Floor 1: The First Push

Brave guilds, parties and soloers have been slowly poking at the first floor of Aincrad Tower. Progress has been slow due to uncertainty, low levels and a desire to avoid testing the Death theory. A wall has finally been hit where a larger push will be required to overcome it. As such, a strong, coordinated charge into the floor has been organized. Notices have been made. All Adventurers are invited.

Hellooooooo Adventurers! This is your host Misa Takayama. I'm going to be running a scene for the first major push into floor 1 of Aincrad Tower. THIS IS NOT THE FLOOR BOSS FIGHT. That will be coming later. But there will be fighting of mobs. EVERYONE IS INVITED. But I highly encourage to-be-eventually-formed Scale Emblem Alliance members to join in. It'll be a good hook for the formation of the guilds and subsequent alliance. After all, our whole alliance is basically focused on clearing the tower. But as I said, everyone is invited. I'm sure the majority of you have some reason to challenge the tower and the mobs inside.

It's unlikely to be card combat as I expect numbers to be too high for that... Though if the numbers do turn out to be small, I'm certainly happy to give a go at bossing in the card system. But I will try and come up with things to at least use dice rolls for.

I hope people will enjoy this!

    It's time.

    For days they've been poking and prodding at the first level of Aincrad Tower. Progress has not gone as fast as hoped. Uncertainty, confusion, lack of levels. Many factors had contributed to the slow pace. But it's essentially stopped now, some of the scouts having encountered a wall blocking their progress.


    The gathered group of Adventurers stand within a forest just short of its edge. Beyond that are grassy plains dotted with flowers, reaching out for a couple hundred meters until finally. A wall. The wall of Tolbana. The main town of Floor 1.

    Misa Takayama looks out at the wall from the forest's edge. She then turns around to look over the Adventurers that responded to the call to arms. Their numbers look to reach even a couple hundred. The majority belong to the newly formed Scale Emblem Alliance. But the other major combat guilds still have many representatives too. Even some from the non-combat guilds are here, helping. After all, this is a serious first step in the climbing of the tower: The reclaiming of Tolbana.

    Misa explains the situation, "One of our Assassins has confirmed our initial reports. There are no Landers in the town. Instead there is quite a number of mobs, both on the walls and within the town proper. The quickest path to the next set of stairs leading up is through Tolbana. It also presents a good first stop through the tower. We must reclaim it. Thus, our objective is..."

    Misa takes in a bit of a breath before calling out, "The complete annihilation of all hostile targets!" Theres a cheer from many of the Adventurers.

    Misa lets the cheers go on for a short time, before raising her hand for silence. She then continues, "The plan is relatively simple. A vanguard team will make the initial push." Misa motions to all the PCs that have showed up, who are all standing apart from the rest of the force. She continues, "Their objective is to open up the path for the main force." Misa points towards the center of the town wall, where a closed portcullis sits inside a gateway.

    "Once inside, the vanguard will continue the push towards the center of the town, throwing the enemy force into chaos. The main force will come up the rear, systematically eliminating all the mobs left behind. Only after every monster is defeated can we rest."

    "I will be directing the main force." Misa turns to look at the vanguard team, "The vanguard team will be led by..." Misa's eyes glance over those arrayed here, until they finally settle on one person, "Shiroe." She gives the Enchanter time to address the force.

    Only once Shiroe is done does Misa look back towards those gathered. This would be the perfect time for a moving speech. Maybe something about how this is the first step towards freeing themselves. Or the first major engagement for the newly formed alliances. Or how this is the perfect display of camaraderie amongst Adventurers...

    Misa asks, "Any questions? No? Good!" She spins around, raising her scythe towards Tolbana, "Vanguard team, ADVANCE!"

    As Misa calls out the name, a single player walks out from amongst the crowd. He finds himself plotted right in the path the large group and Tolbana. While his figure didn't give the immediate appearence of someone worth while, as parts of the more experienced players in the crowd took a glance at the individual they all started going into more hushed of tones.

    It's the Villain in glasses...

                Who the hell's that?

The one who was part of the Debauchery Tea Party?

        That guy? He doesn't look so amazing.

    Shhhh, he's the one who helped get the upper level players make it to floor ten of Aincrad before the update.



    The enchanter finally makes himself comfortable at the front of the crowd, clearing his throat as he speaks up a bit more audibly to get his voice to reach about the crowd. "Mmmhmmm, attention all players! For those of you wondering who I am, my name is Shiroe and am acting as the coordinator of the vanguard group at Miss Misa's behest."

    More mumbling likely would start to build. Some probably wondering why it such a basic looking individual who wasn't even part of any of the major guilds or alliances was leading, to which the Villain in Glasses speaks up again. "Before anyone makes any assumptions, just like the rest of you I'm volunteering myself for this. As for why I was asked to take on this position, like Miss Misa, I was part of the original groups that made it to Floor Ten, the highest level anyone reached, of this very tower."

    "Before we begin, I've been requested to explain a few things. The first is, to all of those who are worried about dying on the field. Please rest assured that respawning has been confirmed. That said, I have no intention of having anyone in this group die as long as we all look out for one another's well being and follow instructions to the best of our ability. The next thing to discuss is...The objective of this mission. At the moment, despite popular belief, this is not going to be an attempt to defeat the Floor Boss. Our objective is acting as a vanguard unit and pushing through and reclaiming Tolbana. Just as Miss Misa says, it'll be our first step towards reaching the floor boss.

    Inorder to make sure we acquire the greatest chance of success I've had Miss Misa make sure you followed specific instructions on your arrival."

    "In regards to how we'll be splitting up such a large group of people, we've divided everyone into parties of no more than six. Because Miss Misa is aware that some of the players here might be new to Eldertale, we've also requested that veteran players volunteer to act as party leaders inorder to help those who are unfamiliar with large scale groups like this one. Now that groups have been made please make sure that you're famliar with all your team members. I also encourage all teams to go over the basics of formation, operators, field monitoring, and patrol files before we start. Other than that..."

    With that said, the Enchanter steps to the side, his glasses pressed up as he speaks his last words, "Trust in your teams. If there's something that you can't do, don't. Just focus on what you can. If comrade falls support them. It's the first floor so let's make sure we clear it with ease..."

    It probably wasn't the most impressive speech but if anything, it was a speech that gave a certain impression. This guy knew what he was doing. He had an idea of what he was talking about. He had the experienced needed to watch over the events that were about to unfold. He was someone that if it came to organizing and planning such a large scale group he was someone capable of the job.

Fireworks, world destruction, guardians, death, rats, spiders... Reika had better weeks. But if anything, it's spurring her on right now. She can deal with the the trauma later, or at least wih the idea that they might never get out of here. One thing at a time, and doing a bit of everything will allow her to get a better handle on things.

So that's why there's an idol among the vanguard unit... one who definitely didn't know left from right a few days ago. Isn't that reassuring? Shes' doing everything she can so she's not a liability, so she spent a few days absorbing what info she could get, and fix her lacking fighting ability. This is her first test of it. She isn't expecting to be stellar, but hopefully not a ball and chain.

Reika looks up at the glassed man, hmming. Well he is rather unassuming, but that doesn't mean he doesn't get the job done. She has no idea of his reputation though, and it doesn't really matter. She raises a hand during the speech too "I can confirm *first hand* about the respawn. And I can tell you that the fun factor of it is somewhere between grating nails on a chalkboard and eating a bowl of rusted nail for breakfast." Just making things clear for all, don't die if you can avoid it.

Adjusting the cap on his head, the blue-haired adventurer makes a scrunched expression as Misa explains the situation and their plan of action. He was here as a member of the newly formed Scale Emblem Alliance, and while he'd never played Sword Art Online himself, it bothered him immensely that the town of Tolbana had been overrun with mobs. While it could simply be chalked up to an element of the world they found themselves in now, Kite's mind latched onto it, as if intuitively concluding that there was something more meaningful about the difference than chance.

If nothing else, it meant that even locales from other games weren't going to be the same, and that even experts of ETO might find themselves in a bad spot by assuming that nothing would change, something that several had feared already.

Kite scratches his cheek as Shiroe is announced as the leader of the vanguard, chuckling a little. The enchanter seemed well-meaning enough, and he was certainly capable, so Kite had no problem with it. He knew he couldn't have been the only one spending their time undertaking quests to level up and get new gear, so all things considered, under Shiroe's guidance he had a good feeling about the raid on the town.

Still clad in his unique red garb, Kite's Level 1 dirks had been traded out for a pair of Level 3 mail breakers, rapiers with shortened, thicker blades and highly tapered tips.

The famous 'Villain in Glasses' lays out the expectations set for them, leaving one final lull for everyone to sort into their respective teams. "Well, that's that, I guess, here's hoping Tolbana doesn't take its toll." Kite alliterates, jokingly.

A number of Plant Hwyaden adventurers that have spent their time with the combat guilds join up with the main force, though they have no guild affiliation tags visible. Everyone makes their preparations, checking items and breaking into their specified groups. Rather than remain unintegrated knots in the slurry of combat guilds, they break up and form parties with others in groups of two and three, spreading themselves like seeds planted throughout the main force.

A cait-sith in unremarkable equipment breaks off from the main group, a weathered grey robe hanging open over a sturdy green blouse and leather pants. She carries a simple black staff as a walking aid, the hood kept over her face with slits made for her silvery ears. She rubs her left hand with her right, staff tucked against her shoulder as she examines the tower and it's environments. There is a stillness about her, her eyes shifting from side to side as she takes in the situation around them and ahead of them.

Shiroe speaks. Her ears perk up as he begins to address them all, tail swishing lightly from side to side like a metronome as he lays forth the guidelines and expectations. She smiles, just a tiny smile under the hood as she goes to insinuate herself in one of the groups. Not as the leader, no. It was not time for that yet. "I suppose it's time to begin.." she murmurs to herself, looking towards Tolbana and past it, into the distance above and beyond it.

    One of the people here is from the Scaled Empire and the Liberation Front, Xander Scaleharth. Before the expansion one of the top raiders, like many others in the guild. Also known for pvp activities when not raiding, and really, someone who never seemed to actually have a job given his constant hours of game time.

The Salamander was in his adventuring gear. Chest armor plating over a tunic, with bicep plates, his shield, his sword, high forearm gloves, leather pants, with heavy boots, and shin guards. He was a Rune Knight; A crusader-sorcerer combination.

    Xander listens to what Misa has to say and really, he had no arguments about the plan. Though he does wonder if a pincer attack may be effective as well. Come in from two sides, break their defense, push them all to the center, and collapse on them.

However, this was not his op and he was no one special in the grand scheme of things. Overall, this plan should still work. Long as everyone carries their weight.

    When Misa declares who will lead the Vanguard team, Xander looks over to Shiroe with his fiery golden, draconic eyes, before back to Misa. Then as he looks back to Shiroe he listens to what the man has to say. He has seen the guy before, he knows of his achievements and while Shiroe asks for those with experience to lead...

Xander declines not too.

Instead he watches the people, observing what everyone does, how people take this, and waits to see who /will/ step up. In truth, he rather be a follower right now, instead of the leader. So, whoever takes him, he will follow and be their tank.

The were fang mercenary known as Kaydon is currently sitting on a stump where the group is gathered, watching and listening. While he is not really super interested in clearing the tower, he is interested in money and gear, and this promises to offer both of those.

