles around to face her. Their gazes meet, and she sighs. Her eyes close, and her forehead drops to rest against his. The human stares at her, and lets out a small squeak. He shimmers and vanishes. Sah flops down to the ground.

Sorrow runs up, war scythe in hand. He stares down at Sah, who shivers and goes still as Zarah picks her Cleaver up out of her back, a thin line of blood on the long blade. The gray skinned young man blinks. “Tell me if I should end the suffering of this person, please and thank you.”

Rolf shakes his head. “Run and find Mister Klax.” The shapeshifter's mandibles twitch as he bends down and examines the woman's back. “There has been enough death today.”
High War - Chapter 27.3
And that's the chapter finale: Dragon Teal! Drunk go away? Zarah's revenge! Was it a better chapter without dialogue? Ignoring that bit at the end of course. Or maybe it would be better without that bit? The idea of the dialogue is that the battle is truly over, there has been enough death, the characters can talk now. Rusty got defeated like five times over, and his last act (minor spoiler warning) was to become a mouse and hide in Sah's armor. It's funny because Twigs was the one who told him that small beast shapes can be better, but he didn't agree then because the dire ape beast shape is powerful. Rusty hasn't had to hide from anyone in a long time.

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a fantasy-ish world. I believe my preview image comes from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences; there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for reading, and I'm always happy to discuss the chapter if you have a comment for it.


Next: soon ...
The wind shifts. Clouds twist and roll, forming new shapes in the sky, and changing the patterns of light and dark on the ground. A breeze from the west scoops down into the valley and picks up a layer of yellow Beastmen shedding. Fresh air carries away the rotten stench of blood.

There are still more Beastmen than fort soldiers, but the Beastmen’s barks and roars grow quiet. Instead, it is the soldiers making the most noise. When Teal and Rolf defeat another MEK just outside the gateway, everyone nearby is still and silent for a moment. Then the soldiers continue fighting with a hearty shout. When Zarah and Joyous meet near the center of the wall-top, and in less than ten seconds tear through the last MEK atop the wall, the soldiers around them cheer. The Beastmen below the wall make low growls and slink towards the middle of the battlefield.

With the fusion MEKs atop and inside the wall defeated, there remain almost forty out in the field. They run every which way, grinding their teeth, throwing spells from their tentacles, and chasing down soldiers and paladins.

One MEK leaps at the large block of ice and smashes through, pinning the paladin in red to the ground with a sword-leg through the Small Folk’s chest. Elsewhere the paladin in black becomes caught in the tentacles of a MEK, cuts their way free, and takes shelter in one of the black buildings. Beastmen come running out bleeding from multiple wounds, and end up sliced to pieces by the sword-legs of a MEK galloping across the field. Another body appears in the MEK’s wake, the blue paladin, with a gash from belly to shoulder and one leg gone.

Three fusion MEKs come at the paladin in white and his soldier mob. A few soldiers swing their burning weapons at the MEKs and get tossed away. The rest retreat behind the paladin, who swings his longsword in a horizontal arc. The burning sphere follows the blade, bashing against the MEKs and incinerating their tentacles. He directs the sphere down between the MEKs, where the fireball explodes and pushes them back. While the MEKs stumble for a moment, the soldiers turn and run, and the paladin follows. He skates across the ground on glowing boots, circling back once to help up a straggler.

The bellow of a horn rings out from the fort. Though scattered in the field, the soldiers run for the walls together. Some arrive at the earth-walled gateway and pour inside. Others do not. The black and white paladins are the last to arrive. Teal greets them with a salute, and they stop to confer with her and Rolf.

The Beastmen with flags wave them back and forth, and the horde splits into many smaller bands. They gather around the MEKs, a dozen Beastmen for each, forming mixed units. With a ragged roar they surge toward the fort’s wall in a rush, herding the MEKs between them.

Zarah and Joyous emerge from the gateway, and the white and black paladin go in. The four standing outside the wall stare at the approaching horde. From their side the Drunk staggers up, breathless and pale, and drops a broken piece of thick lumber. He falls to his knees. Rolf reaches into a pocket, pulls out a small square patch, and pats it against the Drunk’s chest. The bare chested man smiles and stands up, taking his place beside them.

The runner soldiers exit the gateway and line up behind Teal, Rolf, Zarah and Joyous. There are now ten or more for each, some carrying shields, or with child-sized knapsacks on their back. On the wall above, all of the remaining soldiers spread out with bows in hand, with the paladins in white and black joining them. The priests in white are busy moving among the soldiers, flickering white auras always in hand, while several black priests walk out to join the field units.

Mutters go through the crowds as Reth walks out of the gateway, flanked by a large number of black-eyed Beastmen. The demon bows to Zarah. She inclines her head, eyeing his Beastmen. Jorg follows them through the gateway and taps Zarah on the shoulder. She turns and smiles at him. Without speaking they press together for a kiss that covers several long seconds of groping.

