The first wave of bodies smashed together on the ice sheet. Kodan fighting squads made quick and merciless work of the corrupted horde, and their ranks were cut down. Dragon minions made their victories from sheer numbers but against organized and effective militia, they were less effective than waves crashing upon icebergs. The chevron-shaped line of attack cut through the ranks of the Icebrood like a spear, slowly edging their way to the stronghold of the Dragon Champion, Drakkar.
The commander of the First Squad ran forward, her team following close behind. She bellowed orders at the kodan around her, pushing them to fight to the death. Her daughter Wave of Laughter stood a few paces behind, her staff a flurry of activity as she called down icy rain onto the corrupted from afar. Her son Quiet Humility stood before her with his shield raised high, smiting away the chill.
“Commander, to the left!”
She twisted, and ripped the very air open with the peal of her warbells. The fabric of space was torn asunder as the waves of deadly sound flashed out towards the Icebrood quaggan attempting to break their lines. She flicked her wrist and Corrupted bodies around her began to explode from the inside, their bodies of ice shattering into thousands of pieces. She spun, reflecting projectiles, and built up for one single deadly blast. She unleashed the wave of energy forward, between her Shieldbearers, and carved a long line through the mess of the dragon minions.
Kodan Bell-ringers were a rare subset of the militia. Half warrior, half priest, they served as protectors of the holy grounds of Koda. Unlike Icehammers, whose purpose was the protection of kodan people, Bellringers bound their honour to the protection of a place.
This group was under the strict supervision of the council of chieftains at all times. Unlike Stormcallers, Shieldbearers, Icehammers, and Beserkers, Bellringers deliberately unbalanced the world to serve their needs. Sound, unlike light, travels as a wave, and these waves create ripples through space which only the most skilled may control. It is the deliberate act of imbalance which makes the Bell-ringers so deadly. The commanders’ bolt ripped a hole in the fortress wall, and Drakkar’s unearthly scream erupted from inside. Drakkar’s huge bulk tore the hole open further, and he descended onto the ice sheet, clearly confused as to why the kodan dead had not become Icebrood.
“That’s the signal!” Quiet Humility roared over the sound of the battle. “Light the flare!”
Wave of Laughter balled her paw into a fist and threw a fiery flare high into the sky. She aimed her staff carefully and released a powerful blast, scattering the flame and it shimmered across the sky. High atop the Spear of the Sea, catapults fired, and a group of twenty kodan soared through the air. At the peak of their flight, they disappeared, reappearing moments later before Drakkar. She spied the Voice and Claw, and ran over to help. Serene Wrath delivered a flurry of attacks, his mesmer abilities deceiving the dragon champion, while Dawn Rising absorbed the projectiles being shot at him from the fortress walls.
“Brother!” She called, and Dawn Rising smiled as she joined his side. Drakkar reared up on his hind legs and jumped into the sky, catching them off-guard, and flew away.
“We did it!” Dawn Rising cheered, catching his twin sister in a hug. She broke free, and stopped, alert.
“What is it?” He asked.
“I can feel him returning.” She said. “Get to shelter!” She bellowed across the ice sheet. “We won’t survive if he freezes us in ice!”
The kodan began to flee back to the Spear of the Sea. Drakkar’s icy breath washed over the ice sheet, corrupting the kodan in his path. He landed, and Sonorous Peals felt her body freeze as he breathed a deadly cold wave across the battlefield. As she froze, she saw Dawn Rising rush to Serene Wrath’s aid, whose leg had begun to corrupt. She watched as he ripped the shard off Wrath’s neck and ran, diving into the water. He had left them. Feeling betrayed, she tried to look around and saw her children also encased in ice.
Drakkar slunk back into his fortress, and many hours passed before she saw anything move again. An Icebrood Seer walked across the battlefield, two others behind him, and surveyed the dead. He approached Sonorous Peals and tapped against the ice.
“Keep them in the catacombs.” he instructed. “We may have use for them one day”.
“This one is a female.” an attendant said.
“But she is powerful.” The Seer concentrated, invading her mind. “and those two are her children.” He pointed at Wave of Laughter and Quiet Humility. “Take them all down to the catacombs. I will report to Drakkar when he is finished.”
The Sons of Svanir hauled the blocks of ice deep into the catacombs, where for five months she stayed in total darkness.
The ice was melting, and Sonorous Peals took her first breath in months. She gulped the cold air into her lungs, and squeezed her eyes shut. A voice echoed inside her mind.
Five of them…
She looked around. The cavern was filled with frozen bodies.
They seek to destroy Him…
The block she was in continued to thaw.
The mists have been invaded. There is an ebb and flow…
Her body within was slowly released from her icy prison.
Your blood for blood. Kill the Voice, and you shall see your children again…
She fell from the block of ice onto the floor. She shivered with the cold, and looked up. The face of Drakkar stared back at her. She was still wearing full armour, and at her waist were two large bells.
“If I do this, you’ll release them?”
We shall give you the power to save them. We require this of you…
“I kill my brother, and you swear to me they’re safe?” There was a long, empty moment between them.
“Then I will do this.”
Go. Go, and Jormag’s power will be yours!..
Halfway across the world, Koda’s Breath woke from a terrible dream. Serene Wrath calmed him, and pulled him back down under the sheets, but in the morning he spoke to Ulfridda.
“I dreamt of my sister. I think she is still alive.”
“Dreams are sometimes just dreams, apprentice. If you have another, tell me. Until then, do not worry. We meet our contact tomorrow. It is best that you relax.” Ulfridda patted his shoulder, and turned to leave. Her cane clicked on the cobblestone floors, and she spoke over her shoulder.
“We will rescue those we can.”