Open Chronicles Ink On Paper...

Ynsidia

"...Does my head grow rope?"
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There was no good outcome to what she had done. A moment of blind rage over the 'target'. If it had been the typical, arrogant, perverse noble's son abusing his power, Ynsidia would have been more than happy to have summoned the Ink Giant and club fist beat him to death with a certain satisfaction.

But no...

The target was a child. A noble's child, and the noble himself was an honest, largely righteous man. No wonder why his fellow nobles wanted the pressure put on him, but killing his youngest child was a bit more than overkill. Ynsidia understood that killing was necessary, often filthy work, but left in a moral, or unprincipled back draft is what made you a true murderer.

Regardless, she loosed the Ink Giant on the man who paid her, wrecking the front of his manor, killing several guards, and all but mutilating an entire stable of his prized horses before her Conjure was shot into oblivion by several volleys of bolts delivered by marksmen with crossbows. One little emotional indiscretion. She was allowed that. And it allowed her not to compromise one of her few principles. Don't target children. But now it put her squarely in the sights of Maddigan Dol Costa. An unforgiving man who wasn't about to forget what she did to his domicile, and thoroughbreds; he likely didn't care about the guards she smashed...

Vel Anir was big enough to hide in, but not for long. As confident as she normally was with a full jar or pot of Ink, Ynsidia was well aware that the city itself was not her turf. She also didn't have any Ink handy to enchant a familiar out of. She had a Rapier, and a year's worth of dueling lessons.

If she didn't leave town quick, she was a dead girl for sure.

Threading her way through alleyways, some potato sacks cut, and cast loosely about her easily recognizable garments, Ynsidia sidled the walls of buildings and lurked about the refuse. If she survived the day, she would be bird free. The nobles wouldn't let Maddigan kill her as she was to be sent to the Blightlands on a fact finding mission about some 'misty fog bank' of peculiar qualities.

They would call him off of her, but only with enough time for cooler heads to prevail, and Maddigan had to be brazier hot right now!

She shifted mid step going around a corner, spinning about face drawing her sword at a sound of footfalls not her own.

"Who's there?!"
 

Tian

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"Just a little sparrow, availing himself of this fine vantage point," a voice replied, but not from down the alley, but from up high. A male voice, smooth and low and tinged with some certain degree of amusement.

The owner of the voice sat upon the eaves of a building two stories up, idly rolling a throwing knife across the back of his knuckles as if he didn't have a care in the world. And perhaps he didn't. After all, he had the high ground here, and the initiative beside. The girl had not been very hard to trail, keeping to the high places as was his wont. If she was an assassin, well, she was very new to the game. In fact, she looked more like a child than an adult.

What has this world come to?

The stranger sat with legs dangling over the edge, thick soled boots of black leather to match the black leather leggings and leather vest, with a black cowl over the top of his head. His face was cast in deep shadow, such that only the lower jaw was visible, and what was visible was curled in a look of patent amusement. The man gave off the impression of an assassin or the like, especially with the heavy bladed knives at either hip, both dulled with lamp black to keep from gleaming, although a lot of that had worn off since the last time he had applied it.

"That was a neat bit of work you did back there," he continued in a friendly voice that indicated it could become very unfriendly if he was pushed to it. "Do you have any idea how much money I was being paid to investigate that man? Then you go and smash the place up with your McGuffin, and ruin at least an hour and a half of preparation work!" That was a bald faced lie. Tian's plan was as it always was: walk straight in, zero fucks given, and do whatever it was he needed to. At least, unless it was something important, and a gold coin for information was barely even worth the former assassins' time, truth to tell.

"Mind explaining to me what you were doing there, pigeon?" The tone was dripping with derision, and it was difficult to tell if it was in good nature or not.
 

Ynsidia

"...Does my head grow rope?"
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"Great..."

She thought to herself, regarding the perched, possibly predatory individual armed clearly better than herself. She couldn't really fight him under present circumstances. She would have to keep conversation going, and figure out what she was dealing with...he seemed old somehow in a way she couldn't quite put her finger on. Something in the voice reminded her of her master, The Conjurer. She was sure her instructor in the arts of bloodletting animation was ancient, but she never saw under the hood to know that for sure either.

Of note though was that her interrogator was very much that, interrogating. He wanted to talk.

Why not talk?

"I am not accustom to explaining myself to the crows and gulls squawking on the ledges while looking for the children's' breadcrumbs..."

She started with a bit of bravado.

"I prefer to speak with my fellow pigeons on the ground and share the morsels with them as birds of a flock ought to."

And to show an act of good faith, she sheathed the Rapier. Arms open wide, she troubled her fingers, beckoning the man into the alleyway with her.
 

Aldren Cordale

Templar, Monster Hunter
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The blonde mare moaned as the sun burned yet hotter that day. The journey had been long and exhausting but at least the end was near. Or so Aldren thought. He carefully caressed the hairy side of his faithful steed's head, calming her as they drew closer to their destination - Vel Anir.

And after some more minutes of quite slow galloping that never seemed to end, Aldren whistled at the sight of those mighty gates. It had been far too many years since he last laid eyes upon them. Actually, he only had been to that wonder of a city just once as part of a special training drill for the new recruits in the Edenham military units. Those walls hadn't changed a bit, but they stood tall and defiant as the giants from those crazy fantasy books he used to read.

He slowly trekked into the gates with Helen, his mare, coming to a stop on a nearby stable. Immediately greeted by a stablehand, he left Helen in his good cares, along with a few coins and a smile. Aldren bade his companion farewell before grabbing a leather bag with his sword strapped to and took a quick sip from his canteen.

'I would do well to visit a tavern. Maybe even hear a story or two about some monsters that need hunting'. He thought to himself as he walked through those crowded streets, full of civilians and guards alike. He was never really good with his memory, and in his defense, the interior of the city actually changed a bit over the years, but he did remember a cozy little tavern that he hanged around in his soldier days.

But as he made his way to a rather empty alley, he could hear the quickened footsteps from around the corner. It felt like a small army coming his way by their pace, but young man ended up disappointed with the outcome. Three lousy, smackheaded guards in uniforms he never seen before. 'Mercenaries?', Aldren thought.

The men came to a halt as they saw that imposing figure clad in knight armor in front of them, and after a moment of hesitation, finally drew their swords. "Oi! 'e must be with that girl! After 'im!", one of the grunts shouted as they rushed to a quite stupid decision. Aldren took his sword from the sheath in his pack and passed to his right hand with ease, waiting for the first strike. He met the mercenary's steel with his own, sending him backwards a bit and punching in his stomach. The man fell on his knees and got booted to the face.

The other mercenaries went cold with the sight they beheld and almost considering dropping their swords and running. But they were getting paid, and coins can be more persuasive than the threat of a inevitable death. Aldren decided to make his own move this time, quickly closing the distance between him and the other mercenaries, hitting one of them with the hilt of his sword and then taking blood from the other's right leg with a quick and expert swing of his blade. The men fell to the ground together and Aldren considered finishing what had been started but voices nearby alarmed him.

Aldren punched the screaming and bloodied mercenary and went back to grab his bag, then ventured to the nearby alley to see what was actually going on with that mad city.
 

Mischa Ven'rohk

Betrayer. Oathbreaker.
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A long journey.

Down the Bystra and Sayve Rivers. Through the Allirian Strait. And into Alliria itself. A shock, much like when she first laid eyes on Bhathairk, when she saw it. A great many buildings. Made of wood and stone and other materials she couldn't readily identify. Humans. Throngs of them. Many taller than she was.

For a few days, she wandered in the city. Lost. She sold the spoils she'd taken from a small group of aggressive humans with a dwarf. She'd no idea as to their value, but the merchant seemed happy with the trade. City-dwellers and their coins. They coveted them. She only needed enough to purchase fresh meat to eat. She tried sleeping in the streets, but the guards kept rousing her, unlike in Bhathairk. Told her to move along, or to find an 'inn'. An odd thing. These inns. Humans and others actually traded the trinkets they valued so they could be locked in a room to fall sleep. She had to pay extra after breaking the lock on her door.

And finally, It sent a vision. As Mischa walked past a gathering of humans and horses and wagons in a bustling market, she overheard one of them say 'Vel Anir'. And the Great Holy One filled her heart with a feeling of camaraderie, of joy. Yes. To this 'Vel Anir'. That is where It desired her to go. The purpose unclear, but the destination manifest.

Mischa approached the humans. Asked if she could get a ride in exchange for defending them against 'pirates', as she had to earn her boat ride down the rivers. The humans laughed, and the one in charge said that they didn't need to worry about pirates. Just bandits and raiders. All the same. Still, they all seemed puzzled that she didn't want payment in coins, but hired her on regardless.

She sat in the back wagon. Along with the others who offered to fight in exchange for coins. They were called mercenaries. Sellswords. But neither of the two dwarves among them carried a sword. Sellaxes. She didn't want to look at the elf among them. No. She hated him. Every time he smiled and showed his teeth.

And the caravan set off for Vel Anir. At a brisk pace along the roads, it would take them some forty days to reach it, the lead human said.

* * * * *​

They almost did.

