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ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units
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Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:10 pm ]
Post subject:  ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

The Fall A Handful Of Units #1

“We’re going to croak.”

Whatever chances of survival momentarily enjoyed by the last flight of Kites vanished instantly as swarming stacks of POZ’s flying monkeys unveiled, led by multiple witch warlords on brooms.

Head Warlord Ronjermy looked over his shoulder across the distance of sky. Overlord Reaptor saw them too, squinting up as the monkeys dove with the sun behind them, and a grim look crossed the already grim visage of his swarthy face.

Ronjermy didn’t even bother running the numbers. This was the end. There was not even time to guide his Kite mount to shield Overlord Raeptor.

He drew his sword in unison with his Overlord and the two remaining Kiteriders just as the waves of winged monkeys and their short spears slammed into them.

Ronjermy’s sword cut through several as his mount spun her feet skyward, clawing several in half before grabbing several as she could.

The Warlord in Ronjermy reveled in the practiced movement, rolling with her and lashing out again as she completed her maneuver with flaps or her wings bringing her upright again, the glass edges of the front of her wings severing the bodies of more monkeys.

Yet the croaking screams of his attackers brought him no pleasure, nor did the thought of their bodies and parts falling down onto the heads of their siegeing army below.

The sounds of croak near him from his stack gave him no thrill.

More winged monkeys were upon him, he could only feel their weight, their clawing hands, and their spear hits into his Kite . He could not see his Overlord through the mass of fur and steel.

“Raeptor!” he screamed, cutting into the wall of enemy with his sword hand and crushing the throat of the nearest with his free hand. His kite screamed and he felt her begin to drop under the swarm of monkeys on her. Suddenly he saw the gleeful, thrill-crazed face of a witch poke through the wall of monkey bodies, her teeth sharp and ragged. He filled her mouth with his sword, ramming it in and then twisting despite her choking, bloody gagging.

With no ability to protect Overlord Raeptor, Ronjermy could do nothing but deal with this moment. His Kite was falling, monkey’s clinging to her, climbing up his leg and onto his back.

He beat them off as he fell, focusing on clearing his mount as best he could. Annie swiveled in her dive, trying to shake them off, crying out in frustration. She was a Heavy, thin but light and limber, bird of prey, and she moved as no other. The screams of their attackers were somehow harmonious with the wind flapping across the thin skin of her wings. Ronjermy heard all this as they fell...

The monkey on his back fell feet skyward but hung on gamely to its grip, baring its teeth and pulling itself down to give Ronjermy headbite. Ronjermy drove his sword into it and watched it as it separated from him, free falling right next to him, croaked eyes dull.

It fell past as Annie pulled out into a steep dive, Ronjermy felt the temporary gravity, monkeys lost their grip and fell away, but a host of others behind them could be heard shearing through wind and dive.

In this brief unenganged moment, even before he could turn to look for Overlord Raeptor, he felt himself turn barbarian, banished by his Overlord, like a light going out inside him. Ronjermy had no time to wonder why his ruler would have done that instants before being croaked,

But he did have a second to be stunned and unsurprised, just a moment before a vast cry of victory rose from the hairy host of winged beasts in the air, and moments later an answering cheer from the units on the ground.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

The Flight - A Handful Of Units #2

Ronjermy and his Kite leveled out and braced for the attack of more dive bombing monkeys. Turning to look showed that the pursuers had been called off and were flying towards the fallen capitol city that the Kite was moving away from. Having had his connection to his side severed, he couldn't see the status of his troops, but knew that remnants of his side were being massacred or captured or both. Maybe Overlord Raeptor had banished them all to give them a fighting chance. Ronjermy couldn't tell.

Looking back, Ronjermy watched in helpless horror as swarms of Tin Axemen and BrickThrower units charged through the huge breach in the city walls. Ronjermy knew that whatever leaderless units were left would fall quickly, throwing themselves ineffectually against superior numbers.

A literal tornado of flying monkeys and witches swirled over the ruins of the city and the end of the reign of Raeptor. "So many units..." Ronjermy thought to himself as he turned away, despondent but, by the Titans, still alive.

He wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. He knew he had move left, having turned barbarian and no longer inside the rules of his side.

And he seemed to no longer be of interest to his attackers. "This is a sign," he said out loud into the wind. "Annie, up."

Annie responded to Ronjermy's urging and tight grip, and took elevation. Kite raptor units gained an extra 25% Move when at the ceiling of their flight altitude ability. Ronjermy intened to use his full move, away from this debacle.

"So many units," Ronjermy pondered. The Vizier of Poz had won this war with superior numbers, and it looked that the only survivors of the Raepture side were it's Chief Warlord and a single Kite.

Ronjermy patted his trusted Kite steed. They had popped on the same day, so many turns ago, and she had been between his legs nearly every turn since then. She mewled back sadly, and he knew she felt the loss just as keenly.

Looking back and down, he could barely make out the final view of what once was his home. With a grimace, he turned back in the direction he was going. Full move and then camp for the night. He was flying blind, and hoped he wouldn't land in an occupied hex, or an open one.

He was in Fate's hands now. And may Fate be more merciful to him than it had been to the rest of this side today...

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Ronjermy woke to a beautiful sunrise, and took his usual morning meal of steaming oatmeal and flaky toasted pop tart when it popped.

He would have breakfasts for many turns to come, as his purse was full. King Raeptor had given it to him as full as his level could carry as they crossed the courtyard towards their escape. Ronjermy had known there was only a small chance of survival, and had never considered that his King may have been preparing for just this possibility.

He ate his breakfast reviewing memories of his King.

Then Ronjermy moved swiftly, and began his turn taking to the skies on Annie. He didn't know where he was going, but he wanted to travel as far from his fallen kingdom and it's traitorous neighbor as possible.