Rolf turns to Teal and puckers his lips while trying to lift the faceplate of her helm. She shouts and pushes him away, lecturing him with a wagging finger. He laughs and waves his hands back and forth. Sorrow points and laughs, and the Drunk pats Rolf on the back.

When the lovers part, gasping and grinning, Zarah pushes Jorg away and turns back to the battlefield. He sighs, nods, and walks toward Reth. The demon smiles and holds out a hand, but the orc shakes his head and looks to the field.

The closest mixed unit of Beastmen and a MEK are less than two hundred helms away. The furthest is another three hundred helms beyond that. The rest are spread out in a wide line, charging at an easy lope toward the wall, waving their weapons back and forth.

Teal thrusts her maul toward the approaching army, and the earthen head extends to a lance. She shouts. Her companions shout. Behind her the runner soldiers and black priests shout. The soldiers on the wall and the white priests and paladins shout. The field units charge forward, and the fort guard cheers.

Zarah and Joyous take diagonal paths to cut off the flanks. Teal and Rolf go up the middle, splitting apart at Teal’s direction. The Drunk sprints forward and vanishes, then reappears ahead of the approaching army’s line with two gray steel tower shields. Reth and Jorg run for the nearest group of oncoming Beastmen.

There is a mighty cry, a shout to the heavens, a roar from the underworld. This is war at last, a dance with grim death. The two sides crash together.

Three bells toll. In the middle of the valley, behind the Beastmen and MEK horde, a rift portal opens. A bone hand reaches out from the portal. With a snap of its dry fingers, the portal widens to a large gateway. Five figures emerge, and the large rift portal closes behind them.

In the center is the rift mage with bone hands, wearing a red robe with gold fringe. Bare bone feet stick out underneath. The rest of its body is concealed by the robe, while its face is covered by a ruby dragon mask. A skeleton wearing only a short red cape stands behind the mage.

To one side is an aging orc woman wearing a tight-fitting blue jacket with gold fringe. She does not carry a weapon. Her eyes are closed, but a third eye opens on her forehead and gives the battle a cold blue stare.

On the other side, Rusty stands tall in his green cloak with gold fringe. The hood of his cloak is back. He frowns at the battle and pulls out his bow. Sah stands just behind him, her tower shield ready.

Rusty squares his shoulders and walks toward the battle, Sah close behind. After a moment, the orc woman in the blue jacket focuses her third eye on something in the battle. She steps forward and disappears. The other two do not move.

Wherever a field unit from the fort has met a mixed unit from the Beastmen horde, a small battle rages for half a minute or more. When a MEK falls and dissolves into dust, the accompanying Beastmen howl and run to join another unit, and the soldiers pick up the children that appear from the white orbs.

Teal jousts a MEK in the thick of the fighting. Rolf runs around the edges of the mixed unit, firing his crossbow at a MEK from afar. Zarah flashes through the attacks and plants her Cleaver in a MEK's back. And Joyous somersaults over and around Beastmen while cleaving a MEK apart with his warscythe. The soldiers with them parry and block attacks from the Beastmen of each unit, focused on defending themselves until the MEK is defeated. The priests in black throw dirt in the Beastmen’s faces, and leave with the soldiers running back toward the fort.

The Drunk has no soldiers or priests following him. He runs toward a mixed unit nearing the wall, plows through the Beastmen with his shields up, and uppercuts the MEK with a tower shield. The MEK flies backward to land on its back and writhe for a moment. Then he runs off toward another unit. Soon his steel shields begin to look like battered gauntlets curved around his hands. He cannot stop their numbers, but he slows the Beastmen horde’s advance and smiles while doing so.

Reth’s unit runs around like a roving band of lunatics. His black-eyed Beastmen leap and tackle their former comrades, wrestling them to the ground while avoiding the MEK as best they can. Reth slips through and whacks Beastmen on the back of the head, doing nothing to stop the MEK from killing a few of his Beastmen. With the task complete he leads his unit onward, leaving behind animal corpses and the lonesome MEK. Jorg trails after the steady-growing unit, neither helping nor hindering, simply watching the demon.

But five field units and the Drunk were never going to be enough to stop every oncoming enemy unit. The first mixed Beastmen units reach the wall and a siege begins again. Some of the MEKs pick up Beastmen and throw them to the top of the wall, where they cause havok along with the hail of spell fire. The paladins in black and white run back and forth through the fighting, helping to push back the MEKs that try to climb up. Soldiers fire arrows to discourage the Beastmen from trying to climb the wall, and the Beastmen fire back.

Joyous is fighting a MEK when his leather armor bursts open at the shoulder, spinning him around and revealing the chain armor underneath. The gray-skinned young man lets out a cry, and his skin shifts to a darker tone. Sorrow glances around, tears still in his eyes. He spots Rusty pulling back the string of his bow, with Sah standing beside him.

