After Randidly killed around 200 of the Wights, he had to face a bitter truth; the horde of opponents hadn’t even noticed the losses. Sure, there were those at the edges that saw their brethren were killed, but so what? They were at war. This was commonplace.
Even the lack of apparent enemy wasn’t an issue. If anything, it filled the Wights with confidence as the assailants dare not remain and fight. This was especially true because the Wights were used to fighting against the people of Tellus. The spear users did not retreat in the face of the enemy. They charged forward to demonstrate their martial superiority which is why-
Randidly paused mid-spell. Then the blood drained out of the face. Almost disbelievingly, he scanned the walls around him. He looked up and down the entirety of the battlements he could see. When he didn’t find what he was looking for, he spread out his Aether Perception to feel the area. The Aether in the air was undoubtedly thin, but Randidly just expelled a cloud to fill the air enough to distinguish what was going on around him.
And after it all, he had to face a truth he should have realized immediately. One that made the spear-users’ loss to the Wights make much more sense: no one here knew how to fight a defensive war on this scale.
In the entirety of the wall, there wasn’t a single shield or piece of heavy armor. They wore the same form-fitting leather armor that they had worn for the one versus one tournament. That sort of armor was serviceable in a giant melee, but they were trying to defend walls. Without heavy armor to turn aside blows, the spear users on the wall would have to individually engage with each opponent. When an overwhelming number of attacks came, they would need to retreat to survive.
When they did, the wall would be lost.
For several seconds, Randidly felt a strange sense of helplessness. With Inspire, he could hit a lot of the Wights that were coming. But then he would be without Mana, which was a prospect that he wasn’t comfortable with. Some experimentation might reveal a more Mana efficient method of killing Wights but that was somewhat doubtful as well.
Which only left…
Randidly hopped lightly up on the edge of the wall and spun to face his men and women. They looked up at him, their faces displaying the nervousness that his bad jokes had failed to banish. Randidly’s bare toes gripped the wooden wall, careful to only let his heel stick out a small amount over the edge to the ground below.
He smiled at his people. “This is going to sound strange, but how many of you believe you can wield your spears with one hand?”
“Someone is wiping out their scouting parties,” The copper-haired woman commented. “The Witch King is slowing his advance.”
Helen activated her Farsight Skill and blinked. Someone was wiping out the opposing sides scouts, which significantly delayed the charge that she had believed was coming. As she peered more closely with her Skill, she almost laughed. Plants were rising up and attacking the invaders. Part of her wanted to believe the very world was rebelling against the invasion, but the logical part knew it was Randidly’s doing.
Just the fact he could do it so efficiently, and from such distance, left her somewhat awestruck. The tactical value of such a thing…
“But if it is a rogue element, it is just as worrying for us.” Sentinel Roonst said with his typical frown.
Although Helen had no real rank here, as a veteran of the front lines she was invited to the central base of operations at Niergem. She had a squad of a hundred guards that she would use to reinforce the worst areas of fighting. But for now, she waited for orders.
There were about 20 other Sergeants milling around, as well as 10 or so people that were Pontiffs that had deployed their Styles to assist in the defense. At the center of it all, Viro Roonst stood. He was a conductor in his element, moving his forces in response to the shifting advance of the Wights. A defensive battle was a losing one, Helen knew, but Sentinel Roonst was doing his best to position his forces out of the spaces that would likely be bombarded by the other sides Psychic Poison Skills.
“Reporting sir,” Helen said. She did her best not to call him a suspicious idiot. “The killed scouts is likely the doing of Randidly Ghosthound, the Northern Domain tournament representative with an emerald Tassle. He is a known Spellspear”
All eyes turned to Helen. The copper-haired woman’s gaze was especially sharp, in a way that reminded Helen uncomfortably of her mother. And suddenly she realized with a flash of guilt that she had never replied to her mother’s most recent message. How long ago had she received that fucking thing…?
“Intriguing. Emissary Jailen? If I could trouble you to bring your forces to assist Spellspear Ghosthound? Take a portion of the Mana potions with you, and see if you can keep the Wights blind.”
A thin man with salt and pepper hair and dark orange skin bowed to the Sentinel and then gestured sharply. Two of the Sergeants joined him and marched to gather their men. Sentinel Roonst once more turned his gaze to Helen, considering her.
“A Spellspear is rarely seen in the outer Domains… let’s hope he can hold up under the weight of responsibility. Sergeant....”
“Helen sir.” Helen saluted. It was a military habit, more than anything. It turned out that she could learn at least a little bit of self-discipline when it wasn’t being stuffed down her throat by her mother.
“Excellent, you are with me, Sergeant Helen. You served on the front, yes? Your service will be-” But then his words cut off as there was a great cry arising from the Wights. A strange pillar of sickly green light descended from the skies and covered them all.
Sentinel Roonst’s face turned immediately grim. Well, Helen reflected as she studied the man critically. Grimmer. It seemed like the only change of expression he ever had was to frown more deeply. She wondered if he woke up with a normal face, and it was slowly twisted over the course of the day. Fucking weird.
“That’s the Ring of Mass Flight.” The copper-haired woman, who Helen had learned was named Jeneva Rawn, said.
Sentinel Roonst nodded. “...this will make things difficult. It might take away the advantage of the walls, but it likely means they will gamble on a melee more quickly. We must hold out until then.”
“Should we not attack now?” Another man argued. “It is known that the Rings take a while to activate. If we can strike before it is completed, we will rout them.”
“A portion is remaining on the ground,” Jeneva pointed out, right as Helen was opening her mouth to call the man a dumbass. “That group would rip into an assault squad with Psychic Poison unless we deploy a significant amount of troops. At that point, is it worth it?”
Glumly, the man fell silent. Everyone’s mood turned bleaker and bleaker as they watched the strange light glow more intense.
Strangely, Helen didn’t feel too much worry. Subconsciously, she turned and looked over to the spot where Randidly stood. She wondered what he was up to.
And as she was watching, there was a bright light from that area that streaked across the sky and struck one of the Wights that was slowly floating upwards out of the trees. The thing screeched and spasmed, and then fell still.
A strange, baleful song around amongst the Wights. As they sang, Helen knew from experience they would activate their Spectral Claws and prepare to fire Psychic poison. The song built and built, largely ignoring the singular steaks of orange fire that eliminated some of their fliers.
But as it was building towards a crescendo, there was a voice that cut through the strange and deadly song.
“Before a King, the peasants are silent.”
There was a strange tingling in the air, and the song of the Wights faltered. Helen looked over and saw a strange, bright light and a grey crown, but then something drew her gaze back towards the Wights.
The Witch King screamed, and the two hosts rose from the ground to swarm through the sky. Then Psychic Poison shot through the air towards Randidly and his crown like a monsoon.