The Black Tower Sees Battle
Wed Jun 7, 2006 14:31 (XFF:

Even in the dead of the night, Lysander found himself harried from his house. The voices of the Asha’man spoke of hushed desperation, silenced despair, and they trod the empty, unlit streets of the Black Tower in the direction of the administrative buildings. That something was wrong was evident. That three Asha’man would wake their M’Hael in the dead of the evening, however, meant that something had gone beyond the confines of “wrong.”

He was still doing up the fastenings of his coat as he entered his office, striding at once to seat himself behind his desk. Instantaneously Lysander touched the True Source, drawing in but a small, barely workable amount, and lit the brass stand lamps. The windows granted them no luminance, and it was in that eerie atmosphere of the dimly lit office that Lysander peered upon the three Asha’man. He recounted their names from memory, for it had been hardly a fortnight ago that they’d been his instructors, not his subordinates.

Asha’man Otis, a short and stocky Cairhienin with a temper as evident as his dark, receding hairline. Asha’man Greer, a tall, rail-thin Taraboner with honey-coloured locks that contrasted sharply with cold, almost black eyes. Asha’man Paras, a good-natured fellow from Far Madding who was known for being rather lax with the recruits. Lysander was adept at noticing things, though what he noticed here was too evident. There were three of them, and all three were Spies.

“Under what circumstances do I know the pleasure of this meeting?” Lysander murmured quietly, trying earnestly to appear as serious as his title deserved. It was . . . a trying task, suffice to say. Lysander had been young in coming to the Black Tower, obviously, and he’d progressed through his training quickly. He, too, had become M’Hael the day he’d been made Asha’man. All these factors explained him becoming the youngest M’Hael at but seventeen years of age. There were Soldiers thrice his age.

“I apologise for having woken you, sir,” Otis murmured, sparing the standard salute, “but urgent news reaches us from Illian. I will say this without hyperbole and without delay. It’s the Seanchan. The Seanchan are invading Illian.”

Lysander shifted in his seat, recounting his studies in an earnest haste. “They are making another attempt on the city?”

Greer nodded solemnly. “Yes. They have two camps–one has just crossed the border less than four hours ago from Altara to Illian, and has paused in their marching for the evening. They are to the south, not even a mile from the Sea of Storms, and heading for the city. Captain-General Pargarus of the Seanchan is heading this. The second camp is to the north, along the Murandian border. There is a . . . mountain range there, sir, near the Illianer-Murandian border.”

“I am aware of the Damona Mountains, Greer,” Lysander murmured. His youth did not make him an idiot.

If Greer was taken aback, the man did not show it. “The second camp is within the Damona Mountains, hiding in one of the passes. There is no Captain-General within the Damona Mountains–however, there are ten Seanchan Captains. They are apparently remaining static, not moving. Their strategy, we believe, is to remain there. If they intend to take Illian, Murandy and Andor would be the first to react, likely. That second camp is, we believe, there to parry any attack from the north. They are fortifying the nation of Illian from external penetration.”

Lysander nodded, licking at his lips. “I understand. An invading Seanchan camp to the south invading from Altara and a static camp to the south hiding in the mountains to counter Murandian and Andoran forces.” The Shadow preserve him, but he did not see why Murandy or Andor would attack; in the coming of the Last Battle, either nation would rather adhere to their own priorities as opposed to aiding other nations. “What are the numbers?”

It was Paras to speak this time. “The southern fleet numbers at 12,000. The northern unit . . . our best estimates place them at just less than–well, no, our best estimates place them at 9,500.”

“These seem fairly specific. How do you know of this?”

Paras appeared, at best, pained. “That is the issue, M’Hael Lysander. We received word of this not long ago, early in the afternoon yesterday. Ten Spies were sent to either camp to investigate, gathering info. The ten Spies returned from the southern camp, us three among them, just moments ago. However, only two Spies returned from the north. We believe that the other eight are being held hostage by the Seanchan. They have damane. Procuring shields would be easy.”

“You’ve known of the invading Seanchan for twelve hours and I am only just receiving word of this?” Lysander spat, emotion rising in himself. And vindicated emotion, too! He was young, yes, and new at this, but hiding from their M’Hael would not earn them gratitude!

“Respectfully, sir,” Otis intoned, “this issue has not concerned you until now. Such missions are only of interest to the Spies, and the Spymaster in charge of our Track gave permission for the mission. Our Track Head and the members of the Track are the only ones to know. That is simply how things are done.”

We’ll see for how long, Lysander thought, though in the wake of crisis was hardly the time to be making administrative changes.

“Alert the Golden Bees of Illian. The Tairen Defenders of the Stone from the east can be rallied, and–”

“The Seanchan anticipated such a move, sir, and have planned this attack well. The Dragon Reborn has summoned the Golden Bees and Defenders yesterday evening for other purposes in the Borderlands . . . both formations are, at best, at half their optimum capacity. At such a state, the Tairens will decline–they’re on poor relations with the Illianers.” It was an understatement if any warranted the title. “The Golden Bees cannot defend their nation at all. We advise that the Black Tower is sent in.”

Lysander wanted to mull this over in thought, though that would require time, and time he did not have. “Each Asha’man is worth an average of ten armed soldiers, perhaps? There are not enough Asha’man within the Black Tower.” The graveness of the situation was evident. Otis, Greer, and Paras all appeared to be looking at Lysander as if expecting him to make this conclusion. “I’m going to have to send in Dedicated and Soldiers. Soldiers . . . some of whom might only have just completed their embracing or seizing lessons. I’m sending them into combat.” It was an unhappy conclusion, though the three Asha’man simply continued to peer at him levelly. “I’m sending these farm boys and farm girls in to die.”