He is currently sitting with a whetstone in hand, running it along the edge of his two handed blade. He's not saying anything, listening quietly as he sharpens his weapon. There's others that are far better suited to motivating the gathered forces than he.

Shiroe's speech gets him to arch a brow, as he glances around at some of the other gathered adventurers. A lot seem to be focused intently on what the enchanter has to say, and then he asks for volunteers. He considers, sure he's played the game for a while, but that was when it was a game. Even with respawning still enabled, he wouldn't want to be responsible for someone's death, or worse, his own.

He slides the whetstone down the length of the blade one last time, and then sheathes it on his back, rising up from his seat. He'll join a group, sure. But he works for himself first and foremost.

Gwen didn't want to leave at least not yet but she wanted to get a better idea of those pushing so damn hard to get out. She wondered ot herself could they even get out? Given some of the implied things bout the dull dive tech, she'd found out recently. There was a disturbing option in her mind which made her double down. On being Gwen and no one else, best to think that way it hurt less than the alternatives.


Gwen shouts, so the tower has no landers at least on this floor? She can get behind that she'll end up in a party and will end up moving ahead being their face checker for traps and monster, which she's entirely okay with.

"I wish to god these damn wings worked..."

It's time to sweep the streets right? If she only had a soundtrack she could listen to while grinding these monsters.

There's still some more to go before she really hits th streets Shiroe has a plan and she's going to listen to him.

With Gwen having played since launch she had signe dup to elad a tema it would be curious to see whom she got assined to it. She'd would work with whomever. She does however put in a call ot Kaydon.

<<Hey, could use you on my team, your real life training could apply here even if we're a bunch of civies right?>>

With grim countenance Zorin unslings his kite shield and readies his ruby scepter as he thinks to himself. "(Why has it come to this? A little fun after work or in the evening was all it was supposed to be, and now trapped. If those on the outside could have resolved this they would have already.)" He gives his head the slightest of shakes and takes a deep breath. "Yoshiko. Matsuda. I'm coming. I will make it back." He whispers to himself as he thinks of his wife and son.

He looks around him at the other vanguard volunteers. Some faces are familiar, more still are new, but they all look determined. They had purpose, even if their motivations were different. Zorin didn't know what to expect, but he believed whatever they came across they had the best chance possible with a force like this.

He looked over his equipment one last time. He was outfitted in heavy plate armour is a large kite shield. Slow, but he was a tank, he would endure. In his right hand his scepter. He wasn't the standard melee tank, no. He was a support caster as well, focusing on healing and fire magic. Able to stand the line but also place pressure on enemies from afar.

Still, his secret was something else.


It was his trump card. See what the opponent was going to do before they made their move, and already be in place to counter. That was his true strategy.

Despite having had zero intention to throw herself against Aincrad Tower, being that she was the self-proclaimed Explorer's Guide to ETO, Nevarri came down into the tower anyway to help out with the exploration aspect. The blind in RL Nero idol just listens to Misa, then to Shiroe, the salamander being quite surprised that she had actually partied a few times in what is ostensibly low level content with such a well reknowned veteran.

Still, she wasn't really here to admire the work of others. Now dressed in something a little more practical and slightly more showey than her lvl 1 starting attire, she smiles as she looks upon the Tower and smiles, "You know... I'd never actually made an approach on Aincrad before... Every time I'd tried to round up players to help escort me in turned it down because of the intense difficulty, keeping my low level butt alive would have been a nightmare..."

She adjusts her gear, "STILL. The Explorer's Guide to Yamato can't be slacking if she's finally got a chance to dive in a few times." She had gone and gotten mapping gear for this.

    Having answered the call to help clear the First Floor Aincred, Wynfei decided it was time to do something other then just sit around. He had been trying to figure out some things. After the Black Wave hit Ezzo and helping the initial group of Players and Landers, he had just been wandering around. It was hard to take in what has happened to them all and honeslty part of him was excited but another part of him wasn't so happy or gungho. He had been watching Landers and Players. He seen some Players treat the Landers/NPC like shit, others ignored them unless they needed soemthing. But there was some hope as there were those who treated the Landers like they would treat a player.

    That brought a smile to him, but having figured he knew what he wanted to do, it was time to stop contemplating and actually get off his ass. Thoughts of his father ran through his head and that startled him. He didn't have any love for the man, but now he needed to push owards on his own.

    As the players are led to the starting point and Misa speaks and introduces Shiroe, the dark-skinned Cait Sith with the monkey like tail listend. He didn't know many people except for Reika and Nureha. That bothered Wynfei some, he had to change things and make friends here. When the teams are set, he looks around. "I think I missed which team I'm with." he says looking a bit confused.

    Among the many Adventurers gathered, there is a pointed hat poking up from the crowd. The hat appears to have a magic staff or something, but that's about all that can be discerned. The hat is actually perched atop the head of a small girl wearing an eyepatch, but until people space themselves out a bit more, she's likely to remain visually undetected. So, as she is volunteered for the vanguard, along with a bunch of others, she simply stands by, quietly, clutching her staff and trying to stand on her tip-toes to see what's going on (to no avail).

    As information is given on what to expect, the purpose of this mission, and so on, her main take-away is 'don't die, and don't do stuff that you can't do'. Sound advice. She'll stick to those instructions to the letter, remaining as far away from the fighting as she can, except when she can spot a way to get some experience points. She needs to continue accruing them so that she can reclaim the lost magic that once she was master of.

    Ordinarily, there might be people who recognize her for her past explosiony exploits, and her affiliation with an infamous cross-MMO guild known as the 'Crimson Demon Clan', but because she is very short that identification is going to have to wait.

    Once people start forming into teams, she is left stranded in the middle, looking around in confusion. "Ehh? Where is everyone going!? Don't leave me behind! I haven't even done anything yet!" The Crimson Demon girl picks a group at random and rushes after them, one hand holding her hat down so it doesn't fall off!

    Shiroe has spoken. Teams have formed. Kaydons have sharpened their blades. Nurehas have mysteriously slipped into a group of no-name Adventurers of unimportance. Wynfeis have gotten confused. Misa calls for the vanguard team to advance.

    The charge across the field doesn't take very long, thanks to the speed provided by their Adventurer bodies. It also doesn't have much of an impact on the new exhaustion meter. Or that would be embarrassing. As the group covers the distance, details of the wall start to come into view. On the top are indeed mobs. Humanoid in shape, greenish leathery skin, large elongated jaws filled with teeth, small beady eyes. Veterans of ETO will recognize the monster type.


    These Crocmen in particular appear to be armed with bows and arrows. CROCMEN ARCHERS. Not unexpected given their position on the wall. The vanguard charge across the open field does not go unnoticed for long and soon enough, the Crocmen begin to unleash guttural cries in some kind of language. They raise their bows. Arrows alight with flames begin to rain down on the Adventurers from the wall.

    Speaking of the wall, while it is flat there are numerous seams which would allow for one to climb. Though they'd need to have some way of dealing with the arrows being fired down at them from above. The same goes for any other means of making one's way up the wall.

    The portcullis gate is another way inside and needs to be opened anyway for the main force to follow. It's controlled from the inside, if someone can get over the wall to reach it. But there may also be another means of getting it open from this side. Or one could always try force.

    And of course, there might be more creative ways of accomplishing either goal, given Adventurer ingenuity. Especially those speedrunners. Hats off to them. Though trying to clip through the wall is probably not advisable at this stage. Lest one get stuck there, unable to log out.

( Reminder for when I page you: +roll <concept> with <card> vs <difficulty> )

Reika doesn't know too many people in the group around her. There's Wynfei, who assisted to her death live. There's Nevarri, who she crossed before... wasn't she also an idol? She hasn't paid attention to the game that much, so she isn't sure if it's her character or not right now. Something to talk about maybe.

Reika's first action is to sneak. Up a wall, so she can get a better vantage point, and quietly attempts to direct her group to the various clusters of monsters. They don't need to aggro the whole town at the same time, smaller groups are probably far easier to handle. She'll come down to fight, but for now she taps on the commlink on her ear to let her team know about the surroundings.

The gnoll wear fang brings up a hand to his ear and responds, <<I'm in, Gwen.>> Kaydon replies, moving to join her. The merc makes his way to her group, then joins up with the vanguard, the first ones pushing into the town.

<<Gwen, you take point, use your shield to deflect their arrows and let me get close. Once you do, I'll jump in and nail them.>> With that plan in place, as simple as it is, Kaydon moves in. Using Gwen as a meat shield he'll close in, and once he's close enough to strike, will leap past her into the fray, with the intent to cut down several of the crocmen with his two handed blade before they can reload their crossbows.


Come on baby, Nureha needs some new leather boots.

Nureha stays in the background while her team starts to argue about how to deal with the first salvo of attacks. They eventually agree, since many of them are defenders rather than casters, that crossing the distance is twice as effective on a charge round. This, while opening them up to opportunity attacks, gets them in pummeling range all the quicker.

This does not, however, solve the problem of charging into a hail of arrow fire. Most of the the time adventurers can be relied upon to think about the consequences of their actions, adjust to the situation and have some restraint and due caution in their actions.

Others think the Zerg Rush is the most sophisticated point of tactics in the modern era of gaming. Nureha, sadly, finds herself in such a group and their ignorance was discovered too late to disengage. Her carefully calculated mystery is wasted on a group of charging buffoons who have no semblance of encounter control. She makes a long, low hum noise of frustration, her tail fluffed up to it's maximum extend.

She almost bites out the words as she's left behind, huffing out the memorized sequences as she does so. Gradually, the winds pick up and attempt to keep the arrows from making a shish-ka-bob of her and her 'charges', swirling around them and her kicking up petals and bits of grass from the surroundings.

It would even be pretty, if it wasn't so irritating.

At the head of the vanguard Zorin rushes forward, shield held above his head so he can see where he is running, while a pre-emptive defense for whatever comes. Shouts from the crocman can be heard and movement seen along the walls, it isn't long before a wave of arrows comes their way.


With a sardonic grin at the predictable defensive effort Zorin raises his ruby scepter and calls out, "Burning One, may your fire incinerate that which would seek to hinder us, FLAME WALL!"

And a sheet of solid flame forms out above and in front of the vanguard force, so they can run under it. The heat is palpable, as flames curl up into the air from it. No one said a magical wall of flames needs to be attached to the ground after all. Zorin only hopes that these are the cheap wooden shafts he would expect.

"I think you're with me," Kite supplies helpfully from Wynfei's side, waving him down so that they could take a moment to talk as Misa indicates for everyone to mobilize and roll out, though before he could say much..

Kite slows his pace slightly, turning his head back to see a floppy red hat struggling to catch up. It takes a few moments for him to realize that this small blob is in fact another adventurer, cracking half a smile as Megumin pushes herself forward like the little crimson demon that could.

He forwards her a party invite. "Hah ... well, if you haven't done anything yet, then it looks like now's the time to do! I'm Kite, a Twin Blade .. I'm guessing you're a Sorcerer, right? It'd be nice to have that kind of firepower backing us up."

The mutual journey the raid party takes to the field is halted momentarily at the Tolbana's edge, by a hoard of Crocmen Archers!

With them taking aim with Fire element arrows to rain down upon them, Kite opts for a pro-active defense by overlapping his palms and pointing them in a sharp motion towards the ground. "ROCK CRADLE! ... this should defend us for a little bit!" he mentions to the other two, as a thick slab of stone bursts from the ground after a brief pulse, creating a curved rock formation similar to a miniature crag to try and deflect the hail of flaming projectiles.

