Placeholder Attackers Report:

From the diary of GHG 1st Brigade "The Desert Cats", a Tritoni hunter loyal to Goodnoose Badnoose:

More later - but here's what happened at Serpentera, for now:

That Cyril Grey bastard is a nasty piece of work with a spatha. Shame Agatha got to him in time after the Tenizidi went to all that trouble.

There were about four hundred of them, and the natives can't work together for shit.

We lost quite hard. Like, eight-five of ours for fifty-seven of theirs hard. Especially the myrmidons. All the monsters are okay though.

[OOC: This is a placeholder battle report. There will hopefully be a real battle report later.]

Placeholder Defenders Report:

Last Words of the Flembic Community of Chocolatiers:

"Hmm, I wonder if blood would be an interesting combination with walnut."

The bugs just won't leave well enough alone. Still, you slaughter eighty-five of theirs, and lose, what, fifty-seven? And that's mostly to the stinger snakes.

The Tenizidi seem to be especially determined to kill Cyril Grey, but Agatha's special surgeon's tools manage to save his life.

[OOC: This is a placeholder battle report. There will hopefully be a real battle report later.]

Placeholder Local + Colony Report:

The patrols from the Asilio drive the natives back from Serpentera once again; it's like they never learn.

[OOC: This is a placeholder battle report. There will hopefully be a real battle report later.]

Attackers Report:

From the diary of GHG 1st Brigade "The Desert Cats", a Tritoni hunter loyal to Goodnoose Badnoose:

So the eidolons have all sloped off to burn things down elsewhere - but we get a shitload of extra Azarch show up, and the Flembic all head off to the north to investigate some other disturbance, so we figure it's okay to come back up to Serpentera.

As soon as we've got together, of course, the Flembic return from whatever they're doing. They mostly show up in a huge mob, but one guy - Cyril Grey - thinks he's clever and takes some hangers-on - Cadance Dale, Grigur Verento, and three eidolons, Construct, Mithril and Ire of the Huntress, and the expendable bunch of Alliance types that have shown up to support the Flembic, I guess because they never learn - to swing round the back of our regrouped formation and cut it off, or something.

So Goodnoose Badnoose gamely heads forwards on one of the big spider things, with about a hundred of the Azarch to keep their front lines busy, while Chalcanthite takes the other spider and the single largest unit of Azarch warriors, forty-three of them, and the nest of stinger snakes, and heads off after their splitter group - and especially after Cyril Grey, who's apparently something big in the Huntress (ugh) church.

I hang back with Thaddeus and the monsters; we keep just over a dozen various myrmidons, Ixia's drones that are more trouble than they're worth, and the laughing centipede and earthquake beetle, with us. The three flights of slaughter birds just kind of hang around overhead; they'll come when Chalcanthite or Goodnoose calls them.

Chalcanthite's little gambit goes off pretty well, really. The Azarch close ranks and plough into the splitter group, getting shot to bits by muskets and longbows in the process; they almost get blocked off by the Free Islanders rolling in some wooden walls on wheels, but fortunately Cyril can't resist being in the front line anyway, so they dump the stinger snakes practically right on his head.

Over half of them get away, too, while the soldiers scatter in terror and the eidolons wade in to try to do damage control. Hilariously, they then break into two parties - some of them keep dancing around the invisible snakes, which are made even more invisible by the rampant undergrowth, and Grigur and Cadence take the others off to try to make it back to the main army with Cyril's soon-to-be-corpse - presumably not really understanding the whole 'incurable deadly poison' thing.

So Chalcanthite takes the opportunity to sic the slaughter birds on them.

Unfortunately, Grigur and Cadence are both ridiculously good with their swords and pistols, and after a few minutes of desperate flailing around, they've managed to kill a couple of the leading pairs and get the rest of the birds to back off. But they're down quite a few of their Freibodeners and it doesn't look like they're going to keep all those Merisusi alive unless they've got better mokosh surgeons than they've shown so far...

Once he sees the slaughter birds go up, Goodnoose figures that they're pretty much done with distractions, so he pulls back what's left of the Azarch. But the Flembic have got their blood up and follow the retreat. We're going to end up right in the way, so Thaddeus has one of his bright ideas - let's fuck off around the right flank and see if we can sneak right round, maybe back up to Bellamorto Estate, or even going in and fucking up the Asilio itself if they're really stupid and don't turn round to cut us off.

The pathetic remains of their flanking manoever crash into the side of the fleeing Azarchs, and I guess it does them some good; those Azarch are totally having their abdomens handed to them, as it were. But the main force spot us trying to creep round the side, and move over to cut off our path; we don't really want to try our luck with quite that many Flembics, so we back off again.

