The archers opened fire upon Burkian's dwagon. The best roared and unleashed a blast of fire at the wall defenders. It and the other three dwagons landed and began bto bash their heads into the wall. Quickly it started to break. Gabriel ordered a retreat. "Archers, fall back to the garrison walls! You, take the qwers underground again, just like last time, and get rid of the sourmanders. All other knights and twonicorns, take to the air."
As Firestone's troops began to pour through the breach in the outer walls Draviston's archers unleashed another hail of golden arrows from the garrison walls. Infantry dropped quickly, but just then the flying units took off. King Burkian led a stack of four dwagons and three firebirds, the rest of the birds were divided up among two of his other warlords. Burkian's dwagons rushed toward the defenders, forcing them to break stack and scatter.
Gabriel handed out more orders: "Uriel, take three knights and three twonicorns, plus your own mount, and take out the birds, targeting warlord mounts first! Zadkiel, you and I will both take three of each and go after the dwagons! You, knight with leadership, take the rest and help Uriel! Now charge!"
Gabriel's and Zadkiel's stacks rushed at one of the dwagons, hoping to receive the charge bonus. The dwagon released a burst of flame, knocking one of Gabriel's knights out of his saddle. The rest of the small force impacted upon the dwagon's face and neck, croaking it instantly. It's mammoth corpse crashed down into the city, crushing a stack of pikers.
Uriel and the knights were decimating the firebirds, but they had taken casualties. Below, the archers still managed to hold off the swarm of infantry, but they were far too numerous. Then King Burkian rallied his dwagons and Gabriel turned her attention back to her own battle.
The lancer in command of the qwers was named Gorin. He had commanded the qwers during the first battle for Flameshape, against a measly four sourmanders. This time he had counted nearly twelve times that many. Riding a qwer was a strangle feeling. They lacked legs, so they moved by wriggling like worms and then taking a small hop to build momentum. They were moving slowly now but could really book it when the need arose. Qwers came in several different colors and looked slightly like dwagons, but didn't have a breath weapon. Nevertheless, Gorin was sure that the two were related. Just then, a stack of sourmanders appeared at the end of the tunnel, and Gorin charged.
Uriel had succeeded in dismounting and croaking one of the enemy warlords, a level 6, opening the way for his knights to croak the stack. Firesquare's level 8 Chief Warlord was now hard on his tail, swinging a scimitar while Uriel tried to concentrate hard enough to cast another spell. Before long, he gave up and produced the mace he had had crafted after the previous battle. He rather enjoyed the feel of slamming a large ball of steel into somebody's face. The warlord whipped his head back around and raised his blade again, for the last time. Nothing would ever feel quite as good to Uriel as magical lightning.
As the warlord croaked, his firebirds lost their huge bonus. Now, the last 16 birds were actually rather weak. Uriel ordered the knight stack to mop them up, while he took his units to help Gabriel. The twonicorns now greatly outnumbered the dwagons, and mobbed one of the three remainders, jabbing it with 22 horns and 9 lances, plus two swords. Needless to say, it croaked.
The two remaining dwagons billowed flame as they rushed toward the mob of units, tearing through the flock. Burkian's massive armored red emerged from the other side holding Gabriel in its claws, her twonicorn croaked. The beast opened its mouth wide, but no fire emerged. It was going to eat her. "NO!" Zadkiel charged the dwagon, swinging his sword wildly. He seemed possessed with the same rage as the previous turn. He stood in the saddle of his twonicorn and leaped onto the dwagon's back.
Below, the infantry had begun to breach the garrison wall. The archers kept up a steady fire, but it was nowhere near sufficient. Seeing this, Uriel ordered all knights and their mounts down to the courtyard to replace them and deal with the foot soldiers. As for him, he had a dwagon to croak.