The red-haired explorer had developed a sort of mantra when she was out exploring places, and that mantra was 'Never Not Be Moving'. Given her lowbie status in the game prior, sitting still would invariably get have gotten her killed by something, especially if she had pulled a train through a given zone. Which she had. Multiple times. It was terrifying.

That lesson was being fully implemented in this run-in towards the town, as she dashes across the fields, pointedly keeping herself behind the tanks by a good fair distance, and trying to find an opening between the Crocmen, and she decides to be somewhat direct. "Ok, let's see if this trick Still works..." She whips out her own staff, and begins casting, "STONE CATAPULT!!" She glows and goes FLYING. "No regrets!"

Her entire plan was to launch herself through the opening in the crocmen, over the wall, and hopefully get to the other side of it so she could open the porticullis.

    The vanguard starts it's assault and within moments they can already identify the mobs that have taken Tolba. Shiroe finds himself immediately shouting out to the squads as he takes notice. "Crocmen archers on the walls! Tanks be ready to grab aggro! Healers be ready to provide aid! All ranged classes be ready to return fire! Be careful of your cool down times! Assassins and stealth classes be ready to go when you find an opportunity to climb the wall! Summoners able to get close enough to summon anything past the porticullis do so if you can avoid getting hit!"

     The battle had only just started and Shiroe had honestly felt more tired from just having to raise his voice than actually even doing anything yet. Of course, he was suppose to be acting as a lead in this vanguard force so it only made sense that he be giving as much energy as the group as a total was. Of course, even more than that...He was trying to keep track of the flow of the battle. His eyes trying to keep track of every leader's health on his monitors, trying to calculate how every group was managing and seeing who was falling behind and what that meant in the scheme of things.

    He couldn't just observe though. He had to help as well if he could. His staff is raised towards the crocmen on the walls as they start to aggro some of the tanks. His goal was to try and impede their ability to fire back on the groups while simultaneously try to give an opening to anyone trying to get overhead and climb the walls. "DARK BALL!!!"

    The arcane magic is released over two small areas intending to apply the blind status to several of the crocmen. If it was able to keep them from attacking the vanguard unit down below, and also provide assistance for those that were trying to climb up, it was simply the best spell for the situation at the moment!

Gwen replies back. <<Right, you and the rest of the team used ranged options to cut them down.>> She brings up her shield blocks several abilities more notably she doe snot mess around and is shoon shouting out.


Someone's got a bit of a case of Polaris it seems today. She will keep moving forward refreshing Anchor Howl every time it comes off cooldown just to keep the enemy on her and not her team, keeping that arrow fire on her she is losing HP but hopefully she has a healer on board to help keep her up, or her damage dealing comrades can burn them down.

    The groups were on the move and Xander was with his group. As arrows came down, he raised up his shield and took the brunt of some of the armors, while allowing his team members who could do range attacks fire back.

Though they were not making too much ground which lead to some frustration from Xander himself. "Oh Screw this!" He barked out, suddenly rushing ahead before yelling back to them. "Fighters! With me! Ranged! Keep them busy!" It seems in the end-- Xander takes over after all.

With his sword glowing his goes to use command of the earth magic to start to raise pillars of earth under his feet, along with the other fighters, creating an earth step directly for the wall and the archers, while trying to keep his shield taking the blows. However, any loss of concentration or a hit in the wrong place, could also cause trouble.

    Megumin slows down as she receives a party invite, pausing at the notification popping up in front of her face, looking at Kite and Wynfei, and then chuckling to herself as she closes her eye, and presses the 'accept' button with a flourish. "Hmm, hmm, hmm! Indeed, I, Megumin, an Arch-Wizard first among the Crimson Demons, and master of Explosion Magic, am at your service! Let us smite all in our path, with ancient secrets that cause even history to crumble into fiery perdition!" She poses dramatically.

    When arrows are shot at them, she bounds hurriedly towards the stone barrier. She is averse to getting punctured, so this seems like the best use of her time for now as she hunkers down and waits for her party members to deal with the threat. "Already such a threat confronts us! This is why this tower is known in legends after all!" Crocmen shooting arrows. Truly this is at least third-highest on the difficulty meter, 'Blackwatch Plaid'.


    Hearing someone speaking to him, he looks and sees Kite, "Hello." he says as he nods his head, "Alright." he smiles. He stretches out a bit and as he does he notices the girl with the red floppy hat, "Hello. My name is Wynfei, Martial Artist due to the combined classes I have." he says to them both. Looking between the three of them, "We should have a good team going in." he says as he looks towards the others.

    "Nice to meet you Kite and Megumin." he chuckles to them. He rubs the back of his head a little and begins travelling until the Crocmen begin firing on them. "Alright, looks like the action isn't going to wait for us." he says to them. Scanning the area a little he takes a breath, "We will keep you covered Megumin." he tells her. He hears the orders and Wynfei moves quickly towards the front lines.

    Reika is the first to make it to the wall. Concentrating as they are on the largest clump of the vanguard team, those Crocmen Archers closest to Reika don't notice her climbing the wall. She's able to make her way up and find a good place to observe from behind a wooden crate on top of the wall. Thanks to her direction, some of the no-name Adventurers that followed on her team are able to catch a couple groups of Crocmen Archers off guard, dealing with them easily and reducing their numbers.

    One of the Adventurers in Nureha's group can be heard shouting as he charges, "LOOOORAAAAYYYY JOOOOOKINS!" Yeah. She might have picked just a tad better. Thankfully for her teammates though, she's there to pick up the slack. Her winds kick up, throwing off the arrows and sending them off wildly. Another of the Adventurers in her team cries, "The wind gods are on our side! Chaaaaarge!" They do so, clambering up the wall, protected by Nureha's magics, and engage the Crocmen Archers in close combat, cutting down their numbers.

    Zorin unleashes a wall of flames. It works perfectly, any arrow even glancing in the direction of him and those nearby is incinerated before it can regret its life choices that led it to this point. This allows him an easy push up the wall, others following to clash with the Crocmen Archers.

    Kite attempts something similar with his Rock Cradle. It does a good job of protecting him from a hail of arrows. Until a huge ROCK suddenly smashes into the earthy shield, smashing it and creating a small explosion of debris that rips bits of shining red through Kite. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM!?

    Nevarri launches herself into the air. Wheeeeeeohcrapnotenoughheight! Nevarri proceeds to just clear the top of the wall. The not enough height comes in to play as she smashes into a surprised looking Crocman Archer. The two go tumbling off the other side of the wall to crash down into a heap. Nevarri technically made it, but it's going to take her a moment to untangle from the still thrashing Crocman.

    With assistance from Gwen, Kaydon makes it to the Crocmen Archers guarding the gate. He swings towards one. It manages to raise its crossbow to guard, but the Adventurer proves stronger, managing to force the weapon down and get a hit in. The archer quickly vanishes in defeat.

    Shiroe leads the vanguard team. So far it's not going too bad! A number have made it onto the wall and are dealing with the Crocmen Archers up there. At this rate it looks like opening the gate will be simple enough. But the Enchanter doesn't kick back and relax, helping out with his own Dark Ball. The spell hits a part of the wall, the Crocmen Archers suddenly crying out in surprise. They begin to stumble around, afflicted by the blind status. A couple even wander over the edge accidentally, plummeting to the ground for some serious fall damage.

    A large screaming effect radiates off Gwen. A number of the Crocmen Archers are drawn towards her, taking their aim off their original targets and beginning to fire arrows at her. They cut into the tank, leaving lines of red behind. But she's got the HP to take the punishment! Other Adventurers find it easier to engage the archers thanks to her, cutting them down.

    Xander pulls off some impressive Earth Pillaring as he rises up towards the wall, also providing an easier means for others to get up behind him. And some do! Charging the archers atop the wall.

    Megumin makes a run for the wall. Several arrows make a run for her. Both are successful! Which unfortunately leaves Megumin at the wall, with some lines of red across her. MED-Erm-HEALER!

    Wynfei darts his way through flying arrows, deftly avoiding them as he moves to follow Megumin. He reaches the wall at about the same time. There's still a climb ahead of them! Oh wait... No there isn't.

    The initial assault goes well! Many of the Crocmen Archers have been dealt with. The wall is now covered in quite a few Adventurers. Nevarri is trying to avoid being chomped by her new Crocmen friend. And being the first up, Reika is able to get down to quickly open the gate. The rest of the vanguard team flow inside.

    Back at the main force, Misa sees that the first wave has succeeded. So she calls out, "Main force, advance!" The main force begin to make their way across the field to follow the vanguard team. They'll finish off the rest of the Crocmen Archers while the vanguard team moves forward.

    Making it past the wall, whether over it or through the gate, will reveal the town of Tolbana on the other side. Most of the buildings barely exceed two stories. Most are also damaged in some form or another. Doors busted down. Holes in the walls and roofs. Some are still smoldering from where part of them have been burned down. As was suggested by Misa, there isn't a Lander in sight.

    What else is in sight? More Crocmen. Yey.

    Extending from the front gate all the way to the center of town is the main street. It appears to have the largest concentration of Crocmen numbers. More than that, this close to the gate they've actually built some makeshift fortifications. Not much more than some spiked logs tied together to form obstacles. It may be necessary to destroy them, as they present a problem for the advance. Especially combined with the CROCMEN BASHERS positioned behind them. Apparently named as such for the large club they wield along with a shield. They await the Adventurer charge, banging those clubs against the ground, their shields, even each other in anticipation.

    The main street is not the only approach though. Smaller sidestreets break off before reaching the Crocmen line. They're narrower than the main street, limiting the amount of people that can move through them quickly. They also still contain Crocmen Bashers, but not in the same numbers and also not protected by their wooden barricades. These sidestreets could represent a means of bypassing the main Basher force and possibly catching more enemies ahead off guard as the sidestreets filter back to the main one.

    Finally, the building rooftops are yet another possibility. Though their sloped nature and the uncertainty of their stability given damage to the town means it might be difficult to cross them. But there are no Crocmen up there at all. Score!

Reika seems pleased at the results of her scouting, but that's far from the end of it right now. She keeps scurrying along the top of the walls, using her sneaking well. But her goal is different this time. After leading a small group to trimming down the ranks from the sides, this time she uses a different strategy, finding a cluster of them together is a good thing right now. While unnoticed, she raises a hand, and focuses her energies unto it, creating a sphere of darkness.

She's learned how to use her skills at least, she was relying on her swords up to now... and even then, only one of them. She had much to learn. Staying silent, she throws the sphere at the group, trying to get as many crocmen as the can with a single shot, whispering "Dark Ball". It seems most players find that saying their attack out loud is helpful, but she doesn't want to be noticed. So she sciences it a bit!

    "Help take control of the wall! Archers and mages! Once we clear the wall, take control and start raining /hell/ on the forces below!" Xander barks out to any that follow him up, including to the ranged forces below that may start making their way up.

As such, Xander starts to push the wall's defense, cutting down any crocs that stands in his way. Shield bashing, knocking them off the side, cutting them with his blade. He does not let up his push and keeps pushing to take full force of the wall.
    After all, if they could get full control of the wall, they can then trap the enemy inside and cut off any that tried to escape. This would become the death grinder for the enemy.

<WOOOOOOOOO! I think I've made it over the w---OhnonononononoCrocma--!>

That would be the last that everyone else hears of Nevarri until she shows up on the other side to regroup, "I'm okay! Just... Remind me to never do that again..." Before turning her focus on the the main street approach, and seeing the row of Crocmen Bashers.