When we get round to counting up, the Flembic totally seem to have won this one - the myrmidons have lost quite hard on both fronts, like, eight-five of ours for fifty-seven of theirs hard. But Goodnoose reports that Cyril wasn't exactly looking healthy; maybe we've struck a harder blow than it looks from the numbers...

Defenders Report:

Patrick Kettering is in the watchtower on this shift. He can see the enemy beginning to regroup in Serpentera.

There seem to be no other immediate threats, so the Flembic march out in force. On the left flank, Jacob Cobb, Virgil Apuleius and Agatha Kohana lead the Angels with Dirty Faces and the other Lower City troops; in the centre, Caterina Flambardi and Patrick Kettering, Crisitan Di Rienzo and Chloe Durand, and Alastair Fforbes-Smythe lead the Flembic Rangers (and the Community of Chocolatiers), the troops belonging to Charlotte Farnsworth, James Higham and Caterina Flambardi, the one remnant of the Alexandrian Guardsmen and the 3rd Terino Marines 4th Company Medic; on the right, Lord Simon Hartnell leads his New Montforte divisions.

And Cyril Francis Grey, Construct, Mithril, Ire of the Huntress, Grigur Verento and Cadence Dale take the Freeport troops and Lothar's troops off on a wide loop away from the lines, hoping to cut off the enemy retreat and keep them from simply heading away to kill Flembic civilians elsewhere.

The main bulk of the Azarch and Tenizidi forces act, for once, like a decent enemy: they charge heedlessly into the main Flembic lines, and settle in for a long, drawn-out melee, overseen by Goodnoose Badnoose of the Azure Collective riding up and down the back of their lines on a rainbow wolf spider, ensuring there will be no deserters.

However, Cyril's flanking manoever has been spotted. A significant unit of Azarch - smaller than the flanking force, and holding a very tight formation, herded by an ophidian riding one of the giant iridescent spiders of the Tenizidi - detaches itself from the back of the main force and barrels towards them at a sprint. The Captain's Men swivel their mantlets to break the charge as the Saren First Eisenkrieg fire their muskets and Virtue's Shadow loose their arrows into the enemy ranks; but the Azarch dodge sideways with perfect co-ordination, leaving their injured where they fall, and smash into the 2nd Freeport Red Coats standing with Cyril on the left flank of your small formation.

The ophidian on the spider - Chalcanthite, who was once a facet - stands off some distance away, watching.

Then their secret weapon is revealed. In the middle of the formation, half a dozen Azarch surge forwards, two dying on Cyril's blade, and release their burden - an entire nest of scorpion-tailed, practically invisible snakes! They can be seen for a few moments while they are in such a writhing mass together, but they take on the colouration of their environment nearly perfectly when they mingle with the rampant undergrowth, dispensing soporific bites and deadly poisonous stings.

Construct has seen stinger snakes before - in this very area - and calls an urgent warning, urging the troops to scatter away from the nest. The Freeporters, Freibodeners and Tritoni retreat in good order, firing pistols and muskets and longbows and crossbows at any movement on the ground; Mithril and Construct attempt to contain the infestation while Ire of the Huntress grabs the immobile Cyril from the epicentre.

Cyril Grey is covered in poisonous stings, many having bounced harmlessly off of his cuir bouilli, but several having found their way into his flesh.

And, of course, he is the only surgeon in the flanking group. Grigur observes that there is an excellent surgeon, Agatha Kohana, on the left flank of the main lines; Ire hands off Cyril to him and Cadence, in order to wade back into the treacherous ground full of stinging snakes. The Azarch, who do not appear to be immune to their own weaponised creatures, are in full retreat; while some of the Free Islanders move around to cut them off, the Saren Second Infantry Volunteers and the Merisusi of Smiths Fist fall in behind Cadence and Grigur as they make the best speed they can towards the main lines.

They are halfway to the left flank when the sky goes dark above them, and they find themselves engulfed in a vast cloud of pecking, clawing, vicious black birds.

Dropping their burden to desperately fend them off, Grigur and Cadence bring down slaughter bird after slaughter bird, but when they have a moment to consider the situation and draw their pistols to fire a few last shots at the retreating creatures, they see that seven of the eight Saren Second Infantry Volunteers are lying in tatters on the ground, torn apart by the vicious birds, and three of the Smiths Fist are not looking good.

Determined that their deaths will not be in vain, Grigur and Cadence struggle on towards the left flank.