The caravan made good time. Stopping only briefly for rest and restocking in the small villages and towns that dotted the long road straddling the line between Falwood and the Aberresai Savannah. The mercenaries enjoyed these stops. Got up and stretched. Went to places called 'taverns' and came out dizzy and stupid. Their complacency was astounding. The caravan leader stopped trying to discourage them after the second time. Just let them continue with their fool's errand. All for the better, perhaps. If they were attacked, it just meant there'd be more foes for Mischa to kill.

The mercenaries didn't talk much. Not the first day. And Mischa enjoyed the quiet calm of the ride. But after the first stop and the first time the lot of them went into one of those taverns, not a moment went by without them talking among one another. She couldn't escape their banter. Annoying at first, the loudness and brashness of it, with the slapping of hands on knees and big, flourishing gestures as they told their tales and made their jokes. But she got used to it.

The two dwarves were brothers. Fed up with Belgrath and the work-a-day life they lived there. And so they had dropped their smithy hammers and took up their axes and set out on the open road in search of adventure. A human with a fuzzy patch of hair on his upper lip and an eyepatch said he actually was a pirate once. Said his ship was sunk by a sea monster and ever since he'd refused to get on another, so he took to being a land-based sellsword. The second human, called 'Blondie' because of the color of his long hair, talked of his sexual escapades in Elbion. Almost always ended his stories by saying, "And that's how I made the magic happen!" The third human, whose size and bulk made him look like a pale-skinned, tuskless orc to Mischa, stroked his long beard as he smoked his pipe. He nodded along with the stories of the others, chuckled at their jokes, and offered up advice and war stories, like an old warrior from her tribe.

And the elf. She saw him from time to time. Looking her way. Immediately averting his gaze when caught, his face flushing. He partook in the telling of tales and the joking and he, as it turned out, was an excellent hunter. A deadshot with his bow, even from a moving wagon. The mercenaries and caravaneers all ate well on the nights he felled an antelope or a deer.

Three days out from Vel Anir. And it happened.

The road to Vel Anir cut through Falwood some. Trees all about them. Shafts of sunlight through the canopy above. Quiet, save for the song of birds. They never saw the raiders until it was too late.

They sprang from behind the crest of a hill and from behind trees on the other side of the road. Charging the caravan from two sides. Mischa and the other six mercenaries scrambled into action. A pitched battle, close and frantic. The horses reared up and shrieked with fright, even more so whenever Mischa unleashed the Holy Fire. The cries of the wounded and dying on both sides. Mischa and the mercenaries were more heavily armed and armored, more skilled on average, than the raiders, but were outnumbered.

Calm descended at last. The last raider, fallen to the hard-packed dirt of the road. Only Mischa and the elf were left standing.

The elf, panting, a splatter of blood across his face, looked to her. Bright blue eyes, the likes of which she'd not seen before. Beautiful, in a way. He dropped his bow and stumbled over to her and hugged her. Laughing in joy and disbelief.

"We did it!" he said. "We did it, Mischa! We're still here!"

He stepped back from her and turned around placed his hands on his hips, still panting and looking back over the field of bodies in the road. He remarked on how lucky they were.

And Mischa walked to him and ran her sword through his back and out his chest. Ripped it back out. The sawteeth dragging muscle and scraps of innards along with it. He dropped to the road. The spark of life in his blue gone. And Mischa took the elf's dagger and opened his mouth and worked the blade in and carved out one of his little elven teeth. She opened up the traveling pack she carried and took out the small pouch at the bottom of it and opened it up. Inside, five more teeth. From the small group of aggressive humans with the lone dwarf. And she dropped in the elf's tooth.

She left the battlefield. Took nothing from the wagons and took no more teeth. Just the trophy from the elf.

And she walked the rest of the way to Vel Anir.

* * * * *​

An imposing city. Vel Anir. Like a monument to might itself. Mischa could respect that. Even if it was stationary.

She had some trouble getting in. The guards on duty at the massive gates, despite having let in a wave of humans before her, approached her and stopped her. Questioned her for a long time. They didn't even believe she was an orc at first. One of the guards kept insisting that she was a goblin. Maintained it even after she pulled down her bottom lip to reveal her tiny tusks.

What is your business here, they kept asking. Who do you know? Why have you come? She told them the name of the caravan leader several times. Recounted the surprise raid on the caravan, only a few days' walk from the gates, of which she was the only survivor. It was only when another guard, having left to 'check' something, came trotting back saying that the caravan was, indeed, expected that they let her in. Told her that she ought to hurry and seek out the man it was intended to go to and deliver the news and assemble some help to retrieve all the wagons and the goods. They even gave her his name and where his guild compound could be found in the massive city.

Mischa had no such intentions. For she was here now. In Vel Anir. At the behest of the Great Holy One.

As it was in Alliria, she wandered. Lost. No guidance from the Great Holy One. Yet.

The day wore on. She roamed the streets of the city. Much like Alliria, humans would walk to and fro within the maze of streets of solid buildings. More odd glances her way than in Alliria. Some would stare. And she would stare back. Inviting them to come with her eyes. Before long, they would drop their gazes and be about their work or their business. A shame. Most of them she felt confident she could take in an Umrogk. Soft-city dwellers. A foreign feeling, to even taste such confidence, such surety of strength. She never once felt it among her own kind.

But that could change. With the Great Holy One's promise, that could change.

In Anir Square, Mischa stopped to admire some paintings behind a see-through wall. The shopkeep came out. Told her to stop leaning up against the glass. She listened, and followed him inside to get a closer look at the paintings. She'd seen some before in Bhathairk, but none like this. They were...beautiful. Scenes of nature, majestic mountains and soothing clouds and mighty trees and bountiful rivers. The mere sight of them calmed her, filled her with peace and warmth. When she looked at them, it was as if the world could be something other than what it was. What she knew it to be.

She asked the shopkeep how the paintings were made. He said he just sells them, that his friend makes them. Mischa nodded, said she may come back to meet his friend. The shopkeep shrugged. And she left the shop.

Mischa started down the street again when she heard someone talking. To the alley on her right, between the painting shop and a different shop. Her timing just so that all she heard was, "I prefer to speak with my fellow pigeons on the ground and share the morsels with them as birds of a flock ought to."

Mischa just stood. Her body facing the way of the street, her head turned to the side to look down the alley. A small human there. Even shorter than Mischa. Just her.

Was she...talking to her?

A furrowing of her brow. There were a great many sayings and phrases and expressions and the like in the Common tongue that Mischa didn't fully understand. And she'd not heard of one like this.

She said simply, "I am not a pigeon."
 

Gallar Ahamkara

The Firebringer
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"Those who doubt the existence of Dragons are the first to be devoured by them~"


'The first night. What soft moon, like a lover's kiss. It felt not unlike true peace, and yet memories of laying waste to the wretched squander of my past and origin taint the experience. I am unfettered. I know not how I can ignore my pain. The soaking blackness of the devolution of the soul would come for us all, and though I ran, I am still the filth which they gorged from their rotten spirits. Somehow, as my billowing strength carried me through this trek of cataclysmic bedlam, I was weaker than before. Too fearful to confide, too agonized and comfortable with misery to waive my shame and look past my endless supply of doubt.

None of this would read upon my visage. I would forever be a chiseled, hand crafted instrument of wrath, hell bent on complete obliteration of those who dared to wrong me. But I am forced to admit, this petrifying fear, this grotesque anxiety, it fuels me in ways I never knew before touching this particular world. No matter how deadened my senses always were, even my intuition could be touched upon by whatever sacred core pumped the exquisitely immaculate and poisonous city of Val'anir with its deviant life source. I am intrigued, but the seed is so diminutive I cannot provide faith that it will survive.'

She dreamt of weanling lambs eternally laid to rest, having to face the brightness of the sun with looming thoughts of dark impulse and androgynous, elusive desire. Upon this world there was a vibrancy attempting to access her aural systems, something vivacious and neutral, terrifyingly not unlike her own quietly seething impetus.

Her fear...it came from a place she had tried to bury recently. The loss of her first born sons haunted her so vividly that the sheer thought of them made the woman feel as if he heart stopped and she temporarily fell to death herself...somewhere within her she knew she feared this place. The place she was put in chains and held captive...the place her sons were pried from her very arms and sold like mere cattle. Where they were slaughtered...

She grimaced from behind that golden, expressionless mask. Her bright intense gaze focused on the establishment before her as the crowd stirred all around her. The woman was massive, standing over every man and woman there as her fist clenched tightly again and again. A soft voice suddenly muttering into her ear from behind.

"Galla, you don't have to do...'this'. We can just go home, Esmeralda needs her mother still and if she loses you here then what? Even if he is here and you do kill him, what will it solve?" The man would advise, making Gallar snap out of her trance like state before closing her eyes and taking a breath.

"Nothing..." She would reply bluntly, lifting a hand and running her fingers through that long, crimson mane atop her skull. Slicking back the top between her large horns which pointed towards her back. The man sighed deeply, looking around nervously as the gaze of the civilians kept being drawn to the Dragoness standing above them all casually as her tail flicked about aimlessly.

"Then why are you here Gallar? Will the slaughter of everyone involved really make you feel better?" He asked through a low growl.

The question made Gallar chuckle darkly, shaking her head as she took a deep breath.

