When the Empire attacked, it was quick, aggressive, and decisive. The Imperial siege towers crashed onto Italica's walls with spiked wooden planks. Their shields held fast against the Italica's Garrison swords, moving in the precise and unyielding fashion of the Imperial Legion. Their gladius' were not swung in clumsy ways, the distaste of any well-bred Legion soldier, but stabbed and retracted at precise and opportune movements. They showed, to the world and to Italica, how they had maintained power for so many years. Their rigid and well-practiced formations and soldiers who maintained duty to the state and honor to their Legion over everything else, was the bread that held their Empire together. Their Legion; their military diplomacy.

They were truly stunning to behold. But Jean cared little for that. With a twirl of his twin estocs he managed to slice the neck of a Legionnaire and break their ranks. His fellow épéistes met the Imperials with fierce swings of their estocs and swords, all of which danced around the Imperials simple swordplay. Jean retracted his blade and blocked a strike from a Legionnaire while thrusting with his other estoc. He skewered the Imperial and the épéiste twirled his blades in his hands for another attack.

He countered two Imperial blades and sliced their necks with quick bladework. His fellow swordsmen created grey blurs in the air as they fought the Imperials that managed to push back the Halberdiers. They swung, and cut, and pushed, but the Imperials shouldered each other's burdens together, and their single mass of soldiers and emphasis on teamwork began to push the swordsmen back.

Jean flipped his estocs and scowled as the Imperials halted their advance and slammed their shields in the ground. The archers on the tower notched their arrows, but the Imperials had already assumed the turtle formation, turning their arrows useless. From just over the edge of the wall, Jea could see the much more well armored Centurions rush onto the wall, and he was left to grit his teeth in dismay.

The Imperials shields broke open, and Imperial Centurions rushed forward to clash gladius' with estocs as the they went to work on pushing towards the towers to open the gates. Jean locked swords with a single Centurion, his eyes ablaze and his skill much outclassing the rank-and-file Legionnaires. He swung his gladius' with much better ease and comfort, and turned the simple jabs and feints into an artwork. But Jean was a master swordsman, one that had learned from other swordmasters of Italica, and he dodged or parried the strikes with precision befitting his position. But the Centurion eventually managed to break Jean's defense, and lashed out with a kick to his knee. The Italica èpèiste gasped in pain and barely managed to block the follow up strike.

The Centurion made a wide sweep of his blade, and managed to catch Jean by his chest armor. The dragon scale armor held strong against the attack, but the feedback caused from the armor slamming into his ribcage left him dazed. A second attack slammed against his helmet, which caused it to fly off his head and over the edge of the wall. The Centurion was standing proudly on top him now, his gladius held downwards onto Jean's head as the tip of the blade gleamed.

The Italican was prepared to have his life taken from him but just as the sharp blade was about to pierce his eye, a loud retort was heard and the Centurions chest exploded into gore and blood. Jean sputtered and spit as blood seeped into his mouth, and he turned wary eyes towards where similar such bangs were being made into the safety of the towers. He was familiar with these loud thunderous cracks in the air, and he knew that those Gear fellows were there to give them a hand.

He pulled himself up to his feet, and used his estoc to signal his thanks to the female Gear that was kneeling on the steps of the guard tower. The female soldier, a fact that Jean had to stomach down for a while, stepped towards him in a strange crab walk stance. "You okay?" she said with an accent.

"Indeed," he grunted. He gave her a nod of thanks and brought his estocs up to his sides. "What of the other side?" He glanced back at the wall, and grimaced as he saw Italican soldiers got tossed over the edge or methodically removed from the battle by way of broken femurs and elbows.

"The Imperials are swarming all over it," she said seriously. Her face was hard and fierce, reminded Jean of the warrior maids in the Formal mansion, and she gripped her strange crossbow tightly. "Fernando and Selin can't push through with that many on the stairs."

"A shame," Jean muttered, "But the Empire always loved their 4 to 1 advantages." The girl nodded her head and Jean thought she was far too serious to be one of the foreigners. "We shouldn't hold these walls for long. The Imperial numbers are too large."

