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The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - Thunderer - 10-04-2020

There was no wind in Wadi-Gihon. The endless hamada of Planet Crete was at the mercy of the red sun. Being a wadi, the dried bed of what was once a river, it was comparable to a cauldron in an oven. But it was as if the river, for its life, had been compassionate with who would one day come to inhabit these lands, and it had gouged caves in the sides of the canyon. The remnants of Emir Ali Yusuf's loyal soldiers and servants, no more than 1,500 of them, had hidden from the sun in those caves, waiting for the supplies and reinforcements that King Enrique Herrera of Montañaria had promised. It all came with the noon, suddenly, all at once, from the sky, with much noise and commotion, a fitting display of power by a rising kingdom. But for some reason it brought worry on the emir's face, not relief.

The emir sent one of his most loyal servants, one Daud Peretz, to meet the parachuting reinforcements above the wadi, and bring their leader to him.

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - 'Scorpion' - 10-04-2020

Crete was by all means a frying pan, and one stirred about by a chef with little regard for the knobs of the stove upon which he cooked. The furnace was always set to high heat and this no doubt made operating in full-bodied gear designed for covert operations, torturous. The five hundred which arrived to assist the Emir reclaim his rightful throne were evidently the straight nosed sort of people, their leader even more so. He looked a harsh man, no older than his mid-thirties, and with a horribly scarred face. In particular, his right eye was scarred a pale and unfocused silver, rendered blind by whatever burned the skin around it.

Seth had to admit, he was surprised the King did actually contact him to head this effort, it was by all means the right decision to have made, but the King was certainly more inclined for more blunt approaches. The Centurion however favored more precise and even surgical efforts to terminate opposition, blunt instruments had no place among the arsenal of soldiers. Before the men who landed with the supplies even had much time to get their bearings, they were greeted by one of the Emir's men who was promptly directed to the Centurion.

Without any visible reaction, Seth eyed the approaching man and gave him the opportunity to speak first and state his intentions. Clearly, he felt he needed no introductions for himself, the men had already indicated him as their leader, little else mattered. There was no time for pleasantries in the field, not when operating according to stringent windows of opportunity. All the same, the pale skinned and cruel looking man was working up a sweat, the climate was not something he'd come to grasp with as an outsider, but he appeared to endure it all the same and with no complaints. Waiting for words to reach his ears, he held onto his currently removed helmet firmly.

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - Thunderer - 10-04-2020

Hover scooters were both a tool and a weapon in the Tuareg society. They could carry a rider anywhere on the surface quickly, efficiently and elegantly. They left no footprint on most common radars as they flew very close to the ground; yet thanks to the minified counter-gravity technology that they adapted, widely available across Sirius, they rose no sand behind them. "Aatlar", as the Tuareg called them, or "aat" in singular, struck the right balance between stealth, speed and simplicity. In battle most soldiers would find them impractical, but Tuareg people trained to shoot from an aat since an early age and they were almost inhumanly precise. Skirmishes and blood feud were common among desert tribes, and although usually small scale, they were characteristically fast and fickle: the entire tide of battle could change entirely within just a couple seconds.

Daud Peretz was a timarli, he was given an artefact mine by the emir in exchange for military service. His twenty men were sipahis, professional soldiers that he was due to train and equip. The white sheets that fully covered them reflected the sunlight and exuded otherworldly halos of light around them. The fronts of their aats were decorated with artefacts that shined on their own, but not too many so to preserve lightness. Though most notably, they all wore an unusually cumbersome kind of glasses, certainly not only meant to protect their eyes from the winds and the sand. The men dismounted before the scattered batallion and the timarli waited for the Iberian commander to come to him. Their introduction was formal and curt; everything that could be omitted was omitted. Seth was not a man to be impressed with mere spectacle. For Peretz, Seth's appearance held no specific notability - he had seen the desert do worse things to people than any man. Here, nature was the eternal enemy. Conflict with other people was only a casual necessity.

"My good men will help yours prepare for battle. There is no time to rest. Come with me, I must lead you to master Ali immediately." The timarli folded up an auxiliary seat on the back of his aat, which didn't look very sturdy, but there was a pressing haste in the timarli's black eyes. "'Aaydi, 'aydi! Vamos!", he spoke an odd mixture of Tuareg and Iberian, with an accent in both. "Put this on!", he hissed at Seth, handing him the seatbelt.

Within a moment, they were up in the air, and then down in the wadi. There was an unexpected commotion. It was as if, for some reason, everyone was preparing for sudden movement with great haste. Several men removed a sand-coloured sheet, no doubt a camouflage, off of a large object: it was a Decurion-class light fighter, and it appeared to be the only one they had. Near a cave entrance they dismounted and the timarli spoke to Seth: "When you meet master Ali, bow to the ground, do not look at him and do not speak until he allows it. If you have any questions for me, you should ask them quickly." In the background, near the Decurion, there was a woman dressed in clothes with ornate patterns, but although her appearance was delicate, she was hectically moving around and shouting in an imperious tone. Her eyes met with Seth's for a split second. Seth could not discern the colour: they seemed brown, amber and green at the same time. Noticing this, the timarli's eyes suddenly started exuding annoyance, but even more worry and guilt.