"No...no of course not." She would muse before looking over her shoulder towards the man who accompanied her. "but its certainly a start. Besides...its not about feeling better...its about the principle. An eye for an eye. They murdered my children, enslaved me and my people and tried to sell my unborn daughter. There is only one way this ends~" She explain as those golden eyes flared brightly from behind her mask, the aura she radiated practically palpable as she gave a soft shrug.

The man stayed quiet for a long moment before nodding. "I won't stop you, but remember Gallar. When on the path of vengeance you should dig two graves. One for your enemy...and one for yourself." The man would tell her. The statement forced a hearty laugh to erupt from Gallars lips as she sighed and turned to face the shorter man. Looking down at him and reaching out to run her fingers through his hair and ruffle it up as if he were a smaller sibling.

"Oh darling...you should already know." She began before reaching down and grabbing the handle of a massive war hammer that was placed by her side, picking it up and swinging it upward to rest it on her broad shoulders.. "Two just ain't gonna be enough~" she mused, a deep, booming laughter erupting from her chest as the eight foot five monster of a woman slowly began to venture further into the city. The man was silent after that, slowly disappearing into the crowd behind her as the Dragoness made her way through with such bravado that every living creature that dare caught sight of her scurried away to the sides and out of her direct path. And as the woman pressed on her gaze flicked to the right into a dark ally with some smaller children talking among themselves. Children or just...very small people. To the gargantuan woman everyone looked like a child to her, especially humans. Still, they seemed to be speaking to a man lingering above them like a raven. Immediately her curiosity was piqued, deciding to get a little closer Gallar approached the narrow entrance of the ally but suddenly felt a sudden bump to the side of her leg.

Gallar paused, glaring down at her feet to see a man clad in armor and his sword drawn as he had apparently been running at full speed and slammed into her considering he was not flat on his ass. He pulled up the visor of his helmet to look at what he had hit and Gallar could see the color in his face go pale when his emerald green eyes fell on the behemoth of a woman.

"M-MONSTER!" He shouted in fear, attempting to quickly get to his feet before suddenly the flash of her long, prehensile tail swung to the side and wrapped around his throat. Quickly her tail constricted, tightening around his neck as the extra limb slowly lifted him up into the air several feet above where his feet could touch. He dropped his blade, the flimsy steel clanging against the stone floor as Gallar lifted a free hand and placed it to the surface of her mask where her lips would be.

"Shhhhh...~" She hushed with a chuckle. Readjusting her focus on those in the ally as Gallar finally entered the scene, approaching the two children with the knight still being choked by her tail as he gagged and flailed around helplessly while trying to loosen the grip of her scaly appendage. Her footsteps were booming around the stone and her shadow was caste over the two little ones in the ally as Gallar lifted her head up towards the raven-like man. Lifting a hand and giving him a teasing wave.

"Why hello there little bird~" She called out with a cackle before glaring back down at the children. "And what might you kids be getting into?" She asked curiously as her finger tapped the surface of her monstrous hammer that rested on her shoulder. Clearly not caring that a man was being strangled to death behind her.


Aldren Cordale
Tian
Mischa Ven'rohk
Ynsidia
 

Ynsidia

"...Does my head grow rope?"
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"I am not a pigeon."

The sword came out of the sheath again, and Ynsidia whirled about at the ready, finding Mischa (though she did not know her name yet) standing some fifteen odd feet away. At first she thought she was staring at a goblin, given how small she was (not much taller than herself) and that she approached so quietly.

But the features were all wrong. Little details. Goblins had a sort of vim, an excitement to their character. Orcs, like this woman was, had an air of unshakable mettle. A stark seriousness. Their features had a handsome harshness. They accepted death early, but resisted it fiercely. The result was a placid, fearless expression. They could set their will, and dare death to try and break it. This woman had clearly made death fail. She was a warrior. A killer that did her business up close and personal.

Brow raised, Ynsidia was flummoxed, but stated the obvious.

"Clearly!"

Then a man came up at the ready. Of mighty thew, grip on the handle of his weapon. Ynsidia flushed instantly, mind wandering at the way Aldren gripped the handle sooo tightly.

"Who in the many Hells are you?!"

She managed with a stammer.

Then the dragon woman appeared.

"Why hello there little bird~And what might you kids be getting into?"

Ynsidia gaped. She read plenty enough to know what a Dragonkin looked like. The illustrations, and various descriptions did little justice for the real thing though! Then a series of beat up men came around the corner behind them, pointing at Aldren, then The Dragonkin woman strangling some poor bastard. More voices followed. The clatter of chain and plate mail. A battalion of well armed sell-swords (and sellaxes) filled up all avenues of escape.

It was time to find out who was for her, or could be for her...

She pointed to Mischa.

"50 gold buys your loyalty? Yes or no?!"

Then she looked up at the perched man.

"If you want what I know, you better be willing to go back to back with me, NOW!"

The gangs of mercs tightened their parameter.

"Seize the Conjurer bitch, kill the others if they interfere!"

Pieces were on the move. Decisions needed to be made by all involved quick!
 

Tian

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The newcomers came in an arrangement of size and shape, but the man on the edge of the roof continued to roll the blade back and forth across his knuckle, expression hidden in shadow. The orc was an oddity, to him at least. Too far by far from the blighted lands where they were most commonly found. The dragonkin was different, certainly, but nothing new to him either.

"I think I'll stick to my perch, girl, if its all the same to you. It looks like you've maybe brought me more trouble than some lost coins," he noted as more trouble filled the street from one side. A lot of men in mixed armor and with a variety of weapons, all looking to die early rather than keep their nose in their own business. Tian did not particularly enjoy this kind of work.

Free work is worst work, he thought in annoyance. Steel flashed through the air, moving so quickly it was little more than a blur. A solid thok announced that it had struck flesh, and then one of the mercenaries was falling back, blood running out from under a helm. The hilt of that throwing weapon was sticking cleanly out of an eye hole in the helm itself.

"Not really my style to fight for free, especially to protect some wench that cost me a gold coin-" that part about the coin seemed to be pure, utter ridiculousness, the way it was spoken, "-but fuck it. Seems like awful long odds. You'll owe me after, money or your hide. Take your pick."

The former assassin was on his feet, now....and then jumped from two stories up, arms moving in a blur, vanishing within creases and folds of his leather vest and coming out with flashing steel that sailed through the air like a deadly rain, striking flesh and armor indiscriminately. All sailed clear of the other people caught in the cross-fire. Just before he hit the ground, those heavy knives of his were out, held in reversed grips. he hit the ground hard, but somehow was unhurt from the fall.

Only the faintest part of a smile visible from below the hood. Dropping into a crouch, he advanced, sidestepping the dragon woman and diving into the fray.
 
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Aldren Cordale

Templar, Monster Hunter
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"What the...", that was Aldren's best reaction to what he had stumbled upon after following down that stinky alleyway. He had reached what seemed to be a convenient meeting place for a bunch of strange and very diverse characters. His eyes passed from the orcish lass, towards the giant and very imposing dragonkin and all the way to the odd looking assassin hanging above them, having his own words with a little girl more far ahead.

His hand tightly grasping the hilt of his sword, Aldren took a few more steps ahead, confronting the group. "Who are you people?", Aldren asked, his face confirming the confusion in his head. He was not one to pry someone's else's business, but that little gathering seemed incredibly strange.

The girl and the shadowy rogue seemed to pay him little heed, talking about coins and protection. That was when Aldren started to make a link between those mercenaries that fought him and their possible target. Now that he thought, they did mention a girl. But what could someone of that size possibly do to anger someone in this city?

Cordale's thoughts were cut short, as the wave of ill intentioned people that was expected arrived, and in big size. Turning to face the mob of seriously looking sellswords, Aldren took out his sword with a loud creaking sound of steel and waited for the charge, deflecting two blows with ease. As the fighting took place, he was able to pause a moment and take in the display of sheer brutality and speed of the assassin that vanished from his vantage point and jumped right into the fray near him, taking down multiple grunts in the process. Almost magical, Aldren thought, as the blades flew right by him.

Nonetheless, he focused on his battle, deflecting another attack and swinging his body around the mercenary, finishing the poor bloke with a heavy thrust of his longsword into his belly. The man gasped a lot of blood before Aldren pushed his body to the ground to free his sword of the flesh and bowels carried with it. He dashed to another poor mercenary, evading his attack with the unnatural speed that kicked in with his magical enhanced reflexes as his eyes glowed in a white light, followed by short streams of smoke that danced to his very movements and finally cutting the side of his body with brutish force and expertise. And so he carried on, cutting down the waves of idiots thrown at him and the group.

It wasn't the battle that Aldren was expecting that day, but he certainly welcomed the thrill.
 

Mischa Ven'rohk

Betrayer. Oathbreaker.
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Yes. Not a pigeon. Odd, still, that the matter even needed to be brought up and settled in the first place.

It seemed the city bred a certain contempt for sanity among some of its inhabitants. Why wouldn't it. Even some orcs fell prey to it in Bhathairk. To voluntarily construct a cage for oneself, to live so tightly packed that the air itself tasted foul, to only ever see the same tired sights as the days came and went. Madness, made manifest. And they called their tiny slice of the city 'home'. Some pity in this, Mischa found, for what she called home was a vast expanse of land that would take months to fully walk around, and still that would deprive one of the knowing its sweeping interior.