"At this rate I'll run out of ammo before I run out of bodies," she muttered in agreement. She aimed her weapon and fired again. Thirty seconds, and nearly half of the Imperials fell as she depressed the trigger of her weapon. The fingers of her left hand danced across one of the levers on her crossbow, and Jean knew that if she pulled it her wicked looking blades would let out a terrifying shriek before it gruesomely murdered the soldiers. He found its design distasteful and dishonorable, and abhorred its unnecessary manner of dismemberment. But he'd rather have such dishonorable methods be used in favor of Italica's defence then against it.

"I must confess," Jean said as he blocked a flanking Imperial, as no doubt they had deemed the Gear to be the most dangerous threat to the assault. "This is my first battle beyond simple spars," he grunted as he kicked the Imperial away, "So I'm not the most experienced person to say this, but don't you think those Legionnaires are being rather daft standing even though your crossbow of iron is more than capable of harming them?"

When he said this the Imperials suddenly did the unthinkable; they dropped their shields. Now without the cumbersome weight, they dodged and weaved, making zigzagging motions that made it difficult for the Gear to aim. A Centurion in the back was urging the others to do the same, and the Imperial soldiers adapted a lowered stance, diminishing their frames to the Gears fire.

She grunted when she saw this and gave Jean the stink eye. "You had to open your mouth!" Jean shrugged guiltily and parried another strike from an Imperial. In one quick motion he disemboweled the Imperial and punctured to other Imperials lungs. He stepped back and turned, seeing the tail end of the Gear pressing her rotating blades onto an Imperials chest. Chunks of gore and metal spilled everywhere as the Imperial screeched in terror and pain as he was bisected diagonally across his upper body. Jean gave the same a silent prayer, hoping the God Emroy had accepted their souls with mercy, for his death was anything but.

Another surge of Imperials rushed the tower, and Jean took a step back. He turned to the Gear and noticed her sporting a new gash on her upper left arm and her brow. The awkward grip of her blade made it unadvisable in a sword fight, and while gruesome and deadly, the Imperial soldiers were relentless and didn't allow her to pull back her blade before attacking her again. It was impressive she managed to fight off three Imperials while dislodging her blade, but she was surely paying the price for a cumbersome design.

"We must retreat," Jean grunted as he forced a blade away. "Staying here will only lead to our deaths!" She nodded her head and pulled out a strange spiked rod from her belt. Jea gave it a curious glance before she tossed it at the Imperials. He widened his eyes when she grabbed his shoulder and pulled him away.

An explosion riddled the wall, blowing Imperials into smithereens, and Jean balked at the massive display of firepower.

0o0o A Tomorrow For Us o0o0

"What was that?" Verminus asked, staring at the wall with a small frown. "Magic? I had not known Italica employed sorcerers in its defense."

"Must be the foreigners," his young second-in-command said as he eyed the wall. "I heard some of the deserters talk of their potent magic, and how their warriors were without honor and pride, hiding behind the mages and killing the men without setting foot on the battlefield. They spoke of their soldiers as savages without any sense of proper battle decorum."

"The very same deserters that were executed for cowardice?" Verminus muttered, not quite trusting the information and even if it were true, Verminus did not agree the way his young Tribunus laticlavius dismissed their enemy so easily. "If that is so then we must be wary."

"Sorcery is a dying art," his Tribune said, "They take years of mastery, and those that reach any considerable talent with it, are more than likely old and gray. They will be of no trouble against our Legionnaires." Verminus remembered the Sorcerer Cato and his fierce fighting, able to slay a full cohort of Orsimer Guardsmen with his earth-shattering magic, and shook his head at the youthful ignorance of his Tribune.

"Regardless, inform the men of this development." The Tribune nodded and pulled back on the reigns of his horse as he went to speak with the rest of the Centurions. Verminus turned back to the wall and watched as his Legionnaires cut their way through the throng of the Italica defenders.

"Aim the ballistas!" Verminus yelled. The ballistas brought back their ordnance and positioned them so that they would hit the untouched sides of the walls, where the defenders were gathering. "Fire!" he yelled. The walls crumbled as the deadly projectiles impacted the wall, tossing people and debris into the air. The side of the wall sported a new gash, but was otherwise untouched of damage. He frowned, his eyes brow descending into a frown as he watched the battle. "At this rate the gates will never be open," he mumbled.

