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  1. A slow, warm, desert breeze floated past Adira's face, bringing a hint of the smell of the river with it. She inhaled deeply, letting the dank smell linger in her nose. Almost like the smell that hangs so thickly in the Nestlands... Opening her eyes, Adira surveyed the work site in front of her. Not very far, seeing what terrible selection of tools we have, but they should be done with the barricade by the time the Desert King forces arrive. “Captain, requesting permission to allow the civilians a rest-bit and have the soldiers take over for a while.” Adira turned to see Lieutenant Sirhan at attention. She sighed. “No, Lieutenant, we can not afford to leave the site unguarded. With the soldiers working we would be much more open to attack.” “What do we have to fear? The Desert King forces are hours away.” Sirhan responded, annoyance showing clearly in his voice. A smile played at the corner of Adira's mouth. “The Unexpected.” There was a thud then a gurgling sound behind them. Adira spun around just in time to see their sentry, one of her Guerrillas, fall to the ground, an arrow embedded in his throat. There was a thudding of mail-clad feet on the dirt road and an inhuman shriek as a party of orcs rounded a curve in the road and charged toward them, shrieking their war-cries. Adira's thoughts flew out of her head as a burly orc wielding a large war-club charged her. She was barely able to draw her sword before he was upon her, his war club descending. She raised her blade, barely deflecting his, and retreated a few steps. Think! Remember your training! Adira fell into a swordsman's stance, her mind searching for the next step. He will attack forcefully and with momentum, use that against him. The orc charged again, slicing toward her head. Adira ducked and sliced toward the orc's leg. Her blade bit into flesh. Pressing her advantage, Adira got side stepped the orc's flailing war-club and scored another hit on his chest, bringing him down. Stepping forward she plunged her blade into his neck, bring his war-shrieks to an abrupt stop. Adira stood and glanced around her. One of the villagers was down, and Sirhan had decapitated one of the orcs. The rest of the workers were falling back in disarray, tossing down their tools. We need to form up, fast. Adira raised her voice above the clamor of the skirmish. “Form a line atop the barricade, are the workers!” The orcs were temporarily stymied by the losses they had been dealt, and fell back several yards, giving the High Council troops time to gather their forces. Adira made her way back to the mound of dirt that would have been a barricade, her mind racing. How did the Desert King forces get behind them? They must have crossed the river, but how did they get past the guard we set there? Adira saw one of her sergeants giving orders on the other side of the mound and strode over to him. “How are our chances, Sergeant?” The man removed his helmet a ran a wiped the sweat from his forehead. “With this rabble? Slight. If they can just hold the line against the Desert King charge, then we will be fine. Other then that, we're as good as dead.” Adira nodded toward the building to their left, some shrine or burial chamber. “What if they send a force around the other side of that? Do you think we could withstand a two-pronged attack?” “No.” The man said flatly. “In that case we would have to put our chances behind one charge.” The workers, with a large amount of orders from various sources, had finally formed a line on the top of the mound. Adira motioned for Udgr and he came after launching a few parting orders at the line of workers. “Udgr, I want you to watch the other side of this building, make sure we are not surprised on that side. You may have to hold them off until we can send reinforcements.” Udgr saluted. “It shall hold.” He turned and trotted off toward his position. There was a sudden commotion coming from the Desert King lines. Adira glanced toward them just as their lines parted, allowing a hooded Mummy in black armor to pass through, along with several other hooded men. The mummy surveyed their lines until his gaze rested on her, then it stopped. Adira felt a prickle of fear run up her spine. He's here for me... The mummy finally turned back to his men and motioned for some of them to move around the building. Adira was about to send someone to warn Udgr when the mummy raised his sword... then let it fall. The orcs and Desert King soldiers charged like a body of water bursting through a dam, letting letting loose their collective war-cries. The mummy Commander charged strait toward Adira, dodging the spears of the workers and the bolts of the Council soldier's one crossbowman. Adira's palms began to sweat and she readjusted her grip on her weapon. He looks dangerous, I wonder how much so... A blur of black and dark green rushed past Adira as Sirhan charged the Mummy. The Mummy, surprise written on his face, was barely able to bring his sword up in time to block Sirhan's blow, throwing himself off balance. Sirhan pressed his advantage and put his weight behind the blow, throwing the mummy onto his back, where Sirhan leaped on top of him. There was a short scuffle and the mummy struggled out from under the soldier just as Sirhan's blade descended toward the ground where he had just been. The mummy retreated, limping slightly, back along the road. Adira just then noticed that the course of the battle had been in their favor. The line held! We beat them off! They had maintained a few losses, but the Desert King had taken more, and were now pulling back, their force greatly depleted. One of the Assassins took down a High Council pike-man before retreating, and then the fight was over, as quickly as it had started. A clash of swords came from Adira's left and she spun toward the noise to see Udgr and another of his kind, the short, mountain orcs, exchanging blows almost faster then her eye could follow. Another assassin was trying to circumvent them. There was a quick, high shriek and the other orc leaped back, his hand on his arm. At the same moment the High Council crossbowman shot a bolt over the other assassin's head, forcing him to retreat back behind the building. The wounded orc let out a strange hissing sound and then retreated as well. Udgr hissed back then turned, and his eyes quickly turned from fierce, animal eyes back to their almost-human form. Adira turned back to the road, just in time to see the last orc turn the bend farther up. We have this skirmish, the Desert King will not get to Queenscross this way. We may yet survive this war! Queenscross may hold... I hope. The build. I was originally going to have an irregular base, but it was getting so square do to the restrictions that I decided just to go with a normal, square base. This is my first time building a completely dark tan building, and I think it turned out well. Experimented with some Gothic architecture for the shrine thing as well. And count this as a parting shot, and the Main Pic I was not able to include anywhere else. Soli Deo Gloria & Sola Gracia! _____________________________________________________ I would like to claim UoP credit for: Military Science: Battle Scene. And if I win, I would like to have F8 as the next Warzone.