Mischa shook her head. Somebody else was talking from somewhere, a male from the sound of the voice, but Mischa didn't see him in the alley, so assumed it was nothing pertaining to her. And she took a step to continue down the street--

Who in the many Hells are you?!

Mischa stopped again. A mild irritation at this. Though, the talking was an improvement, perhaps, over the cold indifference from most of the humans of Vel Anir. She didn't mind being alone, but at the same time, she didn't like to feel lonely. She had no problem traveling the last three days to Vel Anir, but the ride over would have been made unbearable if all the mercenaries had acted as if she weren't there. A subtle distinction, between being alone and feeling lonely, but there.

Mischa looked back to the short human and said, "My name is--"

But the short human wasn't talking to her. She was talking to a man at the other end of the alley. The corner of Mischa's mouth twitched. A haunting familiarity, in the style of armor the man wore. She'd seen the armor of Allirian and Vel Anirian warriors. Neither looked like this. The man's armor resembled the type of armor worn by the Keepers of Oath, but it was not. Marcie had said that there were other Templar Chapters out there, but Mischa had not met a member of a single other one. Was he a Templar? Or was there another large human city, like the place called Elbion or some other, whose warriors had such armor?

Then. The thing came. Mischa had seen humans and dwarves and elves aplenty. Even some rarer beings, like those called 'Komodi' and 'halflings'. But she'd not seen the giant female thing with the red hair and the mask. A name, spawned of impulse: Mother of Flame. The sight of her brought a creeping terror, like knowing an inescapable certainty had come. The kind she felt whenever she stepped into the ring during an Umrogk and faced down one of her hulking fellow tribesorcs. To challenge the Mother of Flame would be to invite ruin beyond a simple beating.

Mischa didn't want to be near her. To be made into Little Elf Teeth again by the Mother of Flame's mere presence. The Great Holy One had given no guidance on this matter, so Mischa decided it best to leave. Loneliness was better than being crushed underfoot.

The hesitancy to move, the arresting grasp of the terror and unease in her heart, allowed for the opportunity of escape to fly away. For when she finally made ready to walk down the street again, the very street had become so choked with armored men that she could not simply walk past.

A call. From behind. Fifty gold buys your loyalty? Yes or no?!

She didn't want the short woman's coins. She didn't want to be stuck in the same confined space as the Mother of Flame. But now she had no choice.

Mischa raised her shield and backed up into the alley, where the numbers of the men turned into a liability. Four, maybe five, of the humans could fight abreast here. One of their number yelled out to seize the 'Conjurer bitch'. She didn't know what a 'Conjurer' was, but she knew bitch was an insult in the Common tongue, because of Blondie and how he described participants in sexual encounters that ended unfavorably.

Also, that same armored man had said to kill the others if they interfered. Strange. They didn't seem to know the customs of their own city.

Four men advanced into the alley. Approaching Mischa.

She said to them, "If we fight, the men called guards will come, because we are not allowed to fight in the city. They will interfere with you too. It is against your city tradition to--"

Two men fell. Struck by something that Mischa didn't catch a good glimpse of. The small woman or the Templar or perhaps even the Mother of Flame had done it. A good throw. Whomever it was.

That, and the sound of battle already begun behind her, was all the permission she needed. If they were doing it, she could it too. Perhaps that Allirian tradition was not tradition here. Good. People of all kinds were more courteous when they faced immediate and painful repercussions for being the opposite. It was the way of the Dm'rohk, and all her fellow tribesorcs were well-mannered, or made well-mannered.

Solace, then, in joining battle against the armored men. The chance to taste victory once more. Fleeting, as it was.

Mischa hopped forward and smashed the edge of her shield into the head of the man on her left, his chainmail coif driven into the crack in his skull. The man on right swung his mace and it clanged against her plate armor to little effect. His attack had brought him close. She swiped the Lightbringer and the far edge of the blade took his head off. A spurt of blood hitting her face, her hair, as he fell.

A savage grin. Her tiny tusks revealed.

She wanted to stomp on them. To crush them underfoot. But more of the armored men flooded into the alley.

And, her shield raised, she took a few more steps back. Let them come. Let more come after them.
 

Gallar Ahamkara

The Firebringer
Member
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9
Character Biography
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"Do you see it, oh bearer mine...the blood and the fire?"

This darkness...this coldness...it bothered the monstrous woman greatly. She was a creature drawn to heat and fire and such an environment like this was...opposite to her nature. A dark ally, squeezed in tightly with a bunch of little creatures that scurried around her like insects. It made her insides squirm, something about this just made Gallar feel incredibly out of place, more than she usually was.

She hated the city...

Every city...

All cities~

It was the noise...the hustle and bustle of the everyday...she often found herself getting lost in such environments, she had become far to used to the open sands of the desert. Oh how she missed it dearly~

Still...the golden eyed dragon was rather distracted at the moment. A small green skinned girl slowly turning to look up at the behemoth as those tiny eyes of hers went wide in crippling fear an anxiety. Oh Gallar could feel the aura she radiated and just the acknowledgement and admiration from the girl made Gallar give a wide grin from behind her mask.

Oh she lived for this. To dominate others with as little as her overwhelming presence, it was everything to a Dragonkin. The power, the lust, the worship. Though the girl was afraid it was that same fear that threw gas onto the fire within her golden soul.

Gallar gave a booming chuckle, glaring down at the girl as the soldiers came stomping into the ally behind them. A man still struggling to even cling to life as he hung in the grip of her tail.

The Mother of Flame paid them no mind. No, no they weren't worth a glance right now. The Little Raven and the other smaller man seemed perfectly capable of dealing with them for now.


This place seemed...amusing. Immediately the Dragoness focused her gaze on Mischa Ven'rohk , Her slitted reptilian eyes flaring with color as those sharpened nails tapped against the metal surface of her warhammer. Slowly, her free hand reached out towards the Orcess, and with a single motion Gallar would attempt run her fingers down the side of the girls cheek. Oh such a precious little thing, though she was afraid the Mother of Flame found herself very interested in the little Orc Lass. "Nor bresh'neit, Snavvy borria qual val." She hissed in her dragontongue , slowly turning her head and gesturing back to the soldiers who had marched into the ally as if telling the Orc to go forth and express her rage.

And then...she did. The hesitation in the girls movements were there but she then overcame them, pushing past Gallar and diving into the fray. Gallar turned to watch the show, tilting her head and slowly setting her Hammer down at her feet as she began to run a hand across that mane of air.

Her flowing crimson banner draped down her back and shoulders...her fist clenched as she observed the battle. The intensity of it, god the passion made Gallar quiver inside. And as the Orcish lass claimed the blood of her enemies Gallar could not help but lift her hands and begin to slam them into each other, creating a booming round of applause as her dark, maniacal laughter erupted from deeper within the ally. Her very voice sounding over the clashing of steel and the thuds of armor clad bodies slamming into the stone floor.

And then she'd take a step forward. Her metal heel clacking against the cobblestone as the crimson maned barbarian ever so slowly walked towards the intensifying battle. The Birdman, slashing through opponents like butter with a level of finesse and skill that rendered his opponents helpless against his steel. The Beast Hunter, who held his ground like a true warrior and felled her foes with the glory of his own blade. The Orcess, who relished in the blood of her enemies as any true orc would. Yes...she was among friends here. Tiny as they were, they shared a passion that Gallar respected. The complete conquest of those who stood in their way~

Gallar wanted to see more, her mind wandering to the fantasies of war as she left her Warhammer behind in the Ally where the other girl stood. She would not stain her weapon with the blood of the unworthy. No, they didn't even deserve her bare hands.

They didn't even deserve her fire.

She'd inhale deeply through her nostrils as she closed in on her allies. Though she did not adjust course. If they stood in her path, they would be crushed beneath her. Gallar Ahamkara, The Mother of Fire cut through the gap through the center. Her movements slow and deliberate, with purpose and intent. There was no deception or swiftness. No finesse or clear motive. Her radiance drew the eyes of the remaining men as they all recoiled from their plan of attack on the others the moment they saw the beast.

She stepped on the bodies of the fallen, her sheer weight crushing their flimsy armor and their bones along with it. And the moment there was decent enough space between them and the small group of about five before her she tilted her head in amusement. The others still fighting their opponents, Gallar pulled her tail forward and loosened it, allowing the armored man to fall onto his hands and knees gasping violently for the air he had been deprived of for the past minute. Gagging, coughing and wheezing on the floor as he tried to crawl away towards the others.

"Shi'kir mon sha kahl. Alnava keelai~" She would laugh deviously as she reached down and grabbed the poor man by the ankle, dragging him back towards her as he scrapped at the stone floor desperately.

"No! no! no! no! no! please! What are you fuckin doin help me!" He screamed, his nails peeling out his fingertips from how he tried to cling to the floor.

Gallar pulled him up a bit, holding him by the leg as she twisted her neck, forcing the bones to crack audibly as the soldiers all looked at one another with nervous glances.