"Should we bring up the battering ram?" His Tribune asked when he returned, catching his thoughts spoken out loud. Verminus raised one of his eyebrows.

"I had not commissioned a battering ram to be made," he said. The Tribune smiled at him and pulled his horse to the Legate's side.

"The trees weren't going to disappear over a simple siege, and excessiveness can lead to decisiveness," the Tribune said.

"Sound wisdom," Verminus agreed. "Wait until we've cleared the walls, and have the battering rams move under shield cover."

0o0o A Tomorrow For Us o0o0

Jean raced down the steps of the tower while defending himself against the slashes of the enemy. He blocked, dodged and parried while the female Gear rushed to the bottom. The place was 'too close-quarters' she said, and Jean wouldn't lie and say he understood what exactly that meant. Either way, he continued swinging his estocs in fluid motions, grinning as he knew the Imperials distaste to such tactics and preferred thrusting and grappling moves.

When he hit the last step, he kicked the Imperial he was fighting away and turned around. The Gear had tossed another of her explosives up onto the steps and the èpèiste lunged to the open doorway as the wooden stairs exploded under the attack. The Imperials were either blown to pieces, or they fell to their deaths, bones breaking and skin ripping.

Jean fell to the ground roughly and a Halbardier pulled him onto his feet. The Italican reserve fighters all huddled close together at the gate, their halberds held tightly in their hands. "Èpèiste," the Captain yelled, "The walls! How far along the walls are they?!"

The èpèiste frowned and gave the Captain a grave look. "Their past red, Captain Gawain." Captain Gawain frowned and rubbed his chin as he stared at the walls. His estoc was sheathed by his side, but Jean had his eyes drawn to the greatsword behind his back.

"Then it is as I feared," he replied. "I had known our men were too inexperienced, but the Imperials are just far too numerous to have even given us a slim chance. The Gears killed dozens at a time, yet the tide had yet diminished." Jean turned to the Gear who joined by the rest of her fellows, and they were sporting gashes on their arms and brows from deadly blades trying to impale them.

"Elaine," Sergeant Blaine greeted the female Gear as his squad of eight Gears reassembled. They were bruised and wounded, but not battered or close to dying. The wound stung, but they didn't have enough bite to even come close to stopping a Gear. "How was your side?"

"I blew up the stairs," she replied, "But truth be told I'm not sure that would stop them." Blaine nodded his head watching the Imperials cut down the Italican defenders at the front. He reloaded his weapon, having spent four magazines already. He wasn't used to this but he was adapting. Back then fighting Locusts was different. They had gun too, and they knew tactics. They took cover, and while the COG loved playing up the horde, they weren't actually, for all intents and purpose, a real horde. They only seemed that way because of their tough hides and reluctance to die. This was different, and Blaine knew it. At one point he had a dozen soldiers chase after him in close quarters. He managed to empty half his magazine, but due to the close quarters, he only managed to down a quarter of them. The rest attacked, and he learned quickly that his chainsaw bayonet wasn't designed to deal with the smaller and more agile Imperials in comparison to the Locust. The thing about the chainsaw bayonet, was that it was designed to rely heavily on inertia and weight to make it so effective against the Locust tough hides, and as such, the grip was designed to allow the blade to be held and swung one way; downwards. That wasn't the best option against other humans, especially not these much smaller ones and how they jumped onto him in close quarters and attacked him simultaneously.

Blaine had to grunt. He'd fought against monsters tougher and stronger than these shitheads, but that didn't necessarily mean it would make it easier to kill them. Truth was, he was so used to killing a far deadlier and greater threat, that he slightly lost his edged to dealing with the smaller threat. Especially since he had been adapted so well to killing the grubs, having signed on into the Locust war as he had been.

"We'll have to change strategies," Blaine told them, "Stick to short bursts, and maintain distance with the enemy. If you're dealing with a single one you can use your chainsaw bayonet in close range, but if there's more of them retreat while firing. They'll swarm you otherwise." There was a faint cut on his neck that agreed with him.