Racing her to her maximum altitude, he was glad Raepture popped Kites as their heavy units instead of, say, Dwagons.

Kites were not as powerful as the stronger dwagons, but their height capabilities far exceeded a dwagon's. There was only one other unit that Ronjermy knew about that could move higher in a hex than a Kite, but it had almost no move.

Trees looked tiny on the landscape far below Annie's wing. Unless a lookamancer was actively scanning the full geography of any hex he passed through, it was very unlikely he would be noticed traveling across a kingdom.

Which brought up the question. "By The Titans Balls, what do I do now? Where do I go now?"

As an image of the great titans swinging their giant whacking balls as they smashed through mountains and redesigned Erf's land types, Ronjermy pondered. He had never considered a strategy that involved him being a barbarian. Scenario's against barbarians, yes, but as one?

His general's mind automatically started running simulations of small unit tactics against larger foes. "Assuming I have any units...." No giant chains with the heft to gouge valleys and rivers for me. No powerful armies to knock down mountains of enemies. Just a single barbarian warlord, and a Kite heavy. That hardly sounded fun.

Ronjermy pointed the Kite's shiny beak due East. "Let's see where the sun comes from!" he yelled out loud to Annie. She screamed a hunter's cry in response. Reigning her in to a slow cruising speed, he wanted her full move and was in no hurry for it to end.

"What do I do now?" he asked himself over and over, meditating on it. He just sat, feeling her strength and sleek hide between his thighs, and let his mind wander. Something brilliant would arise. It always did.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Sat Oct 17, 2009 5:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

THE FLOAT - A Handful Of Units #4

Ronjermy had never slept in the air before.

Always, he had dismounted in a city or in the field, and then turn had ended.

Tonight, he was glad for his saddle straps securing him to Annie's back. Out of move, they floated a lazy circle high above the lands below. The sun had set.
With nothing to do but think or sleep, Ronjermy sat with his arms crossed. He was glad for the ability to avoid the dangers on the ground he had successfully avoided the last 10 nights. But he had entered more crowded lands, closely neighboring Sides with constant patrols and near daily skirmishes.

Too dangerous, and no place to hide.

He could likely find employment here, among these small, depleted sides. But he wasn't ready for that. He needed more distance. Someplace without a trace of what he had lost, nothing of the familiar.

He would continue on this direction, he decided. As far as he could go. Then he would find mercenary work to sustain himself and Annie. His bonus was worth something. And there was something peaceful yet unsettling about having no call to answer, no battle to plan for, nothing to do but see the sky overhead and land below, and cover hexes for no reason other than that he could.

Ronjermy wondered if there was a word for that feeling.

The barbarian nodded off to sleep the the fluttering whisper of wind over wing, and dreamt of a lonely existence on a never ending battlefield

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

THE DIVE - A Handful Of Units #5

"You have been detected in Fluenza airspace. Identify yourself."

The voice in his head was stern and commanding. Didn't sound like a thinkamancer he'd ever heard.

Ronjermy was surprised, and surprised that he was surprised.

21 kingdoms he had passed over, with empty lands in between. 21 kingdoms he had passed over, undetected. He had had no idea that Annie's height capabilities provided such a stealth ability. He had been expecting contact before this, either from a flying unit, or a lookamancer noticing his passage through the caster's airspace.

He had been expecting contact. Still, he was surprised at the sudden presence of a voice in his mind, so long overdue.

Ronjermy looked down and so no flying units approaching.

He focused his voice in his mind, and spoke his words to the wind. "I am Barbarian Warlord Ronjermy, passing through your kingdom peaceably. I mean no harm."

He had to smile at that. What harm could a single unit and his mount do, really, against an entire side. He wasn't a Kong unit. Far from it.

Ronjermy patted his purse. While he had landed and foraged to subsidize his upkeep from time to time, he was very low. Perhaps it was time and this was fate.

"You have no permission to trespass. You are an invader and your life is hereby forfeit. Your presence is considered an act of war and units are on their way. Prepare to die."

Perhaps not.

Ronjermy's move was almost complete, and he was nowhere near to a border hex. He looked around again and saw no units moving towards him. He reigned Annie up to climb the remaining height to her full altitude ability.

As they came to the end of their move, Annie came to a stall, just floating steady on a high breeze. Ronjermy pulled his sword, and looked down.


It wasn't long before he saw them. Three full stack of soldiers on some sort of mount he didn't recognize. A seat on the front body with some sort of corkscrew propulsion at the back. Ronjermy didn't trust anything without wings.

Ronjermy made ready for his defence, already signaling Annie for a full dive attack through their ranks. The approaching stacks had good stats. A level six chief warlord leading three stacks of level 2's, one of which were mounted archers. Against a single mount and rider. Granted, that rider was a level 9 warlord on a level 9 heavy.

The screwtails rose and rose, the chief warlord waving his axe and urging them on, eager for contact. And then, a full two bowshots below Annie, they stopped. The warlord's face took on a look of confusion.

Ronjermy smiled. He had suspected as much, and he relaxed in his seat, looking down and waving with his free hand.

The voice in his head again "Barbarian scum. Worthless! Honorless! "

The stacks below tried to keep climbing, but were at their height limit. They whined a high pitched squeal in frustration.

"I need my chief warlord to level! We WILL get you, coward! Running away from your side just like you'll run away from this fight! You deserve to be put out of your pitiful existence."

Ronjermy's grip on his sword 'Mjighty' tightened as he realized that that must be the ruler speaking through a thinkamancer. Over the turns he had been insulted plenty. It just came with the territory. But something in the way the ruler said that last part shifted something in Ronjermy. Or just pushed it over a line...he didn't want to croak. He wanted to keep living. He wasn't ready yet.

Weirdly, he thought, he had never considered that.