"There is only one! Take her down while the others are distracted!" One of them snarled, drawing his blade and foolishly rushing forward while yelling as if to rally his men. And it worked, surprisingly. Gallar grinned, clenching her fist around the mans ankle and quickly dashing forward with a level of speed that would be unexpected for someone of her size. This single movement caught a couple of the other men off guard as the skidded to a stop and tried to backpedal away.

Their fates had been sealed however, and as she lifted her arm she pulled the smaller man in her grip up as if he were a sac of potatoes and in a wide, vertical arc brought his body down with full force on the one who so stupidly challenged the Dragon. The sound that followed was a violent one. The man screamed as he was swung like an improvised weapon and then a CLING-GSHH filled the air, bones crushing and flesh being ruined as the two smashed into one another with such overwhelming force that the man who had been struck died on impact. Hitting the floor with his helmet caved in and blood pooling on the floor.

Terror entered the eyes of the others who witnessed the barbaric act, and with a single step Gallar closed the distance to them as well. The man-weapon in her hand grunting from the shock of the first blow as his body was used again in the same way. Slamming into one soldier with enough force to slam him into one of the walls and crush his chest-plate, another being struck at the legs and forced to hit the ground.

The blood curdling screams that erupted from the man who had his legs shattered laid on the ground with his arms over his face as if to protect himself from the next blow which came swiftly and savagely. The man in her grip being pulled up and brought down vertically directly onto the crippled soldier not once, but two, three, four, five, six times! Each impact forcing blood and limbs to practically sever as blood was painted across the walls like a bucket of paint being tossed onto a canvas. The bones of the man she had been using as a weapon were practically dust at this point and it felt incredibly awkward for Gallar to hold...so she dropped him. Carelessly and unceremoniously tossed him to the side like trash.


Gallar needed a new one, and immediately her eyes fell on one of the men who had fallen onto his backside from the display of horror he had witnessed. To afraid to move and even more so to even breathe as the scene of urine filled the air and his trousers became soiled. The barbaric dragon grinned, reaching towards him and snacking him by the wrist as she swiftly lifted him up and swung him towards the last two in a single powerful throw.

The man let out a gasps of realization the second he hit the air and then a whimper when he crashed into one of the other men while the other dove out the way and dropped his weapon. Scurrying to his feet and without saying a word high tailing it out of the ally to escape the slaughter. Gallar herself looked back down at the man she had thrown to tried to drag himself away while the other laid on the floor with his head gashed in from the side. Likely from the fall after being hit with his heavier buddy here. Gallar saw no need to finish the man, so instead of hurting him further she just slowly backed away and turned around to face the others who had been dealing with their own fights.

Gally grinned from behind her mask and lifted a hand to gesture for them to finish up as she rolled her broad shoulders and slammed her fist into her chest while fire burned from the eyes of her mask. "Bak'gravi al mi krey! HAHAHAHA!" She boomed in her native tongue once again, laughter erupting from her chest as she then slapped a hand along her abs and walked back to her friends with such bravado that one might wonder if she were truly a woman at all. "Bunch of fucking worms!" She mused cockily in common tongue as she stepped on yet another man who had fallen to her brutality.

They would get no mercy from her. No opponent would~

Tian
Ynsidia
Aldren Cordale
 

Ynsidia

"...Does my head grow rope?"
Member
Messages
124
Character Biography
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Not a warrior herself, but a witch with a unique gimmick to her craft, Ynsidia acquitted herself well enough at first once the circle of iron and steel weapons tightened about her, as well as the peculiar collection of individuals in the alley with her. All embroiled in what amounted to five or six to one odds fight, Ynsidia reduced her disadvantage with a quick flurry and flourish of her Rapier. A clumsy ruffian fell at her feet, and he had just enough time to retreat a step back and parry the ruffian behind him!

The area was choked, tactically bad for the numbers game approach, but as she dropped the second ruffian to a bit of proud surprise on her part, she decided to take in the situation. There were more men showing up, but they weren't pressing in but slowly falling back, taking a more defensive posture with pole-arm weapons brought to the fore, and tower shields raised.

Still skirmishing, Ynsidia barely got defenses up in time to parry a fellow Rapier wielder. With a longer reach, and clearly more experience, her duel with this new foe was one-sided to say the least! Not that it looked that way. Like a dance, they twirled and clasped, with billowing garb fluttering; one would have thought them perfectly matched like courting swans. But in those deceptive, flowing and twisting steps Ynsidia took three grazing slashes. Above the right knee, below the left shoulder, and across the top of her left hand. Not deep cuts, but the taste of steel was accompanied by a chaser of fear.

Ynsidia retreated, confidence shredded like her ornate garments were, her foe giving chase.

She managed an awkward parry the narrowly redirected her aggressor's blade, but the sword penetrated layers of cloth finery and the sword tip bit a glancing hit on her hip. Ynsidia howled in pain, swinging a wild slash at the swordsman's face. He promptly ducked, and sprang back up with a right cross, the unyielding metal knuckle guard breaking skin above her left temple.

To Ynsidia's credit, she stayed on her feet, staggered and wobbling like a punch drunk prize pugilist. Feebly bringing her sword up to bare, it was deflected aside and Ynsidia met her opponent's pommel, it kissed her between the eyes!

Another gash opened up on her face, blood dripping in her eyes as she still managed to maintain a vertical base, even though she was rocking on footwork that was no longer present. Even without stance, she parried another shot at her vitals before the skilled attacker spiraled his blade, the motion when meeting Ynsidia's blade rotated the weapon free of her hands.

Ynsidia's cloudy thoughts wandered to admiration.


“What a beautiful disarm that was!” she silently praised as she pulled a dagger from the folds of her finery, baring it in time to take a straight shooting front kick to the chest. Her back met the unmovable stone wall of a five story structure (likely an inn), and she dropped her dagger, desperately gasping from the wind knocked out of her. Hitting the wall, a sudden stop after being driven back so quickly, caused head to snap back.

Ynsidia's vision lit up, then swam black before blurred color returned. The picture cleared in time to give her a most disheartening revelation.

The swordsman's quietus blow.

A precise forward lunging thrust, wrist arabesque turning as to both stab, and screw the blade through her to create the most tearing as possible.

Then- P-plink-k!

The tip of his sword had found one of her brass charms against her chest. The impact still hurt, but the charm had taken the lethality from the blow. The charm worn against her skin, slid and scraped across her torso, the sword end stuck into it! The charm snapping free of the string of prayer beads it was attached to, and the beads cascaded to the filthy street, a raining clatter around Ynsidia's feet, the Swordsman's sword then found the wall. Stumbling from the unexpected give, his weight wholly behind the blow do to the lunge, his blade bowed then broke up to the strong.

A moment of clarity proceeded the surprise. Ynsidia found that what was holding her aloft was to barrels she had slumped down on, her arms draped over the tops of both. Her dagger, tip down in the lid, shined like salvation in the waning evening light. Snatching it up, she followed through with a swift backhand style slash across the Swordsman's throat. He choked and stumbled away several feet before collapsing down dead.

The world was in surreal focus. Noises distant and out of sync with action, movement seeming inordinately pronounced. The 'ring' about them had receded a bit more, and the skirmishers had been reduced, leaving only enough to occupy the wild cards in the alley with her. The cadre that had sped three foes at her was retreating further into the shadows; fewer in numbers than the other two mercenary clogged avenues in and out, they seemed aware of their lack and decided to make themselves less apparently so by taking to the shade.

Stepping away from the wall, Ynsidia looked up on a whim, and her blood froze in the veins. Archers were materializing above. The roof tops, windows, and balconies overhead becoming gradually populated with marksman. Jaw dropping, eyes growing two sizes, Ynsidia tried to speak but couldn't get a sound out at first. When the words came, they weren't the most dignified or mature, in fact, they were childish and sophomoric, but fit the development quite well enough.

“Oooh shit!”

Tian
Aldren Cordale
Mischa Ven'rohk
Gallar Ahamkara
 

Tian

Member
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20
Character Biography
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It was a kind of trance, and it was one he used when the odds were particularly tough.

He was one with his knives. He was one with his enemies. Physical speed and strength enhanced a modest degree by magics he had woven about himself in his descent, the killer moved like a ghostly blur among his enemies, not a single bit of effort wasted. A cold, precise killing machine. It was part of what marked his ascension so long ago, and it was a deadly tool that he wielded upon his unknowing foes now.

Slide to the right as a faceless warrior tried to skewer him with a sword, the thrust text-book precise but woefully slow. Tian could feel the blade touch his armor, but he had moved too far out of the way for it to catch anything worthwhile. With a graceful move, writhing like a snake, he came back up inside the guard of the soldier, heavy knife sliding effortlessly into the join of his armor in the armpit, curving back to pierce the man's torso. twisting viciously, withdrawing that weapon in a welter of blood even as he dropped to one knee, the blow of a swordsman behind him sailing over his head to connect solidly with the man he had just killed, he was even now opening his mouth to shriek in pain, blood spurting through his teeth. A smooth motion, spinning from his reposed position, and he struck the offending swordsman with enough force to cleave halfway through his leg, leather armor providing little in the way of protection. The femoral artery immediately sprayed blood in time with his pounding heart, sword forgotten and dropped to clutch at the mortal wound he'd been delivered.

One second had passed.