“If you can fathom another way. . . .” Paras murmured, though it was evident that another feasible option did not exist.

It was an awful notion, yes, though . . . though he would merely have to accept it. Some would die. However, with proper planning, Lysander could ensure as few fatalities as possible. “Here’s what will happen. At first light, the Soldiers, Dedicated, and Trainees will be roused. Until then, we will prepare things. The Officers and Trainees will be dispatched to the south to help parry the Seanchan invading from Altara. They will do combat with Pargarus’s unit alongside the remaining Golden Bees. The Healers will also reside in that same encampment, manning the medic stations and working as field Healers. Regarding the Seanchan force within the Damona Mountains . . . send a unit of Assassins in to pick off the ten Captains. Ready the Spies, too. The Spies will enter the northern encampment garbed as Seanchan and free the eight Asha’man hostages. The Ambassadors will be dispatched to Caemlyn. The battle cannot be won without additional force, and we will need the Ambassadors to rally for the Queen’s Guard to intervene. They will each be assigned to a noble House. Alone, the Ambassadors wield no influence, though if each Ambassador can petition for a noble House to agree to have the Queen’s Guard to intervene . . . then perhaps there is hope. The Jacks will simply perform the duties of whichever Track they so please. Well, make haste. Gateways need to be woven. At first light, we will wake the recruits.”

Only after the Asha’man had departed and the door to his office had been closed did Lysander hold his head in his hands. The fate of an entire nation was held . . . in the hands of children, essentially. Not quite, but almost. It was a difficult notion to stomach. Illian was the Dragon Reborn’s nation, and it would do the Black Tower–nigh, the world–to have that nation crumble as Altaran and Tarabon before it.

Lysander peered out the window, where the distant horizon could be seen imbuing with the most subtle colours of the coming dawn. He would make haste.

OOC: This is the big one! This interactive roleplay is open only to Soldiers, Dedicated, and Trainees of the Black Tower. Asha’man can take part only if they have it planned so that they will be working with a person of lower ranks. *grins*

In case you got lost partway through the post as to what’s happening, here it is:

There are two Seanchan units. The first is the invading unit to the south, coming in from Altara. They intend to make it to the capital city of Illian (aka Illian) eventually and take the entire nation. This unit is composed of 12,000 soldiers–and yes, it includes damane and crazy Seanchan creatures! The second unit is located to the north. RJ describes a mountain range being located between the Murandian-Illianer border called the Damona Mountains, and within the Damona Mountains there is a pass called Molvaine Gap. This is where the second battalion, a camp, can be found. These guys are not planning to invade, but, rather, are planning on parrying any attack from northern Murandy and Andor. Not until, of course, the Ambassadors can convince the Andorans to attack. ^_-; The big bad guy here is Captain-General Pargarus.

Now that you know the specs, here’s what you need to know OOC, though this has all been mentioned in the email:

If you’re a Soldier, you must have completed your embracing or seizing lesson to participate. If you’re a Trainee, you must have completed at least one lesson in any subject. There are absolutely no exceptions to this at all. *grins* Now, you can earn credits for this. General free credits can’t be used for your MRP or TMRP–however, you can earn TMRP or MRP credit for this, but you must write extra. In the email, I said only TMRP, but you can get TMRP or MRP for this. Yes, it’s true!

If you write at least 2,000 words, you get a credit.
If you write at least 4,000 words, you get two credits.
If you write at least 5,000 words, you get TMRP (or, if you’re a Trainee, Crucible) credit–but all other non-MRP credits must be completed.
If you write at least 6,000 words, you get MRP credit.
If you write at least 7,000 words, you get TMRP credit AND a credit.
If you write at least 9,000 words, you get TMRP credit AND two credits.
If you write at least 8,000 words, you get MRP credit and a credit.
If you write at least 10,000 words, you get MRP credit and two credits.

If you decide to go for MRP credit, your string MUST showcase significant character development, as judged by both Kate and I.

How’s that for rewards? *grins* You cannot, however, earn both TMRP and MRP credit in your roleplay. We encourage opportunities like this for writing, but we also want you to develop your solo writing skills, too. *grins* And any such free credits must, must, must be used for your BT character. Now, just so you know–do not respond to this post. No, no, no. ^_-; Depending on your Track, you’ll respond to any of the posts below this. Jacks can choose to post under any one of the Tracks below. The battle will last three days IC–at the evening of the third day, you’ll be able to write about how your character has received word of a victory and how the battle is over!

There will also be a winner, as judged by Kate and myself. Whoever is the winner gets a bonus free credit and, ultimately, gets to end the battle on their terms. Depending on your Track, well, you may just have the opportunity to kill the Captain-General. Fun, eh? You can write your strings alone or with a partner. If you want Kate or I to write a post or two with you, simply add an OOC with the word “Assist” in your post. We’ll hop in.

This battle will run to the end of June OOC, giving you guys plenty of time to get as much writing done as possible! Remember–be creative! Don’t be afraid to toss up the scenario with a twist! Ask if you want to try anything daring, but Kate and I will be very, very flexible with this. We don’t want to bog you down with structure, after all! We’ve given you the rough outline, and it’s your job to fill in the details about how camp life will be like, where exactly they’ll be spending the time, what relationships they’ll develop with their comrades, and what specific danger they’ll get into.

If you have any questions, email Kate and I! Have fun!
/|\Mark, ending the longest OOC in freaking history
M’Hael Lysander

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