And it had been a long time since he had been in any kind of fight.

And he was not a coward. And he never ran from anything his whole life.

He didn't think anything back to the ruler on the other side. Instead, he tipped Annie face down, targeted the archer stack and held on tight.

The screwtails were slowly circling, and hurriedly tried to position themselves when they saw the Kite swoop. But Annie fell too fast, and sliced right into their midst with all her weight behind her glass sharded wings. She took one full in her beak, cutting and crushing it as Mjighty cleaved through one, then another with a backstroke to the other side.

Blood trailed behind them and severed bodies started to fall as she pulled up, not even having slowed on the pass through the units, and beat her wings twice, raising up above the remains of the stacks. She stalled, motionless, as she and her rider had done so many times before, and dove again.

Again they cut through the center of a stack formation.

It was quickly over. The enemy warlord still had a confused look on his face as his bodiless head fell towards the erf, his body close behind it.

Ronjermy signaled Annie to rise to full height again, patting her in appreciation. She was pleased as well, a screwtail still in her mouth. No upkeep was coming from his purse for her dinner.....

He waited for it, enjoying the quiet and the wind, and moments later the thinkagram came. "What?!" The rule was yelling, enraged. "How did you do that. You shouldn't have been able to do that! Cheating coward!"

Ronjermy smiled, woundless, and did not immediately reply.

After several minutes and several new outbursts by the ruler, he thought back with a taunting, arrogant, "I like to think of it as tactical advantage. You, sir, are a poor tactician." Seriously, only three stacks? The ruler or the chief warlord should have backed off and gotten reinforcement. At best they were guaranteed to take losses. At worst, the lone trespasser might have something unexpected. Ronjermy was a big fan of utilizing the unexpected.

"And that's what you'll get more of if you send more troops. Go ahead and send everything you have, I wouldn't mind leveling on the rest of your units."

The turn ended. The sun set. No more units from the side came to confront Ronjermy and Annie.

Floating high in the darkness, Ronjermy looked for the sunrise. He was ready. Ready to fight. He wasn't sure what exactly he wanted, but it was time to fight. That's what he knew. That's what he was good at. That's what he was popped for.

Somebody would pay good schmuckers for that.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

THE FIRST JOB - A Handful Of Units #6

60 Turns. 16 battles.

16 victories. And an overflowing purse.

He wasn't sure why, but it was time to move on again.

King Anton Botok watched him get off on Annie for but a moment, then turned to the business of ruling his newly expanded side.

The barbarian mercenary had arrived with a request for employment and a plan for the conquest of neighboring Fluenca. Botok's side had suffered losses in the ongoing skirmishes with their long time enemy, and his chief warlord was only a level 3. With Ronjermy's help, Botox had moved from winning small skirmishes to taking one then both of Fluenza's small cities, then the capitol and the king. Pleased with his newly leveled warlords and troops, and his chief warlord having leveled to 6, plus the gains of conquest, he was pleased with the cost of the mercenary.

He considered the new units available in his production que, and wished that Kites were among them.

Many of the first military actions had been won with Ronjermy far overhead, taunting the King in Fluenza and gaining the focus of the lookamancer that found him and the thinkamancer that channeled the conversations. This allowed Botok's troops to cover ground, steal resources from the farms and destroy the farmer units and their guards, and to ambush patrols.

Fluenza's King had not only been a poor tactician (a match for Botok, sadly), he was also slow to notice the connection. In his defense, some of the raiding had been done solely by Ronjermy, so in all fairness it would not have been the easiest thing to figure out, at first.

But when the first outlying city fell, as fearful as Fluenza was of this lone raiding mystery that was seemingly ravaging the kingdom singlehandedly, it became utterly clear that he was not working alone.

But Fluenza was no more. Life moved on.

And Ronjermy moved on.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Going Down - A Handful Of Units #7

"I'll have that sword!"

Ronjermy was afraid that he just might.

Up against towering mountains, over a giant cascading river formed from dozens of tributaries flowing down from snowy peaks, Ronjermy had a brief thought that it was a beautiful view that he would have loved to take time to enjoy.

But with four stacks of high level spearchuckers on magic boards chasing him, he didn't have that luxury.

The pursuit itself would probably also be visually amazing to observe from a distance, he thought to himself as he clung tightly to Annie. They all spiraled down together, fast and tight, and it had been a long drop trying to shake them.

The boards shouldn't have been able to catch Annie in the first place. Shouldn't have been able to rise to her height. Ronjermy had had a brief moment of shock as Chaka, the warlord in the lead with glowing golden spear, rushed to within striking distance of Annie at her full altitude.

He kicked her into a dive. Her move was done, but she could still lose altitude. Their counterattack took out a full stack, and she dove, and they followed. In fast, zooming circles, Ronjermy took her down. And the warriors on boards kept up.

He took her into a vertical, closed wing dive. They kept up. Ronjermy gritted his teeth. The boards had to be burning juice to boost their abilities, but he had no idea how long that could last. And he couldn't take Annie back up again, or they would all be on her at once.

"Engage them all together!" Chaka screamed to his units. Chaka also knew that Annie was out of running room, and out of options.

Chaka was a canny chief warlord. For 16 turns and 6 battles they had worked together. He knew Ronjermy and his mount could likely survive and win if allowed the option of multiple fast engagements.

And Chaka knew the secret of Ronjermy's sword. And Ronjermy knew he knew it.

Chaka's king knew it too. And didn't mind betraying the mercenary's contract to get it. He had paused his lightning conquest into two neighboring sides to allow Chaka to obtain the sword, and eliminate Ronjermy.

Chaka's three stacks couldn't yet engage at once, Ronjermy had been making sure of that. But it couldn't last.