The killer dropped and rolled as a halberd cut through the space he had occupied a moment before, striking sparks from the cobbles. He popped to his feet, sidestepping another assailant hell-bent on attacking the oversized lizard woman then blurred forward, sweat streaming down his face at the exertion. Both knives crossed and caught the polearm as it was thrust at him, deflecting it as he slid down the length of it with his blades, wood shavings fluttering away. In close, he kicked the fellow in the gut, then returned his weapons to their reversed grip as the pressure fell away from then, and slashed the unfortunate across the eyes.

A shriek, bright blood flowing. The shadow of death moved on.

He was advancing on another when someone finally caught him unaware, and a blade cut through the leather of his back, scoring his shoulder blades. Bright pain that belonged to someone else, distant. Left arm not moving as efficiently anymore, just another piece of information in his mind as he turned to meet his attacker, heard the strangled cry of the woman that had started it all, the center of the storm. Saw the archers overhead, cursed inwardly.

Man with the sword rushed him again, trying to use the advantage in reach to do in the black-clad man once and for all. It was an old game, barely even worthy of mentioning. Tian parried, parried again, and then deliberately took a blow, edge of the foe's blade cutting through the leather under his arm, through his side. Struck something solid there, the solid ring of steel hitting steel, and a throwing knife or two fell to the ground. Didn't matter.

The move put him in close to the idiot. A quick, clean thrust just below his chin, through his windpipe, served as a final retort for the bruise he would have, later.

An arrow struck the pavement. So the bowmen would fire into their own. What had this girl done to garner such anger, such waste of resources?

Right hand the only one with the strength and precision to do what needed to be done now, as hot blood ran down the former assassin's back. Quick motioned, practiced motions. Like a conjurors trick, really, making steel appear from nowhere. If not for the enhanced speed, it might not have been possible, but that enhancement was not likely to pan out for an extended fight.

Another, an axe wielding one, charging him with a yell that died in his throat at the same time he died, a knife suddenly sprouting in his eye as if it had grown there by magic. He collapsed at Tian's feet, but Tian was already moving again, a machine that would not stop, could not stop, until the enemy was dead or he was.

Running now, weaving around ally and foe alike while, overhead, ranged attackers showed. Steel flashing in the sun, one archer toppled with a blade buried just to the left of his sternum, blood bubbling from his mouth. In the same instant, hand of another took a knife to it, forcing the release of an arrow before it had been taken to full draw, and it fell short of the intended target, the dragon-lady.

The greasy feel of magic, swelling to a crescendo as the assassin drew upon his reserves, feeling the fatigue creeping in around the edges. A series of blades slapped into the side of the building, burying in nearly hilt deep, and it was these that the assassin suddenly vaulted upwards on, leaping from one building to the next to gain height and make a more difficult target.

Hope you bowmen bastards have made peace with your God. If not, I'll accept your souls gladly. The part of his face that was still showing bore only a determined grimace, holding the promise of ruin to come.
 

Aldren Cordale

Templar, Monster Hunter
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111
Character Biography
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It had been quite some time that Aldren had seen such ferocious and irksome fighting. He loved the thrill of battle, the clashing of steel, the blood running down, his opponents falling one by one, hollow of life as he drew his sword from between their bones. He was a warrior, through and through. Sometimes, he would even lose track of himself amidst all that violence, letting that old spark of his childish self come forward and just slash through his enemies with no care for anything else. A beast, let loose for the sport of murder.

He jumped forward, felling yet another mercenary with a powerful downward strike of his blade, already soaked with blood. Sweat and blood covered Aldren's face to the point that he could barely see a few palms in front of him, but his instincts kept going, his sword ever seeking to claim another life. And as such, he never paid heed to the call of the danger that came from above. Waves of archers taking positions on the rooftops, preparing their shots. He could almost see the angel of death coming to claim him as he saw one of the archers letting loose his arrow towards him. He could see everything. The orcess bodying many enemies around her, the giant dragonkind crushing people as if they were nothing, the assassin doing quick work of his enemies, and the girl in what seemed to be an endless fight with another mercenary.

But life had other plans for him. One of the ruffians happened to jump right in front of him, seeking the glory of the kill all to himself, only to be shot with not only one, but multiple arrows from many archers. Aldren seemed shocked at how desperate they were to be shooting even their own allies. The man acted quickly and grabbed the falling man's body to use as a meat shield from another wave of arrows. The plan worked perfectly and now had the time to roll and dash to a nearby wall, serving as convenient cover.

With both hands, Aldren raised his sword near his chest and closed his eyes, chanting a small prayer of courage and preparation. With his focus cleared and set upon killing the bastard that yet stormed that small square, he stepped out of the cover. His speed, augmented by his own magic, surprised one of the mercenaries as he died without even blinking, Aldren's blade cutting cleanly through his neck, the blood gulching out as he fell. Aldren managed to evade one of his attackers but took a plated punch to his face, losing his balance for a moment, a small door of opportunity for one of the mercenaries to cut his left shoulder. The monster hunter let out a small scream of pain followed by shouts of anger as he returned the favour, killing the man in a quick and strong blow to his armored chest.

The exhaustion from his continuous use of magic and the pain from his wound started to kick in, and the discipline, balance and finesse that Aldren fought with disappeared. Still, he carried on, slashing through two more grunts with ease.

A large brute appeared in scene, his hammer spinning above his head as Aldren knelt in pain. He came down with fury, screaming his lungs out towards Aldren, who managed to roll sideways and evade in the last second. The hammer carved a hole in the ground, such was the strength in that man. Aldren would be dead in the second swing if it wasn't for the use of a shield that he picked up from one the dead men beside him, but even so, the impact of the blow was so great that he was sent flying a few paces back, the shield shattered to wooden pieces.

His head was the one spinning now, his vision blurred as the blood started streaming down his face, falling in drops to the ground. All he could hear was the heavy steps on the ground as the brute came ever near him. He tried to get up and face the man, but even as he used his sword as support, his body was drained of strength. It was the end.

'You fought well today', he saw it. Saw him. His master, as if in a vision, bloodied and battered but smiling at him. Blood coming out of his mouth but the old man still had one last laugh. His body may have been drained, but in that moment, Aldren realized that his will could never be so.

Grasping ever tightly the hilt of his sword, he mustered whatever strength was left and raised his sword. Raised to the skies, raised to the very heavens. Raised the blade as it pierced all the way through the brute's head, shouting in desperation. Death was violent, but quick. Merciful. He let his big hammer fall to the ground as his lifeless body clung to Aldren's sword. He drew it from the man's head and he fell like a giant to the ground.

Battlefield was his home. It would always be.
 

Mischa Ven'rohk

Betrayer. Oathbreaker.
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29
Character Biography
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She should be dead.

The Mother of Flame had reached out. Mischa wanted to defend herself. To die in a manner that would have made her father proud. But the stark terror of being so close to the woman who towered over her froze her arms, her legs. Only, she didn't die. Her skull was not crushed and her neck was not snapped. The Mother of Flame merely touched her cheek. Mischa just watched. Eyes tracking the hand as if it were an executioner's axe. Astonished.

But why? She could have done it. Easily. Mischa did not know the customs and traditions the Mother of Flame adhered to. But among many orcish tribes, it was a grave insult to let an enemy warrior go. To purposefully deny them the honor of dying alongside their fellow tribesorcs in battle. To force them to go back to their tribe with their life and their shame.

And Mischa had no idea what the Mother of Flame said to her. Maybe...she was saying that Mischa was not her enemy? In the language of her own people?

No time to ponder. Soon, the armored men came. She said her piece to the approaching men to no avail. And she attacked with her shield and her sword and backed up.

* * * * *​

Mischa heard something, after her decapitation of the second man. Something odd. She hazarded a glance back.

The Mother of Flame. Clapping. And laughing. The joy of battle gave way to bewilderment.

The others were fighting. The short woman with the Thorn sword. The Maybe Templar. There was even a Man in Black that she had not noticed before. Had he always been there? Had he been invisible before, like a spirit? But the Man in Black was fighting too.

A mystery. Why the Mother of Flame only wished to observe. Perhaps she had no quarrel with anyone. Save the man she was choking to death with her tail. Perhaps he had wronged her in some manner. Still, Mischa failed to understand. There was a word, in Orcish, that was appropriate. Dringthak. In Common, it would mean: Thing which only the shamans and the spirits know.

But it would not be so for long. The observing came to end.

As Mischa stepped backward, the Mother of Flame stepped forward. Toward the men flooding into the alley. Literally crushing the dead and the dying, the man with the cracked skull from Mischa's shield included, underfoot in one step. A frown, and a twitch of Mischa's lips. It could have been her. It easily could have been her. A single push, and a single stomp, and all Mischa had ever known would be wiped away. Staining the stone of some loathsome human city.

The sight of it. The Mother of Flame crushing the fallen and then beating the men with one of their own. All Mischa could see was herself in their boots and in their armor. Being pounded into the ground. Not because she pitied them. Because she feared how easily she could be them. As she had been.

It was the reason she betrayed Marcie. Painful as it was.

