***I don’t usually do this, but it was a particularly inspiring game of Heroscape–custom scenario, I might add. Roughly 7.5 hours of game play… thanks everyone for your contributions. It was truly epic, and full of real drama. Some custom figures were used.***
High above the clash of arms and the cry of orcish voices, Saylind raced through the sky. The Valkyrie generals had opened a portal to the mouth of Kairahliss, the enemy stronghold where the villainous hordes of Utgar retreated after stealing the treasures of the Free Peoples. Just in time, too. The villains were about the drag their booty below ground. They had amassed the treasure trove of stolen artifacts at the base of the mountain, before the twin doors to the tunnels below. Each artifact rumbled with a soundless power, worth more to the armies of the Heroes than any mere trinket or treasure. Unpermitted by Taelord, the Utgar captain, to open the artifacts, the orcs had smuggled them out in their treasure chests; but even from the sky Saylind could feel the dull hum of secret power from the pile of booty dropped at the foot of Kairahliss.
The opening of the portals had alerted Utgar’s minions of the Heroes approach; the orcs were assembling on the hillside. Those carrying the stolen treasures had been knocked to the ground by the powerful blast of the portals’ shift through space. Six heroes were all that the generals could permit through the portals at a time. That was the challenge. They would only have a limited moment to get in, strike hard, and retrieve as many of the artifacts as possible before they alerted every foul denizen of the mountain and it was too late. The artifact and glyphs of power were the next key to the general’s advance against Utgar.
Saylind was chosen for the first wave, along with the other Kyrie warrioress Kelda. The two spear-sisters were told, “Your gifts will be crucial in the retrieval of the treasures:” Kelda for her spear of Healing, and Saylind for her spear of Summoning. Agent Carr with his Sword of Reckoning, and Urraught the Minotaur were obvious choices for their fighting ability, as were the marksman Agent Sapien and the Soulborg gladiatron Major X17. But Saylind was the hinge-pin. “Kelda will keep our Heroes alive. Saylind, get them in, and get them out!”
Even now she was streaking over the heads of the orc archers, she could feel the familiar vrummm of the Spear of Summoning. Once over the trees she dropped to the ground and struck the butt of the spear into the turf. “I summon Carr!” she screamed. A lightning strike! And blue ripple of power! Carr stood beside her, his eyes shaded beneath his reflected glasses, and Reckoning in his hand. With a simple nod, he sprinted forward.
Working in tandem, Saylind’s invaluable gift leap-frogged the agents to the very foot of Kairahliss and together the agents Carr and Sapien leapt upon the likeliest treasure chests, and levered them open. The minotaur, X17, and Kelda tangled up the slippery orcs at the foot of the hill—Kelda healing their wounds and X17’s modified cyberclaw pinning the orcs so they could not escape. They were a handful, but all was going well… until Carr, standing up with the powerful glyph of Asdrid which caused his sword to shimmer with a frightening light, said in his imperturbable way, “I think we have triggered an alarm. Go!”
A heavy roar bellowed from the entrance of Kairahliss. Spouts of flame and molten rock gouted into the sky. Obsidian Guards—worse!—their champion, Orgorath. “Go!” Carr repeated. “Leave them to me!”
Saylind, herself carrying a totem, the mysterious book of the Revenant, launched into the sky. As she did she saw the fire spewing, four-armed monstrosity of Orgorath stomping towards the agents. “I summon Sapien!” Saylind screamed, dropping rapidly to the earth. The lighting sputtered, but the familiar wave of blue hit the ground and ran away like a blanket of relief. Abe Sapien stumbled onto the ground beside Saylind. He barely stopped moving , clutching a buckler of Jalgard to his chest, and warning in his sing-song voice, “Barely, but effective.” He dashed back towards the portal.