Annie pulled up, now skimming full speed just a meter over the water. Ronjermy could see their reflection keeping up with them over the deep flow. He looked up, and his mind, racing with variables and looking for a plan, took in the fact that a cliff wall was coming up before them, and swiftly. The river disappeared into it.

Ronjermy looked back over his shoulder. Chaka was close behind him, angry and ready to strike, closely followed by his three stacks of remaining units. A bright golden shimmer from the enemy chief's spear raced along with them on the surface of the river.

Ronjermy looked back to the cliff. Chaka watched him, and signaled his units to move higher. He calculated that Ronjermy would bank the Kite into a climb and take his chances in a final battle. Chaka would stay below to catch the sword, or strike from below.

The rumble of flowing water echoing inside the tunnel opening suddenly roared in Ronjermy's ears. He raised his sword, flashing a reflection to Chaka's troops in the full sunlight. Chaka grinned cruelly, ready to deal the final blow to the mercenary he considered aloof and arrogant.

Annie did pull up. In one swift move, she pointed her head straight up. Almost simultaneously she also turned her body, sideways, and continued that motion. It was as if one wingtip was held in place and she swiveled on that point.

Chaka had a brief moment of amazement that she could turn at such speed and at such a radius, attempting to cut his speed, as she was suddenly facing him, moving her rotation past him as he continued forward right into the centrifugal force of a Mjighty swing .

Without benefit of his stack, Chaka's stats alone resisted the heavy Annie, the Level 9 barbarian warlord, and the sword Mjighty.

Chaka very nearly vaporized.

But what was left of him, and his board, slammed into the kite and her rider. And even as the spear chuckers started to recover from their shock from the surprise attack and started to maneuver to attack, Annie and Ronjermy hit the water. Chaka's partial remains, board, and spear splashed after them as if they were continuing the chase.

In moments, they were sucked with a river's worth of flowing water into the mountain.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

THE FINAL BREATH - A Handful Of Units #8

Ronjermy felt the cold and the darkness in the same moment, like they were one and the same. He desperately sheathed Mjighty, then reached to pull at the hitch to release the straps that bound him to Annie.

She was struggling to stay afloat in the roiling water and finally stopped her barrel rolling and came upright on the surface. Ronjermy by then was hanging off her side, head and shoulders out of the water and keeping his death grip on Annie's saddle strap, both looked about frantically with eyes open in the total darkness.
They rose briefly on a rise of water hitting something and changing direction, and then both felt each other instinctively taking a breath….and then they were sucked under.

Down they were pulled, down deep and fast. Straight down for several moments at what would have been breathtaking speed, if they could had a breath to take. They weren't letting go of the one they had.

Then just as fast, they were shuttled to some degree of horizontal. Still clinging to Annie, they were tumbled and turned, and then they both bounced along a wall. Ronjermy almost lost his breath, but it wasn't that hard an impact. He felt Annie's pain though, she had scraped harder against the smoothly worn surface.
He felt her turn as they were pushed up into an air pocket. Whisked along, they had time to take a fast breath, struggling to keep their heads up in the current. Even as they were again pulled under water and down the airless river chute, Ronjermy felt Annie struggle and turn her body around, and felt a wet wing whip over him. Under and along they were taken, and Ronjermy felt himself wrapped inside her wing, and in an air pocket she had made.

He felt them speeding along the current, wet noises of bubbles and the force of a river contained and directed, of wet wingspan fluttering in water instead of wind.

And he felt Annie bounce against the channel walls, rolling them with force, again, and again. He took a breath in the airspace. He could feel her muscles work to keep her wing in place around him.

Inside he cringed, as he felt her weaken, felt her struggle for breath, then frantically pulling in a lungful of water. Again she rolled and pounded against the rock, and he felt her strength leave her wing holding him against her.

He did not cry out for her, but even as he struggled for his own survival, he felt pain at the ending of his life long friend and companion, who even in her final moments protected him as best she could. As she always had.

Yet he had no time to mourn. The moment her body went limp, water instantly filled the space, then ripped her protective wing away from him.
Ronjermy thrashed about in the water, trying to right himself, and readied for his final ending, an instant of determination to hold his breath until the bitter, painful end.

In that instant, the sound thundering in his ear changed to momentary silence, and he was suddenly surrounded by air, not water.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

THE LONG STROKE - A Handful Of Units #9

Utter darkness, a momentary pause in momentum, and then falling.

Ronjermy had a sense that he had been thrown from the water into a freefall, could hear Annie's limp wing tissue flapping between the spines of her wings as she fell, and the roar of an unmeasurable amount of water falling, an indescribable bellow below.

His warrior-honed mental reflexes noticed that he had time to notice all this, to be aware of the sensations and sounds, and just as he started to worry about what that amount of time falling signified, he smash landed with a bone grating impact and a splash.

It hurt. A lot.

He was stunned but instinctively fought to right himself and make it to the surface. Once there, he opened his eyes to total darkness. The water seemed choppy but currentless, more like a lake than a river.

He switch gears from one survival mode to another. In the momentary calm, he let himself sink some, still kicking with his legs, and used his hands to remove his breastplate, his gauntlets, and the metal plates on his legs. With great relief he found Mjighty still strapped to his belt.

Kicking again to the surface, he tread water and tried to get his bearings. In the total darkness, the roar from the vast waterfall was everywhere, he could not locate it. In what was essentially a blind guess, he started swimming in a direction that he hoped was perpendicular to the waterfall.

Hopefully he could get far enough away to either get his bearings, or touch land. Hopefully that land was a beach, and not a solid rock face.

There was nothing to do but swim. Swim and hope that there were no hungry monsters beneath him.

He swam alone, imagining Annie sinking slowly into darkness.

For hours, it seemed, Ronjermy kept a steady, energy conserving back stroke. He wasn't a strong swimmer, and he was struggling against the weight of even just his sword.