The young man ducks down, and behind him a Beastman’s head explodes. He dashes forward, twisting and slipping past everyone to the edge of the battle. Rusty fires again when he reaches the open, but the black weapon takes the shape of a shield and blocks the shot. The young man hurls the shield, which becomes a spinning kama mid-flight.

Sah steps in front of the attack, shield up. The kama changes its trajectory and zips in a tight circle around her. The black weapon flashes through Rusty’s bow, cutting both the string and the stone handle, before curving back to land in Sorrow’s hand. Rusty drops the broken bow. His body shifts to match the colors around him, fading away bit by bit as he turns and runs. Sorrow blinks at Sah, then rejoins his battle with the MEK. The armored woman looks around and jogs away.

The orc woman in the blue jacket appears behind Zarah. There is no emotion in the orc’s third eye, nothing but the all-seeing stare. She presses a palm to her heart, and a pale blue aura covers her body, blurring her face and features. The orc woman lifts her hands and reaches out, tapping both sides of Zarah’s head.

Zarah spins around. There is no one behind her. She looks back and forth, while the glowing marble in her scarred eye socket swivels a full turn. The battle is still raging, and she turns back to her fight against the MEK. Several Beastmen leap at her. She cuts through them in the air, sidesteps their falling bodies, and throws a stone from her sash at the MEK’s upper body.

The orc woman covered by the blue aura circles Zarah, slipping out of the way of her attacks against Beastmen and the MEK. Wherever and however Zarah moves, the orc woman moves with her. Zarah’s marble eye follows the orc woman, but Zarah herself is always looking elsewhere. The orc woman moves in close and slides her fingers along Zarah’s arms, traces the curve of her neck and shoulders, stares from the side at Zarah’s marble eye. She inspects every part of the younger woman, then steps back and folds her arms to watch from a distance again.

Zarah slashes her Cleaver through the MEK’s last cracked eye. As the MEK begins to dissolve and fall apart, and the Beastmen howl and run away, Zarah stands still and gives one more look around. Still she sees nothing. She shivers and folds her arms, then shakes her head and runs off for the next MEK.

Behind her, the orc woman turns away and disappears. She appears again beside the red robed mage. They stare at each other for a moment, and the red robed mage nods. With a snap of its bone fingers another rift portal opens and widens for the orc woman, who steps inside. The portal closes, and the red robed mage stares back at the battlefield.
High War - Chapter 27.2
Phase 1 of the “humiliate Rusty” plan complete! So, can anyone guess who the orc woman in the blue jacket is? Or here's a harder one, the red robed mage with bone hands? And I don't just mean Blue Chief and Red Chief respectively, that's obvious. I'm talking about their identities. The orc woman at least should be clearer by the next chapter, and so we'll understand then why she left the fight here. The red mage however … well, he's about to do something that will permanently change the Drunk as a character. I almost cannot wait to reveal it. Let's just say he and the Drunk are old friends, and he's been dying to meet him again.

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a fantasy-ish world. I believe my preview image comes from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences; there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for reading, and I'm always happy to discuss the chapter if you have a comment for it.


At the far end of the battlefield, a team of soldiers stumble out from the fighting. Limping and holding each other up, they stop and look around in the sudden calm. Before them is a dirt road with a dead horse to one side. One soldier drops their weapons and runs for the the mountain valley’s exit; an arrow hits them in the back and they fall beside the horse. The others turn around and heft their weapons. They re-enter the melee, vanishing into the storm of blades.

In the middle of the valley, the two armies defend and attack from each black stone building. Soldiers run inside a building, and moments later Beastmen with bloody weapons run out. A fusion MEK thuds past, flinging spells from its tentacles. Beastmen run inside a building, where soldiers waiting behind furniture spring out to attack them.

Soldiers and Beastmen chase after each other around the building exteriors. Sometimes the one being chased will meet more of its kind, and the chase will turn around. Two fusion MEKs crash together, their gooey upper halves merge for a moment, and they swap a white eye. They disentangle and charge off in opposite directions.

Beastmen leap atop the black buildings, throw bone daggers down at the soldiers, and leap away when arrows and metal knives come their way. Soldiers wield everything from broken bottles, to chairs, the legs of tables, or the femur bones of large animals. Three fusion MEKs surround a lone soldier and rip them to pieces.

In the thickest fighting close to the walls, the paladins - though reduced in number - still hold their sections of the battlefield and slow the crush against the walls. The white paladin’s helmet is gone, revealing a middle aged human man with russet hair combed flat. He is surrounded by fort soldiers, who all fight with flaming weapons fueled by the burning sphere above. The paladin alternates between throwing streamers of fire from the orb and healing injured soldiers.

