Hundreds of silver clad fully armored soldiers stood before the gates of the Citadel. With their featureless full face helm, it was hard to know what the soldiers were thinking as they stood still like statues as they watched the gates.
The magic barriers above the Citadel walls flickered constantly, as smoke puff constantly appeared with thunderous cracks over the barriers. One by one the barriers fell as the enemy appeared to concentrate all their power in attacking the barriers and finally with a final pop, the last magic barrier overloaded and the shimmering sphere over the walls disappeared.
Without the barriers, the screaming spells of the barbarians started landing around the walls. Those caught in the open were fell instantly by the seemingly harmless smoke puffs. The thunder weapons of the barbarians continued for several heartbeats and just as suddenly as they appeared, the spells stopped, leaving behind cries of the wounded and dying.
The Imperial soldiers quickly came out of cover to man the walls once the screaming thunder spells stopped. They peered over the battlements with their bows and crossbows and were baffled when they did not see the enemy attacking.
Suddenly, shrieks and screams came from the skies again, and the Imperial soldiers screamed in terror as enemies screaming thunder spells burst over the walls before anyone could take cover.
A whistle blew and the Marines roared out a war cry as they charged up the slope. The walls before them were blanketed with smoke shells from the mortars, but it was barely necessary as they lifted the barrage to trick the Imperials out into the open before hitting them again with another barrage.
The walls were already badly battered by the mix of high explosive and airburst shells from the mortars, and several breaches could be seen. The Marines charged towards the breaches among the walls, ignoring the gates totally which caught the Imperial defenders off guard as much of their forces were concentrated around the gates.
Tyrier ran together with his men, climbing over the debris of the walls and entered into the courtyard beyond the walls. He saw a scattering of Marines crouching, as they fired their rifles at the cluster of Imperials at the steps that lead up into the castle.
He saw a large group of Imperials in armor that was more ornate than the usual Knights. They held kite shields that had the tell tale shimmer of a magic barrier. But what made him check his advance was when he saw the weapons sticking out from behind the shield walls. "What the fark..."
"Guns!" Tyrier yelled. "Take cover!"
He pushed the Marines before him down, and threw himself flat, just as the guns of the Imperials fired. Instantly the shield wall disappeared behind a huge cloud of dirty gun smoke and Tyrier heard the whizz of bullets buzzing over his head.
A few Marines that stumbled out of the gaps in the wall, did not get the warning and they dropped when bullets met their flesh. Those that spotted the danger started yelled for the rest to take cover while others dragged their wounded buddies to safety. "Medic!"
"How the fark did they get guns?" Hitsu cursed as he leopard crawled on the perfectly manicured lawn of the courtyard. "This is unfair!"
"Looks like black powder guns!" Young said as he fired his rifle into the smoke cloud. "Probably they stole them from the SDF or something!"
"MGs! Suppress those farkers!" A Marine Officer cried out from behind. Tyrier saw a bulky Orc Marine which he recognized as Slow, lugging his machine gun and trying to keep his huge body as low to the ground as possible, sprinting over the ruined walls.
The Orc Marine ignored the spattered of shots around him as he dropped down to a prone position. Slow braced his buttstock against his bruised shoulder and held down the trigger and swept left and right, sending bolts of red hot tracers directly into the gun smoke of the Imperials.
Tracers and sparks could be seen bouncing off the shimmering shields of the Imperial Knights as they held their position. Tyrier grinned and gestured to Marine who had an RPG - 1 strapped to his back. "Hit it with the RPG!"
The Marine grinned back and started fiddling with his rocket launcher. He remained in a prone position and aimed his RPG - 1 at the Imperials covered by smoke. He waited for the smoke to clear a bit, allowing him to adjust his aim and he yelled. "Clear back!"
"ONE ROUND AWAY!" The rocket's motor ignited and shrieked out, the short distance and speed of the rocket too fast to follow by the naked eye. The sudden ear bursting crack and a puff of smoke was the only indication that the rocket had hit the target and it was not the only rocket fired, as other Marines had the same idea, as several more rockets detonated among the smoke covered Imperials.
"Move! Move!" Tyrier yelled and pushed himself up off the ground. The troops around him followed suit and they advanced towards the main entrance of the Citadel where a flight of marble white stairs led into the castle.
As the smoke cleared, the ragged remains of the Imperials could be seen. Most of the Imperial Knights were down, bits and pieced of armor and body parts were everywhere and blood was slowly following down the stairs.
Those Imperials still alive continued their stand, relying on their still functioning magic barriers and guns to fend off the Marines. But as more and more Marines pour in through the breaches, they added their weight of firepower against the Imperials and a short twenty minutes later, the last Imperial Knight dropped to his knees as blood dripped out from the numerous holes in his armor.
Tyrier climbed up the stairs with his weapon at the ready. The Marines made sure to check each body to ensure no Imperials were just playing dead. They disarmed the bodies and moved the wounded to one side. Tyrier paused and reached down, picking up one of the guns dropped by the Imperial dead and frowned.
