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July 19, 2008
Visions of Glory versus The Seventh Circle at the Fire Giant's Keep
by Kwetak

Our troops were armed to the teeth, barely restrainable in their zealous vigor and hunger for combat. But, as any great leader knows, a successful battle takes great patience and immaculate planning, so wait we did, hidden from sight within the fog of an extraplanar dimension, between the Crime Underground and the City of Trellor.

Our plan was brilliantly simple, classic even - our fearless (though often pigheaded) clan leader, Aimonsorcio, would initiate the battle with our starting target, Xion, and then our assembled forces would converge after he made a predictable return stab - from there, it could not be known how events would turn.

Many among us had never ventured into the forbidden realms where untold dangers lurk around every corner, ready to kill you and leave you with nothing upon resurrection. This put us at a significant disadvantage versus the number of experienced people amongst our enemies' clans. Waiting hidden by darkness I made a silent prayer to Trell that we may return from the Fire Giant's Keep alive, and if lucky richer than before by defeating the army surely lurking about the Keep. I personally kept an eye on Auri, a newcomer in the ways of combat who was obviously beginning to grow nervous, repeatedly adjusting her hair and glancing about as if she had already entered the foreboding darkness of the fire giant lair. I ran down a list of pointers like I could actually lead this daring crusade:
"Follow your leader's directions, and you will be fine. You should, um, keep Sanctuary up for obvious reasons... Listen to the directions given to you, don't panic if you are unformed!"
Rahtaz sighed, "Kwetak...".
I continued, "Call for heals when you are targeted..."
"We don't want anyone to die an untimely death. Bust out those scrolls, we need all the ammo we've got-"
"Kwetak, shut UP!"
I muttered, "Jeez, some of us are new to this, SO sorry!"
I telepathed our leader, "Do you think this is a good idea?"
He replied, "Sure, their other brawl leaders are AFK - Xion will be leading." I could almost see his grin at this truth - they underestimate us, and a mediocre leader means an easy fight for us. Still, my subconscious anxiety was not completely relieved.

Aimonsorcio announced, "Alright, guys, follow Tyleste- when Morrrad phases, you guys do the same alright? We have to be quick, get to the closest corner to the keep entrance." I followed orders, and we had a form of nine here - against their uncountable ranks. How is it possible to tell what we are up against, I wondered, when they have so many allies, so many resources? I realized that I was squeezing my doll resembling Physicon to the point at which its eyes bulged painfully, and relaxed my grip, taking a deep breath.

"Go, go, he returned the stab, to me!" We blundered headlong into the fog north of us, out into the sewers of Trellor, and followed our directions to phase to the keep. Up the mountain we rushed (bewildering a lost xeurn in the process), into the keep, and to our leader engaged in combat with Xion. Andreb hit a trip, and our target was almost lost in the flailing of weapons, the din of close combat, Xion's screams as his flesh withered from his bones under the touch of our clerics, and the cacophony of concussion resounding off the cold stone walls. I felt the power well up in my left hand, and the air crackled as I fired a resounding barrage of shockwaves at my victim. Suddenly I was flung from my target, facing the warrior Falconelli. I heard Aimonsorcio tell our clan, "target Kirius, target Kirius!" and so I rolled on the ground past Falconelli and launched myself at the new target- sending another wave of shockwaves his way. Suddenly I felt the satisfying give of a rib cage being shattered by the concussion force, and Kirius hit the ground, blood oozing from the corner of his mouth and his chest ripped clean open. Upon the death of our target Aimonsorcio called again, "Saevio, hit Saevio!" It was obvious at this point that they had done a sloppy job getting in, and we took advantage of it - another one bit the dust, Saevio was knocked unconscious by a blow to the head, and I ended his current life with a deadly burst of sound. Two down, it looked grim for our enemies - they began to retreat, but we would not allow for them to go without casualty. Worlei fell in the scuffle that ensued, and wiping the blood off my face with my sleeve I surveyed the battlefield.

Blood and chunks of flesh were everywhere, but two corpses nowhere to be seen - teleported out in the last fight - leaving only Worlei, alone to be swept clean. Our team quickly began unequipping the helpless victim, taking everything down to a 2006 champagne goblet, which Rahtaz pocketed with a furtive grin. Auri gingerly removed something from his person, and put it in her bag, obviously shaken by the violence of the conflict. As my comrades began congratulating each other on a job well done, I warned them: "Keep your wits about you, they still have a chance to wipe us out if you aren't careful." I could see in Aimonsorcio's eyes that we were going for another try, pushing our luck and skill to the limit - and the future looked grim in what reflected back from his eyes.

"Teleport out, we're going for another rush." Those fateful words issued from his lips, but I followed them as the soldier I was raised to be by my long-deceased parents, Giffter and Zosar. Remembering how they went, prisoners of war who supposedly died in imprisonment, my strength fortified and allowed me to follow our leader again into the hell that waited for us - the complete force of the Seventh Circle.

The second rush was a disaster. Auri became an immediate target and I did my best to save her, but it was a lost cause- they had greater firepower, and we didn't heal fast enough (it was bad enough that we lacked healing scrolls to burn). Subsequently Huy fell, and as we followed the rushed order to get out, I saw Theradak lost in the thick of combat. I considered rescuing my comrade, and remembered my duty, my oath to follow orders as they were given- I chanted out the magical words of teleportation.

We received greater reward than we lost- Auri and Huy had no good equipment to be reimbursed, and Theradak received a full max good alignment thief set that he had lost. Long live Visions of Glory!


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