Elaine nodded her head and the Gears all lined up below the wall and began firing up into the Imperials side. Archers on the ground did the same and fired on the Imperials. Those with shields brought them forward to blow it, but the Gears weaponry made short work of it. The Imperials, realising that their flanks were open to the enemy no matter what they did, dropped low to the ground and scooted nearer to the other side of the wall, where the angle of the Gears line of sight to the edge of the wall would effectively hide the Imperials from sight and danger.

"Smart fuckers," Fernando growled. "Toss a grenade up there!"

"No!" Blaine said harshly, "We have allies up there." He pulled his Lancer back, and filed away the idea of requisitioning some Mk.I's for use later. He then pulled and tossed a flashbang up the wall. With a small bang and cackle, a loud roar of pained shouts and panicked screams hit them as Imperials wandered off the wall without their eyesight. The Italicans glanced at each warily as the Imperials apparently turned mad, grabbing their eyes in pain and running off to their deaths by either falling or straight into an èpèistes estoc. They gave the Gears fearful glances, one muttering 'damn strange sorcery', under his breath loud enough for Blaine to hear.

Before he could say more, oversized arrows flew over the wall and crashed into the line of Halberdiers holding position below the wall. They scattered, but not before three of the men were grievously wounded from the attack. Blaine was about to call his men back when another arrow flew through the air and skewered Fernando where he stood. Gear armor was tough, but an oversized arrow as tall as Blaine was and just as wide proved to test its effectiveness, and it failed. It pierced through the armor, but apparently it had lost its kinetic energy and didn't manage to go all the way through, and had more than likely crushed and ripped apart Fernando's livers, pancreas, stomach, and a large part of his intestines. When the Gear hit the ground, his body fell sideways due to the momentum of the heavy ordnance.

"Fernando!" Selin shrieked, her Pesanga accent thick as she stared at Fernando's now cooling corpse. "Fa'veh di'nukum nur'ya!" She hissed. Dirty scum of whores and bastards. Blaine gripped her rifle when it looked like she was going to get into a rampage, and she turned to him with a frown, before looking down towards her machete. "I should have used it from the start," she muttered.

Blaine agreed, at least it would have been far more useful than a bayonet. "Then use it," he said, "For Fernando." She hesitated but nodded her head and reached down to her machete, while pulling out a snub pistol in her other hand.

The gate rumbled, and all of the remaining Gears turned to it with surprise on their faces. "Battering ram," one of the Halberdiers shouted. Another thud hit the gate, and Blaine turned to Captain Gawain.

"Can your Halberdiers open up some space for her?" He asked while gesturing to Selin. "She's sneaky with her machete, and she might give your men an advantage." Gawain nodded and had his men make a space for the smaller girl. Some of then frowned as they eyed the tiny woman, who just barely reached their chest, and were worried for her. Blaine didn't blame them, Selin's small stature had made him wary too.

The gate shuddered again, and wood splintered off and onto the Halberdiers. "They're breaking through!"

0o0o A Tomorrow For Us o0o0

Yash grunted as he quickly strapped on his fatigues and armor. He buckled his straps and belt into place and pulled his Lancer over his shoulder. His pistol was next and it fit snugly onto his bag as he picked up two grenades and stuffed them into his field pack. The Pesanga man then finished it off by pulling his machete out and securing it onto his hip. With everything set he quickly rushed out of the barracks and towards the Muster Point Zulu, where the Gears preparing to provide aid to the Italican defenders were heading.

As he ran he caught sight of Tuka, who was glancing at all the rushing soldiers with a frown. The elf had taken to traveling up onto New Anvil Gate whenever she had the chance to talk and practice archery with Yash. She caught his eye and gave him a nervous smile when he stepped up to her.

"What's going?" Tuka asked. "Everyone down below heard the commotion and thinks we're about to be invaded."

Yash grunted, surprised at how close their assumption was. "The Empire attacked Italica," Yash said, and Tuka seemed to need a moment to comprehend just what exactly was going on.

"Italica? Isn't it too soon?" She muttered. "There's no way they could have rebuilt their entire army already in such a short amount of time."

"Reserves probably," Yash said thoughtfully. "Stay here, leh'ta. This isn't your battle."

