And so it came to be, that Kaysa would come to retake the elfhame. With a roar of fury and anger at her previous defeat she sent her elven forces surging toward the palace. The roar of allosaurs echoed throughout the woods, matched only by berserker battle cries. Soon they had reached the outskirts of the palace. Into a clearing filled with broken trees they charged - and directly into the line of sight of numerous opposing archers and ballistae. Amongst the mess of what were once trees, their charge was slowed enough to devastate the front ranks over the distance.
Just as Kaysa reached tree cover on the other side, her forces were met with spears and wolves bursting from the undergrowth. Having already lost the brunt of the charge, the rest of the elves promptly routed. Kaysa was left alone and helpless before the Phelddagrif, the only option, to bow her head and offer her unconditional surrender.
The ol’ Evincar, or the other version of Crovax, happily pried open his massive Steam Beast, sat within, and wandered off in search of a body of water in which to park it. At this point however, he happened to be sitting within a forest, and to ensure that no one would want to build any siege weapons from the close enough to trees, he set about setting them alight as he went. Afterall, there is no shortage of oil, coal, and various burning things in the Steam Beast. Try as he might however, finding a body of water quite big enough for such a massive thing to sit in the middle of proved harder that originally anticipated. On the plus side, and quite accidentally, it meant that when the Child of Alara turned up, instead of standing in Phyrexia’s ‘water,’ it is was standing in flame.
This proved quite the bother for Phyrexia as they wished to bind the legs together with cable and rope to make it fall over. Not so foolish as to attack head on or run straight into fire, they choose to hang back, which gave the Evincar time to happily continue his wandering for water. So it was that Crovax went for a stroll while Phyrexians followed.
After days of wandering with the wind growing ever stronger, a lake of suspected sufficient size was found. Yet, this was just what Phyrexia was waiting for. By this time, not only had much of the forest been removed, but as the Steam Beast entered the waters there were no things in the way of Phyrexia's attack. Thus the Child ordered a strike; Phyrexia rushed the raised legs as it stepped into the waters. As expected, the tying each set of legs together trick of AT Walker fame was only partially successful given the forces involved. What it did achieve was to disrupt the creature’s footing for a moment as the body (weighted down with additional units within) continued forward with momentum and wind. The slope of the shore sent it plummeting ‘headfirst’ into the waters. Everything within not holding on were scattered throughout the innards. Internal boilers were disrupted and waters rushed into the beast. Quite unexpectedly, the Evincar found his units confounded, and at the mercy of Phyrexians pouring through the gap he not so long ago made so his units could enter.
Nicol quickly descended upon Ish Sah, within moments the outside was in his complete control. Mostly because there were no enemies there, but that’s beside the point. From there he made sure to reinforce his position, removing any pesky zombies - and the occasional goblin - from the surrounding lands. Then keeping careful watch above, it was time to enter.
Through the hole that Urabrask had made in his initial taking, Nicol sent small groups of his forces. Nullstone Gargoyles cheerfully absorbed the encroaching sound of a maddening hymn, but then disfigurations marred the metal of their compatriots. As Coalitioners reeled from the magical assault, bolts and flame rained down from above. Then while distracted, parasites concealed beneath the floor burst forth to tear into their weakened prey. The first assault was repelled.
The next groups were more fortunate as the enemy tactics had been revealed, together with ever fewer magics to send forth. So with confidence they entered once more, and some took the opportunity to advance behind the fake walls - where various traps forced them to advance really slowly. The others continued over their dead fellows into the throne room. This time, they were smothered with molten slag from tormentors, then with the resulting disruption, again suffered rain from above and parasites from below. And so, the second assault too was seen off.
Thus, a third and final attempt was made, this time Nicol threwing all his units through the makeshift entrance into the very heart of Ish Sah. Urabrask had already spent his equalises upon the first waves, and now had to face all of the enemy at once. From above flame, projectiles, and everything he could get his hands on fell upon his foes, while from below parasites, zombies, and goblins threw themselves at the enemy ranks to slow them down and hold them back. Yet against Nicol's full might, Urabrask was no longer able to contain the Coalition and pick them off in weakened bits. Forced to retreat he fled behind the fake walls - where he met the remnants of the second wave picking their way through traps. It wasn't exactly pretty.