The paladin in black fights back to back with the blue paladin. Their black and blue weapons spin around them, keeping the Beastmen horde at bay but doing little beyond the area they control. Occasionally a fusion MEK will plod toward them; the two paladins’ weapons disappear, the paladin in blue vanishes like shifting smoke, and the black paladin tumbles away. They rejoin somewhere else and bring forth their weapons. Meanwhile the red paladin is inside a large, solid block of ice, frozen on their skates mid-twirl, while all around Beastmen try to smash through.

Atop the wall, the Beastmen now control several sections. They help their kind climb to them, fight to keep the fort soldiers from retaking the ground, and leap down on the other side. The soldiers on either side of each section use shields and the wall’s fortifications to approach, and their ranged attacks thin the Beastmen horde, but more and more of the beasts are crossing over each moment.

In the courtyard within the walls, the circle of priests is surrounded by fighting soldiers and Beastmen. Injured people pile up within the circle. When they try to stand or fight, their wounds begin to bleed again. Soldiers on one knee fire bows and crossbows from inside, the ground around them getting a little redder each time they pull back an arrow or crank the winch. Limping men and women, often in broken armor and with open wounds, wield spears and longswords and shields to defend those still unconscious.

But only the soldiers outside the healing circle can truly defend the inward-facing priests. Stout soldiers in the heaviest armor, slow to move but impossible to be moved, defend the priests’ exposed backs with their own bodies. The Beastmen make few leaps here. They throw their bone knives, strike with long weapons, or try to scurry on all fours through the defense. Despite the effort to protect them, sometimes a priest falls, and the circle of light shrinks just a little.

Klax has three soldiers forming a wall of steel at his back. Two of the soldiers are Small Folk wielding a crossbow in one hand and an ax in the other. The third soldier is a tall human with a large iron club. Without moving much they control the space, pushing back Beastmen and blocking their attacks. Klax has a bone knife stuck in his shoulder, but he is otherwise unharmed, with his head bowed deep in prayer.

A crew of five Beastmen swagger forward, the middle one carrying a longspear. A soldier from the courtyard charges at their flank. The two Beastmen on that side deflect the soldier’s weapon and grab their arms, while the longspear impales the soldier’s gut through their armor. The middle Beastman lifts the wriggling soldier with the long pole and tosses them away.

The two Small Folk soldiers guarding Klax fire their crossbows, but the Beastmen retinue block the bolts with the bone plates on the backs of their arms. Then the four Beastmen charge forward. They duck below a wide horizontal swing of the tall soldier’s iron club, and two grapple the tall soldier, while the other each wrestle with one Small Folk soldier. One takes an ax to the side, but they bite back blood and hold the Small Folk. The longspear-wielding Beastman leaps high into the air, lands balanced on the tall soldier’s shoulders, and twirls the longspear above its head once before thrusting down at Klax.

The mournful howl of a wolf sounds above the battle’s din. The Beastman freezes, its spear wavering fingers from Klax’s neck. A small rift portal opens between the spear and Klax, and another behind the Beastman. A thrown black pilum cleaves through the Beastman’s neck, spins around in the air, and zips back the way it came. The two rift portals vanish. The headless Beastman topples over, and Klax’s guardians finish off the other four Beastmen with ax and club.

At the front door of the fort, Teal stares down at her earth maul. For a moment lighting arcs around the head, then is gone. Beside her, Sorrow catches the flying pilum; his skin grows lighter, he breathes out a sigh, and Joyous smiles up at Teal. In a window above them, Rolf lowers his crossbow and hustles away.

They walk outside, Teal and Joyous at the front, with ten soldiers each behind them. The soldiers wear only light armor and weapons. Captain Artorius stakes out her position at the door, glowing claymore held ready. Captain Hod stands behind her, leaning on his spiral lance. Captain Jenkins appears at the window above and aims his sturdy composite short bow down at the courtyard. Rolf jogs out of the fort and goes to stand beside Teal. The merchant’s pack has been left behind, and he stands taller.

Zarah, Jorg, and Reth walk out of the fort. The half-human holds the Cleaver in one hand against her shoulder. She runs over and smacks Teal on the back. The paladin turns, nods at her, and gestures to Joyous. Zarah sticks up her nose, turns away, and waves a hand at the soldiers behind the gray-skinned young man, five of whom line up behind her. Jorg salutes Captain Artorius but stays beside Reth, who skulks in the shadows of the door, squinting out at the bloody sunlit fields. The demon blinks at the many soldiers and Beastmen, grins, and whispers something to Jorg. The orc glances at him and nods, pointing at the wall.

With a look at each other, they charge into the battle. Teal, Rolf, and their ten soldiers run for the wall’s gateway. Zarah and Joyous head for black stone stairs on the far ends of the wall, their five soldiers only just keeping up. Reth places a hand on Jorg’s shoulder, and the two sink into the shadows. The fort captains stay guarding the door.

