Part 51: Battle 25: We, Who Cannot See Into Tomorrow
The Royal Guard
Special Operations Cell
The Next Generation
The Empress Kahna
Alexander, the Usurper, The King of the Holy Dragons, is holed up in his temple with the last of the Dragonites. His defeat is the last obstacle preventing us from returning to Orelus.
Terrain: Alexander's Temple is a simple, broad room with no obstacles or concealment. Avenues of approach and observation are wide open, and key terrain is essentially non-existant. The sole distinguishing feature is a statue of Alexander on the far wall.
Disposition: The enemy have arrayed themselves in three distinct groups, each composed of three heavy assault troops, a detachment of ring commanders, and a medical element. Individually these groups present little threat, but they are positioned for mutual support and will likely converge on any threat that approaches them.
Enemy's most likely/most dangerous course of action: The enemy will most likely wait until we approach, then direct their attacks on a single unit or small group of units in an attempt to inflict whatever casualties they can. During that time, Alexander may or may not intervene in order to aid his bodyguards.
The OFF will conduct a frontal attack on the forces in vicinity of Alexander's Temple in order to destroy the Holy Dragon and liberate Altair from his rule.
Concept of the Operation/Scheme of Maneuver: We will begin our attack by moving directly to remove the immediate threat of the Ring Commanders and Healers in the center group. Once they have been eliminated we will split off and remove the supports from the left and right groups, then work to defeat the heavy assault troops once they concentrate themselves around us. Finally, we will make an assault on Alexander's form and defeat him once and for all.
Alexander's protecters certainly do love their pretty formations. As we began the battle, the only thing keeping Sendak and Yoyo from centering a summon right in the middle of one was how slowly they moved. I had a feeling this wouldn't be a problem for long.
Due to the sheer expansiveness of Alexander's Temple, our human units had some difficulty in getting in to immediate reach of the Ring Commanders... but the dragons kept their attention focused in the right direction.
Since they seemed to have the situation well in hand, my group rushed past and eliminated the Healing Glaives before they could undo any of our hard work.
The enemy's centaurs responded as predicted, although there efforts weren't particularly impressive.
What I did find impressive was a group of Ring Commanders using the Dark Comet spell that our mages were so fond of. I hadn't realized they could do that!
After we had weathered all of the enemy's counter attacks Alexander chimed in with his own. It was both visually and physically impressive.
It also gave away the exact location that we'd have to attack on his image to defeat him.
Sendak and Yoyo took advantage of the enemy's new position to blast them again, while Flammie was on healing duty. Impressively enough, Bahamut managed to reduce a group of healing glaives into a smoking pile of ash in an instant.
Something similar happened a few seconds later as soon as Matelite got within range of his own targets, only with two groups vanishing in a puff of smoke.
The fact that the enemy had decided to surround Clue made it even easier for me to hit all four of them with a Holy Strike. They weren't exactly impressive enemies..
Mist's group finished off the last set of Ring Commanders, leaving us with only the centaurs and Alexander to worry about.
Killing off the centaurs wasn't exactly a terribly difficult task..
Especially when they started self-destructing in order to try and thin our numbers.
Having far more supplies than the enemy, however, this wasn't exactly a winning strategy for them.
As a matter of fact, the last of the enemy's assault troops died in a futile suicide attack against Bikkebakke's group.
With that done, it was time to turn our attention to Alexander... it's hard to think about what to say about that portion of the battle.
His power was impressive, but even then he was only a single enemy.
As we gathered around to deal the final blow, I think that he realized that as well...
30 to 1 isn't good odds, no matter how strong the one might be. We've succeeded as an army, not as individuals... and even against the Granbelos Army we won by simply being better at it than them. Alexander's physical body died at the hands of the Royal Guard.
Matelite had a hard time believing it, even though he'd been there for the end.
The Dragonites had no difficulty in believing it... which is about when things went dramatically south.
As a Holy Dragon, it wasn't exactly possible to kill Alexander outright in such a simple manner as that... and with so many possible host bodies, he was in a perfect position to come right back. We retreated for a moment to the outside of the temple. Sendak once again stated the problem we were facing in a wonderfully concise manner..
Yoyo, however, seemed to have something in mind to deal with him.
Inside the temple... was a horror. Alexander hadn't confined himself to using a single Dragonite to revive. As far as we could tell, he'd used most of them. The result was unsettling to say the least.
Somehow each of his four heads could operate independently, even though three of them were close enough for Bahamut to strike them at once...
But somehow the center head of the forward three was being protected by the rest.
Clue ignored the first three heads and headed for the one in the upper right corner of the temple. It was possible that he sensed something the rest of us didn't..
Mist's group followed after, getting a chance to observe that head's actions at close range. We'd stumbled upon the healing specialist of the four.
That made it our first priority, but there was time to attack the other heads on the way..
After considering the size of the heads, the Royal Guard decided to stay behind and work on the first head they'd encountered. It might also have been sheer stubbornness.
Each of the heads turned out to be specialized. The bottom head used status and death magic..
While the center group utilized variants of the summon magic that Yoyo and Sendak used. The only thing it didn't seem capable of duplicating was Bahamut.
The top head appeared to have access to all the most powerful attacks that our dragons utilized.
Of them all, for the most part the status changing affects were the most annoying.
Although it took a bit, with a bit of concentrated power we were able to finish off the healing head. One down, three yet to go.
Now that we didn't have to worry about healing, splitting our forces seemed to be a better bet to destroy the other two heads more quickly.
It's possible that this slowed us a bit and put our forces at risk, but there was something satisfying about striking at both heads at once.
As a special note, the upper head even had access to the original Alexander's favorite close range attack.
Matelite and the Royal Guard were able to finish off the top head first, owing to their previous efforts. Halfway to the goal... more or less.
The center head was as of yet undamaged, but the dragons couldn't bring themselves to ignore it. A lot of effort was wasted that way.
Compared to the other two heads, the penultimate head was a tougher nut to crack. Even though it specialized in status magic, it could also use Heaven's Judgement against us.
It fell eventually, however, and along with it the barrier that had been preventing us from taking out Alexander's central head.
Surrounding the final head we attacked mercilessly.
Alexander was weakened...
On the verge of death, with attack after attack raining down on it...
When it came down to the moment, there was only one way to end it.