Tuka smiled weakly at him, "If the Imperials attacked Alnus it will be my battle. I'm no stranger to battle, afterall. Besides, whatever fight you're fighting, lai'ta, is mine too."

"Yeah," Yash muttered, "I thought you'd say that. Jeh sa'mim, leh'ta." He gave her a small smile as he said that. Peace follow you, Hunter Sister.

"To you as well, lai'ta," Tuka replied. Yash nodded his head and waved her goodbye before running off towards the Muster Zone. He reached that with just a second tardiness and met up with the rest of Recon-Two, who were preparing to head out with Bravo and Foxtrot Company.

He nodded to Jace, who was preparing to enter the Sea Raven, when Yash caught sight of the black dressed Apostle standing next to him. "She's tagging along with us?" Yash asked in surprise.

"Or you could be tagging along with me," she demurred. "In either case, I have an obligation to be in audience of such a battle." Yash looked to her, and by the way she hefted the Halberd, he wasn't sure she would actually be watching in a typical audience sense. He had never truly witnessed her strength, but Jace had warned him time and time again. Occasionally, he would show Yash his wrist after being dragged along by her and Yash would wince when he noticed the deep bruises. "Bernie also has an understanding with me."

Yash looked at Jace, aghast. "I know, it terrifies me too," Jace said with a shake of his head. "Truly, the machinations of the powers that be are beyond us." For some reason, Rory seem to beam at Jace when he said this and Yash frowned, pulling his chest armor worriedly.

"Indeed. In Pesang we have a saying. 'Let one's path be fraught with hardship, for times of peace shall be ever brighter'."

"Oh?" Rory said with a raised eyebrow, "That resembles the way of the Rurudo. Wisdom, within a certain sense, I agree. Life is not life without strife and violence, yet within that inevitability, there is joy. Without war, there is no peace, and without death, there is no life. Both words only gain meaning when accompanied with the other, for one alone is meaningless, and thus, has no value."

Jace seemed to look at her in amazement, and Yash noted how the man nodded his head. "There's always a light at the end of the tunnel," he agreed, "Of course, sometimes if one fights hard enough, he can make cracks big enough to let some light in."

Rory smirked and nodded her head, her eyes alight with some knowledge Yash didn't know. "Indeed," she agreed.

"I dare not think," Yash muttered, "The extremities of faith and philosophical disputes. I'd rather we focus on the mission."

"Right," Jace muttered. "Apparently Alguna has made an agreement with Italica to send reinforcements, and Anya booked it to Alguna to greet with the current king. Their troops have been dispatched, and Alguna has declared themselves allies of the USG and Italica."

Yash frowned, "That is...unexpected."

"The kings of Alguna have always been impulsive," Rory interjected, "And they've never liked the Empire, even before the Pacification War."

"Pacification War?" Yash asked with a raised eyebrow. Rory frowned thinking back on her long memories.

"It dates further back than I care to remember, but the Empire had been wrought with numerous rebellions. The Legions then began a war to pacify the rebellions, and many traitors fled to Alguna. In response, the Empire launched troops into Alguna after negotiations fell through, and Alguna had to hold back a five year campaign against the Empire," she explained.

"Understandable," Yash replied, "The COG might have responded the same way, depending on who you ask. It's a coin toss really."

"Hopefully that isn't true in the present," Jace frowned. "Enemies are enemies, and we should do what we can to deal with them, but not in the cost of gaining more enemies."

"Some say Aspho Point helped make us gain more enemies than we needed to," Yash retorted. "In either case, circumstances dictate action."

"That's rather obvious," Rory said. "No matter the situation, people will decide on the urgency and necessity of the current situation, and the standards of the Era. It's obvious in that sense." Of course, she was speaking from the knowledge and experience she had gained from her near century of life. To the short-lived like Jace and Yash, her words might be the loudest bullhorn in their faces, but meant very little in their lives, so they discarded it easily.

"We're moving up!" The pilot yelled at the front. "Saddle in, or you will be in for a bumpy ride." With that threat made, the members of Recon-Two buckled into their seats.