Saylind knew it had been a hurried and careless Call, but there was no time. They needed at least ten of the artifacts returned to be successful, and time was impossibly against them. Looking up the hill she saw Carr already fending off the monster Orgorath’s many fiery fists. Trying to concentrate she yelled, “I summon Carr!” Nothing. Her heart caught in her throat. Miraculously Carr repelled the monster, but his Obsidian entourage was surrounding the hero. Saylind pulled on the Spear with all her will. The electric vrummmm began. Carr was shining with the light of Asdrid, righteous fire burning yellow before the red rock of the Moltarn’s lava. He defended one… then two… Saylind wrenched the Spear up and down re-planting it in the ground and began, “I summon—Nooooo!” From behind a third Obsidian guard grabbed Carr by the head. Saylind snapped her head away. Tears stream down the face, between the bronze cheek guards of her helmet and onto her polished breastplate. She launched herself into the air and made for the portal.
The quick retrieve and rescue mission had become a full-on fight. Kelda fell when X17 failed to catch the orc hero on his hideous lizard mount, and Kelda was caught between spears. The minotaur and X17 fought bravely, but without the healer, the Soulborg major fell. Only Saylind’s mighty spear pulled the minotaur Urraught from harm’s way to the healing warmth of the portals. “Let me back at them!” was all the Narnian growled before rushing back to the battle.
“Who will replace Carr?” Sapien asked. In response a rack of antlers and a massive helm appeared through the portals. Morsbane, elf wizard with his rod of power, and the samurai warrior Kamon Awa appeared. “Welcome, gentlemen,” said the amphibian agent, “I hope you packed your best things…”
Saylind launched the elf wizard into the fight, and with his rod he struck the mighty Orgorath nearly stagnant. Kamon Awa joined the fray, and in moments orcs, and even a number of Marro—alien scum rushing up from the western tunnels—were piling at his feet.
The battle raged. But suddenly, while half of the heroes were on the ground a half on the pile of treasure chests, dismayed at the empty decoy the orcs had littered amongst the real artifacts, Saylind was caught by surprise by a massive skeletal Hivelord. Undead now leapt from the belly of Kairahliss, and only the presence of Ana Karithon, a second healer from the Einar Imperium, was holding them at bay. Kamon Awa , a whirl of blades and deadly arrows, battled viciously to reach the Kyrie and her precious Spear. But the Marro and their dread hero Ne-gok-sa surrounded him. Not one could lay a hand on the disciplined samurai. But though he fought bravely, slaying many, but it was not enough. The Hivelord struck down the brave Kyrie.
Now a long field stood between the Heroes and the terrible treasures. Abe Sapien, standing back to shoot decisive targets called into the portals, “You must bring them closer!” Whatever powers the Valkyrie generals wielded… they managed to push the portals even closer to Kairahliss. It was a desperate gambit: now they were within enemy reach.
Without Saylind, the cleric Karithon, high on the mountain, was without support. In moments she was gunned down by Marro assailants. Without a healer or a transporter, the Valkyrie generals changed tactics. Syvvaris the elven archer, and Shiori and Kumiko the ninjas entered the fray. It was speed now, and stealth.
Morbane’s mighty rod, dulled the wits of two mighty Marro heros, before they claimed him. Syvvaris felled several foes with green-feathers arrows, but he strayed too close and was caught under a heavy blow. They were high costs for the return of several more artifacts. Holding his own alone for many desperate minutes Kamon Awa too, fell at last. The Hivelord towered over his fallen form in vicious triumph—but just until the vengeance of Kumiko struck him down in his place.
“We need more help!” Abe chimed to the generals. Two sets of wings materialized out of the portal. “Ah! Am I glad to see you,” said the amphibian. The Empress Kiova herself had come, from Einar, and Raelin, heavily armored and carrying a new battle spear—both with unique auras of defense for their nearby friends. Raelin, a seasoned veteran, said, “Let’s move up. They can’t do it alone.”
Suddenly one more form appeared. He was small and bare chested. War paint marked his arms, face, and chest, and eagle feathers were tied to his hair—the Mohegan tracker Brave Arrow. They looked at each other. Abe was already running forward, scoping out vulnerable places on the massive Trolticor raging towards them. Raelin turned to the Empress, “Let’s go help our ninjas.” To the tracker she said, “See you over there.” The short native American she knew could fight; but more importantly, he was fast. Watching the two winged heroines cast over the wreck of an ancient wall between the portal and the mountain, Brave Arrow just grunted.