There is a beat as Nevarri considers her options, before she raises her staff up and let's it roar with flame.


A mote of fire zips from the head of staff, before exploding into a giant ball of flame.

Apparently Operation Use Gwen As a Meat Shield is working quite well so far, as Kaydon takes out the crocman archer. Now there's a new problem, however. Melee fighters. Kaydon leaves Gwen to keep tanking them, she's good at what she does, and he moves forward.

Keeping the two handed blade out, he opts to use it one handed for the time being, the gnoll were fang juggernaut rushing with the weapon. He reaches out to grab it with his second hand, to put a full force behind the swing as he brings the blade over his head and downwards.

He's trying to put enough force behind the swing that he'll shatter the shield even if the crocman manages to get that shield into the path of the blade. Of course if he fails to get the shield out and takes the blow head on, it may well cleave him in half.

Kite can't help but grin just slightly at his new friends; Wynfei seemed like the serious, stoic type while Megumin was ... well ...

Let's just say that she was Megumin, and leave it at that. It was endearing, if nothing else.

His Rock Cradle explodes fiercely after being bombarded by a stone cannonball that leaves the fragments flechetting both himself and the envoy of explosive immolation, tattering their bodies with glowing red tears. "Gh...!"

His HP had taken a minor hit, but Megumin was much worse off in that regard than he was, all things considered -- she'd taken several direct arrows ot her body, after all. "Sorry, guess that wound up working against us, huh? But where'd THAT come from?"

After collecting himself and ensuring both Wynfei and Megumin were ready to advance, he made for Tolbana's gates with the rest of the vanguard, the main force coming up behind them.

And what they find inside is nothing less than a ruin turned fortress, the Crocmen forming a brigade against them. "We'll need to strip open their defenses and break the formation ... okay, I'm going! Once I slip through their guard, try and blast them with your magic, okay? Let's get going, Wynfei!"

Kite bursts forward, drawing his mail breakers, dashing towards the wooden barricades. "LIGHTNINGSTEP!"

His body wreathes itself with the electric crackles briefly before he seems to vanish with a thunderclap, intent on re-appearing in a blur behind the barricde and intent on burying his piercing sword deep into exposed nape of a Crocman basher's neck. With this, he hoped it'd provide an opening for Wynfei to smash open a way into the barricade, which Megumin could possibly take advantage of with an explosive bombardment. That was his idea, anyway.

Coming up the main street Zorin sees the line of bashers along with their fortifications. Figuring he would get in the way of any ranged assaults targeting them he opts to veer towards one of the narrow alleys, but instead of entering he takes up a defensive position just outside in the hopes to protect others moving that direction or up the sides of the street.

In an attempt to cover as much area as possible to protect against range attacks he grunts out another clipped verse to the Burning One followed by the name of his arte, "SHIELD OF LIGHT!" Unlike the typical ranged version this one instead causes his shield to glow and a second larger image of his shield appears in front.

Nureha inwardly curses the name of LORAY JOOKINS, regardless of whether or not the blasted guardian has any chicken to spare. She is dragged along for the ride as her party charges all the way to the walls of Tolbana. Arrows thunk with a satisfying PLOCK into the churned up turf. She gets help over the wall (able to 'steer' her rampaging adventurers to one of the spots where Shiroe has blinded them, but only JUST) when she is over the wall she soundly bonks a crocmen over the head as they try to rise from being knocked prone by a nameless guardian with far too much cheerful enthusiasm. She.. watches the angle of the Nervarri Catapult, watching them fall entangled with crocmen in a rather compromising position. She turns to grab the attention of one of her party mates with a throwing axe, in order to get them some support, but he's too busy jumping (literally) headfirst into a crocmen, stunning them with a headbutt before finishing them off with said axe.

She lowers her hand, shutting her mouth with a quiet click. "Well." she says to herself. "They can't all be winners." Winners don't do drugs. This, obviously, is not the case with this crew.

Xander makes a dramatic entrance onto the wall, and she waves sardonically in his direction when he lands, using her staff to trip a Crocman coming up behind one of her teammates. They stumble INTO them, of course, but it's better a Croc in the back than a sword. When the main force advances, she breathes a sigh of relief searching out some of her guildmates embedded in the group.

Then, it's back to kindergarden and sheparding cats with more HP and Armor Class than sense. She casually suggests that they form a shield wall in the smaller corridors of the city. After she cast Dark Wave on the Crocmen Bashers, it would be.. "CROCMEN BOWLING." The leader barks out a laugh. "Yeah. YEAH. BOWLING FOR CROCMEN."

So. Nureha follows them to the sidestreets, waiting until the next patrol has gone past before stepping out.


A ripple of darkness sweeps the narrow streets, attempting to paralyze the big, beefy slabs of lizard meat while her erstwhile party members charge. She's at least.. making good use of what she has.

    The vanguard proves able to make it into the city with a certain degree of ease. There's definitely a few stragglers it seems, but overall it appeared as though everyone was holding their own for the most part. As the gate opens, Shiroe can be heard trying to raise his voice again. "Tanks! Proceeds first! Stealth classes prepare to act as field monitors! I want full details on how many Crocmen and where they're located inside the city!"

    Shiroe continues acting mainly as a Monitor as well. Mainly trying to keep track of the statuses of all players involved, and doing what he can to make sure that if there's any teams that are faltering behind he can adjust what he can. "Teams 3 and 5, hold position till those on the castle walls get down!" As he holds his hand to his ear barking instructions to a few squads at a time, he finds himself having to try and balance between receiving information and dishing it out all at the same time while he learns about the Crocmen Bashers and the spiked logs being prepped as obstacles. As well as the potential routes provided from the side streets. "All units near the side streets are permitted to break off from the main force. Keep close to your teams and watch your corners. All other teams on the main street prepare to deal with the obsacles and Bashers!"

    Giving those orders Shiroe continues on with the main vanguard group who try to handle the Bashers. While most try to deal with the Bashers directly or sabotage their spiked logs, Shiroe ends up using a spell to try and impede them from using their logs in the first place. THORN BIND HOSTAGE - The spell's unleashed and with it multiple Crocmen are subdued by the curse impeding their movements. It provides ample time for those wanted to take their pot shots at the mobs uninhibited, as well as prevent them from intercepting those that would try and destroy the their spiked logs.

    Wynfei sees the hit that Megumin had taken, "Megumin, you ok!" he calls out to her. He sees that Kite is doing alright so far and he nods to him. He's been a parties before, but nothing this big but still that means he needs to focus on his team and help others as needed. He ndos to Kite, "I'm good." he calls to him. He looks forward and sees everyone advancing, "We will do what we can to keep you protected, hang back as far as you think and launch attacks as you see fit." he calls to her.

    Yuun starts running and as he does the wind billows around him and in a rush as he flashes forward, there isn't lighting all over his body but traces of it can be seen as he quickly begins catching up, his eyes darting around and he is looking to intercept anything attacks that is going for their Arch-Mage or bladesmen.

    Megumin looks up at Kite as he gives instructions, an arrow through her hat, and red scratches on her face. If she was taller, those arrows would have gone through her head and torso instead. Thank heavens for small favors.

    However, when the call goes out to use her magic to attack, in the midst of standing up and twirling her staff, she remembers something important. She pauses, letting out an, "Ah." The confident smile fades from her face to be replaced with a dull expression, as she waves one hand limply at Kite to beckon him over after the latter has already taken off to stab crocogators.

    Flop. Flop. "Excuse me. Sorry, I actually don't have any magic right now, because I'm saving up my skill points. But I'll follow you from the rear, and call out enemies if I see them, okay?" She proves her usefulness in regard by pointing at some gatorades sneaking up from behind, and yelling, "AAAHH! They're trying to ambush you! Look out!" Possibly this draws their attention to her, for more arrowing.


The Cromen Archers are taken out, good one less problem she'll worry about loot later, right now they have to deal with the hostiles, the main force is moving in? Good, they can push forward to help clear the way, with Kaydon at her back she's confident that she can handle.

Gwen seems to work s a Meat Shield, very well so far so she's going to keep up this as her allies cut down the enemy she will mix thing up with anything. More Corcmen show up and so with she'll chant a small spell and cast a flash of light which should hopefully blind some of the crocmen.


    Reika sneaks her way through some sidestreets, using her stealthyness to approach upon a group of Crocmen Bashers readying themselves to charge the vanguard proper. Before they get a chance though, the Dark Ball explodes in their midst. Many of them are blinded! Unfortunately there's no large falls for them to take here. Though a couple do make some wild swings and manage to connect with one of their fellows.

    Under Xander's direction, those near him are able to clear away that section of the wall. As as he indicated, those with range step up at this point. Arrows and destructive spells begin to rain down on the Crocmen Bashers. Those blinded by Reika are particularly wrecked, unable to even mount a defense due to their blindness.

    Nevarri unleashes her fireball like a super hyped up LARPer. It explodes against one of the wooden fortifications, lighting it up and also causing some Crocmen Bashers to be caught on the edge. They get set alight, their HP bars beginning to fall as they apparently don't notice and continue to fight.

    Kaydon charges in, striking at a Crocman Basher with his blade. It pushes the croc's shield aside, slicing through the mob which quickly vanishes. Kaydon is able to chain this to another Crocman, helping to push the line forward.

    Kite flashes his way past the Crocman Basher fortifications, coming up right behind them. The Crocman Basher he attacks doesn't even realise he's there, the blade sinking into it with little particle effects of red floating off the wound. The mob quickly vanishes. Some of the nearby Crocmen Bashers turn their attention to him, but this just opens them up to being struck from behind.

    Zorin's shield of light manifests, not only provided greater attention as some of the other no-name Adventurers filter into a side street, it also draws some aggro. One Crocman Basher charges him, but its club just bounces off the magical barrier. Shortly before a random fireball explodes it before it is able to raise its shield to defend.

    Nureha quietly makes her way through the sidestreets with her group. Her Dark Wave washes over the group of Crocmen she has targetted. They all visibly slow, arms lowering as if they're having trouble holding their weapons. The rest of Nureha's group charges in with battle cries, quickly making work of the Crocmen. One of them then says, "Man, we are so strong!" Another suggests, "Hey! After this, why don't we go try the floor boss!?" "Hey yeah, we'll own it for sure!"

    Much like the wall charge, this push down the main street is going well. Shiroe continues to lead from behind, directing some of the groups to break off down the sidestreets. He also contributes his own magics once more, magical thorns flashing into existance on several of the Crocmen Bashers. As other Adventurers strike, the thorns explode, before the Crocmen are engulfed in light and vanish.

    Wynfei moves quickly through the battle, making sure to keep an eye on Kite and Megumin. Kite has made his way to the other side of the currently battle site, so is a bit far to go. But Megumin is still nearby. And that's when Megumin calls out, "They're trying to ambush you! Look out!" Some Crocmen had been hiding in one of the buildings, rushing out only to be spotted by Megumin. Her warning saves a couple of Adventurers from being caught by the ambush. Unfortunately it also draws attention of others and she fails to notice them in time. Thankfully for her, Wynfei is her guardian angel as he's able to swoop in at the last second and smash the the two Crocmen in a single blow before they can reach Megumin.