Well, it was quite a given that Mirri had no chance of victory, the only thing for it was to see how much damage she could do before going down. To achieve this end she went to find a mountain cave, in the Mephidross swamp, quite far from Mirrodin’s mountainous areas in fact. In the end, she had to make do with a necrogen smokestack instead (which on the plus side is full of necrogen gas). Meanwhile, the Spirit of the Night was combing the swamps for her forces. Each ‘day’ he made camp and searched a segment of swamp, advancing to new areas bit by bit as moons set.
Eventually, Mirri was found, tucked away in her little hideaway. Into the breach Phyrexians charged fully intending to use their size and strength to crush their foes. Eventually breaking through was inevitable, even with Mirri's venoms wearing down the demons. But in the end, Mirri was forced to concede dominion of Mirrodin's swamps to Phyrexia. At least before she returned to their fold she could be pleased in that she put up a good fight.
Skullbriar marched quickly toward Dodsfall behind a screen of goblins, but Savra was not keen on waiting around in what was left of the place and went out to meet him in the barren wastes of the desert instead. The Coalition arranged their forces in the air above Skullbriar and prepared a single massive strike from multiple angles. Skullbriar did his best to hit the spread havoc demons as they descended, but this left his centre free to be bashed by carnifex demons. Then while those units were reeling, the rest of the Coalition hacked into the zombie ranks. It was simply not an engagement that the Walking Grave could really hope to win. Instead, he and his forces have joined the ranks of the dead buried amongst the sands, and woe betide those who met them next time.
Of the many ways to win, there are also many ways to lose. One of these is when the commander comes down with some sort of freakish alien cold.
In any case, the armies did not wish each other any time to prepare and both quickly charged into battle. On Bladewing’s side, dracoplasms formed the front leading a force of phoenixes intending to smash straight through. Chromium had gargoyles in the lead with the desire to be weights on his foe’s strongest units while the others attacked the flanks, . For any normal engagement, Chromium’s superior tactics would have won the day. But Chromium was bedridden that day, then things went downhill from there.
Dracoplasms and phoenixes slammed into the Coalition front, the gargoyles were still having trouble arranging themselves into the proper formation as the squadron leader received his orders upside down. Then as Phyrexians broke through, they passed between flanking Coalition forces who missed their cue and had to scramble to engage. All the same, they managed to inflict light loses - until Phyrexia turned around to go through again. At which point, someone (wisely they are not speaking up) panicked and called for a retreat.
In an effort to distract the other and prevent access to Taj-Nar, both armies made sure to engage with the bulk of their forces upon the open plains. Not actually Animar, because that is another army’s commander resulting from various typos so we’ll pretend it is actually Kemba, cunningly took the opportunity gained from the distraction to send her loxodons out to capture the city under the cover of rain. Anticipating this, Mishra was sure to maintain a high level of scouting with units assigned to go out and intercept anything attempting such a manoeuvre. Making the most of his units’ capacities for temporary speed, he sent a contingent to chase down his foes and ensure Taj-Nar remained empty.
Out upon the plains. Half of Mishra’s force was off chasing elephants leaving him sorely outnumbered. On the other hand, Kemba lacked access to her strongest forces. Fortunately instead she had healers to ensure her forces could remain fighting far longer than her opponent. Aerial leonin forces charged into oncoming avengers and artisans that formed the backbone of Mishra’s line. As the leonin charge made headway, hornets surged throughout the ranks to sting and immobilise their foes. To top it off, flowstone cannonballs joined the rain in falling from above.
All the same, Kemba fought with the fury of the desperate. Even then, she was in a position to wear down her foes over time, if not through numbers then through attrition. As the initial engagement stabilised, the tides of battle shifted to the leonin. That is, until the fate of those loxodons was discovered in the rest of Mishra’s force returning. Acolytes warned of the coming pain, but with their fellows already engaged, they could do naught but watch. To save her own life and those of her followers, Kemba was forced to admit defeat. Thus it came to be that Taj-Nar became a Coalition protectorate.
