An explosion rips apart the northern tower followed up closely by another blast near the main gate. Shouts erupt all over the Ivory Tower barracks as soldiers leap out of their beds and hastily don their armor; many go without and just run outside to see where the cause of the commotion began.
Gu’ar, Maximus, and Mertimil follow Cyrus and Vantheryn as they make their way down the hall and through the courtyard doorway. Thick black smoke rolls across the training grounds; obscuring their view of the main gates. Fires leap out of the north tower windows and near rooftops near the main hall. Stones and rubble litter the courtyard grounds and soldiers wander out into the darkness cautiously.
Suddenly, fully armored figures emerge from the smoky darkness – the mark of the Red Wolves is clearly visible on their breastplates and weapon hilts. With a short upbeat of wind, the smoke clears momentarily, revealing a mass of Red Wolf soldiers squeezing through the main gates.
Without another thought,Brem runs past the awe-struck trainees and howls a war cry; his over sized blacksmith hammer raised high, and his poorly tied pants dipping dangerously low over his hips. Like he was slapped across the face, Vantheryn steps forward out of shock and begins forming a protective spell around Brem. Gu’ar and Maximus look toward the gate tower and break into a full sprint for the staircase entryway. Mertimil follows in step but slows as a man; brandishing a great iron mace, spots her and breaks away from the pack.
The room is dark, but a figure, clad in red, stands over the lifeless corpse near the gate controls. Only the light from lower levels can be seen past the huge coils of chains in the center of the room. Gu’ar makes his move; he throws the human male against the back wall and pummels him with fists so ferocious, his mentors would be ashamed. The red wolf soldier slashes out with a cold blade and slides the nimble monk aside. But Gu’ar was ready. With a small cry, the half-orc slams a thick fist into the man’s soft ribs and spins to deliver the deathblow; sourced at the heel. The soldier eats it in the jaw and reels back over the gate chain opening in the floor, falling to his death and lowering the massive iron barrier by a few feet.
On the first floor, Maximus wipes his blades clean and looks down at the small half-elf that just a moment ago, decided to keep him from completely closing the entry gate. Their efforts had managed to stem the unending flow of Red Wolf soldiers; seemingly bent on the complete annihilation of the Ivory Knights. Gu’ar joins Maximus at the foot of the steps and looks out over the field of battle. The yard is riddled with the dead and dying, but they are surprised to see that most of the area is covered in red sashes and wolf-like insignia. Perhaps they will survive this night and live to tell of it, but for now they must persevere.
Mertimil calls from the stone top of some entryway steps, close the barrack entrance. Her long elfish hair is ratty and untidy from movement and exertion; a dribble of blood can be seen running down the side of her face. Now that the gates were closed, it looked as though the tides have been turned and now that Ivory knights were able to get their faculties in order, Maximus turned towards his companions.
“I want my gear back – we should take this opportunity to go search through the vaults if someone has managed to open them.”
Cyrus began to plea, but after one look at Mertimil, his words cut off and he nodded reluctantly. He then turned back at the doorway and ran to assist Vantheryn and Brem; doing his very best to hide the disapproving look on his face.
It wasn’t long before the three had made their way through the winding hallways and bustling corridors and retrieved their gear from the various vaults. As they moved towards the courtyard exist to continue assisting in the battle, some familiar shouts could be heard near the main hall. Gu’ar neared the doorway just in time to see Greenwald smash against a tabletop and quickly regain himself as a tall pale man with no hair, lunged inward with a faintly glowing bare fist. The speed at which the two were fighting was staggering, but what each couldn’t beleive was the fact that Arthur Greenwald was apparently very well versed in the ways of hand to hand combat. Not only that, but he was almost as agile as a monk…
Gu’ar, was caught completely off guard by this simple truth. The man that had asked him to join the Ivory Knight ranks, the one who had promised to tell him of his true homeland, was also a man of the Iron Body? He had little time to roll this fact over in his mind when it became clear that the manGreenwald was fighting, knew techniques that had long since died out. The vibrating palm and burning finger was perfected by Master Roshi Tsubasa of the Durubai Dwarves, and he taught his skills to no man in order to preserve the balance of power within the martial community. So how did this stranger know such techniques? Guar watched as the two danced across the room; his eyes barely able to catch the subtle movements that made certain motions possible. To his trained eyes he was also able to see that Greenwald had sustained a massive cut to the kidney and was steadily bleeding out – his movements becoming sluggish and losing their rigidity. Before he could think, the stranger twisted his waist around in an almost unnatural motion and released a full 5-point Buddhist palm directly into Greenwald’s chest. To the others, this looked like a normal strike to the torso, but to Gu’ar, this was game over for the commander. He could almost see the chi get pushed from Greenwald’s core as the man darted back; fully knowing he had won. Gu’ar and the others ran into the room to aid the fallen companion, but the stranger only paused for a moment to consider the situation before turning away and running through an empty doorway. Perhaps he didn’t think he could handle a full team of fighters? Or perhaps they were nothing more than a fly to him and by stopping to kill them all would only be a waist of his precious time?
Few words were exchanged between Gu’ar and the dying monk; there was an unspoken truth that existed between the two and words would only muddle the rest. Greenwald tugged at his jerkin and revealed an elegant key around his neck. It was ornate in design and held a softly glowing blue crystal in the center.
“Take this to the north tower and get away… from here”, the emphasis on those two words had seemed odd but he continued. “Learn the truth and master it, you three have the power to change ….everything”. And at those words, his last breath left his body and Greenwald’s eyes looked out where no one could see.
The battle outside was coming to a close and the Red Wolves had failed at their extermination attempt due to the lack of reinforcing troops getting through the main gates. As the remaining attackers were dealt with, the three members moved quietly to the north tower door only to realize that it was completely smashed in the explosion. What did this mean for them? What use was this peculiar key now?