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It began like this: The Ulandians had no realistic estimate about the population size of the Nestlands, therefore the Blazing Swords Legion was dispatched in full force for the invasion. That was their mistake. The Ghuin Nol High Guard at Skywatch Perch spotted the army weeks out, and were able to warn the Clans right away. Most of the non-combat citizenry (children, pregnant women, the aged and infirm) were evacuated to the deep hiding places south of the Nols. It was decided by the High Ministry that the defense would be a retreating line. Warriors were ordered to make only a token resistance, then to disappear into the forests. The main force of the Nestlands Clans would gather in the tunnels and caverns of Edst Nol and Dun Nol. From there they could send out raiding parties to strike back at the invaders, once the bulk of the Ulandians were forced to move on. The Blazing Swords did exactly as expected. Once the major towns were secured, the occupying Ulandians set about inventorying what remained. They found precious little food, and no drinkable water (all the water distillers had been dismantled and removed). There was no choice, but for the bulk of the Blazing Swords Legion to move on to a more livable location. Several small units remained, supplemented by a unit of Guardians of the Garden, to catalog and examine all the interesting little devices made by the Nestlands Clans. ------------------------ It was decided that Skywatch Perch had to be retaken. Ghuin Nol High Guard Captain Gorgd MkTavsh, the new commander of the late Hugh Hos' unit, and Olik Funrirr, Bloodmane's apprentice, were afforded the honor of first strike. Using secret tunnels that the Ulandians has missed in their search, Gorgd and Olik made it all the way to the cavern beneath Skywatch Perch without encountering a soul. There they found a fireplace with eagle feathers and bones littered about. This sent Captain Gorgd into a rage, causing him to rush up into the main outpost. There was only one Ulandian inside at the time. Restus Solus, a Guardian of the Garden officer, had only microseconds to respond by crossing his blades. This did little to deter the furious Captain, and with his first blow sent Restus' right arm and his blades into the outpost foyer. The rest of him was smashed backwards into the cavern below. Mitus Dolum foolishly left his pilum inside while he examined the skyviewers. Olik made his way quickly to roof. The Leoparder slave had no chance. Grhiishir didn't even manage a mewl before his treachea was severed. Olik takes a moment to wonder if Leoparder might taste like mountain cat. "Grabbagh na bollagh, Sassenuk!" roared Gorgd. A blast of pain. Mitus' screams could be heard for miles, as his wrist is shattered and his hand barely remains attatched. The major artery in the wrist bleeds profusely before Mitus falls down the mountain dead. Thus Skywatch Perch was secured. --------------------- Some overview shots. Detail shots: Architecture Skyviewers Plants and rocks ------------- I may do some figless and bloodless shots later. CCC