At some point started pondering the concept of natural luckamancy.

Mostly he alternated between contemplative thought, and fighting off sheer terror. Terror of being alone in the darkness, with no frame of reference of where he was at or what was going on around him. What if something dragged him down from below, or dropped from above, or took a piece out of him. What if that thing, or things, was just feet away right now, watching him.

He couldn't see his wet hand in front of his face. He could hear only the roar of the waterfall and the sloshing of water around him.

On the upside, the water was cold but not ice cold. It was freshwater, and he dared to drink a little without any apparent downside.

Also on the upside, he mused, he was alive. Even though he wasn't sure how much longer he could stay afloat, in the face of the last several hours, survival to this point had to be a major element of luck.

Just as he thought that thought, his head slid onto what felt like dirt and, and after a moment of twisting and convulsing to right himself, Ronjermy found himself on a sandy beach. He crawled on hands and knees completely out of the water, reaching a hand out in front of him feeling the way.

Then he collapsed face first into the coarse sand.

"I am a luckamancer," he declared, sand falling into his mouth as his lips moved. He closed his eyes and let his exhausted body rest, limp on the sand. If he had had to swim farther...

For several minutes he let himself rest.

'Can't end turn,' he thought. Deep in the mountain, he calculated, he had no idea how long it would take him to get out, or if he even could. He needed to make the most of every available moment.'

With all his natural willpower fighting against exhaustion, he got back onto his hands and knees, and started crawling directly away from the water with Mjighty's scabbard tip dragging in the sand. He could only imagine the trail that left, and he wondered if he would ever see light again.

It was slow going. Up a slight incline of coarse sandy beach, and then to rough rock wall that essentially went straight up.

There he stood up on shaky legs and, casting an imaginary luckamancer spell to send him in the best direction, he started to feel his way along the cavern wall to his left.

As he made his way slowly against the rough geography where beach unevenly met rock wall, he tried to map the space. It had been a long swim from the waterfall, it was a river's worth of water entering what had to be a huge cavern lake or sea deep in the mountain range, and the beach was about 30 yards from water to wall.

Ronjermy was also not a mathamancer, but he knew his chances of escape were incredibly low.

He thought of his King Raeptor's fate, of the battles he had survived up to this point, of how he could have faced Chaka's troops and died in battle. He had heard countless warriors express a desire to die in battle as opposed to other means.

Ronjermy noticed his grim satisfaction at having destroyed Chaka, at having deprived he and his king of Mjighty even if it had meant croaking, and even greater pleasure at the fact that he had survived.

That pleasure sat right next to the empty feeling of the loss of Annie. He said a prayer to the Titans, testifying to her ferocity, her prowess, her loyalty, the sacrifice and nobility of her final moments, and he asked that they re-pop her as a queen, with her own side to make powerful.

They responded with an opening in the wall. A minute of investigation showed it to be a smooth rock floor, smooth walls with a ceiling higher than he could reach. "Hey!" he shouted into the corridor, and it echoed into the distance.

His luck was holding. Maybe he could have traveled for days and never found an opening if he had gone the other way. With no other option than to keep moving, he felt his way into the tunnel.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

SPENT IN THE DARK - A Handful Of Units #10

"End turn."

Ronjermy's weak voice echoed softly in the darkness.

He had followed the tunnel, found another branch, and another, and another. He had tried to keep moving up, hoping to rise to an exit from the mountain, but after several diversions knew he was hopelessly lost.

He had desperately continued to trudge along, his hands raw and bloody from feeling his way along rough stone, his head throbbing from the occasional bump. He had long ago eaten the food and water that had popped for supper, as his employer had paid his upkeep this morning, and he was sure that he had extended his turn longer than anyone else in the history of Erfworld.

He considered the possibility that he would get a free upkeep next turn, if his previous employer neglected to remove him from the upkeep queue. He did not consider that even remotely possible, but he wondered if his luck would hold...if he could really call any of this luck.

Never before had he ended turn and not seen the sun go down, nor the light fade. Here there was only utter darkness and lonely silence.

Huddled in wet, cold clothing, with Mjighty resting bare across his lap, generally miserable and expecting to croak soon, Ronjermy waited patiently to fall into sleep.

He mourned his brave Annie, he thanked the Titans for what may have been his final meal, and he looked forward to the morning, when all his exhaustion and pain would disappear. And by the end of that turn, possibly disappear forever.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Step By Step - A Handful Of Units #11

Unsuprisingly, it was dark when Ronjermy woke. He laughed that he had hoped otherwise.

He forced himself to his feet and started feeling his way along a wall, wincing as his raw and blood scabbed fingers touched rough rock.

He did not know how far he had gotten when that special moment of fading pain and body healing washed over him.

Clothes clean and mended and dry, Mjighty dried and polished, body strong and hands good as new, Ronjermy made faster time. Today could be his last turn on Erf, still he was determined to make it to the surface.

'Last turn -in- Erf...' He corrected himself.

An hour or so later he stopped at a three way juncture. "Dwagonballs!" he muttered out loud through clenched teeth, in a burst of anger.

It was the third three way junction he had come to already this morning. He didn't even know if he was going in circles.

The good news was, no monster had snuck up on him in the darkness. The good news was, nothing at all had snuck up on him in the darkness.

The good news was, he hadn't stepped into a crevasse and fallen to a sudden croaking.

The good news was...


Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Open Wide - A Handful Of Units #12

Ronjermy's head jerked up, blind eyes wide and searching.

Something had just popped.

And he could be wrong, but he was certain it wasn't the sound of a unit popping. Everything that popped sounded a little different, and this hadn't sounded familiar.

His survival instinct kicked into survival curiosity. What could have popped here, in the depths of a seemingly empty mountain??

