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The Chronicle of Xeirsareeth

Guest Marlon Phoenix

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

I noticed that lizards get little love in terms of stories n' stuff, so I conspired with the Eldritch Lore Council, and Pump's shoggoths helped me get the backstory needed to write this up. More will come, probably!


Approximately one thousand years ago

Neetian Xeirsareeth looked out across the field from atop his Threshbeast; the canine-like beast serving as his Warmount. The sun was hanging high in the sky, and the field was smothered by the warmth and humidity of a summer day. He knew his men would be miserable, but the Lord saw no other choice.

Clan Xeirsareeth had been rivals with Clan Calileesh since the time of his ancestors; the Calileesh claimed the mighty Adrisdor river and the plains it supported for their own grazing lands, and in an act of defiance many years ago began herding their animals and villages to settle in Xeirsareeth lands. Sharing these fertile fields with their bitter rivals was unfathomable, and in retaliation the Xeirsareeth had put all the Calileesh in their lands to the sword, which Neetian knew was their right.

And now they were at war. Calileesh Lord Utaz'k Calileesh had rallied his Clans, raising their banners and assembling a mighty war host. Six thousand Calileesh warriors were now descending upon Xeirsareeth, vengeance and conquest in their hearts. It could not have come at a worse time, for Neetian’s own Clan-Leaders were bickering amongst themselves. When he sent his messengers to rally them, only two answered his call by sending him their hosts: Clan-Leader Skerkaza and Clan-Leader Itaeek. With their men combined, their army sized in four thousand.

Four thousand men against six thousand. Neetian hissed with disapproval, his tongue flicking out at a foot in length. His army looked impressive, with 3,800 infantrymen and 200 War Riders on their Threshbeasts. They had taken position on top of a large, gently sloping hill facing the approaching Calileesh horde. Neetian was in position on the crest of the hill overlooking his troops, with his personal guard of The Scarred numbering in 40 around him, all equipped with the heaviest armour and most well crafted spears the Clan could afford to give them. Clan-Leaders Skerkaza and Itaeek were on either flank of the host, ready to relay his orders when given and see to their own troops.

In the front were tried and true choice of battle of Clan Xeirsareeth: the phalanx. It was less of a formation and more of an armoured behemoth; with three ranks of polearms braced, charging into it was an act of suicide. On either flank of the phalanx were the assorted spearmen and swordsmen, all holding formation eagerly. As was the only way to properly fight, the Threshbeasts were held back behind the hill itself, hidden from sight and ready to charge over and deliver a decapitating blow. The massive tactical advantage he held gave him a renewed sense of confidence. With this confidence, he decided to hold his position and watch the weak Calileesh arrive to the humiliating defeat Neetian planned to give them.

Half an hour passed before the first Calileesh troops peaked on a hill a kilometer in the distance. They streamed down the descent like rice flowing from a torn bag; spreading across the field as they approached. Chuffing once, Neetian noticed a large number of Sissalik leading the formation; the tall, gecko-like creatures were fast, but were not even close to having the power of a Threshbeast. He barked laughter, and turned to the horn-blower by his side.

“Have the crossbowmen move to the front.” Neetian hissed, and the hornblower moved his instrument to his lips and released four short blows, the noise wailing across the plains.

Within moments his armoured crossbowmen shuffled through the footsoldiers, standing in front of the battle line. Lord Utaz'k’s forces halted in formation just out of range a few minutes later, and the two hosts proceeded to stare each other down - to his great annoyance, Neetian noticed that the Calileesh had much more Sissalik than he saw before, as well as what looked like over five hundred Threshbeasts of their own! How they managed to support so many ravenous animals… He thumped his tail against the side of his own Threshbeast angrily, and the animal gave a low growl in response.

“What are you doing?!” He hissed angrily, staring at the Calileesh army just standing there, “fight me!”

The Calileesh didn’t move; Neetian could only hear the whisper of the echoes from their occasional shouted order. Growing frustrated, Neetian ordered the crossbowmen to descend the hill further into range - dangerous, but they had wasted enough daylight! Four horn blasts were followed by one long wail; the crossbowmen obliged and marched forward a hundred feet. The Calileesh pounced on them the moment they got into range, unleashing their own volley of bolts before the Xeirsareeth could even finish their march and return fire.

