Over one hundred tonnes of golden steel and reinforced iron was not something you wanted to see flying through the air on fire. This was especially true when it was -your- one-hundred tonnes of golden steel and reinforced iron. Vimmi Spannershield watched as one of her precious siege tanks sailed through the air and collided with the ground with a mighty quake. It kicked up a spray of dirt and blood from the ground and people it landed on, and the eagle-shape of the steel-face crumpled inwards, destroyed.
There was a hollow roar, as the Twilight Dragon which had pushed the siege tank off the ridge, now dived down directly through the air towards the patrol. More specifically, the Gnomish Commander itself. More than just the wind rippled around the undefined edges of the shadowy beast as it plummeted towards the Gnome with malevolent hunger in its eyes. Vimmi shook her head in disbelief and readied her weapon, if she was going to be dragon food she would go down fighting.
Yet, from the console of the downed siege tank, Bearlan Thunderbelly coughed up blood and reached over the damaged console to a flashing red button, it was labeled ”Aerial Barrage.” He flicked a switch next to it, and the top of his siege tank (which lay on a near-horizontal angle due to the nature of the wreckage) whirred open revealing what appeared to be a rack of numerous fireworks. Bearlan then with vindication slid his bloodied fingers over the console and jammed his fist down on the flashing red button.
Vimmi Spannershield dug her heel into the dirt, bent her knees and brought her shield up high. She prepared her body for evasion if necessary, she did not intend to become dragon-food just yet. Yet as the angry dragon drew closer, the pilot light of her flamethrower prosthesis flickered and crackled, and she engaged the fuel release. There was a hiss, and immediately a great plume of flame roared out the barrel of her weapon.
Whether it was enough to deter the dragon she'd never know, because immediately as her flamethrower exploded into action, the downed siege engine unleashed its payload. At such close proximity, there was not enough time for the aerial barrage to scatter, and every one of the little missiles collided with the hide of the swooping dragon. The result was messy, bloody and explosive death.
Vimmi's diamond visor was immediately splattered with blood and gore, and for a few seconds dragon innards rained from the sky. A disembodied jaw landed two feet in front of the Gnomish Commander still bared wide to gobble her up...
Needless to say, the ambush wasn't going according to plan.
What had been perfectly planned, with ideal logistics and great timing had turned into a blood-bath for no apparent reason other than a underestimation of ability. The Twilight Dragons had wreaked havoc on the tank-line, and without the heavy support the numbers of the cultist had proved much more deadly than expected. The Patrol were still winning, but the battle was definitely not as one-sided as the Commander had hoped.
“Siege Tanks Thundergut and Broadwave,” Vimmi shouted through the communication system she had liberated from Highbank. “Switch to aerial barrage, cover our retreat, keep those drakes off our backsides! Things are getting dicey, we're pulling out of the valley...”
Vimmi Spannershield had arrived back to a war torn highlands, and it had worked like a knife to the heart. The woman stood almost paralyzed atop the hill of the zeppelin wreckage and shook her head in disbelief at the world falling apart around her. How could this happen, how could they murder each other en masse while Deathwing roamed free, while the Twilight Cult decimated the environment. Were they blind? And, was this her fault? Did her small attempt to help just doom the Twilight Highlands to defeat?
“No,” she growled defiantly, she had never given up so easily before and she would not do so now.
“Borean Patrol!” she shouted, as she turned back to the wreckage and the rubble, corpses strewn amongst the jagged wood and seared metal stayed silent while the crackle of flame dominated the area. There were survivors, she could see them. There was no time to count the dead, there was no time to say sorry, there was no time to stop. Vimmi Spannershield knelt down and pulled a large chunk of rubble off of the closest person.
“Roll call!” she called, a desperate attempt to get anyone still alive out from under the burning rubble and in front of her. “We can't stop yet, help any survivors out from the wreckage, we have limited time... Get ready to march to Grim Batol!”