A fusion MEK leaps off the wall and slams into the ground ahead of Teal and Rolf. Its tentacles combine to form one large whip, thick as a tree. Teal stomps both feet and dirt rises up to cover her bark armor boots. Rolf steps backward and whispers to his crossbow, while the fort soldiers spread out and stay well back. The MEK’s thick tentacle whip swings against Teal, who leans into the attack and blocks with her arm shield.

Behind her, Rolf fires his crossbow. The bolt splits in two, one hitting Teal and the other the MEK. The two bolts glow, the MEK grows lethargic, and Teal bursts forward. She swings the earth maul at a front leg joint, dislocating the MEK’s leg and causing it to stumble. With the lower body a little closer, she switches her grip and slams the earth maul up to dent the MEK’s body, as the cherry red aura around her fades. One of the MEK's eyes wobbles and cracks.

Rolf loads another bolt pulled from his brown coat into the crossbow, whispers to it, and fires. The bolt glows blue-white and flies inside the MEK’s opening mouth. Lightning flashes over the MEK’s entire body. It twitches and shakes, the undamaged eye wobbles, and the cracked eye turns dull and floats down. The MEK’s lower body collapses.

The top half’s purple aura fades. It points a tentacle with a cold blue glow at Rolf, and throws a jagged shard of ice. The mage intercepts the spell with a rift portal and another rift opens for a moment above the MEK. The ice drops out to hit the remaining eye, which cracks. Its tentacles thrash in a wild frenzy and the MEK tries to latch onto Teal, but finds no gaps in her armor.

Teal grunts and pounds her earth maul against the ground. A rock spike pops up through the MEK, strikes the cracked eye, and sinks back down again. With two dim eyes the fusion MEK begins to shrivel and fall apart. Teal and Rolf run onward for the gateway, and eight of the ten soldiers follow them. Two soldiers remain behind, and when the MEK’s body has dissolved and the eyes crack open, they each take a child and run toward the fort’s front door.

Up on the wall, Reth and Jorg rise up from the shadows in the center of a Beastmen mob. The orc ducks down as the demon reaches inside the sleeve of its gold robe. Reth pulls out a gold sceptar, and spins around to smack every nearby Beastman in the back of its head. They stumble and turn around with growls in the backs of their throats.

The grumbles die. Their eyes meet his and turn the same solid black. The Beastmen lift their gazes to the sky, exposing their necks. The demon smiles, strokes one under the chin, and pushes out from the circle. He strikes Beastman after Beastman, always in the back of the head, often sliding around them like wind over ice. They all drop their weapons and kneel down, hands raised in surrender.

One soldier stabs a kneeling Beastman in the back. The other Beastmen turn their heads to stare at the soldier, but Reth only laughs and continues on. Jorg follows after the demon, shouting at fort soldiers and pushing down their weapons. A shaky peace settles on the wall top in their wake, as the black-eyed Beastmen lay down their arms and the fort soldiers focus again on those trying to climb up.

At one end of the wall, Zarah climbs the stone stairs two at a time. She arrives within seconds at the wall top where it meets the cliff edge of a sheer mountain face. The soldiers behind are still climbing, while before her Beastmen and soldiers fight. The woman in blue saunters through. Everyone she passes stops fighting and turns to her. The Beastmen sniff the air and howl as if in pain, while the soldiers stare and cover themselves. The woman in blue doesn’t look at any of them. The soldiers following her reach the top of the stairs and pass through the two sides, which soon spring back into action and start fighting each other with greater ferocity.

Zarah soon comes to her first fusion MEK. She watches for a moment as it runs around in a circle smashing things, trampling soldiers underfoot, and flinging spells from its tentacles. The half-human holds a hand to her chest and a stone drops from the shoulder sash into her hand. She winds back and throws the stone, which glows a pale blue for a moment and snaps through the gooey upper half.

The MEK spins around and roars at her, its eye wobbling. Zarah smirks and throws two more stones in quick succession. The MEK tries to block them with thick tentacles, but the stones smash through everything and splash into the side. The wobbling eye cracks and grows dim. The tentacles droop and fall like dead hair.

The MEK’s lower half charges at her, maw wide open and grinding. The half-human dashes forward to meet it. A few helms away from her the MEK plants a sword-leg into the ground and slashes its other forward leg at her. Zarah vanishes, reappears behind it, and thrusts her Cleaver into its back. The MEK stops and shivers as its remaining eye cracks.

Then the half-human slaps her other hand against the Cleaver’s handle. A spectral blue aura covers the large blade, and Zarah drags the blade down to cut open the bottom of the MEK. Jumbled innards and the two dim eyes spill out, and the MEK’s body begins to dissolve. Zarah takes her stones and jogs off, with three soldiers following her and two staying behind.