Abe fell. Shiori fell, trying to pry her way into treasure chests. Kumiko frantically searched the chests for an item of true power.
With a cry the Empress and Raelin were overhead. Marro fell to Raelin’s whirling blade. The Empress slipped with skill past the clutching hands of her enemies and tried to open a chest. More enemies were appearing. A hulking bat shape erupted from the tunnels of Kaiahliss: Taelord himself had come. “Oh no!” breathed Raelin. A cheer went up from the enemy hordes. There was no more time. Breaking battle with two enemies Raelin dove onto the mountain and joined the frantic search through the boxes for the remaining items of power. Fortunately her enemies missed their marks. She could only cast her aura of protection over so many, whilst battling and trying to break through the orcish padlocks. Taelord landed beside her with a heavy thud, his wicked blade twirling casually. “Welcome, Raelin. I didn’t expect to see you here. Have you come to change your mind?”
“Wishful thinking, pig!” Raelin scoffed; they’d met before. His sword was like lightning, but in a flash of sparks she caught it and deflected it. Whirling, she took her spear in a long arc slaying two Marro, and nicking Taelord’s hideous wing. “Fiesty!” snarled the demonic Kyrie. “I like my women that way!” he raised his sword again.
Suddenly a fierce, blood curdling war cry stung Raelin’s ear. Brave Arrow, against all odds, had made the mountain, and slipped past the clambering enemies! Too late to stop the Mohegan warrior, Brave Arrow slid under Taelord’s blade—and two other Marro guards—and dropped onto the treasure horde! In the same instant his stone tomahawk chipped open a box and Jalgard’s second buckler fell free.
“I have Valdra’s helm!” yelled Empress Kiova. “Now! To the portals!”
Taelord’s enfuriated blow flew wide, and Raelin easily dodged it. Brave Arrow was already running the opposite way, buckler in hand. The Empress’ flight drew Taelord’s and every Marro’s attention from Raelin. Kumiko also had swooped up a fallen potion of power. They might make it to the portals yet!
“Hold on,” growled Raelin. The token of Asdrid was lying exposed where Carr had fallen. Raelin dove across the treasure chests and swooped it up; briefly she touched the fallen Carr’s hand. “For you, my friend.” Feeling the power of Asdrid’s fire, Raelin swooped into the air. Energy blasts, Taelord’s wings, cries and bullets, flew in arcs after Kiova as she sped for the portals. Raelin willed her protective aura after the brave Empress. “Kumiko! Cover her! She’s all that matters!”
The Jandarian ninja, all but forgotten in the frenzy, hacked hand over hand through the surge of foes with her kamas. The still-dazed Ne-gok-Sa of the Marro caught hold of Empress Kiova’s robe. TAelord tackled her out of the sky and tried to pin her down. Raelin cast her defensive aura ahead with a vehement cry. Kiova blocked each blow, and Raelin landed among them. With a cry she raked her spear across the backs of the enemies. It was all Kiova needed. She leapt away, and streaked into the air, diving over the ancient ruins ahead. Surely she could make it now. Taelord turned on Raelin in fury… his blade slipped beneath her guard… the Kyrie warrioress stumbled. Taelord, snarled, his fangs close to her face, his red skin stinking of sweat and hate. “You die at last.”
Raelin smiled. “But you’ve lost.” Out of the corner of her eyes, and between the trees, Brave Arrow was throwing his prize through the portal. Ten glyphs; with Kiova’s they even had retrieved eleven.
Taelord, thinking she meant the Empress, suddenly whirled and rushed after the prize of Vadra’s Helm. Ne-gok-sa followed him. Raelin crumpled to her knees.
They’d done it. Enough power was returned to the generals; their plans to mobilize the armies would succeed. Asdrid’s glyph might fall into Taelord’s hands, but the Heroes of the Free Peoples had a great chance with the other eleven artifacts. The long cheek guards of her winged helm clicked on her chest piece, as she slumped, panting. It was a pity she wouldn’t see the victory. Darkness was closing her vision.
A soft glove circled her armored bodice, and held her upright. Kumiko’s voice sounded in her ear. “Well fought, sister. You have brought honor to your house.”