Now that they had reached the enemy necromancers- and those guarding them- Barrett’s job was to split off and defend their flank and rear. Half of the Immortal Berserkers- the three on either end- were assigned to this job. Thus, Barrett, Owen, and the Yvonne to Barrett’s left were guarding the right flank and half of the rear- though most of those directly behind them were still trying to pick themselves up off the ground.
The duelists from the Order of Four Winds moved through the gap in the Immortal Berserkers. They slipped past the slow iron golems and dodged under the poleaxes of the warriors, only to be blocked by an invisible barrier. Invisible to normal senses anyway- however, it was clearly a barrier made of energy projected by the almost unnoticed energy cultivators.
That immediately threw off their plans to kill the necromancers as quickly as possible, but if all plans worked so smoothly there would have been little point in training. The duelists immediately turned back on the warriors they were now behind, as the Immortal Berserkers moved in on the iron golems. Although there were a dozen iron golems and only half that many Immortal Berserkers facing them, the one extra in the form of Mistress Abels made all the difference. Iron golems could be a match in combat for a second tier cultivator, and they could hold off a third tier cultivator for a long time with their durability. However, against a fifth tier cultivator… the sound of metal deforming immediately came into play as one of them had its head crushed into its chest, Mistress Abel’s great hammer clearly responsible.
Barrett found himself facing off against regular soldiers and first tier cultivators, a half dozen or more at a time. Though he would have preferred to let them live since they didn’t have much choice about where the army went, he couldn’t afford to hold back. He had to chop cleanly through them to deal with their numbers, swiping several at a time with his axe. Next to him, Barrett hear Yvonne roar- an intimidation tactic made all the more effective by the dozens of bodies in front of the three from only the last handful of seconds. Barrett hadn’t really trained in intimidation techniques much, but he could yell. Owen did as well, and their side found themselves in a temporary standoff. At the very least, the enemy had to pick their way through the bodies if they wanted to fight them… and nobody seemed eager to be the first.
Then Barrett felt something. His magical senses weren’t extremely practiced, but he had a strong personal memory of the current feeling. “Yvonne, Owen, can you hold them here?”
“Even if they were without end…” Owen answered confidently. Barrett doubted that he could actually fight them forever- but he had no doubt that Owen could take out a good few hundred at least before having any issues. The army wasn’t facing off against just them, so it would have to do. Yvonne just roared again, but that sounded like an affirmative to Barrett.
Not that Barrett had waited for their answers. The necromancers were already casting curses, and Barrett had at least something he could do about it. As he ran, he slapped a talisman of his own crafting onto his shield. The closest targets to the necromancers were the duelists, who could sense the magic behind them. They dodged out of the way of the spells, some of which ended up hitting the remaining warriors behind them. Perhaps there would have been no warriors remaining at all if they hadn’t had to worry about an attack from behind, but they’d kept their guard up for this very reason.
The curses that missed didn’t just dissipate, their invisible forms twisted and turned through the air, coming around for another pass. Barrett charged through one of the remaining iron golems, bowling it over with his shield. He didn’t have the time to spare to chop it to pieces. He managed to block a curse for one of the duelists who was stuck fighting one of the warriors. Because of him, they didn’t have to choose between dodging a poleaxe or a curse.
Barrett pulled out another talisman. He didn’t have that much mana total, but the good thing about talismans was they used much less mana to activate compared to creating them. Perhaps a third. That meant instead of being able to block one or two curses he could block five or six. He couldn’t completely negate second tier or higher curses… but that was ones at full power. Barrett could feel the difference in not only type of curse but how long it had been prepared. Victoria had been waiting for him for a while, and hadn’t rushed- but these necromancers had not been ready to fight, instead intending to move forward raising dead bodies as temporary zombies.
In another few moments, the remaining warriors and iron golems were downed- everyone in the strike team was third tier or higher, while the warriors were only second tier. The iron golems were capable of standing up to third tier enemies, but Immortal Berserkers were specialized in destruction… and Mistress Abels was fifth tier. She had taken out half of them on her own.
Barrett could feel another round of curses being prepared behind the energy barrier. He wasn’t an expert at judging the tier of necromancers, but most of them should have been second tier at best… but one was strong enough to possibly be third tier. As their attacks went out, Barrett moved forward to block that one. His talismans couldn’t stand up to the power of a third tier curse, if they were any good at their job… but there was a reason he had attached it to his shield and not himself. He angled his shield to deflect the curse down and to the side, instead of facing it head on. Half of the curse’s energy bled off as it moved along the shield, but it didn’t break through. Of course, his talisman was left devoid of mana, but that didn’t matter. Mistress Abels was already at the energy barrier, along with the rest of the squad- except those still guarding the flanks.