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"Watch your front! Make your shots count!" James yelled over the roars of Magelocks, his throat sore from the thick gun smoke he inhaled in. "Aim low, aim low!"

The recoil from the M1 Magelocks was a lot stronger and powerful compared to the smokeless chemical propellant of modern firearms. During trials of the M1 Magelock, it was found that the force of the recoil tends to kick the muzzle up slightly. Therefore during training, the instructors drilled into the recruits to fire low, to compensate for the powerful recoil.

James leaned into the butt of his Magelock and peer down the sights, waiting for the dirty gun smoke to clear. He led his sights slightly before an Orc trying to cross no man's land, aiming roughly at the area where he estimated the Orc will reach. As the smoke cleared, he quickly readjusted his aim and squeezed the triggered and was rewarded immediately with a painful kick in his shoulder followed by a loud bark and a dense cloud of dirty smoke and the 6.5 mm steel jacketed lead bullet weighing 13.3 grams took almost a second to travel between the short 300-ish meters and kissed the upper torso of the charging Orc he fired at.

The Orc's thick hide proofed no resistance against the spinning heavy lead bullet, entering through its chest wall and shattered the upper ribs of the Orc, before mushrooming and fragmenting into two pieces with one piece spiraling downwards and out through the back, missing the rear ribs and leaving a fist-sized exit wound. The other continued on at a slight angle, ripping into the upper left lung before lodging at the scapula.

The Orc toppled backward with a warcry cut off in a gurgle, the spent fragment exiting from his back, hit and bruised his companion behind him before both of them went down in a tangle of bodies. The dazed Orc sat up and rubbed the area on his belly where the spent bullet had hit him and got up and screamed a war cry before another bullet blew half his right arm off, leaving it dangling by the remains of his biceps muscles and skin.

The Orc screamed in anger and pain, tumbling on his butt again. He picked up a discarded saber and cut off the remains of his crippled arm. Gritting its teeth, the Orc growled and continued charging albeit slower than before, while leaking blackish blood from his wound, joining the rest of its kind in rushing towards the walls.

The narrow passageway and the maze-like barb wired barricades funneled the Orcs into a killing zone as they tried to navigate through. Some of the Orcs attempted to climb over the barb wires, only to have the barbs trapping and tangling them, while others hack and slash at the barricades.

The Marine defenders made good use of this situation to fire into the amassed Orcs, pinning them down. The passageway soon became slippery with blood and a small mound of bodies formed around the barb wires, where the smarter Orcs took over under the fallen bodies of their own kin.

At the rear, dozens of crude looking Orc catapults were carried into their effective throwing range and stones mined from the slopes of Sawtooth Mountain were flung onto the walls, the majority of them falling short and crashing their own kind.

Urka the Fierce stood on top of a boulder to better view the battlefield. In the distance, cloudy smoke constantly erupted from the walls, obscuring the defenders from view. He growled, this is the third attack of the day, and with only a few hours of daylight left, and still no progress. It had been two days since they started their attack yet they couldn't break those soft skins defenses!

"Have Elder discovered what spells those tri-cursed soft skins are using?" Urka turned and glared at the elder Shaman covered in a hooded cloak made of animal skins. Mysterious symbols were painted with blood adorned all over the cloak while chaotic tattoos that make eyes crawl could be seen on the shaman exposed hands.

"Warbearer Urka," The Elder Shaman greeted with his palm facing Urka, "Elder have no idea what power or magic are those." A low raspy voice came from the hooded figure. "The spirits are confused."

"Confused?" Urka leaped down from the boulder, landing heavily on the wet rocky ground, causing a slight crack to appear in the hard ground. "Urka thinks you better talk to the spirits more, Those cursed magic is killing our clansman in hundreds and yet clansman couldn't even reach the walls!"

Urka glared at the rear of the catapults, where rows of armed blue-coated soft skins stood watching with more others seated leisurely on their mounts. At this point in time, he hated those blue soft skins more than the enemy at the walls, if it wasn't for the Chief taking this job in exchange for winter supplies, they won't have to bow their heads to these cursed weaklings.

A trio of soft skins riding those lean wingless dragons rode up before him, looking down at Urka from the perches of their mounts. The disdain look on the soft skin furthered infuriated Urka, but he kept his temper in, narrowing his eyes at the lead rider who was dressed in fancy ornate armor with a spectacular red plume on his helmet.

"Why are you still not pressing the attack?" The plump looking soft skin asked, using his nose to look at Urka. "My Lord expects you to have taken the walls already. why are you still struggling here? From the magic scrying, clearly, the rebels only have less than 400 defenders. Are the Orkin so weak that they can't win a force less than a tenth of your numbers?" He sneered at the gathered Orkin.

"Urka understands," Urka lowered his head, his eyes glittered dangerously. Suddenly, he had an idea. Keeping his head down, he grinned wickedly. "Urka show Great Lord victory! Come come!" He urged the fat soft skin on his dragon to follow him while speaking in Common.

"Urka's army attacking in huge numbers now!" Urka gestured around him while leading the soft skins forward towards the front line. "Come see, here best view of victory!"