She couldn't allow herself to be weak. To be crushed underfoot, like the foolish men who attacked the Mother of Flame. And the Great Holy One promised strength, surpassing even that on offer by the Templar. If she did Its--

Bidding. A vision, just then. Mischa had heard the short woman. Yelling the word the sailors often yelled during her boat ride. And the Great Holy One showed her men with bows. Aiming at the short woman. Loosing their arrows. Killing her. And a heart-wrenching pain and sorrow, as if she had witnessed the death of her own father, overcame her in the vision.

There. And gone. The visions were always brief, though they felt much longer. And Mischa knew what she had to do. What It desired of her.

The Mother of Flame had one end of the alley covered. The Man in Black and the Maybe Templar the others.

So Mischa continued back until she came close to the short woman. Looked up. And yes, the Great Holy One had seen or heard what she had not. Men with bows. Taking to the high ground of the buildings. Aiming, much as they had been in her vision.

Mischa stepped in front of the short woman. Close enough to feel the woman's body colliding against her armor. And Mischa raised her shield and clenched her teeth and braced against the hail of arrows. Plinking and clanking and twanging, as the arrowheads struck and bounced off her shield and her plate armor and twirled about in the air or fell dead to the ground. It was much like the way the Maybe Templar shielded himself. Only his was more inventive. And more satisfying.

Mischa looked back over her shoulder once the arrows stopped. Said to the short woman, "My name is Mischa. I was interrupted earlier. You were not speaking to me, but I answer your question anyway. And I do not want your coins."

Mischa held her left arm up and let her shield slide down some such that only the straps held it to her forearm, freeing her hand. The decapitation from earlier had charged the Lightbringer some, and so she sought to use it now.

She aimed her hand, mindful of the Man in Black as he went up and who seemed more bird than man now. And she sprayed a torrent of Holy Fire at three of the windows and at the men with bows therein. A hissing and a roaring sound, like a gale wind, as the white and yellow Fire rushed from her hand. Painless, as it consumed exposed flesh and then bone, the winking away of life as easily as closing one's eyes to sleep.

Only six seconds worth of Fire, before the charge was gone and Mischa felt her own lifeforce being tapped. So she stopped, and gripped her shield again.
 
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Ynsidia

"...Does my head grow rope?"
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Ynsidia's jaw dropped.

It was a blur of moments strung together. Mischa was suddenly shielding her, and then unleashing a stream of flame. This was the power of Templars! The skills. The stolid leaps into action. The supernatural powers that manifested through them by their Gods or God. Up until that moment, she had not known that Mischa was anything more than a mere warrior (having never encountered one personally), but after the awe inspiring display, she saw her new protector who'd just deflected a lethal volley of arrows in a whole new light.

"Thank you!" she managed, turning around and facing the meager blockade of mercenaries guarding one of their ways out.

"Guess who's next?!" she all but giggled aloud. The small cadre regarded Mischa, her, the Dragonkin, the black blur still dropping their men, Aldren overpowering others, and then they regarded each other. Desertion was the better part of valor in their case. Ynsidia blinked at the unexpected as more arrows rained down, own winging her shoulder.

Biting back a cry of pain, she instead called out to those in the kill zone with her that there was a break in the crucible of mercenaries.

"Give way! Rally to me! We have a path to retreat!" she declared at the top of her lungs.

It was time to get out of this alleyway!

Mischa Ven'rohk
Tian
Aldren Cordale
Gallar Ahamkara

OOC: Sorry about the wait guys!
 

Tian

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Bugger that, he thought to himself. Flames, the heat of them powerful enough to make an ordinary man flinch back. They cut through some of the archers assailing them.

And then he was on rooftops. These were his home, in any case - his personal highway save other assassinsor thieves, none of whom would be anywhere near this mess. An archer drew bead, but he rolled before the loose, coming back up on his feet with nearly all of his forward momentum intact. The man was knocking another arrow when Tian reached him, knife low driving up through his guts and then under the sternum. Skewering his heart. With almost unnatural perception, the assassin spun and an arrow punched into the body, running almost all the way through. The tip cut through his vest in the front, scoring ribs.

Body dropped, flash if steel taking out that archer perfunctorily. And then he was off on the rooftop following the cause of all this trouble.
 

Aldren Cordale

Templar, Monster Hunter
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The would-be knight swung his sword, fighting through the pain and exhaustion while his bloodied and battered body was driven only by determination, and an acute anger towards those annoying, good for nothing bastards. With a shield in hand, courtesy of another corpse that waited for him in the next life, Aldren made a quick move, raising it to defend himself from another short volley of arrows. He was on the verge of throwing his swords against those goddamned archers until he saw the rogue skillfully taking out the enemies like it was nothing. Cordale wondered how on Earth he managed to get there so quickly, but judging by the fact that he was fighting beside a girl, a freaking dragonkind and a flamethrowing orcess, the mysterious rogue getting on the rooftops was the least of his concerns.

He raised his shield to block a clever attack from an axe aimed straight at his head. Using his opponent's own momentum against him, Aldren pushed his arm back and made a swift cut through his belly, his bowels dropping out like paste afterwards. The man fell on his knees, his eyes in shock as he saw his own intestines jumping out of his body. Without much time to stand on ceremony, Aldren kicked him to the ground so he could enjoy the dirt a bit more before passing on.

That's when he heard the call for retreat. About damn time, by the way. His arms were almost going numb by the time he spent fighting and his whole armor was painted red with the blood of the mercenaries. He took a few steps back, dispatching two more ruffians to secure a safer retreat for the rest of his group.

Aldren stood his ground as another idiotic mercenary decided to play the hero and go straight at him, their last stand. With one bash of his shield he dropped the man flat on his back, ramming his sword through the center of his skull afterwards. He took out his blade from the man's head with a small smirk and watched the devastation left behind as he retreated with the others.

Quite the day, indeed.
 

Mischa Ven'rohk

Betrayer. Oathbreaker.
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One day.

One day, with proper devotion and service rendered to the Great Holy One, Mischa might become like them. The Man in Black, who moved such that he was more spectre than man, a dreaded ethereal reaper, gliding with ease up a wall that to him may as well have been ground, killing with such skilled efficiency that it was only just removed from mere thought by the blurred motions of his arms and hands. The Maybe Templar, who feared not the hulking man with the hammer, who upended the very way of the world by stabbing up instead of crushing down, who let not the blood in his eyes quench the fire in his heart. Even the Short Woman, the body of a larger man at her feet, prevailing against a foe who should have killed her easily, done with a weapon as unimpressive as a human Thorn sword and a dagger.

And, if she dared dream big enough, maybe even like the Mother of Flame, whose strength was such that Death itself obeyed her command?

Yes. One day.

Now, after the Short Woman thanked her, she issued a challenge to the remaining armored men. Not a normal challenge, done before battle had even begun. This was something humans in particular, also dwarves to an extent, did often enough. Taunting, it was called. Useless, Mischa and her fellow tribesorcs called it. They'd sooner just kill their enemies. End the conflict sooner.

But she wasn't with her tribe and not among orcs. Maybe she could try it. See if there was any merit to it. A tool ought to be tested first, and if it failed, then it should be discarded.

So Mischa spoke after the Short Woman asked the armored men to guess, adding, "She is not literally asking all of you to guess, but implying that every one of you will be killed as well. You may advance in whatever order you wish."

There. A taunt. It seemed to have some effect. The men looked at each of them and among themselves and actually did flee from battle. But was it truly the taunt and not the bodies of their kinsmen that broke them? Mischa wasn't sure.

Arrows rained down again. Her shield still raised to protect her head, again the sounds of deflected metal against her armor and the shield. But one slipped past and grazed the Short Woman.

Yes. It was time to flee. There was no bravery in foolishness, and it would have been just that to stay there were clearly the men with bows had the advantage and, worse, with the men called guards surely angered and coming quickly. Mischa had her doubts about the Vel Anirian tradition being much different than the Allirian tradition on this, despite her earlier uncertainty of it. Humans were humans, after all.

Mischa bristled some as the Maybe Templar came close. He might ask questions. He might not. Marcie herself knew of many other Templar Chapters but had only ever met members from few of them. The Order had been scattered across Arethil long ago, she had said. The Maybe Templar might not even know who the Keepers of Oath were. More so if he had never ventured east of the Spine.

Still, she retreated with the Short Woman and the Maybe Templar. The Man in Black somewhere. The spirit world maybe. And the Mother of Flame would do as she pleased.
 
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Ynsidia

"...Does my head grow rope?"
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They retreated (Ynsidia, Mischa, and Aldren) down the clear alley, moving together as a green, newly formed unit bent on surviving the surreal development they'd been caught up in. The Dragonkin seemed anchored to her course of action, still fighting, still slaying; could arrows and crossbow bolts even harm her? Ynsidia banished the thought and wondered where the lightning quick man in black could have gotten off to. He could be anywhere, potentially, with his speed and acrobatics.

He seemed supernaturally capable on a physical level. She also couldn't shake the feeling that he was older than her's, Mischa's, and Mr. Dashing Britches' ages combined. Even though she had no rational reasoning to explain why she felt it exactly, some part of her had galvanized the feeling as belief at this point. The man and black would be the only one who could dissuade her.

Ynsidia looked over at Mischa, seeing serious, stoic determination.

"What you did back there was amazing, Mischa! I am Ynsidia - Conjurer Of The Ink!"