Surely not a meal. Possibly a gem or treasure. Hopefully not a wild monster or unfriendly unit, since he couldn't see to defend himself. But what would it be here in the empty depths?

Ronjermy moved fast but quietly as possible up the corridor he had heard the sound of popping from. A gem meant upkeep. He steered his mind from even attempting to consider the odds of a randomly popping even happening so close, right at this instant.

He pulled his sword. If it was a monster, with Mjighty he had a decent chance, and he wasn't willing to go down without at least a blind fight.

He thought he could make out a faint glow ahead. A few steps more, and it looked like that faint glow came from around a bend in the tunnel. He could see the ground now, the outline of Mjighty, his hand.

That was somehow comforting.

He took that hand off the stone wall, and began to creep to peer around the corner. It was a long slow bend in the corridor, so there was no peeking allowed, apparently.

Hearing no noise, sensing nothing different, he clenched his jaw and walked with a regular pace around the bend, and suddenly rounded a sharp turn, what seemed to be a huge room hewn out of the rock opened up to his gaze, barely lit seemingly from a single point.

Ronjermy stopped in his tracks, Mjighty almost fell from his hand. His eyes went wide, and his clenched jaw fell open.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Will It Even Fit? - A Handful Of Units #13


Big gems.

Different colored gems, different sized gems, different shaped gems.

A Titan-sized pile of them on a flat, even floor..

Ronjermy knew little about such things, but he knew that gems could randomly pop in claimed and unclaimed terrains. And treasures could pop in ruins. That rarely happened. They were random occurrences.

If this pile was made up of random pops….the time span it had to have been for these to pile up, glistening and shimmering...

Ronjermy's gaze trailed up the pile of multi-hued gems, seemingly lit from the inside, the light moving through each gem to every gem around it and beyond. Just past the pile, up on a ledge, something was shining. Metal?

With sword in hand, he made his way into the room, towards the source of light. He was in awe of the mound of gems, twice the height of his head and piled across a good portion of the seemingly vast room.

He had to walk onto edge of the pile, gems shifting beneath him, making a sound not unlike walking on gravel. His balance was good, he had no concerns about that. As he rounded the hill of precious stones, he saw that there were what seemed to be rough hewn stairs up to the metallic source of light.

Ronjermy looked into the depth of reflections, fully expecting a sudden avalanche of gems and the appearance of some sort of terrible beast. But other than his movement disrupting gems that had sat just like so for Titans-only-knew how long, there was only stillness and silence.

He moved up the stairs slowly, looking around, knowing not what to expect. Still, nothing upset the ancient stillness. 'This is too easy,' he thought, 'this is unreal.'

But with two steps to go to the ledge, he saw clearly the source of light, and again his jaw fell slack.

It was a shining band of silver.

It was a crown.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Take It - A Handful Of Units #14

Ronjermy stood before it.

He looked down on a thick silver band, a simple yet magnificent crown.

Without touching it, he looked over the room. Vast wealth had accumulated here over what had to be a number of turns he couldn't even comprehend. Here was a crown. Pathways and tunnels and a waterway.

Surely this was a lost city site. Ancient, so old there were no trappings of buildings left. Maybe there were, he could have walked right past them in the dark. "Perhaps I am the Titan of luck..." He mused out loud, his voice echoing through the huge room.

He reached slowly towards the silver crown. He touched it with a reverent finger.

Nothing happened.

He took it in his hand, and held it up to view it. It was solid but deceivingly light. He felt the cold metal begin to warm.

Under his gaze, he saw letters begin to form on the inside surface of the band...glowing a fiery red they took shape.

*One Crown To Rule The Hall*

Never in his time serving Overlord Raeptor had he considered having his own rule. Never in his travels as a barbarian and mercenary had he considered any other life for himself.

He registered that he should be amused that this was an even more desirable outcome than merely escaping the darkness alive. And that maybe he should be worried the crown was a trap and would turn him into a gem. But with no purse to convert the gems, no rations and no light to find them...

'Ok then.' Ronjermy thought to himself. Just as in the darkness earlier there had been nothing to do but move on ever forward, now there was only a single course of action.

With silver crown in hand, he turned to address the vast room and side-building pile of gems.

He spoke loudly for all the hall to hear. As he spoke, in one smooth, seemingly slow motion action, Ronjermy settled the crown upon his head. "I claim this crown. I claim this city. I claim this side."

And the whole world disappeared into brightness.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

That Was Easy - A Handful Of Units #15

Ronjermy stood there, blinking.

His head swam. It felt like his body was still and swimming.

He had rather expected something amazing, a sense of being examined by the Titans, or something truly mind boggling and hard to explain.

But it just felt like it had felt the times before when he had leveled. This was a little different though. More expansive. More…reorganized.

With more excitement than he cared to admit, he focused in on his stats.

No longer was 'Barbarian Warlord' present. Now it was 'Overlord'.

There were several new menu options for him. Strangely, it felt like a new arm that had always been there but that had just been discovered for the first time.

The hall and gems vanished for him as he put all his attention on the new inner workings of his Overlord status.

He mentally toggled through unit production queues, on building queues, upkeep bar (set at 0, presently). The treasury counter was currently updating, the schumuckers count a blur.

Without spending much time on anything, he perused his options.

Coming out of his inner contemplation, Ronjermy took a deep breath.

And took another.

And another.

This was big. Monumental. Titan-esque.

To be Overlord. Overlord of what looked to be a potentially formidable, wealthy side.

Ronjermy briefly thought of all he had survived, of how he had traveled blindly to this very spot...he did not know if it was Luck, or the will of the Titans, or Fate. But he was here. He would rule. And he would build his side into an unassailable fortress that would never fall as King Raeptor's side had fallen.

