|Unit Class:|| Recon Unit|
|Starts With:|| 1 First Strike|
-50% City Attack
-50% City Defense
Immune to First Strikes
Can See Hidden Units
|Info:|| 6/4 +2 Poison|
|Special:||Can Cast Mirror|
They moved slowly through the forest. A small punitive expedition, intent on burning a few trees, raping a few Svartalfar women, skinning a handful of trolls. Their goal: to exact revenge for some trespass, some transgression committed agains their homeland. Maybe the Svartalfar had stolen some children or played tricks with some cattle. Who knew? It made no matter, they'd soon regret having the gall to try to make retrubution upon the servants of the Winter Court. They made progress like elephants, crashing along the path, making a great ruckus, trampling the brush and plants on the lightly worn path into the dust. Alazkan crouched among his sisters, his fellow warriors, and waited for them to come.
In a roomy, well-furnished and comfortable tent, far away from the dark and miserable forest the soldiers were slogging through, a group of men were gathered around a mage with a scrying glass, listening to his report of their progress. The tent and all the ones around it were set up in a clearing, a man-made clearing, hacked and burned out of the all-encroaching forests that covered and obscured the lands of Faeryl Vinconia, the Queen of Mischief. The generals need not put themselves in harm's way, they had to be detached from their little army in order to make cool, correct decisions unhindered by the chaos of a surrounding skirmish. But right now, nothing demanded their attention, so the discussed what they would do when the soldiers reached the closest settlement.
On a stretch where the path narrowed slightly and the shadows seemed to deepen, the Svartalfar struck. Banshees, witches, amazons, lashing out from the darkness, retreating, and lashing out again, cutting short a man's life every time. Jinxes, curses, knives, darts, arrows and all manner of projectiles flying out between the shadows and the foilage, leaving pain and terror in their wake. Poisoned men raved around like lunatics, the wounded screamed and the soldiers yelled and cried in confusion. Alazkan danced and flitted among the confused mass of soldiers. A thrust here, a slash there, with the grace and efficiency of endless practice. Crossbowmen fired bolts blindly, hoping to hit something in the trees, but as often as not hitting their allies, fighting vicious hand-to-hand battles with the Svartalfar in an attempt to strike back at their hidden tormentors. Those who broke and fled along the path were caught in hidden traps, just as lethal as their live foes. The battle was going badly, it was going worse than badly, it was disastrous. If it weren't for the fact that they were trapped, it would have been a rout. As it was, ever dwindling pockets of desperate survivors were doing their best to take as many elvish vixens with them as possible before their inevitable demise, fighting with the rage and bitterness of desperate men. Then the spells came.
Action among the greying men in the elaborate tent had been swift and decisive. The battle was lost, the men dead anyway. What difference did it make who killed them in the final reckoning? They may as well use the opportunity to strike a blow at their shadowy foes. At least then the soldiers would not have died entirely in vain. The general, a hard man in glittering, polished armour with little practical use, had not faltered an instant before ordering the mages to saturate the battlefield with their ethereal doom.
The fire rained down from the sky, meteors, lightning and fireballs splitting the trees and sending flaming splinters and shards flying between the combatants. Great chunks of earth flew up where meteors struck, blast and heatwaves threw bodies around like rag dolls or vaporised unfortunates where they stood. The forest floor was turned to mud, a mud made not of water and dirt, but of blood, and sap, and earth and ash. A cratered wasteland, every bit as hellish as the lands of the Infernal, where Svartalfar and human lay, sliced and burned, united in undignified, violent death, a horrific, ever convulsing monument to hatred, composed of limbs, flames and entrails.
The scene was pure chaos, the horrible banshee wails of mangled Svartalfar mixing with the despairing, incomprehending cries of the men that were being sacrificed by their own friends and comrades in arms. Survivors sought any cover they could find, skittering desperately away from the destruction. When two foes found the same hole to hide in, a brief and squalid fight would erupt, leaving only the victor to cower in safety until another challenger arrived. The air reeked with the odor of the freshly slaughtered, mingled with smoke, earth and the odd smell magic left behind. And all the while the spells thundered down, pummelling the site again, and again, and again.
The men in the tent listened impassively or paced around the tent as the mage conveyed his impressions from the battle. The crackles and fizzes of the mages working their craft could be clearly heard through the thin walls, as could the duller, more distant whooses and booms of the spells hitting home. Surely, noone could survive such destruction? A great blow was struck this day, a blow which those accursed elves would not soon forget. The generals congratulated eachother. Still, they were, of course, suitably sombre about losing so many brave, but sadly, expendable, warriors. Of course. All the Svartalfar that could had made off, hoping to get away from the cauldron of murderous magic before the spells reached out to them. Also Alazkan had made good his escape, dodging the first blasts and sweeping through the forest, running with determination in the direction in which the fiery trails of meteors and fireballs pointed him. Soon, the other Svartalfar survivors would follow. They knew where the men made their camp, but it was easy to used the smokey trails as guides, to get there all the faster. But Alazkan was far, far ahead of them. Already, he could see the flashes of spellcasting through the foilage.
A commotion sounded from outside the generals' tent. The man in the ceremonial armour raised an eyebrow, then quickly busied himself winding a small, one-hand crossbow. Others grabbed swords and axes, hefting them in preparation of defending themselves. They felt secure that they were far enough away from the fight, but one never knew if their foe had sent a small force to them as well. Although they would have to be many to get past the guard squad at the door, it was wise to be on the safe side. The commotion was drawing nearer, after all.
Alazkan was already in the camp. He knew where the generals' tent was, at the centre, and he was determined to battle his way there. Guards and camp followers fell like leaves in autumn trying to stop him, as he sliced, cut, danced and dodged his way closer, ever closer to his goal. He fell upon the guards outside the tent like divine retribution, cutting them apart with artistic grace and great gore. He was fury, he was revenge, he was a force of nature. And now, he was bursting through the door.
The general leveled his crossbow and fired. The bolt drove home with a very final thud.
While the men in the tent watched Alazkan's mirror image crumple to the ground and fade, Alazkan saw his moment to step out from the shadows and complete his mission. His doppelganger had done the job he was meant to do, distract and confuse, so Alazkan could eliminate his quarry and get out alive. The shock generated by his sudden appearance had no chance to clear his victims' faces before they were all, to a man, dispatched to the vault of their god. Alazkan, pleased with how easy it had been, spent the rest of the day having sport with the mages and guards, until his allies came and he ran out of quarry.
As the dust settled and the ground drank blood, the trees and the mist of the Svartalfar forests closed over the site of the battle and the little camp. The vermin were purged by poison and traps, and the Svartalfar household could return to order and peace.