Near the other end of the wall, Joyous finds a fusion MEK as well. The black weapon in his hands morphs and grows to a war scythe, and he holds it above his head and cheers. The MEK turns in time to see an oily black sphere cover the young man, and the scythe spin and cut the shadows to ribbons.

Five shadow figures appear, each holding a large black war scythe. They all grin as one, tumble forward to surround the MEK on all sides, and pull back their scythes. The MEK crouches down and its tentacles throw a barrage of spells in every outward direction. The scythes swing forward, slicing through the oncoming spells and the MEK in five sweeping arcs. The MEK’s eyes wobble and crack, and one goes dim.

The top half of the MEK droops, but the lower half rears up and charges to escape the circle. The shadow figure on that side dodges out of its path, and the five figures combine into one just before the shadows fall away. Joyous lifts his black weapon, which morphs into a staff, floats at the tips of his fingers, then grows three sizes. Before the MEK can get thirty helms away, he smashes it under the other end. The young man laughs and runs forward, his black weapon back to normal in his hand, with three soldiers following and two staying behind.
High War - Chapter 27.1
I think I get that desire to have “silent” sections now. In times like this the story needs action, not dialogue. If this were a movie, there would be some big orchestral arrangement going on, with beats and crescendos timed for each dramatic moment. In a movie, the soundtrack would accent and even create the emotion of a scene. Question: Am I not doing that here? How could I do more? The heroes are doing pretty dang good so far, I could have them get hurt a bit, but my feeling is they deserve some badassery. Should I add more senses, the sounds and smells and tastes of war? Along with that, could this be a case of Showing versus Telling? Telling would be having the narrator say the Beastmen fall under Reth's control, while my narrator only says their eyes go black and they kneel. But is that too much? Showing comes in degrees. What further degrees could I take it?

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a fantasy-ish world. I believe my preview image comes from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences; there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for reading, and I'm always happy to discuss the chapter if you have a comment for it.


Jorg paces through the fort’s dim halls, calling, “Zarah!” over and over. He visits storerooms filled with armor, crates of weapons, and barrels of ammunition. His voice echoes in barracks full of beds and duffel bags. He pokes his head into a mess hall with long tables and bench seating.

In the hospital cave the orc approaches an old woman sitting up in her bed, staring at the doorway. Jorg crouches down before her and pleads, “Has she still not come back?”

The old woman shakes her head and points at the door. “She left. Why would she return?”

Jorg stands and turns away. “She always returns.”

He continues the search. She is not inside the Fort Commander’s office, though someone has opened all the desk drawers and cabinets. She is not within a small private quarters, where a window overlooks the fields of constant back-and-forth slaughter. He stops, his gaze held by the view. Soldiers are dying without enough priests to save them.

“Light, please fortify them.” The orc turns away from the window. “Damned God, please deny them.”

His feet take him to deeper and darker places. His eyes glow umber, and an orb of dim light appears floating at his shoulder.

At the bottom of a staircase he finds three soldiers cowering in the gloom. Jorg does not reproach them. In a cold storage locker he finds a large human man shivering and feasting on raw meat. Jorg says nothing. At the end of a dark hallway he discovers a Small Folk body, a bloody knife, and last words to the Damned God scrawled on the wall. Jorg turns and walks away.

“Where could she be?” He stops at a crossroads and demands, “Damned God, do not hide her!” He pounds a foot against the ground, and the shadows in every direction shake. “Light, where is my wife?”

The orb of light darts down a passage. Jorg stares at it for a breath, then chases the floating orb. They go down into the fort, always deeper, until the orb stops outside a single branch tunnel.

“No.” The orc frowns. “She wouldn’t go there.” His shoulders slump. “She would.” He enters the tunnel, and the dim orb perches at his side again.

At the broken door, Jorg stops and stares. The tunnel beyond is dark. He whispers, “Gods, I enter this den of thy enemy to recover my wife. I do so trusting in your power. Light, please bolster my mind. Damned God, please protect my soul. This I ask of thee.” A gray aura covers his body in a second skin, starting from the head and moving down to his feet. He takes a breath and walks down the tunnel.

In the temple of Ye’nak’zahareth, Zarah sits up in the creaky bed and stares at the gold altar. Her marble eye glows bright. The gray cloak is tied around her in a shoulder sash, with five equally spaced lumps resting in the coils.

The boy steps down from the altar, stretches back his arms, and yawns. “I. Am done.” The boy’s body has stretched to the size of a young man, though his rags still fit. His corn-yellow hair grows to a shaggy mane down his back, revealing his eyes, two void-black circles without eyelids.

“By the moon, what are you?” Zarah places a hand to her sash, and a stone slides out into her fingers. “What did you do to that Phoenix kid?”

“You. Do not know?” The demon smiles at her. “I. Ate his soul.” His teeth are jagged points. “He. Is gone. I. May now wear his skin.”

