The war goes on, as the forces of the evil Empire continue to press the human invaders with their mages and dragons. The humans have a limited time frame to use their technology, so it's use it or lose it.
The adventure continues. Millions of Earth humans are transported to a world of magic and are in the fight for their lives against an evil Ellala Elf Emperor who sees them as soul energy to extend his life as a lich. But the forces of NATO have brought their weapons along, and it's tanks against wizards, attack helicopters against dragons, nuclear weapons against elder Gods. The technology of Earth will only work for a short period of time on the new world, due to the laws of Refuge finally overwhelming the beliefs of the newcomers. So it's use it or lose it, and the humans, under the command of United States Major General Zachary Taylor, use it with a vengeance. And the humans have brought along allies unlike an seen on Refuge in recent memory. Immortals of great physical power and an immunity to magic. Centenarian Kurt von Mannerheim, a veteran of the slaughter on the Eastern Front of World War Two. Ismael Levine, the Wandering Jew of legend, born prior to Christ. And newcomers, the American Jackie Smith, and the giant Brit Paul Mason-Smythe. Will they be enough to tilt the balance? Or will the humans have traded the nightmare of a nuclear ravaged world for one in which dark Gods prey on their souls? Allies will be gathered, and new enemies made, as technology fights magic in an effort to gain time and space for the forging of a new kingdom.
“Son of a bitch,” exclaimed Captain George Burns, looking at the fortress through his field glasses. He had thought, looking at it in the darkness before the dawn, silhouetted by the moonlight, that it seemed menacing. Dark and foreboding. But he figured that in the light of day it would look like any other medieval fortress he had ever seen.
But the stonework looked like nothing he had ever seen or imagined. Like basalt, black and glassy, with no joinings. It looked like it had been carved out of one single piece of rock. How, he didn’t know. But it had to be something beyond what he knew about stonework. Not, he admitted, that he had known much about stonework. But in this world he might have to learn.
“Men are all in position,” said the man beside him, the senior NCO, hooked up to the command trac’s communication system. “We’re ready when you are.”
The captain looked again at the fortress, thinking about what might be inside. It was the size of the large fort he had seen in Wuzburg. The one that held a king and his court in Renaissance times. Which meant it could probably hold a couple of thousand troops, including mounts for cavalry.
“I heard this is one of their Imperial Forts,” said the first sergeant, Herb Garcia. “Home of their first line troops, and not their levies.”
“That’s why we need to take it out,” said the captain, nodding. “And it controls one of the valleys we’re sure to need for our establishment on this planet. As well as that fine road we came on.”
And they have to know we’re here, thought Burns, sweeping the glasses over the battlements and noting the presence of armored men marching their rounds. Some of his men had run into patrols on their way here. They had taken out everyone they could account for, which didn’t mean some hadn’t gotten away. Or that messages hadn’t been sent to the fortress by some incomprehensible means.
“On my command, open fire,” Burns said to his top sergeant, who was standing there, headphones on his head as he looked out at the fortress.
The reinforced mechanized company should have no problem killing the natives. He had his fourteen APCs covering every approach to the fortress with their auto cannon, their dismounted infantry under cover closer to the structure with machine guns, auto rifles and rocket launchers. His three 120mm mortars were prepped and in range, while his attached platoon of four Abrams tanks were leveled and ready to fire. But his biggest surprise for the fort, the battery of four attached Paladin SP guns, would open the barrage.
“There’s one of them damned dragons,” called a voice over the net.
Burns cursed yet again as he focused the glasses on the large winged form that appeared on the wall. He estimated the scale from the small figure on its back, and thought that it was only the size of a couple of elephants. The creature screamed at the sky and leapt into the air. As soon as it gained height a couple of other shapes jumped after it, then two more, followed by a single, until there were six of the monsters circling the fortress.
“Wizards and dragons,” mumbled the captain, shaking his head. “Two of the things that can kill our vehicles. Wizards and dragons.
“Top,” he said in a low voice to the NCO next to him. “Get on the horn and see if we can get some choppers up here. And see if our Linebackers can get a good firing solution on those beasts.” He only had two of the specialized Bradley AA tracs, and wished he had more. Hell, everyone wishes they had more of everything, he thought. That’s true of all military operations. But we’re like the Russians at Stalingrad. We have what we have, and it behooves us to make the most of it.
“They look like they’re looking for something,” said one of the platoon leaders over the net.
“Yeah, us,” answered another.
The captain felt the sweat working its way down his brow, even in the cool of the brightening morning. They were going to attack any moment, and copter support wouldn’t get here for at least a half an hour. And he wasn’t willing to wait that long.
“This is Burns,” he said, pulling his own headphones on. “Change of order. Artillery is to set fuses to go off two hundred meters over the target. Time on target of four rounds each. Linebackers take the dragons under fire with all missiles or until all of the dragons are down. All auto weapons to target the dragons as well. Tanks go for targets of opportunity. Everything but artillery wait for the air bursts. Artillery open up on my command. Acknowledge”
Burns looked up at the monsters, which seemed to be widening their circle over the fortress as the acknowledgements came over the circuit. He waited a half minute for fuses to be set, and then keyed his mike.
“Fire,” he ordered over the circuit, then waited for the result. Twenty kilometers away, in another valley, the four Paladins fired their first rounds, arching them high into the air. Auto loading systems pushed the next round into the barrel even as those barrels were lowering elevation. Second rounds fired, third rounds loaded as the barrels dropped again. Fourth and final rounds loaded as the barrels dropped again, then recoiled as they sent the 155mm shells into the sky.