Gorin charged again. Despite the qwers' odd way of moving, it had a very smooth feel when riding them. He had lost a qwer to the previous two attacks, but now that the remaining seven sourmanders were led by a level six warlord, he expected more casualties. And now it seemed like he would be one of them. His brown qwer sprang forward at the warlord, massive jaws trying to clamp around its head. The enemy's sourmander dodged to the side, and the warlord slashed at Gorin with an axe. Another sourmander spat at his qwer from the opposite direction, driving the creature into a frenzy. It leaped so suddenly that Gorin tumbled backwards off of it. The warlord's sourmander stood over him, its puckered mouth seeming to smile. The warlord's mouth did smile, no seeming about it.
Six twonicorns, seven lancers, and 28 archers. Against... lets say 150 stabbers and 75 pikers. Oh, and the twonicorns and lancers had been fighting dwagons since the battle began. This hardly seemed fair. Well, courtyard was garrison, and that had to be defended.
Luckily for Uriel, the dwagon had broken stack from Burkian, and no longer received his outrageous bonus. Even better, it was down to less that a third of its hits. Even better, it was level 4. One below Uriel. "Dwagon, dwagon, compared to you I'm small, but dwagon, dwagon, I'll have your head on my wall. Whaddaya know, I'm a rhyme-a-mancer AND a shockmancer."
Burkian and Zadkiel stood on the dwagon's back, facing each other down. The caster that had been riding with Burkian seemed terrified, and stammered out, "S-s-sir, there is a 65.7% chance that Zadkiel will c-c-croak you, and a 21% ch-ch-chance that he will t-turn if-"
"Shut up Mathamancer," Zadkiel snarled, kicking the offending caster off the dwagon. "I never much liked you anyway." And he attacked. He wrestled the King to the ground, and so, Burkian made the logical move, and knocked him off the edge. He didn't have wings.
Then he realized what he had done. "ZADKIEL!" He yelled, diving with the dwagon. It released Gabriel, but she continued to plummet. Burkian caught up wwith his son and shouted, "Please Zad, get on the dwagon!"
"You tried to croak me." Zadkiel's eyes were dull and confused, as if this didn't make any sense to him. "I was in a berserker rage. I couldn't control myself. And you tried to croak me."
"No! It was an accident! It's not my fault!"
"It is, father. You're the one who did this to me. The ultimate warrior prince, that's what you wanted. And you didn't get it in me. So you changed me. It is your fault. I will never turn back to you."
"No! Zadkiel, don't-" And then Gabriel's sword emerged from his chest. She swooped down and caught Zadkiel, and her wings strained to keep them both up, but she manged to land on the outer wall.
Gorin held his lance horizontally to block the axe strike. He danced to the side as the sourmander spat at him, but was knocked to the floor and held down by its claw. The warlord prepared to croak him, when suddenly the insignia of Firesquare vanished from his armor, and he was smote by the spiked tail of a qwer.
As soon as the mob of infantry went barbarian, they stopped. A voice shouted from the middle of them, "I am the last noble of Firesquare! Charge, men, and I will claim this city! The kingdom has not ended yet!" The angelic archers picked this moment to open fire. The 'last noble of Firesquare,' a level two warlord, was croaked in the first volley. As soon as the knights charged, the battle ended. Ignivultus still belonged to Draviston.
That night, Gabriel received another thinkagram from Prince Gimfor. "So, you kept the city. I'm surprised."
"What do you want, Gimfor?"
"Just to congratulate you, and say that I will have my side. See you tomorrow."
Gabriel sighed and made a mental note to rehire that Healomancer. Just then, Zadkiel walked into her room. "You saved my life."
"Yeah," She answered, "I did."
"My father wanted the perfect warrior as a son. I was... weak, a pacifist. He used a magical item, made by twisted changemancers. I became berserker, when I enter battle I go insane... You saw last turn. I'm a monster. Why did you help me?"
"We're both warlords, on the same side. And we need your bonus for fighting Gimfor tomorrow."
"No." Zadkiel said quietly. "There's more, isn't there. Isn't there?"
Gabriel smiled. "Maybe, and maybe not."