"Hmph, its good that you are finally seriously attacking, this lord shall witness your victory than!" The noble sniffed his nose and nudged his dragon to follow Urka, his two retainers followed obediently behind.

"Here, here!" Urka gestured excitedly, keeping his head low and bowing and scraping to the hated mounted soft skin. He led them well within view of the Pass, the glamour of the battle for all to see.

-----

Lord Dialar, a noble's son from the Captial, joined Duke Sturm's army for adventure, war, and riches. As he came to the battlefield, the stories of glory and glamor were vastly different to what the bards sang and told in the Gentleman's Clubhouses in the Captial. He didn't expect the march to be so ... dirty. Mud was everywhere, in his trousers, underclothes, boots, and stockings! And the Oerkin, the crude barbarous dumb low life beasts, smelt worse than anything he ever knows. He tried to avoid as much contact with the Oerkin to prevent the smell from contaminating him.

As the dumb Oerkin led him to the rise in the front, a view suddenly appeared before to him. The battlefield in all its glory could be seen clearly from where he rode his dragon. He could see the walls blurred by the smoke of their spells to the Oerkin storming and dying across the narrow passageway to reach the walls. The warcries and echoes of thunder rolled over him, and he felt his blood rising.

"How spectacular!" Lord Dialar whispered to himself. He stared at the battlefield, daydreaming himself as a general and giving orders to the hundreds and thousands of soldiers under his command when a sudden buzz and wet smack sounded, painting his escorts wet with blood and bits of bone and brain matter.

-----

Corporal Drake hidden in one of the squat armored wall towers, tilted his head away from his scope, as he gently worked the bolt of his specially customized rifle. "Good kill," Private Kont whispered, his face glued to the tripod mounted binoculars. "Who in their right mind wears such a colorful plume to battle? It's like painting a bull eye on their back and tell us to shoot them!"

Drake gave a small smile, a few months back, thinking that Kont would have loved to wear a large colorful plume on his helmet and parade around, now, after learning about sniping, his mindset had greatly changed.

He pushed the bolt back, chambering a new round into his new toy, the M3 Magekiller, Anti Material Rifle. Fitted with a 10x detachable scope and a 45-degree tilt sights, a deployable bipod and a 29" or 74 cm long free floating heavy barrel with an integrated muzzle brake.

It weights at 11.2 kg unloaded and fires a .50 caliber round (12.7 mm). It has a detachable box magazine of five rounds capacity. Using the same design as the Magelock, the firer works the bolt to chamber a round to be fired. The M3 Magekiller has a muzzle velocity of 853 m/s and an effective range up to 1,100 meters.

"That's a kill shot at 674 meters away,' Kont reported, continued to sight down at the group at the tiny rise. "Do you wanna take another down?"

Drake peered back at the rise, seeing the Orcs had either rolled to cover or scattered away, leaving the panicking dragon with half a corpse still mounted on it. The two escort-like soldiers were trying to figure out what had happened still and Drake felt sorry for them. "Think that should be good enough for now. Let's see if there are any trolls or exposed catapult gunners for us to shoot at."

Kont nodded and continued to scout around with his bino. "Contact, left of the rise, next to the catapult. Eleven O'clock."

Drake shifted his body and spotted the exposed catapult. "I got a target left of the rise, loading a catapult."

"That's your target, check parallax and mil." Kont looked through his bino and spotted the target Drake was sighting on.

Drake adjusted his scope and reads the mil on his scope. "1.46."

Kont double checks his own reading and found it to be within 1.4 too and he keyed in the data into his tablet's ballistics software. "Check level, hold over 2.8."

Drake took a breath and held it, "Ready."

"Left, point two," Kont ordered, giving the wind estimation.

Bam!

"Good hit."

-----

Urka grunted with barely suppressed glee as he saw from the corner of his eye how that useless piece of meat exploded. He long had suspected that the enemy in the Pass had their magic aimed here, and since he had lost several Warleaders here, he found out that wearing anything that appeared to show strength and power, will always get killed by some mysterious magic. He purposely led that soft skin to this open spot and stood between the dragon and the direction of the Pass.

A sharp thunder different from the constantly roaring thunders rolled down the Pass as he stood up from where he laid prone. Surprisingly, the rest of the Oerkins were showing good humor, as they watched the dumb soft skin get killed. The other two soft skins finally managed to get the panicking dragon under control, and casting a last look at Urka, they scampered back to the rear of the lines, leading the dragon with the lower half of an armored body still attached to the saddle and stirrups.

Once out of range, Urka and the surrounding Oerkins hooted with laughter, throwing obscene gestures at the retreating soft skins. After a while, feeling slightly better, Urka turned his attention back to the Pass, wondering how should he crack this hard nut. Finally, he gave up, thinking there is no point in letting more of his clansman get injured or killed.

He turned to one of the Oerkin at his side, "Sound the retreat." He looked at the sun position in the sky, "And tell the Elder to prepare the ritual for tonight."

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A note from neo Koh

New patch - Increased chapter length

discord channel up ~

https://discord.gg/A8Tm86V

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