“That’s … probably something I shouldn’t be okay with.” The half-human woman frowns. The stone rolls out of her hand and coils back into her sash. “But I kill people for a living. What’s dead is dead, unless it’s undead.”

“You. Are very understanding.”

The young man looks away from her, and points at the discarded white robe, which flies up to wrap around his shoulders. With his new height the robe now fits, but he scowls down at it. Turning, he brushes a hand over the gold altar, and his robe turns gold as well. Then he places both hands on the altar. With a flash like lightning, the altar shrinks down and morphs into a curved dagger.

“I. Shall not use my full name in this body.” The demon slides the dagger into the sleeve of his robe and turns back around. “I. Do need something to go by.” He smiles at the half-human woman. “Can. You suggest something?”

Zarah stares at him. “Yeah. A new name for a new life.” She tilts her head to the side. “Shorten the old one, maybe? Yak?”

The young man chuckles. “I. Am not that pretentious. But. Simple is not bad.” He licks his lips, and nods. “What? Do you think of Reth?”

The half-human’s eye widens. “Yeah.” She gives a thin almost-smile. Reth grins back and takes a step down off the dais.

“Get away from her!” Jorg marches into the room, his eyes glowing umber from within the pale gray aura. The orb of light pierces the twisted shadows of the room. “Get away from my wife, demon!”

“Greetings. To you as well.” Reth walks past Zarah’s bed and toward the orc. “Who? Are you? I. See that you are a priest. Do. You always walk around with that defensive barrier?”

“Light and Damn, you already stole a body.” Jorg scowls at the young man. “I came here protected because I know you control people. Release my wife from your control.”

The demon takes a step back and puts a hand to his chest. “I. Have been a perfect host. She. Is your wife? We. Have become good friends.” He smiles at the orc. “Why? Would you think so poorly of me, priest?”

The orc and the young man stare at each other. Both their shoulders tense up. Jorg’s hands clench into fists. Reth smiles with all of his teeth and reaches for the sleeve of his robe.

Zarah sighs and lays back in the bed. “Jorg, darling, why are you here?”

The demon pulls back the hand going for the sleeve, and glances back at the half-human. She nods, and the young man shrugs. Jorg looks back and forth between the two.

“Zarah, what’s going on here? Whose body did the demon take?” He takes a hard step toward the young man. “Has he tried to do anything to you, or made you do anything?”

The half-human shakes her head. “Two Phoenix soldier mages snuck in here. I was ready to kill the one pretending to be a priest, but Reth wanted his body. The necromancer got away.” She directs a hand toward the exit. “You should search for her, darling. She’s a Small Folk, and might be invisible.”

The orc scowls. “I’m not going to leave you alone with a demon. Come on, babe, leave with me.”

She rolls over in the bed and turns away from him. “I don’t feel like going outside. Go on, I’m fine here.”

“Or. Stay.” Reth stares at the orc. “We. Could become very good friends, you and I. I. Do not control my friends. Dispel. That barrier. You. Shall see.” The demon holds out an open hand. “You. Worship two gods. Why? Not three? I. Will give you even more power.” He pulls the hand back and shrugs. “Or. Refuse. You. Would rather be my next meal?”

“Reth, husbands are not for eating.”

“I. Was not serious about eating him.” The young man waves a hand up and down at the half-human, while keeping his gaze focused on the orc. “Do. You see now, priest? She. Is safe here. I. Would not hurt her.”

Jorg crosses his arms with a frown. “And why is that?”

Zarah rolls over to look at them. “You got a thing for me, Reth?” She snorts. “That’s cute, but you’re not my type.”

The demon scoffs. “I. Do not. I. Would be the joke of my kind for. One thousand years. We. Are not even the same species.”

“Then why?” Jorg demands.

“Hold on, darling.” Zarah sits up in the bed and sits at the edge. “More importantly, Reth, you’re not attracted to me? To this?” She slides her hands up her body, then covers the scarred side of her face. “Ignore this.”

Reth smiles at her. “This. Body does not. It. Seeks someone of smaller stature. I. As well. You. Look bald and diseased compared to a beauty of my species.”

Zarah frowns and stares down at the floor. “What is going on with my sex appeal lately?” She mutters, “I’m attracting the half-ogres, but not the horny shapeshifters. Those army captains and that claw jerk didn’t even notice my hotness.” Looking over at Jorg, she pleads, “Am I past my prime, darling?”

He gulps. “Um, I, that's not a fair question, babe. I think you're beautiful.”

Reth tsks. “You. Are not in the right colors. Black. Is too drab.” Keeping one eye on the orc, the demon sidles toward the half-human. “You. Did help with my name. I. Will help you now. What? Is your favorite color?”

She points to a blue speck on her neck. “Any light blue tones, cool and sexy. I always wore black because it's more sneaky, but I hardly need to anymore.”