Meanwhile, the main battle is going very well. The very moment that the slaughter birds attack - almost, the more suspicious might think, as if it was some kind of signal - the remains of the Azarch and Tenizidi army begin to fall back. They withdraw quickly and in good order, but most of the line is inclined to chase them, especially as they know that they need to be backup for Cyril's flanking squadron.

Then Cyril arrives at the left flank, with Grigur and Cadence and the fifteen mokosh of the Smiths Fist; three of which die on their feet shortly thereafter, blood streaming from terrible claw-wounds.

Agatha insists on completing the treatment of the Amusar that she is working on - the last of Lord Drane Haversham's 1st Alexandrian Guardsmen - and then she looks at Cyril's wounds. She reports, wearily, that there is nothing she can do for him; he is not bleeding to death in any conventional sense, but the many tell-tale puncture wounds suggest that a slow death by poison awaits; she could amputate the worst-affected leg, but in her professional opinion that is unlikely to be enough to save him.

Cyril gradually recovers from his paralysis, as the army chases the Azarch away from them, but he is in no shape to continue fighting.

As the soldiers get further and further from the Asilio, Caterina becomes more and more unsure about continuing the chase. The promised attack from the rear goes off, but without Cyril and the Merisusi it does not manage to intercept that many of the fleeing enemy, and the right and centre flanks would have to continue to advance to catch them; and it is at about this point that Cristian Di Rienzo hears the eerie call of a laughing centipede.

Over past the right flank, some way away from the main battle, Thaddeus Wolfe and a small band of Tenizidi, Azarch and Tlaxti drones are leading their laughing centipede and earthquake beetle monster straight past the Flembic lines!

Naturally, this threat to the integrity of the Asilio is much more important than chasing down the last handful of Azarch warriors who are already fleeing in a disordered fashion. As the Flembics march to cut them off, Thaddeus notices that the game is up, and turns his troops to flee; but it is now too far to head out and chase any of the retreating enemy.

Still, the enemy myrmidons have lost fully half their number, eighty-five lying dead on the battlefield; and even after the stinger snake poison has taken its toll on Millington and Lothar's men, you have lost only fifty-seven: the whole of the 10th New Montforte took the brunt of their flank, although the 9th also lost five and the 3th lost their last Flembic; two of the Flembic Rangers 1st Platoon Pistoliers, one of the 2nd Platoon Swordsmen, and all three of the Flembic Community of Chocolatiers, the last two Flembics in the 2nd Colonial Greens, the last of the 5th Terino Blues and the last of the 1st New Terino Red and Whites, one of the Royal Flush and the last of the Angels with Dirty Faces VII, one of Farnsworth Pioneers, every one of Caterina Flambardi's Order of the Steel Rose and the King's Own Pipers, and the 3rd Terino Marines 4th Company Medic, perished in the front line; seven Saren Second Infantry Volunteers and three of the Smiths Fist ripped apart by the slaughter birds, and three of the Saren First Eisenkrieg, three of Captains Men, three of the 2nd Freeport Red Coats, the last Free Islander of Last Gasp and the last of the Men of the Covenant, and every one of Solaine Chase's four Tritoni archers, who succomb to the hideous venom of the stinger snakes - begging to be put out of their misery before the slow, drawn-out, painful end.

Cyril lies on a bed in the Asilio, not dead as quickly as the Free Islander, Freibodener and Tritoni soldiers, but still in a critical condition - he suffers terrible, wracking pains and coughs up blood and black bile, as if rotting from the inside...

Local Report:

The patrols from the Asilio drive the natives back from Serpentera once again; it's like they never learn.

Cyril Grey and the Lower City Huntressites try to outflank the reduced enemy, but get hit by a nest of stinger snakes; the hideous creatures are even harder to detect and destroy in the dense undergrowth, and eventually they just have to abandon the area.

Before that, Cyril is carried off to the main lines by Cadence and Grigur in a critical condition; they fend off a vicious slaughter bird attack at the cost of several Freiboden lives, and there's nothing that even their best surgeon, Agatha Kohana, can do for him anyway.

Still, the enemy myrmidons have lost fully half their number, eighty-five lying dead on the battlefield; and even after the stinger snake poison has taken its toll on Millington and Lothar's men, the Flembic have lost only fifty-seven.

Colony Report:

The patrols from the Asilio drive the natives back from Serpentera once again; it's like they never learn.

The enemy myrmidons lose fully half their number, eighty-five lying dead on the battlefield; and even after the stinger snake poison has taken its toll on Millington and Lothar's men, the Flembic have lost only fifty-seven.

But rumours also spread that Cyril Grey himself lies on a bed in the Asilio, in a critical condition...