    Gwen unleashes her flash of light, catching several of the Crocmen Bashers in the effect zone. They flail around, but only for a short time as they accidentally stumble into one of their own fortifications. Repeatedly. Taking environmental damage before finally vanishing in defeat.

    The Crocmen Bashers have had their numbers greatly dwindled. Their fortifications are still mostly intact, but there's not enough left to make real use of them. The main force only just starts to pile in through the gate, climbing the wall from inside to finish off the archers. They begin to engage the scattered Crocmen Bashers while the vanguard team pushes forward.

    The team has split into two at this point. One team is moving down the sidestreets. The other is moving down the main street. It's the main street group that first encounters the next challenge. More Crocmen! Though they're not alone this time. The Crocmen are riding on mounts. Mounts that look like large flightless birds with big bodies, long legs and a long, thin neck that ends in a small head. These birds are covered in feathers all over except for the legs, with the feathers becoming finer up the neck they go. The names on their status bars indicate:


    The Crocman Longneck Rider at the head of this formation of strange cavalry lets out a guttural cry. The Riders then CHARGE! Their birdy mounts carry them swiftly towards the group on the main street in what is going to be a punishing initial charge, as is to be expected of a cavalry charge against infantry.

    But fret not dear Adventurers, for shortly after the two sides clash, the second group heading through the sidestreets rejoin onto the main one, behind the charged cavalry formation, presenting on opportunity for a pincer strike!

Reika isn't... as creative as others. Not yet at least. She barely has a handle on her abilities for now, and is learning most of them as she goes. At least there's a few things that seems to work for her, like movement. She's nimble, it works for her. Not against a boss, but for situations like these, she can hit from the shadows pretty well it seems.
Fortunately it seems like the numbers has thinned enough... that they called on the cavalry. Quite literally even. Riders on longnecks. From her vantage though, she can see how they are getting setup in a pincer though. "Hold the front, they have nowhere to run!" She lets out from the top of the wall for all to hear, and jumps down finally, no reason to stay there. As she lands down, she lets out a loud "SHOCKWAVE!", even if she's light, it feels like she's several times heavier as she stomps into the ground, sending a rippled along the ground toward the first row of riders, hoping to knock down several of them.

        H U H ?

Kite looks flabbergasted. She was saving all of her points for explosion? It was the same as if he declined to level up any skills so that he could get Lord of Vermillion as soon as possible. Even if he did, he wouldn't have the MP to cast it more than once or twice before he was out of the fight.

"S..so we have an 'Arch-mage' who can't use any spells...?!"

To Kite's credit, he doesn't call her useless. "T.....thanks....."

Noticeably, it seems the wind has been taken out of his sails, his expression being the kind that says, 'ah ... so it can't be helped, huh ... '

It takes a lot of effort for him to wipe that disheartened look off his face as she calls out a warning, Wynfei moving swiftly to defend her. The martial artist had been an excellent addition to their composition, the backbone really, if only Megumin had been able to use any spells ...

No, Kite, don't let those niggling negative thoughts back in. She's trying her best.

The Twin Blade contributes however he can, using his swift and agile abilities to slip through the guards of the his foes and attack, yielding him a low and measured amount of personal combat, but leaving the enemy with their backs exposed. Overall, everything was turning up Scale Emblem.

Until the cavalry arrives. The clash in the main street is fierce, but once Kite and the others who'd taken to the streets looped back around, a valuable opportunity presented itself with the longneck riders being faced with a fight on two fronts.

Kite dashes forward into the thick of it once again, "TREMBLE STEP!"

Pulses of Earth magic expand from his feet with each step, rocking the ground with subtle earthquakes to try and unbalance the riders and their steeds, zipping by them with plunging thrusts into the longneck's supple hides as he passed them.

    Xander continues his advance, though he almost doesn't catch Nureha waving to him with his focus on what he is doing. However, the minor glimpse puts on a grin on his face, though he is quick to get his mind back on the action.

Xander uses his high position to see what is going on down below. Watching as Shiroe lead the charge below and people starting to cut their way into the town. His eyes scan the area as he continues to allow his team to rain down hell from above by those crocs that are now blind and just everything else.

It also gives him a moment to catch his breath and assess what to do next, he starts to walk, then jog on the wall, as the rest of the group moves to the streets. Up on that wall, that is where he stays.

    This gives him a chance to see the mounts racing in and he can't help but grin a dark, evil grin on his face. Coming to a stop on the wall, he eyes where the riders are coming in at. Runes on his blade start to glow as he mutters a few words to himself, he slowly raises up the blade toward the sky.

The fires start to gather from the buildings and flames of magical creation start to gather up high as well. Then he swings the blade down, and as he does a massive flame pillar comes spiraling down for the croc riders to help separate their numbers, maybe even spook their mounts, and just maybe set a few on fire.

Seeing the bright shield one of the crocmen bashers charge forward clubs held high, Zorin lowers his stance and braces himself. With more force then grace the crocman slams shoulder first into his shield before trying to deliver a downward blow over it. Fortunately, the overhead swing catches on the extended shield of light cause it to bounce off harmlessly.

The force causes him to slide several feet backwards, almost knocking him over, but he holds. Teeth gritted he readies his scepter to try counter and..


A fireball explodes just past him, waves of flame rebounding off his magical shield. Was that one of Nevarri's? Several of the crocmen seem to have been incinerated instantly and the one assaulting him is severely seared only to also find arrows through its skulls a moment later. With a shove he pushes the now crocman corpse off and leaps over, continuing down the main street.

This.. This felt.. This still had the adrenaline rush of the game he used to love, but now so much more was at stake. This wasn't just for fun. This was for his life. His freedom. The lives of his family. Zorin scowled, looking up as he charged forward, shield out in front.

Screams, explosions, and the cries of dying crocmen echoed all around him. One of the nearby abandoned and crumbling buildings was on fire, casting an orange glow to the battlefield.

And then the crocmen longneck riders were thundering towards him. With little time to think he tries to brace himself against one of the now abandoned barricades, and calls out his next arte, "REPELLING SHIELD!"

An ominous red glow begins to glow from the outer side of his shield, before it is suddenly coated in flames. Any who impact it will be ignited, but will it be enough to halt one of these riders?

Nevarri hmms softly as she observes the impact of her fireball, and considers, "Damagy, bue not exactly super damagy... Should probably activate a buff. Let's see what I've got..."

She takes a moment to narrow her eyes and skim the spell list she has, before grinning, "Oho, well this should definitely help people..." She spins her staff until horiszontal, the head glowing, and lifting the earth around her, "FIERCENESS OF EARTH!!"

Earth magic would proceed to empower her allies, the strength given to rend stone and send the enemy reeling.

    Wynfei had lept and spun around slaming a kick into one of the Bashers that were coming at Megumin. He too does a double take and shakes his head, "To each their own. If you're going to call out targets, get to a higher vantage point, we are going to need to help up front." he says to her. He smiles, as he quickly dashes forward, and as he does so, he sees the Secondary Teams come to join them. He smiles, "Alright, let's get some work done!" he calls out.

    Wynfei leaps over Kite as he does his Tremble Stomp, he grins, he has that too but it's time to clear out some of the baddies. "Kite and the others clear out!" he calls as he channels energy throgh his body and as he lands, he holds out both his arms outstretched in front of him as the energy courses through him and flames ripple through his arms as a large ball of fire rockets towards a large group of the Riders. "FIREBALL!!!" he calls. He thinks he needs to call it something else.

?Gwen unleashes her flash of light, catching several of the Crocmen Bashers in the effect zone. They flail around, but only for a short time as they accidentally stumble into one of their own fortifications. Repeatedly. Taking environmental damage before finally vanishing in defeat. The Crocmen aBashers are no longer a large threat most of their fortifications are intact, that's something they put to use later, even if just for raw materials. For the moment Gwen presses on.

She'son point with Kaydon and the rest of the group at her back and she's getting pretty confident now as they keep going. Then comes the Longneck riders. Okay, they are riding some sort o crazy birds? She can get hat she'll plant her feet ready her shield and cast earth pillar trying to launch at least one of the riders into the air and hopefully break up the formation a bit.


Then comes the Pincer and Gwen curses

Kaydon manages to strike down the crocman, and then wheels around to strike a second one as well, cutting clean through both of them and dispersing them. Then he hears the sound.

Oh hell. These guys have cavalry too? Kaydon was not prepared for crocman cavalry. The merc turns his attention towards the approaching riders, "Okay." He steps up, holding his blade in his hands, and prepares himself.

He's going to have to time this perfectly, lest he wind up getting run over by the charge. He grits his teeth, and takes a deep breath. Come on, any second now.

If his timing is perfect, he'll roll out of the way and slash with the blade at the rider and mount in one clean, smooth motion, trying to bring both down with his strike.

    "Ora, ora!" Megumin continues calling out, one hand cupped alongside her mouth, eyes closed as she yells her warnings. "Look out for the crocks! They're not real shoes! Have some self-respect!" XO

    She opens her shining red right eye and blinks a couple times as the sound of footsteps approaching rapidly reaches her. Then she sees a bunch of Knights in Sobek's Service coming RIGHT AT HER and she clutches her staff in both hands and employs the super-effective strategy of iskeai'd girls the multiverse-over.

    "UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" she yells in a panic.

    Her summoning spell succeeds as an Anime Guy comes running over to smash her attackers before they can hurt her. She takes a moment to get her breath back, and then gives a thumbsup to Wynfei. "Naisu Jobbu!" :>

    Well, yelling warnings didn't quite get the desired effect, and the heroes are moving on ahead, so she scurries to catch up, and looks for a way she can be more actively helpful without actively putting herself in danger of imminent crocodile rocking.

    Ah, hah! There it is! She, with difficulty, climbs onto one of the buildings nearby (possibly with the aid of barrels, crates, many very small rocks, ducks, etc.) and uses this position to survey the battlefield! She poses dramatically, her cape flapping behind her. "I, Megumin, will form a mental map of the terrain, so that I can guide you all to our destination!" She holds one hand in front of her right eye, fingers splayed, as a ruby gleam spills forth from it. "To become an Arch Wizard as great as I, one must have intellect beyond compare, a memory so sharp that even the words of the First Gods are recorded in perpetuity as a chisel to a stone, and visual prowess that has been passed down the Crimson Demon bloodline for generations! Behold! My Cartographical Analysis Technique!"

    A brief jump cut later and Megumin has out a pen and paper, focusing on the map she's making, very much not in her memory, and only looking up to double-check her analysis, before looking back down and muttering to herself. "Eeto... The road goes there... And over there is a hill... Ee..." She looks up, and then back down as she points her pen. "Oh-hoh! There's another hill. I didn't see that one before... Eeto..."


Somewhere, a profanity filter is being built, tested, applied, and then stress tested to it's utter-most limits.

An ear twitches.

Somewhere in the chaos, a group of adventurers decides that they wanted those murder chickens for themselves, because nothing says ADVENTURE like Murder Chicken Cavalry. Apparently, the Crocmen also agree with this sentiment. She takes out a small vial from her volumnous sleeves, tapping into her inventory for a moment as the chaos goes on around her. She ducks under a piece of rubble kicked up from the road and throws a vial into the charging murder chickens, over the shoulder of her party members to land at their feet with a sizzling pop.

A strange smell, potent and vinegary, rises from the vial, attempting to knock out the Longnecks from the potent concoction.