He nods. “I. See it now. Your. Blood chains are blue.” The demon waves a hand across her, and the long black cloak changes to the same deep blue as her skin specks. “Your. Eye as well.” The other hand swipes down, and her leather armor turns the pale blue of a summer sky. The young man steps back from her, and smiles. “You. Are a woman of blue.”

She slides off the bed, looks down at herself, and spins around. The long blue cloak twirls out, then settles back artfully askew. The woman in blue holds the cloak open and bows to Reth. He lets out a whine and returns the bow, his cheeks tinged with red. The woman in blue smiles, her eyes twinkling. She brushes a hand back through her short hair, making wild spikes of the loose ends. Her one eye half-closes, and the bright marble in the other dims to a bedroom glow.

“I think you might be right, Reth. Even if I look like an overdressed whore.” Zarah grins at Jorg. “I’ll ask again, darling. Am I past my prime?”

He stares at her. “Babe, it's not even in question. With Light as my witness, I’d take you here and now.” Jorg blinks, and shakes his head. “Oh, but there is that battle going on. Damn.”

Reth wags his head up and down. “Your. Aura has changed.” He pulls the gold robe closed and growls under his breath. “This. Body agrees with the priest’s assessment. You. Do not look that bad without fur.”

The orc half-covers his face with a hand. “Babe, you might be coming on a little too strong. I can’t focus looking at you. If you say you’ll be fine, I should go save any soldiers that I can.” He smiles at her. “But after the battle, we’ll celebrate the win.”

The woman in blue takes a deep breath and releases the air in a huff. “Darling, I can’t allow you to fight a whole army.” She half-turns and brushes a hand along the metal bed frame. “Not without me.” The lumps in the shoulder sash roll in a circle around her body, spinning the sash as she walks away from the bed. “Have you seen my Cleaver? I think I left it somewhere.” Behind her, the metal frame collapses to the ground. Zarah walks forward, passing Jorg for the exit.

“I’ll come with you, babe!” Jorg turns and follows her. He smirks and adds, “I’ll go with you.”

“I. As well.” Reth folds his arms in the sleeves of the gold robe and walks beside the orc. “If. That is not a problem, priest?”

Jorg scowls, but then sighs. “Zarah trusts you, and the seal is broken anyway. I’ll just have to keep an eye on you.”

The demon smiles. “Excellent. We. Shall all go together.” He licks his lips. “You. Said there was a battle? Together. We will win it.”
High War - Chapter 26.4
And that's chapter 26! Teal got some respect, Sorrow proved his place as a member of the team, Rolf did some magic, and Zarah got her mojo back. The heroes are ready to kick ass, kick some more ass, and maybe kick just a little extra ass after that. My hope is for chapter 27 to be almost wordless. After all, what use are words now? Everything has been said, the characters know everything they need to know, and now is the time for action. The MEKs must be defeated, Rusty must be stopped, and the Beastmen army must be sent packing. Finally, FINALLY the heroes are ready to do it all … Then in Chapter 28 something will make everyone sad again :)

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a fantasy-ish world. I believe my preview image comes from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences; there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for reading, and I'm always happy to discuss the chapter if you have a comment for it.


These are the critiques I have given for :icongrammarnazicritiques:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  • Listening to: Pandora: Electronic Cardio Radio
  • Reading: People Skills
  • Watching: Urusei Yatsura , Jigoku Shoujo
  • Playing: Mega Man Star Force 3: Red Joker
  • Eating: way too much after-Christmas goodies
  • Drinking: more water


Ian Chisholm
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Favorite Quote: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

I'm here to tell my stories. I love Anime and I'm aiming at a career writing animation scripts, but for now I'm a writer-in-training creating worlds and characters and telling stories with them for my amusement. I'm always searching for people to collaborate with, especially visual artists; if you read something here that inspires you, I would be interested in enlisting you for a creative partnership with the goal of making something awesome. And I'm here to learn and help others learn. I want advice on how I can improve, I take on prompts and requests to sharpen my writing skills, and if you'd like a critique or some proofreading you only have to ask.

I upload something new every week, either part of an ongoing story I am writing, or something more random like a character piece or personal opinion paper. I also do prose critiques (again, just ask) and when I'm bored I hang out in the Philosophy forum. Of course the busier I get, the less I can do on DA.

My 2016 avatar is a fused MEK from my High War story. I drew it (yes, I draw, rarely) to show the players back when the idea was a D&D campaign. You can't see it because I scanned it and shrank it down; but the image is wrong anyway, the MEKs have changed quite a bit after some mecha design advice and then writing them. Still, the original is amusing.

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ChoFerry Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2015  Student Digital Artist
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Hi again! Thanks for the :+fav: on Banishment of Lucifer – Digital Sketch! :D

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Wow, thank you kindly for stopping by and taking the time to look over my gallery! I truly appreciate the +fav. :la:

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