Though it was so far away, perhaps even Poz would feel the touch of his rule.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Get On That Dish - A Handful Of Units #16

Sitting down on the steps, Ronjermy surveyed all of his domain. Which was the hall, at the moment.
A vast pile of gems. Perhaps the library would shed light on how long this site had lain vacant. Once a library was built, of course.

Perhaps a mathamancer could calculate the odds and implications of such a gathering of popped wealth. If the Titans blessed him with that caster class.
A crown. It sat comfortably on his head, warm, soft, form fitting.

A polished, shiny floor. Ok.

The edges of the crown's dim light. He couldn't see into the darkness, but he tried. And suddenly the light from the crown lit the entire great hall. Ronjermy nodded, satisfied. As he surveyed the empty, square walled cavern he wondered what else the crown could do.

This abandoned site -must- be ancient. There were no broken pillars, no remains of chairs or tables or tapestries. All had faded, all...except for something that caught his eye, far off in a corner. It too was shiny and silver, reflecting the new brightness of his crown.

He leapt down the stairs, and playfully clambered over the small hill of gems. Such wealth! Fate smiled on him greatly, for he had come to these ruins with not even the wealth of his purse. Sliding down in a cascade of clanking stones, he came to the bare floor, and strode to the far end of the great hall.

Examining the object as he closed on it, it was indeed silver. About four foot by two, with filigreed edges and two elegant handles made of the same metal, leaning up against the wall. Touching it to turn it over, stats suddenly became visible.

"Magic?" the new Overlord exclaimed. Speed, Agility….and Flight!

"Very Nice!" Ronjermy roared. "Hello Surfing Dish!"

Tossing it into the air, it fell and settled two feet off the ground, hovering. He stepped onto it, it wavered not at all.


It took some getting used to. He started just around the hall at first, over the gem hill, slowly picking up speed and getting a feel for how to maneuver it.

Then he turned to the entrance. Pulling up his map overlay, he shot down the tunnels that had taken him a more than turn to travel in the darkness. Light raced along with him and flooded the hollow stone for the first time in however long it had been. It took him only a few minutes to exit onto the beach.

Gliding to the water's edge, Ronjermy stopped. He looked out across the dark sea, and pushed his crown to full brightness. Still he could not see the other side, nor the ceiling of the cavern.

Flying out over the water, he again stopped and turned back to view the shore. Seeing rising rock walls and generous amounts of beach...this is where his city would pop. And he would design it well.

Considering what that might look like, Ronjermy turned and shot out across the water in search of the waterfall. He spent the rest of the turn, the first of many turns, exploring, learning, admiring, and planning.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

The Hand Of Fate - A Handful Of Units #17


Sitting on the boulder at the top of the stairs, Ronjermy raised his head from where it had been resting in his hands. Seeing the new arrival, he smiled.

A tall man stood before him, at the base of the stone shelf where Ronjermy had found his crowd. The man looked at the Overlord sitting before him, then turned to take in the room, exactly as it was when Ronjermy had first discovered it, the gem mound smaller the cost of one caster.

This time when the man looked at Ronjermy, he bowed and said "Greetings my lord. My name is Sino, your new Luckamancer."

Rising from the boulder at the top of the steps he had been sitting on, Ronjermy rose. Sino was his first unit. And he immediately liked the man. Every unit he had ever seen pop had immediately responded to their lord. Sino showed a strong element of individuality and strength, having looked about and taken in his surroundings, assessing the situation before greeting his new ruler. Ronjermy found that he appreciated that quality.

"Hello Sino. Welcome. Other warlords are in the que. Get to work. I want more casters right out of the gate."

Sino nodded. "This place is strong with luck magic." He smiled at Ronjermy. "Lucky you."

Ronjermy didn't smile back, but started to lead Sino down the stairs. "That would explain a lot of things, including you. Let me show you your Capital city.


"I can't help but notice," Sino said conversationally as they strode along the beach, walking by the light of the crown, "that...there is no city."

Walking extra slowly to keep Sino in his view, Ronjermy didn't answer right away.

"I'm proud that my first caster is so observant. But yes, no city yet." He didn't think that there was any hurry. The mountain sea had been in darkness long enough, forgotten by the outside world. Nobody would likely be finding it tomorrow.

Plus, the small sea exited the mountain in a great, cascading waterfall, and the entry anyone could pass through was dense with wet mist. He hadn't ventured out, but he had seen daylight through the mist, and he doubted that anyone would think that it would be safe to venture in.

There would be construction soon enough.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

A Good Beginning - A Handful Of Units #18

"Well, he -did- pop this table." Sino said drolly.

Six of them sat at the table. Three casters. Three! His first three warlords in the que popped as Casters! And then two warlords, at levels 3 and 4.

Luck gave him Sino. Luck and Sino had provided another two casters. Ronjermy hoped he could now at least direct whatever luck he possessed in the directions he wanted.

"Don't worry Sino. You'll have quarters soon enough. No more sleeping on the stone for you."

Ronjermy looked to the dirtamancer. A squat, wide woman in thick rough pants and workshirt. "Grava is ready to get to work on the city I believe, aren't you Grava."

She snorted. "Ready." She had a rough voice, but so far rarely used it. She listened well, and was intelligent. He had spoken to her about his building plans.

She had added valuable insight he hadn't considered. And he hadn't known that a dirtamancer made building less costly. He also hadn't known that she couldn't create golems without first learning how to in the Magic Kingdom. And she couldn't get to the magic Kingdom without a portal.

Until the city was built, no portal.

How could he know, building and planning the building of a city was never before anything even close to the realm of his responsibilities.

"But a comfortable bed for any of you is not my first concern."

He didn't even know if his warlords slept on a bed, much less dry land. Namer, his level 4 and so far the most likely prospect for chief warlord, and Walor, were Marmen. Like most of the units available to his side, they were water capable. Marmen were a warlord class of unit, with specials of Flight and Leadership.