    As Kite and Wynfei continue to prepare their pincer attack they notice one of the longriders break past their line to where their Archmage is. If they didn't go to support her at that very moment it was more than likely that she was going to end up worse than just having arrows in her hat or catching the aggro of the Crocmen...She was going to get completely run over. Yet as they'd rush to her aid they'd notice something. A powerful firebolt would erupt from her direction intending to completely immolate the longneck bird. How did this come to be though? Had Megumin finally unlocked the power of her third crimson eye? Did she decide to put her points into something all of a sudden? Was she just lying up to this point just show them up for glory??? Well...Not exactly.

    Shiroe had found success using Thorn Bind Hostage inorder to pin the Crocmen to allow for the main force to handle the situation. Though when he receives reports of the longneck riders, he finds himself clicking his teeth. "Should have held off on using it..." With the cool down time on Thorn Bind he wasn't expecting to cast it in time to deal with the rest and he was sure some would end up getting through. "Tanks get ready to brace for impact, hold the line! Casters and Archers, intercept as many of the riders as you can! Supports prepare defensive buffs, healers priortize tanks till the flanking team appears."

    While the number of enemies had dwindled significantly, the speed of their attack had increased making his need to think more quickly on his feet even more necessary. He finds himself looking more at the health bars than the actual combat as he identifies which groups were in need of the most support. Who were the people most susceptible at this point to getting taken out if they weren't given the back-up they needed? The answer he comes to is that of a certain player. Since the beginning of the assault her health had been steadily been lowering more and more. As it stood, with no healers nearby to help her party she was probably going to...Well, it wasn't going to turn out well unless, Firebolt!

    As Megumin opens her crimson eye, it's not just Knights that she summons to her aid. Heat. Immense heat can be felt brushing against her cheek ever so slightly. The sound of crackling flames brush past her ear, and with that crimson eye she watches as a condensed ball of fire passes by her, inches out of its path, only for it to end up whizzing past her towards one of the longneck riders. Though truth be told...It probably seemed like she was about to get exploded for a moment.

    Reika comes screaming down from her perch, impacting the ground far harder than one might expect. The ground visibly ripples outwards, right beneath the Crocmen Longneck Riders. Unfortunately, it doesn't really seem to affect them, their mounts deftly handling their balance during the attempt to disrupt it. Do they have some kind of resistance to Earth? Ground AOEs? Who knows!

    Unfortunately for Kite, this information comes just a bit too late. Like Reika's Shockwave, his Tremble Step appears to have little effect on the Longnecks. Though his stabs into their bodies do prove to do something. Which is good. Magic resistant AND Physical resistant? That would be hax. Several of the birds vanish in flashes of light, their riders going along with them. Wow, that's kind of sucky. The poor Riders don't even get a chance to continue the fight on foot.

    Xander unleashes his pillar of flame, the fires sweep through the cavalry charge, scorching mounts and riders alike. While the large pillar catches a large number of the Riders, it doesn't quite finish them off, suggesting a higher HP bar than the previous Crocmen. But they must certainly have lost a lot of it.

    A part of the cavalry charge heads straight for Zorin. But he activates his arte, "REPELLING SHIELD!" There is a resounding horn-like sound, followed by a whoosh as not one but many of the bird riders are stopped in their tracks. Their HP slowly begins to drop from the resulting flames too as they attempt to maneuver their mounts to continue their attack.

    Nevarri calls force the great power of Earth to boost her allies! It doesn't do much. Yeah, looks like these mobs are Earth resistant! Better luck next time, Nevarri.

    Wynfei fire bends a blast of fire towards a group of the Crocmen Longneck Riders. However, the swiftness of their mounts prove greater as they manage to dart out of the way of the blast, leaving it to flying off to hit a building behind them.

    While it's true that the Crocmen Longneck Riders appear resistant to Earth spells, they don't appear resistant to fall damage. A couple of them are caught by Gwen's Earth Pillar, which launches them up into the air. They then fall back down, their mounts crying out in pain as they hit the ground once more, legs giving away under the weight of their Riders. Both Riders and Longnecks vanish in defeat.

    Kaydon's timing is indeed perfect. His positioning was just a little off. He rolls away from the Rider he had intended to attack. Unfortunately he rolls right into the path of another which had managed to come screaming out of nowhere. The large bird tramples of Kaydon, its sharp claws also adding insult to injury as they leave streaks of red in him.

    Megumin finds herself a nice, safe place to begin her mapping of the surrounding area. She seems to be doing well, until she finishes. Either she got distracted by the beautiful surroundings, or her mind wandered, but she's ended up creating a passable landscape picture of the town. Not great. But she might be able to find someone to buy it for some bronze pieces. Unfortunately, it's not very useful tactically.

Nureha unleashes her concoction towards the group of Crocmen Longneck Riders. It's super effective! Unfortunately for her, her group of Adventurers have charged straight into that group, causing them to scatter. The Adventurers now stand there in that cloud, starting to wobble, "Ugh... I don't feel so good." Another drops to his knees, "Is this it? Are we dying!?" Thankfully their resistance is high enough to not knock them out completely, but they're not going to be very effective for now.

    This stage of the battle has been a little more difficult, forcing Shiroe to concentrate harder. Thanks to his efforts, the vanguard team hasn't wiped yet. But they're starting to feel the strain. Shiroe himself fires of a flaming bolt in order to help his allies, the projectile exploding against a Crocman Longneck Rider and catching a few others in the blast, causing them to vanish.

    The vanguard team are still fighting with the Crocmen Longneck Riders. While the enemy mobs numbers have been reduced by the team, they've failed to actually break through.

    A barrage of arrows come streaking in over the heads of the vanguard Adventurers. They pepper the the cavalry forces, forcing them to scatter and evade, providing an opening for the vanguard team to proceed.

    Behind the main push, Misa stands at the head of a formation of archers. She orders, "Fire!" Another volley is unleashed, continuing to throw the Crocmen Longneck Riders into chaos. Misa then calls out to the vanguard team, "Go ahead! We'll handle them!" The rest of the main force charges in from behind, beginning to engage those Crocmen Longneck Riders that remain.

    Now that the vanguard team has rejoined each other, they are able to make the final push towards the center of town. They come out into the square, which at one point might have looked rather nice. There's a destroyed fountain, trampled grass, cracked streets, charred trees. And at the center of it all, three large looking Crocmen. Their monster type is of Crocmen Brute and they are twice the size of regular Crocmen and thus also Adventurers. But those who haven't encountered this type wouldn't know their monster type.

    Because the names above their status read:


    As the vanguard team are spotted by the three named Brutes, they unleash roars of anger at them.

    Snapjaw lunges forward. He moves quite fast, his jaws snapping at various Adventurers, threatening to shave off half their health in one blow if he gets a solid hit in.

    Clawfist leaps into the air, gaining quite a bit of height before coming down amidst a group of Adventurers. His fist impacts the ground, unleashing a massive Shockwave in an attempt to throw off their balance. He quickly follows up, darting amongst them with swipes from his massive, sharply clawed claws.

    Swordtail... Well, you can probably guess where this is going. But you'd be wrong! Swordtail dives into more Adventurers. His tail swings left and right, threatening to strike his targets. But unlike a sword, it does Bludgeoning damage. Hah! See! Bet you didn't see that coming!

Reika fails to get any real impact. Darn, she must have done something wrong. She doesn't know about elemental resistances either, that might have factored in. Or maybe it's just the longnecks that have strong legs and not easily thrown off.

She doesn't really have time to consider though, fortunately the rest of the adventurer army mows them down rapidly, and not too many are hurt from it. Mission accomplished?

Not really, since more of them appear... and those names are menacing "... Their names are different, does that mean any- WOAH!" She jumps back as Swordtail comes in swinging. Fortunately she's nimble enough to jump out of the way. Time to counter attack?

As she lands, she dashes forward, two fingers extended against her forehead, as she charges the next attack. As she gets within reach, she holds those fingers out toward the large crocman, and calls out "ZAP!", summoning what seems to be a lightning bolt that strikes down from the heavens, hoping to fry or paralyze it. Or at least, slow it down a bit so others can bring their attacks in as well.

The crocmen longneck riders hiss and snarl as they gallop forward on squawking mounts. One of the riders directly ahead locking eyes with Zorin.

Was that humor in its reptilian eyes?

Scowling at the seeming condescension of a crocman he readied himself, and just at the last moment before the strike, pushed off the barricade adding his own momentum to the defense.

Caught off guard by the maneuver, the blow meant for Zorin's head went wild and the giant bird collided chest first into his shield. There was a muted flash and small shockwave from the impact as the magical flames ignited the bird feathers and spread at a rapid speed, engulfing it. Then a moment later there is a second, third, and finally forth impact as the riders behind the first also crash into each other.

The momentum was still too much for Zorin. While it did stop the advance of a few it drove him down to his knees. The smell of roast chicken filling the air. The riders were thrown from their seats, flipping over to land hard somewhere behind Zorin, and the birds crumpling and skidded into tasty smelling blazes.

Bruised and panting, his shield scored with several gashes, Zorin stumbles to his feet looking ahead, ready for the next rider to arrive. Only to find the riders in disarray. He continues forward until he is in the square and find the massive crocmen on the offensive.

As he prepares his next arte a small corner of his mind reflects that calling out what you are doing beforehand in a battle is rather idiotic from a tactical perspective. Really, sometimes his old gaming instincts were a hinderance in this new world.

With a mental activation he thought, "(Fortune Teller)" as he rushed to assist in the battle against Snapjaw.

Kite frowns deeply as he realizes that the riders had to have some kind of resistance, either to Earth magic or to unbalancing effects that allowed them to safely ignores his skill, effectively wasting the MP he'd used to cast it. "The more you know ..." he murmurs to himself, salvaging what he can out of his failed strategy with the mail breakers successfully plunging into the mounts, the Twin Blade regrouping with Wynfei.


Kite nods to Wynfei as they momentarily pair up against the longnecks, quickly making to beat a hasty retreat as the fighter prepares a powerful area-of-effect attack. Being rather fragile in constitution as a Twin Blade, he had no desire to be caught up in any kind of friendly fire from it. Besides, Megumin looked to be in a spot of trouble, and so he dashed off to get there as quickly as he was able. Thankfully, it wound up being un-necessary with Shiroe's intervention, allowing Kite to relax just a little.

"Hold on, are you actually drawing a map?!" Kite exclaims, having flashstepped out of the enemy formation in time to see the burning hot explosion of the Fireball. "I...I kind of thought ... you'd have had a magic mapping skill .... the penwork is good I guess ... " he admits.

The look is back. The same kind of look that says, 'ah ... so that's how it is ... '

"But, wait, are you sure about that? Aren't you wearing an eyepatch? It doesn't look quite right," he comments, pointing an accusing finger at the seal restraining her incredible power, the kind of strength seen only once in a million years.

Actually, it was probably just an accessory. His expression somehow finds a way to become even more disappointed.

Ultimately, the main force advances and the vanguard is able to regroup and push into town square, Kite taking the moment to swallow down the contents of a minor MP potion before they reach a shocking trio, a set of large, named Crocmen!

He, Wynfei and Megumin are attacked swiftly by Snapjaw, Kite readying his mail breakers. "ARCANE EYE! TWIN DARKNESS!"

The ghostly lines of a third eye open on his forehead, glaring into Snapjaw's essence and providing Kite with the insight necessary to make his counterattack, moving swiftly to intercept the incredible biting attack with Dark element magic swathing itself over his weapon, ready to catch him in his open maw with one and jam the other deep into his throat, cutting its attack power. But if his timing failed, Kite knew he was in for a world of pain.