Turning a sharp corner, Ynsidia looked around Mischa at Aldren, reddened a little, but managed to address him, be it kind of meekly and with a stammer.

"And thank you; you didn't have to come to my aid, but I am grateful...Ummm...what is your name, Sir?"

Tian
Aldren Cordale
Mischa Ven'rohk
 

Adonia

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A new sea, a new land, a new city. Yet again Fèlen had found herself drawn to motion, to new sights and smells and tastes. New people. For years she had been immersing herself in culture after culture, meeting and greeting and saying goodbye to face after face. Never staying. Each time a wave of excitement hit her at new opportunities, the lands she had previously traversed diminished into the backgrounds of her mind to make way for the fresh sights she eagerly took in, forcing down the oldest of memories that begged to surface. Eventually, they always did, and then it was on to the next location.


Vel Anir was her newest location. It was the typical large, human city. Stone and banners. Imposing dominance though for one so well traveled it was viewed more as arrogance, nonetheless it remained impressive.


Wooden shoes clad her steps as she wandered the new city, dismissive towards the looks cast at the elongated ears that stretched through her silver locks. She was far to familiar with prejudice to allow it to sour her curiosity. The slender fingers of her right hand idly pawed at the cloth purse attached at her hip, a slight frown painted at her peached lips at how light it had gotten.


She was pondering on where she would go to earn coin when a girl of dark hair and eyes, rounding the corner and followed by several others, jostled the nymph hybrid. With this being so unexpected, Fèlen didn’t have time to react, her balance failing her as she stumbled to the cobbled road.
 

Tian

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It was a fine vantage point, taken at a pell mell speed, to observe any attackers coming from anything other than street level...and it was a fine vantage for the street, too. jaw set in a determined grimace, the assassin continued, trailing them from several stories up. He allowed the magic that had enhanced his movement to lapse, and felt the dreadful pull of fatigue slam into him. His wounds were not too serious, and with an old trick of the mind, he managed to stymie the flow of blood for the moment, at least until someone could tend to it properly.

A quick inventory. He had replaced the heavy knives into their places at his hips, and they beat against his thighs as he moved. He probably had a dozen and a half throwing blades left, each thin and light, weighted in such a way that made them precise in his hands. They were extremely expensive, and later he would have to go back and collect as many of them as he could find.

What did this girl do to draw so much attention? That was his first thought regarding this whole affair. She had to have done something particularly heinous to gain so much notoriety. Up until now, he'd thought only he could rub someone the wrong way hard enough to elicit this kind of response. Turns out he was wrong.

"Probably turned down some noblemans' sexual advances," he muttered to himself. Nobles could get funny when they were rebuffed in anything they wanted.

He moved like a silent ghost, directly alongside them but out of sight. Anyone that tried to ambush them would have and extremely angry whirlwind with teeth dropping on their head.

Tian almost - almost - wished someone would try. He'd already had about enough for this day.
 

Aldren Cordale

Templar, Monster Hunter
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After walking through the maze of streets and alleyways and putting some blocks distance from where the fighting took place, Aldren and that little band of misfits arrived to a safe place. At least, safe enough to recollect their breath and think about what had just happened. Now he finally had time to look at the wound in his shoulder, breathing easily that it seemed less serious than what he first thought. But the pain was finally kicking in after forcing his body through all that. He looked around, noticing that the dragonkind seemed to stay behind, fighting the poor sods that were clueless enough to face her. As for the rest of the group, everyone seemed safe and sound, save for a few cuts and bruises. No sign of the rogue to that moment, though.

Aldren took a quick glance at his bloodied sword, swinging it quick and wide to get a bit of the blood out before putting it back to the scabbard, steel ringing as the blade slid back onto place. He realized that the small girl that talked to the orcess before now made her way towards him, a friendly face and perked smile even though they were butchering an army of mercenaries and almost dying a few moments ago. Still, she seemed awfully nice, all things considered, and Aldren wasn't looking to get into another fight anytime soon.

"My name is Aldren. And i assume you're the cause for all this, miss...?", he asked with a rather inquirish tone, out of genuine curiosity and care for her. And finally, he noticed the strange gaze which the orcess always gave him, ever since their eyes first met in that square, before all hell broke loose. Aldren also noticed that her gaze always fell upon the Templar crest in his chestplate, even though it was covered in blood and guts. Her abilities and fighting style were certainly a mystery, but there was a familiar feeling about her. Something that he would definitely recognize, but the way she carried himself gave him no such clue.

And then he noticed the assassin nearing, muttering a few words to the girl. Now that was someone he would closely keep an eye on. A dangerous individual to be around, even if he seemed to be an ally. He had known some assassins throughout his years as a monster hunter, even fought a few. His toughest fights, that's for sure.

Still, they were knee deep in that mess now. Aldren felt he could at least trust those people not to stab each other's backs while they were facing the coming wrath of the city.
 

Mischa Ven'rohk

Betrayer. Oathbreaker.
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This was the problem with cities. The very design itself.

The slight but mounting unease in Mischa made her think of it. There was a word for it in Common. She struggled to remember, for there was no such equivalent word in Orcish. Marcie and the other Templar and squire initiates would use it occasionally to describe places like tombs, caves, basements. Closed-in spaces. What was the word? Close-ta-pho-bya? Something like that. No matter of huge concern.

The feeling was more important. The looming of the walls to their left and right as they retreated through the alleys. The dreaded realization of being denied the freedom to move in those directions by monstrous constructions of stone and wood and whatever else. Even Bhathairk, the great Orc stronghold, had this feeling about it. In all cities, the horizon was only as far as the closest building. And it felt to Mischa that those walls crept closer when she wasn't looking. Waiting patiently to lock her in.

But there was a difference between thinking there were angry spirits present, and actually seeing one. So she ignored her dread.

And the Short Woman talked to her. Ynsidia, Conjurer of the Ink was her name.

Amazing? That seemed an inappropriate use of the word. She had killed more foes during the raid on the caravan days ago. Only one for certain today; she didn't know what became of the archers in the windows after the Holy Fire touched their flesh and they fell from of sight. The word was better applied to the Man in Black, the Maybe Templar, or the Mother of Flame.

Ynsidia, Conjurer of the Ink talked to the Maybe Templar. He had a shorter name. Aldren. Now, being closer to him, she could clearly see the symbol of the Templar on his armor, despite it being awash in blood. He was no longer the Maybe Templar. Lucky, then, that the Keepers of Oath did not also adorn their armor or shields with the symbol. Only on surcoats and stamped onto parchment.

And their mere presence upon moving around a corner startled someone already there. A brief fighting stance from Mischa, one relaxed almost immediately. The--Human? Human--had no weapon she could see. And she was no threat sitting on her hindside on the ground. So Mischa disregarded her for the moment.

And said, "Ynsidia, Conjurer of the Ink, will the men called guards come for you? Your transgression seems severe."

Mischa didn't know what the Great Holy One desired by having her protect Ynsidia. Its ends could be inscrutable. She was unsure whether it was a test, or whether the Great Holy One had some manner of interest in her, or whether it was part of some bigger plan.

Mischa would have to be prepared for whatever may come.
 

Ynsidia

"...Does my head grow rope?"
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"My name is Aldren. And i assume you're the cause for all this, miss...?"

Good question, but Ynsidia hated the idea of completely shouldering full responsibility for something that was largely her fault, but not completely her fault. She could have pressed Maddigan for more info, should have, but made the mistake of trusting a blood thirsty status climber.

"It takes two to have a disagreement, Aldren. In this case, between myself, and my employer. Maddigan Dol Costa did not give me all the details in regards to a matter I was to attend to for him...I don't kill little kids! I got angry, and attacked his manor with a giant Ink Conjure..."

Seeing Mischa sweep their surroundings with a soldier's tact, Ynsidia glanced up to see if there were anymore archers wanting to crop up.

"...Naturally, Maddigan isn't happy about that. I killed several guards and all of his thoroughbred horses. I've cost him both face, and fortune because I had a tantrum over taking the life of a five year old."

Rounding a corner fast, Ynsidia was still looking up when she bowled into Felen, knocking her down on the cobblestone. Collecting herself, as she'd practically fell over herself, Ynsidia reached a hand down to the delicately beautiful woman, an elf? She looked more exotic than an elf in some ways.

"I beg you pardon, Ma'am! That was my fault!" she felt strangely nostalgic saying an apology so casually. Her last year countering ruffs, toughs, knights and assassins in Vel Anir's cloak and dagger political scene had blunted the little kindnesses she'd learned long ago in a village she still missed.

"Ynsidia, Conjurer of the Ink, will the men called guards come for you? Your transgression seems severe."

Ynsidia scoffed, following it with a mirthless laugh.

"Vel Anir is in a perpetual stateof low intensity conflicts, and assassinations. Two thirds of the nobles are constantly infighting, and pay approximately 70 odd percent of the peace keeping force to look the other way while keeping the general public quarantined off from their intrigue. The other third of the nobles are so high up they're practically untouchable, and stir the infighting among the other two thirds. The 30 percent remaining guard are in their pockets and will be the only ones to come into play, maybe, a big BIG maybe, Mischa; expect more mercs or ruffs."

Her eyes finally spotted the assassin in black, and a shiver ran through her.

"Decided to come with us, I see."