Slicked back black hair, well muscled, bare chested and bare footed, with skin tight fish scale mail leggings, their skin had a slight green tinge. They had hard to see gills on either side of the neck, and fish fins like little wings coming off their ankles.

They slept in the lake, for all he knew. He suspected that he should find out.

Ronjermy continued. "I want four more warlords." he turned to look at Sino with rulerly challenge, "And we'll see how good our Luckamancer is at bestowing another caster or two in the process."

He continued and turned to look at his Moneymancer, Usban. "The best schmuckers can buy, as best they can be spent." He needed to speak with the newly popped caster, to find out exactly how he could best utilize her. But he knew she understood the intent of his command, and would aid her side as best she could.

To all he said "We are in no hurry, but make no mistake, we are going to grow strong, and fast. And we will start with strong leadership, and a strong base.
First, warlords and casters as we can get them. Then we make our sea cavern impenetrable as we establish our fishing grounds and algae, shrimp, and oyster farms ."

In turn, he told Grava "I have plans for you once construction is complete. Sino, keep fate smiling on us as best you can. Namer and Whalor, explore the cavern. Explore the sea. I want a map. Take Grava with you. This place is big enough for other cities. I want to know if there are other entrances to the cavern other than the waterfalls on either end. I want to know what defenses we can put up at Misty Hole. Usban, I want to know how much we can support, and what the options are."

Ronjermy looked at his warlords. "I want to know if we are alone in here. Don't engage anything. Don't endanger Grava. Just observe and report."

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Dark and Almost Wet - A Handful Of Units #19

Ronjermy balanced easily on the Surfing Dish. In the middle of the unnamed sea, he turned all light from his crown off, and he disappeared into the dark, silent void.

He stood in silence. In darkness, seemingly in nothingness. He had started doing this every turn. It was peaceful. It was an interesting way to think.

He had never before heard of an underground city. Strategically it was not much different than other terrain types, though it had its goods and bads.

Totally defensible. Totally hidden. Rich with fishing and sea farming. An abundance of mining in the entire area. City sites only attackable by water or air, and no enemy would be able to get galleons to the area. Only units with flight had a chance of gaining access to the sea in the first place.

That cut both ways. Only units with flight could leave the sea cavern, unless they had a mount or other means of transport. Possibly a water capable unit could get from the sea to the river far below, but would have to survive the fall or utilize some other as yet unknown strategy. And it could never make it back on its own.

He would need to gain a major city out under the sky, with land access. Or build an army of flying units.

There was no reason to burden himself with the cost of an army that could never leave the cavern.

Lost in the silent void, Ronjermy allowed his imagination and strategic mind run free.

Overlord Ronjermy was enjoying these many moments of silence, and in a small part of the back of his mind, he worried that as he fulfilled on his plans, he may no longer have the luxury of these silent, lanquid, moments alone.

Author:  OneHugeTuck [ Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ERFFIC - A Handful Of Units

Time For A Spanking? - A Handful Of Units #20

"Is this your doing?"

Ronjermy looked sternly at Sino. All sat in their usual place around the long dinner table (still the only piece of construction that Ronjermy had ordered to pop). And 8 chairs. All of them full.

Sino raised his eyebrows, the first time Ronjermy had seen him even slightly lose his cool. "Lord?"

"Two more casters popped. Consecutively. That's 5 out of 7 from the warlord queue. Are you responsible for this?"

Ronjermy could feel the others unsettled and unsure if their ruler was displeased at one of their rank or not.

Their ruler noticed and appreciated how Sino regained his composure and did not tremble before the possible wrath of his overlord.

"Lord, it -is- common for new sides to pop casters within the first warlords produced. I admit 5 is a very worthy accomplishment. And while I have pulled Fate towards us as best I may, still I cannot guarantee a caster popping, or not."

"To a degree it was from my efforts, yes. How much from the Titans blessing your new side, I don't know. How much from the strength of Luck magic in this place, I don't know. I have been harnessing that boost as I could, though I do feel that fading, lord."

Ronjermy took that in. He hadn't expected that. Still, he had gained much from whatever it was.

He nodded and rose, standing at the head of the simple table, and spoke for all to hear. "Sino. You have done well, and given your side great wealth, value, and untold benefit for our future. You have my respect, and even before our first battle, you are a hero. This is a great victory for our side, and you are a great asset to me. Should you find a reward that you desire, if it is something I can grant or deliver, I will."

The Overlord let his words and his gratitude sink in for several moments. Then he continued, surveying these units responsible for the future and growth of his side. "Each of you has something just as valuable to offer. We have a unique opportunity to build a side the Titans would be proud of. The assets we have already…and we haven't even started. Your jobs are to do your best. Your jobs are to keep me on the right course."

He made sure to use 'we' instead of 'I'. He knew if he treated his units well, they would do their very best, as opposed to the minimum their duty required. The late Overlord Raeptor had ruled with an iron fist and cold orders.

Ronjermy wasn't just using it as a tool. He was the overlord, but he understood something that his Overlord never had. They were all in it together, and he wanted it that way. All their fates were intertwined. And he wanted to get every ounce of value from them that he could.

He retook his seat and looked at his new casters. Cirke, a Changeamancer, followed by the Thinkamancer Ensten.

Ronjermy leaned back, smiling, and wondered out loud. "I wonder how other rulers felt as they first built their side. Were any of them so lucky, so blessed?"
Whalor, the more boisterous of the two warlords, raised his cup and boasted "I'll ask them when we conquer their capitols."

There was a mix of laughter and silence from the table. When it was again quiet, Sino interjected with his impeccable timing couched in his usual serious tone. "Speaking of rewards……when will I be getting an actual bed to sleep in…..?"

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