Where they though? Were they effective?

A question for philsophers, and sure.. she does feel a /twinge/ of guilt and concern for them, since her miscalculation was what put them into danger but.. they really weren't her problem. What she does feel IS a problem is the overall mood of the battle. As the Vanguard, they were the ones to feel the most pressure. If they buckled, a shockwave would travel through the main force that would demoralize and wreck chaos on Misa's well crafted formations.

She tries to pick out Shiroe in the surge of battle but takes a nasty kick to the side when a Longneck cavalry goes wild, half sleepy from the concoction and out of it's rider's control. It thrashes about desperately and it's difficult to plan your way around chaos. She thumps against a wall, sliding down it with a faint groan. She stays in that sitting position, her robe pooled around her as she examines the fighting at ground level. Shiroe was distracted by his duties as vanguard commander, so he shouldnt'.. neccessarily.. notice if she were to pick off a few of the side cases. Shore up their efforts in a few critical spots.

She brings up a hand to her ear, saying something over the link as her eyes scan the battlefield. The volley of arrows come and punch a hole through the cavalry, scattering them and throwing the remnants into chaos as they force their way forwards to the base of charred, empty streets and a cracked fountain. Her group catches up with her as she surveys the three powerful Crocmen, reading their names and their movements in turn. "Pick ONE." she advises the group, who look sleepy and a bit chagrined that one had nearly walked into a walk while the others had been dizzy so badly they had to sit down.

When the effects finally wear off, they choose to go harass Clawfist, their shields and heavy defense allowing them to dig in and not be affected so badly bu the shockwaves. Meanwhile she hangs back, watching the three move and how the others engage with them.

She begins to speak, quickly but quietly, the words rolling off her tongue as her hands move or tap on the staff like she was keeping time. Vines begin to creep out of the ruined streets while people are squaring up the three bosses. There is a low hissing as a hydra of snake creatures populate to bite and snap at the three Crocmen Brutes. They don't do much damage on their own, but they distract the enemy. They slow them down and although they are pretty, in a snake-flower sort of way. They are very.. very poisonous.

It was always a little frustrating when resistances come up, but then again, Nevarri's build was more fire focused anyway. She does what she can with the buff, before the two groups reconverge, and takes stock of her magic. "Mmmf, went through a whole lot..." She looks up ahead, "Looks like we still have the boss... Or I guess three to go."

The three big crocmen brutes drawing her attention. Still she has enough sense to stay in the backline, as she points her staff out, and flames flicker around the head of the staff and engulf it. "FLAME PILLAR!!"

With a swing of the staff up, a collumn of fire rises up and whirls around the Crocs, to give them gradual damage over time.

Gwen grins as she somehow pulls off her manoeuvre taking out some of the riders with their mounts. She doesn't pay the ones she launched, much attention. She needs to focus on what's happening next, this is a full-on battle there is a rush but there's also fear for all her bluster even knowing she gets back up from being dead. She is fearful of death and while not mindlessly lost herself to it.

Kaydon has perfect timing and he does take out one, but Kaydon gets run over.


Gwen then hears something, the sounds of arrows thankfully they are flying overhead and not at them. She gets told to move on ahead and she can do that as the main force moves to engage others she looks to see three large Cocmen they don't look to be the normal sort she knows there's a lot of other tanks. Still, Swordtial gets her attention as she sees him rushing into allies ranks? She moves and will head towards him.

"Hey big guy?! Your reckoning has come! Face me! ANCHOR HOWL!"

This guy's big he does a lot of damage better to have the healers focus on her than chasing everyone else. Hopefully, with this, she can keep him off her allies.

    The missed Fireball concerns Wynfei a bit, but he shrugs it off and as Kite rejoins him, he nods towards him. "Yup." is all he says on that front. He watches the battle around them, this is chaotic in a way but at least everyone knows what they're doing which is good. He takes this moment.....nevermind. As Kite moves to help Megumin, so does he, though after assisting her, eh looks to the map. "Damn you got skilleez!" he says to her with a bit of a smirk, his tail waving a bit merrily.

    As Kite speaks with Megumin, Wynfei sees the other teams breaking forward, "We need to get a move on you two.....What the hell!" he says as he sees the three Named enemies. "Looks like we get a mid-boss battle now." he grins and cracks his knuckles and stretches a bit until Snapjaw attacks. Seeing Kite react, Wynfei flips backwards and quickly rushes. "Megmumin time to change locations!" Running towards Snapjaw, Wyn leaps at him seeing as he leapt at them, he spins, "Monkey KICKS THE BANANA!" he calls out as he uses Fierce Blow.

    Xander at last goes to make his way down, as he did what he can do from up there. This means at long last the raven scaled Salamander goes to move in with the rest of the Adventurers on their final push.

He runs across the ground, sword and shield in hand. He does spot Kaydon down, but it seems someone might have him. Good. No man should ever be left behind.

    As he sees the named monsters appear, Xander continues to charge right for Swordtail. He waits for the monster to finish the aoe swing of its tail, before using some of the wreckage to get some leverage.

Why? Because he is going to do something crazy!

He races up the wreckage and then Xander goes to leap into the air! With his sword in hand, goes to bring the blade down, with gravity's help to try to place a deep slash into Swordtail's hide, also maybe generate some threat while he is at it. Time to tank!

His plan, it was so perfect! And yet then Kaydon managed to mess it up by rolling right into the path of one of the other charging attackers. He gets rolled over, tumbling several times as he gets cut up, covered in red marks and his life bar dropping into the yellow.

Thankfully Gwen is there to help him, as he manages to move behind her, and then gets himself set back up, "Okay. I'm still alive." He mutters faintly to himself. That was definitely never in the tower before. After he takes a moment, he rises back to his feet.

With Gwen pulling out the big guns, Kaydon decides to do the same, moving around from her side, instead of swiping with the blade, he drives forward, putting his weight into it as he tries to stab past the crocman's defense and send the blade straight through him.

    Megumin does not appear to realize she has failed, and is looking on approvingly at her masterwork as Kite approaches. She shows it off to him, not commenting on his disappointed response. "Suisui." she states firmly.

    "I've named this map Suisui." As flames approach her, she turns to face the source of the heat, just missing Shiroe's fireball, and Wynfei's awesome martial arts moves, as the former goes over her shoulder on the other side. When she turns around again, she sees the fireball fly off and destroy some mangators that were heading towards her and Kite. The arrow that is still piercing her hat is now on fire too. She looks down and notices that her map has caught flame and is being immolated. "AAAAAAHHH! SUISUI!" she yells in a panic.

    The arrow through her hat also takes enough damge-over-time from the fire to explode into pixels, startling her further and causing her to slip and fall off the roof.

    Truly, her contributions to this mission could never be equalled. Surpassed, often. But never equalled.


    "No effect? What do you mean? That shouldn't be right I know I used..." He stops himself in his tracks as he realizes his mistake. Word had come in that those who were using earth related spells seemed to have been proving to have little to no effect. Shiroe might have used Thorn-Bind Hostaage which was an earth spell, but it's main effects hadn't been actual damage. In comparison... He finds himself clicking his teeth again only realizing so late. "Damn it. Make sure all members know to keep from using those spells. If we keep pushing we can still-" Just as he tries to finish giving his orders he can see Misa's main forces finally arriving. The archers provide a nice additional force of DPS for the vanguard which for the most part provides a bit of necessary relief. Not to mention that a specific group of them seemed rather skilled in being able to tactically snipe out specific areas on the battlefield to provide the most leeway to the rest of the vanguard unit. Did D.D.D. have such skilled archers before?

    Though that relief is brief as Misa gives the command to charge the town center, and Shiroe's quick to follow along with it. "Right...All vanguard forces press on. Tanks continue lead. Healers make sure that tanks health are at an appropriate level, DPS be ready once tanks have taken position!" With Kite's group dealt with he gives them a brief nod, "Don't straggle too far from the main group now- Oi!" Before he even has a chance to tell them to get healed up he can see the three of them already continuing to the front lines of the next fight to which lead to the three stoo- Crocmen mini-boss.

    It was one thing to deal with mobs, but minibosses would be a problem. Especially for new players that weren't familiar enough with the differences. He speaks up as quickly as he can. "Have all the leaders focus on splitting up the bosses. Don't let any tank aggro more than one of them. And make /absolutely/ sure none of the new players go swinging at them careless!"

    With his orders given the only thing left to do was act, the only thing was...Where was he needed most? Clawfist? Swordtail? Maybe Snapjaw? It seemed like every single one of them was just as equally a threat and if he allocated his resources to even one that was unnecessary he could lose an entire part of the vanguard unit. That's when he notices it, it's oh so minor that usually no one would even bother to make a regard to such a minor contribution. Yet when he sees it, he finds himself pushing up his glasses as he speaks up into the channels, "Whoever put the poison debuff on Clawfist...Well done." It's only ever so slight but that tip in the scales was enough to know that Claw was handled. It gave him the means to look over the rest of the two enemies and ultimately focus his attention on Swordtail. While the rest of the group was dealing with the bludgeoning tail he'd try to do his best inorder to help stun the enemy one last time so that the others could provide the last strong strike they needed. And for such a thing the only immediate spell he had to work with was, Thunder Fury! Bolts of electricity would discharge all at once towards the Swordtail hoping to stun him long enough to make sure the others had the opportunity to end this once and for all.

    Swordtail cries out in pained surprise as a sudden bolt of lightning strikes him. It ripples across him, slowing his movements. But while it appears to be having an effect, the paralysis spell doesn't stop him completely. His tail whips around, smashing into Reika and sending her flying.

    Snapjaw lunges at Zorin, large rows of teeth repeatedly snapping at him. But Zorin manages to stay one step ahead, almost as if he was aware of what Snapjaw was about to do. The Crocman Brute's quick attacks make it hard to counter, but Zorin is successfully kiting Snapjaw around for a moment.

    Right towards Kite, who jumps in at the last moment. Snapjaw finds himself having Kite's weapon thrust into his mouth, the darkness cuts through the soft flesh inside, leaving that streak of red light behind. But Snapjaw lets out a guttural laugh before applying his significant jaw strength to snap his jaws shut on Kite's arm, regardless of the weapon jammed into his mouth. Kite won't lose the arm, but he's definitely taking damage from that.

    Nureha works mysteriously from the side. If no one sees her help, then is she really helping? Yes and no. No because as her vine snakes bite into the three Crocmen Brutes, the poison seeps into them. But it looks like it's not having much effect. Is it a result of their size? Do they have poison resist? The latter is probably more likely.

    Not all three of the Crocs are caught in Nevarri's flame pillar. But Clawfist. He unleashes a pained cry, before turning his attention towards the source of that pain. He leaps through the air, coming right down on Nevarri from above, delivering a strong blow to send her flying. He continues to burn though, that effect persisting.

    Gwen once more pulls out the trump card for Guardians. Swordtail finds himself drawn to her. The large Crocman Brute stomps up to the tank. His tail swings in from her left, bit it then quickly rushes around for a strike from the right. A double hit! Even through her shield and defense rating, Gwen feels those blows! As does her HP bar. But she has the Croc's attention!

    Xander takes advantage of this. As Gwen tanks those tail blows, Xander races up some debris. With air grabbing maneuver, he rises above the Brute and then comes down. SCWISH-THUD! The Croc's hard leather skin is like platemail on his back! But the attack was enough to briefly pull aggro as the tail comes around and smashes Xander into the side of a building.