Immediately a handful of them dropped to the ground, felled by bolts that can pierce even the thickest hide. Returning fire, they did their own damage - the skirmish lasting quite some time before Neetian noticed the enemy Sissalik moving. With annoyance, he watched his crossbowmen slammed into by a surprise charge by the Sissalik, the entire formation scattered. What men didn’t stay and fight fled back, their morale broken. Rather than give chase, the Sissalik moved back.

Out of any ranged troops now, Neetian could only sit here on his hill and wait - to meet them on the flat field would be foolish. But as the hour went by, his men were put under a seemingly endless amount of bolts; swordsmen, pikemen - all of them were dropping like flies by the handful after every volley. A stray bolt even struck Neetian in the shoulder, digging into his metal shoulder plate and chipping his natural plate. He left it inside, hissing again. From the left flank, Clan-Leader Itaeek approached atop his own Threshbeast, the younger, red-coloured male steaming.

“This is pointless!” he shouted, losing his patience, “we can’t just sit here and take this!”

“We have to wait for them to charge us.” Neetian responded, irritation in his voice.

“We need to charge them!” Itaeek hissed, gesturing angrily towards his forces, “my men are dying with no honour! Random chance is no way to be slain!”

“You will hold!” Neetian’s voice boomed, and his threshbeast snapped at Itaeek’s own - the two unathi glared at each other - all while the skirmish continued to pick off men.

“I will do as my Lord commands.” Itaeek responded, flinging as much as much spite as he could into the title.

Returning to his position, everyone remained steady with their shields held up over there heads or in front of them in a hope of deflecting the bolts. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the enemy crossbowmen pulled back and their infantry advanced after a long pause, their own battle horns trumpeting. With a smirk, Neetian drew his sword, the steel glimmering in the sunlight.

“Hold the line - hold them back!” He shouted at the phalanx in front of him, holding his sword up in the air, “show these women how real men fight!”

The Calileesh marched up the hill before breaking into a charge, streaming towards the Xeirsareeth lines like a tidal wave of bodies. Slowed by the incline, they still slammed with great force into the Xeirsareeth - there was a tremendous clash of steel as they collided. Xeirsareeth swordsmen kept their shields raised, and despite bracing themselves started to be pushed back from the force of all of the bodies massed against them, heels digging into the ground. They thrust their swords into the massed bodies, stabbing the Calileesh who did the same. The shouting and war cries were almost deafening, and men fell on both sides. Neetian’s heart swelled with pride as he watched his men anchor the enemy in place - his pikemen’s polearms did the finest at this, punishing anyone trying to get past the wall of spears.

“Just a little longer,” Neetian hissed, “and we can -“ he halted as he heard a horn blow from Itaeek’s flank - he was telling the Threshbeasts to charge!

“No, no!” Neetian raged, kicking the sides of his Warmount hard. It yelped, then burst into a sprint towards Itaeek’s flank.

His retinue of bodyguards followed him, all of their spears at the ready. Even as he approached, he watched with horror as his War Riders moved over the crest of the hill, thundering down it and losing their element of surprise. Utaz'k must have seen this right away, as their own Threshbeasts which were kept back from the battle began to move, thundering towards their equals descending the hill. Approaching Itaeek and his own retinue, Neetian saw the smug look on the young leader’s face.

“Now we can finish this battle -” he was cut off by Neetian swiping his sword across his face with the flat end, knocking the leader right off his mount. He fell with a thud, and the weight of his armour made him struggle to even right himself as Neetian shouted at him.

“Fool! Idiot! Impatient woman! All is lost now!”

The two Clan’s War Riders collided - the viscious armoured beasts slamming into each other like freight trains, with lances gouging whatever they came into contact with, their speed piercing even the thickest points of plate armour. The fighting was ferocious, with lances replaced with sword or spear - even the threshbeasts snarled and lunged at anything in sight, fighting on even if their mount fell. The Calileesh Sissalik were quick to scuttle behind the Xeirsareeth beasts, and on their charge fully surrounded them - they fought long and with great skill, but they were dispatched to the last man.

With nothing now under his control that matched the speed of their threshbeasts except the retinues guarding himself and the clan-leaders, there was almost nothing to stop them from circling the line and charging right into the backs of the Xeirsareeth’s locked into battle with the other infantry.

“Get on your Threshbeast!” Neetian shouted, his own snapping inches from Itaeek’s face, “I’m going to call Clan-Leader Skerkaza - we will move ourselves together and keep back the Calileesh Threshbeasts - and you will be in the front of the charge!”

Edited by Marlon Phoenix
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