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - 'Scorpion' - 10-05-2020

There was something ironic about a man who was neither recognized as King over Seth and his men, nor one who was currently in possession of a throne, yet expectant of such reverence. Distracted momentarily by the seemingly delicate but loud woman in the background, Seth was curious why his observation of what the center of the commotion was, had warranted such a displeased expression from the man who brought them here. But all the same he saw no need to excuse himself nor his curiosity, he was only here because the presently cave dwelling loyalists needed the help of the Iberians. Internally, he resolved that he would oblige with all the formalities that were explained to him, if only to keep the Emir and his men cooperative in order to ensure his end of the mission went smoothly. After that point, there was no reason to pretend, and the Emir would be indebted to both himself and the King.

Curtly, Seth gestured for Daud to proceed and lead him to the Emir, already tired of having to bear witness to this man's evident insecurities.

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - Thunderer - 10-05-2020

The timarli moved to lead Seth into the cave, but made a stop before the entrance as if he had changed his mind about something. "That is master Ali's daughter and only child. One day she will marry the paşa that master Ali decides to be his successor. Everyone expects him to be Rıza Paşa Kocataş. He is the only one that remained loyal to master Ali and most of these men you see are his. You will certainly have to work with him. Now, let's go." Their steps echoed throughout the cave and it was sure that if the timarli said this after entering the cave, everyone inside would have heard it all.

"Emir!", he timarli exclaimed loudly by habit when he came into the improvised throne room and the echo replied many times. "Here he is. His name is Adrian Seth." The throne was nothing more but a carpet on the ground with a pillow on it. The sharp reverberation brought a painful grimace to the emir's face. The timarli, feeling guilt, bowed deeper than usual. With a nod, the emir sent him away, and then spoke to Seth.

"It is a trait of wise lords to admit that they have made a mistake. I have made a mistake. I should have asked your king to bring you with stealth, and not with might. The might is with his 100,000. With us should be stealth.
My spy has informed me that my brother's surveillance has found us thanks to your extravagant deployment. We have opened him a window of opportunity, which he will surely exploit. Our situation is unusual, efendi Seth. Your king's army is marching on my brother, but if he captures me, then your armies will have to relent. If he captures me, then this will no longer be an intervention on request by Akhisar, but a war of conquest. As you know, this is forbidden. My brother will complain to the Council of Elders, and then your king will have to relent. I have information that he has already sent a force of 4,000 strong towards here." It seemed as if the emir forgot to explain why he didn't ask the Council of Elders for help himself, or why the Council would listen to a usurper's complaints.

"You should feel no guilt, for that was my mistake. Peretz must have told you the same he tells everyone who comes to me. But you, you are a guest here and a valued friend. Rise, and bow no more. Here you should feel at home. I would ask you to enjoy my hospitality, but enough time has been wasted and we must make ready. My brother's army will be here in less than two hours, maybe one. We have women, children and baggage, so we cannot escape and hide: we must defend until your king's army confronts with my brother. This is Rıza Paşa", the emir gestured at the ornately dressed man on his right, "And he will lead my main army. My daughter Fatima will take care of the logistics and the reserves. She is busy, but she will come here soon. I want you two to start working on a plan of defence immediately.
Iced rose tea will be served soon, if you need a refreshment."

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - 'Scorpion' - 10-05-2020

For a moment it seemed as if Seth had failed to process what he had just been told, but then he cursed audibly and his brows furrowed like collapsing caverns. It took a substantial amount of restraint to speak without screaming given the instantaneous unraveling his carefully structured plan just suffered from. "I've held the line before, for another cause, during another time, against a different enemy, and under worse circumstances. But the problem here is the nature of how you requested us to handle your brother. My men are primarily equipped with non-lethal weaponry. Reinforced shields, grenade launchers, rifles that have had their ammo swapped for stun rounds." He nodded curtly when the Emir expressed that refreshments were imminent, wiping a bead of sweat from the tip of his nose with a gloved hand. "We can improvise with much of the supplies we dropped with, spare weapons can replace a fair amount of the weaponry we have come armed with. But it will not be enough to outfit my men completely. There will still be many woefully equipped for this task." Thoughtfully, he cleaned the seemingly incomplete visor of his helmet, whoever designed it for him omitted the need for an eye slit over where the right eye would align. It was crafted to bear aesthetic and, to some degree, functional similarities with an all too familiar group of arachnids. The base of the helmet was pronounced by two mandibles affixed to the plating of either side of the jawline, within them were concealed laser blasters. And as was fitting for his position, the item was topped with the crest of a scorpion's stinger, fairly tame in its scale so as to carry subtlety and not reveal the person wearing it too much. "The caves are all too shallow. The canyon will be our only means through which we can dictate the tide of battle and delay enemy forces until the King's army arrives. But even this, is far from certain. We're prepared to fight to the last man, we came here under the assurance that we would not return unless we triumphed. I intend to do that, with your help. How best can we hold our position?" Seth asked this question openly, inviting productive counsel from not only the Emir but Pasa as well.