    Snapjaw is still chewing on Kite's arm when Wynfei comes spinning in with a Monkey kick. The blow hits Snapjaw in the side of the head. It barely budges. Snapjaw's eye on that side turns to look at Wynfei. He then releases his grip on Kite's arm, his jaws now clamping down on Wynfei's leg. On the bright side, Kite is free!

    Kaydon comes sweeping in from behind Gwen. His blade slides neatly into Swordtail's softer front, causing him to cry out in pain. His tail flails around as he tries to back up, putting several craters in the ground.

    It hasn't been easy, but for the most part the vanguard team has been working well together. And in this final battle, Shiroe's efforts are no less useful. In addition to guiding the groups between the three named monsters, he's able to summon bolts of lightning to strike Swordtail. Causing the Croc to start smoking from the energy.

    As for Megumin. Whether it was foresight on her part, or just pure luck, she tumbles off the roof only to land in a straw pile strategically positioned below.

    Clawfist is the first to go down. During his rampage of swipes and and jumps and punches, those flames of Nevarri's have continued to burn. Aided, if only in part, by Nureha's poison, this leads to Clawfist finally succumbing to the DOTs. The Crocman Brute slows. Then falls over to the ground, still sizzling as sickly smelling bubbles start to seep out of his slack jaws.

    Swordtail is the next to fall. Kaydon's stab penetrates deep, quickly causing the Croc's HP bar to plunge. Kaydon pulls out just as Shiroe unleashes his lightning. Swordtail cries out in pain, before dropping to his knees. His body then hits the ground, still smoking from the charge.

    This just leaves Snapjaw. He is still biting down on Wynfei's leg with a level of force that makes it hard to break free. With everyone else otherwise occupied finishing off their own Brutes, or recovering from the damage they've received, who's left to finish off Snapjaw!?

    There's a thunderous cracking sound as a blur suddenly rushes into view, stopping beside Snapjaw and Wynfei. It's Misa! And her scythe is outstretched! Snapjaw has also stopped moving. His head then separates from the rest of his body, the wound glowing bright with red light.

    All three Crocman Brutes explode into particles of light, coins and items dropping on the ground in their place.

    Misa stands up straight, shifting her scythe to rest on her shoulder as she calls out, "Fan out!" The main force arriving into the square all cry out in acknowledgment, splitting up and spreading out into the town to pick off the stragglers.

    Misa turns to the badly bruised but still alive vanguard team, nodding her head in thanks, "Well done. With this, we should be able to secure the town. After that we'll have to see if we can rebuild it."

    Seeing the status that all the vanguard Adventurers are in, Misa suggests, "Take a break. I think you all earned it. I'll make sure that your accomplishments are remembered here."

Reika did well into sneaking a hit in... But at a cost. At least her HP doesn't drop to zero this time. But she's sent flying, and she hits a wall with her back, letting out a loud grunt as she slumps down, knocked out. As long as she's alive though a night's sleep should fix it... Maybe with a headache though. Someone will likely pick her up at least, as they retreat out of the recaptured town, or setup camp, depending on what they choose to do.

Just too bad she can't see the 'celebrations' right now.

Nevarri is initially pleased with herself when she got the cast off upon the croc bosses, though mildly miffed that she didn't land the AOE on all three, but that is all short-lived when Clawfist turns its attention to her and suddenly leaps at her for pulling too much aggro.

"AAAAH! I GOT AGGRO!" She turns to make a sprint for the tanks, but the Clawfist's clawed fist comes down upon her with threats of a tankbuster, and sends her flying. "AAAIE!!"

Nevarri grits her teeth, and looks towards the tanks, "I need someone to get him off of me! AAAH!!" Before pointing down to the ground, "STONE CATAPULT!!" Usingg the spell to launch herself in the direction of ANY of the tanks, and hope they'll pry the boss off of her.

And then Clawfist falls over dead anyway, because of DoT ticks. There is a beat for the redhead, before she sighs, "Well... I did pull aggro there..."

With Misa coming in to assist it was finally done. Their job completed. Returning his scarred shield to his back and attaching his scepter to his waist Zorin takes a deep breath as he gathers in the surrounding scene. The down was devastated, but now it was under their control.

They won. They DID IT!

But it was more intense then any pre-expansion encounter. Many players died, at least temporarily. Many more crocmen perished, with the last remnants being hunted down and destroyed throughout the streets. The occasional cry or distant clash still being heard.

He was drained. Tired. But he couldn't stop. Not now. Not ever. He WOULD escape this prison.

Looking around he did feel a sense of pride. With people like this it would be possible. They could do it. It would take time and dedication, but they would climb the tower and reveal the secrets it holds to returning to the real world. They would prevail!

    Xander watches as his sword barely does anything. Cursing under his breath at the darn white weapon. Though he did do one thing succesful; He pulled the aggro!

Xander attempts to brace with his shield as the tail swings around, while it probably saved him from most of the damage, the shield's durability takes most of the hit, while the rest of him slams into the building.

The dark scaled Salamander grits his teeth on impact, before falling straight down to the ground. He coughs a bit, before forcing himself to stand up, taking a good chunk of his HP from the hit.

    As he kneels there trying to get back up to his feet after the hit, he watches Misa cut down Snapjaw. He smiles gently and at last rises to his feet. "Nice job everyone." Then gives folks a thumbs up, though it is easy to tell that he is worse for ware after that hit.

White equipment is a bitch.

With the orders to take a break, he does just that, right where he is. Just leaning against the wall, sliding down and exhaling a sigh. That could have gone far better in his mind. People seem to start having trouble with the riders.

Which brings him to gently say to himself as he rests his head back, "... If we had this much trouble... with even us experienced players here... How hard is that boss really going to be?" He closes his eyes. "Oh well... No time like the present." He will probably move himself to another spot once he regains some HP back.

Nureha frowns in thought, tapping her staff against the floor as she runs over the entire encounter in her mind as though flipping through exam cards. She takes the time to thank her team mates, who were instrumental in the vanguard's efforts to get this far ( whether that's true or not) and slips away as the main force arrives to clean out the town. And while she slips away... her guildmates remain in place, keeping tabs and fading into the background.

She takes a moment to clutch a warm feeling to her chest, using it to shield herself from the gnawing edges of frustration and doubt. She takes in a long breath, letting it out and smiling to herself, murmuring. "..well done." under her breath as she fades back into the main force, and then disappears entirely as others claim Tolbana.


With everything settled, Kite falls onto his rear, planting his mail breakers tip first into the ground. That had been a pretty tough fight; his HP had dwindled down into the red, briefly, reduced to sub-25% from the various injuries he'd taken, most notably, from his arm being gnashed within the mouth of Snapjaw.

The red spots dotting and tearing glowing rips in his arm were a gentle reminder of just how real their situation was, he realized with a grimace. "You doin' okay, Wynfei?"

He'd had his leg messed up just as badly as Kite's arm, after all. At least, he could tell Megumin was alright, from the pile of hay he could see her sticking out of. It was too bad about her hat, though.

Kite leans back, huffing towards the sky. "You could say that Snapjaw had a real snappy attitude, huh? Had a way with words, a real gatormouth."

The were fang gnoll manages to find a way to slide his blade straight in between two of Swordtail's scales, going all the way through the crocman's body. He then extracts the blade, swinging around into a defensive stance, though he winds up not needing it as the lightning comes in and fries the croc before he can strike.

Kaydon realizes the battle is over, as the others go down around them. Once he is able to, he sheathes his blade on his back, and then moves over towards Gwen, "Thanks for the save." He puts a hand on her shoulder as thanks

Gwen tactic works but it works at a cost, she's going to get the stuffing beat out of her. She's thought she'd been hit hard before but this is the hardest she' ever bene hit she feels the two hits. She's been able to mitigate a lot of it but not all of it and her HP does drop quite a bit she presses on as she keeps going after Swordtail.

"You will not be the end of me, it's time for you to go! This city will belong to us!"

A lot of power is directed against the trio of bosses Clawfist goes down to a focused assault, all the dots from the likes of Nureha and Nevarri have sealed its fate with damage over time effects.

Swordtail is next to go down as Kaydon is quick to show to this new world just what he can do. He digs the hole and Shiroe plants the seed bringing it down and soon it's nothing but motes of light. Gwen will turn her attention to Snapjaw but there is no need it's taken down hard. Wynfei's getting chewed on but then comes back up as Misa has moved in quickly as she cuts it's head clean off she'll look round for a moment.

"Not a problem. That does sound like a good idea, rebuild? Once we're done the rescue maybe we can look into that."

She looks to her friend.

"Hey it's my job, glad to help you there."

    As the mini-bosses fall one after another, as Shiroe finally finds himself able to loosen up. He finds himself using his staff more for suppor than ever before as he starts to speak up. "Pfew, thanks. Though Ill be honest, if things continued on for another 30 seconds or so...I don't imagine it'd have turned out well without your main force. I gotta say though, it looks like working with a group of players unfamiliar with MMOs is waaaaaay crazier than trying to handle a raid at max level. Made me feel almost rusty even." As he says that he finds himself rolling his shoulder a bit. "Plus all the shouting was really getting to me too. Seriously, you may need to find someone to take my place for the next time." He says the last part sarcastically, and for a few moments he says nothing at all. Though as he takes another calmed breath, he looks back here way, "Here's to getting our first step..."

    Wynfei felt pain lace up through his leg and his body as the damn Snapjaw bit him. He wasn't expecting it to have reflexes like that at all. This surprises him, but as he hangs there trying to find a way to beat the damn thing, Misa comes to the rescue and he drops to land on his back as he sees the bite mark all in red along his leg. "Oh that sucked and it hurts." he says as he lays there looking up at Kite.

    "You have to get a better sense of humor." he says at the bad pun. "Hey where is Megumin?" he asks not seeing the short red mage from where he was laying on the ground. He finally starts to get up and get to his feet, he shakes his leg off a bit as eh looks around. "So we cleared this area I take it? Do we want to collect the loot and bring it to one of the main buildings and hand things out or what?" he asks.

Kite, remaining on the ground to rest a few moments longer, motions with his arm to the hay pile off behind the building they'd been on before engaging Snapjaw.

"She's over there -- I think she might've fell down? As for the loot, we should probably wait for the main force to finish clearing out the rest of the crocmen before thinking about trying to gather materials."

Kite grins toothily, "I know you're hoping to find something to improve those steaming guns of yours, but all you're getting for now are my steaming puns."

    Meanwhile, in a pile of straw, there's an Arch Wizard half-buried, only her hat sticking up out of it. She is embarrassed by her fall, so she is staying where she is for now, waiting for a change to emerge when no one is looking, so they don't know what happened.

    And in the meanwhile, even if she's presently imprisoned in hay, it's actually warm and comfortable, so it can't hurt to lie here for awhile.

    Even as she thinks this, she starts sinking even further. She panics a bit and starts waving her staff around to try to get someone's attention. "O-Oiiiii! Oiiimmmmfffff--!"


    Wynfei laughs, "Hey we aren't going to wait, let's go help kick some more ass.." he says as he kip ups to his feet. He stretches some more and he hears his body creek a little. "I don't want none of your steaming puns." he cracks a smile. He hears the mrrfs of someone needing help, "We should go get her before we do anyhting else." Shaking his head a bit as he looks to the others.