It was a Mark 1 'Magelock' bolt action rifle. Tyrier flipped the weapon over and saw the serial numbers engraved on the side and frowned. "This most likely came from the SDF..."
"Well, we did expect them to get their hands on our weapons," Hitsu said as he stopped next to Tyrier who tossed the weapon aside. "Well, it won't be a problem anymore if we take down the Emperor now, right?"
Tyrier gave a shrug as he looked up to the large grandiose doors where the Marines were setting charges, "Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that the Emperor is just after those doors!"
"Alright, form up," Tyrier gestured his men to him. "We got an appointment with the Emperor to keep!"
The Emperor sat in his throne with one arm supporting his head. Before him, stood a crowd of nobles and ministers. They milled around nervously as they could hear the thunder of the barbarian weapons growing louder and louder.
The doors to the Great Hall suddenly swung open and a large group of Imperial soldiers rushed in. They quickly barred the doors and one of the senior soldiers came up to report to his superior which the crowd silenced to hear the news.
"T- The... barbarians have broken through! The Emperor's Own could barely them off for even half the turn of the glass!" The soldier panted. "We tried to hold them off but... their magic is too powerful!"
The doors to the Great Hall suddenly shattered with a booming roar, flames and wooden splinters exploded out and slammed into the crowd. Screams and cries of fear and pain erupted from the crowd and they melt away from the entrance like ice.
The Emperor sat up straight and frowned as he saw the barbarians in their ragged blue green clothings flood into the Great Hall. They held their thunder weapons out aggressively and the crowd recoiled from them.
Instantly, the Emperor's Lifeguards who stood motionlessly went into action. They formed a protective wall before the Emperor and drew their swords out as one. The rest of the crowd, some of the males wanting to impress the ladies, bared their blades in a heroic effort against the invading barbarians.
For a moment, both sides entered a staredown as they pointed weapons at each other. Until someone strolled through the shattered doors like he owned the place. "My, my, what a crowd we have here!"
The Emperor narrowed his eyes as he stared at the newcomer. Unlike the barbarian soldiers which he observed closely, the single barbarian did not wear those pot like helmets nor the strange vest with pouches. Instead, he wore a flat hat over his head and had only a small pouch on his hip and he had dark green and black colors painted across his face in a diagonal pattern.
"Who are you?" The Emperor growled his question as the hall turned silent at the arrival of the newcomer.
"Me?" The newcomer pointed to himself and gave a short bow, "Greeting your Majesty. I am Major Joseph Tokin, Commander of the UN Marine Expedition Force."
"Insolence!" A eunuch cried out loudly as he pointed at the Barbarian. "You are before the Emperor himself! Why have you not gone down on your knees? Barbarian!"
The Barbarian's starkly eye whites stood out from his face paint as he turned his attention to the eunuch at the side of the Emperor. He broke into a smile which made his teeth strikingly white in contrast to his painted face, made the eunuch felt a chill down his spine and the eunuch unconsciously took a step backward.
"Let's not waste each other's time," The Barbarian said. "You know the reason why we are here."
"And what reason would that be?" Emperor Varacen remained unperturbed in his throne as he crossed his legs and folded his arms on his lap. "Are you here to give your allegiance to me?"
The barbarian soldiers hearing his words growled in displeasure while the leader of the barbarians just laughed and shook his head. "Nice joke, you should maybe consider a new job as a jester instead."
"No, your Majesty," The Barbarian's tone turned sharp. "We are here for your surrender."
Tyrier stood at the side with his weapon raised and ready as he listened to the exchange between the Major and the Emperor. He eyed the nobles cowling around the hall with disgust, as they wore rich clothing, jewelry and even indulgence in fine dining at times of war.
He spat to the side and turned his attention to the Emperor and felt a sense of unease from him. The Emperor seemed too relaxed for this situation. Clearly we had the upper hand, yet he remained like he is in command of the whole situation, thought Tyrier. He said in a low voice to the Major. "Something must be up."
The Major gave a slight nod to indicate he had heard his words. Tyrier turned to his men and said, "Get ready to hit the Emperor with everyone you got if he tries anything funny!"
Joseph kept his smile on his face as he watched the Emperor closely, wondering what other tricks he has on his sleeve. More of those... Terminators hidden somewhere? Or some magic trap?
"And how will you force me to surrender?" The Emperor laughed as he took a goblet of wine from the side. He stood up and pointed at Joseph whose expression turned serious. "You think you pitiable few, with borrowed magic of those thunder weapons could force me to surrender?"
"Do not think so highly of yourselves!" The Emperor laughed. "Kill them!"
The Emperor's Lifeguards instantly leaped into action on his command, crossing the span of the Great Hall in just a few steps, making Joseph hissed in surprise at their speed. The Marines without the need for an order, open fired and the gunfire in the hall was magnified, making the crowd of nobles scream in pain as their eardrums nearly burst.
"Get the goddamn Emperor!"