0o0o A Tomorrow For Us o0o0

Cole kept his eyes on the front as they made their way across the bloody ground. The further inwards they went, the more Cole realised that the soldiers hadn't been fighting to keep the Skaven out of town, but rather they were trying to keep them in.

All the bodies were positioned facing towards the town, lying on their backs and their faces still full of fear and desperation. Cole had seen plenty of corpses like that before, all of which had never heralded good news for anyone.

"These men are very young," Yao said as she passed the corpses, "Too young to be frank. New recruits, possibly?" She passed by a body, this one only wore half his armor and his entire bottom half was laid bare. It probably led to his death, as his thighs were cut up and torn up even worse than the rest of his body. "Most definitely recruits," Yao said with a frown.

"Aye, I'd agree," Dmitri said as he fiddled with his snub pistol. "The place is starting to get cramped. We may need to exchange our rifles for our sidearms."

"I'm small enough to fit through even with my Gnasher," Sam piped up. "If you need me too, I can take point Clay."

"Nah," Carmine shook his head, "I got it. I can already see an opening up ahead and I think it opens up to a cavern." Cole tried to look over Carmine's shoulder to see, but the place really was a tight fit and all it got for him was a new cut on his brow. "Alright, I'm moving through it now."

Carmine full body then popped out of a hole, his feet now slipping on wet rock as he tried to steady himself. Below him was a raging waterfall, no doubt the river had sunk into some crevice and was now gushing out from an underground opening. Cole popped out next and he marveled a little bit at the crystal lake.

"Man that looks almost good enough to drink," Cole muttered. "Not risking it though, wouldn't went to put my hand in and start tasting blood."

"The blood doesn't seem too strong here," Yao added in, "I don't think you'll have to worry about anything like that."

"Good to know, Baby Queen." Cole nodded his thanks to Yao. She kept her gaze downwards, blinking rapidly at the still confusing nickname. Dmitri gave her a small nudge and she gave him a weak smile when he nodded at her reassuringly.

"You think the town up above built a staircase or even a ladder to get down here?" Sam asked.

"Yup," Carmine said as he pointed to a staircase that led down to the cave floor. "Bodies there too." Cole grimaced but led the way towards the exit with his squad trailing behind.

"You think you could get a message out to Baird?" Cole asked.

Sam shook her head. "Couldn't get it out there, chances are I won't get it in here." She sighed as she stood up next to him. "There's something weird here. From the looks of things, these Skaven got into the Town walls and forced the soldiers to retreat, but funniky enough, where are the Skaven?"

"They might still be on the surface," Yao said, "Or they might have moved on. Tybe Mountain was never their home, you see. They belonged to Vymin Mountain, on Felirusha, but when their transport ships were shot down by Dwarven Galleons, the Skaven were stranded here and had, to their chagrin I might add, changed their name to the Tybe Mountain Skaven."

"Why's that?" Sam asked.

Yao shook her head as she carefully made her way around the side of the water. "Skaven, they don't like other species' you see. They think they're the best, the greatest race ever in existence. At times, that is true. I don't know the details, but the Holy Karsic Empire were at war with them for decades, and it was said that, if the Skaven had been more cooperative with each other, and had they used all their numbers, they would have swathed through the Dwarven holds and took Felirusha as their own. But the reason why the can't work together so well is because they don't trust each other. To them, they are perfect, and everyone around them is trying to undermine them in some way because their jealous."

"Sounds like a fun crowd," Carmine said sardonically. "Here I thought the Locust Queen was as conceited as you could get."

Sam shot Carmine a wry smirk. "I didn't even know you know the word conceited." Carmine made a soft grunt, trying to ignore what she said and failing. Before Cole could interject with his own tease, they heard chittering from above the staircase, and they all dove for cover.

The Gears huddled close together as a small pack of Skaven traveled down the stairs. "Dark manlings," one of them hissed, "They here, I smell 'em." Yao made a soft gasp as she pulled her knees close to her chest. Cole frowned, the word 'Dark manling' could mean anything really whe you put it to context.

"Town too quiet," another hissed. "They know! They know!" This one was brown-furred as opposed to the black-fur of the rest. "Baby bearers and their younglings; no where! Ran! Far; no smell, no hear. They know!"