The Ultimus made sure to set up a tough defensive form designed specifically to ‘wash’ and repel stai… plague. While it did not involve pretending to be a giant washing machine nor dressing up in firefighter costumes, perhaps that would have been appropriate. Anyway! Balthor wasn’t keen on fighting on direct terms and set about covering everywhere with plague. Now, this of course proved a very bad idea for the very reason of the Ultimus’ giant washing machine (removing plague from creatures and dissolving it in water with all new CD brand technology!).
When it came time to attack, Balthor was anticipating a foe weakened from plague, but the Ultimus was still relatively fresh desiring a fight out in the open. As a result, things could have gone rather better for Phyrexia. As plague-bound units charged, the plague soaked waters of the Ultimus were discharged via what could be said to be precursors to high pressure hoses. Thus kept at range and soaked with their own disease Phyrexia's attack faltered. To keep up the pressure, roil elementals got to have lots of fun in taking and ‘exploding’ units, while even the weakened Phyrexians got ‘exploded’ on their own merits. All the time however, the plague was kept safely away from the elemental critters. With his current tactics Balthor found himself completely unable to disrupt the aquatic menace, he could even barely close with them. Thus, quite thoroughly hosed, he was forced to flee.
In the skies above Kuldotha a storm was forming. Gale force winds buffeted the structure and flight became decidedly difficult, even for the large dragons. This did not stop them from attempting it however. But instead of long sweeping flights, they were forced to resort to shorter controlled hops at best. In any case, the dragons begun by thoroughly charring the outer edges of the building. The daredevil’s present didn’t last too long and thus cleared, the dragons began their slow arduous climb up the side of Kuldotha. They then found out where the other daredevils were hiding when they did one of the many things that goblins do well. Plummet at high speed with sharp things. While many daredevils spent their lives in the process, they did take a good chunk of Numot’s larger dragons with them.
Not all the fighting was outside however. As large dragons ascended the building, pit dragons swept through the doorways into waiting phoenixes. The ferocity of the pit dragons and their greater agility in ground based fighting gave them enough of an edge to slowly push their way through.
Things were still going well for Slobad however, he had carefully left the upper peak open just enough to restrict dragons coming in (and the rain too) so to more easily fill them with arrows as they came down. It was not so good when pit dragons from below ended up coordinated with the larger dragons coming down from above. With the defenders’ attention diverted they were unable to prevent Numot from forcing the peak open further. At which point, rain, flame, and dragons came pouring in.
By the end of the day, countless lay dead and wounded within the Great Furnace. It was a costly assault, but, all the same, it was the dragons who remained within Kuldotha.
From far in the distance Jor set up a defensive line and built behind it a mass of catapults, all trained toward Sytherain. Tahngarth, not to be left out, got some catapults of his own too. It looked set for a ranged battle of siege weapons. As Coalition scouts flew in to check the positions of the various structures and state of enemy units, they found themselves bashed to pieces by volleys of grapeshot and arrows smashing through their fragile bodies. Of course, the information would have been very useful for Jor, but not immediately necessary. Thus, he retaliated by firing at the factory with a degree of blindness instead. Tahngarth was soon faced with a slight problem, his catapults were using grapeshot, great for picking off units, not so much for dealing with opposing siege weapons. Jor however, was happily pounding the walls and buildings within, relatively safe from the terrors lurking within the junk pile.
For days this continued, Jor reducing the better part of the western side to rubble at minimal cost to himself. The ranged assault continued even as the smog bank rolled in. Then as the Phyrexian version of night fell, he struck.
Leaving a token force behind to make it appear that the bombardment was continuing, the remainder of Jor's forces marched toward the newly opened walls. As expected, there were necropedes hiding within the junk pile to add to the native inhabitants. But concealed by smog, darkness, and the continued sound of the bombardment, there was simply too few at any point to make a dent in the Coalition advance. Then before Tahngarth could properly react, Jor was at his walls.
Dragonbreath cut a swathe of flame, followed quickly by sentinels filing through. Arrows and projectiles flew from what remainder of the walls while the rest of Tahngarth’s forces arrived to reinforce the front. Yet, as they left their positions, this granted Jor’s blademasters the opportunity to stealthily slip in while attention was distracted. Then erupting from the darkness at Tahngarth's rear, the already battered defenders were quickly overwhelmed.