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - TheShooter36 - 10-05-2020

Rıza Paşa looked at Adrian Seth, thought about the odds against their enemies. He did not like Seth's situation, especially the stun rifles, sounded too much like an assassionation setup to him, yet they were hopefully on Emir's and his side. After he hid his discontent with this, he started speaking. "By making use of your stun weapons in addition to whatever supplies we can muster for you. Disabling an enemy is still throwing them out of the battle for a time, as we try to gain time here essentially until reinforcements arrive. You said you have grenade launchers. Well, desert is an open area, friend, however a canyon is not, which is to our advantage. Lay down the shields in a way to further reinforce what we can count as choke points and then make heavy use of grenade launchers there. Your stun rifles, while far from preferred in this, will still be useful. I have 1071 warriors willing to die for me and most of my men will dismount to bolster your forces some of them will leave their 'aatlar behind. At the same time 209 men mounted on 'aatlar' will patrol the area, will make the enemy disoriented in addition to know when they arrive. My men are used to fly like a wind and sting like bees, yet we do not have much choice. We will hold them until King's forces arrive, inşallah."

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - 'Scorpion' - 10-05-2020

Tapping the mandibles on his helmet, Seth spoke matter-of-factly. "Our initial plan was to infiltrate the Emir's palace quietly and take his brother alive, as requested of us. I did account for unforeseen circumstances and prepared a contingency, arming a portion of the men with high powered precision rifles. If you can ferry them to vantage points, they can make themselves a nuisance for the enemy, and in a concerted effort through the use of explosive rounds, might even trick the enemy into thinking we have an artillery unit on our side. I'm sure there's a great deal of hesitation caused by the sight of a comrade exploding into mist. Breaking their morale gives us opportunities to exploit, break it hard enough and we can even cause them to rout." It appeared as if the Centurion very much favored a decisive course of action, wherein the enemy could be broken, forced into a retreat and then either managed from range while the line is held, or defeated in detail through gradual efforts to catch stragglers in the formation off guard. The suggestion of forming a shield wall at choke points and stemming the flow of the enemy was a strategy he already considered, decisively he shook his head before speaking further. "Let them come." With an absence of elaboration, that sounded like a suggestion of suicide, but the dramatic pause wouldn't last long. "Bait them to an alternative location close by, lead them to believe that is our bastion, and then when they commit to a charge my men will rain explosive rounds from a distance. When they rout we'll paint the sand red with them." It was a risky gambit that might cost the Emir some of his best men if it didn't occur smoothly. But Seth seemed confident he could break the resolve of their enemy and then drive them off even without the presence of the King's army. All he needed to do was succeed in making them believe they were fighting a much larger and more thoroughly prepared force.

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - Thunderer - 10-05-2020

A dark face blotted out the light coming from the entrance. It was Fatima, and it was as if she sneaked into, because until then, no one had noticed her presence. There was visible fatigue and anger on her face, but she walked with such nonchalance as if she considered everything around to belong to her. "Fatima!", exclaimed the emir, "How many times did I tell you not to walk barefoot! You will step on a snake! Like... like..." - But his daughter dared interrupt her father - "Siktir, siktir!" - And with swearing too! "Arslan is full of sand!", she exclaimed, casually laying down on the filthy, cold ground, with the indifference of a lazy cat. "The stars be smothered, my men might need the whole day to clean the engines!". Arslan was apparently what they had named that specific Decurion. Understandably, being the only one they had, it deserved a name. This one meant lion in Tuareg. "What's the plan then?", she said as she sat up and looked at the paşa.

RE: The Princess With Snake Coloured Eyes - TheShooter36 - 10-05-2020

Rıza Paşa has never seen Fatima swearing in front of her father like this, let alone interrupting him. This was a shock and he could not hide it that well. "Hay sıçayım." he muttered to himslef and then once again began speaking in full voice. "If the Arslan is grounded, then we will have to cover the distance with Aatlar. Will be slower, more dangerous and uncomfortable for our...guests." He looked at Seth while saying this. "I am sorry our transportation and weaponry options are also dwindling as well now. Well, in that case... Remember I told you that most of my men would be dismounted? They would mount up and make the majority form the bait force, while your men does the objective, as your forces are armed with more appropriate tools for changing the objective." Then he looked at Fatima. "Get some people to dismantle Arslan's weapons. If we are going to pretend we have artillery, we might as well use some." Then he looked back at Seth. "My forces can transport your men and then 'retreat back to the bastion'. We would still need the King's forces if we want to achieve decisive results, thus we can not afford to be fully offensive. However we can gain time, break their morale and inflict some losses to them. If we appear to lose our decisive advantage, we would not pretend to be retreating, we would really take back our forces, until the reinforcements arrive. If we do not take excessive risks however, we can apply needles to them before the hammer crushed them for once and all." Then he looked at Emir, with a stare that seeked approval of such a plan, as they were Emir's men in the end, regardless of who commanded them in the field, he could not throw them into such a risky plan without consideration of the Emir.