"Too smart," another Skaven hissed, "What we do? Speak to Screecher? Trap, maybe?"

"Manlings cunning," Brown-fur said, "But Dark manlings more cunning."

"Dark manlings dangerous," one hissed, "They fight, we fight. They run to Tybe mountain to slay us!" Cole didn't miss the way how the Skaven said Tybe; with great disdain.

"No kill Skaven," the biggest black-furred Skaven said, "Skaven better than them, stronger than them. Dark manling die soon enough, Dark manlings will die."

One of the black-furred ones started sniffing the air and Cole feared he might have found them. It turned its head towards Cole inquisitively and Cole tightened his grip on his Lancer. It would be easy to take these ones down, but were there more up the stairs? Would they have ran away from one horde to meet another? It moved towards them and Cole could see Carmine begin to pull out his knife. Then, the Skaven stopped and turned to the stairs.

"Argh," it groaned, "Screecher, calling us. Again? No want no stupid smart Skaven speech."

"No," the brown-furred one said, "Boring, yes. Keh, stupid Screecher." All of the Skaven present seem to agree with him, and with deliberate sluggishness, they made their way up the stairs.

"Eat manlings later," one of their voices echoed in a chidding manner. "Meat no going anywhere."

When they were gone, Delta squad slowly slinked out into the open. "That was...unexpected," Dmitri said with a raised eyebrow.

"What did they mean by 'Dark manling'? The way thy were talking, it didn't seem like they were talking about us," Sam asked.

Yao frowned as she stared at the staircase, "I-I don't know. They call us Dark Elves that when they find us, but, I don't think they were talking about us that time."

"Never thought I'd find racist rats in my life time," Dmitri muttered, "You did well not to panic, fraulein," he complimented Yao. The Dark Elf smiled at him, a little bit shyly, as she dropped to her knee.

"But it's scary though," Yao said, "This is the biggest number of Skaven I've seen in my lifetime. Their Warrior Priests are deadly enough by their own, and they worship Lavish, the god of Suffering and Damnation."

"I thought your god, Hardy, was the god of the underworld, aren't those the same thing? Doesn't Hardy watch over death and all that stuff?" Carmine asked, his eyebrow raised from beneath his helmet.

Yao shook her head, "Hardy reigns over the underworld. But she isn't the one that reigns supreme. Emroy governs over War, Violence, and Death, and deals specifically with the souls of soldiers or those who died violently. Lloydia is the god of Purity and of Unrivaled Devotion, those who died pure of heart and body, as well as having great devotion to Lloydia or to a mortal being while worshipping her, would move towards Lloydia. Hardy rules over Hell, indeed, but hell comes with many sections, and with each Hell comes a counterpart of Heaven. She merely reigns reigns over all Hell, and mediates the travel of souls, deciphering the demands of other gods and imposing her will over her domain."

Carmine had a big question mark over his head, no understanding the complicated religion system but Sam patted his big musclely arm reassuringly. "I'll explain it to you later."

"So what do you say?" Dmitri asked Cole. "Are we heading up?"

"Can't go back," Cole shook his head, "Leads to a dead end, unless you want to clim up a wall."

"So then," Carmine grunted.

"We go up the stairs," Sam said with a raied eyebrow.

"To the Skaven," Yao gulped.

"Damn, good thing I brought extra ammo," Dmitri said dismissively.

Cole nodded his head, a huge grin on his face. "Ain't nothing to be afraid, the Cole Train here's got your back!"

I'm way too tired and stressed out to have a go at making my AN too exuberant. So, yeah, the Gears can whoop the Imperials ass anyday, but the Imperials are based on Roman soldiers, who were some of the most adaptive and modern army at the time. They carried spades, something only the Germans had been able to revolutionize with during WWI with heavy trench warfare. So, yea, they'd get whooped, and yea, they can't give an army of gears a run for their money, but they'd try. Now, I broke up the chaoter here a bit. The next half of this chaoter goes on in the next page. Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I wr it e verything on my phone in google docs, so after like 4000-ish words my phone starts lagging and I have to wait every sentence for my keyboard to catch up. So, yea, you've probably notice my awkward way of cutting up chapter. Sry in advance, if some of you are put off by it.