A rebalance of the game's Bows, Greatbows, Crossbows, and Ballista. As the default game as HORRIBLE scaling for bows, no affinity options, and only a handful of ashes of war for bows; I wanted to broaden that to let the ranged users have a more unique experience.
Active: Hecarim dashes with displacement immunity to the target location and summons 5 spectral riders in an arrow formation that charge alongside him in the target direction, dealing magic damage to all enemies in their path and revealing them for 2.5 seconds.
There was nothing else to take, nothing more to pack. He'd sent the house drones down with a chest of clothes the night before, but now wondered why he'd bothered; he wouldn't need many changes on the warship, and when they got to the GSV he could order anything he wanted. He'd packed a few personal ornaments, and had the house copy his stock of still and moving pictures to the Limiting Factor's memory. The last thing he'd done was burn the letter he'd written to leave with Boruelal, and stir the ashes in the fireplace until they were fine as dust. Nothing more remained.
They were taken there in a groundcar, along broad, tree-lined boulevards lit by tall floodlights. Gurgeh sat in the back of the vehicle with Pequil, who'd been in the car when it arrived at the hotel. A uniformed male drove the car, apparently in sole control of the machine. Gurgeh tried not to think about crashes. Flere-Imsaho sat on the floor in its bulky disguise, humming quietly and attracting small fibres from the limousine's furry floor covering.
The attack on Gurgeh was next. He was amazed when he saw the incident on film. It was over in an instant; a sudden leap, him falling, the drone disappearing upwards, some flashes, Za springing forward out of the crowd, confusion and movement, then his face in close-up, a shot of Pequil on the ground, and another of the dead attackers. He was described as being dazed but unharmed, thanks to the prompt action of the police. Pequil was not seriously wounded; he was interviewed in hospital, explaining how he felt. The attackers were described as extremists.
Taking about half a standard year to complete its circumnavigation, the fire swept over the land, its fringes brushing the shores of the two oceans, its wave-front a near-straight line, its flames consuming the growth of the plants which had flourished in the ashes of the previous blaze. The whole land-based ecosystem had evolved around this never-ending conflagration; some plants could only sprout from beneath the still-warm cinders, their seeds jolted into development by the passing heat; other plants blossomed just before the fire arrived, bursting into rapid growth just before the flames found them, and using the fire-front's thermals to transport their seeds into the upper atmosphere, to fall back again, somewhere, on to the ash. The land-animals of Echronedal fell into three categories; some kept constantly on the move, maintaining the same steady walking pace as the fire, some swam round its oceanic boundaries, while other species burrowed into the ground, hid in caves, or survived through a variety of mechanisms in lakes or rivers.
The cinderbud was a tall, skinny plant which grew quickly once its seeds had germinated; it developed an armoured base and shot up to a height of ten metres or more in the two hundred days it had before the flames came round again. When the fire did arrive, the cinderbud didn't burn; it closed its leafy head until the blaze had passed, then kept on growing in the ashes. After eleven of those Great Months, eleven baptisms in the flames, the cinderbuds were great trees, anything up to seventy metres in height. Their own chemistry then produced first the Oxygen Season, and then the Incandescence.
For a Great Month thereafter the planet, its atmosphere choked with smoke, soot and ash, wavered on the edge of catastrophe as smoke clouds blocked out the sun and the temperature plummeted. Then slowly, while the diminished small fire continued on its way, the atmosphere cleared, the animals started to breed again, the plants grew once more, and the little cinderbuds started sprouting through the ashes from the old root complexes.
'We are glad.' Nicosar nodded slowly. He was still dressed in unrelieved black. His sober dress, small frame and plain face contrasted with the fabulous splashes of colour from the raked windows overhead and the sumptuous clothing of the courtiers. The Emperor put small, ringed hands on the arms of the throne. 'We are, of course, deeply sorry to lose the regard and the services of our Star Marshal, Yomonul Lu Rahsp, especially in such tragic circumstances, but we understand that you had no choice but to defend yourself. It is our will that no action be taken against you.'
Nicosar threw the sword-handle at Gurgeh; a green-yellow field caught it, propelled it back at Nicosar; the Emperor ducked. He staggered across the board in a storm of smoke and swirling leaves. The cinderbuds thrashed; flashes of white and yellow burst from between their trunks as the wall of flames above them beat towards the castle. 59ce067264